Things to do in

Lisbon

One of Europe’s oldest cities filled with beautiful tiles, historic buildings, and lively culture.

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Top 10 things to do in Lisbon

Portugal's capital city offers an unpretentious culture coupled with a splendid, historic cityscape. As one of Europe's oldest cities, it's also one of the most fascinating to explore! Here are some top tips to get you started.

  • Jeronimos Monastery

    1. Jeronimos Monastery

    The magnificent Jeronimos Monastery near the shoreline of Belém was once home to the Hieronymite monks – Catholic hermits whose primary role it was to pray for the King's soul!

  • Bairro Alto

    2. Bairro Alto

    The loosely translated Upper Neighborhood is Lisbon's most historically opulent quarter. Bairro Alto is a great place to wander, its preserved romantic ambiance boasts some of the city's top attractions!

  • Lisbon Cathedral

    3. Lisbon Cathedral

    Built in 1147 and subsequently developed over time, the Lisbon Cathedral is a bold mix of architectural styles, yet maintains the imposing authority of its Medieval incarnation.

  • Rossio Square

    4. Rossio Square

    Once the scene of celebrations, bullfights, executions, and uprisings, Lisbon's historic Rossio Square is the meeting point of choice for locals and tourists alike.

  • Alfama

    5. Alfama

    The city's oldest district can be found between the São Jorge Castle and the Tagus River. Alfama is the place to be for Lisbon's best restaurants and Fado bars!

  • Tagus River

    6. Tagus River

    Whether cycling along its bank or cruising its waters, be sure to explore Lisbon's pulse. Tagus River's estuary is a haven for fish, crustaceans, and birds, including flamingos!

  • Commerce Square

    7. Commerce Square

    Called Praça do Comércio in Portuguese, this vast town square is also known as Palace Square (Terreiro do Paço). The Royal Palace stood here before being flattened by the 1755 Lisbon Earthquake!

  • Belém Tower

    8. Belém Tower

    Not only did his 16th-century harbor fortress defend the municipality of Lisbon from coastal attack, but Belém Tower was also crucial to Portugal's role in the era's Age of Discovery!

  • Chiado Square

    9. Chiado Square

    Chiado's subsequent recovery after a devastating fire in 1988 has made it perhaps the wealthiest corner of the city. It's now Lisbon's most famous shopping district!

  • Santa Justa Lift

    10. Santa Justa Lift

    With the advent of electric power, Lisbon built two elevators to improve access between its hilly streets. This peculiar feat of engineering is a true relic!

Frequently asked questions about Lisbon

What top attractions are a must-see in Lisbon?

Planning Your Visit

  • Best time to visit?

    Lisbon is lucky enough to have the warmest winters in Europe without the disadvantage of suffering from intense summer heat. Nevertheless, the subtropic coastal climate is prone to sudden bursts of rain even on its clearest days, so be warned! Going in late spring or early autumn generally means cheaper hotel prices and more manageable crowds.

  • How many days?

    The heart of Lisbon makes a great choice for a long weekend, but many of its top attractions lie within the city's greater subregion. Top day trips include Belém, Sintra, Fátima, and Cascais, with many more besides. Each will need at least an entire day to see, if not two.

  • How to get from Lisbon airport to the city?

    Though Lisbon is cheap by the standards of most European capitals, getting one of the cabs waiting outside the airport can be expensive. If you're traveling somewhere central without much luggage, it's undoubtedly cheaper and easier to take the metro. It should only take about 25 minutes to the city center.

Good to know

  • Language
    Portuguese
  • Currency
    Euro (€)
  • Time Zone
    UTC (+00:00)
  • Country Code
    +351
  • Best time to visit
    Spring or autumn

Insider tips: Planning a trip to Lisbon

Jurga Rubinovaite is an avid traveler, photographer, and chief adventure planner behind the popular family travel blog Full Suitcase. On her blog, you can find more information and all the details for planning a trip to Lisbon.

What should I do on my first trip to Lisbon?

One of the nicest places to visit in Lisbon is the historic Alfama district, with its labyrinth of narrow streets, traditional architecture, and very cozy, local atmosphere. Here, you will also find some of the best viewpoints of Lisbon and lots of local restaurants where you can enjoy Fado performances in the evenings. Other must-sees include the area around Praça do Comércio, Elevador de Santa Justa, and the historic Belém district with the beautiful 16th-century Jerónimos Monastery.

What are some hidden gems to see in Lisbon?

Lisbon is a hilly city, with countless viewpoints offering amazing views. Some of the nicest lesser-known viewpoints include Miradouro São Pedro de Alcantara and Miradouro Santa Catarina. Another really nice local area is LX Factory, a former industrial complex that has become one of the coolest places in the city. Nowadays, it's a bustling place with cool street art, artsy shops, cozy cafes and restaurants.

How much time should I spend in Lisbon?

While you can see some of the main landmarks of Lisbon in a day, ideally, you plan at least 3 days in the city: one day for the city center, another day for the Belém area and to get a bit off the beaten path, and the third day for a visit to nearby Sintra, which is a must-see in Portugal.

What food is Lisbon known for?

No visit to Lisbon would be complete without tasting Pastel de Nata, a traditional Portuguese custard tart. One of the best places to try this delicacy is Fabrica de Pastéis de Belém that's been baking traditional cakes since 1837. They use a secret recipe that was originally created by the monks of the Jeornimos Monastery, just next door to the bakery.

What is the best way to get around Lisbon?

The best way to explore Lisbon is by a combination of walking, tram (be sure to ride the iconic tram 28), or taxi, which is surprisingly affordable and very convenient when you have to cover bigger distances in this hilly city.

What are the best months to visit Lisbon?

Lisbon can be visited the whole year round, but for the most pleasant weather and not too many crowds, visit in April-May or in September-October. Avoid the warmest summer months, when it’s often much too hot to truly enjoy everything that this beautiful city has to offer.

What are the best neighborhoods for food?

One of the best places for food in Lisbon is the Time Out Market. It's a food hall with more than 20 restaurants, featuring various cuisines from all over the world, including the best traditional Portuguese dishes. In addition, there are also several bars, shops and a high-end music venue here. LX Factory is another great place for food, with lots of unique restaurants, coffee shops, and bars.

What neighborhood should I stay in when I visit Lisbon?

One of the best neighborhoods to stay for sightseeing in Lisbon is the area around Rossio Square. It’s centrally located and you can easily walk to the most popular attractions and popular areas in the city center. There are lots of restaurants and nice hotels for various budgets here. In addition, this area has good public transport connections, making it really easy to explore Lisbon and its surroundings.

What is the best family-friendly thing to do in Lisbon?

If you are visiting Lisbon with kids, don't miss the Lisbon Oceanarium. This is one of the biggest aquariums in the world, with hundreds of different species of sea creatures. It's very impressive and fascinating for adults and children alike. Another nice thing to do is taking a sailing cruise on the Tagus River. It's a nice and relaxing way to see more of the city without having to walk much - perfect for families.

Other Sightseeing Options in Lisbon

Want to discover all there is to do in Lisbon? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Lisbon

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 58,768 reviews

The Lisbon card is a must around Lisbon. We got it for 72 hours and its worth it alone for the transport but free entry into other tourist spots was great. Transport is very good throughout the city. Loads of things to see and do. Good food and people were very helpful and friendly.

Our guide was wonderful. Very patient and kept the energy up. We have never done coasteering this way so it was a bit scary and overwhelming. While it was super fun, it might be a good idea to have beginners, intermediate, and advanced type sessions to chose from.

Great experience. Would highly recommend for a relaxed walk (all be it steep hills) and atmosphere. Food was good, and the Faro was excellent. Lovely way to immerse yourself into the history of Faro.

Pedro was an excellent guide. Very personable. Knows the art work very well. Took very good photos of art work, in the rain, for us too! We highly recommend the tour and Pedro!

amazing, educational, fun tour. our Guide Fabio really knew his stuff, was a good driver and kept the tour interesting and fun y! highly recommended