Lisbon is one of the best cities for a city trip in Europe. There is so much to see and to do! What are the top things to do in Lisbon?
Why should you visit Lisbon?
Lisbon is the capital of Portugal and is located on the banks of the Tagus River. In the city (despite all the disasters) you can still find a lot of beautiful old buildings. Because of the many hills there are also various viewpoints from which you have a beautiful view of the city. Due to the mild climate, Lisbon is very suitable to visit all year round.
What are the top things to do in Lisbon?
What to see in Lisbon? And what are the best things to do in Lisbon? Here are 14 recommendations to make your city trip to Lisbon even more awesome.
Go for a ride on tram 28
Do you want to get to know the city right away? Several old trams drive around Lisbon, they look like they belong in a museum. But in Lisbon, these trams are great to use if you’d like to discover the entire city. Tram 28 is the best one, with this tram you travel along almost all highlights in Lisbon. You can hop on and off anywhere and enjoy all the beautiful views.
Get lost in Alfama
Alfama is the oldest neighborhood in Lisbon and is located on a hill. In Alfama, you’ll find many narrow streets, stairs and it is a great place to wander around and find hidden gems. During your walk, you will undoubtedly discover a beautiful square full of orange trees and you will hear someone singing fado in the café next door. In Alfama, you can also see typical Portuguese tiles with the most beautiful works of art on many buildings.
Find the most beautiful squares
Lisbon has many impressive squares with large statues. It’s really lovely to stroll through the city and discover them all. On most of the squares, you will find cozy cafes or benches to relax on. The squares are therefore a good place to take a break during your Lisbon city break.
Visit Castelo de São Jorge
Castelo de São Jorge is one of the best Lisbon attractions. The foundations of this castle date back to the sixth century BC, so it really is a very old castle! It is located on the highest mountain in Lisbon, so the walk to the top is quite tough. Yet it is visited daily by many people because from Castelo de São Jorge you have one of the best views of the city.
Enjoy the view from the miradouros
When walking around Lisbon, you will encounter the word miradouro in many places. These are viewpoints and since Lisbon is quite hilly, there are loads of them! It is therefore great to visit these miradouros and fully enjoy the view of this beautiful city. I have visited almost all miradouros in Lisbon and Miradouro de Santa Luzia is my absolute favorite.
Visit Palácio Nacional da Ajuda
Did you know that Portugal was a kingdom until 1910? You can still see this very well in the Ajuda district because there you can visit the enormous Palácio Nacional da Ajuda, the former royal palace.
This palace is now a museum and you can still see how it used to look. In addition, there are also some exhibitions with modern art. Visiting Palácio Nacional da Ajuda isn’t something every tourist does, so chances are you’ll be wandering around this huge palace pretty much on your own. Which of course is awesome!
Discover the trendy LX Factory
Located between Belém and downtown, LX Factory is one of the hippest spots in Lisbon. This is a former factory site and it is now a melting pot of creativity. Here you’ll find art galleries, restaurants, pop-up stores, street art, interesting art installations, and much more. A super fun place to discover if you want to see something different during your city trip.
1755 was a disaster year for Lisbon. On November 1, there was an earthquake that became one of the most deadly and destructive earthquakes in the history of the world. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the earthquake was followed by a tsunami and a huge fire. As a result, little was left of the city of Lisbon.
The Carmo Convent (Convento da Ordem do Carmo) in the center of the city is the largest structure from which you can still see the consequences of this disaster year. It is very interesting to see (it looks like a large church without a roof) and it also houses a museum where you can learn more about the history of Portugal.
Learn more about the city with a free walking tour
One of the best ways to get to know a city is with a free walking tour. And you have a lot of those in Lisbon! I myself joined the tour of Tours of my life in Lisbon and that was really fun and educational.
During such a tour, a guide takes you to discover the city and you get a lot of information about the history of the city, Portugal and special customs. Afterward, you tip the guide as much as you like.
Tip Do you want to do a guided tour, but don’t feel like walking? Baja Bikes also offers a great bike tour in Lisbon.
Go up with the Santa Justa Elevator
In the middle of the city (next to the Carmo Convent) is another beautiful landmark: the Santa Justa-Lift. This elevator was built in 1900 and is 45 meters high. Going up with this elevator is definitely one of the top things to do in Lisbon. From the top, you have a great view of the city center.
Belém is a neighborhood west of the city center and here you can find several beautiful sights. For example, the ancient Torre de Belém, the impressive Mosteiro dos Jerónimos and the enormous monument Padrão dos Decobrimentos.
Taste the local dishes
Portugal has one of the best cuisines in the world, so when you’re in Lisbon you definitely need to taste some of the delicious dishes. . When you’re in Lisbon, definitely try Pastel de Nata (a kind of cake with pudding), the best you will find in the Belém district. In addition, the dishes with bacalhau (cod) are also delicious. Almost every restaurant has this on the menu and they prepare it differently everywhere. It is so good!
Enjoy the beaches in Estoril and Cascais
Sometimes you want a little more space and then it’s nice to be able to get out of the city for a while. At Estoril and Cascais, only half an hour by train from Lisbon, you have a few beautiful beaches.
From Cascais, you can also hike along the coast. Here you’ll find the impressive Boca do Inferno, tall black cliffs with crashing waves.
Daytrip to Sintra
Sintra is a town located about 30 kilometers from Lisbon and a must-see during your city trip. Why? It’s a town full of castles! The most notable castle is undoubtedly the colorful Palácio da Pena, but the Castelo dos Mouros from the eighth century is also a very impressive sight.
Book your city trip to Lisbon now
Are you interested in a trip to Portugal after reading this article with the top things to do in Lisbon? These websites are useful to book your trip:
- You can find the cheapest flights via Skyscanner.
- Prefer to take the train? Check Rail Europe for schedules and prices.
- You can book a hotel room, bed in a hostel, or a nice apartment via Booking.com.
- Do you want to discover Lisbon by bike? Discover the best tours by bike at Bajabikes.
- The best travel guides for Lisbon can be found at Amazon.
Tip! Save with the Lisbon Card
Do you want to get the most out of your city trip, use public transport and visit various museums? Then there is a good chance that you will save a lot of money when you get the Lisbon Card.
This pass is valid for 24, 48, or 72 hours and allows unlimited use of public transport and you can visit several museums (at no extra cost). With this pass, you also travel for free to Sintra and Cascais. So if you want to do several things from this list with top things to do in Lisbon, it is definitely worth purchasing the Lisbon Card.
Tip: Do you also want to check the two most famous castles in Sintra during your visit to Lisbon? Then the Sintra Pass is even cheaper. With this pass you get both the Lisbon card and access to Palácio da Pena and Castelo dos Mouros in Sintra.
Do you want to read more about Lisbon and Portugal?
Do you want to learn more about Lisbon or Portugal? Here are some great travel guides:
In 2020 and 2021, I spent more than five months in Portugal, which is why you can also find a lot of information about Portugal on this website. You might also like to read these articles:
- Things to do in Faro | Portugal
- 10 fun things to do in Lagos
- Fishermen’s Trail: the best coastal trail in Europe
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