What to do in Lisbon: our tips for an unforgettable city trip

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Lisbon is a bustling city with many special places, great sights and above all a super nice atmosphere. The street scenery is filled with coloured buildings, old trams and charming terraces. There is so much to do that you need at least 3 days to properly explore Lisbon. That's without the day trips you can easily make from the city. Are you curious about the best sights, good restaurants and nice places to stay in Lisbon? Then quickly read our tips below.

Visit the Alfama neighborhood and listen to Fado

By tram you can go to Alfama, the oldest district of Lisbon. Many people think Alfama is the most beautiful neighborhood in Lisbon and we understand why. Alfama survived the massive earthquake in 1755 and the narrow streets still have a very picturesque look. Take your time to quietly stroll through the neighborhood and leave your Google Maps behind. Explore the shops, terraces, winding alleys and streets purely by feel. You will not be disappointed.

The famous fado music originated in this district in the 19th century. That is why you will find many fado houses where you can enjoy this music while having a snack and drink. Whether you like this style of music or not, a candlelit dinner while listening to fado is a must in Lisbon. Most fado houses can be found around the square near the fado museum and open around 7pm.

Enjoy the view at Miradouro de Santa Luzia

A little further on you will find the Miradouro de Santa Luzia viewpoint and this is definitely our most favorite spot in Alfama. Especially around the sunset it is a wonderfully romantic place to enjoy the view. In the square are trees with hundreds of pink and purple flowers and here you can see the famous Portuguese azulejos tiles.

Mercado da Ribeira

One of the nicest hidden sights in Lisbon is probably the Mercado da Ribeira. This indoor marketplace consists of tasty restaurants on one side and a fresh market on the other. You can find stalls selling fresh vegetables, fruit, fish, meat and other products. It is definitely recommended to come here for lunch or to eat a nice pastry with a cup of coffee.

Find awesome vintage at the Feira da Ladra flea market

Every Tuesday and Saturday starting at 9 am there is a large flea market in Lisbon called Feira da Ladra. Here you will find fantastic vintage items such as clothing but also nice things for your home. Tip: Go as early as possible to score the most beautiful gems.

Have a drink on the rooftop of Park Bar

Nice places can be found everywhere in Lisbon, but a bar that you should not miss is the Park Bar. On top of a parking garage you will find this hip rooftop bar with a view of the gigantic red bridge. Around sunset there is often a DJ that goes on until late in the evening.

Lively Bairro Alto

Bairro Alto is another perfect spot for a night out. During the day it is quite quiet here, but make no mistake, at night this neighborhood comes alive. You will find super cool restaurants, wine bars and cafes.

Perfect for an aperitif on a summer evening (and whether or not to stay until the late hours). Here you will find a pleasant, lively atmosphere in narrow streets and beautiful squares.

Explore the creative LX Factory

Lisbon had a large factory site that was deserted, but since 2008 this has been transformed into a mini city for creatives called LX Factory. As soon as you walk in you will see street art, cozy cafes and shops everywhere where people sell their items, often designed by themselves. Wander around, look for a unique souvenir and settle down for a snack and a drink.

Discover the nightlife of Pink Street

When the bars in Bairro Alto close, most people head to Pink Street to party until the early hours. During the day it is quiet and you can see why Rua Nova do Carvalho is nicknamed Pink Street.

Discover the hotspot neighborhood Cais Do Sodre

Cais do Sodre has undergone a real metamorphosis in recent years. Until recently, Cais do Sodre was a deprived area where there was not much to do, but nowadays you will find a lot of cool hotspots in this place and it is worth a visit. Discover the indoor food hall Time Out Market and have a bite to eat in one of the cool catering businesses that are located there. Or explore the streets and take a seat in one of the many restaurants or bars. Tip: from Mirador de Santa Catarina you can enjoy beautiful views.

Visit the Botanical Garden Estufa Fria

In the middle of the enormous city park Parque Eduardo VII you will find the botanical garden Estufa Fria. This is a fantastic place if you like plants because thousands of different species grow in the three different greenhouses.

There are three greenhouses with different climates, which means that completely different plants can be found in all greenhouses. The cold greenhouse is a wonderful place, especially in the summer months. The entrance is around 3 euros.

Take a ride with tram 28

Throughout Lisbon you can see the iconic yellow trams, but it is especially tram 28 that is very popular among tourists. This line takes you along the historic districts of Graca, Alfama and Baixa.

The pre-war trams have been beautifully restored and run through narrow streets and over steep slopes. A ride costs €3 regardless of how long you stay and you can simply buy a ticket from the driver.

Take a day trip to Sintra

By train you are in about 40 minutes in a cute town called Sintra where you feel like you have landed in the middle of a fairytale. Here you will find colourful castles, palaces and manor houses that are often surrounded by the most beautiful gardens.

Sintra has been on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1995.

Spend an afternoon at the beach at Cascais

Another good tip to escape the hustle and bustle of Lisbon is to spend an afternoon chilling at the beach. If you want to do this you can take the train to Cascais. This cosy village is located on the coast and has several positions.

You can get there in about 40 minutes by train from the Cais do Sodre train station in Lisbon. Be aware that it can sometimes be very busy and that the water is quite fresh.

Where can you get a good meal?

For a good breakfast or lunch Tiffin Cafe & Restaurant Lisboa and Augusto Lisboa which were our favourites. They both have delicious healthy food and a lot of vegan options. If you are crazy about Indian cuisine, you really have to visit Sanskar Nepal. It doesn't look very cosy but the food is delicious! Finally, we tip Tantura where they serve delicious Israeli food and where they also have many vegan options.

Our favourite place to sleep in Lisbon

One of the best places to stay is Inspira Liberdade Boutique Hotel. The hotel is located near the old centre and we love that it's a green eco-hotel.

It is also very stylishly furnished and the hotel has an excellent customer service. The location is great, if you want to walk to town it's about 15-20 mins, but there are also many great restaurants and bars nearby.

Best time to visit

During the month of April, May and October you are most likely to experience good weather with pleasant average temperatures that fall between 20 degrees Celsius (68°F) and 25 degrees Celsius (77°F). These temperatures are perfect for a city trip, so we definitely recommend these months for Lisbon.

On average, the warmest month(s) are July and August. However due to the fact that Lisbon is not far from the Atlantic Ocean, the average temperature is a few degrees below the more inland areas during the summer months. Click here for more climate information about Lisbon.

This article was last updated on June 19, 2023.