Things to do in Lisbon

Things to do in  Lisbon

Tiles for miles

Drenched in sunshine, history, and old-world charm, Portugal's sophisticated, friendly capital makes a perfect introduction to Western Europe. The City of Seven Hills is best absorbed via electric bike or walking tour, taking in the views from elevated miradouros (lookout points), and visiting architectural highlights such as Lisbon Cathedral; the historical neighborhoods of Alfama, Chiado, and Baixa; the Belem Tower; and the Monastery of St. Jerome. To see a lot in a short time—and eat well along the way—hop on a Segway for a guided tasting tour. Your guide will lead you to the best pastels de nata (custard tarts) in the city, along with other local specialties. If one of the many versions of Portuguese bacalhau (dried, salted cod fish) doesn't win your heart, Lisbon offers a great variety of fresh seafood and a burgeoning international restaurant scene. Be sure to sample some Portuguese wines, which range from Vinho Verde, a light, refreshing white, to port, the country's signature fortified wine. Book a romantic sunset cruise on the Tagus River, and don't miss the chance to experience a beloved musical tradition with dinner and a show at a local fado club. Popular day trips from Lisbon include UNESCO-listed Sintra, a former royal retreat topped by a pastel-colored confection of a castle, and the resort village of Cascais. Lisbon's central location makes for easy access to Northern Portugal's Douro Valley and Porto, or to the seaside resorts of the Algarve.

Top 15 attractions in Lisbon


Once a hot-spot destination for Portuguese royalty and other famous figures—Lord Byron called it a “glorious Eden”—Sintra is widely acclaimed as one of the country's most beautiful locales, full of gardens, tiled villas, colorful palaces, and neo-Gothic structures, all surrounded by verdant hills rolling toward the Atlantic Ocean.More

Belém Tower (Torre de Belém)

A mighty medieval fortress perched on the banks of the Tagus River, Belem Tower is one of Lisbon’s most visited landmarks. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, along with the nearby Jeronimos Monastery (Mosteiro dos Jeronimos), it’s a lasting symbol of Portugal’s maritime heritage, dating back to the early 16th century.More


Sprawling down the southern slopes of Lisbon, Alfama is the capital’s oldest and most picturesque district with steep cobblestone lanes and a sea of terracotta roofs. Head there in the day to take in the sights, browse the flea market, and ride the historic tram, then come back after dark to soak up the atmosphere at the many fado bars.More

Miradouro da Senhora do Monte (Miradouro de Nossa Senhora do Monte)

From its hilltop perch above Lisbon’s Graça neighborhood, the Miradouro da Senhora do Monte (Miradouro de Nossa Senhora do Monte) lookout offers panoramic views across Portugal’s capital city, including a clear vista of the hilltop Castle of St. George (Castelo de São Jorge). The vista point is named for the church whose yard it’s located in: Our Lady of the Hill.More

Commerce Square (Praça do Comércio)

Commerce Square (Praça do Comércio) was home to Lisbon’s Royal Palace until a 1755 earthquake brought it to the ground. The palace now stands elsewhere, and the square has been restored with ornate arches, grandiose civic buildings, and an equestrian statue of King Jose I. Marble steps lead from Praça do Comércio down to the River Tagus.More

Pena National Palace (Palacio Nacional da Pena)

The crown jewel of UNESCO-listed Sintra, Pena National Palace (Palacio Nacional da Pena) never fails to inspire. The fanciful red and yellow palace is an exotic mix of Gothic, Egyptian, Moorish, and Renaissance elements, commissioned by King Ferdinand II and completed in 1854 on a hilltop high above Sintra.More

Castelo de Sao Jorge (St. George's Castle)

Since the 11th century, St. George’s Castle (Castelo de São Jorge) has stood tall in the Lisbon skyline, viewable from almost every point in the city. The Moorish castle overlooks various districts and offers some of the best panoramas of the city. Even if you have only a few hours, the former fortress offers plenty for you to do.More

Monument to the Discoveries (Padrão dos Descobrimentos)

Erected in 1960, this giant white monument stands at the edge of the Tagus River, and depicts a caravel—a ship commonly used by Portugal’s 15th-century explorers—about to set sail. Aboard the ship is 32 sculptures of leading figures from Portugal’s seafaring heyday, including Henry the Navigator, Vasco da Gama, and Ferdinand Magellan.More

Cabo da Roca

Cabo da Roca, just north of Lisbon, is known for its dramatic views and scenic cliff-top walking path. The westernmost point in continental Europe and once believed by Europeans to be the edge of the world, today it is home to a defensive lighthouse that was built in the 16th century and serves as a haven for local birdlife.More

Monastery of St. Jerome (Mosteiro dos Jeronimos)

UNESCO World Heritage–listed Monastery of St. Jerome (Mosteiro dos Jerónimos) is one of Lisbon’s most elaborate buildings. Inspired by Vasco da Gama’s voyage to India, King Manuel I commissioned the edifice in the 1500s to thank the Virgin Mary for a successful journey. For 400 years, the monastery’s monks gave guidance and comfort to sailors.More

25th of April Bridge (Ponte 25 de Abril)

One of Lisbon’s most famous landmarks is the massive, red suspension 25th of April Bridge (Ponte 25 de Abril) which bears a close resemblance to San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge. Originally named the Salazar Bridge, it was renamed after the Carnation Revolution to bring down the tyrannical regime that began on April 25, 1974.More

National Pantheon of Santa Engracia (Santa Egracia Panteao Nacional Lisbon)

Originally built in the 17th century as the Church of Santa Engracia, the National Pantheon (Santa Egracia Panteao Nacional Lisbon) is now the burial place of many notable Portuguese personages, such as fado superstar Amália Rodrigues. The massive white structure is omnipresent throughout Lisbon’s Alfama district, and its interiors feature beautiful Italian marble.More


Fátima is one of the most important shrines to the Virgin Mary in the world, a site that first became known in 1917 when three shepherd children told of Mary appearing to them. The last event that year, which took place on October 13, is known as the Miracle of the Sun and was attended by tens of thousands of people. A marble pillar with a statue of Our Lady marks the exact spot in the Chapel of Apparitions, and millions of pilgrims make the journey to see it yearly.More

Lisbon Cathedral (Sé de Lisboa)

Lisbon Cathedral dates back to 1150 when it was built to celebrate the defeat of the Moors. Although the Romanesque building suffered earthquake damage over the years, it’s been carefully restored. Visitors can see excavated Roman ruins, the font where St. Anthony of Padua was christened, and relics of Lisbon’s patron saint, St. Vincent.More


Hailed as one of the prettiest places in Portugal, Óbidos is a medieval town encircled by fortified walls. Known as the Wedding Present Town (due to the fact that Portuguese kings often gave Óbidos to their wives as part of their dowry), the town boasts a cluster of Gothic, Renaissance, and baroque churches.More

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Don’t-Miss Dishes in Lisbon

Don’t-Miss Dishes in Lisbon

Top activities in Lisbon

Undiscovered Lisbon Food & Wine Tour with Eating Europe
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Sintra and Cascais Small-Group Day Trip from Lisbon
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Sintra and Cascais Small-Group Day Trip from Lisbon

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Fátima, Nazaré, and Óbidos Small-Group Day Trip from Lisbon
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Fátima, Nazaré, and Óbidos Small-Group Day Trip from Lisbon

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Lisbon: Half Day Sightseeing Tour on a Private Electric Tuk Tuk
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Lisbon: Half Day Sightseeing Tour on a Private Electric Tuk Tuk

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Full-day Fátima, Nazaré, and Óbidos Small-Group Tour from Lisbon
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Sintra Full Day Small-Group Tour: Let the Fairy Tale Begin
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Sintra, Regaleira and Pena Palace, Regaleira ticket included, from Lisbon
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Portuguese Cooking Class in Lisbon
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Lisbon Hills Electric Bike Guided Tour
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Lisbon Hills Electric Bike Guided Tour

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All about Lisbon

When to visit

Come June, the city of Lisbon is transformed by a carnival atmosphere for Festas de Lisboa, a 2-month-long celebration of Portuguese culture, food, art, and music. For a slightly sleepier time without summer’s peak prices and crowds, early fall boasts still-warm weather and cheaper hotel rates.

Local Currency
Euro (€)
Time Zone
WET (UTC +1)
Country Code

A local’s pocket guide to Lisbon

Sérgio Montelobo

Originally from Coimbra, Sérgio has been based in Lisbon for years. When he's not exploring locally, he's trying to see as much of the world as possible with his family.

The first thing you should do in Lisbon is...

get a Lisboa Viva card—you’ll need it for all public transportation.

A perfect Saturday in Lisbon...

starts with getting the tram to Graça for the flea market, followed by brunch at the Decadente and a walking tour of Baixa and Chiado. Finish with dinner and drinks in the Príncipe Real neighborhood.

One touristy thing that lives up to the hype is...

pasteis de nata (Portuguese custard tarts). Go to Pastéis de Belém for the best ones in the city.

To discover the "real" Lisbon...

go to Campo de Ourique, which is probably the best place to live in Lisbon and where you'll find amazing craft shops, parks, and restaurants.

For the best view of the city...

head to the Miradouro Sao Pedro de Alcantara to see the skyline and the river, then take the elevator down to Avenida da Liberdade for a closer look.

One thing people get wrong...

is thinking that Fado is the only Portuguese music.


People Also Ask

What is Lisbon best known for?

The Portuguese capital of Lisbon is best known for being the birthplace of fado music. The nostalgic, and often mournful, music genre can be traced back to the 1820s. It’s thought to have originated in the historic Alfama neighborhood, where you can still find fado bars today.

What are the 3 things that make Lisbon special?

Portuguese food is one of the standout features of Lisbon, especially due to the affordable price points. And you can’t walk through the City of Seven Hills without being charmed by the colorful buildings and cobblestone streets. Finally, the year-round sun makes this European capital a desirable place to be.

How many days should I spend in Lisbon?

For a comprehensive overview of Lisbon, spend about five days in the region. The first two should be spent exploring the main areas of the city—Bairro Alto, Baixa, Alfama, and Graça—followed by a day at the Park of Nations. Visit the Sintra and Cascais areas with your remaining time.

Is Lisbon good for nightlife?

Yes. Lisbon has a vibrant nightlife that is easily accessible to tourists. Visit some of the city’s clubs—notably LuxFragil—or enjoy a relaxed evening at a local bar. For those looking for a bit of Portuguese culture, a stop at a fado club in Aflama is a must-do.

What do locals do in Lisbon?

Most locals attend gallery openings or wander the many city parks with their families. Food plays a huge part in Portuguese culture, so you can find many locals enjoying meals at tascas, or local taverns. Lisboetas are also very active, spending time exercising along the Tagus River.

Is Lisbon expensive?

No. Relative to other European capitals, Lisbon is affordable. A meal at a local tavern usually costs less than €10 and often includes wine or beer. Activities tend to be reasonably priced, with most museums costing a few euros or completely free on certain days of the month.

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