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Lisbon Travel Tips: Your Ultimate Guide
(View from Miradouro da Senhora do Monte)
Lisbon is one of those cities that instantly became a favorite of mine within a few hours of visiting. Not only is the capital city of Lisbon absolutely gorgeous, but you can experience incredible meals and nightlife for a fraction of the cost of other cities. Get ready to get lost in cobblestone streets, dance until the early hours of the morning, and add Portuguese to your list of favorite foods. With so much to do from local food experiences to sightseeing and the Iconic nightlife areas, it can feel intimidating knowing where to start. Below is your guide to all the experiences in Lisbon you won’t want to miss.
Top Activities & Attractions:
Lisbon is famous for the iconic vintage yellow trams that run throughout the city’s narrow cobblestone streets. Tram 28 is one of the few remaining that is still in use to this day. A ride aboard Tram 28 will take you through some of Lisbon’s most historic neighborhoods and allow you to see the city’s incredible landmarks without having to face the hills. The tram costs around 3 euros to ride and has become quite a popular tourist attraction which can lead to a line. If you want to experience the views and sights of Tram 28 and don’t mind spending a little extra I suggest taking one of the tuk-tuks instead.We asked our driver to take us through the Tram 28 route and he made stops along the way allowing us to actually have a bit of time to get out and see them firsthand for ourselves. I suggest doing this one of the first days in the city as it will give you a great overall view of everything to explore.
Address: Praça Martim Moniz 39, 1150-052 Lisboa, Portugal
(Via Castelo de São Jorge Instagram)
Trust me when I say this hike is worth it! This ancient fortress on top of the city is not only a great way to learn about Lisbon’s history but also experience an awesome panoramic view. Once inside the castle, you can explore numerous viewpoints, battlements, and tons of hidden paths. Tickets to enter are around 10 euros and discounted for students and children under 10. I suggest checking out the gardens as well during your visit for some peacock sightings. During peak season make sure you arrive early morning or late afternoon to avoid long waits. Even if you decide not to enter you can still see the statue of Saint George and Santa Cruz Castelo church for free located outside the castle.
Address: R. de Santa Cruz do Castelo, 1100-129 Lisboa, Portugal
(Via Lx Factory Lisboa Instagram)
LX is easily one of the coolest neighborhoods in the city. Once a factory warehouse area it has now become a hub for hipsters, artists, and a younger crowd. Within the repurposed factories you’ll find vintage shops, unique boutiques, and tons of Instagram-worthy spots to grab food or drinks. One of my favorite shops in this area is the colossal bookstore Ler Devagar, worth the walk in just to experience their epic bookshelf presentation. Check out LX factory at night for live shows ranging from techno to acoustics. This area is a must for artists and art appreciators alike and is fun to visit day or night.
Address: R. Rodrigues de Faria 103, 1300-501 Lisboa, Portugal
(Praça do Comércio)
Praça do Comércio
It’s impossible not to end up here at some point during your visit. This plaza is filled with both locals and tourists and always bustling with things to do. The iconic yellow building surrounding the plaza is impressive, but the riverfront steps are perfect for pausing and people-watching or catching the sunset. This is a great central starting point if you aren’t sure where to begin with exploring the city. One of my favorite pastimes is venturing down any of the Plaza’s neighboring marble side streets as it is a sure way to end up at some awesome hole in the wall shops. Rua Agusta Arch, located at the north end of the square, will lead you onto one of Lisbon’s main shopping streets, perfect for picking up souvenirs during your trip.
(View from Miradouro De Santa Luzia)
One of the reasons I love Lisbon is because it feels as though the city was built to give you the perfect lookout point around every corner. Miradouro is Portuguese for viewpoint so be sure to watch for these signs throughout the city. They all offer incredible views of the city and places to sit and rest (you’ll need it after walking the city’s hills). These gorgeous viewpoints are popular among locals to hang out, have some drinks and watch the sunset. I highly recommend grabbing some local beers or Portuguese wine and soaking in the sunset during your visit. If you take the Tram 28 or Tuk Tuk I mentioned earlier you will stop at many of the city’s most popular Miradouros, however, I have included a brief list below with some of the best.
Miradouros De Graça: Calçada da Graça, 1100-265 Lisboa, Portugal
Miradouro De Santa Luzia: Largo Santa Luzia, 1100-487 Lisboa, Portugal
Miradouro De Santa Catarina: Miradouro de Santa Catarina 1200-012 Lisboa, Portugal
Miradouro Das Portos Do Sol: Largo Portas do Sol 1100-411 Lisboa, Portugal
Cool Areas to Explore:
(Via Resturante Rio Grande Instagram)
Day or night, Pink Street is always a good idea. This iconic pink pavement is located in the Cais do Sodré neighborhood. A visit during the daytime is perfect to capture photos under Lisbon’s famous umbrella canopy street but the nighttime is when the street comes to life. Pink Street becomes packed with young people running in and out of the various bars and nightclubs. It’s really common to see people bringing their drinks outside as the street itself becomes a party as the sun goes down. This spot can feel a bit touristy but is absolutely worth checking out.
Address: R. Nova do Carvalho, Lisbon 1200-372 Portugal
This is one of the prettiest neighborhoods in Lisbon covered in gorgeous azul tiles, walking through it feels like you are on a movie set. The best way to explore Aflama is to allow yourself to get lost in its narrow twisting cobblestone streets. Many of these streets are pedestrian only so be sure to wear good walking shoes. As you wonder you’ll likely encounter the sounds of Fado, a Portuguese-style music that originated in Lisbon in the 1800s. Aflama is a photographer’s dream with postcard views around every corner as it’s on top of the city, this can make it a bit of a trek to get to. I suggest calling a tuk-tuk or Uber to the district before continuing to explore on foot.
(The famous azul tiles of the Alfama district)
Avenida da Liberdade
Walking this street is any fashion lover’s dream. This part of Lisbon feels so luxurious and is extremely fun for window shopping and cafe culture. Walk along the stunning mosaic tile avenue stretching from Praça dos Restauradores to Praça Marquês de Pombal Square. Take in the designer stores, stunning hotels, and gorgeous park fountains. The tree-lined streets are great for an afternoon stroll and it’s a great way to see the cosmopolitan side of Lisbon.
Located in the center of the city Chicado is home to countless historic cafes and theaters. Here you will find tons to explore from iconic squares to museums, and the historic 1700s National Theatre of São Carlos. Chicado is also a prime spot for shopping, with loads of mainstream stores like Zara as well as unique Portuguese boutiques. You’ll be passing through Chicado on your way throughout the city making this neighborhood a great place to discover Lisbon’s coffee culture. A Brasileira and Café Nicola are two historical cafes I suggest checking out if you’re looking for a caffeine pick me up to carry you throughout the day.
What to Eat
(Via Pasteis De Belem Instagram)
I hope you worked up an appetite from all the walking because Lisbon is a Foodie’s dream. If you like Mediterranean food you will also enjoy Portuguese food as most dishes are filled with fresh seafood and vegetables. Its location along the water makes Lisbon prime for any seafood. Don’t forget to save room for dessert because you have to try a pastel de nata (egg custard tart pastry). You will see these throughout the city, be warned they are very addicting. There are so many amazing food options in Lisbon it’s hard to go wrong. Below are my top restaurant suggestions as well as a list of local foods to keep an eye out for.
(Via Time Out Market Lisboa)
In this food hall, you can find all of Lisbon’s best food and drink options under one roof. This is the perfect solution if your group can’t decide what to eat or you simply want to try it all. I suggest coming here to check out local food options.
(Handmade Truffle Pasta at Come Prima)
This is the best Italian restaurant in Lisbon with unbeatable prices. I highly recommend it to anyone who loves truffles, the chef forrages them himself.
Amazing local cuisine with great prices. This is such a fun dinner spot to check out Fado performances.
If you love seafood this is a must to try locally caught options with equally as amazing prices.
You either love or hate sardines but this store is truly unique and a must check out while in the city for sardine flavors you can’t even imagine.
Top Local Foods to Try:
Pasteis De Nata (custard pastry)
Bifana (pork sandwich)
Bacalhau à Brás (famous Portuguese dish with salted codfish eggs and onion, oddly delicious)
Ginjinha (sour cherry liquor, you’ll likely be given a shot of this at the end of your meal)
Port Wine (coming from the Douro Valley next to Lisbon this is a must-try).
Fun Day Trips:
Wine Tasting in Sintra
Portugal is famous for its wines and a day trip to a vineyard is the perfect way to experience them firsthand. Sintra is located 30 minutes outside of Lisbon in the beautiful Sintra-Cascais Natural Park. The local vineyards here have incredible tasting opportunities and equally stunning landscapes. I highly suggest looking into a trip to Sintra during one of your afternoons in Lisbon.
Belem is a gorgeous waterfront neighborhood located on the outskirts of Lisbon and is a must if you are looking to learn more about the history of the city. The top three landmarks to experience while in Belem are the Belem Tower, Jerónimos Monastery, and Padrão dos Descobrimentos. Don’t leave Bellum without grabbing a pastel de nata from Pasteis de Belem. It may seem touristy but it’s so delicious, I recommend getting takeaway (stand in the line on the right side) to avoid the wait.
General Tips For Your Visit:
The city is filled with hills so be prepared to wear walking shoes everywhere you go. It can also get chilly in the evening so I suggest going out with a jacket.
Download Bolt, another ride-share app that is often cheaper than Uber. Both are incredibly inexpensive with most rides under 5 euros.
The Lisbon Card can get you discounted public transportation and entry to museums.
Unlike most of Europe, tipping is customary in Portugal, usually 10 – 15%.