22 Best Things To Do in Lisbon

Discover Lisbon

22 Best Things To Do in Lisbon

Nestled on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean and the banks of the River Tejo, Lisbon is a city that effortlessly blends rich history with modern vibrancy. It keeps attracting travelers from all over the world every year. As Portugal’s capital, it boasts a very unique charm, with its colorful neighborhoods, stunning viewpoints, and delicious cuisine. 

From the historic district of Alfama with its labyrinthine alleys to the bustling nightlife of Bairro Alto, Lisbon offers an abundance of experiences for every traveler. Enjoy the breathtaking views from the city’s many viewpoints, indulge in the world-famous Pastel de Nata, and explore the nearby fairytale castles of Sintra.

Whether you’re a history buff, foodie, beach lover, or avid explorer, Lisbon will leave you enchanted. Ready to explore? Dive into the 22 best things to do in Lisbon and prepare to fall in love with this incredible city!

Woman sitting at a fountain in Jardim da Graca in Lisbon (22 Best Things to do in Lisbon)

1. Wander through the enchanting Alfama District

Lose yourself in the narrow, winding streets of Alfama, Lisbon’s oldest and most picturesque neighborhood. This historic district, with its colorful buildings and traditional Fado music echoing through the alleys, offers a glimpse into the soul of Lisbon. Don’t miss the stunning views from Miradouro de Santa Luzia and the lively Feira da Ladra flea market (more in tip no. 20). Be sure to also visit the Lisbon Cathedral and the National Pantheon, two architectural marvels steeped in history.

One of the best things to do in Lisbon: Exploring Alfama including Lisbon Cathedral

2. Catch a mesmerizing Sunset at Castelo de Sao Jorge

Perched on top of one of Lisbon’s highest hills, Castelo de São Jorge provides breathtaking panoramic views of the city and the Tejo River. Explore the ancient ruins and lush gardens within the castle grounds for a journey back in time. I recommend visiting the castle at sunset to witness the sky turning colorful, casting a magical glow over Lisbon’s red rooftops and historic landmarks. Save your ticket here.

If you want to get a glimpse, of how stunning a sunset from this place can be, check out my Instagram post from the castle.

Woman enjoying sunset views over Lisbon from the Castelo de Sao Jorge

3. Discover the Heart of Lisbon and its Iconic Sights

Explore the vibrant heart of Lisbon and discover some of the city’s most iconic sights. Start your route by visiting the triumphal Arco da Rua Augusta right at the city’s bustling center. Tip: I think not a lot of people know, but you can enter the Arch and walk up on its rooftop for panoramic views over Lisbon’s historic districts right at the Tejo river (get your ticket here).

Arco da Rua Augusta
Elevador da Bica

 Just about five minutes walking distance from here, you’ll find the Elevador de Santa Justa. Connecting the two districts Baixa and Chiado, this elevator has been an important part of the public transport network in the past. Today, it is primarily a tourist attraction offering a nice view over Lisbon. Make sure to also stop by the famous Elevador da Bica for a very pretty photo motif.

Elevador de Santa Justa
Supreme Court of Justice

4. Indulge in the Heavenly Pastel de Nata

Savor the taste of Lisbon’s iconic custard tart, the Pastel de Nata. My favorite place to enjoy these delicacies in the center of Lisbon is at Manteigaria. There is a handful of shops across the city, just type it into your Google Maps to find the nearest while exploring. Watch the pastries being crafted in their open kitchens and enjoy them hot, sprinkled with cinnamon. These delicious treats are a must-try when you’re in Lisbon. The flaky, buttery crust paired with the creamy custard filling will leave you craving more, I promise.

Pasteis de Nata Manteigaria Lisbon
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5. Ride the Historic Tram 28 through Lisbon's Iconic Neighborhoods

Hop aboard the historic Tram 28 and journey through Lisbon’s most charming neighborhoods, including Alfama, Baixa, and Graça. This vintage tram ride offers a scenic and nostalgic way to explore the city’s hills and narrow streets. Along the route, you’ll pass by notable sights like the Lisbon Cathedral and the São Vicente de Fora Church.

Good to know: The tickets for public transportation in Lisbon are rechargeable. Once bought, keep them, so you don’t pay the extra amount every time you go for another ride. You can easily recharge them at the ticket machines.

Woman exciting the Tram 28 in Graça Lisbon

6. Discover Lisbon's Best Viewpoints (one of the best things to do in Lisbon!)

One of the things you shouldn’t miss, when exploring Lisbon, is visiting some of the best viewpoints (called miradouros in Portuguese). My favorites are Miradouro da Graça, Miradouro de Santa Luzia, and Miradouro da Senhora do Monte. These spots offer stunning views of the city’s hilly landscape and vibrant neighborhoods. Enjoy a refreshing drink at one of the nearby cafes while soaking in the views. 

Tip: When visiting Miradouro da Graça, make sure to stop by the charming little park Jardim da Graça, as well as one of the oldest convents in Lisbon nearby: Convento da Graça. A peaceful place to explore and enjoy the quiet right in the middle of the city. You’ll find the typical Portuguese blue tiles, the Azulejos, here as well.

If your legs are already tired from walking through Lisbon’s city center, consider taking a TukTuk ride for a fun and breezy way to reach these scenic overlooks while also getting some interesting background information from your local guide.

Blue house facade in the neighbourhood of Graca in Lisbon

7. Take a Day Trip to Sintra's Fairytale Castles

When people ask me how many days they should plan for a visit in Lisbon, I always recommend adding an extra day to visit the enchanting castles in Sintra. This area is still one of my favorite places in all of Portugal. It’s a must when doing a road-trip through Portugal or going on a city trip to Lisbon. I recommend visiting the Monserrat Castle, which is nestled in a beautiful lush garden, as well as the colorful Palacio da Pena for the views. 

Palacio da Pena in Sintra
Palacio de Monserrat

Just 40 minutes away, Sintra’s fairytale landscapes and panoramic views make it a perfect day trip from Lisbon. You can hop on a train at Rossio station in Lisbon and then take one of the busses in Sintra to get to the different castles. If you do it on your own, I highly recommend getting a train ticket the day before you’re planning to visit Sintra. The waiting lines in front of the ticket machines at Rossio station can get extremely busy with all the travelers figuring out which ticket to get (you might miss your train). Alternatively, you can just book a tour that covers all transportation, entry tickets plus guided tours in Sintra.

Palacio de Monserrat
Woman overlooking Sintra at Palacio da Pena in Portugal
Views from Palacio da Pena

8. Explore the Historic and Culinary Delights of Belém

Visit the historic district of Belém, home to the iconic Torre de Belém and the Padrao dos Descobrimentos (Monument of the Discoveries). Celebrating the era of discovery this monument is showing 33 important personalities of this time. The district also features the impressive Jerónimos Monastery, that showcases stunning Manueline architecture (see tip no. 9).

While in Belém, indulge in the world-famous Pasteis de Belém, freshly baked and irresistibly delicious. Do not make the mistake of ordering just one: you’ll regret it and instantly get back in line.

9. Marvel at the Magnificent Mosteiro dos Jerónimos

When in Belém, don’t miss the stunning Mosteiro dos Jerónimos, a UNESCO World Heritage site and a masterpiece of Manueline architecture. When I entered this place, I was captivated by its outstanding architecture (have a glimpse in this Instagram post). 

I recommend visiting during the early morning or late evening hours before closing, since this stunning place is a favorite among travelers it can get busy (get your ticket here). Alternatively, you can book a Belem-Tour that covers all the highlights of Belem and also includes a skip-the-line ticket for Jerónimos Monastery. 

10. Unwind on a Sunset Boat Tour along the River Tejo

Seeing the city of Lisbon and its iconic landmarks from the water is one of the best experiences. Relax and enjoy a serene sunset boat tour on the River Tejo. As the sun dips below the horizon, you’ll be treated with spectacular views of Lisbon’s waterfront sights and the shimmering waters. This peaceful cruise offers a unique perspective of the city and is perfect for capturing stunning photographs.  

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11. Bask in the Sun at Cascais' Pristine Beaches (top thing to do around Lisbon!)

Spend a day at the cute coastal town of Cascais, known for its beautiful beaches and charming atmosphere. Easily reached by train from Cais do Sodré, Cascais offers the perfect beach escape from the city. Explore the colorful old town, grab a delicious Açai bowl at Oakberry Açai and enjoy the sun at Praia da Rainha. Tip: Visit Santa Marta Beach for an incredible postcard view.

Woman sitting on the rocks at Praia Santa Marta in Cascais
Flowers covering the facades in Cascais old town

12. Savor Local Flavors at the Time Out Market

Experience Lisbon’s culinary scene at the Time Out Market, where you can sample a variety of delicious dishes from top chefs and local vendors. This bustling market is a food lover’s paradise, offering everything from fresh seafood to artisanal pastries (try the almond tart from Sintra!). You’ll find a Manteigaria shop with the freshly baked Pastel de Nata here as well.

Tip: Want to go on a culinary journey tasting your way through the incredibly delicious Portuguese cuisine? Take a food tour with a local guide showing you the best the Portuguese cuisine has to offer (check the availability here).

13. Enjoy Panoramic City Views at one of the many Rooftop Bars

One of the best things to to do in Lisbon, is enjoying an evening at one of the numerous rooftop bars across the city. Located right next to the Time Out Market, Java Rooftop Bar offers stunning views over Lisbon. Sip a cocktail and soak in the vibrant atmosphere as you watch the sunset over the city. The chic ambiance and creative drinks make it a perfect spot for a memorable evening.

14. Shop for Exquisite Ceramics in Lisbon

Portugal is a great place to shop lovely high-quality ceramics. These beautifully crafted pieces make perfect souvenirs as well. Discover their renowned pottery at Lisbon’s artisan shops. A great place to shop some nice pieces is Ceramicas na Linha, centrally located in Chiado. I visit this one every time I’m in Lisbon and haven’t left without another nice piece to bring home.

15. Hop on a Ferry and Enjoy Dinner by the River

Hop on a ferry at Cais de Sodre for a scenic ride across the River Tejo and enjoy a memorable sunset. End your evening with dinner at Ponte Final, a riverside restaurant with stunning views of Lisbon. Alternatively, relax at Jardim do Rio, a peaceful spot to watch the sunset.

Couple enjoying the view at Jardim do Rio in Lisbon

16. Enjoy a Delicious Brunch in the best Cafés in Lisbon

Start your day with a delicious brunch at one of Lisbon’s charming cafes. My favorites include Heim Cafe, Augusto, Neighbourgood Cafe, and Dear Chiado, each offering a unique and cozy atmosphere. Enjoy freshly brewed coffee, mouthwatering pastries, and hearty breakfast dishes that will fuel your day’s adventures. 

Tip: the avocado toast at Heim Cafe is my favorite, and if you’re visiting on a hot summer day: be sure to taste the iced coffee with orange zest at Augusto!

17. Spend a Vibrant Sunday at LX Factory

Visit LX Factory on a Sunday for its lively market, delicious food, and panoramic views from the rooftop bar. This creative hub is a must-visit for its eclectic mix of shops, eateries, and cultural events. Browse through art galleries, enjoy live music, and savor street food from around the world. You might find some very nice souvenirs here as well. 

Good to know: The LX factory is open every day, but features a nice market on Sundays, where you’ll find local vendors offering ceramics, accessories, jewelry and much more! 

18. Enjoy a Cozy Dinner Outside at Green Street

Head to Green Street at night for a cozy evening of drinks and dining. This cute narrow street comes alive after dark, offering a variety of bars and restaurants to enjoy. With its colorful light decorations and diverse culinary options, Green Street is a great place to enjoy a cozy dinner outside.

19. Dare a little Dance during a Night Out at Bairro Alto

Experience Lisbon’s vibrant nightlife in the lively Bairro Alto district. As the sun sets, the neighborhood’s narrow streets come alive with bustling bars, cozy taverns, and energetic clubs. Enjoy a variety of live music, from traditional Fado to contemporary beats, as you hop from one venue to another. Savor delicious cocktails and mingle with locals and fellow travelers in this eclectic area. Bairro Alto’s vibrant atmosphere and diverse nightlife make it the perfect spot for an unforgettable evening in Lisbon.

If you want to have a drink somewhere downtown first, there is plenty of nice places around the famous Pink Street. Walk along Rua das Flores and enjoy a wine in one of the cozy bars in this area.

20. Hunt for Treasures at Mercado de Santa Clara (Feira da Ladra)

Explore the bustling Santa Clara Market, Lisbon’s largest market, open every Tuesday and Saturday. Browse through a wide array of antiques, crafts, and unique finds. Whether you’re searching for vintage treasures or local handmade goods, this market offers a fascinating shopping experience.

Ceramics at Santa Clara Market in Lisbon (Feira da Ladra)
Local vendor at Santa Clara Market (Feira da Ladra) in Lisbon selling ceramics

21. Relax with a Picnic in Estrela Garden

This is my newest find and one of my favorite spots in Lisbon! Escape the city’s hustle and bustle with a leisurely stroll or picnic in dreamy Estrela Garden. This tranquil park offers lush greenery and a peaceful retreat in the heart of Lisbon. Enjoy the serene surroundings, lay down under the palm trees, grab a book and relax. Estrela Garden is perfect for a chill afternoon in the green. 

Good to know: You’ll also find two cafes within the park to buy some drinks or ice cream for your picnic.

22. Enjoy a Scenic Walk Along the Tejo River

Take a walk or run along the Tejo River and admire the views of the iconic Ponte 25 de Abril. This scenic route is perfect for soaking in Lisbon’s waterfront beauty and vibrant atmosphere. The path is lined with parks, cafes, and historical sites, making it an enjoyable and picturesque experience. Of course, it is also a nice place to enjoy the sunset together with locals and fellow travelers.

Sailing boats on the river Tejo in Lisbon

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