Things to do in Lisbon: Discover the best things to see, places to stay and restaurants to visit in Portugal's capital city
Lisbon's overwhelming charm lies in its customs and rich history. Recognised for its unique Fado music tradition and delectable taste in Portuguese pastry, the spectacular hilltop vistas and seaside views are just moments away from the gentle buzz of the city’s bright lights.
Have the best of both worlds on a city break like no other. Go window-shopping in designer heaven Chiado, stroll through the Old Quarter's historic cobblestone streets and watch the winding bright yellow trams. Or journey slightly further for endless white sands and unspoiled beaches in Cascais. Whether palaces or parks, castles or clubs, the stark contrast that combines steep secluded hillsides with busy city streets earns Lisbon its reputation as Portugal's star attraction.
Culture and History
Since Lisbon's rich history dates back more than 3000 years, the area is bursting with culture, myth and colonial history that surround the walls of the city. Discover gothic cathedrals and majestic monasteries and spot ornate Manueline architecture contrasted with impressive street art just by wandering the side streets.
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Be sure to pay a visit to Lisbon's most important landmarks like the Rossio Square (Praça de D. Pedro) in the Pombaline Downtown of Lisbon, quaint museums such as the Museum del Fado (Largo do chafariz de Dentro 1) and the medieval National Museum of Ancient Art. Despite functioning as the main form of transport in Lisbon, hopping on one of the city's quirky yellow trams is also a tourist attraction in itself. Ride on tram 28 to the top of the Alfama district, the oldest region in Lisbon, and set your sights on red rooftops, the Se Cathedral and St George's castle.
Things to do in Lisbon:
You won't be short of things to see and do during your trip to Lisbon. Here are a few of the must-see attractions...
Visit Torre de Belém:
This UNESCO heritage site is also one of Portugal's most iconic landmarks. This tower was constructed to guard the river entrance into Lisbon harbour and features Portugese stonework dating back to the 16th century. Entrance costs 6 Euros and tickets can be bought on site.
Explore the Castelo de Sao Jorge:
Located on the top of a hill with beautiful views across the city, Lisbon Castle is well worth a visit. The castle is recognised as one of the best tourist attractions in the city, with parts still standing from before the 12th century.
Take a trip to Miradouro da Graça:
For unrivalled panoramic views of Lisbon, you should head to Miradouro da Graça. Have a drink in the esplanade facing the city skyline and relax while taking it all in.
Dine at Santo Amaro Docks:
These former dock warehouses have been transformed into amazing bars and restaurants that overlook the golden suspension bridge. A great place to drink, dine and dance into the night. Attractions nearby include the Jeronimos Monastery (a world heritage site), and the Berardo Museum, which houses a world-class collection of modern art.
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Shop in Avenida da Liberdade:
Known as Lisbon's most stylish shopping street, this is the place to go if you're in the mood for some retail therapy and want to pick up a chic souvenir from your holiday. Designer labels such as Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Cartier all have flagships here, along with numerous trendy bars and restaurants.
Explore Bairro Alto:
The central district of Lisbon is lined with dozens of boutiques, bars and 1930 era art nouveau cafes, making it the ideal place to do a spot of shopping and enjoy Portugese cuisine. Bairro Alto transforms from day to night, becoming a hotspot where visitors of all ages can enjoy a leisurely dinner and sample some fine wines at bars such as BA Wine Bar do Bairro Alto, a small wine bar which has a selection of around 200 Portugese wines on offer, all served by the glass by professionally trained sommeliers.
Take a trip out to Belem:
This waterfront neighbourhood is only located about five miles west of Lisbon's centre, and is a popular travel destination. Here you will find the world famous Portuguese custard tarts with cinnamon and icing sugar at the legendary Pasties de Belem. Other must-sees include Jeronimos monastery, Belem tower and Museu de Arte.
Enjoy the sea views at Cascais:
For those wanting to experience coastal views and a sea front, head to Cascais in the Greater Lisbon subregion for a moment of peace. Soak up the sunshine next to crystal waters and sandy beaches which lures in many Lisboetas during the summer.
Where to eat in Lisbon:
Dine in the finest restaurants or ‘tascas' (small taverns) dotted across the city and sample the numerous delicacies. With more than 4,500 cod recipes, Lisbon is renowned for the finest fish around and in particular, grilled sardines, which are served during hot summer nights. Take part in the colourful city’s 'café culture' and satisfy your sweet tooth desires with the never-ending choice of sugary pastries such as pastel de nata while sipping on a bica (expresso). Sample Portuguese delights in Tasca de Esquina (Domingos Sequeira), Aura Restaurante or be inspired by Jose Avillez' innovative menu at Belcanto, situated in Chiado, the location where modernist writer Pessoa was born.
For an indulgent treat you'll love a visit to Feitoria, a Michelin-star restaurant that serves traditional Portugese dishes with a contemporary twist in Belem. And don't leave Lisbon without sampling one of the most popular desserts, chocolate cake from Landeau Chocolate!
Where to stay in Lisbon:
During a stay in Lisbon, book into the cosmopolitan Altis Avenida hotel, boasting 70 luxurious rooms and panoramic views. With its close proximity to all main touristic attractions, Avenida Hotel is the epicentre of the city. Similarly, the five star Altis Belem Hotel & Spa modern interiors make for a city chic experience. The hotel's famous restaurant, managed by michellin-starred chef Jose Cordeiro is the hotel's pride and joy, while the BSpa by Karin Herzoy offers massages and relaxation treatments for the perfect holiday stay.
How to get to Lisbon:
There are regular non-stop flights from airports across the UK - including London, Birmingham and Manchester - every day. Fly with airlines including TapAir, easyJet and British Airways in 2hr 50 minutes to Lisbon Airport.