I really fell in love with the Portuguese capital! This smallish and charming city took my heart for many reasons. The cute narrow streets filled with street art and the centuries of history make sightseeing here fascinating. With its bright colors, delicious food and gorgeous boutique hotels, The capital of Portugal offers everything I want from a city. Plus, the climate is warm, the people are very nice and there are gorgeous places to visit also in the surrounding! The fact that there are many things to do in Lisbon just adds to the city’s charm and I will share my favorite spots in this Lisbon Travel Guide.
As I mentioned when writing about the Algarve Coast, Portugal feels like a mix of Spain and Italy. Culturally, it has a very distinct feel, amazing food and wine and with the Spanish warmth of climate and people. It’s sweet, beautiful, and its capital is lovely and vibrant, offering many things to do in Lisbon!
One of the First Things to do in Lisbon: Feel the Saudade
People having visited this city, will tell you there’s something romantic about it, in a less obvious way than, say, Paris . Its sweet little streets seem to hold centuries-old secrets: the feel of a place that was once an empire.
The beautiful longing of fado, a Portuguese style of music that seems to permeate everywhere in the city is a big part of the culture. This intoxicating nostalgia will follow you around on all the things to do in Lisbon.
There’s a Portuguese word you’ll find in every Lisbon travel guide: saudade. Often called one of the most beautiful words in any language. Saudade is a deep sense of melancholy, an intense feeling of longing. It’s an overpowering sensation, even when surrounded by the sweetest and happiest hosts.
All of the things to do in Lisbon are seasoned by this sensation, in a very sweet way. Saudade is an inescapable feeling on any Lisbon travel guide.
Traveling – How to Get to Lisbon?
Lisbon is the hub for Portugal’s flag carrier, TAP, so any Lisbon travel guide will show direct flights from anywhere. Through TAP, you can arrive directly from most major European cities, plus Africa and the Americas.
Many other big airlines serve this airport, including low-cost airlines like EasyJet, Vueling, and RyanAir. Examples of flag carriers include Czech Airlines, Emirates and Lufthansa, among others.
The airport is barely 7 km outside downtown, practically inside the city. Once here you can see planes constantly flying over the sky, a lovely part of this Lisbon travel guide!
It only takes between 20 and 30 minutes to get into the gist of town and Uber is available here too. If arriving at a reasonable hour, you can also go with public transportation into the city, either Aerobus or Metro. Keep reading my Lisbon travel guide to find out about more things to do in Lisbon!
Living – Best Lisbon Boutique Hotels!
In this Lisbon travel guide, you’ll find info on two lovely boutique hotels in the Portuguese capital: Duque de Loule and Memmo Alfama. They were both great places that will make your stay here perfect!
H10 Duque de Loule – A True Design Gem with a Magic View!
A luxuriously modern boutique hotel with an 18th-century façade, it’s a crown jewel of the H10 chain. The entire hotel is a design marvel, with carefully constructed details that make it stand out. Stylish almost to a fault, even its restaurants have a designer touch. They’re lovely and the food, delicious, and visiting the Rooftop Bar is a must. A gem in this Lisbon travel guide!
The hotel is located a 20-minute walk from downtown at Marquis of Pombal Statue on a quiet street and definitely deserves a big place in my Lisbon travel guide. Plus, it’s so near all the wonderful things to do in Lisbon!
Would you like to stay at H10 Duque de Loule? THEN BOOK IT HERE!
Memmo Alfama Lisbon – The Luxury Oasis in Old Alfama!
Due to its perfect location, downtown but kind of hidden, it’s THE place for Lisbon sightseeing. All major landmarks are close by, but there aren’t many tourists around because the hotel’s hidden in a backyard. The perfect location will allow you quick access to all the things to do in Lisbon that await. One of the loveliest entries on this Lisbon travel guide!
Besides being steps away from most things to do in Lisbon, Memmo is also a boutique dream, certainly worthy of this Lisbon travel guide. It was one of the first of its kind in town, and still feels like someone’s (very trendy!) home.
Very modern and with a beautiful earthy color palette, it’s the peaceful hotel on this Lisbon travel guide. The food is fantastic, and they have a lovely terrace overlooking the river, perfect for afternoon drinks during the sunset! The staff is among the friendliest I’ve encountered.
Would you like to stay at Memmo Alfama? THEN BOOK IT HERE!
Exploring – 6 Unmissable Things to Do in Lisbon
Any Lisbon travel guide will tell you that, although relatively small in size, Lisbon is comprised of very distinct areas, each with a lot of character. It’s very easy to walk between the neighborhoods because of the city’s smaller size and access the many things to do in Lisbon.
Besides walking, Lisbon sightseeing should be done by tram, particularly no. 28. This is the most nostalgic route, and while popular among tourists, it deserves a visit. Eco-friendly tuk-tuks are also a great addition to any Lisbon travel guide!
A downside to visiting is how popular it’s become in the warmer months, thanks to the many things to do in Lisbon. The crowds aren’t unbearable, but it’s best to begin Lisbon sightseeing early. You’ll appreciate the advice from my Lisbon travel guide!
If like me, you want to go around the real city, you’ll find less popular areas practically devoid of tourists. The best tip on this Lisbon travel guide: step into back alleys of crowded streets and you’ll find yourself alone!
1. Sightseeing in Lisbon Portugal: Old Alfama & Its Views
As any Lisbon travel guide will tell you, Alfama, the city’s old part, takes its name from Al-Hamma or Hot Fountains. The area was already important during the millennium-long Arabian role in the Iberian peninsula. Now, it’s an enchanting neighborhood of charming little streets, magical views, and amazing restaurants.
Losing yourself to this place is one of the unmissable things to do in Lisbon, one you should find on any Lisbon travel guide!
Like Rome , Lisbon is built upon 7 hills, which makes for gorgeous sights in different points of the city. Our favorite viewpoint was Castelo de São Jorge, a popular yet unmissable spot very deserving of any Lisbon travel guide.
This is the place to see Lisbon from multiple angles, looking over the city’s Golden Gate Bridge, sister to San Francisco’s. Taking pictures at perfect spots like this is one of the joys of things to do in Lisbon. You’ll find plenty of viewing points on my Lisbon travel guide!
Eating in Alfama: The Coolest Spots on this Lisbon Travel Guide!
After walking around, grab lunch at Le Petit Cafe, which is small, cozy and with a killer vibe and delicious food. A perfect addition to my Lisbon travel guide! Finding perfect little places quickly became one of my favorite things to do in Lisbon.
If you’re in the area at nighttime, have a quiet dinner at hip and trendy Taberna Moderna. I couldn’t stop myself from including it on this Lisbon travel guide: it’s my favorite eatery in town! For a more traditional experience, have a Fado dinner at Duetos Da Se. With its beautifully sad music and what felt like a home-cooked meal, it was like stepping into a local home. It’s one of those unmissable things to do in Lisbon!
Alfama is also where the Memmo hotel is located, a favorite place of mine. Visiting its rooftop should be on your list of things to do in Lisbon!
2. Admire Bairro Alto Street Art & Party the Night Away
The Bohemian vibe of this beautiful European capital beats in Bairro Alto! Lisbon’s artsy district downtown dates back to the 15th century, and it’s now full of little bars and restaurants. In the daytime, one of the top things to do in Lisbon is feeling the city vibe here. Take a stroll down Calçada da Glória and Largo da Oliveirinha, the official street art gallery. Shop in luxurious stores and boutiques in Rua do Norte.
Bairro Alto also offers lovely viewpoints, most notably Santa Catarina. Here, we took a siesta on the grass, with river Tagus in plain sight. We also stopped for coffee a Pharmacia Café and headed to Time Out Market. It’s the biggest and coolest food market I’ve ever visited, full of delicious flavors. Foodies will find that this is an unmissable entry among the things to do in Lisbon!
Another must visit here is Rua Nova Do Carvalho, once home to the city’s brothels. It’s now a cute party street full of pinks, perfect for Instagram. You’ll find that many of the coolest things to do in Lisbon also offer incredible photo opportunities.
A Must Do: Party or at Least Visit Bairro Alto at Night!
However, the story of Bairro Alto is totally different in the evenings, where the profile changes…
Once the sun sets, all the things to do in Lisbon, and particularly in Bairro Alto, are all about partying until early morning. You’ll find all sorts of restaurants here, from hip concept eateries to family places that feel like someone’s home. Lots of bars and pubs, too, as the look of this Lisbon travel guide changes!
One of my favorite local restaurants is here: Bairro do Avillez, from famous chef José Avillez. It’s a super cool eatery that’s actually five places in one. We went to Páteo, a fine dining, a sweetheart among things to do in Lisbon.
There’s also Merceria, for cheeses and cold cuts; Mercearia, all traditional, Taberna; fine dining place Beco and Peruvian Cantina Peruana. A very unique place that should be on your list of things to do in Lisbon!
3. Walk Downtown & Window Shopping at Avenida Da Liberdade
Modeled after the wide Parisian boulevards, Avenida da Liberdade is Lisbon’s Champs Elysées. Walking through this huge avenue, and taking in the sights became one of my favorite things to do in Lisbon. The view between Parque Eduardo VII and Rossio Square is gorgeous! Plus, there are many cute little squares on the way down.
The side streets are full of stores and cafés. Rua Augusta Arch and its surrounding areas are worth a visit. Be sure to go there early as it’s a major sightseeing spot. Nearby, you can find H10 Duque da Loulé, another great rooftop. Beautiful cities deserve to be seen from above, as one of your things to do in Lisbon!
4. Enjoy the Breezy Tagus & Visit Belém
Walking by the river Tagus is a lovely experience and one of those unmissable things to do in Lisbon. The boardwalk is lovely and offers many cafés and restaurants. Ribeira Das Naus was a personal favorite spot to chill in a sun chair with a drink alongside the locals. Gelateria Fiorio is the ultimate stop for ice cream and Instagram!
Take a taxi or Tram 15 to Belem, a lovely old neighborhood by the river. It has many beautiful buildings from centuries past, like Belem Tower and the Jeronimos Monastery. Very touristic for sure, but should visiting should be among your things to do in Lisbon, preferably early. Even if not entering the 15th century monastery, walk around the area. Be sure to try pastéis the Belém, a delicious pastry created by 18th-century monks!
5. The Hip & Creative LX Factory
A hip and cool area, its location is peculiar to say the least: it’s actually below a bridge. A place for the trendy locals, it’s full of designer shops, boutiques and concept restaurants.
Escape the summer crowds here and get inspired by the most creative people in town. Here, we had lunch at Cantina LX and coffee at Café Na Fábrica. However, the area is full of cool spots, so you can just pick whatever suits your mood. Unmissable among things to do in Lisbon!
6. Castle Life & Places to Visit Near Lisbon
If you’re staying for a few days, try to go beyond the usual Lisbon travel guide and see a bit of what awaits outside.
Pena Castle – A Fairytale World
We booked with The Best Portugal Tours and got Armando as our guide, which was a total joy. He was such a gentleman with a lot of knowledge about the areas around the city. A day filled with gorgeous places, truly interesting discussions, great food and wine and all customized to our wishes! I can truly recommend you to book a tour with Armando and his agency. It’s one of the best recommendations I can give you!
We headed to Pena Palace early in the morning for a real change of scene from our Lisbon travel guide. Up the hill, the air was purer, and the place straight out of a fairytale. In Sintra Mountains, the palace was built between the Middle Ages and the 19th century. Its architectural mix is something I’ve never seen before, truly eclectic and romantic. Armando took us to the best view, and we saw a perspective unlike any other on the trip.
Next to the Pena Palace is also the castle of the Moors. So different, yet beautiful; it’s one of the loveliest places I have ever seen!
Boutique Wine Tasting at Casal Santa Maria
We had lunch by the sea on Praia Grande at Restaurant Arribas followed by a boutique wine tasting at Casal Santa Maria. It was a very personal and authentic experience and our wine expert José Melicias made this experience a truly memorable one. I will cherish it forever, and I’m so happy to share it with you on this Lisbon travel guide.
The views and wine yard were very pretty and I could see myself live in this pretty mansion. However, it was the stories about the founder, a true survivor: he’s lived through two wives and cancer and managed to make the property a famous one in the world of delicious wines. A highlight of the trip, and this Lisbon travel guide!
On the way back, we passed through Cascais, a famous luxury beach resort, which we knew existed from a Lisbon travel guide. Maybe we’ll visit next time – there are almost too many lovely places to visit in this region.
I hope you will enjoy this gem and its surroundings as much as we did and that this post will help make your trip an amazing one. This is a magical capital and there are so many things to do in Lisbon!
Did you like this Lisbon travel guide post and want to save it or share it with others? Then see some pins below and enjoy all the things to do in Lisbon!