19 Best Things to do in Lisbon, Portugal

best things to do in lisbon

If you’re looking for a city that’s got it all, then Lisbon ought to be at the top of your list. This city is packed full of culture, history, and interesting attractions.

Lisbon is the capital of Portugal and one of the oldest cities in Western Europe. Its history can be traced back to the early days of the Roman Empire, and it has been an important cultural and economic center for centuries. Today, Lisbon is a major tourist destination, known for its world-famous monuments, its lively nightlife, and its beautiful setting on the Atlantic Ocean.

Visitors to Lisbon will find plenty to see and do, from wandering through the city’s historic neighborhoods to taking in the views from one of its many hills. And of course, no trip to Lisbon would be complete without sampling some of the city’s famous seafood!

With so much to pack in, here’s our list of the 15 best things to do in Lisbon.

tram 28
Tram 28 – Lisbon, Portugal – Travel photography” by Giuseppe Milo (www.pixael.com) is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

1) Explore Lisbon by Riding Tram 28

One of the best ways to explore Lisbon is by riding the Tram 28 line through different parts of the city. The tram line runs through some of the city’s most historic and scenic neighborhoods, including the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Alfama.

Tram 28 is known for its iconic yellow cars and its shouted announcement of each stop, which has become a part of Lisbon’s vibrant street culture. Riders can hop on and off at any of the stops along the route, making it a great way to explore the city. Whether you’re looking to take in the sights of Lisbon’s Old Town or want to experience the Lisbon version of “it’s the journey, not the destination”, Tram 28 is a must-do activity.

alfama district
Kloster São Vicente de Fora in Lissabon im Stadtteil Alfama – Monastery of São Vicente de Fora in Lisbon of the Alfama district.” by Polybert49 is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

2) Spend an Afternoon in the Alfama District

The Alfama is the oldest district in Lisbon and is known for its Fado music. The streets are narrow and winding, and the buildings are colorful and full of character.

The district is also home to many restaurants and cafes, as well as a number of churches and small museums. The best way to explore the Alfama is on foot, as this allows you to take in the sights and sounds of the district at your own pace. Whether you’re strolling through the streets or enjoying a meal with a view, the Alfama district is sure to charm and delight.

Monsteiro do Jeronimos
Lisbona” by gialupa is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

3) Visit the Monsteiro do Jeronimos

The monastery was founded in 1502 by Queen Maria of Portugal and is considered one of the finest examples of Late Gothic architecture. The monastery is home to a number of tombs, including those of Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama and writer Luís de Camões.

The monastery also contains a library with over 25,000 volumes, including some rare manuscripts. Visitors to the monastery can tour the cloisters, chapels, and other areas of the complex. The monastery is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a National Monument of Portugal.

Museu Nacional do Azulejo
Museu Nacional do Azulejo (Lisboa, Portugal)” by Biblioteca de Arte-Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

4) Check out Museu Nacional do Azulejo

The Museu Nacional do Azulejo in Lisbon is one of the most unique museums in the world. The museum is dedicated to azulejos, or Portuguese ceramic tiles.

Azulejos have been used in Portugal for centuries, and the museum houses the largest collection of azulejos in the world. The museum is located in an 18th-century convent, and it features a stunning collection of azulejos from different periods and regions of Portugal.

Visitors can learn about the history and artistry of azulejos, and see how they have been used to decorate homes and buildings throughout the centuries. The Museu Nacional do Azulejo is a must-see for anyone interested in Portuguese culture or tile art.

belem tower
Belem Tower…” by Chrismatos ♥90% OFF, sorry is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

5) Explore the Historic Belém district

The Belem district in Lisbon is a must-visit for anyone interested in Portugal’s rich history. This neighborhood was once the site of a bustling port, and today it is home to many iconic landmarks.

The Belém Tower is perhaps the most famous of these, a 16th-century fortification that stands at the river’s edge. Visitors can also explore the Jerónimos Monastery, a beautiful example of Portuguese Gothic architecture.

Other highlights include the Discoveries Monument and the Padrão dos Descobrimentos, both of which celebrate Portugal’s age of exploration. With its myriad of historical sights, the Belem District is a fascinating place to learn about Lisbon’s past.

Oceanário de Lisboa
Oceanário de Lisboa…” by José Pestana is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

6) Check out the Oceanário de Lisboa

The Oceanário de Lisboa is one of the largest aquariums in Europe, and it’s certainly one of the most impressive. Located in the Lisbon port area, the Oceanário is home to a vast array of marine life, including sharks, rays, turtles, and thousands of fish.

Visitors can view the animals up close in the vast central tank, or from above in the glass-enclosed walkway. There’s also an interactive area where kids can touch stingrays and learn about different sea creatures. The Oceanário de Lisboa is an amazing place to visit for anyone fascinated by marine life and witnessing the majesty of the ocean creatures up close is an unforgettable experience.

sintra
Sintra, Portugal” by szeke is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

7) Enjoy the Scenery of the Sintra Neighborhood

Portugal is a fascinating country with a rich history and culture. One of the best places to experience this is in Sintra, a small town located just outside of Lisbon.

Sintra was once the summer retreat for Portugal’s royalty, and this is evident in the many lavish palaces and estates that can be found here. Today, Sintra is a popular tourist destination, and it’s easy to see why.

The town is filled with charming cobblestone streets and colorful houses, and the surrounding countryside is absolutely gorgeous. If you’re looking for a place to relax and enjoy some beautiful scenery, Sintra is where you should go.

Praca do Comercio
praca do comercio” by kruder396 is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

8) Explore Praca do Comercio

Praca do Comercio in lisbon, Portugal is a beautiful and historic square that has been the site of many important events in Portuguese history. Located on the banks of the River Tagus, the square was once the site of the royal palace and is now home to government buildings and museums.

The square is also a popular meeting place for locals and visitors alike, and there are often musical performances and other events taking place. Whether you’re admiring the architecture, enjoying the atmosphere, or simply soaking up some of Lisbon’s history, Praca do Comercio is a must-visit destination.

cascais
Cascais – Portugal” by massonth is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

9) Plan a Beach day in Cascais

If you’re looking for a beautiful and relaxed place to vacation, look no further than Cascais, a charming town just a short, 30-minute drive from Lisbon. It’s known for its stunning beaches, quaint restaurants and cafes, and lovely Mediterranean climate.

The perfect place to enjoy some sun and relaxation! When you’re not soaking up the rays on the beach, be sure to explore Cascais itself. Stroll through the cobbled streets and take in the architecture or visit one of the many museums or art galleries. And of course, no visit to Cascais would be complete without sampling the delicious food! From fresh seafood to traditional Portuguese dishes, there’s something for everyone to enjoy!

st georges castle
Dd St. George’s Castle – Lisbon” by Nezzen is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

10) Check out St. George’s Castle

St. George’s Castle is a must-see for any history buff visiting Lisbon. The castle has a rich and layered history, dating back to the 11th century. It was originally built as a Moorish fort, but was later conquered by the Christians and turned into a fortress.

In the 16th century, it was used as a royal palace, and in the 17th century it became a military prison. Today, the castle is open to the public, and visitors can explore its many rooms and courtyards, as well as enjoy stunning views of the city from its walls.

The castle is also home to a museum, which tells the story of its long and eventful history. Whether you’re interested in history or simply looking for a unique place to visit, St. George’s Castle is well worth a visit.

estadio da luz
Estadio da Luz, Lisbon” by stephendgardner is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

11) Cheer on Benfica at Estadio da Luz

There’s nothing quite like experiencing a live football match. The energy of the crowd, the thrill of seeing your favorite team score a goal, and the sense of camaraderie that comes from sharing the experience with fellow fans – it’s an unforgettable experience.

And if you’re a soccer fan, there’s no better place to watch a match than Estadio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica, also know as Estádio da Luz. Home to the legendary Benfica soccer club, Estádio da Luz is one of the most iconic stadiums in the world and with a capacity of over 65,000 fans, it’s also one of the largest.

When game day comes around, the stadium is transformed into a sea of red and white, as diehard Benfica fans pack into the stands to cheer on their team. If you’re planning a visit to Lisbon sometime between September to May, be sure to see if any of Benfica’s fixtures line up with your trip.

Panteao Nacional” by Nuno Mouta is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

12) Go to the Panteao Nacional

The Panteao Nacional in Lisbon is a beautiful and imposing structure that has been the site of many important events in Portuguese history.

Built in the early 18th century, the Panteao was originally intended to be a church. However, it was later secularized and turned into a national pantheon, where the remains of Portugal’s most famous poets, writers, and statesmen are interred.

The Panteao is also home to a beautiful library and museum, which contain some of the country’s most valuable historical artifacts. Visitors to the Panteao can tour the facility and learn about its fascinating history.

lx factory
HM2_8969” by Web Summit is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

13) Make Sure to Check out LX Factory

LX Factory is quickly becoming one of the coolest places in the city. This old factory space is now something so much more. This hipster haven is filled with art galleries, vintage stores, cafes, and restaurants. It’s also a great place to people watch or just enjoy the lively atmosphere. LX Factory is worth a visit if you’re ever in Lisbon!

Arco de Triunfo
Arco de Triunfo la nuit” by Begoña V. is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

14) Visit the Arco de Triunfo

The Arco de Triunfo is an iconic monument that stands as a symbol of the city’s rich history. The arch was built in the early 19th century to commemorate the city’s triumph over Napoleon’s forces.

Today, it stands as a popular tourist destination, with visitors from all over the world coming to see its grandiose architecture. Its impressive size and beautiful design make it one of the most striking landmarks in the city. Even if you’re not a history buff, the Arco de Triunfo is worth a visit for its sheer spectacle.

15) Experience Lisbon’s Carnival

Lisbon’s Carnival is one of the biggest and best in Europe. The party lasts for two weeks and culminates on Ash Wednesday. During Carnival, Lisbon comes alive with music, dance, and costumes.

Thousands of people flock to the city to join in the festivities. The highlight of the Carnival is the Grande Parade, which features floats, dancers, and musicians from all over Portugal. If you’re looking for a festive and fun-filled vacation, make sure to add Lisbon’s Carnival to your list if it lines up with your trip!

tagus river
A Lisbon ferry-boat crosses the Tagus River at the end of the day” by pedrosimoes7 is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

16) Take a Sailing tour of Tagus River

One of the best ways to see Lisbon is from the water. A sailing tour of the Tagus River is a great way to take in the sights of the city while enjoying the fresh air and beautiful weather.

The river winds its way through Lisbon, passing by historic buildings, gorgeous parks, and bustling neighborhoods. On a sailing tour, you can relax and enjoy the view, or try your hand at steering the boat. Either way, it’s a great way to spend a day in Lisbon.

barrio alto
File:Vista barrio alto sanlúcar barrameda (no crane).jpg” by Antonio M. Romero Dorado, retouched by Fernando Pascullo is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

17) Explore BaIrro Alto

Bairro Alto is one of the most popular districts in Lisbon, known for its vibrant nightlife and its abundance of bars and restaurants. During the day, Bairro Alto is a great place to wander and explore, with narrow streets lined with colorful buildings.

The district is also home to a number of churches and museums, making it a cultural hub as well as a nightlife hotspot. If you’re looking for an energetic and lively place to visit during your time in Lisbon, Bairro Alto is definitely worth exploring.

Feira Da Ladra
Feira da Ladra” by Pedro Moura Pinheiro is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

18) Check out the open-air Market Feira Da Ladra

For a truly unique shopping experience, be sure to check out the Feira da Ladra, one of Lisbon’s best open-air markets. Held every Tuesday and Saturday, the market is a great place to find bargains on everything from clothes and cosmetics to furniture and antiques.

You’ll also find a wide variety of food stalls, offering everything from fresh produce to delicious snacks. And if you get tired of shopping, you can always enjoy the vibrant atmosphere and people-watching. Whether you’re looking for a bargain or just a unique market experience, Feira da Ladra is worth a visit.

rossio square
Rossio Square” by brimidooley is marked with Public Domain Mark 1.0.

19) Spend an Afternoon in Rossio Square

Rossio Square, located in the heart of Lisbon, is one of the city’s most popular tourist destinations. The square is named for its proximity to the Rossio train station, and it has been a gathering place for locals and visitors alike for centuries.

These days, Rossio Square is known for its many restaurants and cafes, as well as its lively atmosphere. Visitors can find a variety of shops and businesses around the square, making it the perfect place to start exploring Lisbon. Whether you’re looking for a bite to eat or some souvenirs to take home, Rossio Square is worth a visit.

Recap of Best Things to do in Lisbon

  • Tram 28
  • Alfama District
  • Monsteiro do Jeronimos
  • Museu Nacional do Azulejo
  • Belem District
  • Oceanário de Lisboa
  • Sintra Neighborhood
  • Praca do Comercio
  • Beach day in Cascais
  • St. George’s Castle
  • Watch a Benfica football match at Estadio da Luz
  • Panteao Nacional
  • LX Factory
  • Arco de Triunfo
  • Carnival
  • Tagus River
  • Bairro Alto

Where to Next?

Looking to learn more about European history? Check out some of the amazing historical sites in Amsterdam!

From iconic landmarks to amazing beer tours, make sure to add Brussels to your list!

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