Whether you’re visiting Lisbon for the castles, monasteries or museums, there’s no shortage of amazing things to see and do in Portugal’s capital. In fact, as well as all the stunning colonial history and ornate architecture that the city displays, it is also just half-an-hour away from soft golden beaches and cool swimming spots which is perfect for any kind of traveler!
The only potential downside? You may have to walk up a few hills to experience the city’s cafe culture and nightlife and to see the spectacular hilltop vistas, but trust us when we say it will be worth it!
To help you make the most of your trip to the city, here are our top 10 things to do in Lisbon.
Things to do in Lisbon; explore the city
Discover São Jorge Castle
Perched atop Lisbon’s highest hill in Alfama is the beautiful yet imposing, Castelo de São Jorge, or St. George’s Castle. Built originally as a fortification for the Romans and later turned into a royal palace, the castle offers a gateway into 1000 years of Portugal’s history as well as boasting breathtaking views of the old-city’s pastel-colored buildings. With amazing relics, underground chambers and soaring towers, explore the castle and its gardens to explore the history of Lisbon.
Located perfectly just outside Lisbon is a string of stunning Atlantic beaches all the way from Cascais to Estoril. Our favorite? The seaside town of Cascais! Once a fishing village, you can still see some of the original charm and history in this beautiful location in Cascais. However, it also has a history of becoming a popular respite for the rich and the royal since the 1900s, so you can also enjoy the sight of luxurious resorts and hotels right along the picturesque beach. A fascinating blend!
Lisbon is famous for its seafood so try the best of the best by eating with a local. A fresh taste of the sea anyone?
Visit Lisbon’s Oceanarium
The Oceanário de Lisboa is a mammoth-like aquarium, in fact a whole different world, that will take you a whole day to explore! Discover this award-winning attraction in Lisbon and feast your eyes on 8,000 sea creatures with over 100 different species of birds, fish, amphibians and mammals. With the largest indoor aquarium in all of Portugal, you can be sure that this is the best experience for those of you who want a glimpse into life under the sea. Just remember to book your tickets online as it is cheaper and you can avoid the queues!
Take a Tour of the City
One of the best ways, if not THE best way to discover a new city, is to take a city tour with a local. After all, who better to tell you exactly what the best things to do in Lisbon are? Get a unique insight into the city’s history and culture as well as inside tips of the best sight stop see and spots to eat to avoid the tourist crowds, all from an actual local.
Have a culinary journey in Lisbon by taking a Portuguese tastes walking tour with a friendly local!
Get the Best Views from the Aqueduct
For one of the best views of the whole city, from the plush Monsanto forest to the city’s hustle and bustle is from the towering Aqueduto das Águas Livres. Erected in the 18th century, this majestic aqueduct is not only a stunning sight to see, but it allows you a chance to escape the morning and afternoon crowds for unrivalled views of Lisbon!
See Belem Tower
A trip to the UNESCO world heritage site of the Torre de Belém is a must-do on anyone’s list of things to do in Lisbon, or at least it should be! Built in the early 16th century to protect the city from being attacked from the sea, The Tower of Belem has an intriguing mixture of both medieval and gothic, especially the imposing Gothic Tower that guards the tower entrance. An idyllic yet fierce mini castle, this tower is one of the most famous monuments in Portugal as well as one of the most photographed due to its dramatic location!
Try Your Luck at the Feira Da Ladra Flea Market
Searching for a unique souvenir to take back home? Even if you’re not, this flea market is one of the top things to do in Lisbon anyway just for the experience! Rumored to have been around since the 12th century, this market is full of everything from trash to treasure, selling art, antiques, azulejos and a number of second-hand or vintage goods.
Where: Alfama from 6am-5pm on Tuesdays and Saturdays.
Talking about markets…learn how to cook the delicacies of Ribeira’s Market and take home some delicious recipes!
You can’t go to Portugal’s capital without seeing the famous Alfama neighbourhood! Full of top attractions to see such as St. George’s Castle, Sé Cathedral and Feira de Ladra, Alfama is also bursting with life as it is packed with quaint shops and cozy little restaurants all winding uphill on picturesque cobblestone streets. As one of the most picturesque things to do in the city, this is one of the top things to do in Lisbon that you shouldn’t miss!
Traveler’s Tip: Take Tram 28 up the hill if you can’t or don’t want to climb!
Eat with a Local
Looking for a completely different experience in Lisbon? If you want to taste the real city, Eatwith has plenty of locals who would love to share with you their culture and cuisine! Not only will they welcome you into their home to share a meal with other likeminded travelers, but they will also take you on a fascinating food tour, or organize an exciting cooking class or quirky brunch, all to get to know you and share with you, the real Lisbon!
From a typical Portuguese everyday meal to learning how to cook Portuguese Caldeirada, Lisbon is full of locals and fun culinary experiences to be had!
Go to the National Tile Museum (or any Museum!)
Lisbon is full of niche and interesting museums, however, one that should be on the top of your list to visit is the Museu Nacional do Azulejo or the National Tile Museum. Why? Because you will never see such a collection of vibrant and simply stunning ceramic tiles anywhere else! Look out for Portuguese tiles when you’re walking around the city, as these pretty decorations are usually adorned on many of the buildings that you will come across.
Now, all that is left to do is to go forth and experience all of these amazing things to do in Lisbon! Go on, use our list and make the most of your time in the city. Just remember to have some amazing and authentic food along the way with one of our hundreds of awesome Eatwith locals!