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13 best things to do in Lisbon – The Ultimate Cityguide

Best things to do in Lisbon - Tiles Museum Courtyard

We have been to Lisbon twice, and it is one of our favorite cities in Europe. Lisbon has a unique charm with all the beautiful old buildings and colorful tiles all around the city. Besides, it offers many amazing viewpoints, fun tram rides around the city, and great day trips. We feel like we would never feel bored while in Lisbon, there are so many amazing things to do around the city. In this guide, we share our 13 best things to do in Lisbon, including our favorite places to stay and eat in the city.

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Best things to do in Lisbon

Wander around Alfama

Alfama is the historical part of the city. It offers lots of beautiful viewpoints, beautiful old buildings, and the Castelo de Sao Jorge, a castle where you can enjoy amazing views. We love strolling around this neighborhood and getting lost in the streets while hunting for the most beautiful tiles.

Miradouro Santa Lucia

While walking through Alfama, you won’t miss this dreamy viewpoint called Miradouro Santa Lucia. Miradouro means viewpoint in Portuguese, and Lisbon is famous for having many of them. This is one of our favorites at sunset because there are usually people playing music, and the views are amazing. It’s a great vibe to come here for sunset.
Lisbon Mirradouro Santa Lucia Panoramic Viewpoint

Take a ride around the city with the famous Tram 28

To take a ride with the famous tram 28 is a must while visiting Lisbon. The route of the tram goes through the neighborhoods of Alfama, Baixa, and Bairro Alto. You can hop on and off wherever you like. A single ride ticket costs 3 Euros per person. If you want to use the tram more often, you will best get a day-pass for about 6.50 Euros.
 
The ride itself is such a fun experience because you can already see a lot of the city, and the tram sometimes rides through some tiny alleys. The tram can get quite full during the day, so we recommend going on a ride first in the morning.
Lisbon Street House Line Tiles

Sunset at Castelo de Sao Jorge or Miradouro Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen

To enjoy the best views of Lisbon and if you like to watch the sunset, we recommend you to walk up through Alfama to either Castelo de Sao Jorge or Miradouro Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen. The latter is our favorite spot. It’s a square in front of a church with a little restaurant. There you can have a glass of wine or a drink while watching the sunset and enjoying the views.
Lisbon Panoramic View Bridge

Explore Bairro Alto and Principe Real

Bairro Alto and Principe Real are our favorite neighborhoods in Lisbon. We love strolling around the dreamy streets here and marvel at all the pretty tiles. In this part of Lisbon, we found some of the cutest cafes and little shops.
 
If you look for some shopping while in Lisbon, you should go to Embaixada, a shopping gallery hosting local brands and artisans. It’s the place to go for sustainable and local goods, and the location itself is worth a visit because it’s inside of a stunning historical building. Inside of Embaixada, you will find the brand ISTO, which sells sustainable and fair basic clothing for women and men all produced in Portugal. We love this brand, and both bought some linen shirts and organic cotton basics here.
Lisbon Streets Houses Cafe Corner

Ride one of the 3 Elevadors in Lisbon (Cablecars)

Besides the famous tram, there are three so-called Elevadors (Cablecars) in Lisbon, which are found in the area of Bairro Alto. One ride costs 3.80 Euros. The Funicular on the photo is called Elevador da Bica.

Take a walk around the bustling center Baixa and Praca do Comercio

Baixa is the central part of Lisbon with a big main square called Praca do Comercio. This part of the city is the bustling and business part. Baixa is packed with shops and restaurants.
 
One of the characteristic places in Baixa is the Elevador de Santa Justa, which is a historical elevator from 1902 that connects Baixa to the higher level neighborhood Chiado.

Walk on a pink street

In Baixa, you can find the Insta-famous Pink Street called Rua Nova do Carvalho. We must admit we found it a bit disappointing.

Visit the colorful castle of Sintra on a day trip

One of the best things to do in Lisbon is to make a day trip to Sintra and visit the colorful castle called Palàcio National da Pena. You can get there by train in 40 min from Lisbon. A return ticket with the train costs 4.50 Euro. Alternatively, you can visit Sintra in your car, but it can get quite tricky to find a place to park close to the castle.
 
The castle opens at 9.30 am, and we recommend you to go there at opening time or later in the day after 5 pm. Because from 10.30 am to 3 pm, it’s the busiest time here. The entrance fee is 14 Euros per person.
Lisbon Sintra Castle

Spend a day around Belém

Belém is the western part of the city and is well worth a visit while in Lisbon. It’s a quiet neighborhood, which is perfect for strolling around. The highlights to see here are the Belém Tower called Torre de Belém and the Padrão dos Descobrimentos in English, the monument of discoveries with a huge compass made from mosaics on the ground.
 
Besides the most famous bakery to try the famous Pasties de Nata is located in Belém. It’s called Fabrica Pasteis de Belém. For the vegans, we recommend going to the bakery called Zarzuela, which is located in Baixa. They offer vegan and gluten-free Pasteis de Nata, and they are delicious.
Lisbon Belem Rose Compass Couple

LX Factory – don’t miss the best place to visit in Lisbon

In our opinion, among the best things to do in Lisbon, one is visiting the LX Factory. The former factory ground got revived and transformed into a great space of creativity. Today, you can find many cafes with delicious food, sustainable shopping in second-hand shops, or small start-up brands. Lots of art wherever you look and one of the most special book stores we have ever seen. This is one of the places where a day passes by very quickly and should not be missed while in Lisbon.
 
The LX Factory is located in Alcantara, which is close to Belém. So you can combine your visit if you like. You can get here either by bus (20-30 min) or by train from Lisbon city center.
Lisbon LX Factory Street Wall Painting
Lisbon LX Factory Library

Visit the national tiles Museum – Museu do Azulejo

Even though you don’t have to go to a museum to see stunning tiles in Lisbon because they are everywhere in the streets, it’s still worth visiting the national tiles Museum (Museu Nacional do Azulejo). There you will see how the designs of the tiles changed during history, which is very interesting. Also, we saw some of the most beautiful tiles, and the building itself is gorgeous too. The entrance fee is 7 Euros per person.

Discover the most incredible Street-Art

While exploring the city, always keep your eyes open, and you will discover some amazing street art. It’s one of the things we love about Lisbon. This Portuguese street artist Artur Bordalo, called Bordalo II, tackles the problem of rubbish through his fantastic street-art. You will find the monkey below at this location.
Lisbon Street Art Ape made of Trash

Best places to eat in Lisbon

We found it very easy to find delicious, vegan food in Lisbon, and there are our favorite restaurants:

For the traditional Mediterranean, Portuguese food Taberna da Rua das Flores is the best place to eat in the city. It’s vegetarian friendly.

The Time Out Market Lisboa is a great place to come for lunch with friends. It’s a market hall with many different kinds of food you can choose from. Everyone can take what they like, and you can meet at a table in the middle to eat together. We love this kind of concept. But we must admit that we have been there years ago and don’t know if there is lots of choice for vegan/vegetarian eaters like us.

Where to stay in Lisbon

We stayed at the lovely boutique guesthouse Casa Amora. It is located a bit outside the city center in the more trendy and artistic district Principe Real. The people who run this place are very friendly and helpful, and we felt very much at home staying here. The breakfast they prepared for us in the lovely backyard was so great.
Lisbon Casa Amora Breakfast Table

How to get around Lisbon

Most of the time we spent in Lisbon, we walked around the city, which we love because we are usually discovering the lesser-known places. Admittedly it’s quite an active time you have walking around this city because it’s many ups and downs.

One of the easy and fun ways to get around are the trams in Lisbon. Especially if you explore the old town neighborhoods like Bairro Alto and Alfama, it’s a great way to get around. For the further areas of the city like Belem, you can take a bus to get there. The smartphone app Moovit is a handy tool when exploring the city by public transportation.

Another great service/app is FreeNow, which is like Uber. You can download the app and call a taxi or private person via the app. It’s much cheaper than the usual taxi prices.

Conclusion

Lisbon is, for us, one of these cities where it would never get boring. There are so many amazing things to do and several different neighborhoods to discover, which all offer other special things. We recommend spending at least 4 days in Lisbon to enjoy the city fully. If you plan to visit Sintra from Lisbon, you could consider staying even longer because this will take you at least one day. We will keep going back to this amazing city that for sure because there is always more to discover.

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