Holiday Whisperers Europe,Portugal Top things to do in Lisbon
Top things to do in Lisbon

Top things to do in Lisbon

Lisbon, or Lisboa, is the capital of Portugal and is the largest Portuguese city. Located on the western Iberian Peninsula on the Atlantic Ocean and the River Tagus, it is the westernmost capital city of mainland Europe. Lisbon is one of the most popular destinations for travellers not just from Europe but worldwide. In this post, I have listed the top things to do in Lisbon, when you are there.

Art & Architecture – Lisbon is one of the oldest cities in the world, and that means it is rich in art and architecture. It is the second oldest capital city in Europe, after Athens. Throughout the city, you can find examples of  Romanesque, Gothic, Manueline, Baroque, Modern and Postmodern buildings.  Lisbon is home to numerous museums and art galleries, showcasing some of the finest art from across the world.

Some of the famous museums you can visit are the National Museum of Ancient Art, National Museum of Archaeology, the Museum of Lisbon, the National Coach Museum, the National Azulejo Museum, the National Museum of Contemporary Art, and the National Museum of Natural History & Science.

I’ll recommend buying a Lisboa card, which gives you access to 37 museums, monuments, and attractions in the city. It also gives you unlimited free travel by bus, metro, tram and funicular.

Photo by Claudio Schwarz on Unsplash
Photo by Fulvio Ambrosanio on Unsplash

Landmarks – One of the most famous landmarks of Lisbon is the Ponte 25 de Abril. It looks a bit like the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco but they are not related. The Christ the King monument is another lookalike monument that looks a bit like the Christ the Redeemer from Rio de Janeiro. I’ll recommend you climb up to this monument to get a really good view of Ponte 25 de Abril.

However, probably the most visited landmark of Lisbon is the Belem Tower. Officially the Tower of Saint Vincent, this a 16th-century fortification located in Lisbon that served as a point of embarkation and disembarkation for Portuguese explorers. It is seen as a ceremonial gateway to Lisbon, similar to the Gateway of India in Mumbai.

It is one of the two UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Lisbon. The other one being, the Jerónimos Monastery, also known as the Hieronymites Monastery. This is one of the most prominent examples of the Portuguese Late Gothic Manueline style of architecture in Lisbon. And, is only about 1.1 km from the Belem Tower.

Photo by Svetlana Gumerova on Unsplash
belem tower
Photo by Alex Paganelli on Unsplash

Cheap flights to Lisbon

OriginDeparture atReturn atFind tickets
Valencia29 June 202230 June 2022Tickets from 48
Barcelona4 March 202310 March 2023Tickets from 57
Rome28 September 20224 October 2022Tickets from 66
Dublin6 September 202212 September 2022Tickets from 68

Neighbourhoods – The locals refer to the various areas of Lisbon as Bairros de Lisboa or Lisbon neighbourhoods. The city is made up of nine main neighbourhoods and each of them adds a different colour to this spectacular city.

Probably the most famous and, if I may say, coolest of the neighbourhoods is Bairro Alto. This is the centre of Lisbon’s shopping, entertainment and night life. If you are spending in Lisbon on a weekend, you have to go to Bairro Alto. It’s cobbled sloping streets with tram lines is also a popular spot for photographers.

The most charming district of Lisbon is probably Alfama. It is also the oldest district of the city and is a great place to enjoy the medieval charm of Lisbon. The narrow winding streets of this neighbourhood is sometimes described as a labyrinth. So make sure you have your bearings and a map with you.

If you make your way to the São Jorge Castle, it provides some spectacular views of the Praça do Comércio on the waterfront. It’s also probably the district to enjoy some traditional food and music, fado.

Some of the other neighbourhoods to explore would be Avenida da Liberdade, if you are into designer clothes; the riverfront of riverfront of Alcântara, known for its nightlife; and Parque das Nações (Park of Nations), which is the newest district of Lisbon. You’ll also find yourself in the neighbourhoods of Baixa and Belem a lot as most of the landmarks mentioned in this post are in those two central districts.

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Photo by Julian Dik on Unsplash
Photo by Liam McKay on Unsplash

Sintra and Cascais – These are two beautiful and fascinating historical towns, not far from Lisbon. Sintra is located in the pine hills of Serra de Sintra. The weather of Sintra is slightly cooler than Lisbon, which encouraged the royals palaces and castles in this town. It is full of uniquely designed and colourful castles, palaces and town houses. A walking tour is probably the best way to explore this wonderful town. 

Cascais is a small fishing town which is also known as “The Town of Kings and Fishes”. Similar to Sintra, this is a popular summer destination for the Portuguese aristocracy. As a result, this town is also filled with beautiful architecture and well maintained parks. Not only this, the coastline around here is absolutely gorgeous with jarred cliffs and intimate coves.

If you are short on time, you could cover both these towns by taking a day trip. Or you could pace yourself and visit them both at your own leisure.

Photo by Chris Barbalis on Unsplash
Photo by CALIN STAN on Unsplash

Food and music – Lisbon is a very lively city that has an exceptional culinary and musical scene. From traditional Portuguese pastries to unbelievably fresh and flavoursome seafood, this country is probably one of Europe’s best kept culinary secret. I’ll encourage you to explore the food scene when you are in Lisbon. You can either do that by doing your own research or you book a food tour. Also, don’t forget to attend a Fado performance, which is Lisbon’s traditional music genre. It has been added to UNESCO’s list of World’s Intangible Heritage and a great way to spend your evening.

Want to know more about how we can help you with your Lisbon holiday? And create a personalised holiday itinerary that suits you? Or perhaps you’ll like to check out the top things to do in other selected destinations? What ever it is, contact us today for all the information and support.

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