Things to do in Lisbon

things to do in Lisbon

Welcome to Lisbon! Lisbon is a city filled with culture, architecture, and breathtaking landscapes. Whether you’re visiting for a few days or planning a longer stay, there are plenty of exciting activities to keep you busy. Let’s see what the best things to do in Lisbon are.

things to do in Lisbon

From exploring its oldest neighborhoods to discovering hidden gems in the city, come discover why Lisbon is one of Europe’s most vibrant cities. Get ready for an adventure full of awe-inspiring experiences!

Introduction to Lisbon

Lisbon is the vibrant and historical capital of Portugal. The city offers something for travelers of every age, from breathtaking views and vibrant nightlife to cultural attractions and historical sights.

In 2018, Lisbon was named “Europe’s Leading City Break Destination” by the World Travel Awards. Sitting on seven hills, the city offers panoramic views along with tranquil riverside strolls accredited to the Tagus River which runs through the city. Historic trams make their way up winding streets and visitors can enjoy outdoor activities in places like the Alcântara district – along with some of Lisbon’s famous pastries like Pastel de nata – a custard tart pastry served with cinnamon and icing sugar.

Lisbon boasts great music, delicious food, museums, galleries and a range of affordable activities to keep everyone entertained during their stay in this charming city. From exploring medieval castles or relaxing in luxury spas, there is something for everyone! Whether you are looking for a week long beach holiday or an exciting urban exploration adventure – Lisbon has it all!

Popular Attractions

Lisbon is a vibrant and stunning city, offering plenty of things to do for visitors. Whether you are looking for historical sites, stunning architecture, or lively entertainment you will discover a wealth of attractions in Lisbon. Here is a selection of the most popular attractions to consider when planning your visit:

  • Belem Tower: Built during Portugal’s Age of Discovery in the 15th century, this fort offers amazing views over the Tagus River and has now been converted into a museum.
  • Monsanto Park: Located just outside Lisbon’s city center, Monsanto Park features 1,700 acres (689 hectares) of lush gardens with plenty of trails and pathways inviting visitors to explore and admire nature.
  • Castelo de Sao Jorge: This 11th-century castle that overlooks downtowns Lisbon was built on the highest hill in the city by Moorish rulers before being taken by Christians during their reconquest. Visitors can explore various towers and get terrific views from its walls.
  • St George’s Castle: Often referred to as Castelo de São Jorge by locals, this is an ancient castle that rests on the highest hill in Lisbon. St George Castle offers stunning panoramic views over Alfama and Baixa districts where visitors can also join guided tours highlighting architecture around secular walls or photography workshops inside it.
  • Lisbon Aquarium: This is an aquatic zoo containing almost 600 different species from different parts of the world all able for viewing by visitors. The aquarium also offers educational activities about marine life with crowds most active from April through October each year.
  • Oceanario de Lisboa: One of Europe’s largest aquariums is located at Parque das Nações in eastern Lisbon offering storage tanks with more than 16000 animals from various ecosystems around the globe such as sharks, rays, seahorses, piranhas, sea dragons and more!

Historic Landmarks

Lisbon is a remarkable city that offers a great variety of monuments and points of interest – from the historic old town to its cosmopolitan city center, there’s something for everyone. Those interested in history and architecture will find Lisbon a fascinating place to explore. Here are some must-see historic landmarks in the city:

  • Mosteiro dos Jerónimos: This late Gothic, Manueline style monastery is one of Lisbon’s most impressive landmarks. It was erected between 1501 and 1550 by famous Portuguese King Manuel I as a commemoration of Vasco da Gama’s voyage to India and holds an important place in Portugal’s naval history.
  • Torre de Belém: This iconic tower, also built in the 16th century under Manuel I is located on the banks of the Tagus River near Lisbon. It served both as a fortress and ceremonial gate to the city by providing access control to river travel. Now it stands as a popular landmark, highlighted by gothic architecture with intricate decorations and symbolic figures along its walls.
  • Convento do Carmo: Convento do Carmo, sometimes referred to as “the ruins” is an incomplete 14th century monastery which survived after the 1755 earthquake almost entirely destroyed it. Its remaining ruins are now open to visit and include part of an old church and intricate gothic arches all around town providing eminent beauty into what remains from this breathtaking monument from centuries past.
  • Castelo de São Jorge: The castle walls over São Jorge hill offer outstanding views into Lisbon, Tagus River and 25 de Abril bridge in the background; it stands atop one of Lisbon’s seven hills after being used for centuries for military fortification purposes but now it stands open for tourist visits with beautiful gardens inside its walls- ancient tunnels have been discovered alongside mysterious tombs that still intrigue visitors today!

Shopping and Markets

Lisbon has lots to offer in terms of shopping and markets. From traditional to modern, the streets of the capital are full of gems that will suit any taste. Whether you’re looking for the latest fashion trends or local delicacies, Lisbon has something to offer everyone.

The most popular shopping areas include Chiado and Avenida da Liberdade, which are great for luxury brands and designer goods. The flea markets at Estrela and Campo de Ourique also offer a unique experience with loads of antiques, second-hand goods and vintage items. There are plenty of smaller stores throughout the city too. Baixa has some chic boutiques as well as nostalgic – but still fashionable – shops selling everything from home ware to handmade jewelry.

Food lovers should explore some of Lisbon’s incredible food markets like Mercado da Ribeira (aka Time Out Market) or Mercado de Campo de Ourique where you can get an authentic taste of Portugal. You can also find plenty of farmers markets selling local produce away from the hustle and bustle of the centre such as Príncipe Real or A Nossa Feira dos Sapadores in Santos.

Restaurants and Nightlife

Lisbon has a vibrant and diverse food scene. From traditional tapas bars to international fusion restaurants, there’s something for everyone. Be sure to have a bite of Portugal’s famous custard tarts, or pastel de nata.

Experiencing Lisbon’s nightlife is an exciting way to explore this beautiful city – you can take in some of the city’s many live music venues, traditional Fado performances, or simply spend some time in one of the many lively bars and clubs.

If you’re looking for some more relaxed activities, why not treat yourself to dinner at one of the city’s many rooftop restaurants? With stunning views across Lisbon and its surroundings, these establishments are a great way to make your evening special. Or why not try one of Lisbon’s many wine bars? With more than two thousand years of winemaking tradition among them, they’re sure to offer something that’ll surprise and delight you!

Outdoor Activities

The history-rich city of Lisbon is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise. From sunbathing on the coast to exploring some of Portugal’s most impressive wildlife and flora, there are plenty of exciting outdoor activities to choose from in and around the city.

For those interested in coastal activities, head to the golden sands of Praia de Carcavelos, just a short drive from Lisbon. Here visitors can take part in a variety of beach sports such as volleyball and surf-boarding or simply relax in the sun. For travellers looking to explore the mountainside and admire stunning views over Lisbon, nearby Sintra has many trails perfect for hiking or mountain-biking surrounded by lush flora and fauna.

The Tagus River that runs through the city is great for kayaking or stand-up paddle boarding, with several companies offering tours or classes throughout the year. One company features a sunset tour that takes you through some of Lisbon’s iconic sights including Belém Tower on its own unique journey across the river estuary.

Mountain climbers may prefer heading out from Lisbon towards Sierra de Lousã in Coimbra where there are 176 routes suited for every level from beginner to veteran climber – there is no shortage of adventure opportunities within easy reach of town!

To cool down during summertime, several swimming spots can be found outside city limits – try your luck fishing at Ria do Rabagão or venture over to Praia das Macas (two left turn after Cruz Quebrada) for crystal clear waters surrounded by sand cliffs and pines. Other popular spots include Praia Sao Joao da Caparica – located close to Setubal – renowned across Europe as one of Portugal’s best beaches since its golden sand stretches 20km long!

Cultural Experiences

Experience a different culture and have a fun time in Lisbon! There are plenty of exciting cultural experiences to choose from. One of the best things about visiting Portugal’s capital is that you can find something for everyone, from history buffs to art aficionados – make sure you check out the many cultural attractions on your visits to Lisbon.

Visit the iconic Jerónimos Monastery, a beautiful Baroque monastery and one of Portugal’s most famous attractions. Learn about Portuguese maritime exploration while admiring this stunning building, or view artworks by famous Portuguese painters like Velásquez in Belém’s Museum of Art. For those interested in culture and theater, visit Figueira Square for its many theatrical performances, then explore the Alfama quarter – one of Lisbon’s most popular areas full of cafes, restaurants and colorful streets.

In addition to these experiences, there are also numerous markets where you can buy things like local crafts and traditional Portuguese products. Visit Santos Historic Artsy Market or Campo de Ourique Food Market for an authentic cultural experience – visit bustling flea markets such Mercado da Ribeira or Feira da Ladra to pick up some unique souvenirs.

Last but not least, why not attend a festas? Attending a feast is one of the best ways to celebrate traditional Portugalens festivities with locals while admiring their heritage–take part in celebrations like Carnival and Saint Anthony’s Day here in this wonderful city!


Lisbon offers a variety of accommodation options ranging from budget to luxury. Whether on business or leisure, visitors can choose from a range of guest houses, hostels, hotels, and villas. Accommodation in Lisbon is known for its low prices and good value for money.

For budget-minded travelers, there are plenty of hostels that offer comfortable beds at affordable prices. In addition to this, there are plenty of serviced apartments and villas across the city that offer longer stays but with greater flexibility and privacy.

Guests looking to explore the city from a more fancy perspective can take advantage of the luxurious resorts located across Lisbon’s beaches as well as numerous boutique hotels located in the historic part of the city center. There is truly something for everyone visiting in Lisbon!

Should Lisbon not appeal to you, have a look at our other suggestions for where is the cheapest place for a city break?

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