Traveling to Portugal and wondering what the best things to do in Lisbon are? Well, then this is the perfect guide for you. Clanging trolleys, beautiful churches, blue-tiled buildings, and much more await you in this capital city of the wonderful country of Portugal. I have just recently finished an entire month-long stay in Lisbon, where I got to experience everything the city has to offer. As one of the oldest cities in Europe, Lisbon is a history buff’s paradise. There is so much to see and do, with beautiful vistas waiting around every turn. In this what to do at Lisbon travel guide, I’ll be going over my favorite things to do in Lisbon Portugal, such as a free Lisbon walking tour, the castle of Sao Jorge, rooftop bars in Lisbon, and much more. Hopefully, this guide will help you with your upcoming trip to this fantastic city and gives you some ideas for what to do at Lisbon. So let’s get into it!
Table of Contents
18 Best Things to do in Lisbon Portugal
1. Enjoy a Miradouro of Lisbon
One of the best things to do in Lisbon is to visit one of the many incredible viewpoints, or Miradouro of Lisbon. The city itself is incredibly picturesque, with many viewpoints set up all over at different elevations. These are always free to enter and are one of my top recommendations for what to do at Lisbon. Sometimes, you can find a small cafe at one of these miradouro of Lisbon to get a pastry, coffee, or even wine. Some of the best get very busy, especially around sunset. My recommendation is to mark on your map where each miradouro of Lisbon is that you want to visit. Then when you are in the area, you can be sure to see that particular one. Here are some of my favorite viewpoints in Lisbon:
- Miradouro de Santa Luzia– Located in the neighborhood of Alfama, this miradouro of Lisbon is one of the most beautiful with incredible views of the ocean and the town below. This is a great place to watch the sunset.
- Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara– For panoramic views of the city, this is one of the best miradouro of Lisbon. There is a nice cafe here as well with some of the most incredible views of the city.
- Miradouro da Senhora do Monte– This is the best miradouro of Lisbon for a view high above the city. Fantastic views from every corner of this viewpoint.
- Miradouro da Graça– This miradouro of Lisbon was under construction during my visit, but I was able to enjoy a small section and from what I could see was beautiful.
2. Sightsee the Top Attractions in Lisbon
One of the most prominent and popular things to do in Lisbon is to sightsee the top Lisbon attractions. And there are many of them. While this city is very touristy in certain areas, it is still worth paying a visit to some of the top attractions in Lisbon. My recommendation is to try to visit these all early in the morning. Most of the top Lisbon attractions get very busy by noon and then only get continually worse as the day progresses. While some of the top attractions in Lisbon are definitely a little overrated, such as the Santa Justa Lift, some are worth paying a visit. Here’s a list of some of my recommendations for the top attractions in Lisbon that are worth visiting:
- Top Lisbon Attractions Worth Visiting
- Praça do Comércio– Easily one of the top attractions in Lisbon, this public square is one of the most iconic images of the city with ornate statues and an enormous archway of great historical prominence.
- Castle of Sao Jorge– The famous castle of Lisbon that overlooks the city.
- Time Out Market– A very popular market with amazing food vendors of all kinds of cuisine.
- Lisbon Cathedral– A beautiful old cathedral that is one of the iconic top attractions in Lisbon.
- Praça Dom Pedro IV– Beautiful large square with famous wavy tiles.
3. Enjoy a Lisbon Tram Ride
One of the most iconic things to do in Lisbon is taking a ride on one of the many trams. The most famous tram line is called tram 28. It is the most famous because it passes by many of the top attractions of the city. But, tram 28 gets incredibly busy very quickly, and it is known as a hot spot for pickpocketing. If you plan to take a ride on the Lisbon tram 28, I suggest coming early. The earlier, the better. It will not be as crowded, and you will have a better chance of getting a better seat. You want a seat by the window to see everything well.
The Lisbon tram system is easily one of the most popular things for what to do at Lisbon Portugal. While many people think that Lisbon tram 28 is the only line worth riding, there are many other trolley lines throughout the city. And they usually are much less crowded. While these other lines don’t go past the famous landmarks, it is still a fun way of getting around the city. Hearing the clanging of the trolley as it winds through narrow streets, climbing up almost impossible elevations, is a delightful way of seeing Lisbon.
4. Take a Free Lisbon Walking Tour
One of the best ways to get to know a new city is by taking a walking tour. I always prefer a walking tour over a bus tour because you get to see everything at a slower pace. There are many paid options, but my favorite was a free Lisbon walking tour I did with a company called Lisbon Chill Out. This free Lisbon walking tour company is a small company that shows the city from a local perspective. You won’t be shown the typical tourist path on this tour, but the city is seen from the eyes of people who live here and know the area.
These tours are completely free and one of the best things to do in Lisbon. While they are free, it is usually expected to tip your tour guide, and you should expect to do so. So while this isn’t completely free, it is much cheaper than what you would usually pay for a tour, and you are directly helping support the local community. My favorite part of this free Lisbon walking tour was that they emphasized preserving and supporting the local communities respectfully. Many tour programs in the city are not respectful of the locals, and this is where over-tourism becomes a problem. If you are looking for what to do at Lisbon, consider giving this free Lisbon walking tour a try!
5. Visit the Castle of Sao Jorge
Dating back to the 11th century, the castle of Sao Jorge is one of the most popular things to do in Lisbon Portugal. And you will see why. The castle, which has Moorish influence, serves as a museum now. It is perched on the hilltop overlooking the entire city. The castle of Sao Jorge is easily one of the top what to do at Lisbon attractions. The surrounding area is also beautiful and worth a walk around.
As far as the castle itself, I never went inside during my stay because the lines were always so long. If you plan on visiting the castle of Sao Jorge, I highly suggest coming as early as possible. The lines get incredibly long very quickly, and you could wait a very long time. The castle on the inside is said to be gorgeous ruins but don’t expect anything ornate. The castle of Sao Jorge is more a ruin now than anything else. Still worth a visit, though. You can learn more about the castle of Sao Jorge and buy tickets on their official website here.
6. Party in Bairro Alto
If you are looking to party, then a visit to Bairro Alto at night is a must-do on your trip to Lisbon. This neighborhood of narrow streets is notoriously the biggest party district in the city. There are so many bars and restaurants in Bairro Alto you might have difficulty picking which one to visit. My favorite bar in Bairro Alto is The Botanical Den, a vegan bar with some vegan food and fantastic cocktails. The culture in Bairro Alto is that of one large communal party, with the bars being so small that people drink primarily in the streets. This place gets to be quite busy with a very young and fun atmosphere on certain days of the week. You might not think much of this neighborhood during the day since most things are closed. But be sure to come back at night when Bairro Alto comes to life.
7. Take a Lisbon Day Trip to Sintra
One of the best things to do in Lisbon Portugal is actually not even in Lisbon at all. About a 40-minute drive from the downtown city center is the incredible town of Sintra. This charming town is home to Portugal’s most beautiful landmarks and castles. The town of Sintra itself is lovely. Sintra has long been a very wealthy area, with ornate mansions and high-end dining being standouts for the city. An absolute must-do is taking a Lisbon day trip to Sintra.
There are many ways of getting to Sintra from Lisbon, the most popular being the train. If you have room in your budget, I suggest taking an uber. It is relatively affordable and gets you there much quicker. If I were to revisit the area, I would actually stay overnight instead of just making a Lisbon day trip to Sintra. I have published a complete travel guide to Sintra where you can learn everything you need to know. You can find that Sintra Travel Guide here.
8. Visit Belem Tower in Lisbon
The Belem Tower in Lisbon is one to add to your itinerary. This beautiful ornate tower is just outside the city center. You can get there in about 20 minutes by car or 40 minutes by train. The entire town of Belem is worth a short day trip as the area surrounding the Belem Tower in Lisbon is supposed to be beautiful as well. This was another activity that I couldn’t find the time to do, but it has been highly recommended by everyone I meet. Don’t expect it to change your life or anything, but the Belem Tower in Lisbon is worth a visit if you have the time.
9. Eat at a Michelin Star Restaurant
If you are looking for a fantastic food scene, this is the city for you. The number of great restaurants in Lisbon is honestly too many to count. And the best part, most of these are more affordable than other major European cities. While there are incredible restaurants all over the city, having a fancy night out at a top-rated Michelin star restaurant is something to say. There are so many Michelin star restaurants in Lisbon you have to try at least once.
For those who don’t know, a Michelin star restaurant is an establishment where the Michelin company has awarded a certain number of stars for excellence in food and service. They are typically incredibly expensive for this reason, but in Lisbon you can find some that are surprisingly affordable. In cities like New York City, a Michelin star meal usually starts around $100 per person and can get even more expensive than you can imagine. I went to arkhe, a new entirely vegetarian Michelin star restaurant, and it was out of this world amazing. The price for lunch was around $45 per person, but they have different set menu prices. I didn’t visit any of the other Michelin star options, but I’m sure they are excellent as well.
10. Try Pastel de Nata
One of the best things to do in Lisbon Portugal without a doubt is to try pastel de nata. These world-famous Portuguese tarts are incredibly popular all over the country, especially here in Lisbon. Pastel de nata is an egg custard tart with a flaky pastry typically topped with cinnamon and powdered sugar. One of the more popular pastries in Portugal, there are countless places all over the city to find pastel de nata. And many places claim to be the best. There are even vegan pastel de nata options all over the city, my favorite being at Vegan Nata. No matter what, you can’t leave Lisbon without trying one of these famous Portuguese custard tarts. It is a top recommendation for what to do at Lisbon.
11. Visit Alfama
A visit to the beautiful old town of Alfama in the eastern part of the city is one of the best things to do in Lisbon Portugal. While many neighborhoods of the city are beautiful, none capture the spirit of Lisbon as much as Alfama. This is the oldest part of the city to survive the famous 1755 earthquake and subsequent fires that destroyed the majority of Lisbon. As you wander the almost impossibly narrow streets of Alfama, you will fall in love with the old-world charm. The iconic images of Lisbon with narrow streets, laundry hanging on the line, and beautiful music are all from the neighborhood of Alfama.
12. Time Out Market
The Time Out Market is one of the top tourist attractions in the city. This market is a massive food hall with vendors of every type of cuisine serving up fantastic food. The energy in this market is insane. It is typically bustling and very fast-paced. Unlike some food markets, you’ll find, all the food at Time Out Market is very highly rated. This isn’t your typical food court. From seafood to pastel de nata to American-style burgers and more, there is undoubtedly something for everyone at the Time Out Market. Being one of the most popular things to do in Lisbon Portugal, the market gets insanely busy, especially on the weekends so prepare for that. There is even a bar in the center of the market to get some drinks as well. For more information on Time Out Market, visit the official website here.
13. Listen to Fado Music
A trendy thing to do in Lisbon, specifically Alfama, is to listen to Fado music. This soulful style of singing is very traditional Portuguese. Typically accompanied by a Portuguese guitar, this singing style is less structured than typical music. Usually accompanying a meal, the singers will come out during your meal and serenade you. It is incredibly unique. If you are a music lover, check out some local Fado music. You can sometimes hear it just walking around the streets of Alfama. As you walk around, singers may just come out of their homes and start singing. It is a charming experience.
14. Drink Ginjinha Liqueur
While you are in Lisbon you absolutely have to try the local ginjinha liqueur. This delicious cherry liqueur is a popular local drink that is often served in the afternoon. The drink itself is delicious, somewhat like a dessert. You can find many places all over the city to buy either a bottle or just a quick shot. A very popular way of serving this cherry liqueur is in a chocolate cup. The chocolate paired with the cherry taste is very delicious indeed.
15. Stroll Avenida Liberdade
The Avenida Liberdade is a beautiful avenue of high-end shopping, restaurants, and hotels. The tree-lined street is also home to some of the most beautiful and ornate tile work on the sidewalks. I highly suggest just strolling along this long avenue and window shopping, or maybe some actual shopping. You’ll find all well-known high-end brands here. Everything is more expensive in this area, but if you are in the market for that, this might be one of the best things to do in Lisbon.
16. Enjoy the Best Rooftop Bars In Lisbon
One of the best ways to take in the city’s sights is at one of the many rooftop bars in Lisbon. There are many to choose from all over the city, all with incredible views. The prices at the rooftop bars in Lisbon will be a little bit higher than a typical bar, so be prepared for that. But, it certainly is still worth the price, in my personal opinion. My favorite rooftop bars in Lisbon that I’ve visited was The Insólito in Principe Real. With beautiful views of the city and delicious cocktails, this is without a doubt one of my favorite rooftop bars in Lisbon. So grab a friend and come enjoy one of the best things to do in Lisbon Portugal, drink at a rooftop bar.
17. Stroll the Waterfront
The waterfront in Lisbon is surprisingly not as built up as expected. There is still lots to see and even some cafes along the water but not nearly as much as I thought for a waterfront town. The best way to see the primary waterfront is to visit the Commerce square and then stroll along after that. The main square opens up to face the water and is a beautiful part of the city.
18. Visit the Tile Museum
While I had never visited this place, one of my friends said visiting the tile museum was one of his favorite things to do in Lisbon. The Portuguese tiles on all of the buildings around the city are world-famous and a true staple of the culture here. At the Lisbon tile museum, you’ll learn all about these tiles’ history and see hundreds of different designs. Even if you don’t visit the tile museum, just walking around the city admiring all the different tile work could be an excellent idea for what to do at Lisbon city center.
What to do at Lisbon Portugal Conclusion
As you can see, there are many great things to do in Lisbon Portugal. The city is incredibly easy to get around with the metro, taxis, Ubers, and even the famous trolleys. While this city can be over-touristy in certain areas, it is still a beautiful place to visit. I know I enjoyed my time in Lisbon very much. There are so many unique places to see in Portugal. Be sure to check out the rest of my Portugal content, like the Azores and Porto! Portugal is slowly becoming one of the hottest tourist destinations in the world. Since it is considerably more affordable than many other regions in western Europe, Lisbon is on track to be one of the most visited cities in all of Europe soon. It is easy to understand why with world-class food, fantastic entertainment, beautiful year-round weather, and more.
I genuinely hope you enjoyed this guide to the best things to do in Lisbon Portugal. I hope it helps you plan your trip to this fantastic city. There really are so many amazing things to see and do here. Please consider sharing it with your friends and fellow travelers if you enjoyed this content. Also, be sure to sign up for my email list to be notified anytime I post new content. Be sure to follow me on social media as well to stay up to date with all of my travel content. Thank you so much for visiting my travel blog!