Things to Do in Lisbon, Portugal

What should you do in the Portuguese Capital?

No top ten list can be all-inclusive and it would be hard to capture all of the great things to do in Lisbon, but here is a list to get you started for your trip to Lisbon. And if you still need inspiration you can look at more Pictures of Lisbon.

More:

Also, check out this Lisbon Sunset Walking Tour with Fado Performance. This tour includes several of the things to do in Lisbon mentioned on this page: a ride on a historic tram, sampling Ginja wine, a fado performance and a tour of Lisbon's old city (including Alfama). A must!

  • 01 of 10

    Ride an Historic Tram

    Tram in Lisbon
    ••• Carlos Sanchez Pereyra / Design Pics/Getty Images

    One of the most iconic sights in Lisbon is its many historic trams. These trams are not just tourist attractions but are an integral part of the city's transportation system, the most famous being Tram 28. But there are also hop-on-hop-off sightseeing trams too.

    Hop-On-Hop-Off Tram These trams are aimed at tourists, giving you 24-hours unlimited use of a circular tram route past most of Lisbon's best sights. The tram includes an audio guide:
    Lisbon Hop-on-Hop-Off Tram Tour
    Four-in-One Lisbon Tram and Bus Tours (best value)

    Tram 28 This 'commuter' tram is one of the best deals in Lisbon. For under 3€, or free of you have purchased a Lisboa Card (direct link), tram 28 takes you past most of Lisbon's best sights. See Bairro Alto, Chiado and the cathedral as the tram climbs up to Alfama. You can stay on until the last stop or get off near St. Jorge castle.

    See also: Lisbon Walking Tour with Tram Ride

  • 02 of 10

    Walking Tour of Lisbon

    ••• Walking tour in Lisbon. Image: © Lindsay Taclof

    With so much to see in Lisbon, a guided tour is an excellent way to get acquainted with the city's best places and sites, while you learn about Lisbon's history.

    For an affordable overview of the city's main sights including Alfama, the Cathedral, Praça do Comércio and much more, check out this Lisbon Guided Walking Tour. It even includes a ride on the historic tram 28 (see above).

  • 03 of 10

    Praca do Comercio in Baixa

    Praca do Comercio
    ••• Julia Dvila Lampe/Getty Images

    Praca do Comercio is Lisbon's most regal plaza, situated in Baixa, Lisbon's downtown area. It has the impressive Arco da Rua Augusta, which leads to Baixa's Rua Augusta, one of Lisbon's largest shopping avenues. Across from the arch is the Tagus river.

    With a convenient tourism office in the square, this a great first stop for picking up a map and will likely be a key spot for orienting yourself while in Lisbon.

    From here you can take tram 15 to Belem. Also located here is ViniPortugal, where you can do free wine tastings and learn about the local tipples (of which there are numerous!).

    Read about Praca do Comercio

  • 04 of 10

    Try a Pastel de Nata in Belem (Pastel de Belem)

    Pastel de Belem
    ••• Pastel de Belem. Image: © Lindsay Taclof

    The Antiga Confeitaria de Belem has been making these delicious tarts since 1837. Though they may look very similar to the ones you'll see throughout Lisbon, these are of a much higher quality: bought freshly baked and still warm (best eaten immediately!) and sometimes topped with cinnamon and sugar. Mmm!

    Read about Pasteis de Natas

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10

    Visit the Mosteiro dos Jeronimos (Jeronimos Monastery)

    ••• Jeronimos Monastery in Belem. Image: © Lindsay Taclof

    Almost next door to the pastel-producing Antiga Confeitaria de Belem (see above) is the Mosteiro dos Jeronimos. This monastery is impressive enough on the outside alone, but the inside (with Manueline workmanship) houses the remains of some famous Portuguese people, most notably the explorer Vasco de Gama.

    If you are short on time, you can go inside the church for free, without a wait. Also, if have purchased a Lisboa Card (direct link), entry is free.

  • 06 of 10

    Go to a Fado Show

    fado guitars
    ••• Fado guitars in Lisbon. Image: (c) Damian Corrigan

    Fado is a form of Portuguese folk music. There are two types, one from Lisbon and the other from the university city of Coimbra. Most famously, fado tends to be a mournful ballad but there are other styles that can be more fun.

    Most fado shows in Lisbon take place in a restaurant (which may require a reservation), often in the Alfama district, with the performance going on during your meal, but you can find a free show and purchase food and drink as you wish. Tasca do Chico in Bairro Alto has a free Fado show Monday and Wednesday nights (but confirm their schedule in person to be sure).

    If you don't feel like taking care of the booking and details thisLisbon Sunset Walking Tour with Fado Performance may be what you are looking for.

    Read more about Fado in Portugal.

  • 07 of 10

    Visit the District of Alfama

    ••• Alfama in Lisbon. Image: © Lindsay Taclof

    Lisbon's oldest district survived the city's catastrophic 1755 earthquake, maintaining its old cobblestone streets and structures, a stark contrast with the more spacious modern city.

    Alfama is home to some of the city's best look-out points, or mirodouros. One of these is located at St George's Castle, a medieval moorish citadel that sits on top of Lisbon's highest hill.

    You can reach Alfama by the famed historic tram 28, passing Lisbon's cathedral on the way - especially good if you would like to avoid walking uphill! Alfama, said to be the birthplace of Fado, is a good place to catch a show.

    See also: Lisbon Old-Town Walking Tour.

  • 08 of 10

    Port, Vino Verde and Other Alcoholic Delights

    ••• Trying port at Solar da Vinho da Porto in Lisbon. Image: © Lindsay Taclof

    While Portugal's famed wine and other drinks may not be produced in Lisbon, it is a great place to try them!

    The most famous wine in Portugal is port: a sweet, fortified wine. While most would assume that the city of Porto, the home of port, would be the best place to sample the wine, perhaps the single best place that I've found to try a variety of ports from different producers at an affordable price is the Solar da Vinho da Porto in Lisbon (there used to be a branch in Porto but it is now closed). See more here about Solar da Vinho da Lisbon

    This Gourmet Portuguese Wine and Food Tour is a great way to sample and learn about Portugal's wine and culture and a steal for around 30 euro (under 40$).

    Other popular wines from Portugal include madeira, muscatel, vinho verde (a light slightly-sparkling wine) and ginja, a sweetened liqueur that infused with sour cherries, widely available in Lisbon, most famously at A Ginjinha at the Praça de São Domingos.

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10

    Nightlife in Bairro Alto

    ••• Bairro Alto in Lisbon. Image: © Lindsay Taclof

    Bairro Alto is party central! From Bica at the bottom end to the area around Travessa da Queimada, you'll find nightlife for most tastes. And it's not just for the young - there are restaurants and fado shows too.

    My favorite area is Bica runs along the Elevado da Bica, or Bica Funicular, and has many laid-back bars that have more of an indie/alternative feel to them. Beers are under 2€ and caipirinhas are under 3€. Further up into Bairro Alto, many venues offer live music. Partying usually goes pretty late with people spilling out into the streets, creating a festive, fun party atmosphere in Lisbon's (usually) nice weather.

    Read about Bairro Alto.

  • 10 of 10

    Day Trips from Lisbon

    Pena National Palace in Sintra
    ••• Pena National Palace in Sintra. Image: Chris Yunker (Some Rights Reserved)- Creative Commons License

    Once you've exhausted everything you want to see in Lisbon, stay a few more days and explore the region around the city!

    The most often visited is Sintra: the Pena National Palace is not to be missed and the rest of Sintra is worth exploring as well. Many combine a trip to Sintra with a visit to Cascais as well.

    See more information on a Sintra and Cascais Day Trip from Lisbon or read more about my list of Best Day Trips from Lisbon.