Things to do in Lisbon
We asked the local experts to suggest a set of sightseeing routes through Lisbon. Make the most of the city’s charming quarters and vibrant atmosphere.
A Trip to Belém
Belém, the port of departure for Portugal’s great maritime expeditions, is a must. Start at the Tower of Belém, the most widely used image to represent the city of Lisbon, and follow on foot to the Jerónimos Monastery, the most impressive monastery from the Manueline era, and take a break to taste the famous Pastéis de Belém pastries, handmade from a secret recipe dating back to 1837.
Night and day in Lisbon
Take a taxi to the ancient Moorish Alfama quarter, which descends from São Jorge Castle in a maze of winding streets, and at lunchtime carries the aroma of grilled sardines. Spend the afternoon shopping in the Chiado and end your day with dinner at the restaurant “A Travessa”, located in a convent. Afterwards, head to “Silk”, Lisbon’s most exclusive nightclub, with a terrace that offers a stunning view of the city and river.
A Walking route from the Hotel
Walk down Rua das Amoreiras and make your first stop at the Mãe d’Agua (‘Mother of Water’ – an old water reservoir for the city of Lisbon), then keep going to Largo do Rato and cross over into Rua da Escola Politécnica. On your left you will find the Museum of Natural History and the Botanical Garden; keep going straight ahead to Rua D. Pedro V, which is full of shops, cafés and old buildings that fill this area with colour and life. When you see a garden on your left, stop and enjoy one of the loveliest views of Lisbon (Miradouro de S. Pedro de Alcântara). Before going all the way down the hill, via Rua do Alecrim, make sure you stop for lunch in one of the many restaurants in Bairro Alto, one of Lisbon’s oldest and most traditional districts. Keep walking along the same street and you will reach a small square (Largo da Misericórdia) with a church on your left, which is one of the most precious baroque treasures in Portugal: S. Roque Church. Continue along Rua da Misericórdia until you reach an intersection where you will find the famous Largo do Chiado. A coffee in the Brasileira is a must.
Pombalina Historic Centre
From Largo do Chiado, walk down to Lisbon’s ‘baixa’ (downtown), also called Baixa Pombalina due to it being constructed by order of the Marquês de Pombal after the 1755 earthquake. Walk to Rua Augusta and keep going until you reach Praça do Comércio, also known as Terreiro do Paço. Directly facing the Tejo River, it is one of the largest squares in Europe. The Cais das Colunas (Columns Pier) located in front of Terreiro do Paço offers a unique view of the Tejo. Stop at one of the esplanades in the Praça do Comércio for lunch or dinner.
Coffee is a national passion and it is enjoyed in several different ways. One of the most traditional spots is the café “A Brasileira”, in the Chiado. Founded in 1905 and a favourite among writers and poets such as Fernando Pessoa and José de Almada Negreiros, the interior boasts a wonderful Art Nouveau décor. Then walk down Rua Garrett and at the end turn left onto Rua do Carmo and go up the Elevador de Santa Justa, the eccentric Eiffel-style elevator that leads into the ruins of the Carmo Convent.
On the 28 Tram (Bonde)
The 28 Tram was selected by the Rough Guide to the World as one of the “1000 ultimate travel experiences”. The tram’s route was dubbed a slow-motion journey through the heart of Lisbon’s historic centre.
The #28 travels across Lisbon from Prazeres to the Graça, passing through the loveliest old quarters in the city, revealing medieval Lisbon with its narrow, winding streets and its ever-vibrant alleys.
Places to visit on the way:
There are several monuments/attractions you can visit when travelling on the 28 tram, notably: the National Pantheon (Campo de Santa Clara) the São Vicente de Fora Church and Monastery (Largo de São Vicente), and the Feira da Ladra (flea market) in Campo das Cebolas, which takes place on Tuesdays and Saturdays, Lisbon’s Sé Cathedral and the Estrela Basilica (Largo da Estrela). And don’t miss the Miradouro de Santa Luzia lookout (Largo de Santa Luzia/Rua do Limoeiro) and the Miradouro de Santa Catarina lookout (Rua de Santa Catarina ao Calhariz).
Beach, Guincho, Sintra Mountain Range
Guincho is one of the best beaches for Surf, Windsurf and Kitesurf. If you aren’t a big fan of this type of sport, then revel in the landscape and enjoy a lunch of fresh fish at one of the restaurants along the coast. Afterwards, follow the hillside into the town of Sintra, a Unesco World Heritage site, visit the Palácio da Vila (Town Palace) and Pena Palace. Make a stop at the “Piriquita” and try a warm travesseiro, the local pastry.
Parque das Nações
In the most modern part of Lisbon, Parque das Nações, you can admire the Gare do Oriente train station designed by Calatrava, and Portugal’s most visited cultural facility - the Lisbon Oceanarium – designed by Peter Chermayeff, is the greatest oceanarium in Europe and the second largest in the world.