Visit Lisbon or not?
Many will tell you that it is not worth it and as many will tell you that there is no more beautiful city.
Only once it happened to us to get opinions so different that we were confused and it was Los Angeles.
The fact is that we do not want to be the ones to influence your decision, but rather to encourage you to build your own, suggesting what to see in Lisbon, what to do, where to eat and where to sleep.
Ready to explore the Portuguese capital with us?
When to visit Lisbon? The weather
Yes, our definitive answer to the question “when to visit Lisbon” is June and not only because the weather in this month is pleasantly warm but also because in this period there is Saint Anthony, the most important festival of the city.
Imagine fashion shows, fireworks, rides, rivers of people celebrating and street food.
If for any reason you can’t visit the city in June, we recommend you May and September.
Winter and autumn are very rainy due to the ocean but the temperatures are never too low so if you are not afraid of the rain, Lisbon is probably the city for you, also in November / December!
What to see in Lisbon: the attractions that will drive you crazy
Presupposition: The guide is designed for those who visit this city for the first time and therefore for all those people who want to condense all the most significant attractions of the city in a short time.
In the first part of this paragraph, for this reason, you will find all the attractions that are a must see even if you have little time available – in our case, a couple of days-; in the second part, however, we will also add all those attractions that would be worth seeing if only you had a few extra days available.
📌 Travel to Lisbon, what to see: Praça do Rossio
Praca Dom Pedro I – simply Piazza do Rossio – is the nerve center of the city, located in the Baixa district.
There are so many whacks that make this square the background of daily activities such as having a coffee with someone, having lunch, running errands …
Once here, you will immediately be hit by the very special black and white wave flooring and immediately afterwards the huge statue of Dom Pedro IV will attract your attention.
Most likely this will be your first contact with the city as most of the buses and the green metro finish the run or have a stop in the Rossio station … you couldn’t hope for a better first “hello” than this square!
📌 Arch of Rua Augusta and Praça do Comércio: natural continuation of each other
Turn your back to Praça do Rossio and you will find rua Augusta -the shopping street-, at the end of this you’ll find yourself in front of a gigantic arch that serves as a door to an even bigger square .
Here you are at Praça do Comércio!
The most interesting thing about this square? The fact that it is built on the mouth of the Tagus river and that for this reason, it creates a kind of small town beach where people stop with feet in the water.
Actually, this is not the first version of the square. Praça do Comércio, like most of the city, was also destroyed in the earthquake of 1755; the reconstruction took place at the behest of the Minister Marquis of Pombal, who however did not have it rebuilt as before: “the most magnificent and most visible” the directives.
Not surprisingly, today it is the largest square in Europe.
What should you not miss when visiting Lisbon? Praça do Comercio!
📌 São Jorge Castle: scenic spots and unorthodox uses
The wonder of the view enjoyed from this place makes you lose all the words.
The castle of San Jorge should date back to the 19th century and was born with the purpose of a protective fortress … in reality the original structure no longer exists.
Price: € 8.50;
Hours: November 1st – February 28th, from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm; March 1st – October 31st, from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm.
📌 The Tower of Belém: the lighthouse of the Portuguese sailors
Surely you will already know this attraction of Lisbon, it is one of those places very famous … and after seeing it with our own eyes, we understand very well why!
Just a few meters from the sea, the Belem tower is a fortified tower that was intended both as a fortress and as a starting point for the ocean crossing of the very skilled Portuguese sailors.
Inside it is a fairly bare structure …
📌 What to visit in Lisbon: Jerónimos Monastery, a UNESCO protected masterpiece
This monastery is nothing less than a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
A few steps from the Belem tower, you will find yourself in front of this manueline masterpiece with decorations, arches, courtyards and columns.
It was built in 1505 in honor of Vasco De Gama, a Portuguese explorer, now buried right in the church of the complex.
Price: full 10 €
Hours: October-April, from 10am to 5.30pm; May-September, from 10am to 6.30pm. Closed on Mondays
📌 What to see in Belem: the Monument to the Discoveries or Padrão dos Descobrimentos
Also in the Belem district and a short distance from the attractions just mentioned there is the monument dedicated to the navigators who made Portugal famous.
📌 Convento do Carmo, an open-sky sacredness
This was one of our favorite places – if not the absolute favorite – in visiting Lisbon.
It is a convent that during 1755 was destroyed keeping only part of the side walls.
The pleasure of walking through the ruins of this place is priceless.
Recommended early in the morning or late in the afternoon to fully enjoy the calm and peace that reigns.
Price: full 4 €,
Hours: October-May, from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm; June to September from 10:00 to 19:00 Closed on Sundays.
📌 Lx Factory, the excellent recycling result
This place is the result of a wise ability to give a second life to things.
The complex of spaces for co-working, design and craft negotiations, laboratories, bars … has, in fact, been obtained from abandoned factories.
Today this is a sort of artistic pole where art and street mix together in an explosive mix. When visiting Lisbon, don’t miss it!
|🤞🏼 Pro tip! Right here is one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world: Livraria Ler Devagar. Denying it a visit could be considered unconstitutional!|
📌 Village Underground, alternative places and where to
Right next to the Lx Factory, there is what is the natural continuation of co-working environments: the Village Underground, an alternative place made from containers and old buses.
Worth a look.
📌 “On Wednesday, let’s go to the pink street”
Don’t disappoint us, tell us that you understand the quote of the title!
Does Mean Girls tell you anything?
As in that movie, half of the team – and we also mention the names: Zineb – is in love with pink and for this reason had to include this route in the list of things to see in Lisbon.
Rua Nova do Carvalho – but for friends “Pink Street” – was born as a redevelopment project for the area and today has become the nerve center of Portuguese nightlife.
It deserves also a visit by day, especially if you want to have some great photos to post on Instagram.
What to do in Lisbon in the evening (but also during the day)? Stroll around the Pink Street.
📌 Museu Coleção Berardo, a treasure chest – a little known – of art
If you are a lover of contemporary art, put this museum immediately into the list of things to see in your 48 hours spent visiting Lisbon.
In this place, you can find a treasure as some of Warhol’s masterpieces, Fontana and Dalì, often without a line at the entrance.
|🤞🏼 Pro tip! Visit it on Saturday, it’s free!|
📌 Sé de Lisboa, the prince’s place of worship in the city
Born on the ashes of an ancient mosque, Lisbon Cathedral is the main place of worship in the city.
It is interesting they used recycled materials to build it …
Cloister and Treasure: 4 €
Treasure: € 2.50.
📌 Elevador de Santa Justa, the view within a stairway
📌 25 de Abril Bridge or the bridge in the wrong place
📌 Lisbon what to visit: Museu Nacional do Azulejo, where blue and white are the masters
📌 What to see in Lisbon and its surroundings: Sintra, a Disney masterpiece of brick and concrete
Seeing them all, inside and out, counting queues and dead times, is definitely difficult in a day.
The solution, if you could not have more time is to visit the buildings only from the outside (in our opinion the interior is not as interesting as it should be) and to make a selection.
We also recommend buying tickets online.
So what to see in Lisbon in 3 days?
Also Sintra, of course.
What to do in Lisbon: the activities to do to fall in love
🧗🏼♀️ Climb the Alfama as if it were a mountain!
The similarities between Lisbon and San Francisco are many, starting from the streets …
One of the main districts of Lisbon is Alfama … in reality it is the main one:
The oldest still existing in the city.
Strolling through the streets of this neighborhood is a must!
You will seem to make a leap into the past, when grandmothers spoke to each other from a balcony to another, hanging out their clothes, when everyone said “Good morning” – even to strangers – and when everything was perfumed with good homemade things.
Even the houses, a bit dilapidated and aged, will give you this impression of the past.
Here’s the secret to go back 50 years without a time machine!
🎨 Fall in love with street art scattered around the city
When you visit Lisbon, you can’t help but notice that the whole city is a huge open-air canvas.
Street art is the host here.
Lose yourself in the streets and follow only the colors and designs that mix with the plaster of the houses.
And if you don’t want to lose yourself these are some tips that could be useful to you:
The most beautiful works are at the LX Factory, other noteworthy works are in the Albana and the GAU-Arte Urbana gallery-, others you can still find them at Bairro Alto and the Calçada da Glória.
⛵️ Boat tour … and what a boat!
A tour in a city crossed by a river is not complete without boat tour, don’t you think?
So why not wear a sailor hat and sail to discover the Tagus River, the history of Lisbon aboard a breathtaking yacht?
We doubt you want to lose this unmatched experience!
🔭 Enjoy the city from the beauty from above
We hope you are a lover of views!
For us there is no visit to a city without a beautiful high point.
And of course, when visiting Lisbon, we couldn’t help but look for the most beautiful spots to enjoy the sun going down behind the red roofs.
- Miradouro di Santa Lucia is certainly the most famous panoramic point of the city. Beautiful, beautiful, breathtakingly beautiful … and nothing to add;
- The castle of Sao Jorge that from its raised position could not fail to give some magical views of the city;
- Miradouro da Senhora do Monte, in the Graca district: a little less touristy but perhaps for this even more beautiful;
- Miradouro de Sao Pedro de Alcantara from which you can feel the master of the Bairro Alto and the whole city.
🔮 Buy the most special souvenirs in the world
Mark this place: Feira da Ladra.
Here you will not fail to find the perfect souvenir!
It is a place where a real magic is made:
Objects destined to become garbage are transformed into incredible things, unique and inimitable pieces, memories from a very low price.
The locals call it much more commonly local market but to us it seems that magical place makes it more justice.
The “Ladra” in the name refers to the fact that stolen goods are often found on stalls in the past.
Plus of the pluses?
The market is ocean view.
Hours: Tuesday and Saturday, from 6:00 am to 5:00 pm
🎙 Visiting Lisbon right into the bowels: fado
We had no idea before we arrived in Lisbon and had gathered some info that we would fall in love with the city one evening, eating and listening to the fado.
You’re wondering what this elusive fado is, right?
Well, it is nothing more than a traditional Portuguese song, so deep and touching to take your guts and twist them all. It is a poignant song that speaks of separation, suffering and distance.
Not by chance was the song of women dedicated to their husbands and sailor children.
📋 Breathe the poetic and decadent atmosphere of the city
Lisbon, unlike so many cities, is not the kind of place you visit to see this, that and that again but to let yourself be carried away by the atmosphere you breathe.
It is very difficult for us to write down what we feel walking those streets but to hear it once there is inevitable.
It cannot be called contagious happiness, nor an overwhelming sadness.
The only thing we can say for sure is that it causes saudade as soon as you leave the city …
Do you know what this word means?
In Italian there is no real translation but we mean the mixture between the lack of something and the will to do something to return to certain places or relive certain people.
But don’t worry, you’ll try it and when you feel it in your gut you’ll understand it’s it her.
Where to sleep in Lisbon: the best areas and facilities
Lisbon is a relatively cheap city – especially when compared to cities like Reykjavik, Copenhagen, Vienna or Stockholm -, the prices of living and accommodation are very reminiscent of those in Tallinn, Athens or Bucharest … but this does not imply that there is no accommodation that makes you lose your head at slightly higher prices.
Each neighborhood reflects a little the soul of a different type of traveler.
For example, we have no doubt about sending you to Bairro Alto if you are a party-harder and live 100% night life.
Here among street food stalls, clubs, discos, bars and many young people you will find yourself at ease and above all you will find for sure the party or event that suits you!
For those who want tranquility but do not want to deny themselves the convenience of connections, the best solution is to be at the Baixa or in the Belem district.
We stayed in a beautiful place: Inspira Santa Marta hotel, a boutique hotel in a perfect location in case you visit Lisbon for the first time.
Environment side, well … the Inspira can boast of being a completely eco-sustainable hotel, from the structure to the use of materials for services.
Not surprisingly, in your room you will not find the menu of room service in paper but on screen, not by chance the water bottles are made of glass, not by chance the straws used are of 100% biodegradable pasta…
… in short, a place that welcomes you to discover a new city and that gives you the chance, one day, to discover other beautiful places in the world without fueling the scourge of environmental disaster.
On the world side: you must know that the Inspira is very keen on making this planet a better place and puts all its efforts into participating in positive initiatives.
One of the most interesting results achieved is certainly helping in the construction of drinking water sources in Malawi (in July they co-financed the 7th water structure).
|The same customers can finance this initiative by leaving a symbolic sum at the hotel bar and helping this part of the world to have something we take for granted, like drinkable water.|
💊 Experience-saving suggestions: lightly visit Lisbon
💊 How to get around Lisbon: understanding geography and subdivision
To get around the Portuguese capital well, you need to know its history better.
You must know that in 1755 a major disaster struck the city: an earthquake of magnitude 8.7 hit Lisbon, destroying it almost completely.
The reconstruction followed strict archaeological criteria and anti-seismic principles to prevent the same misfortune from recurring.
The difference between the old part and the reconstructed part of the city is visible to the naked eye.
Consider for example the Baixa and the Alfama district; while in the first case the roads are geometrically parallel, in the second the disorder reigns supreme.
But wait, let’s take a step back, we need to understand what the neighborhoods of the city are.
We present you:
Cais do Sodré
💊 How to visit Lisbon: public transportation
The city’s attractions are mostly gathered at walking distance *.
Taking the car is not really necessary … also because we are convinced of the fact that there is no better way to discover a city by foot.
It is also true, however, that the ups and downs that characterize Lisbon are truly exhausting.
It is up to you to assess your training status, the time at your disposal, the weather …
If you want to take a bus, we cannot advise you on the iconic tram n. 28, vintage tram that leaves from Campo Ourique and arrives at Martim Moniz in 45 minutes – for the modest sum of € 2.90.
|🤞🏼 Pro tip! Avoid taking it during peak hours, especially in summer! It is so targeted by tourists that the experience would certainly be ruined.|
Other information regarding the public transportation are:
The daily ticket for unlimited travel on buses, trams and metro is € 6.40 excluding tour buses such as Hop-on hop-offs and airport shuttles;
The price becomes € 9.50 if you also want tourist buses, airport connections and river connections.
If instead you are interested in reaching destinations such as Sintra, Cascais, Azambuja and Sado but not the airport connections, the solution is the € 10.55 day ticket.
All to be loaded on your Viva Viagem card, that is a rechargeable card – from the price of € 0.50 – valid for even one year.
* As long as you like walking without with children, for example, because the daily distance would still be between 15 and 20 km.
💊 What to see in Lisbon with map: Italy-Lisbon flight and trips
Starting from the major Italian airports, it is very easy to get to Lisbon and Portugal in general.
The only flaw is that while for cities like Faro and Oporto the low-cost airline Ryanair flies to Lisbon mainly flies TAP Portugal, the Portuguese flag carrier.
Once you arrive on Portuguese soil it will be sufficient to exit the airport and get on the underground.
Find out first which stop is closest to your hotel.
💊 The ABC to visit Lisbon in safety
We always try to put safety information in our guides.
The city is safe … obviously you need to keep in mind the rules of common sense and some small tricks – you should have for all the metropolises of the world – not to show off objects of value, to keep the backpack and the bag in front of the vehicles, have the wallet in the front pocket of the jeans …
In this regard, the only place we want to warn you about is Tram 28, an undisputed attraction and for this reason is full of pickpockets.
Can you give us one more minute?
After reading our handy guide to visiting Lisbon, do you think you have all the information you need to get started?
Obviously, we hope so but if it were not so, let us know in the comments: what would you have liked to know more?
We want our guides to be as useful and complete as possible! And if you need support in organizing your trip to Lisbon (hotel, flight, car rental etc).
Write us below in the comments, we will reply in 24 hours (:
DISCLAIMER – The accommodation was kindly provided by Inspira hotel.
Nevertheless the review, our views of the hotel and what to see in Lisbon are absolutely impartial and sincere.