Fun Things To Do in Lisbon
Lisbon is a fantastic city and has a lot to offer the visitor. Whether you stay for a weekend or a month, here are some fun things to do in Lisbon, and of course tips for eating and drinking too! And we’ve included a handy google map you can view on your smartphone or computer which you will find below.
The Weekend Travel Guide to Lisbon
Lisbon is a magical place to visit for the first time and also to return and discover more hidden gems and explore the surrounding areas. There are beautiful historic buildings, tiny winding alleyways, fabulous tiles, delicious wines and amazing food. It is no longer an undiscovered destination but it is still an exciting place to explore. Let’s go to Lisbon!
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
Getting to Lisbon
Fun Things To Do in Lisbon
Day Trips from Lisbon
Lisbon Restaurants & Bars
Places to Stay in Lisbon
Getting Around in Lisbon
Lisbon Attractions Map
Getting to Lisbon
It’s easy to get to and from Lisbon from other parts of Portugal as well as from abroad. This makes it a great choice for last minute city trips.
The Comboios trains serve Lisbon from Porto and other places in Portugal. Check Trainline for ticket and route options. The train takes less than 3 hours from Porto and parts of the ride are quite picturesque passing coastal towns. Be sure to check out our guide to Porto here too.
You can also travel to Lisbon via Spain with ALSA buses and Flixbus. The least expensive option is often with Flixbus, you can find ticket prices as low as €4. Check here for Flixbus prices and schedules.
You can fly into Lisbon (LIS) airport from most cities in Europe on airlines like EasyJet, Ryan Air and TAP. Sometimes you might want to fly into Porto (OPO) and drive or take the train to Lisbon for a combo trip. Check Skyscanner for the best prices and flight schedules for multiple airlines that fly into Porto and Lisbon. Travelers also sometimes combine a trip to Lisbon with southern Portugal and Spain.
If you fly into Lisbon you can catch the local Metro directly from the airport to the city center or wherever you are staying. It takes about 30 minutes to get to the center of Lisbon by Metro. You can transfer to the Green Line (verde) to reach Rossio and Chiado neighborhoods. Of course it is also possible to go by taxi, it will cost about €20 from the airport to the city center.
See below for more information about getting around in Lisboa.
Are you hoping to travel to Lisbon from Spain on the train? You can! There are two night train options from Madrid or San Sebastian to Lisbon. It is also possible to take day trains but you will have to transfer 3 times.
The RENFE train known as Lusitania Trenhotel goes from Madrid’s Chamartin station to Santa Apolonia or Oriente stations in Lisbon. It travels overnight and you can book a private sleeper cabin or just a bed in a shared cabin. Check Trainline for tickets.
Another RENFE train known as the Sud Express goes from San Sebastian to Lisbon overnight. The journey takes a little over 13 hours and actually starts at the French border. You can book a seat, a bed in a shared cabin or a private sleeper cabin. Check Trainline for ticket options.
It is also possible to get to Portugal from Spain via bus in the north and south. Check Flixbus prices and schedules or take a look at ALSA. But if you don’t have a lot of time or interest in a long bus ride, it is probably fastest to fly between Madrid or Barcelona and Lisbon.
Fun Things To Do in Lisbon
Guided Tours in Lisbon: If this is your first visit to the city, you might want to get oriented with a walking tour, or get more adventurous on a bike or in a tuk tuk. Here are some fun Lisbon city tours:
- Get your bearings of the city with a 3 hour walking tour that includes a ride on the historic trams as well. Visit the Baixa, Alfama and Bairro Alto neighborhoods.
- Explore the historic Alfama district on a 2.5 hour walking tour and discover the oldest and most atmospheric part of the city. Or if you prefer, explore by Segway.
- Lisbon has a ton of amazing street art. Find hidden artworks and learn about the artists and stories behind the paint on a Lisbon street art tour.
- Lisbon is known as the city of seven hills. Conquer those hills on an electric bike with this guided tour.
- Ride from downtown Lisbon to Belem on this fun and mostly flat bike tour.
- Love photography? Join this photo tour at dusk and night time.
- Learn about the music of fado on this 3 hour walking tour.
- Combine a ride on the famous tram 28 with a walking tour.
- Visit Lisbon’s diverse neighborhoods without getting worn out on a tuk tuk tour!
Sightsee on your own: If you’d rather explore Lisbon on your own that is completely doable as well. Here are some of the top things to see and do in Lisbon.
- Visit every miradouro you can find. Especially fantastic at sunset. Some of my favorites include Portas do Sol, Elevador de Santa Justa, and Miradouro da Graça.
- Wander the neighborhoods, stopping to look at colorful tiles and monumental buildings. Alfama, Chiado, Baixa, Rossio, Mouraria, and Bairro Alto are just a few of the neighborhoods that are perfect for a walk and some exploration. Maybe do some shopping, have an ice cream or stop for a beverage and snack at one of the charming quiosques.
- Take one of Lisbon’s famous historic trams like #28. Bear in mind they get crazily crowded in summer.
- Wander the streets of Lisbon admiring the variety of street art – an unusual thing to do in Lisbon but a great way to get to know the city. Of course you could also join a guided street art tour to learn even more.
Some of Lisbon’s top things to see and do and most famous landmarks and attractions include the following points of interest. See below for a handy google map with these locations and more.
- São Jorge Castle occupies a position overlooking the Rio Tejo on the highest hill in the city center.
- Tower of Belém (get your tickets in advance here) is classified a UNESCO World Heritage Site along with the monastery.
- Jerónimos Monastery (lines are long, get tickets in advance here) is an excellent example of the Late Gothic Manueline style of architecture.
- Museu Nacional do Azulejo is a fantastic museum dedicated to tiles. It is housed in an old convent which is stunning in itself. You can visit the museum on your own or take a full day tile workshop where you also make your own handpainted tile and see some of the most beautiful tiles in the city.
- Casa dos Bicos or House of Spikes is a unique architectural gem in Lisbon. It gets its name from the pointed stone spikes that cover the façade.
- Elevador de Santa Justa is a beautiful metal structure that was constructed in the early 20th century. The fancy metal decorations and pretty wooden elevators are worth a gander, but the views from the platforms are the most stunning aspect. Take the elevators up for a fee or just walk up the hill or stairs to the viewing platforms.
Some sights in Lisbon like the Tower of Belém and Jerónimos Monastery are closed on Mondays. If you happen to be visiting then and looking for things to do in Lisbon on Monday try São Jorge Castle, visit some miradouros, or take a walking tour or a boat ride on the Tejo. See below for more suggestions for unique things to do in Lisbon.
Food and wine tours are also fun things to do in Lisbon. Here are a few ideas:
- Take a 3 hour group tour by bike and taste yummy food along the way.
- Enjoy a 4 hour culinary walk in the evening trying local foods and traditional dishes.
- Get tips on wine, petiscos, food, and fado from a friendly guide on this food tour.
- Culinary Backstreets has some of the coolest food tours around. Check out their offerings in Lisbon, and be sure to use discount code “WKNDGD” to get 5% off Culinary Backstreets food tours. If you are looking for a Lisbon food and wine tour you should check here!
- Visit the wineries of Alentejo and the lovely town of Evora on a day trip from Lisbon.
Enjoy a river cruise: The Rio Tejo or Tagus river is one of the features that makes Lisbon so beautiful. A fun thing to do in Lisbon is to spend a few hours overlooking the river at a cafe but the best way to see it is on a cruise. You should book ahead if you are visiting in high season or with a group. Kayaking or sailing on a luxury yacht are definitely unusual things to do in Lisbon. Here are some options for river cruises.
- Go for a 2 hour sunrise cruise on a luxury yacht. The perfect way to start the day.
- You can also go kayaking in Arrábida Natural Park
- Go on a thrilling speedboat ride along Lisbon’s waterfront.
- Go on a full day dolphin watching boat tour.
- Looking to save money? Hop on the ferry to Cacilhas for an inexpensive ride on the water.
Day Trips & Weekend Trips from Lisbon
If you have a little extra time, here are some things to do outside Lisbon:
- Head to Sintra to explore the magical palaces there. Get there on your own with the train or bus, or book a group tour.
- Spend an afternoon in Cascais, getting there by train. Or visit Sintra and Cascais on a group tour.
- Follow the footsteps of Catholic pilgrims on a day trip to Fátima, Batalha, Nazaré and Óbidos.
- Go kayaking in Arrábida Natural Park
- Go wine tasting and see Sesimbra, Arrábida and Setúbal.
- Head south to the Algarve coast for a beach getaway
- Spend the day exploring the Berlengas archipelago by boat, go swimming, hiking and kayaking.
- Visit Evora and the Alentejo wine region
Places to Eat & Drink in Lisbon
Lisbon has fantastic food for all budget levels. Here are some of our favorite places to eat in Lisbon. And of course some of the best places for a wine, port or even a cocktail or craft beer. See below for a handy google map with all these locations and more.
- Lisbon has these adorable quiosques (pictured above) where you can have a drink or a meal in a public square. Try one!
- Tourists to Lisbon know they have to make the pilgrimage to Belem to try the Pasteis de Belem. I recommend it! But if you really don’t want to stand in the queques, head to Manteigaria instead. They are just as good, if not better. You decide!
- Check out Mercado da Ribeira, also known as Time Out Market. It is a historic market that has been transformed into a trendy food hall. It may be touristy but the food is excellent quality.
- Grab a bifana at a local cafeteria. A simple filling pork sandwich that tastes great after a few drinks. Or take one to go and sit by the Rio Tejo.
- When in Lisbon, it is time for ginjinha! Test it out at Sem Rival and A Ginjinha, two of the most famous spots.
- For fancy cocktails or a glass of wine, go to The Old Pharmacy.
- Drinks with a rooftop view? Park is the place to be!
- Are you looking for a cool place to have a few drinks? Check out the famous “pink street” Rua Nova do Carvalho. Sol e Pesca is a very cool spot there. It’s one of the most popular things to do in Lisbon at night.
- The ice cream at Santini is divine, and the place is just so picturesque too.
- Don’t miss our list of 7 Portuguese foods you must try!
Be sure to check out the map below for the addresses of these restaurants.
Places to Stay in Lisbon
If this is your first visit to Lisbon I would recommend finding accommodations in and around the city center in Rossio, Chiado, Baixo, and Bairro Alto. That way you are in the middle of the action and can go in any direction to see the sights. If you don’t mind walking uphill you can find lots of sights, activities and restaurants within walking distance. Of course you can also hop on a tram or bus, or grab a taxi.
Following are some places to stay in Lisbon for a range of budgets and lodging needs. In high season I definitely recommend you use HotelsCombined to compare lodging prices across all booking engines when searching for accommodations.
For a limited time, if you register at Booking.com using this link and then reserve using the links below you can get $20 cash back! It’s a special offer from Booking.com.
I have tried many of the hostels in Lisbon and they are some of the best I have been to. Here are some budget lodgings in Lisbon:
There are many self-catering apartments available in the city. Popular neighborhoods to stay include Rossio, Chiado, Baixo, Bairro Alto, and Alfama. Apartments are available on many websites including hotel booking sites and Airbnb. Get up to €40 credit if you register with Airbnb using this link.
Here are some apartments in Lisbon:
- Chiado Square Apartments
- Lisbon Rentals Chiado
- Downtown Delight Apartment
- Chiado Arty Flats
- The Lisboans Apartments
Luxury accommodations in Lisbon:
Getting Around in Lisbon
If you don’t mind walking up and down hills you can see many of Lisbon’s sights on foot if you are based in the city center. Lisbon is also quite well served by Metro, tram and bus. You’ll want to purchase the Viva viagem card which you can top up to use multiple times, called “zapping”.
As mentioned above, if you fly into Lisbon you can catch the local Metro directly from the airport to the city center.
You can also purchase 24, 48 or 72 hour hop on and off tickets which can be a convenient way to get around and see the sights. Or check out the Lisboa card which includes public transport and admission to museums.
Lisbon is quite hilly so unless you are super fit you might not want to get around by bicycle. However bicycles could be handy when exploring around Belem or in the flatter parts of the city.
Tourists might also enjoy riding the historic trams. Tram 28 is the most popular. In the summertime it can be very busy and you may have to wait quite a while before you can board a tram.
Another hint is to check the location of the free elevators if you are going up and down to Bairro Alto several times a day. The map below has some of these marked.
Travel Guide Map to Lisbon
All of the above locations (and more) are included on the below map which you can view on your computer or smartphone. Click here to access the map complete with addresses and names. If you open (click the square bracket in upper right) and star it when you are logged into Google you should also be able to access it in the Google Maps app on your phone. I hope it helps you find some amazing places and fun things to do in Lisbon!
To see the list of addresses, click the popup legend on the top left of the map.
I hope you liked this weekend guide to Lisbon and that you enjoy your visit to this fascinating city. Be sure to take a look at our weekend guide to Porto too.
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