Discover Lisbon: Top 10 Things to Do in Lisbon

Get inspired for your Lisbon City Break with our list of the Top 10 Amazing Things to do in Lisbon.

Lisbon, the capital city of Portugal, is a vibrant and colourful city that has captured the hearts of millions of visitors. With its stunning architecture, rich history, and delicious food, it’s no surprise that Lisbon has become a popular City Break destination for tourists. In this post, we’ll take you on a three-day tour of the city, highlighting the must-see attractions in each district.

Overlooking Lisbon from the castle

History Lesson

The History of Lisbon dates back to the 12th century when it was ruled by the Moors. It was later conquered by the Portuguese in the 1147 Siege of Lisbon, led by King Afonso Henriques. The city became the capital of Portugal in the 13th century, and it played a crucial role in the Age of Discovery in the 15th and 16th centuries.

During this time, Lisbon was the starting point for many expeditions, including those led by Vasco da Gama, who discovered the sea route to India, and Ferdinand Magellan, who led the first circumnavigation of the globe.

In the 18th century, Lisbon was hit by a massive earthquake that destroyed much of the city. The rebuilding of Lisbon brought about a new era of architecture and urban planning, with the construction of grand boulevards and neoclassical buildings.

Lisbon played a significant role in World War II as a neutral port, and it served as a key location for Allied intelligence operations. In 1974, the Carnation Revolution led to the overthrow of the authoritarian regime and the establishment of democracy in Portugal.

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Lisbon Today

Today, Lisbon is a vibrant city that blends its rich history with modern architecture and cultural attractions. The historic district of Alfama is a testament to the city’s past, with its narrow alleys and traditional houses, while the Belem Tower and the Jeronimos Monastery showcase the city’s wealth during the Age of Discovery.

In recent years, Lisbon has become a popular destination for travellers seeking a mix of history, culture, and nightlife. The city’s rich past has left its mark on every corner, from the cobbled streets of the old town to the grand avenues of the modern city.

In conclusion, the History of Lisbon is a fascinating story of conquest, exploration, and rebirth. The city’s heritage can be seen in its architecture, art, and cultural traditions, making Lisbon a unique and captivating destination for visitors from around the world.

Weather in Lisbon

Lisbon is a beautiful city located on the western coast of Portugal, with a mild Mediterranean climate. The weather in Lisbon varies throughout the year, making it an attractive destination for tourists seeking different experiences.

The Best Time to Visit Lisbon

In January, the temperature in Lisbon drops to an average of 11°C, with occasional rain. February and March see a slight increase in temperature, with an average of 13°C, and the start of spring.

As spring progresses, April and May have an average temperature of 16°C to 19°C, with more sunshine and less rain. June is the start of summer, and temperatures rise to an average of 22°C, with long sunny days and little rain.

July and August are the hottest months, with temperatures reaching an average of 27°C, and very little rain. September and October are warm and pleasant, with temperatures ranging from 22°C to 26°C.

November marks the beginning of winter, with temperatures dropping to an average of 16°C, and occasional rain. December sees a further drop in temperature to an average of 13°C, with some rainfall.

Overall, Lisbon is a city with a mild climate and plenty of sunshine, making it an ideal destination for travellers seeking a mix of culture, history, and outdoor activities.

A Local street performer in Lisbon

The Districts of Lisbon

Alfama District

Alfama is the oldest neighbourhood in Lisbon, with narrow alleys, colourful houses, and stunning views of the river Tagus. The Lisbon Cathedral is the main attraction in Alfama, a beautiful Romanesque church that dates back to the 12th century. The National Pantheon is also worth a visit, as it is the final resting place of some of Portugal’s most famous historical figures. Finally, the São Jorge Castle offers breathtaking panoramic views of the city.

Baixa District

Baixa is the heart of Lisbon, a lively district full of shops, restaurants, and cafes. The Praça do Comércio is one of the most beautiful squares in Lisbon, with its impressive archway and the statue of King José I. The Elevador de Santa Justa is a unique elevator that connects Baixa to the Chiado district, and the Rossio Square is a great place to people-watch and relax.

Belém District

Belém is a historic district in Lisbon, famous for its maritime monuments and pastries. The Jerónimos Monastery is a masterpiece of Manueline architecture, and it was classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Belém Tower is another iconic monument in Lisbon, a fortified tower that was built in the 16th century to defend the Tagus estuary. And, of course, you can’t leave Belém without trying the famous Pasteis de Belém, a delicious pastry that originated in this neighbourhood.

Chiado District

Chiado is a trendy district in Lisbon, with fashionable boutiques, art galleries, and theaters. The Carmo Convent is a Gothic ruin that was partially destroyed by the earthquake of 1755, and it is now a museum. The Museum of Contemporary Art is another must-see in Chiado, with an impressive collection of modern art. Finally, the São Carlos Theater is a beautiful neoclassical building that hosts opera, ballet, and other performances.

Bairro Alto District

Bairro Alto is a bohemian district in Lisbon, with vibrant nightlife and stunning views. The São Pedro de Alcântara Viewpoint is the best place to enjoy the sunset over Lisbon, with a panoramic view of the city. The Botanical Garden is a peaceful oasis in the middle of Bairro Alto, with rare plants and exotic flowers. Finally, the Praça Luís de Camões is a popular meeting point in Lisbon, with a statue of the famous poet.

Parque das Nações District

Parque das Nações is a modern district in Lisbon, built for the 1998 World Exposition. The Oceanário de Lisboa is one of the largest aquariums in Europe, with a variety of marine species from all over the world. The Vasco da Gama Bridge is the longest bridge in Europe, connecting Lisbon to the south bank of the Tagus River. And the Vasco da Gama Tower is a futuristic tower that offers amazing views of the city.

A Lisbon Street scene from the old quarter

Day Trips from Lisbon

There are many beautiful places to visit near Lisbon. Some of the most popular day trips are to Sintra, Cascais, and Óbidos. Sintra is a magical town. Its known for its fairy-tale castles and palaces, including the Pena Palace and the Castle of the Moors. Cascais is a charming coastal town with sandy beaches, elegant villas

Sintra Lisbon

A Day Trip to Sintra

If you’re looking for a day trip from Lisbon that will transport you to a magical fairy-tale world, then Sintra is the perfect destination. Just a short train ride from Lisbon, Sintra is a town known for its enchanting castles and palaces.

Start your day by catching the train from Lisbon to Sintra. Once you arrive, head to the town centre where you can pick up a map and plan your itinerary. The most popular attractions are the castles and palaces that are dotted around the town. The most famous of these is the Pena Palace. It is a brightly coloured castle perched on top of a hill that looks like it’s straight out of a storybook.

Another must-visit attraction is the Quinta da Regaleira, a stunning palace surrounded by beautiful gardens and grottos. It’s worth spending some time exploring the gardens, which are filled with hidden tunnels and mystical symbols.

Lunch in Sintra

For lunch, head to the historic centre of Sintra. Here you will find plenty of cafes and restaurants serving traditional Portuguese cuisine. Try the queijadas, a sweet pastry made with cheese and sugar, or the travesseiros, a flaky pastry filled with almond cream.

After lunch, take a stroll through the charming streets of Sintra, stopping off at some of the local artisan shops to pick up some souvenirs. There are also plenty of art galleries and museums in the town, showcasing the work of local artists.

Finally, end your day trip to Sintra with a visit to the Moorish Castle. This ancient fortress dates back to the 8th century and offers stunning views of the surrounding countryside. Take a leisurely stroll along the castle walls and enjoy the breathtaking vistas before heading back to Lisbon.

To Sumerise

Overall, a day trip to Sintra is a must for anyone visiting Lisbon. With its fairy-tale castles and palaces, charming streets, and delicious cuisine, Sintra is a town that is sure to enchant and delight visitors of all ages. You can catch a train, or pick up Hire Car in Lisbon.

If you don’t like the idea of public transport or driving in a foriegn city, how about an Escourted Day Trip to Sintra?

The Sintra and Cascais Small-Group Day Trip from Lisbon

On this journey, experience the rich vegetation of Sintra Natural Park, the hidden trails and caves at Pena Park and the bluffs of Roca Cape. Tour the immaculate Pena National Palace and then drive along the Atlantic Coast to Cascais for a leisurely walk through town to its scenic beaches. Find Out More HERE

A Day Trip to Cascais

Looking for a quick escape from the hustle and bustle of Lisbon? Look no further than a day trip to Cascais. This charming coastal town is just a short train ride away and offers a relaxing break from the city.

Once a fishing village, Cascais has transformed into a popular tourist destination while still retaining its small-town charm. Take a stroll along the picturesque promenade or relax on one of the many beaches. The clear blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean are perfect for swimming, surfing, or stand-up paddleboarding.

Things to see in Casais

Cascais is also known for its stunning architecture, with grand mansions and palaces lining the streets. Be sure to visit the 19th-century Palace of the Condes de Castro Guimarães, which is now a museum showcasing a collection of antique furniture, art, and rare books. Another must-see attraction is the Boca do Inferno, a dramatic cliff formation and sea cave that’s perfect for photo opportunities.

In addition to the natural beauty and historical landmarks, Cascais is also a haven for foodies. Try some fresh seafood or indulge in a sweet pastel de nata at one of the many charming cafes and restaurants. The town also hosts a bustling market on Wednesdays and Saturdays, where you can pick up local crafts, souvenirs, and fresh produce.

Whether you’re looking for a relaxing beach day or a cultural excursion, a day trip to Cascais is the perfect addition to your Lisbon itinerary. Don’t miss the chance to experience the beauty and charm of this coastal gem.

Combine Sintra and Cascais with The Sintra and Cascais Small-Group Day Trip from Lisbon

On this journey, experience the rich vegetation of Sintra Natural Park, the hidden trails and caves at Pena Park and the bluffs of Roca Cape. Tour the immaculate Pena National Palace and then drive along the Atlantic Coast to Cascais for a leisurely walk through town to its scenic beaches. Find Out More HERE

Beaches in Lisbon

When it comes to sun, sea, and sand, Lisbon might not be the first place that springs to mind. However, the Portuguese capital is within easy reach of some of the most stunning beaches in the country. So, if you’re looking for a break from the hustle and bustle of city life, you won’t have to venture far to find paradise.

Just a short drive from the city centre, you’ll find the gorgeous Praia de Carcavelos. This beach is a haven for surfers and sun worshippers alike. It is long stretch of golden sand and rolling waves. Another popular spot is Praia de São Pedro do Estoril. A smaller, more secluded beach that’s perfect for a relaxing day in the sun.

A Little Further Away: Costa da Caparica

If you’re willing to venture a little further afield, head south to the Costa da Caparica. It is home to some of the best beaches near Lisbon Portugal.

With over 15km of sandy coastline, there’s something for everyone here, from bustling family-friendly beaches to quieter, more secluded coves.

One of the hidden gems of the Costa da Caparica is Praia do Meco. It is a wild, untamed beach that’s popular with surfers and nature lovers. And, if you’re in the mood for a party? Head to Praia da Fonte da Telha. Heres where you’ll find a lively beach bar scene and stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean.

So, whether you’re looking for relaxation or adventure, there’s no shortage of beaches near Lisbon Portugal to explore. Just pack your sunscreen, grab a towel, and get ready to soak up some sun.

To get the best out of your trip, especially if you intend to visit beaches or some of the other day trips above, you should conside a Hire Car. We found that it was invaluable for day trips out of the city. We always use Discover Cars to find the best deals. Discover Cars includes all mandatory fees, taxes, and extras in the quoted price so there won’t be any surprises when you arrive at the rental desk.

Food in Lisbon

The Best Food and Drink

When visiting Lisbon, you can’t leave without trying some of the local delicacies. Here are some of the best foods and drinks to try:


Bacalhau, or salt cod, is one of the most popular dishes in Lisbon. It’s a staple in Portuguese cuisine, and you can find it prepared in many different ways. Some popular bacalhau dishes to try include Bacalhau à Brás, a dish made with shredded cod, onions, and potatoes; and Bacalhau com Natas, a creamy cod and potato casserole.

Pastel de Nata

Pastel de Nata is a sweet pastry that is one of the most famous foods in Portugal. It’s a small custard tart with a crispy pastry shell, and it’s usually dusted with cinnamon. You can find Pastel de Nata in most bakeries and cafes in Lisbon, but the best place to try them is at the famous Pasteis de Belém bakery in the Belém district.


Ginjinha is a cherry liqueur that is a favourite among locals in Lisbon. It’s made from sour cherries, sugar, and alcohol, and it’s usually served in a shot glass. You can find Ginjinha at small bars and taverns throughout Lisbon, but the best place to try it is at A Ginjinha, a tiny bar in the Rossio neighbourhood that has been serving Ginjinha since 1840.


Lisbon has a wide range of accommodations to suit any budget or preference. Here are some options to consider:

Luxury Hotels Lisbon

For those looking for a luxurious stay, Lisbon has many high-end hotels to choose from. Some of the most popular luxury hotels in Lisbon include the Four Seasons Hotel Ritz, the Pestana Palace Lisbon, and the Tivoli Avenida Liberdade.

Budget Hotels Lisbon

Lisbon also has many budget-friendly hotels for those looking to save money on their accommodations. Some of the best budget hotels in Lisbon include the Hotel Ibis Lisboa Saldanha, the Lisbon Destination Hostel, and the Lisbon City Hotel.

Hostels in Lisbon

Hostels are a great option for budget-conscious travellers and for those who want to meet other travellers. Lisbon has many hostels to choose from, with options ranging from basic dormitory-style accommodations to private rooms. Some of the most popular hostels in Lisbon include the Travellers House, the Yes! Lisbon Hostel, and the Lisbon Lounge Hostel.

Transportation in Lisbon

Getting around Lisbon is easy and affordable, with several options for transportation:

Metro Lisbon’s metro system is efficient and affordable, with four different lines that connect most of the city’s main attractions. The metro runs from 6:30 am until 1:00 am on weekdays and until 2:00 am on weekends.

Tram Lisbon’s historic trams are a popular mode of transportation and a great way to see the city. The most famous tram line is the number 28, which runs through the city’s historic neighbourhoods.

Bus Lisbon’s bus system is extensive and connects all parts of the city. There are also several hop-on-hop-off sightseeing buses that provide a convenient way to see the city’s main attractions.

Safety and Security in Lisbon

Lisbon is generally a safe city, but it’s always a good idea to take precautions to ensure your safety:

General Safety Tips

  • Avoid walking alone at night in poorly lit areas
  • Keep your valuables close to you, especially in crowded areas
  • Be aware of your surroundings and trust your instincts

Flights to Lisbon

When it comes to planning a trip to Lisbon, finding the best flights to Lisbon is an essential first step. With many airlines offering flights to the Portuguese capital, it can be overwhelming to choose the right one.

Here are some tips to help you find the best flights to Lisbon:
  1. Use flight comparison websites – Flight comparison websites like Skyscanner and Kayak can help you find the best deals on flights to Lisbon.
  2. Book in advance – The earlier you book your flight, the more likely you are to get a good deal.
  3. Look for airline promotions – Airlines often run promotions on flights to Lisbon, so be sure to check their websites for deals.
  4. Consider layovers – While direct flights to Lisbon are convenient, flights with layovers can often be cheaper.
  5. Fly during off-peak seasons – Prices for flights to Lisbon are typically higher during the peak summer months, so consider travelling during the shoulder season to save money.
  6. Check for hidden fees – When comparing flights, be sure to check for any hidden fees that could increase the total cost of your ticket.

Overall, taking the time to research and compare flights is key to finding the best flights to Lisbon. With a little planning and flexibility, you can score a great deal on airfare and start your Lisbon adventure off on the right foot.

Three Days in Lisbon

Day 1 – Alfama District

Start your day in the Alfama District, the oldest neighborhood in Lisbon. Begin with a visit to the Lisbon Cathedral, a magnificent 12th-century building with a unique combination of Romanesque, Gothic, and Baroque architecture. Then, head to the National Pantheon, where you can see the tombs of famous Portuguese figures like Vasco da Gama and Amália Rodrigues. End your morning with a visit to the São Jorge Castle, a historic fortress that offers stunning views of the city.

After a delicious lunch, explore the Baixa District, which is known for its grand plazas and elegant architecture. Start at Praça do Comércio, a beautiful riverside square that was once the centre of Lisbon’s commercial life. Take a ride on the Elevador de Santa Justa, a unique elevator that offers incredible views of the city. Finish your day in the Rossio Square, a lively and colorful plaza that is a favourite spot for locals and tourists alike.

Day 2 – Belém District

On your second day, explore the Belém District, a historic area that is home to some of Lisbon’s most iconic landmarks. Begin at the Jerónimos Monastery, a magnificent 16th-century building that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Then, visit the Belém Tower, a fortified tower that was once used to protect Lisbon from invaders. Finally, indulge in the famous Pasteis de Belém, a delicious pastry that is a local specialty.

In the afternoon, head to the Chiado District, a fashionable neighborhood that is known for its cultural attractions. Start at the Carmo Convent, a fascinating ruin that was once one of the city’s largest churches. Then, visit the Museum of Contemporary Art, which houses a collection of modern art from Portugal and beyond. End your day at the São Carlos Theater, one of the city’s most beautiful theaters, where you can catch a performance of opera or ballet.

Day 3 – Bairro Alto District

On your final day, explore the Bairro Alto District, a bohemian neighborhood that is known for its lively nightlife. Begin at the São Pedro de Alcântara Viewpoint, where you can enjoy panoramic views of the city. Then, visit the Botanical Garden, a peaceful oasis in the heart of the city. End your morning at Praça Luís de Camões, a charming square that is a popular spot for locals to gather.

In the afternoon, head to the Parque das Nações District, a modern area that was built for the 1998 World Expo. Visit the Oceanário de Lisboa, one of the largest aquariums in Europe, where you can see a wide variety of marine life. Then, marvel at the Vasco da Gama Bridge, one of the longest bridges in Europe. Finally, visit the Vasco da Gama Tower, a futuristic tower that offers stunning views of the city.


Lisbon is a city that offers something for everyone, whether you’re interested in history, culture, or just want to relax and enjoy the beautiful surroundings. From stunning landmarks to delicious food, there’s no shortage of things to see and do in this vibrant city.

Practical Tips

To help you make the most of your trip, we’ve put together some practical tips to keep in mind.

Accommodation recommendations

Lisbon has a wide range of accommodation options, from budget hostels to luxury hotels. If you want to be in the heart of the action, stay in the Alfama or Chiado districts. If you prefer a more peaceful setting, consider staying in the Belém or Parque das Nações districts.

Transportation tips

Lisbon has an efficient public transportation system that includes buses, trams, and trains. The Lisbon Card is a great option for visitors, as it provides unlimited travel on public transportation and free admission to many museums and attractions.

Food and drink recommendations

Lisbon is known for its delicious seafood, and you’ll find plenty of great seafood restaurants throughout the city. Be sure to try the famous Bacalhau, a traditional Portuguese dish made with salt cod. For a sweet treat, don’t miss the Pasteis de Nata, a custard tart that is a local specialty.

Safety and security considerations

Lisbon is a safe city, but it’s always important to take precautions when traveling. Keep an eye on your belongings and be aware of your surroundings, especially in crowded areas. If you’re out late at night, stick to well-lit areas and avoid walking alone.

Additional resources for planning a trip to Lisbon

For more information on visiting Lisbon, check out Visit Lisbon, the official tourism website of Lisbon. You can also find useful travel tips and recommendations on travel blogs and forums, such as Lonely Planet and TripAdvisor.

Final Thoughts and Recommendations

Lisbon is a city that will capture your heart and leave you wanting more. From its stunning architecture and rich history to its delicious food and vibrant culture, there’s no shortage of things to see and do. Whether you’re exploring the winding streets of the Alfama or taking in the panoramic views from the São Pedro de Alcântara Viewpoint, you’re sure to have an unforgettable experience in Lisbon. So pack your bags, book your trip, and get ready to fall in love with this amazing city!

If you are moving around Portugal, then you may find our article on PORTO helpful

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