2 Days in Lisbon: Itinerary for a Perfect Weekend in Lisbon

Lisbon is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe.

With so many incredible museums, miradouros, markets, and meals, it’s nearly impossible to get your fill of Lisbon.

I’ve been lucky enough to spend over three weeks in Lisbon over the last two years and have never gotten bored, and I know it’s a city I’ll return to time and again.

But I know that many people travel with a limited amount of time, so this Lisbon itinerary is for people who only have a limited amount of time.

If you only have allocated 2 days in Lisbon and want to maximize your time to have an unforgettable first trip to Lisbon, this post is for you!

view of an old tiled street in alfama, the oldest neighborhood of lisbon that was not destroyed during the earthquake

Note that I’ve packed in as much as possible to these two days in Lisbon. I want you to have the best time possible!

However, depending on your travel style, how you get around (metro/bus vs. Uber), what time you wake up, tours/activities you book, etc., you may want to cut a few things from this Lisbon itinerary as it is rather ambitious!

If you want to visit Sintra, you can do that as a day trip and then follow this one-day Lisbon itinerary instead.

Where to Stay in Lisbon

Depending on what your travel style is and your budget, there are plenty of great neighborhoods to choose from in Lisbon.

I detail all my favorite neighborhoods and top recommendations for each neighborhood in my comprehensive Lisbon neighborhood and hotel guide, which you can read here. However, I’ll also sum it up here!

I’ve mostly picked hotels in the hip Baixa-Chiado area, which is easy to get to all points on your Lisbon itinerary from.

Budget: Home Lisbon Hotel

Even if you are on vacation in Lisbon, the feeling and comfort of being home is something that Home Lisbon Hotel wants you to experience!

This hostel gives you a choice of private or shared rooms. The private rooms are quite small, but the amount of space is good enough for backpackers looking for a good private room in Lisbon on a budget.

The décor game is strong here at Home Lisbon, despite the budget prices: perfect for people who want a place to stay in Lisbon that has personality. There are vintage black and white photos as well as colorful prints hung on the wall, which add a retro vibe.

In the shared rooms, the bunk beds have curtains that you can close to ensure privacy when you’re sleeping — something that I always enjoy, especially when an inconsiderate dorm-mate turns on the lights upon arriving late at night.

You can also choose a mixed-sex room or an all-female room, as well as rooms as large as quadruples with private bathrooms if you’re traveling with friends.

Check out guest reviews, prices, and availability at Home Lisbon Hotel here 

Mid-Range: My Story Hotel Rossio

My Story Hotel Rossio wants just that: to tell you a story in every area of the hotel!

It is a four-story building with 46 rooms, which originally dates back to the 18th century.

The hotel makes use of modern and very artistic décor – it is a play between modern and classic pieces, which works in perfect harmony.

They only have soundproofed double rooms, but there is one room where you can have a view of beautiful Rossio Square.

The private bathrooms also feature a hairdryer, a separate shower area, towels, and free Rituals shower gels and shampoos.

The restaurant, Café Portugal, is considered as one of the historic places in the area where you can best taste traditional Portuguese cuisine.

The restaurant also has a very romantic appeal, perfect for a date or special occasion. A must-try is their grilled octopus: tender, charred in all the right places, and so fresh!

Check out guest reviews, prices, and availability at My Story Hotel Rossio here 

Luxury: Pousada de Lisboa

The word “pousada” literally means an inn, but this 5-star hotel, Pousada de Lisboa, offers way more than that with its 90 fully decorated rooms!

From afar, the building stands out because of its bright yellow color, but the gorgeous design inside is nothing to sneeze at either!

Their private rooms have ensuite bathrooms with designer toiletries and bathtubs, high-speed WiFi internet, and well-stocked minibars.

The floors are made from hardwood, and the headboards are decorated with embossing, flourished with intricately detailed wall panels that scream luxury.

If you’re traveling with a larger group or family, they also have a family room that’s very extravagant and spacious, which is perfectly lit by a ritzy chandelier and some chicly dim lamps.

On-site dining is definitely a must at Pousada de Lisboa. Their Rib Restaurant specializes in meat dishes – their steaks are a must-try!

They also have other luxury amenities like an indoor and heated pool, a spa with all the amenities you can think of, and a fitness center.

Check out guest reviews, prices, and availability at Pousada de Lisboa here 

2 Days in Lisbon: Itinerary Day 1

Start your day at Pastéis de Belém

You’ll find pastel de nata on virtually every other corner in Lisbon, but the real best thing is so transcendent that it’s actually worth waiting in line for.

And this comes from someone who’s basically allergic to lines — a byproduct of many years in New York where I’d watch people mindlessly line up for whatever rainbow or unicorn Instagram food trend was currently booming.

I never thought Pastéis de Belém would be worth the hype, but I happened to walk past it one day when the line looked rather short and decided to try one.

I ordered two, doused them in cinnamon, and ate them just out of the oven, when the custard was barely set and the pastry was so crispy it splintered into my mouth in an explosion of delicious butteriness. I immediately wanted to get back in line, they were that amazing.

Even if the line is long, it moves rather quickly, but by beginning your day here you’ll beat much of the crowds.

While Belém is definitely a bit out of the way, there’s so much to see here that it’s definitely worth starting your first day in Lisbon here — and that pastel de nata is an incredible reward for getting yourself out to Belém. Trust me, it’s a must when you visit Lisbon!

Hours: 8 AM to 11 PM daily.

Cost: About 1.20 euro per pastel de nata if taken to go, slightly more expensive eaten sitting down.

Check out the outrageous Padrão dos Descobrimentos monument

Portugal is a rather small and humble country now, and it’s hard to believe that at one time, Portugal was the first and one of the largest colonial empires that has ever existed.

The Padrão dos Descobrimentos is an homage to the many Portuguese explorers who left their home to explore the unknown.

The monument is extremely large and interesting to check out, though I don’t think it’s necessary to buy a ticket to go inside unless you specifically want to see the view of the monastery from the miradouro.

The monument is quite fascinating to see from the outside and my inner geography geek enjoyed nerding out on the map of Portugal’s explorations and sea routes.

I don’t want to whitewash the awful human cost of Portugal’s colonialism (or any colonial empire, for that matter).

Colonialism decimated entire Indigenous populations, stole immense wealth from Black and Brown peoples, and created generational trauma and poverty that is still felt to this day.

At the same time, there is something extremely impressive about the feats of daring and engineering that led this small country on the Atlantic Ocean to the far reaches of what is now Brazil, South Africa, Mozambique, India, and beyond, not knowing what was out there.

It’s a complicated history that is hard to write about, and to be honest, the Portuguese don’t do nearly as much as they should in acknowledging the staggering human cost of their explorations.

And considering that Portugal only ceded its last colony about two decades ago (Macau in 1999), perhaps it’s still too fresh for the appropriate acknowledgment of the cost of their explorations.

Nonetheless, it’s an important part of Portuguese history and culture and it’s well worth seeing while in Lisbon — albeit with a critical eye.

Hours: The inside museum and miradouro are open daily from 10 AM to 7 PM in summer and until 6 PM in winter (closed Mondays in winter).

Cost: 6 euros to enter the interior and viewing platform; free to see from the outside. 4.80 euros with the discount from the Lisbon Card.

See the magnificent Torre de Belém

A must-see on many a Lisbon itinerary, the Torre de Belém is one of the most important icons of the city.

This 16th-century fortification survived Lisbon’s catastrophic 1755 earthquake and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site (along with the Jerónimos Monastery, next on this itinerary).

It’s done in the traditional Manueline (Portuguese late Gothic) architectural style that is so unique to Portugal.

You can go inside to see the museum and have a nice view, but frankly, the lines are so long that I don’t think it’s worth it. I’ve only ever looked at it from the exterior and found that perfectly worth the time!

However, if you won’t feel like your Lisbon trip will be complete unless you visit, I suggest pre-purchasing a Torre de Belém ticket or a Lisbon Card (which is also valid for public transit within the city).

You won’t be able to skip the lines entirely, as only 150 people can enter at once to control the crowding inside, but it’ll significantly cut down waiting time as opposed to buying a ticket on-site.

Hours: 10 AM to 6:30 PM May through September, closing at 5:30 PM October through April. Closed entirely on Mondays.

Cost: Bought on-site, 6 euros or 12 euros if bought in conjunction with Jerónimos Monastery.

If you plan to see a lot of Lisbon sites, including this one, I recommend buying a Lisbon Card.

Explore the magnificent Jerónimos Monastery

One of the most interesting sites in Belém is the gorgeous Manueline monastery, Mosteiro dos Jerónimos, which is well worth a visit during your stay in Lisbon.

The monastery is over 500 years old and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site!

The cloister is absolutely beautiful and one of the most photogenic spots in Lisbon. It can get rather crowded as this is one of the most popular spots in Lisbon but it doesn’t take away from the beauty.

Hours: 10 AM to 6:30 PM in summer and 5:30 PM in winter; closed on Sundays

Cost: 10 euros or 12 euros if bought in conjunction with Torre de Belém on site; free with your Lisbon Card.

Pro tip: If you’re on a budget, you can skip the monastery and just visit the church, which is stunning and totally free to enter.

The Church of Santa Maria is a sepulcher for several national heroes and poets, and you’ll find the tombs of the beloved Vasco da Gama and Luís de Camões here.

Marvel at the quirky Museu dos Coches

One of my favorite off the beaten path things to do in Lisbon is checking out the insanely opulent and interesting Museu dos Coches.

This museum features beautifully restored horse-drawn coaches, litters, and carriages from the 16th century onwards.

This is one of my favorite spots in Lisbon, and it far exceeded my expectations for how incredible it would be.

It was well-curated, informative, and entirely unique: everything I love in a museum. Even if you’re not usually a museum person, I strongly recommend a visit.

Hours: 10 AM to 6 PM Tuesday through Sunday, closed on Mondays.

Cost: 8 euros, or 10 if you want to visit the riding school as well. Free with the Lisbon Card.

Head to Praça do Comercio

After having your morning in Belém, make your way back to the center of Lisbon: the area around Praça do Comercio is a great place to start your downtown Lisbon adventures as it’s pretty much in the heart of everything.

It’s also just plain beautiful with its incredible archway and its gorgeous yellow-facade walls surrounding the plaza.

If you want to grab a meal around now, I recommend Café Martinho da Arcada – decent prices, great location, and good food!

Marvel at the Elevador de Santa Justa

One of the coolest quirks of Lisbon is all the elevators and street cars that traverse the cities many hills.

It’s great for the lazy, tired, elderly, or clumsy people like me who fall and roll their ankle while boarding their plane on the way to visiting one of the hilliest cities in the world… but I digress.

The Elevador de Santa Justa is an art nouveau engineering marvel which connects Baixa (‘low’) to Bairro Alto (‘high neighborhood’).

It also conveniently lets you out right by your next stop: Convento do Carmo!

However, the elevator lines are always absurdly long and I don’t actually recommend riding it unless you have a reason too.

Even I, with my busted ankle, thought the line was too long and hobbled up the streets up to the Carmo Convent instead!

But still, it’s definitely worth seeing, as it’s one of the most unique aspects of the Lisbon cityscape.

Hours: Daily from 7AM–10:45PM

Cost: Around 5 euros for a ticket, cheaper if you have a Lisbon transit card; free to look (I don’t necessarily recommend riding unless you really want to!)

Visit the marvelous ruins of the Carmo Convent

One of the many victims of the devastating 18th-century earthquake that shook Lisbon to its core, the former Carmo Convent is now in ruins and has been converted into an excellent archaeology museum.

While the archaeology museum is cool, and you can even see mummies here, what I found most interesting was the amazing beauty of the building despite the destruction.

I loved the negative space caused by the roof’s collapse and the general sense of the power of Mother Nature and the temporary nature of man in the face of nature’s whims.

Hours: 10 AM to 7 PM daily except Sundays. Closes earlier in the off-season, either at 5 or 6 PM.

Cost: 4 euros entrance; audio guide is extra

Enjoy a fado show

Portugal is known for its fado music, which is beautifully sung and performed with emotion and melancholy.

It’s one of the more unique aspects of Portuguese culture: so unique, in fact, that it has been inscribed on UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list.

Unfortunately, with the tourism boom in Lisbon, the art of fado has lost a bit of its original democratic and revolutionary roots.

Many restaurants which promote their fado shows are tourist traps, offering crappy quality food at sky-high prices, while just having a few rounds of fado during the meal.

The best way to enjoy a fado show is certainly either going on a tour or to a restaurant which specializes in it. Neither are cheap options, but you’ll have a far better experience than otherwise.

I can definitely recommend this fado tour, which covers a sunset walking tour, dinner, wine, sampling the delicious cherry-flavored Portuguese liqueur called ginjinha, and of course — a fado show!

It’s run by one of my favorite tour companies in Europe, Urban Adventures, and while I haven’t gone on this specific tour I’ve been on enough Urban Adventures tours (and checked the reviews of this specific tour) to feel confident in the excellent quality of the tour.

Check prices, availability, and guest reviews here.

If you don’t want to go on a tour, then I suggest splashing out on a nice meal at one of the premier fado houses in Lisbon!

The suggestion I hear most often from friends who have lived in Lisbon is Sr. Fado, but note that it has a rather steep set menu price of around 45 euros per person.

If you want a cheaper evening enjoying fado, you’re going to have to make some sacrifices.

I had a decent time at Retiro dos Sentidos (the alheira was good; the bacalhau a bras was decidedly not) and we only paid about 20 euro each for a meal and a glass of wine and the fado show.

However, other guest reviews’ of this place are quite scathing, so take my recommendation with a grain of salt. We had a fine time, but our expectations were low.

The best place to enjoy fado on a budget is supposedly right across the street at Tasca do Chico, but you’ll have to arrive extremely early (about 7 PM for a show that begins at 8) or wait in line outside for an hour or so.

It’s often standing room only, so keep that in mind, but supposedly the artists there are the real deal!

This fado show is also rather affordable and has over a thousand positive reviews, but note that it’s just a 50-minute show and does not include dinner or drinks.

Book this short fado show online here!

2 Days in Lisbon: Itinerary Day 2

Start your day strolling the streets of Alfama

Alfama is my favorite neighborhood in Lisbon by a long shot: it’s one of the best-preserved and oldest neighborhoods in the city!

It was largely untouched by the earthquake which destroyed much of Lisbon in 1755.

The streets wind and meander beautifully, so allow yourself some time to get lost in these streets.

For breakfast, I recommend Augusto — it’s absolutely delicious, the interior is super funky and Instagrammable, and the prices are good for the excellent quality of food, especially the brunch combinations.

A few places to visit in Alfama and the surrounding area are: Miradouro da Graca (which is lovely but sooo crowded), the Lisbon History Arch beneath the miradouro, the Miradouro de Santa Luzia, which has beautiful azulejos and views, and the Lisbon Cathedral.

Enjoy the best views of Lisbon

Lisbon is known for its many hills and viewpoints, and two places are said to be the best places for a great view over the city of Lisbon: Castelo de Sao Jorge and the Miradouro da Senhora do Monte.

Of all the miradouros in the city, Miradouro da Senhora do Monte is one of the best in my book.

It’s the highest hill in Lisbon, and you get a beautiful view of the Castelo de Sao Jorge. It’s also far less crowded and well-known than most other miradouros.

For many people, a visit to Castelo de Sao Jorge is an essential part of their trip to Lisbon.

Frankly, for me, I’m not a huge fan of castles (even more-so the ruins of old ones).

Even though I’ve spent about three weeks in Lisbon I’ve never actually gone to the castle because the lines are always really long to enter and it’s really crowded!

If you do go, I strongly suggest booking a skip-the-line ticket as I usually see lines that look to be over an hour’s wait to enter.

Book a skip-the-line guided tour here!

This may not be necessary in the low, low season but when I was in Lisbon in March the lines were still crazy!

However, for free, you can get a view of the castle AND Lisbon from Miradouro da Senhora do Monte: all this without the crowds, without the lines, and without the entry fee! It’s up to you what you choose to do (and you can very easily do both).

Cost: Free for the miradouro, 10 euros to enter Sao Jorge if you buy the ticket on-site, though I recommend the guided tour to skip the massive line.

Hours: The miradouro is 24/7; Castelo de Sao Jorge from 9 AM to 6 PM daily.

Lunch and shop at the LX Factory

After thoroughly exploring Alfama, I expect you’ll have worked up quite an appetite!

Now is the perfect time to explore LX Factory, a quirky and modern side of Lisbon that is quite different to the historic neighborhoods you’ve been exploring like Alfama and Belém.

Set in a 19th-century textile factory, once the heart of Lisbon’s manufacturing scene, LX Factory is now one of the hot spots in Lisbon for dining, shopping, and street art.

You can try a variety of cuisines here; Sushi Factory has creative sushi combinations, Rio Maravilha has Portuguese and Brazilian food with a fantastic view (of the imitation Cristo Redentor statue, naturally!) and 1300 Taberna has creative fine dining takes on Portuguese classics.

We ate a meal at 1300 Taberna and it was a little pricy but fantastic (we had wanted to check out Rio Maravilha but it was closed for a private event).

While there, be sure to visit Ler Devagar (Portuguese for “read slowly”), one of the most interesting and beautiful bookstores in Lisbon, if not all of Portugal.

It’s entirely Instagrammable yet far less hellishly crowded than Livraria Lello in Porto, which I don’t even recommend people visit…

Cost: Free to enter LX Factory though you’ll hardly be able to leave without finding something worth buying!

Hours: Depends on each venue

Wander down the Tejo waterfront to Cais do Sodre

After your lunch at LX Factory, take a long and leisurely walk down the waterfront down to Cais do Sodre to digest and unwind.

You’ll pass several interesting things along the way, like the imitation Golden Gate Bridge and Christ the Redeemer, plus the river views of neighboring Almada is lovely.

If you want the see the famous Lisbon “pink street,” it’s right by Cais do Sodre, at Rua Nova do Carvalho.

Take a boat cruise down the Tejo

Lisbon is defined by its gorgeous river, the Tejo, which flows between the city of Lisbon and the city across the water, Almada.

You may also heard it called the Tagus River, which is its name in English.

While people always talk about the views of Lisbon from its many miradouros — and they should, because they’re beautiful! — it’s also a great idea to see the city from sea level.

Here, you can see the beautiful houses stacked like a gorgeous array of colorful dominos against a backdrop of hills, castles, and trees.

Taking a boat cruise down the Tejo is one of the best ways to get an alternate view of Lisbon (and rest your feet a bit from the relentless sightseeing of this two day Lisbon itinerary!).

I recommend this affordable and unique 45-minute river cruise which will bring you past Praca do Comercio, Sao Jorge Castle, the gorgeous neighborhood of Alfama, the Panteon Nacional, and the train station of Santa Apolonia.

The reason why I recommend this specific boat cruise is the boat itself, which is a piece of living history.

The cruise is done in a 50-person capacity hand-painted traditional boat which dates back to 1947, which is one of only about 75 such boats left in existence (of the thousands which used to exist). It’s actually part of the Portuguese Navy Museum but is used for cruises!

Book your cruise in advance here!

In the high season there are several cruises a day, leaving at 1:30, 2:30, 3:30, 5:00, and 6:00 PM; however, in the low season, there are only a few in the early afternoon and the tours stop entirely mid-October.

If this tour is unavailable or doesn’t fit into your Lisbon itinerary, I suggest this tour instead, or this sailing and champagne cruise.

Cost & Hours: Depends on which tour

Stop in Time Out Market

Right by Cais do Sodre is the Time Out Market, which has collected some of Lisbon’s best eateries all under one roof! It’s one of my favorite places to snack in Lisbon.

If you ate at LX Factory, you probably won’t be hungry for a full meal here, but I suggest at least grabbing a pastel de nata (or two) at Manteigaria.

It’s often considered to be one of the best pasteis de nata in the city, and you might as well get one so you can compare it to Pasteis de Belem… for research purposes, of course.

Don’t eat too much, though, as I recommend a food tour later on in the evening!

Cost: Free to enter, though you’ll hardly be able to leave without a taste of something

Hours: 10 AM to midnight daily (open until 2 AM Thursday, Friday, Saturday).

Ascend with the Ascensor da Bica

If you have time to kill before dinner, I suggest either taking the Ascensor da Bica (free with a Lisbon card) or snapping a photo of it as it runs!

The area around Palácio de Xabregas (look it up on Google Maps) should be a good place to get a good snap.

I saw a lot of thirsty Instagrammers around this intersection when I was taking the ascensor up the hill!

Check the views from the Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara

One of the prettiest miradouros in Lisbon, I adore this view which gives you a gorgeous panorama of Alfama and Sao Jorge castle from the other side.

Unfortunately, there were large railings that have been added recently which detracted quite a bit from the view.

I’m not sure if they’re permanent or temporary, but they were there in March 2019 when I visited.

Recent TripAdvisor reviews seem to indicate they’ve been removed as there have been no recent mentions of them, so let us know in the comments what your experience is if you visit!

See the graffiti-covered Ascensor da Gloria

The Ascensor da Gloria is yet another one of Lisbon’s elevators, but this one is particularly cool because it passes a ton of gorgeous street art called Galeria de Arte Urbana.

Plus, the funicular itself is usually covered in graffiti too! It’s a must for street art lovers.

Cost: 2.90 euros one-way to take it or you can easily just walk (though the cobblestones are a bit slippy, so be careful!); included on your Lisbon transit pass

End your time in Lisbon on a tasty note with a food tour

There’s so much good food and wine to be had in Portugal, and if you have only 2 days in Lisbon, you better make the most of it!

If you’re a foodie I strongly recommend dedicating your last evening in Lisbon to taking a food tour to discover the culinary culture of this delicious city!

If you’re vegan, check out this guide to eating vegan in Lisbon.

Whether you want to take a private food tour with a local or a group food tour based on a specific theme, there are plenty of excellent food tours for all budgets and styles to choose from.

A great option for people who don’t love guided tours but do love to eat with the guidance of locals is the bitemojo self-guided tour, which you can book here.

It’s all run via an app using GPS, and it includes six tastings for a fixed price, giving you the history of where you’re walking and alerting you of cool things along the way.

I did a bitemojo tour in Barcelona and loved it, and while I haven’t tried out the Lisbon one myself, I would definitely recommend one in Lisbon if you want a budget-friendly, self-led tour.

Book your self-guided food tour today!

Alternately, if you want the guidance of an expert and the community of a group tour, I strongly recommend this Inside Lisbon food tour which has over 600 positive reviews.

It’s affordably priced and lasts three hours, and it includes several tastings of delicious Portuguese wine and food like cod cakes, vinho verde, port wine, chouriço, Portuguese tapas called ‘petiscos’ and more!

Book the tour online here!

This 3-hour history and food tour run by Discover Lisbon is a great and affordable food tour option alternative as well.

It covers small plates at three different restaurants and three glasses of wine.

Book your food and history tour online here!

More Than 2 Days in Lisbon?

yellow and red castle in sintra portugal a good add-on to a lisbon itinerary

Have some extra time in Lisbon?

The next thing you ought to prioritize is absolutely a day trip to Sintra, just outside of Lisbon.

This Sintra day trip will bring you to Pena Palace and other Sintra landmarks, as well as Cabo da Roca (the westernmost point of continental Europe), and Cascais.

It allows for a nice blend of organized transportation and guidance as well as free time to enjoy the sites at your own pace.

Book this Sintra, Cabo da Roca and Cascais day trip!

Other Lisbon & Portugal Resources

Lisbon is one of my favorite cities, and I visit it at least once a year! I have guides on where to stay in Lisbon, the best photography spots in Lisbon, as well as how to pick between Lisbon or Porto.

Not sure when to visit Lisbon? I love the off-season! Here’s my guide to visiting Lisbon in March.

If you’ll be visiting Porto, check out my Porto itinerary as well as my guide to day trips from Porto and a road trip guide to getting to Porto from Lisbon (plus how to rent a car to do just that!)

Finally, why not add on a trip to the Azores when you’re in Portugal? It’s one of my favorite places in Europe!

Read about where to stay in the Azores and what island to pick, what to do in Sao Miguel, my Sao Miguel road trip itinerary, and tips for driving in the Azores.

I also have a handy Azores packing list!

18 Lovely Things to Do in Lisbon in Winter

photo from lisbon's main square

Lisbon has been a hot destination in Europe for a few years now, and the hype continues to draw more visitors. 

However, while most people visit the city during the summer or shoulder months, visiting Lisbon in winter has several advantages. Most notably, you can avoid the crowds!

If you travel to Lisbon from November to February, you’ll find that the city still has plenty to offer, even if the weather isn’t great.

 Planning your trip to Lisbon at the last minute?

Here are my quick picks on what to do & where to stay!

🍷 Top Lisbon Experiences:
1. Fado Live Show with Port or Portuguese Tapas
2. Pena Palace, Sintra, Cabo da Roca, & Cascais Day Trip
3. Oceanário de Lisboa (Lisbon Aquarium) Ticket

🏨 Best Lisbon Hotels:
1. My Story Hotel Rossio (centrally located boutique hotel)
2. Pousada de Lisboa (Small Luxury Hotel of the World member)
3. Home Lisbon Hostel (mix of dorms and private rooms)

✈️ Flying in? Book an airport transfer with Welcome Pickups — they’ll greet you at the airport, help with bags, & bring you into the city, all pre-booked!

A vibrant city square at night featuring a towering illuminated Christmas tree adorned with golden lights and swirling designs. Beside it stands an elegant fountain with water gracefully arching from its tiers, silhouetted against the ambient city lights. People gather and relax in the foreground, while festive decorations and cityscape details in the background.

With a bit of luck, you can still get sunny days even though temperatures are a bit lower. 

Winters in Lisbon tend to be mild, and it rarely stays cold or rainy for more than a couple of days in a row.

I spent two winters in Lisbon while living and working there, and I enjoyed the winter season just as much as the others! 

The city squares are made festive with Christmas markets, the main attractions are less crowded, and the museums offer opportunities to stay warm and enjoy a pleasant couple of hours admiring art or learning about history. 

Read on to discover the best things to do in Lisbon in winter, from visiting popular tourist attractions to discovering hidden gems. 

Also, if you plan to visit Porto in winter too, read this companion guide!

The Best Things to Do in Lisbon in Winter

Explore the remarkable Wonderland Lisboa.

A close-up view of a tray filled with caramelized almonds, labeled "Amêndoa Caramelizada" on a chalkboard sign. Beside it are other trays of assorted treats, a metal scoop, and a clear plastic bag for packaging. The glistening almonds appear crunchy and sweet at a Christmas market.

While Lisbon may not be your typical winter destination, it does offer several wonderful winter activities, including many Christmas markets!

Wonderland Lisboa is the largest market in the city, occupying the massive Parque Eduardo VII near Marques de Pombal Square.

From late November to early January, Wonderland Lisboa offers an array of Christmas activities and countless food and drink stalls.

A luminescent Ferris wheel in motion at nighttime, its radiant blue and white lights creating a dazzling circular blur against a dark sky, with a background of illuminated star-shaped decorations and glowing lampposts at a CHristmas market in Lisbon in December

There’s even an ice-skating rink for people to immerse themselves in the Christmas atmosphere… even when the weather isn’t exactly Christmas-like.

Exploring Wonderland Lisboa is free, so what better way to spend a late afternoon or evening in Lisbon?

Warm up with some mulled wine and a simple (but tasty!) pão com chouriço (bread with sausage), go ice-skating, and maybe hop on the Ferris wheel for a panoramic city view.

Wander through the city without the crowds.

A picturesque urban scene of a grand archway with ornate stone carvings and a clock. Adjacent to the archway are bright yellow-colored buildings with white trims and Christmas decorations visible but not illuminated as it is still the daytime.

Winter is the perfect season to enjoy Lisbon without the usual crowds that flood its streets from April to October, especially during the summer months. 

If you visit any time from November to February, you’ll find mostly locals and expats in Lisbon, so it’s a great time to be there if you’re not a fan of the crowds.

Of course, the weather in winter can vary a lot, so you’ll need a bit of luck. While it doesn’t get too cold (usually above 15°C or 59°F), it can be very windy.

With some luck, you’ll get some pleasant days with clear blue skies so you can enjoy exploring the city. 

Here’s just a few ideas of what to do in this less-than-crowded winter city!

You can stroll along Via Augusta, see Praça do Comércio virtually empty, visit Castelo do São Jorge, get lost through the charming alleys of Alfama, and watch the early sunset from one of the dozens of miradouros

Discover other Christmas markets in Lisbon.

A festive city square at night with a luminous Christmas tree, a prominent statue on a column, bustling market stalls, and people milling about on a patterned pavement. Surrounding buildings emit a warm glow, adding to the ambiance.

Wonderland Lisboa may be the biggest Christmas market in the city (and all of Portugal), but there are many others you can check out!

Smaller Christmas markets pop up all over the city, the most important ones being in Praça do Rossio (pictured above), Campo Pequeno, and Alvalade

However, if you spend some time wandering around, you’ll certainly stumble across other smaller markets.

If you want to go in with a little more advance preparation, you could plan to visit a different Christmas market each evening.

All markets offer food and drink options, so you can try different Portuguese tapas (petiscos) and other delicacies while staying warm with the ever-present mulled wine. 

It simply doesn’t get more Christmassy than this!

Visit the Fado Museum.

Facade of "Museu do Fado" with a green signboard, flanked by the Portuguese national flag and the European Union flag. The entrance features large glass windows and green ornate gates. The building has a pastel pink colored exterior and green sign.

If you’re looking for an indoor activity in Lisbon during the winter months, you absolutely have to visit the Fado Museum.

Fado is a unique music genre born in Lisbon in the early 19th century, right in the historical neighborhood of Alfama

The Fado Museum is one of the most unique museums in Lisbon, and the perfect place to learn more about the city’s cultural heritage.

Fado is just as representative of Lisbon as the historic yellow trams riding through the narrow alleys of Alfama!

This interactive museum allows you to discover the history of fado and listen to some of the most iconic songs. The entry ticket is only 5€. 

Attend a Fado show

After learning all about fado music at the Fado Museum, why not attend a fado show in Alfama, the birthplace of the music genre?

Many restaurants offer dinner with afado show, so you can just walk around Alfama and check out a place that inspires you. 

Alternatively, you can plan ahead by booking a Fado show experience online. You can choose between several combinations, like this fado live show with Port wine or this one with Portuguese tapas

Last but not least, you could simply enjoy a beautiful live show (no dinner or drinks) at Fado in Chiado

Check out impressive art at the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum

Modern concrete building with a large green-tinted window overlooking a serene pond. Lush reeds and grasses grow along the water's edge, and a bird is seen gracefully swimming on the water's surface. Exterior of the museum in Lisbon in winter.

If you’re passionate about art, the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum is home to some genuinely impressive masterpieces.

The collection belonged to the British-Armenian businessman and philanthropist Calouste Sarkis Gulbenkian and is among the most important private art collections. 

The modern museum was built specifically to house the roughly six thousand pieces that Gulbenkian collected throughout his life.

The range of origins and styles is breathtaking, including Egyptian, Greco-Roman, Mesopotamian, Armenian, and Eastern Islamic art. 

In addition to that, you can also admire paintings by Rembrandt, Monet, Degas, and Renoir and sculptures by Rodin and Pigalle, to name just a few, all in one place!

The museum is open every day except for Tuesdays, and adult tickets are 10€. And even better — the museum offers free admission every Sunday after 2 PM!

In addition to the permanent collection, there’s always some temporary exhibition you can check out. 

Discover exotic plants at Estufa Fria.

Lush indoor botanical garden housed under a large metal-framed glass ceiling. The space is filled with an array of tropical plants, including tall palms, leafy ferns, and broad-leaved plants. A meandering path invites visitors to explore the verdant surroundings, while the transparent ceiling allows natural light to illuminate the vibrant greenery.

The lovely Estufa Fria is a big greenhouse in Parque Eduardo VII, where you can enjoy a walk among exotic plants!

The space is divided into three different environments housing plants from all over the world. 

Unlike most botanical gardens, the Estufa Fria is nearly all indoors, so you can visit it even on a rainy day. 

The cool thing about Estufa Fria, aside from being a gorgeous lush space, is that it’s among the lesser-known spots in Lisbon, with much smaller crowds. 

Even better, the entry fee is only around 3€, so it’s a bargain for a pleasant and informative visit. 

Admire the azulejos at the National Tile Museum.

The staircase at the Museo Dos Azulejos in Lisbon Portugal as seen from the tile-covered walls and view

Azulejos are the gorgeous painted tiles that cover the façade of many buildings and even important monuments in Lisbon and throughout Portugal (especially in Porto!).

Along with canned sardines and cork, tiles are probably the most iconic things about Portugal, so they also make for great gifts!

The National Tile Museum, officially known as the Museu Nacional do Azulejo, is housed inside the 16th-century Madre de Deus Convent and displays a vast collection of decorative azulejos.

Through examples of beautifully decorated tiles, you can learn about the history of azulejos in Portugal from the 16th century until the present day. 

The museum is a bit far from all the main attractions, but you can get there by bus or catch the metro to Santa Apolónia and walk for about 20 minutes. It’s one of the most photogenic places in Lisbon, so it’s worth it!

While you’re there, be sure to check out Monkey, one of the iconic sculptures by Bordalo II, on a building close to the museum. 

Go shopping at Centro Vasco da Gama.

Modern urban plaza under a clear blue sky, featuring a row of neatly planted trees and a paved open space. In the foreground stands a large, abstract metal sculpture with spiky extensions. Behind the plaza, there's a distinctive building with a rounded, dome-like roof

Another way to stay warm in Lisbon in winter is by heading to one of the massive shopping malls for shopping, dining, or even watching a movie.

Lisbon has several shopping malls with dozens of shops, restaurants, and movie theaters, but Centro Vasco da Gama is among the biggest, and certainly one of the most popular. 

Centro Vasco da Gama is in Parque das Nações, the most modern area of Lisbon, located close to the airport.

The district was originally developed for the 1998 Lisbon World Exhibition and later transformed into the modern residential and commercial area you can explore today.

You can combine your shopping mall visit with a stroll along the Tagus River or a cable car ride with a view over the imposing Vasco da Gama Bridge (book online here!).

Escape to the underwater world at the Lisbon Aquarium.

Underwater aquarium tunnel where visitors are silhouetted against the illuminated waters above them. A large shark gracefully swims overhead, casting a shadow amidst the shimmering ripples of light reflected on the water's surface.

If you head over to Parque das Nações, you can also visit the Oceanário de Lisboa, one of Europe’s largest aquariums. 

The aquarium’s main attraction is a massive tank housing roughly 100 marine species.

Four other tanks complete the exhibition, each dedicated to a specific marine habitat.

The aquarium is a popular destination during the peak tourist season, but it’s much less crowded in winter.

Plus, it’s all indoors, which makes it perfect to escape a cold, windy day in Lisbon. 

The only downside is that it’s slightly pricy for Lisbon standards. An adult ticket is 25€, and you can buy it online here.

Head to Sintra and Visit Palacio da Pena with fewer crowds.

Pena Palace in Sintra - Portugal - red and yellow castle with the rolling hills of sintra and the surrounding landscape in the background

The National Palace of Pena is among the most popular attractions in Portugal, so you can rarely expect to find it without crowds. 

However, if you visit in the offseason, between November and February, you’ll likely find it much more manageable with fewer people around.

You should, nonetheless, avoid the holiday season, when Lisbon sees an increase in tourism.

Pena Palace is a spectacular hilltop palace in Sintra, overlooking the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park.

With its colorful towers and terraces, the palace is among Portugal’s most iconic landmarks and a must for anyone visiting Lisbon.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

You can reach Sintra by train in just one hour from Lisbon to do an independent day trip or join one of the many day trips from the Portuguese capital, like this Pena Palace, Sintra, Cabo da Roca, & Cascais Day trip.

Check out the Christmas market in Sintra.

A picturesque nighttime scene of a Sintra square during the holiday season. Illuminated buildings line the streets, A vibrant Christmas tree, adorned with radiant red and white lights, and lights up on the hills above the town.

If you take a day trip to Sintra to visit the gorgeous palaces, you should also stop by the Christmas market!

The Reino do Natal Market takes place between Parque da Liberdade and Sintra’s main square, Terreiro da Rainha Dona Amélia, right by the Sintra National Palace

Like all Christmas markets, it features small wooden huts selling all kinds of foods, drinks, Christmas decorations, and souvenirs.

The area in Parque da Liberdade is particularly charming, immersed in the lush vegetation of the small park.

Both locations are just a short walking distance apart so it’s easy to check out both!

Have brunch at one of the many hip cafés.

A close-up view of a dining table where two people are enjoying a gourmet brunch. In the foreground, there's a plate of French toast garnished with fresh berries and dusted with powdered sugar, accompanied by a side of syrup. Next to it, another plate showcases a vibrant assortment of foods: creamy scrambled eggs sprinkled with herbs, avocado slices garnished with radish and greens, and a slice of toast spread with a green dip

Lisbon has changed a lot in recent years, for better or worse. 

One of the most notable changes is the opening of dozens of specialty coffee and brunch places!

While once you would only find a handful of such places in the entire city, they are now everywhere. 

If you’re a brunch fan, there are many options all over Lisbon’s center.

Try delicious smoothies and pancakes at Fauna & Flora, have an Instagram-worthy brunch at Dear Breakfast, or, if you have the patience, line up for brunch at Nicolau, one of the most popular spots in Lisbon.

Visit the Jerónimos Monastery without the crowds.

A sunlit Gothic courtyard with intricately carved arches and stone columns, overlooking a historic building, at the famed Jeronimos Monastery in Lisbon, a UNESCO site.

The Jerónimos Monastery is among Lisbon’s must-see landmarks, along with the nearby Belém Tower.

Both attractions are in Belém, a district of Lisbon a bit further away from the city center. 

Not coincidentally, the two monuments are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Built in the early 16th century, the Jerónimos Monastery is among Portugal’s most significant examples of Manueline architecture, also known as Portuguese Gothic architecture.

During the busy season, you can stand in line for hours to enter. Visiting in winter means shorter and faster lines, so take advantage of this!

You can get to Belém by train from Cais do Sodré in under 10 minutes, but buses and trams are also available.

Note that while you can buy skip-the-line tickets online, those only allow you to skip the ticket queue.

There are entry limits, so you may still need to stand in line to enter until a spot clears up. 

The same thing goes for the Tower of Bélem entrance tickets; you can skip the on-site ticket booth but there is still often a wait to enter the tower.

Seeing these two sights together (as well as visiting the Museu Nacional dos Coches and getting fresh custard pastries at Pastéis de Belém) is the perfect way to spend a day in Lisbon!

Sample Portuguese and international cuisine at Time Out Market.

Time Out Market in Lisbon as seen from above

The well-known Time Out Market is a big food court close to Cais do Sodré station, with various stalls and small restaurants serving all kinds of Portuguese and international cuisines.

You can sample anything from burgers and pizza to Portuguese tapas and desserts. 

The great thing about Time Out Market is that the food stalls are all around the court while the seats are at the center.

If you’re traveling with a group and everyone wants different things, you can just split up to go pick up your various delicacies before coming back together to enjoy the food!

Plus, it’s indoors, so you can escape the cold. Be sure to stop by the Manteigaria for the best pastéis de nata in Lisbon (in my opinion!). 

Ride the historical yellow trams.

A historical yellow tram in the Chiado area of Lisbon

A fantastic activity to try on a cold winter day in Lisbon is riding one of the yellow historical trams.

Most trams pass through Alfama, the most characteristic neighborhood in Lisbon. 

Trams sometimes pass through streets so narrow that you could put out a hand and touch the buildings. These spots make for some iconic pictures.

The trams can be extremely crowded in the peak season, but you can find them nearly empty in winter, so you can sit and enjoy the ride.

Tram 28 is the most popular one, connecting Martim Moniz to Campo de Ourique and passing through the lovely neighborhoods of Alfama, Baixa, and Estrela. 

Avoid the 3€ fee by getting a 24-hour ticket or rechargeable Viva Viagem ticket (the same cost as the subway or bus) if you have a few days in Lisbon.

Check out the charming Christmas market in nearby Óbidos.

A picturesque townscape with orange-tiled rooftops, white buildings, and a prominent medieval castle in the background, with a white CHristmas tree like structure being built for the holidays, and some festive decorations.

If you’re up for a short day trip just north of Lisbon, Óbidos is the most charming place you could ever hope to visit in winter!

The walled medieval town is home to one of Portugal’s most delightful Christmas markets, Óbidos Vila Natal

The whole town turns festive, but the main activities are around the Óbidos Castle.

Fairy lights, small, wooden houses, and holiday decorations combined with medieval architecture turn the town into a true fairytale village. 

The best way to get to Obidos is by car, but you can also catch a bus from Campo Grande. 

Stay warm with a drink at a quirky bar.

Man's hand serving an orange drink with crushed ice and mint

Lastly, the perfect way to enjoy a winter evening in Lisbon is to enjoy a cocktail or a glass of wine in one of the many bars around town.

Lisbon is known for its party scene, so it doesn’t lack bars, and some are truly original.

Two of my favorite spots to enjoy a drink on a cold evening are Pensão Amor and Foxtrot.

Pensão Amor is a former brothel in the Baixa district with quirky décor and several rooms in different styles. 

Foxtrot is a speakeasy close to Principe Real with a 1920s vibe and vintage décor.

Of course, if you look around, you’ll find many other cool places all over the city. 

27 of the Best Instagram Spots in Lisbon

If you’re planning a trip to Lisbon, get your camera ready — this is one of the most photogenic cities in all of Portugal, if not Europe!

As a blogger, I’ve been a victim of the mercurial nature of the Instagram algorithm quite often — but nothing revived my likes quite as much as my trip to Portugal.

People just love this candy-colored city, from its azulejos to its yellow trams to its colorful houses with laundry fluttering in the breeze.

yellow tram in front of a cathedral in lisbon

I’ve spent a few weeks exploring Lisbon and while I’m not the best Instagrammer out there by a long shot, I have come up with a few of my favorite Instagram spots in Lisbon.

I’ve also included quite a few off the beaten path Lisbon photography locations you won’t find in just any guide.

If you’re planning more of your Lisbon trip, be sure to also read my two-day Lisbon itinerary for more tips beyond just photography spots… or one day if you only have limited time.

2022 Entry Requirements for Portugal

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, there are certain entry requirements in place for entering the country of Portugal.

I’ve updated this post as of February 9, 2022, and all information was correct at the time of writing. 

However, confirm with Portugal’s official website, as you’ve prbably figured out after the last few years of pandemic times… things can change quickly!

Check the list of countries allowed to enter Mainland Portugal on their website. The USA and UK are currently included (note: Canada is not included at the time of writing, but this may change).

You must present one of the following if you are over the age of 12. 

  1. A negative PCR test taken with 72 hours
  2. A rapid antigen test taken within 24 hours of boarding
  3. An EU Digital Covid Certificate OR similar certificate from one of the 33 permitted countries. *NOTE: The US is not included.

You must also submit a Passenger Locator Card before departing.

Until recently, the EU digital certificate (Green Pass) was required for staying in hotels and eating at restaurants. 

This meant that non-EU citizens who weren’t one of the 33 listed countries could effectively enter the country but not dine at restaurants or stay in hotels… making travel very difficult for them!

However, a friend who is residing in Portugal recently informed me that as of the first week of February, this requirement has been dropped within the country and this is no longer required.

Where to Stay in Lisbon

Depending on what your travel style is and your budget, there are plenty of great neighborhoods to choose from in Lisbon.

I detail all my favorite neighborhoods and top recommendations for each neighborhood in my comprehensive Lisbon neighborhood and hotel guide, which you can read here. However, I’ll also sum it up here!

I’ve mostly picked hotels in the hip Baixa-Chiado area, which is easy to get to all points on your Lisbon itinerary from.

Budget: Home Lisbon Hotel

Even if you are on vacation in Lisbon, the feeling and comfort of being home is something that Home Lisbon Hotel wants you to experience!

This hostel gives you a choice of private or shared rooms. The private rooms are quite small, but the amount of space is good enough for backpackers looking for a good private room in Lisbon on a budget.

The décor game is strong here at Home Lisbon, despite the budget prices: perfect for people who want a place to stay in Lisbon that has personality. There are vintage black and white photos as well as colorful prints hung on the wall, which add a retro vibe.

In the shared rooms, the bunk beds have curtains that you can close to ensure privacy when you’re sleeping — something that I always enjoy, especially when an inconsiderate dorm-mate turns on the lights upon arriving late at night.

You can also choose a mixed-sex room or an all-female room, as well as rooms as large as quadruples with private bathrooms if you’re traveling with friends.

Check out guest reviews, prices, and availability at Home Lisbon Hotel here 

Mid-Range: My Story Hotel Rossio

My Story Hotel Rossio wants just that: to tell you a story in every area of the hotel!

It is a four-story building with 46 rooms, which originally dates back to the 18th century.

The hotel makes use of modern and very artistic décor – it is a play between modern and classic pieces, which works in perfect harmony.

They only have soundproofed double rooms, but there is one room where you can have a view of beautiful Rossio Square.

The private bathrooms also feature a hairdryer, a separate shower area, towels, and free Rituals shower gels and shampoos.

The restaurant, Café Portugal, is considered as one of the historic places in the area where you can best taste traditional Portuguese cuisine.

The restaurant also has a very romantic appeal, perfect for a date or special occasion. A must-try is their grilled octopus: tender, charred in all the right places, and so fresh!

Check out guest reviews, prices, and availability at My Story Hotel Rossio here 

photo from lisbon's main square

Luxury: Pousada de Lisboa

The word “pousada” literally means an inn, but this 5-star hotel, Pousada de Lisboa, offers way more than that with its 90 fully decorated rooms!

From afar, the building stands out because of its bright yellow color, but the gorgeous design inside is nothing to sneeze at either!

Their private rooms have ensuite bathrooms with designer toiletries and bathtubs, high-speed WiFi internet, and well-stocked minibars.

The floors are made from hardwood, and the headboards are decorated with embossing, flourished with intricately detailed wall panels that scream luxury.

If you’re traveling with a larger group or family, they also have a family room that’s very extravagant and spacious, which is perfectly lit by a ritzy chandelier and some chicly dim lamps.

On-site dining is definitely a must at Pousada de Lisboa. Their Rib Restaurant specializes in meat dishes – their steaks are a must-try!

They also have other luxury amenities like an indoor and heated pool, a spa with all the amenities you can think of, and a fitness center.

Check out guest reviews, prices, and availability at Pousada de Lisboa here 

The 27 Best Instagram Spots in Lisbon

Ler Devagar

https://www.instagram.com/p/B194RrIl_m0/

Literally “read slowly” in Portuguese, this hip bookstore in the lively LX Factory multi-use space is one of the best Instagram spots in Lisbon.

It’s photogenic from nearly every angle, but for the best shot, head to the upper floor and walk towards the front of the building so you can get the best shot of the whole upper and lower levels.

Tip: bring your best wide angle lens for this, or your smartphone will do in a pinch, but you likely don’t want any zoom.

Street art at LX Factory

https://www.instagram.com/p/B1-1anfoD2O/

Besides the ultra-Instagrammable bookstore Ler Devagar, there are some other Lisbon Instagram spots at LX Factory that you shouldn’t miss before moving onward with your Lisbon itinerary.

Don’t miss the opportunity to snap photos of some of the incredible street art decorating LX Factory, which change frequently but always inspire.

“Birds” of LX Factory

https://www.instagram.com/p/B1914BnHFpr/

One of my favorite art installations in LX Factory are the “birds” which are strung up along the main walkway through the multi-function space, which look as if they are in mid-flight.

Taken against a setting sun, or from a low-to-the-ground angle, it’s a wonderfully artistic photo opportunity to explore in Lisbon.

Rooftop at Rio Maravilha

https://www.instagram.com/p/B2DLnsJB05l/

While at LX Factory, try to time it for sunset so that you can enjoy drinks on the rooftop of Rio Maravilha, which has stunning views of the Tejo River and especially of Lisbon’s “Golden Gate” Bridge and imitation Christ the Redeemer statue.

Rio Maravilha serves delicious cocktails as well as Portuguese and Brazilian inspired small plates, so it’s a great place to watch the sun go down while enjoying one of the best little-known yet ultra Instagrammable places in Lisbon.

Livreria Bertrand

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bv4l6UZHrbV/

Less well known in terms of Lisbon Instagram spots than Ler Devagar, the beautiful Livreria Bertrand is well worth visiting beyond just its photogenic exterior — it’s the oldest continually-running bookstore in the world, even surviving the devastation of Lisbon’s 1755 earthquake.

While I love the tile-covered exterior, the interior is a little less photogenic, but it’s still well-worth exploring while you’re visiting Lisbon.

Azulejos at Miradouro Santa Luzia

https://www.instagram.com/p/BvXZB0dnhsJ/

Some people can be disappointed that Lisbon doesn’t quite have as many azulejos (blue and white Portuguese tilework) as Porto, where they are at seemingly every other turn.

You have to do a little more hunting for the best azulejo Instagram spots in Lisbon, but one of them is located in a super prime location in Alfama — it’s a place that’s hard to miss.

Cemiterio do Alto do Sao Joao

https://www.instagram.com/p/BvaLYwhHDf7/

Only in Lisbon would a cemetery make a list of the most Instagrammable places, but here it is! Of course, let me put the disclaimer here that this is a place of mourning and that you should be respectful when visiting — avoid obnoxious selfies and take photos of the beautiful grounds rather than of yourself.

Cemeteries in Portugal are unique because many mausoleums were built above ground to house the dead. Supposedly, this is due to the risk of earthquakes unearthing the dead – a bit creepy, but the result is quite beautiful and certainly unlike other cemeteries I’ve visited in my travels.

There are two such cemeteries in Lisbon, Alto do Sao Jaoa and Prazeres, both created after a cholera epidemic which swept through the city. Both are beautiful, so choose whichever one you’d like to visit based on what makes the most sense for where you’ll be.

Museu Nacional do Azulejo

https://www.instagram.com/p/B00wA2BF0HM/

Dedicated to the history of this distinctly Portuguese art form, the azulejo, you shouldn’t miss this incredible museum in Lisbon which is both informative and one of the best Lisbon photography spots for tilework.

There are countless spots here at this museum that are worthy of being deemed Instagrammable, but the courtyard of the old convent, azulejo-tiled staircase, and wall of the church attached to the museum are my personal favorites. Give yourself at least two hours to explore this museum and take in both its information and its photography spots — it’s well worth it!

Lisbon Cathedral

The largest church in Lisbon is interesting to visit from the interior, as inside you can see a small exhibit on the work that was done to restore it after the horrible earthquake of 1755.

However, my personal favorite Lisbon photography tip for the cathedral is to walk a bit down the street from it and wait for one of the iconic yellow trams to come by! Be prepared to wake up really early for this shot if you don’t want people in it, as the Lisbon Cathedral is one of the most popular places to visit in the city.

Torre de Belém

https://www.instagram.com/p/B1i8UlqFvui/

One of the most iconic Instagram spots in Lisbon, you simply can’t miss visiting the Belém Tower. This is where many of the most famous Portuguese sea voyages started!

Show up really early well before it opens at 10 AM if you want photos like this one, as otherwise it’s incredibly crowded.

Mosteiro Dos Jeronimos

https://www.instagram.com/p/B2C3xQVob5Y/

While in Belém, don’t miss the Mosteiro Dos Jeronimos (Jeronimos Monastery) which is another fantastic photo opportunity as well as a UNESCO World Heritage site in Lisbon.

The historic cloister area is extremely ornate and is one of the best places to take photos. However, it can be quite busy, so I recommend coming here close to when it opens to avoid the crowds, perhaps after photographing the Torre de Belém.

The exterior is also really beautiful, so don’t forget to walk around it and take some photos of the outside as well, and be sure to check the small attached chapel where some of the most famous Portuguese heroes such as Vasco de Gama are buried.

Pasteis de Belém

https://www.instagram.com/p/BzJEbA6HXfa/

Of course, while in Belém, you can’t miss one of the most delicious pastries, the pastel de nata, at Pastéis de Belém.

By chance, the pastel de nata is nearly as Instagrammable as it is tasty — especially when held against a traditional tile wall if you eat inside or with some creative focusing taken from the street.

Padrao dos Descobrimentos

https://www.instagram.com/p/B2Clz7XCSMm/

One final Lisbon Instagram spot to see in Belém is the interesting Padrao dos Descobrimentos, an homage to the Portuguese Age of Exploration (and, uh, subsequent violence and colonization, but they kindly leave that part out).

The monument itself is very interesting, as is the mosaic map on the ground near the monument which traces some of the routes of Portuguese explorers most important historical voyages.

Supposedly, the view from the top of the monument is well worth seeing, but I haven’t gone up there myself!

Casa do Alentejo

It may look like a palace, but it’s actually a restaurant! While the exterior is plain, entering will reveal a gorgeous Moorish-style interior that blends the Arabic and Portuguese influences into its own divine style.

The food served here is from the region of Alentejo and is supposed to be quite tasty, so it’s worth a stop during your time in Lisbon, to dine as well as snap photos.

Panteão Nacional

The Panteão Nacional is beautiful itself, but perhaps the best reason to go is for the views over Alfama and the River Tejo from its exterior terrace at the very stop!

You have to ascend a lot of stairs to get to the viewing platform, but I think that you’ll agree it’s worth it for those Tejo views!

Villa Sousa

While virtually every facade in Lisbon is basically picture-perfect, there’s something I especially love about this facade on Rua Largo Graça.

To find it, look for the restaurant O Botequim on Largo Graça 79 – it’s just a few doors down.

Miradouro de Nossa Senhora do Monte

https://www.instagram.com/p/BW8HgpDjPaB/

Built on the tallest hill in all of Lisbon, the Miradouro de Nossa Senhora do Monte is one of the best places for views in the city.

Not only do you have the most height, you also can see one of the more photogenic elements of the Lisbon skyline – the Castelo do Sao Jorge – prominently from this miradouro!

Miradouro da Graca

https://www.instagram.com/p/BcRPTooFiSy/

Yet another beautiful miradouro, perfect for sunset views over Alfama!

This one is a bit less crowded than other miradouros in the Alfama/Graça area, so it’s a nice break from the crowds you’ll often find around Portas do Sol.

Jardim da Cerca da Graça

https://www.instagram.com/p/ByED9ITIYZ5/

With its beautiful porticos, make a stop at the underrated Jardim da Cerca da Graça.

It’s an easy add-on stop while you’re at the nearby miradouro for yet another stunning Instagram spot in Lisbon.

Palácio dos Marqueses da Fronteira

This Lisbon hidden gem is little known by tourists but I think it’s one of the most Instagrammable places in Lisbon.

Since it’s a bit out of the way of the main tourist circuit, located near the Sete Rios neighborhood which is more residential, it’s not usually very crowded.

It’s located sort of nearby Lisbon’s main bus station so if you’re heading on a day trip out of the city or are about to go onwards to your next destination, it’s an easy place to stop on the way.

Praça do Comercio

https://www.instagram.com/p/BAS5_NZtMSy/

If you haven’t been to the Praça do Comercio, it’s almost like you haven’t been to Lisbon. Visiting this praça (plaza) is basically inevitable when visiting Lisbon!

Set at the intersections of the Tejo River and the Rua da Prata, one of the more important streets in Lisbon, the canary-hued and enormous Praça do Comercio is one of the main symbols of the city and it’s a beautiful Lisbon Instagram spot! Its grand arch, its yellow buildings on all sides, and its wide-open space guarantee gorgeous photography opportunities abound.

Miradouro das Portas do Sol & Lisbon History Arch

This is a two-for-one Lisbon Instagram spot! Upstairs, you’ll find gorgeous views at the Miradouro das Portas do Sol — and a ton of crowds, as this is one of the more popular viewpoints in Lisbon.

Find some stairs to the side of the main miradouro area and go about halfway down and you’ll see the history of Lisbon sketched out in comic-strip like panels.

It’s a bit of an open secret, but there will be far fewer people snapping photos here and you can do some cool framing (though you will likely have to wait a bit if you want a clear, people-free shot).

Ascensor Da Bica

https://www.instagram.com/p/BvOiA_ZFjlw/

One of Lisbon’s famous elevators, the Ascensor da Bica is, in my opinion, the more photogenic of the two I’ll list on this post.

You don’t need to ride the elevator to get the good views. Head towards nearby the Palácio de Xabregas on Google Maps and wait for the elevator to pass for some of the best views of the Ascensor da Bica (bonus: there are azulejos near the Palácio de Xabregas!)

Elevador da Gloria

The Elevador da Gloria is another typical Lisbon elevator, but this one goes up and down an open-air graffiti gallery.

It goes between the Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara and the Baixa neighborhood, passing the outdoor Galeria de Arte Urbana (GAU) street art exhibitions along the way.

Again, no need to ride it if you don’t want to: you can pose by it while it’s stopped (…without blocking the flow of people who actually want to ride it please) or walk down along its pathway to see the street art on display.

Gare do Oriente

I wouldn’t necessarily say to come out of your way here just because it’s a Lisbon Instagram spot, but if you’re heading to another destination in Portugal in your trip by train, try to leave from the stunningly modern Gare do Oriente if you can!

I left out of here when heading to Porto from Lisbon and it was definitely worth heading a bit more out of town to leave from here and see the cool train station.

Carmo Convent

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The remains of a convent that was largely demolished by the huge Lisbon earthquake has now been converted into an archaeology museum complete with mummies.

Despite being in a popular area of Lisbon, it usually isn’t too crowded, and I’m a bit surprised because I find it a really visually stunning place to photograph.

Castelo do Sao Jorge

Of course, the Castelo do Sao Jorge is one of Lisbon’s best photography spots…. but I put it last on my list because it’s basically the epitome of overtourism in Lisbon.

I hope I’ve shown you through this post that there are dozens – no, hundreds – of awesome Instagram spots in Lisbon both on and off the beaten path.

There’s no reason to go to every spot that everyone else does, especially when stunning buildings, beautiful viewpoints, exquisite tilework, and surprising architecture is basically everywhere you go in Lisbon.

You can go to the Castelo do Sao Jorge, of course – just be aware that there’s often over an hour’s line to get in and the views from there are no better than at any other miradouro in the city!

Where to Stay in Lisbon: Neighborhood + Hotel Guide

If you’re planning a trip to Portugal’s vibrant capital city, one of your main questions is likely where to stay in Lisbon for the first time!

I’ve cultivated this guide to the best areas to stay in Lisbon as a result of the three weeks I’ve spent traveling all over Lisbon.

Here’s a guide to where to stay in Lisbon including my seven favorite Lisbon neighborhoods, all central to the city and a perfect gateway to exploring all that this gorgeous, hilly city has to offer.

Lisbon used to be a fantastic budget destination, but unfortunately, now that the secret is out about this charming Portuguese capital, prices for Lisbon accommodation are much higher than they used to be.

yellow tram in front of a cathedral in lisbon

Still, I did my best to represent different extremes of the budget spectrum.

I’ve included my top pick for each neighborhood in each of the following budget categories: budget (under $100 USD a night, and cheaper when a hostel is available), mid-range ($100-200 USD a night), and luxury ($200+ USD a night).

Of course, actual prices depend on a variety of factors, such as if you’re traveling in peak-season or off-peak, how many people are in your party, how far in advance you book, etc.

2022 Entry Requirements for Portugal

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, there are certain entry requirements in place for entering the country of Portugal.

I’ve updated this post as of February 9, 2022, and all information was correct at the time of writing. 

However, confirm with Portugal’s official website, as you’ve prbably figured out after the last few years of pandemic times… things can change quickly!

Check the list of countries allowed to enter Mainland Portugal on their website. The USA and UK are currently included (note: Canada is not included at the time of writing, but this may change).

You must present one of the following if you are over the age of 12. 

  1. A negative PCR test taken with 72 hours
  2. A rapid antigen test taken within 24 hours of boarding
  3. An EU Digital Covid Certificate OR similar certificate from one of the 33 permitted countries. *NOTE: The US is not included.

You must also submit a Passenger Locator Card before departing.

Until recently, the EU digital certificate (Green Pass) was required for staying in hotels and eating at restaurants. 

This meant that non-EU citizens who weren’t one of the 33 listed countries could effectively enter the country but not dine at restaurants or stay in hotels… making travel very difficult for them!

However, a friend who is residing in Portugal recently informed me that as of the first week of February, this requirement has been dropped within the country and this is no longer required.

When to Book Your Lisbon Accommodations

I suggest booking your Lisbon accommodation as soon as possible so that the best places to stay in Lisbon aren’t sold out and so that you have the widest variety of options.

Since Lisbon is so popular year-round, there really isn’t much to be gained by waiting to book.

So, without further ado, here are my seven top favorite Lisbon neighborhoods and the best hotels in each!

These are all very central areas, perfect for quick access to sightseeing if you only have a day in Lisbon or a weekend in Lisbon.

This is ideal if Lisbon is your first stop before renting a car and setting off on a road trip, possibly to the Algarve or to Porto.

Best Places to Stay in Lisbon: Neighborhoods & Hotels in Each One!

Baixa: Lisbon’s Low-Lying Central Neighborhood

buildings in the low-lying baixa district of lisbon, one of the top places to stay in lisbon

Baixa, often grouped with Chiado due to their proximity, is the lower part of the Lisbon city center, which makes up a rectangular grid of streets that are mostly filled with brand name shopping, larger hotels, and restaurants.

If you don’t love getting lost in Lisbon’s winding streets in Alfama or hoofing it up the hill to and from Bairro Alto, Baixa is a great choice as it’s flat, conveniently located for getting around by foot, and wonderful for traveling by metro.

The heart of Baixa is the gorgeous Praça do Comércio, a royal square with gorgeous views of the Tejo River.

With its beautiful archway and signature yellow colored shops and restaurants lining the plaza, it’s one of the most Instagrammable places in Lisbon.

The archway will lead you to one of the main shopping streets in the city, Rua Augusta, which was designed by Marques de Pombal and has his signature architectural style.

Nearby to Praça do Comércio is the Lisbon Story Center, a museum that presents the history of Lisbon in a fun and interactive manner.

Another main feature of Baixa is the Santa Justa Elevator, which for a steep fee will sweep you up a steep hill in a gorgeous Art Nouveau-architecture elevator designed by one of Gustave Eiffel’s disciples.

The lines for the elevator are often extremely long and usually not worth waiting in; however, for those visiting Lisbon who have limited mobility, it can be a perk, as this easily brings you up to the Convento do Carmo and the Bairro Alto area.

Finally, don’t miss the hidden gem bookstore Bertrand Bookshop: it’s the oldest continually running bookstore in the world, supposedly!

It was founded in 1732, pre-earthquake, and while it was damaged badly in the earthquake, it was rebuilt beautifully.

It has a gorgeous tiled exterior and an excellent selection of both English and Portuguese-language titles, and it’s a must-visit for any bookworm visiting Lisbon.

Budget: Home Lisbon Hotel

Even if you are on vacation, the feeling and comfort of being home is something that Home Lisbon Hotel wants you to experience.

This hostel gives you a choice of private or shared rooms. The private rooms are quite small, but the amount of space is good enough for backpackers looking for a good private room in Lisbon on a budget.

The bathrooms are extremely clean and new. However, toiletries are not provided so it is best to bring travel-sized shampoos and shower gels with you (check my Europe packing list for recommendations).

The décor game is strong here at Home Lisbon, despite the budget prices: perfect for people who want a place to stay in Lisbon that has personality. There are vintage black and white photos as well as colorful prints hung on the wall, which add a retro vibe.

In the shared rooms, the bunk beds have curtains that you can close to ensure privacy when you’re sleeping — something that I always enjoy, especially when an inconsiderate dorm-mate turns on the lights upon arriving late at night. You can also choose a mixed-sex room or an all-female room.

The shared bathroom has a seating area inside, where you can wait if someone else is using the mirrors or the sink. If you’re traveling with friends, a good option may be a quadruple room with a private bathroom.

All rooms are hypoallergenic, non-smoking and soundproof. Heating and A/C is also provided, so regardless of the season you visit, you are surely kept warm or cool!

Guests will feel secure with their 24-hour service desk, and if they need any local tips or anything to photocopy then you can simply ask them.

Just outside the hotel is Nicolau Café, which the hostel promotes to their guests as a delicious place where you can have lunch, dinner, or breakfast.

Check out guest reviews, prices, and availability at Home Lisbon Hotel here 

Mid-Range: My Story Hotel Tejo

At this gorgeous boutique hotel near the Tejo River, you can choose from a private room (single or double) or an apartment-type room with one bedroom.

All rooms are maintained daily by their housekeeping staff, and each room also has an ensuite bathroom that’s spacious and complete with all the toiletries you’d need.

The beds are also extra comfortable and a great place to relax due to the soft headboard, where you can relax your back and read a book or check the latest social media updates.

There is also a seating area with a lamp, in case you want to write or work on something inspired by Lisbon!

If you plan on getting their apartment-type room, you will surely enjoy all the features like a kitchenette (where you can cook because it has its own oven, stovetop, and kitchenware), a sofa bed (where you can entertain guests or where someone can also sleep), and a dining area (complete with dinnerware).

There is a restaurant on-site, called O Poço, where you can enjoy a Portuguese buffet selection. Aside from this, they also have special menus for people with dietary requirements.

You can also rent bicycles at the hotel so that you can roam around easily in nearby places (though I definitely recommend sticking to the streets of Baixa and the Tejo waterfront — those hills are no joke!).

If you’re traveling long-term, you can do your laundry easily for a reasonable fee. This hotel is a one-stop shop for guests who like to get things done quickly and easily in a central, convenient Lisbon neighborhood.

 Check out guest reviews, prices, and availability at My Story Hotel Tejo here 

Luxury: Pousada de Lisboa – Small Luxury Hotels of the World

The word “pousada” literally means an inn, but this 5-star hotel offers way more than that with its 90 fully decorated rooms!

From afar, the building stands out because of its bright yellow color similar to the Arco da Rua Augusta.

The lobby offers some refreshments like lemonade and fruit-infused water to quench your thirst after some sightseeing, and provides you with daily newspapers to keep you up to date with local news.

What’s great about their private rooms are the ensuite bathrooms with designer toiletries and bathtubs, high-speed WiFi internet, and well-stocked minibars.

The floors are made from hardwood, and the headboards are decorated with embossing, flourished with intricately detailed wall panels that scream luxury.

If you’re traveling with a larger group or family, they also have a family room that’s very extravagant and spacious, which is perfectly lit by a ritzy chandelier and some chicly dim lamps.

On-site dining is definitely a must at Pousada de Lisboa. Their Rib Restaurant specializes in meat dishes – their steaks are a must-try!

An indoor pool offers a spectacular oasis away from the occasional hecticness of Lisbon city life.

They also have other amenities like an indoor and heated pool (perfect if visiting Lisbon in March or other cooler times of the year), a spa with all the amenities you can think of, and a fitness center.

Check out guest reviews, prices, and availability at Pousada de Lisboa here 

Bairro Alto: Lisbon’s Nightlife Heart

Literally meaning “high neighborhood,” that sums up Bairro Alto quite well!

Two ascensors (elevators) connect lower Lisbon (Baixo) to Bairro Alto.

There’s Ascensor da Bica, which connects the Cais do Sodré area near Lisbon’s waterfront to Bairro Alto, letting you off near the Miradouro de Santa Catarina.

There’s the Ascendor da Glória, right next to one of the best miradouros in the city, Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara.

The Glória elevator also connects you to Baixa via an open-air street art ‘gallery.’ And of course, the Elevator of Santa Justa which I’ve already mentioned.

So it’s quite well-connected to other parts of Lisbon if you don’t feel like handling those hills.

Bairro Alto is also one of the main nightlife areas in Lisbon, and it’s a popular place to see fado shows.

One of the best places to see fado in Lisbon is at Tasca do Chico, in the heart of Bairro Alto.

Note that is is one of the louder Lisbon neighborhoods, since it’s an all-night party hub.

I’ve checked the hotels’ reviews to see if noise was an issue for past guests, but things do change!

I recommend double-checking each hotel’s reviews specifically to check that noise wasn’t an issue for recent guests if that’s a concern for you and you’re sure you want to stay in Bairro Alto.

Or, if you’ll be out all night — the noise will hardly bother you, as you’ll likely be the one making it!

Budget: Grapes & Bites – Hostel and Wines

Grapes & Bites Hostel offers dormitory-type rooms, double rooms, and suites with a tasty, wine-themed twist!

The bathrooms are a little dated, as it is a budget accommodation, but you can tell that it is maintained and cleaned well.

The use of wine bottles as a chandelier and lighting pieces create an interesting story in their rooms, in keeping with the theme of the hostel.

They also have a lovely lounge area, where you can see (and sample!) their vast collection of tasty Portuguese wines.

The best part of the hotel is the viewing patio and terrace, where you can see a fantastic panoramic view of the city.

Guests have loved the complimentary breakfast they serve, and they think that they have probably one of the best coffee around (for a hostel, at least!)

Family travelers who also want to bring their pets can do so, but you must coordinate it with the property before booking. You can also book shuttle services and rent bikes or cars at their front desk.

However, the location is not suitable for guests with disabilities or mobility limitations. Their facilities are not equipped properly to suit people with accessibility needs, and there are also no elevators.

Check out guest reviews, prices, and availability at Grapes & Bites – Hostel and Wines here

Mid-Range: Selina Secret Garden Lisbon

Someone who wants a close-to-nature ambiance while staying in the heart of the city should choose this Lisbon hotel when choosing where to stay in Lisbon!

Plants are found almost everywhere – even the lounge bars, common areas, and bedrooms! It is a gorgeous way to give a green, relaxing vibe to their guests. As a plant fiend, I’m already sold.

They have a good selection of rooms for every group size: from private single or double rooms, deluxe and superior rooms, suite rooms, and dormitory-type rooms for solo travelers on a budget.

Many of walls are painted with abstract and modern murals, creating a unique aesthetic that adds to the charm of the property.

An added feature of their dormitory rooms is the lighting and curtain cover for each bunk bed — it’s almost akin to a capsule hotel like you’d find in Japan.

Breakfast is not included, but you can get one for $7 USD on-site, which is not bad, but you can also go around nearby cafés and convenience stores for a much cheaper option.

Digital nomads or people who travel for business will enjoy their coworking spaces, where you can get a shared desk (prices start around $11 USD per day), dedicated desk (prices start around $21 USD), and even a monthly desk plan (prices start around $165 USD).

There is a huge balcony with a lot of wicker chairs: a perfect place to chat with friends or just simply relax and look at how beautiful and romantic the surrounding houses are in this part of Lisbon. You can also play pool and meet new people here.

There is also an outdoor pool, which is not that big (it is in the middle of Lisbon, after all!), but you will love how it feels to have your own oasis, especially if in Lisbon in the summer!

The front desk can also arrange a street art tour, foodie tour, or a tour of Belem, so it can be your one-stop shop for exploring whatever side of Lisbon you choose to.

Check out guest reviews, prices, and availability at Selina Secret Garden Lisbon here 

Luxury: The Lumiares Hotel & Spa

This hotel is perfectly located on top of the hill, where you can see charming views of the city.

Printed patterns and geometric shapes add a modern but elegant touch to the décor: you may see it on pillows, carpets, or chairs! It matches perfectly with the modern, clean and crisp style of each apartment.

There are different room types you can choose from: studio apartment, 1-bedroom apartment, 2-bedroom apartment, penthouse apartment (this is the only option that has a private balcony), and a ground floor loft.

They all have a private bathroom, sofa or seating area, safety deposit boxes, mini kitchen, A/C, and heating.

The fitness center and the Lumni Bar and Restaurant (located on the rooftop) are both open 24 hours a day — extremely convenient if arriving late, you have jet lag, or you’re just a night owl!

They also have a small spa where you can get a relaxing massage or body treatment, as well as a sauna and steam bath where you can relax after a tiring day of exploring the city.

Check out guest reviews, prices, and availability at The Lumiares Hotel & Spa here

Alfama: The Oldest Lisbon Neighborhood

Alfama is my personal favorite neighborhood in Lisbon. It’s where I stayed last time, and I’m pretty sure I’ll keep staying here time and again.

It’s one of very few parts of Lisbon that wasn’t totally destroyed by the 1755 earthquake.

As a result, this is one of the older and more in-tact parts of the town, giving it a one-of-a-kind aesthetic in the city.

The famous 28 Tram winds its way through Alfama, but don’t get tourist-trapped into taking it — lines are insane, trams are super-crowded, and it’s a pickpocketer’s dream.

Try the 12 instead, which makes a circle between Baixa and Alfama.

You can snap some photos of the 28 as it makes its rounds: the best photo opportunity is by the Miradouro das Portas do Sol, one of the best views in the city.

OK, I know I say that about virtually every miradouro, but it’s truly a tough race to call!

Beneath the miradouro, don’t miss the História de Lisbon mural, located in an archway down a staircase. It’s a popular spot for photos, though it’s less known than the miradouro itself.

I’m also a big fan of the Miradouro de Santa Luzia, which has gorgeous azulejos, brilliant pink flowers, and stunning Tejo River views from its scenic pergola.

In the Alfama neighborhood or immediate vicinity, you’ll also find the Lisbon Cathedral, National Pantheon, Feira de Ladras (twice-weekly flea market) and tons of fantastic restaurants, shops, and cafés.

This is also another popular area for seeing fado, with famous fado houses such as Senhor Fado in the area, as well as the famous Museo do Fado (absolutely worth a visit!).

Budget: City Guesthouse Alfama

It is conveniently located near one of the stops of Tram 28; while I do recommend taking other Lisbon trams, seeing the 28 Tram with your own eyes is still a bit magical!

The rooms are very simple, just enough for a good night’s sleep on a budget – the two options are private and shared rooms.

Bathrooms are all shared, but they do provide free toiletries and hair dryers. A kitchen and game room are also available for all to use.

However, note that past guests felt disappointed that there was no luggage storage option just in case you need to check in early or check out and your flights are still at a later time and you want to enjoy the city a bit more.

Also note that there are also no elevators in the property, only stairs, so people with heavy luggage are in for a workout!

Due to its budget-friendly cost, good hospitality, and clean rooms, this simple yet comfortable guesthouse in the heart of Alfama usually has a high demand. It is also one of the best places to stay for solo travelers.

An added note for travelers would be to check a map for the address of the location. Since it is located in a historical area, they’re not allowed to put any signage in front of their building, so you’ll want to have the address noted.

Check out guest reviews, prices, and availability at City Guesthouse Alfama here

Mid-Range: Hotel Convento do Salvador

The 3-star hotel honestly looks like an old convent (not sure if it was before — the name would suggest it!).

The style of the hotel focuses on minimalist decors and architecture, but if you notice the artwork, they’re uniquely made by local Portuguese artists.

They have multiple room configurations: you can choose a room with a view of the beautiful Tejo river (this one is mostly sold out!) or a room that is comfortable and accessible for guests with disabilities or accessibility needs.

Fun fact: it is one of the most eco-friendly hotels in Lisbon, so if the environment is important to you, this is where to stay in Lisbon!

It makes use of a centralized system for ensuring energy savings for their A/Cs, ventilation, and water systems. The rooms also automatically turn off all electrical sources if not in use and most spaces make use of natural lighting.

Breakfast is optional if you want to save $11 USD, but just in case you would like to try it, then you can pay the same price on-site. They serve it on the mezzanine, where you can also see the reception.

There’s also a lounge bar that offers different kinds of beverages from teas, coffee, cocktails, and aperitifs that you can partner with some delightful snacks.

The hotel joins a partnership with the Youth Center to support cultural activities, and they allow them to use their business and meeting facilities. It is not just a vacation getaway, but also a place where they mold the future of the younger generation of Lisboetas!

Check out guest reviews, prices, and availability at Hotel Convento do Salvador here 

Luxury: Santiago de Alfama – Boutique Hotel

A truly world-class and 5-star experience is something you can expect from Santiago de Alfama!

This gorgeous hotel used to be the Palácio dos Castros, a lovely old building restructured to a boutique hotel.

It has been featured in several different magazines and newspapers, winning several international awards, including one of the best kid-friendly luxury hotels.

The rooms are all spacious and bright, designed with an eye towards clean lines and simple elegance.

Hardwood floors and intricately-patterned wall panels also make the rooms feel luxurious yet down-to-earth and natural.

If you want a view of the river (and I mean, it’s the Tejo: who doesn’t?), then you need to choose the standard double room because it has a small balcony where you can also see the city and the nearby fado houses.

You can also check the a la carte menu at their restaurant and Bar Audrey’s (a.k.a. A Fábrica de Santiago).

They serve breakfast and dinner, as well as cocktails and petiscos (Portuguese snacks, similar to Spanish tapas) in the afternoon until the evening.

Those who feel like they deserve to treat themselves should check their in-house salon for some treatments, massages, and other beauty and wellness packages!

 Check out guest reviews, prices, and availability at Santiago de Alfama – Boutique Hotel here 

Príncipe Real: Chic & Shopping District in Lisbon

Príncipe Real is one of the more upscale and trendy neighborhoods in Lisbon, and it’s priced to match with some of the more spendy accommodations in Lisbon to be found here.

However, for those seeking peace and quiet a little way from the center action where all the tourists are, yet not too far from Lisbon’s best sights, it’s worth it.

You can easily walk to Baixo or Bairro Alto, but you’ll be well away from those crowds.

The neighborhood is centered around Jardim do Príncipe Real, a wonderful park for relaxing in Lisbon’s seemingly perpetually beautiful weather.

It’s also a fantastic area to indulge in some shopping. One of the main shopping streets, Rua da Escola Politècnica, is chock-full of hip boutiques and vintage shops.

And you can’t miss the most famous shopping mecca in Príncipe Real, the Embaixada.

Originally, it was a palace (the Riverio da Cunha Palace, to be specific) and this 19th-century palace done in the neo-Moorish style has been beautifully brought back to life as a shopping gallery selling Portuguese wares.

But mostly, it’s a place for peaceful local living, a central neighborhood in Lisbon that hasn’t yet been taken over too much by mass tourism.

Budget: Flores Guest House

Flores Guest House is a wonderful property near the park!

I love how they mix and match boldly printed walls with horizontal lines and the rugged concrete-like wall panels to create a unique and interesting aesthetic.

The décor uses both modern and natural materials for their design. You will notice a lot of wood and fiber on the lampshades, chairs, and beds while the sofa and bed are mostly linen with neutral colors like gray, white and black.

They add pops of color on the throw pillows, otherwise skeeping things fresh and neutral.

You can choose from a single or double room with a view of the garden, an apartment with 1-bedroom (there are upper and ground floor choices), a penthouse with a balcony, a junior suite, and a 1-bedroom apartment with a mezzanine (this one is really homey!).

The breakfast basket is also something that you can look forward to every morning!

Check out guest reviews, prices, and availability at Flores Guest House here

Mid-Range: 1869 Principe Real

The guesthouse has an exterior of gorgeous red tiles and bricks. It’s a small and intimate guesthouse, with a total of just 9 rooms and suites.

All are fully equipped with an A/C, heating, safety deposit boxes, ensuite bathroom with free toiletries, and an electric kettle.

Note that only the executive suite has a balcony and only the double room has a terrace.

All rooms are spacious and have a seating area, fireplace, and comfortable beds plus a washer and dryer for your laundry.

Breakfast is included in your stay. You have to try their fresh bolos that you can partner with some deli meats, cheese, fruits, coffee, and tea.

Guests loved how it was located in a quiet area and how the owner can help you book last-minute reservations with nearby cafés, restaurants, and other arrangements!

 Check out guest reviews, prices, and availability at 1869 Principe Real here

Luxury: Memmo Principe Real – Design Hotels

This is one of the 5-star hotels of the Memmo Group, famed for their aesthetics and design. It’s located in the heart of Príncipe Real and is relatively small, with just 41 rooms.

It is believed that a member of Portuguese royalty once lived in the property before it was transformed into a luxury hotel!

The rooms have a very elegant contemporary style, sleek and modern. The private bathrooms also have Hermés shower gels, conditioner, lotion, and soap.

You will also see artworks by famed Portuguese artists in some areas as well as a portrait of Don Pedro V at the entrance.

Breakfast is not inclusive of your stay, but you can have it at a surcharge in their Café Príncipe Real, a restaurant that offers Portuguese cuisine.

Just right outside its balcony is an outdoor pool that looks beautiful, especially at night when its floor is lit and glittering in the night sky — plus a gorgeous view of the city that will mesmerize you!

There are also wicker chairs around the area where you can sit back and chill. From 1 pm until midnight you can check their rooftop bar for a nice view while drinking some of their craft cocktails. 

Check out guest reviews, prices, and availability at Memmo Principe Real here

Mouraria: Lisbon’s Lively Former Moorish Quarter

Bordering Alfama and Baixa, Mouraria is also known as the Moorish District, centered around the Martim Moniz and Intendente metros.

Frankly, I had heard some bad things about Mouraria on other blogs, but visiting there, I found the area to be safe, vibrant, and diverse in a way that is missing in a lot of Lisbon, which has gentrified rapidly.

Sure, it’s “rough around the edges” in a way that Principe Real is not, but I loved it.

I loved that I could find Nepalese and Chinese food restaurants alongside Mozambican and Goan restaurants, all with a more local feel than most other Lisbon neighborhoods.

My husband also lived in Mouraria for his several years he spent living in Lisbon and never had any issues in the neighborhood, ever, so I feel comfortable recommending it to all.

Mouraria doesn’t have so many attractions as other Lisbon neighborhoods, but its proximity to Lisbon, Baixa, and Chiado are all great selling points.

It’s also home to some local gems like the delicious seafood restaurant Ramiro, which was featured on No Reservations (show up early or be disappointed!), as well as great shopping like at A Vida Portuguesa and Ó! Galeria.

Budget: Hostel 15

This budget hostel in Mouraria has single, double and quad rooms to choose from — you can also request one with a balcony.

There is not much décor in the rooms, but it is a decent place to stay especially given how cheap it is!

All of their bathrooms are shared, but maintenance is frequent to keep shared areas fresh. Housekeeping also works daily to maintain the cleanliness of the property, one of the things that guests have loved.

 Check out guest reviews, prices, and availability at Hostel 15 here 

Mid-Range: OnJ S. Lazaro Lisboa

This is an apartment-style hotel that just started its operations in 2017. The property was also renovated to function as a hotel, but it originally traces back to 1830.

The rooms are simple and modern, using neutral and basic hues to create a soothing color palette, and choosing only hypoallergenic materials.

You can choose from a studio or an apartment with 1 or 2 bedrooms.

The private bathroom has a divided wet and dry area and they also have modern perks like of rain showerheads (my favorite!) and marble floors.

Some people love their rooms cleaned every day, but most travelers don’t really stay that long in their room or create much of a mess.

For skipping the replacement of your towel and cleaning, you can get a €5 voucher which you can use at their café or bar — eco-friendly and economical.

If you want to tour around the area, there are bicycles available that you can rent on-site!

 Check out guest reviews, prices, and availability at OnJ S. Lazaro Lisboa here

Luxury: 1908 Lisboa Hotel

This is a very gorgeous 4-star hotel (awarded with a Valmor Prize) with old-style Art Nouveau architecture from when it was built in 1908.

It was later on restored (and still is perfectly maintained) and operated as a luxury hotel.

The moment you arrive, you will be welcomed warmly and given a drink!

The property may seem a bit small from the outside, but inside it has big and spacious rooms.

Each room is super clean and all floors are carpeted, plus the beds are large with sturdy but comfortable mattresses.

Added features of their rooms include a balcony and an ensuite bathroom with a walk-in shower complete with Castelbel-branded toiletries.

You can also check their art galleries and dine or try the alcoholic drinks at their Infame Restaurant and Bar, which is loved by locals.

There’s a funny bit of history behind the name of the restaurant: a King was once assassinated in the famous avenue, and this made the Queen shout the words “Infame!” which means infamous.

Check out guest reviews, prices, and availability at 1908 Lisboa Hotel here 

Chiado: Lisbon’s Chic, Chilled Out Neighborhood

The neighborhood of Chiado has been called bohemian and been compared to the Montmartre district of Paris.

If you were to take the Santa Justa lift up from Baixo, it’d connect you to Chiado near one of it’s main and most important sites, the gorgeous and impressive Convento de Carmo.

This old convent is now an archaeological museum after having been destroyed in the 1755 Lisbon earthquake.

Of course, the much faster and cheaper way is to simply walk up from Baixo!

Chiado is home to some wonderful quiet gems, such as the São Roque Church, several theaters such as São Luiz and São Carlos, as well as the Praça Luis de Camões.

It isn’t the most jam-packed place when it comes to Lisbon attractions, but its proximity to Bairro Alto, Baixa, and Cais do Sodré make it a popular place for Lisboetas and tourists alike to hang out.

Budget: BoHo Guesthouse Rooms & Apartments

This is one of the best budget guesthouses and apartments in Chiado.

Most of the rooms have a communal bathroom, but you can choose a room that has a private external bathroom or a quad room that has an ensuite bathroom.

Every floor has a communal bathroom (3 for each floor) so you won’t expect long waiting times.

The rooms are not decorated very uniquely, but you can tell that it is clean and organized. It also has features like hardwood floors, WiFi, heating, and TV. 

Some rooms do have a balcony, so make sure to request one if you want some views from your room.

A shared kitchen is also available for you to prepare or cook some easy meals, and (bonus!) there’s also a dishwasher to help you clean the dishes.

However, the rooms do not have an A/C (which would be a problem during the summer), though fans are provided for each room.

Guests reported that the staff were also very attentive when it comes to assisting their needs and were happy with their stay given the price.

 Check out guest reviews, prices, and availability at BoHo Guesthouse Rooms & Apartments here 

Mid-Range: My Story Hotel Rossio

My Story Hotel Rossio wants just that: to tell you a story in every area of the hotel!

It is a four-story building with 46 rooms, which originally dates back to the 18th century.

The hotel makes use of modern and very artistic décor – it is a play between modern and classic pieces, which works in perfect harmony.

They only have soundproofed double rooms, but there is one room where you can have a view of beautiful Rossio Square!

The private bathrooms also feature a hairdryer, a separate shower area, towels, and free Rituals shower gels and shampoos.

The restaurant, Café Portugal, is considered as one of the historic places in the area where you can best taste traditional Portuguese cuisine.

The original café had been closed down around the ’70s, but people missed it enough that the property decided to reopen it in 1983 and named it after the original name of the café.

The restaurant also has a very romantic appeal, perfect for a date or special occasion. A must-try is their grilled octopus: tender, charred in all the right places, and so fresh!

Check out guest reviews, prices, and availability at My Story Hotel Rossio here 

Luxury: Lisboa Pessoa Hotel

This 4-star hotel is on a steep hill and it has been constructed with careful thought, dedicated to the poetry and written works of Francisco Pessoa whom the hotel is named for.

There is even a room with a library dedicated to his masterpieces inside!

It has 75 elegantly styled rooms with carpeted floors and huge double beds with wooden headboards that have built-in dimly-lit lamps for reading or mood lighting.

The ensuite bathrooms feel super lavish because the floors and walls are all made of gray and white marble!

An alluring view of the city awaits you at their rooftop, where you’ll find the bar and restaurant Mensagem.

The breakfast buffet option also has a good variety and you can choose from continental, vegetarian, or gluten-free!

Their luxury amenities include an indoor pool, heated pool, hammam, steam room, and a fitness center.

They also have a spa where you can get different kinds of therapeutic medical treatments, healing rituals, and massages for a totally relaxing break!

 Check out guest reviews, prices, and availability at Lisboa Pessoa Hotel here 

Cais do Sodré: Lisbon’s Waterfront Neighrbood for Food & Fun

Named for its metro station, which is the terminal of the line, Cais do Sodré also has a train station which can take you to Belém or even to Lisbon’s neighboring towns where you enjoy beautiful beaches such as Cascais.

There are also a lot of lovely waterfront areas to sit and chill or relax with a coffee or a drink, though these waterside cafés are often overpriced for the quality. But hey, it’s all about that Tejo view!

Cais do Sodré is considered one of the better nightlife areas in Lisbon, especially around the so-called “Pink Street” which you undoubtedly have seen on Instagram!

Nowadays, Cais do Sodré is most famous for its Time Out Market, where you can have tastes of some of the most delicious Lisbon restaurants all under one roof.

It is always quite busy and packed in there, but that’s what happens when you combine some of the best places in Lisbon all under one roof!

I strongly recommend grabbing a pastel de nata at Manteigeira – it’s the best pastel de nata outside of Belém.

Budget: Lost Lisbon Cais House

This guesthouse is on the third floor of a historical building. The design would best be described as shabby chic, using furniture pieces that aren’t uniform.

Mostly, they are old pieces refurbished to look beautifully new while keeping its original structure.

The doors of each room were intentionally made to look raw (no varnish and paint) and like it has stood the test of time.

The use of colors like turquoise blue, yellow, and royal blue perfectly matches the wooden floors and furniture (as well as the vintage décor).

Some of their walls also have an artsy vibe due to the murals, which are mostly modern and abstract paintings.

High ceilings are also seen in most of their common areas and rooms, which gives a sense of a much bigger space.

However, they do not have 24-hour front desk and there’s no elevator in the property.

Another thing that guests loved most about the hotel is the boutique feeling despite the budget cost of the rooms which makes it a very good deal.

You really get a piece of the fragments lost from the modernization of Lisbon – which is what I think the name is trying to indicate!

Check out guest reviews, prices, and availability at Lost Lisbon :: Cais House here 

Mid-Range: Lx Boutique Hotel

This 4-star hotel overlooks the Rio Tejo and was formerly known as Hotel Bragança.

The lobby area is really charming, with vertical blue lines for the wallpapers and accented with some blue and white Portuguese Coimbra pottery.

At their 24-hour front desk, they do have some Portuguese tarts (pastel de nata) and drinks that you can sample for free!

Some walls of the rooms have luxury printed wallpapers with different patterns, images, and shapes. Floral prints are also seen in their sofa, pillows and chair covers.

What’s good about their rooms is the variety of types to choose from to suit a variety of group sizes!

The in-house restaurant, Confraria Lx, offers a wide variety of dishes from salads to tapas – though the best time to eat here is during the afternoon when they provide complimentary sushi (ummm, reason alone to book!).

A bar and jazz club are also available at the hotel for people who want to mingle and have some drinks at night.

Note that sometimes the music from here can be a bit loud, so it would be advisable to choose a room on an upper level. Past guests have said that once you shut the windows and balcony doors, the rooms are soundproof.

Check out guest reviews, prices, and availability at Lx Boutique Hotel here 

Luxury: Corpo Santo Lisbon Historical Hotel

This hotel has a total of 75 rooms with options from suite-type (8 rooms all in the topmost floors), double, and family.

The rooms are spacious and only make use of earth tones and wooden furniture to give a soft and soothing aesthetic.

The beds are sturdy with comfortable mattresses and extra-long beds — great for the taller travelers amongst us!

Their rooms all have an ensuite bathroom with Molton Brown London bath and body products plus chromotherapy if you’re feeling extra fancy!

Coffee and tea making facilities are also available and some rooms even have Nespresso machines so you can make your own cup just how you like it.

There’s also Porter’s Restaurant, which has international cuisine and fusion dishes with a well-marked menu that caters to guests with food allergies and intolerances.

The hotel also offers wellness facilities like a fitness center, an indoor pool and a spa (packages are also offered).

It’s a rather popular property, so book in advance — at the time of this writing, 44 guests had booked at this property within the last 24 hours!

 Check out guest reviews, prices, and availability at Corpo Santo Lisbon Historical Hotel here 

5 Delightful Reasons to Visit Lisbon in March

When I was planning a trip from Bulgaria this spring, Lisbon pretty immediately came to mind.

I had visited Lisbon for the first time in August 2018 and promptly fell in love with the city. But the heat and tourist crowds definitely was a strike against it!

When I returned to Lisbon in March this year, I was doubly enamored with the city.

Far from being cold and gloomy as I feared, Lisbon was delightfully warm and sunny, reminding me exactly of spring days back in California.

In fact, I think March in Lisbon may just be the best time of year to visit (though the rest of winter isn’t bad, either!)

Why You Should Visit Lisbon in March

Lisbon in March has almost no crowds

There’s no denying that Lisbon has been a major victim of overtourism.

Cheap flights, generally low prices in Portugal, and tons of “Instagrammability” make Lisbon one of the most impacted European cities in terms of overtourism.

I get a bit annoyed when I hear travel influencers declaring that they don’t promote traveling to destinations suffering overtourism.

Not because I don’t believe overtourism is an issue, but because it has a gate-keeping feel to it.

Basically: I went, but you can’t. A similar phenomenon occurs in discussions of the merits of geotagging.

However, I do think that being cognizant of how you affect the destination that you’re visiting is key when it comes to visiting places that are suffering from overtourism.

Visiting Barcelona in February is much, much different than visiting Barcelona in July.

I recognize that not everyone has the liberty to decide when to visit a place, especially teachers (which I used to be for five years) and families with school-age kids.

But for those who can, I recommend visiting the more touristic places in the off-season and saving your peak-season travel for emerging destinations which could use more tourism, like Albania or Azerbaijan.

And since Lisbon is such a delightful place to visit in March, it’s hardly a sacrifice.

Yet Lisbon isn’t that cold in March

Lisbon’s March average temperatures are definitely on the warm side. Your average daytime high is 65 °F / 18 °F, while nights dip to around 51 °F / 10 °C.

That said, it can get even warmer than that. During my 2 week stay in Lisbon, I had some days that were in the low 70s °F / low 20s °C.

The reason for this is that Lisbon is quite far south in Europe but also because it benefits from the jet stream which blows warm air across the Atlantic.

This has a moderating effect on the climate, so that summers aren’t quite as scorching as they could be and winters aren’t nearly as cold.

In fact, there are tons of sunny days in Lisbon in March

I was pleasantly surprised, and definitely a little lucky, that I didn’t experience a single day of rain over my two weeks in Lisbon.

While that’s not always going to be the case – my friends previously visited Lisbon in March and said it rained for three days straight – my experience isn’t totally unusual.

According to WeatherSpark, the chance of a rainy day in March in Lisbon is about 17%, less than 1 day in every 5.

So while you won’t exactly want to go swimming, you likely won’t be rained out of your trip.

On the other hand, Porto is very rainy this time of year, so it’s not a good time to visit Porto.

But there are plenty of indoor things to do if it rains

However, even though I was blessed with abnormally good weather in Lisbon this March, there would have been a lot to do anyway.

In fact, because I was enjoying visiting the more offbeat side of Lisbon, I was spending a lot of time in its quirky museums and delicious African restaurants.

That was a fun way to explore a different side of the city, rather than bouncing around from tourist-clogged miradouro after miradouro.

Some of my favorite unique and quirky museums are as follows: National Coach Museum, the Museum of Fado, the Geographic Society of Lisbon’s Museum, and the Doll Hospital.

And if it gets cold, you can warm up with some delicious spice and flavor

We also really enjoyed exploring Lisbon’s delicious culinary scene, which is far more diverse than you’d imagine from first glance.

Portugal’s colonial legacy, while bringing plenty of violence and displacement to those lands it pillaged and claimed, has a more palatable taste today – literally.

Many people from Portugal’s former colonies (spread across Africa, the Americas, and Asia) have immigrated to Portugal for various reasons, many of them bringing their food culture to Lisbon with them.

And let me tell you, while I like Portuguese food, it’s not something I could eat every day.

Truthfully, Lisbon’s culinary map is all the richer for the diversity of the people who call this city home!

While I definitely gorged on traditional Portuguese foods like bacalhau and pastel de nata, we also explored an alternative side to the Lisbon culinary scene.

We really enjoyed supporting immigrant-owned businesses like Cantinho do Aziz (Mozambican food), Anastacia’s (Cape Verdean food), and Chongqing Hot Pot (Sichuan food).

Where to Stay in Lisbon in March

yellow tram in front of a cathedral in lisbon

If you’re visiting Lisbon in March, you’ll find a lot of great deals on accommodations. Here are a few of the hotels I recommend for each budget category.

Budget: For a central option that won’t break the budget, I recommend NOMAD 64. Given high marks for cleanliness and their great breakfast spread and bonus points for friendly staff, it’s a great, affordable option in Lisbon.

With a variety of room options, from dorms to private rooms, there’s something for every budget and travel style.

Check prices and availability here.

Mid-Range: For a cute guesthouse that will welcome you warmly without costing an arm and a leg, and a variety of room configurations for every group size and budget, I recommend Rainbow Guesthouse 56.

It’s adorable, packed with personality, and has a great location near the metro.

Check prices and availability here.

Luxury: If you want to stay where the stars stay (literally, Madonna stayed here for a month!) in a former palace converted into one of the leading hotels of the world, you can’t miss Pestana Palace.

I actually got to spend two nights here on a family trip and can vouch that it lives up to the reviews. A stay here is truly an incredible experience!

Check prices and availability here.

21 Practical Things to Know Before Visiting Lisbon for the First Time

Lisbon is beloved for its canary-yellow streetcars, delicious food, tile-covered buildings, and gorgeous viewpoints.

But there’s more to Lisbon than meets the eye, and this guide to the crucial things to know before visiting Lisbon for the first time will lay it out for you.

I’ve been to Lisbon twice and my ex-partner used to live there and brought me around the city, so I know the city well.

However, this post is brought you to by a true Lisbon local, Marco Santos, who will truly lead the way on the best way to visit Lisbon.

Below are his tips for visiting Lisbon, as written by a local expert.

Practical First Time in Lisbon Travel Tips

1. When to visit Lisbon?

Set at the edge of Western Europe, Lisbon enjoys almost year-round sunshine and some of the best weather compared to the rest of Europe, making it a great all year destination to visit.

Peak travel season in Portugal is generally during the months of July & August, which also happens to be Lisbon’s hottest months. This is also the time of year when accommodation and travel prices do tend to peak.

Although winter in Lisbon is far milder than the rest of Europe and the Christmas market season in Lisbon is well worth experiencing, the winter months do tend to be the rainy season.

If visiting between the months of February and April, you are far more likely to encounter rain than any other month.

Personally, I love the months of May & June or from mid-September through to October.

2. How long to visit Lisbon?

Whilst Lisbon may not be the largest of European cities, there is still so much to see and do both in and surrounding Lisbon.

In order to start scratching the surface of this incredible city, I would recommend you spend at least a minimum of 3 to 4 nights or more in Lisbon. You will honestly not get bored easily here, even if staying for a full week.

However, if you have one day or two days in Lisbon, you can still see a lot if you follow the right itinerary (hint: it’s ours!).

3. Where to stay in Lisbon?

In order to be smack bang in the center of all the action, I always recommend that travelers consider staying central in the areas around Chiado, Baixa, Rossio, Principe Real, or even along the gorgeous tree-lined avenue of Avenida Liberdade.

Avenida Liberdade is far less crowded and touristy but still an easy walk into downtown Lisbon. Whereas trendy Chiado, Baixa, and the area around Rossio is pretty much the heart of downtown Lisbon.

Regardless of which of these areas you choose to base yourself in, there is an amazing selection of good quality, well-priced accommodation in all of these areas, to suit all preferences and budgets.

4. Getting around in Lisbon?

Being a relatively small and compact city, Lisbon is super easy to get around in…. no need to rent a car if you’re just visiting Lisbon!

If you’re staying central to downtown Lisbon, you can easily get by on foot when exploring all the top sights and attractions in Lisbon.

But Lisbon also has a fantastic public transport system, including a metro line that connects various parts of the city.

At present, a one-way metro journey costs only €1.34 and you’re able to purchase a reusable transport card for €0.50, onto which you can top up funds in order to make use of the metro.

Lisbon also has a number of different cab-hailing services in operation. These include Uber, Bolt, and Kapten, to name a few.

If you’re traveling as a group of 2 or more, it may in fact work out cheaper to make use of these cab services compared to paying for individual metro tickets.   

Note: Lisbon is known as the city of seven hills and can get incredibly steep and hilly in certain areas. Travelers with mobility issues should plan carefully when visiting Lisbon.

Also make sure to pack comfortable walking shoes with a good grip as the cobbled streets can get slippery, especially when wet.

5. Is English widely spoken in Lisbon?

Most Portuguese, and even more so in the larger cities such as Lisbon, do speak fluent English, which makes traveling in Lisbon and Portugal in general a breeze.

In saying this, it wouldn’t hurt for you to learn a couple of key Portuguese phrases and greetings, which is always welcomed by the locals. But, they will no doubt switch into English soon after realizing you are a visitor who doesn’t speak the Portuguese language.  

6. Paying with credit cards in Lisbon

When visiting Portugal, you may wonder whether local restaurants and shops would accept only card or cash. Well, the answer is both, really.

Typically, larger shops and restaurants do accept cards although some may only accept local cards and may decline your international card. This is due to the higher merchant fees the provider will pay to process on an international debit or credit card.

Some shops and restaurants also impose a minimum limit of €5 before accepting any card as payment, whereas others may indicate that they only accept cash.

It really is a mixture and as such it’s always good to carry a mix of both card and cash when visiting Portugal.

7. Using ATMs in Portugal

Whilst on the subject of card payments, you will find plenty of ATMs / Cash Withdrawal Machines all over Lisbon. But beware! Whenever you withdraw money, make sure to use the local ATMs named Multibanco. These are the official ATMs in use throughout the country.

ATMs such as the lesser-known (but omnipresent) Euronet ATMs will charge you a fee to withdraw funds, so it’s best to avoid these at all costs.

8. Hotel tourism tax

Lisbon has a local municipal tourism tax that is applied to any hotel/accommodation stay in the city. As of 2019, this cost was set at €2 per night, up to a maximum of €14 per stay.

This charge only applies to travelers over the age of 13 and is usually payable directly at the hotel upon check-out.

9. Tipping in restaurants in Lisbon

Generally speaking, tipping in restaurants isn’t compulsory. Given that all companies are obliged to pay their staff a minimum wage by law, most waiters and waitresses do earn a basic salary.

In saying this, do bear in mind that the minimum wage in Portugal is really low (and the cost of living for locals is rather high), and a small tip would definitely be appreciated.

Also, when the service at a restaurant is particularly exceptional, then I would absolutely leave a tip too.

Tips for Making the Most of Lisbon

10.  What to eat and drink in Lisbon

Calling all foodies! Portugal is a food-lovers’ delight. With so many dishes, pastries, desserts, and drinks to try out, I’m certain you’ll fall in love with Portuguese cuisine.

Some of the main dishes and pastries to savor include the famous Bacalhau à Brás (Cod Fish), which is virtually the national dish as well as the Pastel de Nata egg-yolk custard tarts.

When it comes to wines, Portugal is known world-over for its incredible selection of award-winning wines and Port wines. Make sure to try out the fresh and bubbly Vinho Verde (Green Wine). Or take a shot of the popular cherry liqueur called Ginjinha!

Particularly, when visiting Lisbon, I would highly recommend you go check out the TimeOut food market in the Cais do Sodré area. It’s a vibrant and busy food hall and market where you can sample a selection of both traditional as well as non-traditional foodie options too.

11.  LGBTQ-friendly destination

The Portuguese are warm, friendly, and very hospitable and will welcome you with open arms. Perhaps it’s this open-minded approach, especially in the cities, that has made Lisbon a top destination for LGBTQ travelers. In fact, Portugal is known to have some of the most progressive LGBTQ laws in the world.

In general, gay travelers will have no issue visiting Lisbon and should feel extremely safe and welcome.

12.  Start-up and digital nomad hub

In the last couple of years, Lisbon has garnered somewhat of a reputation as being Western Europe’s new, up and coming start-up and digital nomad hub

Lisbon was thrust into the spotlight when the annual global technology conference, WebSummit, was hosted in Lisbon, which has also been announced as the official WebSummit home for the next couple of years.

Thanks to the relatively cheap cost of living, the fact that most Portuguese speak English, the fantastic weather, and overall balance of life, many expats and digital nomads have made Lisbon their home.

This has led to my co-working spaces popping up as well as various digital nomad meetups, events, and conferences being held in Lisbon.

13.  Lisbon’s incredible views

As already mentioned, Lisbon is a very hilly city. But this has the added advantage of offering up some of the most incredible views out over the city.

In fact, Lisbon is blessed with many ‘Miradouros’ (viewpoints) all over the city, from which you can enjoy gorgeous vistas out over the city and the river Tejo.

Of course, many restaurants and bars have taken advantage of these views too. So, when visiting Lisbon, be sure to head over to one of the many rooftop bars and restaurants such as Topo Chiado, Skybar, Rossio Gastro Bar and Park Bar to name but a few.

14.  Amazing day trips from Lisbon

As I mentioned earlier, there is honestly so much to see and do in, as well as around Lisbon. If you’re planning an extended stay in Lisbon then you should absolutely embark on a day trip from Lisbon.

Thanks to a great rail and coach network, you can easily get to many of the quaint and charming towns and villages surrounding Lisbon. One in particular that should be top of your list in terms of day trips, should be to travel to magical Sintra from Lisbon.

The gorgeous town of Sintra used to be the summer residence of royalty and nobility at the time when Portugal still was a monarchy. Today, you can visit Sintra to admire the many palaces, manor houses, and castles that are found throughout Sintra.

Responsible Travel Tips for Lisbon

15.  Hotels vs. Airbnb

Lisbon has experienced a revival of sorts in recent years. This is largely thanks to the many World Travel Awards the city and Portugal as a country has won, cementing Lisbon and Portugal as a top travel destination.

Both tourists and expats alike are flocking to Lisbon which has sadly caused somewhat of a housing crisis. Rental and Housing prices have skyrocketed in the last few years and so too the number of Airbnb properties. 

Many foreign investors have snapped up properties in downtown Lisbon, refurbished them, and now rent them out on Airbnb.

In fact, in recent months the Portuguese government has put a halt on issuing new ‘Alojamento Local’ licenses (a license required to operate an accommodation establishment), due to the surge in Airbnb properties popping up.

This has resulted in many local Portuguese moving out of the city into the surrounding neighborhoods.

As such, I always suggest to friends visiting Lisbon to much rather consider booking into an already established hotel versus booking an Airbnb.

16.  The truth about Tram 28

Lisbon’s yellow trams are undoubtedly one the most iconic shots you’ll get to see of the city. And one tram in particular has been gaining a lot of attention.

The Tram 28 that starts its route in the square in Martim Moniz has become a tourist hotspot with many bloggers and travel guides listing this as a top thing to do when visiting Lisbon.

But what many forget is that these trams actually do form part of Lisbon’s day to day public transport and the popularity of Tram 28 is causing major headaches for locals who rely on this tram to get around.

The situation has gotten so out of hand that it’s not uncommon to see a queue of tourists stretching several hundred meters line the start of the tram line. This has made it nearly impossible for locals to make use of this service in their day to day life.

As an alternative, rather consider booking one of official hop-on hop-off sightseeing bus tours, or even the paid red tram tour instead.

17. Buying Lisbon tiles

One of the features that many visitors to Lisbon, and in fact Portugal, fall in love with has to be the stunning traditional Portuguese tiles, known as Azulejos. These tiles that often adorn many of Lisbon’s buildings, come in an array of different colors, designs, and styles and are simply too gorgeous.

Visiting flea markets, such as the well-known Feira da Ladra market, you may be tempted to buy some of these tiles being sold by the various street vendors. But, be mindful that many of these are actually illegally stolen by being chopped off buildings and then sold at informal markets or flea markets.

If you do want to buy a beautiful Portuguese tile as a keepsake of your holiday to Portugal, then rather buy these at official and reputable stores.

In downtown Lisbon, you’ll find one such store that specializes in the production of traditional Portuguese tiles. This store, Cortiço & Netos, is located in 37D Rua Maria Andrade and is a great place to buy stunning traditional Portuguese tiles from.

18. Support the tascas and pastelarias – eat like a local

My last tip in terms of responsible and sustainable tourism practices relates to supporting local restaurants and bakeries in Lisbon. Around every corner, you’ll find a local bakery (known as a Pastelaria) or a local restaurant (known as a Tasca).

These are almost always family-run businesses that rely on the community’s support. Plus not only is the food proper traditional Portuguese fare, but they are often cheaper than your mainstream restaurants.

We’ve often eaten at our local Tasca and ordered the menu of the day (O menu do dia) that includes a soup, a main meal, and an espresso, all for under €10.

So, why not ditch the tourist traps and go eat where the locals eat. You won’t be disappointed!

Safety Tips for Lisbon

19.  One of the safest cities in the world

According to the Global Peace Index rankings, Portugal is regarded as the 3rd safest country in the world. I can honestly say, in the last three years of living in Portugal, that I’ve never felt uneasy or unsafe.

Naturally speaking, any city will have its good and bad areas, and even in the 3rd safest city in the world, you may still encounter unpleasant incidents. But these are honestly few and far between.

The Portuguese police do take matters of crime very seriously and it’s not uncommon to see the police patrolling the party districts, such as Bairro Alto, late at night in order to keep the peace.

In the event that something does happen to you whilst visiting Portugal, you can report the incident at the local police station or you may also call the national emergency number which is 112. This is the general emergency number that connects you to both the police and ambulance services.

20.  Pickpockets

Thankfully pickpockets are not too prevalent in Portugal as a whole – but in Lisbon, you should pay a little extra caution. It goes without saying that you should always guard your belongings and items of value when traveling to a new country.

In Lisbon in particular, the Tram 28 has become a pickpocket hotspot, due in large part to these trams often being jam-packed with tourists.

As such, when in cramped spaces such as the Tram 28, always be on the lookout for suspicious activity and make sure to guard your belongings. 

While travel in Europe is safe, pickpocketing is a major issue. Thwart would-be pickpocketers with a chic, sleek backpack with double-interlocking zippers, slash-proof construction, & RFID blockers! I’ve carried this PacSafe backpack to 30+ countries with me, and it’s my #1 travel companion. Pick from one of seven colors — I have and love the classic black one!

21.  Dealers

I have to admit, one of the most annoying features of Lisbon has to be the pesky dealers that you’ll encounter in the tourist hotspots.

These harmless dealers will often walk up to you offering to sell… substances, although it’s a known fact that they’re probably selling oregano and other herbs instead of actual substances to unsuspecting tourists.

However, all you have to do is to simply ignore them and continue walking and they’ll leave you be.

***

About the Author

Born and raised in South Africa, Marco Santos from Travel-Boo, together with his partner moved to sunny Lisbon over 2 years ago. With an absolute love for Europe, he is on a mission to rediscover his own Portuguese heritage along the way. Marco has set out to blog and share his passion for traveling through and exploring both Portugal and Spain (as well as throughout Europe) through his blog, Travel-Boo.

You can find him on social media on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.

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Planning to visit Lisbon, Portugal? This guide to visiting Lisbon for the first time is full of local tips for making the most of Lisbon. Safety, what to eat, where to stay, when to go, & the best things to do in Lisbon are all covered in this Lisbon travel guide!


The Perfect One Day in Lisbon Itinerary for a Quick Trip

Views in Lisbon from one of the famous miradouros in town

Visiting a city as rich in culture, history and attractions as Lisbon in one day only is no easy task, but I’ve got you covered!

If you’re pressed for time or just passing through and only have 24 hours in Lisbon to check out Portugal’s delightful capital, make sure to pack some comfortable shoes and get ready for a packed itinerary.

Over the two years or so that I lived in Lisbon, I got to know the city pretty well. 

Aside from exploring the city myself, I happily showed around many friends who came for short stays, so I got pretty good at picking the highlights and optimizing time to make the most of it!

This itinerary for one day in Lisbon will focus on the city’s most important landmarks, a few of its distinctive scenic views, also known as miradouros, sampling traditional food, and exploring its historical neighborhoods.

What to Know Before Visiting Lisbon

View of Lisbon on the Tagus River

While ideally, you’d have at least two days in Lisbon, you can see the main sights in one (busy) day — maybe that’s all you have before you rent a car and explore the rest of Portugal by road trip!

Luckily for you, most of Lisbon’s top sights are concentrated in one relatively small area, so you can easily walk from one place to the next.

The downside is that Lisbon is built on seven hills, so you’ll need to be prepared for some climbing.

But even this downside has a silver lining; at the end of each climb, you’ll be rewarded with sweeping city views. 

Lisbon is famous for its many miradouros (Portuguese for viewpoints), where you can recover from your climb with a drink at the local chiringuito (a small bar or kiosk). 

While you’re there, enjoy a breathtaking view while listening to enchanting music played by the ever-present street artists.

Blue and white tiles with a view over the Tagus river at an overlook called a miradouro

For the walking champs among us, this one-day Lisbon itinerary is intended to be fully walkable.

However, if you need public transit options, Lisbon has four subway lines and several buses, not to mention charming historical streetcars! 

If you’re going to use public transportation, including the streetcar, you can buy a refillable card (Viva Viagem) that you can top up at any metro station.

Alternatively, buy a 24-hour Lisbon Card that includes unlimited travel on the metro system and all the elevators and streetcars, as well as free or discounted entry to 40+ attractions.

As for the weather in Lisbon, temperatures are usually pleasant year-round, with generally mild winters and summers.

March in Lisbon is a great time to visit (and winter in general is good, especially in December with Lisbon’s Christmas markets)!

Cherry tree blooming in lisbon in the spring

However, temperatures tend to drop at night, even in summer, so always bring a jacket. Lisbon can be quite windy, which means it can feel colder, especially in winter.

One last thing to be aware of is the famous calçada portuguesa, which is a typical Portuguese pavement made with small stones that combine to form beautiful mosaics. 

While this scenic feature is one of many local charms, it can be quite slippery, so pay attention when walking downhill, and for the sake of your feet, wear practical shoes!

Your Ultimate One Day in Lisbon Itinerary

Start with a Portuguese breakfast.

breakfast in portugal with croissant, orange juice, cappuccino, pressed sandwiches

To start your day on the right foot, grab a nice Portuguese breakfast at Padaria Portuguesa

This is a chain of cafés you’ll find all over Lisbon, so you’ll probably have no trouble finding one near where you’re staying!

When I was living in Lisbon, these cafes were one of my absolute favorite spots, with their tasty and affordable breakfast menus.

The typical Portuguese breakfast is a perfect way to fuel a day of walking, since it consists of a sandes mista (ham and cheese sandwich), orange juice, and coffee. 

If you prefer a sweet breakfast, try the delicious Pão de Deus, a fluffy ball of dough covered in a mixture of egg and coconut.

For fans of coconut, this pastry is as divine as the name “God’s Bread” suggests!

Explore the historic Alfama district. 

view of an old tiled street in alfama, the oldest neighborhood of lisbon that was not destroyed during the earthquake

After breakfast, it’s time to get walking and explore Alfama, Lisbon’s most charming and authentic neighborhood. 

An intricate maze of alleys and stairways, Alfama is Lisbon’s oldest neighborhood and has maintained its old-fashioned charm.  

Depending on where you’re staying, you can walk there or catch the blue line subway to Terreiro do Paço.

From the metro station, walk through Alfama to fully take in the lively atmosphere.

Prefer not to explore by foot the whole time? Book a private 2 or 3-hour tour in a charming vintage tuktuk, exploring the nooks and crannies of Alfama and sights beyond it.

Check out the historic Lisbon Cathedral.

Lisbon cathedral in stone with the famous yellow tram running front of it on a sunny day with no tourists in sight

First, visit Lisbon’s Cathedral, one of the city’s most iconic landmarks.

The Cathedral of Saint Mary Major is known to locals as the Sé de Lisboa, or even just the Sé.

Sé comes from Sedes Episcopalis, or bishop’s seat, and is the Portuguese word for cathedral.

Lisbon’s cathedral dates to the 12th century but was renovated multiple times throughout the centuries, due to damage from multiple earthquakes, including a particularly severe one in 1755.

As such, the building combines a number of architectural styles, becoming a sort of architectural history record! 

While this history of renovations can be seen throughout the cathedral, the most recent renovations took place in the early 20th century. 

The cathedral’s exterior, with the historic streetcars passing by, is one of the most scenic sights.

However, the interior of this cathedral has so much more to see, so it’s absolutely  worth going in as well.

Entrance to the prayer area of the cathedral is free of charge, but an entry ticket for around 5 euros gives you access to the cathedral naves, the High Choir, and the Museum of the Treasury of the Cathedral.

Book your entry ticket to the Cathedral here!

See castle ruins and soaring views at Castelo de São Jorge.

ramparts of the castle sao jorge in lisbon, with stairs leading up to the castle walls, where you can look out at views of lisbon from the top of the city

From the cathedral, make your way to the São Jorge Castle, just a quick 10-minute walk away. 

This hilltop Moorish castle was built in the 10th century, but the earliest fortifications on the site date all the way back to the first century BC.

In 1147, the first king of Portugal, Afonso Henriques, fought the Moors in what would become known as the Siege of Lisbon, during the Second Crusade. 

After his victory lifted the siege, Lisbon and its castle were freed from Moorish rule.

A visit to the castle is likely your biggest expense in Lisbon — expect to spend around 30 euros on an entry ticket plus audio guide or in-person guide — but it’s so worth it. 

Not only will you get to visit the impressive fortifications, but you also get some of the best views in the city. 

This skip-the-line ticket gives you access to all the castle areas, the museum, and the gardens for an unlimited time, plus an audio guide to help you understand the context of the ruins you’re seeing.

Book your skip-the-line ticket here!

For an even more in-depth dive into the history of this iconic castle, you can join a guided tour that allows you to skip the line and get a personal orientation of the castle area with a 15-minute introduction by an expert guide.

This is great for people who don’t want to take too long of a time on a guided tour but do want to know what they’re looking at. The rest of the time, you’re free to the explore the castle area at your pace.

Book your guided tour with introductory guide here!

Admire the views at Portas do Sol and Miradouro de Santa Luzia.

Beautiful view of Lisbon, Portugal, view on monastery/cathedral and Alfama old historical district from the Portas do Sol viewpoint

After visiting the castle, head toward Portas do Sol to enjoy even more sweeping views of Lisbon. 

Portas do Sol is a big square with a viewing platform that overlooks Alfama and the river. 

After you descend the stairs just by the viewing area, you’ll find a small archway covered with murals depicting Lisbon’s history.

Just steps from Portas do Sol, you’ll find Miradouro de Santa Luzia, one of the prettiest views in Lisbon. 

the lovely Miradouro de Santa Luzia, with azulejo tiles on the overlook, with pillars, red brick, and the pantheon building in the distance

This lively miradouro is always filled with people and street artists. 

You’ll likely find someone selling beautiful art and someone playing music.

It’s easy to lose yourself in the cheerful atmosphere here, so be sure to relax and take some time to just soak it all in! 

Spend whatever time you have left before lunch exploring Alfama. 

Just get lost (although hopefully not literally!) wandering the narrow alleys and stairways. 

Spectacular view of 25 April Bridge, Tagus River and colorful Alfama neighborhood from roof top of popular Church of Sao Vicente of Fora

Be sure to pass by the Church of São Vicente de Fora and the National Pantheon, where you can see a gigantic azulejos mural that’s well worth the detour. 

If you happen to be in the area on a Tuesday or Saturday, you’ll also find the Feira da Ladra just behind the Pantheon. 

This is Lisbon’s most famous flea market, where you’ll find anything from vintage clothes to furniture.

Have a typical lunch in a tasca.

Portuguese meal of bacalhau (salt cod) and egg and olives

Stay for lunch in Alfama, where you can eat traditional Portuguese food in one of the many tascas. 

A tasca is usually a small and unassuming restaurant, but don’t let appearances fool you! 

These little spots  serve up some of the best food I ever had the chance to enjoy during my time in Portugal. 

You can’t go wrong with A Parreirinha do Paraíso, A Muralha, and O Tasco Do Vigário — these three became my favorites while living in Lisbon.

If you want to try a local dish, nothing says Lisbon more than codfish (bacalhau). 

They say codfish in Portugal comes in at least 365 different recipes, one for every day of the year!. 

In Lisbon, some local favorites are Bacalhau com Natas (with cream), Bacalhau à Brás (with eggs and shoestring fried potatoes), and Bacalhau Grelhado (grilled).

If you’re vegetarian, don’t worry! You can still find many options around Alfama. 

Portuguese tascas usually have a couple of vegetarian dishes, but if you’re looking for a specifically vegetarian restaurant, you can also check out Green Revolution or Tazza in Giro.  

Discover the lively district of Baixa.

Vew from the exit of the metro station "Baixa" with some open-air seating in the street, and views of buildings stacked on a hillside in the distance.

After lunch, it’s time to leave Alfama and explore the area of Baixa

You can walk back or save some energy by catching one of the historical streetcars. 

The 15 will leave you right in Praça do Comércio, but you can also catch the 12 or 28 and get off at R. Conceição.

Baixa is the heart of Lisbon, a lively area filled with monumental squares, restaurants, museums, and historical landmarks.

This is also the perfect area to go shopping and take in Lisbon’s vibrant nightlife!

Admire the sprawling yellow-hued Praça do Comércio.

View of an empty Praça do Comércio and Arco da Rua Augusta on a sunny day in Lisbon

Praça do Comércio, one of the largest public squares in Portugal, sits right on the Tagus River. 

Historically, the square was named Terreiro do Paço, which means Palace Yard.

It was named this for being adjacent to the Paço da Ribeira (Royal Palace of Ribeira), the former residence of the Portuguese royal family in Lisbon.

Tragically, the Royal Palace of Ribeira, was destroyed in the 1755 earthquake, which also caused a tsunami and several fires across Lisbon that destroyed many other buildings. 

The square you see today is the result of the restoration ordered by the Marquis de Pombal in the second half of the 18th century during the rule of Dom José I, whose statue you can see at the center of the square.

Wander down Rua Augusta and admire its Arch.

Looking from below, up above to the  Rua Augusta Arch in Lisbon, with white marble archway and yellow buildings around it.

On the city side of the impressive square, there’s a massive ornate arch. 

Construction of the Rua August Arch started right after the 1755 earthquake as a triumphant symbol of the city’s dedication to reconstruction efforts. However, the arch was only completed in 1873.

For a small entry fee, you can climb right up to the top of Rua Augusta Arch and have a stunning view of Praça do Comércio and the river!

From its heights, you can see as far as Ponte do 25 de Abril, Lisbon’s Golden Gate-style bridge.

The street that starts from the arch is called Rua Augusta and it’s one of the main shopping streets in Lisbon. 

With the traditional calçada portuguesa and the beautiful historical buildings, Rua Augusta is a lively street filled with tourists and locals alike.

Make your way to the scenic Rossio Square.

Rossio square with fountain and wavy black-and-white mosaic floor, located at Baixa district in Lisbon, Portugal

At the end of Rua Augusta, you’ll reach one of Lisbon’s most important squares, Rossio Square

The beautiful square features a statue of Dom Pedro IV (a former Portuguese king) at its center and has two gorgeous fountains at each end.

Be sure to check out the stunning pattern of the calçada portuguesa here — its undulating wave patterns are stunning. 

If you’re lucky enough to visit in spring, the jacaranda trees around the square will be in full bloom, adding a truly magical quality to its beauty.

See the ruins of the Carmo Convent.

Open roof of Igreja do Carmo ruins, the remnants of an old convent that now has no roof and is in ruins, housing an archaeological museum as well.

From Rossio Square, it’s time to visit another important landmark, the Convento do Carmo.

You can walk for roughly five minutes to the convent or ride the iconic Santa Justa Lift if the line is not too long. 

You can pay for the ride with your Lisbon transportation card or a €5.30 return ticket. 

However, you can still enjoy the view from the top for free if you want to save money!

You can also walk up, but it’ll take about 5-10 minutes to walk up the hill via the zig-zagging side roads up the hillside.

Even if you’re on a budget, the Carmo Convent is totally worth paying for. 

The small entrance fee of €5 allows you to enjoy the spectacular sight of one of the few buildings that (mostly) survived the 1755 earthquake. 

After the damage it sustained, the convent no longer has a roof, leaving a haunting hollow skeleton of columns and arches reaching for the sky in a dramatic, beautiful setting. 

There’s also an archaeological museum inside featuring mummies and other interesting exhibits.

Head to Praça Luís de Camões for some pastéis de nata.

From the Carmo Convent, walk back down to Praça Luís de Camões, another beautiful square. 

On your way there, you’ll pass by the café A Brasileira, one of the city’s oldest cafés, famous for being frequented by writer Fernando Pessoa. 

A statue of Pessoa stands right by the outdoor tables, as if he were still just one of the many customers!

If you have a little extra time or need a quick break, head to Manteigaria to try the best pastéis de nata in town. 

Some may say Pastéis de Belém are better, but if you ask me, the ones from Manteigaria are hands down the best. (Plus, smaller crowds!) 

Why settle for just taking my word for it, though? Just try for yourself, maybe even with an espresso for that perfect afternoon pick-me-up!

Take in the views at Adamastor.

Fenced in Miradouro looking out to the famous bridge that resembles the golden gate bridge and the river tejo

By now, we’re almost done with our Lisbon walking tour, but we’ve got a couple more stops to round it out! 

Miradouro Adamastor is a short walk from Praça Luís de Camões and is one of the best spots to people-watch while having a drink and listening to some street artists playing guitar or singing. 

There’s always someone playing music here, so just follow the sound and find yourself a little spot to wind down at the end of your perfect day in Lisbon.

There’s a small chiringuito with tables if you want to sit with a beer or a glass of wine. Alternatively, you can just sit on the steps and enjoy the gorgeous view.

To the left, you can see the historical center of Lisbon, while to the right, you’ll see the sun go down near Ponte 25 de Abril bridge.

Head back down to Baixa via the Ascensor da Bica for dinner.

Famous yellow elevador da bica, an old streetcar that goes up and down a hill in lisbon, through scenci streets

After enjoying the views, make your way back down to Baixa for a sunset cruise and then one more delicious Portuguese meal. 

You can walk down or catch the historical Elevador da Bica, a 19th-century cable railway that goes up and down the hill. 

This is one of Lisbon’s most iconic spots, so even if you don’t ride the lift, you should be sure to go check it out, just for the memories.

Best of all — you can use your Viva ticket for the lift!

Take a sunset catamaran cruise on the Tagus River.

Ferry cruising on the river Tejo near Lisbon Portugal at sunset

What’s the best way to wrap up a day in Lisbon? Cruising the Tagus on a catamaran as the sun goes down, of course.

This 1.5-hour cruise on the Tagus (called Tejo in Portuguese) includes one drink as well as live music to accompany the sunset views.

You’ll pass by many of the spots you saw from different places in the city from a whole different perspective — and in a whole new light, literally speaking.

Relax on the catamaran nets as you admire the city as you sweep past it, and enjoy the well-earned rest (your feet will thank you!).

Book this catamaran cruise in Lisbon here!

Grab dinner somewhere special.

Time Out Market in Lisbon as seen from above

In the area around Rua de S. Paulo, you’ll find yourself faced with endless choices for dinner. 

You can try one of the spots inside the huge food court Time Out Market, or one of the nearby restaurants. 

If you want my top picks, try Popular da Bica for traditional Portuguese dishes, Santos à Bica for a mix of Portuguese and international cuisine, or Farès for Middle Eastern vegetarian dishes.

Party on Pink Street.

the pink street of lisbon, with a pink pedestrian walkway going underneath a bridge and buildings in the background

If you somehow still have some energy left after this jam-packed day in Portugal and you’re up for a party or even just one small drink, head to Pink Street, Lisbon’s most lively nightlife spot. 

As the name might suggest, Rua Nova do Carvalho is literally a street painted an eye-popping pink, just a few steps from Time Out Market.

The street is lined with bars and clubs where night owls can party until dawn. 

One of my favorite spots for a cocktail or a glass of wine in a lively atmosphere and unique setting is Pensão Amor

Each room has a different vibe, and the cocktails are great!

***

This wraps up your one-day Lisbon itinerary, but I’ll be honest, you’ve just scratched the surface of everything this wonderful city has to offer. 

If you can, I seriously recommend going back for a longer stay, so you can discover more impressive landmarks and visit nearby places like beautiful Sintra.

I mean, just check out this Sintra itinerary for one to three days and tell me you’re not already eager for more time in Portugal!

That said, all of Portugal is beautiful, so if you’re making your way up from Lisbon to Porto to spend a few days in Porto and the Douro Valley, that’s a great choice as well.

13 Lively Things to Do in Lisbon at Night [2023 Night Out Guide]

a miradouro in lisbon after the sun has set

With its charming historical neighborhood, iconic canary-yellow trams, and gorgeous miradouros, the lovely city of Lisbon now attracts travelers from all over the world. 

I was lucky enough to live in Lisbon for over two years, and during my time there, I experienced practically everything this vibrant city can offer!

One of the things the city is famous for is its lively nightlife.

People in Lisbon know how to party, so if that’s what you’re looking for, you won’t be disappointed.

Of course, partying isn’t the only thing you can do in Lisbon at night.

Ferry cruising on the river Tejo near Lisbon Portugal at sunset

From wandering around the historical neighborhoods and listening to fado (a melancholic traditional Portuguese folk music), to watching the sunset from the many viewpoints, there’s so much you can do in the Portuguese capital when the night falls.

In this guide, you’ll find what I think are the 13 best activities in Lisbon at night.

Best of all, there’s tons of free things so even if you’re visiting Lisbon on a budget, you’re sure to have a great night!

Whether you want to spend a chill evening out after a long day in Lisbon or are up for partying until dawn, I’ve got you covered.

13 Best Things to Do in Lisbon at Night

Watch the sunset from a miradouro.

viewpoint from a miradouro at night with a river view in the background and castle ruins

Lisbon is famous for its many hills and with it, its miradouros: viewpoints sprinkled all over the city center, offering gorgeous sweeping views of the city and the Tejo River that runs through it. 

With the miradouros from Alfama to Chiado, you’ll never run out of viewpoints to enjoy any time of the day and night.

My favorite time of day to visit miradouros is sunset!

People tend to gather at viewpoints in Lisbon in the late afternoon, summer or winter, so there’s always a lively atmosphere as everyone stands there watching another day come to an end. 

You’ll even find street artists playing music in some places, making the moment (and the memories you’ll bring home) even more beautiful.

One of the best viewpoints to watch the sunset in Lisbon is Adamastor in Chiado. 

The viewpoint is just a short walk from the Baixa Chiado metro, and it looks out over the river and the lower part of Lisbon.

There’s a chiringuito (small kiosk) to buy a refreshing drink, and you’ll always find someone playing music.

A few other gorgeous viewpoints for sunset include Miradouro de Santa Luzia, Portas do Sol, Miradouro da Graça, and Miradouro da Senhora do Monte.

Explore Baixa without the crowds.

the yellow walls and the grand arch of the praca do comercio in the heart of lisbon, at night, with street lamps lighting things up

The neighborhood of Baixa is Lisbon’s vibrant heart, where you’ll find most landmarks, shopping areas, and restaurants.

Tourists start filling the streets of Baixa early in the morning, so you can expect to find it busy at virtually any time of day.

Late in the evening, the crowds quiet down a bit, and most squares and streets are deserted, except for a few lively nightlife spots. 

You can enjoy the magnificent Praça do Comercio without the usual crowds, stroll along Rua Augusta, and enjoy the beautiful Praça do Rossio and Praça da Figueira.

Start your evening explorations either in Rossio or Praça do Comercio and stroll along Rua Augusta and the little side streets around Elevador de Santa Justa

You could even go on an elevator ride until 10:45 PM, although I wouldn’t say that’s a must.

Personally, I think you can enjoy equally beautiful views from Mosteiro do Carmo!

Wander through the streets of Alfama.

alfama's typical buildings and tiles and balconies with a beautiful view by lamplight

Alfama is another extremely popular tourist area in Lisbon. 

The city’s oldest and most charming neighborhood is well worth exploring during the day, but don’t worry; it’s just as beautiful at night! 

Small cobblestone alleys and stairways wind up and down the hills and offer glimpses of the Tejo River.

Stroll by the beautiful city cathedral, Sé de Lisboa, and walk up to Portas do Sol to enjoy sweeping city views.

From there, let yourself get lost through the maze of narrow alleys, and you’re sure to discover characterful areas and beautiful viewpoints.

The best month to explore Alfama at night is in June when Lisbon celebrates Santos Populares

Everything revolves around Saint Anthony’s Feast (Santo António), but the city celebrates the whole month.

Locals grill sardines in the street, and you can find cheap drinks and food on every corner. 

The entire neighborhood is one big party, so if your travel plans bring you to Lisbon in June, be sure to stop by!  

Listen to fado, Portugal’s unique musical form.

listening to fado in a portuguese restaurant in bairro alto

No trip to Lisbon would be complete without listening to fado music.

And what better place to listen to traditional Portuguese music than Alfama, the birthplace of fado? 

One of my favorite ways to hear fado is to go out in Alfama and stop off for dinner at any restaurant that offers a fado show.

If you want to plan ahead instead of playing things by ear, you can also book a guided experience. 

This Alfama Tour and Live Fado is a perfect all-around experience!

It includes a traditional dinner, a guided walking tour around Alfama and Mouraria, and a stop at a fado house to listen to the nostalgic and heartfelt music genre.

Fado music is a symbol of Portugal, born in the 19th century in the heart of Lisbon.

The songs, performed vocally accompanied by the unique Portuguese guitar, are heartbreakingly beautiful. 

The music genre is so unique and representative of Portugal that UNESCO added it to its Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Have a drink at a rooftop bar.

hand serving a cocktail

As I mentioned above, Lisbon is widely known for its vibrant nightlife, so your options for bars and clubs are nearly endless!

Some of the most beautiful spots to enjoy a drink in the Portuguese capital are on the city’s rooftops looking out over the gorgeous scenery.

Topo Martim Moniz is one of the most popular rooftop bars in Lisbon, located in Martim Moniz Square, a short walk from Lisbon’s key landmarks. 

Don’t let the anonymous building dissuade you from going in!

Once you’re up, you have a gorgeous view of Lisbon’s castle and the city center, and on some evenings, you may even find live music!

On the opposite side of Martim Moniz Square, you can check out Hotel Mundial’s Rooftop Bar

This is a slightly fancier venue, so you can expect higher prices, but if you ask me, the view is worth the splurge.

However, keep in mind that it may get crowded and, unlike at Topo, you can’t just stand around.

Last but not least, another rooftop bar worth checking out is Park Bar, on top of a parking building in Lisbon’s Chiado district.

The rooftop bar is crowded during the weekend, so either get there early or be prepared to stand in line before you get in.

Party on Pink Street.

the famous "pink street" of lisbon with its bright pink sidewalk and yellow bridge

Pink Street is probably the most famous nightlife area in Lisbon, and it’s certainly one of the most visually striking! 

Rua Nova do Carvalho is a street literally painted pink close to Cais do Sodré station in Lisbon’s city center.

While during the day, it’s a quaint little street, at night, it’s buzzing with life as the bars and clubs fill with people.

Along the street, you’ll find many places to enjoy a drink or dance all night. As the places fill up, people start getting drinks and standing outside the bars chatting and listening to music. 

No matter the season, you’ll always find a crowd on Pink Street.  

One of my favorite places on Pink Street is Pensão Amor, a quirky bar in a former wharf brothel, where sailors would gather to enjoy the pleasures of the land after long periods at sea. 

Though much has changed, Pensão Amor is now a symbol of freedom, art, culture, and love in all its forms.

Grab a cocktail and explore the uniquely decorated rooms! 

Go for a walk along the Tejo.

a beautiful red suspension bridge in lisbon that looks quite similar to the golden gate bridge in san francisco, at sunset with a streaky sky

Walking along the Tejo was one of my favorite pastimes in Lisbon at night when I lived there. 

If you want to get away from the maddening crowds of the historical center and enjoy a peaceful walk to relax and reflect, head to the Cais do Sodrè metro station and just start walking along the river toward Belem.

You can take this walk any time of the day, but it’s especially lovely right around sunset.

You can watch the sun sink into the Tejo River right below Ponte 25 do Abril, the iconic red bridge resembling San Francisco’s Golden Gate.

A pedestrian and bicycle lane runs along the river all the way to Belem, so you can walk as much as you want.

You’ll pass by the clubs in the Santos district and the Alcântara marina, and watch the nighttime crowd start their evening festivities. 

Right before the bridge, there’s a charming area with many restaurants and bars where you can enjoy a drink or get dinner before heading back to Lisbon.

Have a riverside dinner in Almada.

delicious seafood with mussels, crab, clams, and other fish in a tomato light stock broth with rice in portugal

If you want to enjoy a chill evening and a gorgeous view, cross the river for a lovely dinner along the Tejo. 

To get there, just hop on the boat at Cais do Sodrè and head to Almada.

Though technically another city, Almada is only a 15-minute ferry away from Lisbon and offers stunning city views.

After you get off the ferry in Almada, walk along the river toward Ponte 25 de Abril, and you’ll come across an area with wonderful riverside restaurants.

My favorite is Ponto Final, as it offers a gorgeous view over the bridge, and great seafood of course!

Order a delicious fish dish and enjoy it with a glass of wine as you watch the sun set right by the bridge.

This place used to be much less famous just a few years ago, but word got around, so you may need to book in advance to guarantee your table.

Visit a quieter Castelo de São Jorge.

castelo do sao jorge as seen as night all lit up

While most museums in Lisbon close around 6 PM, Castelo de São Jorge stays open until 9 PM in summer and until 7 PM in winter, so you can go for an evening visit and even enjoy the sunset.

Perched at the top of a hill in the Alfama district, Castelo de São Jorge offers some of the best panoramic views in Lisbon.

The medieval castle was built following the reconquest of Lisbon on the site previously occupied by the kasbah during the Islamic occupation.  

You can walk along the castle walls and climb its towers to enjoy panoramic views of Lisbon from different points of view. 

Make an evening of it by arriving before sunset and staying until the city lights turn on and the night falls.

Tickets include access to the castle gardens and museum and guided tours to the Archaeological Site and the Camera Obscura

Have a beer at Bica.

row of taps at a beer place

Calçada da Bica Pequena, simply called Bica by locals, is one of the most popular nightlife spots in Lisbon’s historical center.

During the day, you can catch the historic cable car Elevador da Bica to go up and downhill on the steep street.

At night, as the cable car stops running, the bars along Bica fill with people. Everyone buys drinks and gets out on the street. 

On weekend nights, the street gets so crowded that you can barely make your way through!

Bica is a popular meeting point for after-dinner drinks among locals and tourists alike.

If you want to experience local nightlife, a drink at one of the many bars is a must. 

One of the best things about going out at Bica is that drinks are still quite cheap. Plus, due to its popularity, it’s a great spot to meet people!

Party all night in Bairro Alto.

Man's hand serving an orange drink with crushed ice and mint

To truly experience Lisbon’s nightlife, you absolutely have to spend a night out in Bairro Alto, Lisbon’s party hotspot.

This neighborhood just above Lisbon’s Baixa area is the place to be if you want to dance the night away.

Bairro Alto used to be a rich and elegant neighborhood but saw a radical transformation after the 1755 earthquake.

No longer the home of Lisbon’s aristocracy, Bairro Alto became an area filled with boutique shops, small art galleries, and many bars and restaurants.

Bairro Alto attracts a varied crowd, from young locals to tourists and Erasmus students out to party all night. 

You’ll find countless clubs playing all music genres, from reggaeton to hip-hop and electronic music. Check out the places in Rua da Rosa, Rua do Diario de Noticias, and Rua do Norte.

If you’re traveling solo and don’t want to explore the area alone — or just want to make some new pals while you travel — join this Pub and VIP Club Crawl to enjoy Bairro Alto’s nightlife.

The tour includes drinks and VIP entry to some hand-picked bars and clubsn t i.e aan the r

Go on a sunset boat tour.

Ferry cruising on the river Tejo near Lisbon Portugal at sunset

Possibly the most relaxing way to enjoy the sunset in Lisbon is from a boat slowly gliding along the Tejo River. 

You can find many boat tour options departing from central Lisbon or Belém at different hours of the day.

Most tours last around two hours, with the evening options starting just before sunset (perfect timing for incredible views!)

This Sunset Tour with Music begins in Cais do Sodrè and passes by iconic landmarks like the Belém Tower, the Monument to the Discoveries, and Ponte 25 do Abril.

You’ll relax on the catamaran while listening to music and enjoying a complimentary drink as the sun sets over Lisbon and the lights begin to come on in the magical city.

This City Sailboat Tour with Drinks starting in Belém is a great alternative, with multiple departures to fit your schedule.

You can choose between the sunset tour and the night tour. However, the night tour requires a minimum of four participants per booking.

Explore LX Factory.

the interior of the ler devagar bookstore in lx factory in lisbon

LX Factory is an artsy, hip offbeat part of Lisbon full of boutique shops, trendy restaurants and cafés, Instagrammable corners, and small art studios.

This creative space was built in the place of a former textile complex, so the shops and restaurants occupy former warehouses.

A must-see for any traveler visiting Lisbon, LX Factory is open all day but gets particularly lively at night.

Check out the charming bookstore Ler Devagar, shop for souvenirs or handmade jewelry, and enjoy a drink at one of the many bars.

You may also find live music and events, so be sure to look ahead and check the schedule when you’re there. 

LX Factory is in Alcântara, a bit far from the center of Lisbon, but you can get there by tram 15E, train (in the direction of Cascais), or even Uber.

Lisbon or Porto: How to Choose (If You Have To!)

ravelo traditional boat in porto

If you are planning a small trip to Portugal, but you only have time to visit one city, you’re likely wondering: should I visit Lisbon or Porto?

I’ve visited Lisbon twice and Porto once and thought quite a bit about the differences between the two cities.

And while I have guides for both — check out this post on how to spend one day or two days in Lisbon and this post on how to spend one day or two days in Porto — I figured I’d break it down for people who have to choose.

(Have even less time? I have guides for one day in Lisbon and one day in Porto is forthcoming)

So this post puts the question of whether to visit Lisbon or Porto head to head!

In it, I’ll be comparing Lisbon vs. Porto so you can decide what the best city is for your personal travel style.

Another thing to consider if you’re traveling in winter is that Lisbon’s winter weather is considerably nicer than Porto’s winter weather (where it rains more often than London!), so keep that in mind!

So, Lisbon or Porto? Let me break it down.

Choose Lisbon if…

… You want that big city feel

While it may seem very obvious that Lisbon is the bigger city, being the capital, I was truly surprised by how small Porto feels in comparison.

While on paper, it’s about half the size of Lisbon, it really truly feels much smaller than that.

Lisbon has a compact and walkable center, but its edges sprawls on for ages. Belém, Oriente, Amadora, the city is simply huge.

That’s not to mention Almada, just on the other side of Lisbon’s Tagus River, technically another city but with many sights associated with Lisbon such as their imitation Christ the Redeemer statue from which you can get an epic view of Lisbon.

Simply put, you can spend weeks in Lisbon and never quite feel like you’ve seen the whole city.

I’ve spent nearly 3 weeks in Lisbon by now and still am discovering new neighborhoods.

On the other hand, Porto doesn’t quite have that big city feel. I spent 3 days there and felt like I had a pretty good feel for the city’s layout and neighborhoods in that short amount of time.

After Lisbon, Porto feels like a small town in comparison. This is actually great if you have a limited time to visit one city in Portugal and want to get to know it well.

However, if you’ve always been pulled towards big cities, Porto may feel a little small for you, as it has a vibe more similar to towns and villages in Portugal.

… You’re a major foodie

Porto is definitely no slouch when it comes to good food, but it’s a little more staunchly traditional than Lisbon when it comes to food.

Meanwhile, Lisbon is the culinary powerhouse of Portugal, excelling at not only Portuguese food but food from all around the world.

I had everything from Cape Verdean food to Chongqing-style hot spot in Lisbon, and not a single plate missed the mark.

For some tips on where to eat in Lisbon, I defer to my friends Daryl & Mindi, two food bloggers who have made their home in Lisbon.

They’ve shown me a few of the best restaurants in Lisbon and many of my favorites are indebted to them!

… You love street art and everything hipster

Porto is more traditional, whereas Lisbon has more of an upstart, hipster vibe to it.

After all, Lisbon is home to LX Factory, the mecca of all things hipster and Instagrammable, where you can ogle street art, shop in one of the world’s prettiest bookstores (hint: it’s not Porto’s Livraria Lello, which is now an Instagram hellscape), dine, and sip fantastic specialty coffee all in one former textile factory turned multifunctional urban development.

There’s also the fun nightlife district of Bairro Alto and a seemingly innumerable amount of cute cafés all over Lisbon serving up delicious coffee in gorgeous surroundings (my personal favorite is Augusto Lisboa in Alfama).

… You can’t imagine not going to Sintra

Sintra is not technically part of Lisbon, but it might as well be, since for many people, visiting Pena Palace and the Quinta da Regaleira is essential.

As such, Lisbon is the much more obvious choice as a day trip to Sintra (or even a full Sintra itinerary) couldn’t be easier.

While Porto has awesome day trips of its own, which I’ll get into shortly, if you’re into gorgeous colorful castles and beautiful castle grounds, Sintra (and thus Lisbon) is the choice for you.

Choose Porto if…

… You want the (slightly) less touristy option

I am definitely not claiming that Porto is not touristy – that would be patently false.

However, compared to Lisbon, which is nearly bursting at the seams with mass tourism, Porto is less crowded and oversaturated with tourism.

You will certainly encounter crowds at popular places, such as the Porto Cathedral and the port house on the Vila Nova de Gaia side of the river.

However, overall I had more of a feeling that Porto was maintaining its distinctly Portuguese identity a little better in the face of tourism than Lisbon.

… You lust after azulejos

While Lisbon certainly has its share of tiles… it’s truly nothing compared to Porto, which is one of the best places to hunt down azulejos anywhere in the country.

From the petite Capela das Almas to the most beautiful train station on the planet, São Bento, to the stunning wall of Igreja do Carmo to the inner courtyard of the Porto Cathedral’s cloisters… yeah, Porto’s definitely got the edge on Lisbon on this one.

While Lisbon has the excellent azulejo museum, which is interesting for getting to understand the history of the artwork, nothing beats seeing the large-scale works in person out in the urban landscape the way they are in Porto.

… You’re a wine geek

While Lisbon is for foodies, Porto is for winos. And why not? After all, it is the namesake for port wine, one of the greatest gifts to man.

It’s worth exploring the touristy-but-well-worth it port houses along the banks of the Douro River on the Vila Nova de Gaia side.

Better yet, take a day trip to the Douro Valley to try Portuguese wines in their natural settings.

There are countless excellent Douro Valley wine tours from Porto to choose from!

Regardless of how you experience it, wine lovers will surely freak and geek out on Portuguese wines in Porto.

While port is definitely what the region is best known for, you’re also not far from the Minho region where they produce the country’s best ‘green wine’ aka vinho verde, aka one of the best summer wines on earth!

… You want a more walkable city

Although Lisbon’s center is quite small and walkable, Porto is undoubtedly much smaller and I found it extremely easy to cover the city by foot in just a matter of days.

While yes, it is quite hilly, just as Lisbon is, I found it a little more easy to navigate whereas I was constantly getting lost in Lisbon.

The sights are more clustered together, to the point where you can really easily do a quick walking circuit and tick off many of your top Porto sights in a few hours.

If you only have a few days in either Lisbon or Porto and you really want to feel like you “know” the city by the end of your stay, Porto would be the more logical answer as it’s a lot more compact and easy to visit in a short time.

Choose either Porto or Lisbon for…

… Their proximity to incredible beaches

Both Lisbon and Porto are really close to some incredible beaches. Porto is way closer, as you can literally take a city bus and be on the lovely beach of Matosinhos in a matter of some 20 minutes or so from the center.

From Lisbon, you can easily access Cascais, which is not without its charms, though it can get quite crowded!

Better yet is to rent a bike in Cascais and bike down the coast a bit until you find a stretch of beach you like. There are other gorgeous beaches near Lisbon more off the beaten path (I liked Praia das Maçãs near Sintra).

Of course, Porto’s beaches are a little colder being further north, though I found the water in the beaches near Lisbon to be quite cold as well, even in August!

The Algarve has warmer waters and can be added to a Lisbon trip by taking a Lisbon to Algarve road trip if you rent a car, but visiting the Algarve is not really doable unless you have at least a week to enjoy Portugal.

… A budget-friendly getaway

Whether you pick Lisbon or Porto, either way, your wallet won’t have too much to complain about.

While Lisbon is marginally more expensive, in my opinion, it’s also a very wallet-friendly destination by Western European standards.

I typically paid about 6-10 euros for a full meal with wine, sometimes a little more when eating at nicer places or opting for seafood.

Accommodations set me back a fraction of what they would in similar destinations, and public transportation and Uber are similarly affordable compared to the rest of Western Europe.

While it’s gotten more expensive recently due to the tourism boom, there’s no denying that a trip to Portugal – whether it’s to Porto or to Lisbon – will cost a fraction of a trip to Spain, Italy, or Greece, some other popular Southern European destinations.

… Life-changing pastéis de nata

No matter where you go in Portugal, be sure to try their delicious pastel de nata, a delicious egg custard tart best enjoyed with a dusting of cinnamon on top fresh, and preferably fresh out of the oven.

Personally, my favorite comes from Pastéis de Belém, a place I was willing to write off as too touristic but ending up blowing my mind (and maybe it was the fact that I visited Lisbon in March, but I only had to wait about 10 minutes for piping hot fresh pastéis!).

However, Manteigaria in Lisbon is a close second, and there’s one in the Time Out Market near Cais do Sodré that is less of a schlep than Belém.

In Porto, I was there for a shorter amount of time so I didn’t exactly get to hone my hunt for pastel de nata there, but I’ve heard the best are at the Porto branch of Manteigaria or one of the two outposts of Nata Lisboa in town.

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So, there you go: the complete Lisbon vs. Porto rundown! I hope I’ve helped you decide where to spend your next trip, but feel free to drop any questions you have in the comments and I’ll be happy to answer them.

Or, just let me know – which are you leaning towards, Porto or Lisbon?