27 Awesome Places To Visit in Lisbon
Lisbon has, in recent years, turned into one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. The streets of its historic centre went from almost empty to full of tourists from all over the world, eager to discover what makes Lisbon such a special city that so many return to year after year.
Us locals, we know exactly what makes it so special, and it’s heartwarming to see so many other people interested in discovering its secret. In this post, I will introduce you to 27 awesome places to visit in Lisbon, my hometown, so that you can make the most of your next visit to the “City of the Seven Hills”.
1. São Jorge’s Castle
Located at the highest point of the city, fulfilling its role as protector of the city, is São Jorge’s Castle. Open 7 days a week, it will offer you the chance to learn more about Lisbon’s history, have a drink on its terrace, admire one of the best views over Lisbon or participate in the various activities that are part of its cultural program.
2. Adamastor Viewpoint
What better than taking a break for a cool drink on a hot day? Especially if it comes with a magnificent view over the Tagus River! That’s exactly what you find at the Adamastor Viewpoint, near Bairro Alto. On summer afternoons it’s the perfect hanging out spot for groups of local young people.
3. Alfama neighborhood
To really get to know Lisbon there’s one particular must-go-to place: the traditional Alfama neighbourhood. With its cobbled streets and traditional houses where clothes dry hanging from the window and neighbors have known each other forever, Alfama shows its visitors the true essence of Lisbon. “Fado” is sung in taverns, the air is filled with the smell of freshly grilled sardines, its narrow streets are occupied with terraces and the locals have this relaxed attitude of someone who has known Lisbon for its entire life.
4. Flea Market “Feira da Ladra” (Campo de Santa Clara)
The flea market “Feira da Ladra”, located in Campo de Santa Clara, is one of the most iconic places in Lisbon. Every Tuesday and Saturday morning, hundreds of people come together at this location to sell and buy all you can think of: from handicrafts to antiques, used items and the like. When I was a teenager I actually spent a few Saturday mornings there trying to sell things I no longer used!
5. Belém Gardens
A walk through the gardens of Belém is a mandatory inclusion in a list of places to visit in Lisbon. The long promenade that stretches along the Tagus River is perfect for long walks, with breaks for ice cream or a cool drink with an unparalleled view. Take a small blanket or towel with you and just relax for a while on the lawn while watching life go by.
6. Jerónimos Monastery (Mosteiro dos Jerónimos)
While in Belém, take the opportunity to visit the legendary Jerónimos Monastery. Built in the 16th century, this masterpiece of Portuguese architecture, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, stands out in the landscape. This is where several kings and queens of Portugal have been buried and where the honorary tombs of the poet Luís de Camões and the navigator Vasco da Gama are located.
7. Belém Tower (Torre de Belém)
Nowadays the queues of people waiting for their turn to visit the Belém Tower, one of the most iconic buildings in Lisbon, are quite frequent. Located on the banks of the Tagus River, the Belém Tower was, just like the Jerónimos Monastery, built in the 16th century and has also, meanwhile, been classified as World Heritage by UNESCO.
Once used as a fortress, the Tower is now known for its magnificent architecture, and as such, a mandatory inclusion in a list of places to visit in Lisbon.
8. Padrão dos Descobrimentos
Originally built in 1940 next to the Tagus River, in Belém, and rebuilt in 1960, the Padrão dos Descobrimentos is one of the greatest symbols of Portugal’s golden age of the Discoveries. On the façade facing the Tagus River, stands the navigator Infante D. Henrique, followed by other prominent figures of that time.
On the sidewalk in front of the monument, a compass rose and a world map show the main routes of the Portuguese expansion. At the top of the Padrão dos Descobrimentos, a fantastic view over the city and the Tagus River awaits you.
9. Estrela Garden (Jardim da Estrela)
The Estrela Garden, located in the Estrela neighbourhood, is an authentic oasis in the city centre, with an English garden feel. Perfect for a mid-afternoon coffee on the terrace of the local cafe or for some simple moments of pure tranquillity on its lawns. In the summer months, there are several outdoor activities taking place here, including live music.
10. Monsanto Forest Park
Monsanto Forest Park is known as the “lung” of Lisbon. Located in the Monsanto mountain, the Park occupies an area of 1000 hectares, surrounding the city in green. Although the affluence is greater at the weekend, dozens of Lisbon residents daily use the Park’s green corridors for their morning or end-of-day runs and bike rides.
It’s an excellent spot to have a picnic with family or friends, especially at Alameda Keil do Amaral, where some outdoor events take place, such as concerts, in the summer.
11. Cais das Colunas
Located in the magnificent Praça do Comércio, in the historic centre of Lisbon, next to the Tagus River, Cais das Colunas is one of the most popular places in the city to watch the sunset. Its steps have been used since the 1755 earthquake as Lisbon’s noble entrance, through which several great world figures have entered.
12. São Pedro de Alcântara viewpoint
Completely renovated a few years ago, the São Pedro de Alcântara viewpoint, located next to Bairro Alto, offers one of the best views over Lisbon. From here you can see the entire historic centre of Lisbon as well as the hill where the São Jorge Castle is located. Make sure to enjoy a drink on the terrace of the typical kiosk located at the bottom part of the garden, while enjoying the view.
The Oceanário, located in the Parque das Nações area, is undoubtedly a place to add to a list of places to visit in Lisbon. Elected in 2018 as the “Best Aquarium in the World” by TripAdvisor users, its 5 million litres of saltwater are inhabited by a huge variety of fish and mammals. It’s such a magical place!
14. Senhora do Monte Viewpoint / Graça Viewpoint
In the Graça area (one of my favourite areas in the city) you’ll find 2 viewpoints that offer you an incredible view over Lisbon. At the Graça Viewpoint, you can admire the view while having a drink on the terrace of the local kiosk, while at the Senhora do Monte Viewpoint you can do it in a peaceful environment, in the exact spot where the first king of Portugal, D. Afonso Henriques, set up his camp for the conquest of Lisbon.
Tours in Lisbon
On the banks of the Tagus River, in Belém, you’ll find one of the most incredible buildings in Lisbon: the Maat – Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology. In addition to its amazing design, which provides moments of pure delight for any photographer (amateur or professional), Maat also offers you some of the most interesting exhibitions in Lisbon.
16. Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation
In the Avenidas Novas area, next to Praça de Espanha, one of Lisbon’s most central areas, you’ll find the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation. In addition to the tranquil atmosphere of its gardens, where you’ll find a lake inhabited by several fish, geese and ducks, there is also an open-air amphitheatre where various live shows are held during the summer.
The Foundation also offers several temporary and permanent exhibitions, as well as classical music concerts. An authentic oasis in the city centre and a mandatory inclusion on this list of places to visit in Lisbon.
17. National Museum of Ancient Art
Learning about Portuguese art also means getting to know more about the country’s history. At the National Museum of Ancient Art, located at Rua das Janelas Verdes, you’ll have access to a wide range of exhibitions as well as its beautiful garden, overlooking the city and the Tagus River, where you can have a meal or a drink in the middle of the afternoon on the terrace of its restaurant/cafe.
18. Parque das Nações
Stage of EXPO 98, the Parque das Nações area, once practically abandoned, was completely transformed after the World Exhibition, becoming one of the most appealing areas of the city, filled with residential and office buildings.
This is where you’ll find, not only the Lisbon Oceanarium but also the fascinating Pavilhão do Conhecimento (Knowledge Pavillion); the Gare do Oriente (train station), designed by the famous architect Santiago Calatrava; and the Pavilhão de Portugal (Portugal’s Pavillion), designed by the Portuguese architect Álvaro Siza Vieira, among other awesome spots. Its gardens and walkway along the Tagus River are perfect for a long walk or bike ride, and for a special experience, there’s nothing like taking a ride on the cable cars that hover over the area.
Just like Parque das Nações, the Marvila neighbourhood is another area of Lisbon that has been reinventing itself over the past few years. From a mostly industrial area, where large warehouses and offices were located for decades, Marvila has been turning into one of the most creative neighbourhoods in Lisbon. Coworking spaces, restaurants, craft beer bars, concert halls and art galleries make Marvila one of the most interesting places in the city.
Visiting Lisbon and not taking a stroll in the streets of Chiado is like going to Rome without visiting the Coliseum. This is undoubtedly one of the places in Lisbon that never go out of style. Home of several illustrious names of Portuguese culture for centuries, Chiado is one of the noblest neighbourhoods in the city, where you’ll find some of the best restaurants, countless shops, hip spots and some of the most mythical places such as the café A Brasileira.
21. Escadinhas de Santo Estevão (Stairs of Santo Estevão)
Lisbon is full of charming nooks and crannies, you just need to know how to look for them. The stairs of Santo Estevão are a perfect example. Located in Alfama, they lead visitors on a discovery of the most authentic side of Lisbon, with its buildings covered with tiles, clothes hanging from the windows and flower pots on the balconies. At the top of the stairs, you’ll find the Santo Estevão viewpoint with a fantastic view over the city.
Rossio is known as Lisbon’s downtown. Filled with centuries-old buildings, this is the real historic center of the city. Here you’ll find countless restaurants, cafes and street shops, as well as historic buildings such as the Rossio Train Station, the National Theater D. Maria II and the Santa Justa Elevator that takes you directly to the Chiado area. Take the opportunity to indulge yourself with a ginjinha, the famous cherry liquor so famous in Lisbon.
23. Sé de Lisboa (Lisbon Cathedral)
On the way up from Rossio to Alfama, either on foot or by taking the famous tram 28, you’ll find one of the most iconic monuments in the city and the largest Cathedral in the country: Lisbon’s Cathedral. Its construction dates back to the foundation of Portugal in 1147. It was built on a mosque after the city was conquered from the Arabs, which in turn had been built on top of an old Visigothic Christian temple.
24. Bairro Alto
When talking about nightlife spots in Lisbon, it’s impossible not to mention Bairro Alto. Its narrow cobbled streets, surrounded by century-old buildings (some of which have since been refurbished), are packed on the weekend with hundreds of people hopping around through the countless bars (and restaurants) spread throughout the neighbourhood. The celebrations are held mostly on the street, something typical of Lisbon culture.
25. Avenida da Liberdade
Avenida da Liberdade, one of the most noble avenues in the city, leads you from Praça Marquês de Pombal to Rossio. If you’re looking for luxury restaurants, hotels and shops, this is where you’ll find them. The avenue’s wide sidewalks are perfect for long walks, with mandatory stops at the various kiosks that are located there.
26. Rua Augusta Arch (Arco da Rua Augusta)
The Rua Augusta Arch is one of the most distinctive architectural elements of downtown Lisbon. Located at the end of Rua Augusta, the Arch gives access to the magnificent Praça do Comércio. But there is more to see than its facade. I’s actually possible to climb to the top of the Arch where you’ll be able to admire an extraordinary view over the Tagus River and the historic center of the city.
27. Largo das Portas do Sol
The last but not the least destination on this list of places to visit in Lisbon, is Largo das Portas do Sol. This wide area invites you to stay and admire the view over Lisbon’s typical houses, with the Tagus River as background. Have a coffee on the terrace of the local kiosk, while watching the coming and going of people and vehicles.
What do you think about this list of places to visit in Lisbon? Is there a particular place you were most interested in? Leave your comments below!