Lisbon is one of Europe's most captivating and charming cities, with a rich history, a vibrant culture, and a stunning location by the Atlantic Ocean. Here are 10 must-see and do when in Lisbon:
Explore the Alfama district.
This is the oldest and most picturesque part of Lisbon, where you can wander through narrow cobblestone streets, admire the colourful tiled buildings, and listen to the melancholic sounds of fado music. Don't miss the São Jorge Castle, which offers panoramic views of the city and the river, and the Lisbon Cathedral, a Romanesque-Gothic masterpiece.
Admire the street art.
Lisbon is a city that embraces street art as a form of expression and creativity, and you can find amazing murals and graffiti all over its walls. Graça, Mouraria, Alcântara, and LX Factory are some of the best places to see street art.
Visit the Belém district.
This is where you can find some of the most iconic monuments of Lisbon's golden age of exploration, such as the Belém Tower, a 16th-century fortress that guarded the entrance to the harbour, and the Jerónimos Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that showcases the exquisite Manueline style of architecture. At the nearby pastry shop, you can also taste the famous pastéis de Belém, custard tarts sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar.
Discover the art and culture of Lisbon.
Lisbon has a wealth of museums and galleries that showcase its artistic and cultural heritage, from ancient to contemporary. Some of the highlights include the National Museum of Ancient Art, which houses a collection of paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts from Portugal and abroad; the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, which displays works by masters such as Rembrandt, Monet, and Renoir; and the Berardo Collection Museum, which features modern and contemporary art by artists such as Picasso, Warhol, and Dalí.
Enjoy the nightlife in Bairro Alto.
If you're looking for some fun after dark, head to Bairro Alto, a lively district that comes alive at night with bars, restaurants, clubs, and music venues. You can find all kinds of entertainment here, from jazz to rock to fado, and mingle with locals and tourists.
Ride the tram 28
One of the best ways to experience the charm and character of Lisbon is to hop on Tram 28, a yellow vintage tram that runs through some of the city's most scenic and historic neighbourhoods. You can enjoy the views of the hills, the river, and the monuments and get off at any stop to explore further.
Shop at the Feira da Ladra.
This is Lisbon's oldest and most famous flea market, where you can find all kinds of treasures, from antiques and books to clothes and crafts. It occurs every Tuesday and Saturday in Campo de Santa Clara, near the National Pantheon.
Take a day trip to Sintra.
Sintra is a fairy-tale town that lies about 30 kilometres from Lisbon. It's famous for its romantic palaces, castles, gardens, and forests, making you feel like you're in a different world. Some of the must-see attractions are the Pena Palace, a colourful fantasy palace that blends different architectural styles; the Quinta da Regaleira, a mysterious estate with tunnels, caves, and wells; and the Moorish Castle, a medieval fortress that offers stunning views of the surroundings.
Relax at the beach.
Lisbon is blessed with a coastline that offers some of the best beaches in Europe. You can find sandy beaches for every taste and mood, from calm and family-friendly to wild and surf-friendly. Some of the most popular beaches are Carcavelos, Cascais, Estoril, Guincho, and Caparica.
Taste the local cuisine.
Lisbon is a food lover's paradise, with various dishes that reflect its maritime history, multicultural influences, and regional specialities. You can find everything from fresh seafood and grilled fish to hearty stews and roasted meats, as well as delicious pastries and desserts. Some dishes you should try are Bacalhau salted cod cooked in different ways. Caldo Verde, a green soup made with kale and potatoes. Cozido à Portuguesa, a stew of meat, sausages, and vegetables. Sardinhas Assadas, grilled sardines served with bread and salad, and Pastel de Nata, a custard tart topped with cinnamon.
When to travel
Lisbon has a Mediterranean climate, with an average temperature of 17°C (63°F) throughout the year. The hottest months are July and August, with an average temperature of 24°C (75°F), while the coldest months are January and February, with an average temperature of 11°C (52°F).
The wettest months are November and December, with an average rainfall of 127 mm (5 inches), while the driest months are July and August, with an average rainfall of 4 mm (0.2 inches). Lisbon also enjoys plenty of sunshine, with an average of 2799 hours per year.
Lisbon is a popular tourist destination, especially in the summer months, when it attracts visitors from all over the world. The peak season is between June and September, when the city is busy and lively, but also more expensive and crowded.
The shoulder season is between April and May, and October and November, when the weather is still pleasant, but the crowds are fewer and the prices are lower. The low season is between December and March, when the weather is cooler and wetter, but the city is quieter and cheaper.