The capital of Portugal, Lisbon, boasts a warm Mediterranean weather and has endless coastlines of sandy beaches. When you’re thinking about Lisbon, you are probably thinking about the beach, seafood, azulejos and dreamy sunsets. But in fact, there is a lot more to see and do in Lisbon than the typical stuff that comes to your mind, that you would be surprised to find out! (that’s why I came up with the Lisbon bucketlist).
So here’s the ultimate Lisbon bucketlist: the ultimate guide on where to eat, drink and shop and EVERYTHING you should see and do in the hipster capital of Europe
1. Visit Belem’s Tower
Belem Tower is the most iconic building in Lisbon. It was built in 1515 as a way to defend Lisbon’s harbour and It has a strong historical meaning to Portugal. It is advised to go early to skip the queue as only 150 people can get inside at the same time.
2. Visit Jeronymos Monastery
A visit to Belem, requires a visit to Jeronymos Monastery, the most impressive symbol of Portugal’s power and wealth during the Age of Discovery. It was built in honor of Vasco de Gama, who commanted the first ships from Europe to India and was one of the most wel-known and succesful Portuguese explorers. The architecture inside is so beautiful that no picture can fully capture the beauty accurately.
3. Sample Lisbon’s best restaurants at Time Out Market
There are thousands of food options, it is usually packed but you have to do it at least once! There´s almost every cuisine available, so whether you are a sushi enthusiast or want to try something local, this place is for you!
4. Grab a pasteis de belem – or two!
The recipe is so secret that all bakers signed non disclosure agreements to keep the timeless tarts a true mystery. The monks at the Jeronymos Monastery made the original recipe and sold it to the family that still owns the same place.
5. Ride the iconic Tram 28
The iconic tram 28 gives you one of the best tours of Lisbon and you should do it at least once. To enrich your experience and make it more memorable, take the tram 28 early in the morning or later at night. The key to getting a seat is to get on the first stop in Martim Moniz since If you stand, you can’t really see anything.
6. Listen to some Fado
Fado is Portugal’s traditional music. If you want to experience the real cultural of Portugal, you have to listen to Fado at least once in your life!
7. Eat Portuguese Food
Portuguese love bacalhau and are not afraid to show it! Bacalhau a Bras and Bacalhau com nata are only a few of the popular dishes of the portuguese cuisine. Also don’t miss out on sardines and any other sea food dishes.
8. Take a shot of Ginjinha
Ginjinha is Portugal’s local cherry liqueur. The most popular place for it is “A Ginjinha”. For the full experience, drink ginjinha in a chocolate cup!
9. Admire the 360 degrees views from Castelo de São Jorge
Gazing over the city, this beautiful Moorish castle provides fantastic views of the Baixa District and the Rio Tejo (River Tagus). It is a must to visit the castle as it is one of Lisbon’s most emblematic landmarks.
10. Delve into the disorientating alleys of Moorish Alfama
One of the oldest districts, Alfama is my personally favorite place to walk around in Lisbon. Some really cool backstreets and the best place to explore .On every street you can find a new discovery. You should also consider taking the Lisbon photo tour and discover some really cool spots in Alfama and the surrounding areas.
11. Azulejos Hunting
Though azulejos are originally from Egypt they are also considered an extension of Portugal’s personality. You can find them almost everywhere and are really instagrammable.
12. Find the best street art
Lisbon was voted among the top 10 cities for street art. Some of the graffitis were made by some really popular artists. Explore the streets to find the best of the street art. Below you can see one of the most emblematic street art in Lisbon, featuring Maria Severa, the first fado singer to have risen in fame. If you look closely, you can even spot an Obama poster looking out of the window on the left.
13. Go for treasure hunting at Feira da Ladra
You can’t miss the biggest flea market in Lisbon which is held every Tuesday and Saturday. There are myriad of products, from second hand products displayed on stretched out blankets to brand new unique products and vintage furniture. Vintage lovers and non will will love to seek out some weird souvenirs to bring home other than the typical Tram Keyrings or just take an interesting stroll and observe the unusual things one can see in a flea market.
14. Meet the penguins at the Oceanarium
Oceanario de Lisboa is the second largest in Europe and one of the most impressive in the world.
15. Fly silently over Parque das Nações by riding the cable car
Not very far from the oceanarium, there is a very unique experience for you! If you want to see panoramic views of the city and the bridge, you should definitely ride the cable car at Parque das Nações. It takes approximately 10 minutes and is fairly cheap. (€3.50 one way, €5.90 return).
16. Party in Bairro Alto
Everyone knows that the party happens at the historic neighborhood of Bairro Alto. That’s the place to meet locals and people from different countries! The drinks in the area are soo cheap. You can get a local beer for as low as €1 and a cocktail for just €3,50.
17. Beer by the Miradouro of Santa Catarina
Miradouro of Santa Catarina is the most popular miradouro and is almost always full during the sunset hours. Most commonly visited by students and young international people. They make a great spot to enjoy a breath taking view while drinking a beer-the local’s favorite drink.
18. Ride a bike and survive the hills ( and tram lines)
Make sure you are comfortable with urban cycling and how your bike handles on steep hills with cobblestones. You can always choose the safe way, along the coast of the river and up toward the ocean that will give you days of rewarding exploration.
19. Find the cereals cafe
Your childhood dream becomes reality! There’s a cafe dedicated to the cereal lovers with over 100 type of cereal in the narrow streets of Bairro Alto, the Pop Cereal Cafe. You can either create your own combinations or order a bowl from their set menu and the pop culture environment is just equally as good!
20. Watch a movie at an open-air cinema
Topo Chiado organizes movie nights every week when the weather allows, so check out Cine Society for weekly events.
21. Visit Magical Sintra
The greatest day trip from Lisbon – Sintra looks like a fairy tale like world – no joke! Take the direct train to Sintra and get lost in the magical palaces and enchanting gardens of this unreal town that Lord Byron raved about. The photo below was taken at Quinta da Regaleira – my favorite place in Sintra which is a heaven for nature enthusiasts.
22. Speed Boat Trip by Tagus
If you want to see Lisbon from a different perspective, consider to opt for a speed boat trip on the Tagus River. Although it doesn’t convey the luxury of the yacht, it’s more fun If you like speed along with a little bit adventure.
23. Taste the most delicious cupcakes in Lisbon
Tease has the best cupcakes ever – I am not teasing you. If you never try, you will never know! They are all homemade and made daily out of fresh ingredients daily and there’s also a great variety of other homemade goods.
24. Attend a Festival or other city event
There is always something going on in Lisbon! Whether it’s a musical festival, a cultural event, an exhibition or anything else. Lisbon is even home to the largest tech conference, the Web Summit.
25. Views from the 8th floor at Pollux
Some of the greatest views that not many people know about are at Pollux, the Portuguese-like Ikea. Enjoy a coffee at this secret location!
26. Discover the illegal Observatory
One of the coolest abandoned places in Lisbon is the Monsanto Panoramic Restaurant. As the name reveals, originally it used to be a restaurant that turned into a club and then went into bankruptcy. Nowadays, is one of the hidden gems of Lisbon, a 30 minute bus ride away, and a heaven for photography enthusiasts and adrenaline junkies. Do you dare to go?
27. See the tiniest bookshop in the world
Did you know that the tiniest bookshop in the world is in Lisbon? It’s only 4 sq.meters but has approximately 4000 books!! Unbelievable.
28. Fix a broken doll
Hospital de Bonecas is a family’s business since the 19th century and it’s exactly what is called – A doll’s hospital! On the upper floor it exhibits some really cool (or creepy) vintage dolls and you can even bring yours for a quick fix.
29.Reach the most western most point of Europe
A Portuguese poet,Luis Camoes, (1524-1580), once quoted for Cabo da Roca the phrase “Where the land ends and the sea begins.” And he’s totally right, Cabo da Roca is in fact the most westernmost point in Europe. It’s a little windy over there, but the dramatic landscape in the background along with the breath taking views make up for it! The easiest way to go there is by driving a car or taking a bus from Sintra.
30. Have a drink with a view at Park Bar
Something that I really love in Lisbon, are the rooftop bars. My favorite is Park, as it’s huge, international and has a really cool vibe! It´s located at the top of a 5 floor car park with stunning views over Tagus river. Also, check out Topo in Martim Moniz, the rooftop at Hotel Mundial and Lost In.
31. Cross the Ponte 25 de Abril Bridge
It might not be Golden Gate but close enough. There are many ways to cross the bridge, whether it’s by car, motorbike (rent an eCooltra), bus or ferry.
32. Sip white porto tónico
One of the local’s favorite aperitif is porto tónico, the portuguese equivalent to g&t. Porto tónico is a mixture of fortified wine made from white Douro Valley grapes, tonic water and garnished with lemon. It’s quite refreshing and is a little bitter, a little sweet and mellow enough in alcohol that one can continue drinking throughout the afternoon.
33. See Lisbon from the other side
Catch a ferry to Cacilhas and then the bus to Cristo Rei to admire Lisbon from far and above. Cristo Rei is one of the most iconic monuments of Lisbon and displays Christ with arms raised, blessing the city. The Portuguese constructed the statue as a “Thank you” to God for keeping Portugal out of the Second World War and was inspired by the equivalent Cristo Rei in Rio de Janeiro. Reaching Cristo Rei is not difficult by using public transportation and includes a scenic ferry ride.
34. Take a day trip to the Obidos
An hour away from Lisbon, you can find one of the most beautiful,picturesque towns of Portugal, Obidos. The Municipality of Obidos hosts some of the greatest cultural events including the “Holy Week of Obidos”, the “Medieval Fair” and “Christmas Fair”. What’s cool about Obidos, it seems like it takes you back in time with the environment it boasts and the very well kept architecture it has preserved throughout the years.
35. Visit the best European beach
Voted by Europeanbestdestinations as the best European Beach in Europe, Praia dos Galapinhos is only an hour car ride away from Lisbon in the Natural park of Arrabida. What makes the beach so beautiful is the unspoiled nature it boasts and the lack of tourism facilities. Check out a previous blog post on Arrabida for more information!
36. Sunrise at the Miradouro das Portas do Sol
If you are looking for the best sunrise in the city, search for the Miradouro das Portas do Sol in Alfama. It will leave you speechless!
Bonus: There are not many people around at 6am (*wink*)
37. Admire the views from Rua Augusta and its Triumph Arch
The belvedere located at the top of the arch gives you an incredible view on the entire Praça do Comércio and Baixa Pombalina and it only costs €2.50.
38. Take a shot of ginjinha in a chocolate cup
Ginjinha is the portuguese cherry liquor that you definitely have to try when you visit Lisbon. The most popular place to have it is A Ginjinha, a traditional home to the portuguese liquor.
39. Go for wine testing
While Porto is known for its wine history and visited for its Port wine cellars, that doesn’t mean you can’t taste wine in Lisbon! It can cost as low as 8 euros to taste 12 different types of wine at Wines of Portugal Tasting Room. Seems cheap? Welcome to Portugal! Also, If you are looking for a unique wine bar, check out “By the Wine”.
40. Visit Parque Eduardo VII
At the top of the Avenida de Liberdade you can find one of the most beautiful parks in Lisbon. Parque Eduardo VII is a urban park with amazing panoramic views over Lisbon and the river.
41. Visit Convento do Carmo
The ruin of Convento do Carmo is a former Roman-Catholic convent located in the city’s heart, in Chiado. It stands as a remind of the devastating earthquake of 1755, that destroyed most of the city.
42. Visit Cascais – the fisherman’s village
A short breath away from Lisbon, you can find Cascais, a coastal resort town known for its sandy beaches and busy marina. Don’t miss out on Boca do Inferno(literally translates to hell’s mouth) which is a very interesting cliff formation not very far from the city.
43. Have a bica at Café da Garagem
Equivalent to espresso, is the portuguese coffee which is called bica – longer than espresso and a little bit smoother in taste. Café da Garagem is know for its magnificent views and cozy environment.
44. See Lisbon from the top of Santa Justa Elevador
Insiders Tip: Santa Justa is technically part of the public transport network, so avoid paying for the 5 euro fee by using your metro ticket to go up. Enjoy stunning views of the city and Lisbon’s rooftops.
45. Check out the Illegal Chinese Restaurant
Located in the quirky streets of Martim Moniz, you can find one of Lisbon’s hidden gems which is mostly known among the locals, the Illegal Chinese! It’s actually a typical flat that was transformed into a restaurant by some Chinese. The food is authentic and tastes really good.
46. Pay tribute to Portuguese heroes
In Lisbon downtown, it’s hard not to spot the dome of Panteão Nacional, in Igreja de Santa Engrácia. It is a big building, with a great dome and columnes. A really imposing place to honer the country’s important figures. Inside you’ll find tombs honoring 21 national heroes.
47. Explore the hipster capital of Lisbon
Did you know that there is a mini hipster city in Lisbon? It’s a quirky place with a cool vibe, lots of places to grab a coffee or have lunch and many little shops that sell artsy stuff! The best day to visit LX Factory is on Sunday, when the the courtyards between the buildings are packed with pop-up tables from several artists.
48. Visit Ler Devagar Bookstore in LX Factory
If you visit LX Factory, you can’t miss out on visiting one of the top 10 most beautiful book stores in the world, Ler Devagar. It’s a bookworm’s heaven where you can take a break to read a book, go through their grand collection and observe the antique printing machines and the flying bicycle that hangs from the ceiling.
49. See Lisbon from the highest viewpoint
If you don’t mind taking the extra mile to reach the highest viewpoint in Lisbon, then I would recommend visiting Miradouro Da Senhora do Monte where you can get panoramic views of the city. It requires a little bit of walking up the hill, but it’s a remarkable experience especially for those who are always after some pretty views.
50. Have a cocktail at a former brothel in Cais do Sodre
Once, it used to be a cheap pension rented by the hour to prostitutes and their clients and now it’s one of the fanciest bars in Lisbon! The ceilings are painted with frescoes, the walls are covered with paintings and mirrors and the decorative pieces give the space an old burlesque,relaxed atmosphere. Sometimes there are live shows and performances and visiting this place is a unique experience you can’t miss!
Hope you enjoyed the ultimate Lisbon bucketlist even though I am sure there are still hundreds of things to mention! How many things have you ticked off so far or are planning to do soon? Is there something else you have enjoyed during your stay in the hipster capital of Europe that I have not mentioned?
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