The Ultimate Guide to Visiting Lisbon

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Having heard mediocre things about Lisbon, when I decided to visit Portugal I went in thinking of Lisbon as a “pass-through city”.  A place to sleep while I recovered from jetlag and promptly headed north instead.  However, maybe it was the poor judgment I had of the city ahead of time, or maybe my travel companions and I just don’t have similar taste, but it turns out that Lisbon was quite an incredible place.  With brightly colored yellow and red trolleys navigating the narrow streets, beautiful lookout points overlooking pastel-colored buildings, and fascinating history, the capital of Portugal is one city I’d visit again.

In this guide to visiting Lisbon, you’ll find everything you need to know from how to navigate, where to stay, the best restaurants and bars in Lisbon, and the things I’d recommend focusing my time on.

 


If you’re planning a trip to Portugal, don’t miss The Ultimate Portugal Travel Guide


 

Everything You Need to Know About Visiting Lisbon

 

Where to Stay in Lisbon

There are so many great, quaint neighborhoods in Lisbon.  And depending on what you’re looking for, there are plenty of options from hotels to Airbnbs around the city.  When I traveled to Lisbon, I stayed in two different Airbnbs, both which I would recommend.

  • Tiles Apartment – By Mayoral – This Airbnb wasn’t my favorite in terms of design, but you truly can’t be the location!  Right in the Alfama neighborhood, this is the perfect neighborhood if you’re looking for local charm, but you aren’t interested in crowds or noise.  Alfama is a bit more sleepy than other parts of Lisbon, but it doesn’t lack character.
  • Stylish 2 Bedroom Apartment in Historical Center – This Airbnb was a bit more commercial, but again, you can’t beat the location and the design was incredible!  Located right across from Jardim de São Pedro de Alcântara, you’re near tons of great bars, restaurants, and historical sites.  Plus this is a good option if you’re arriving early or leaving late and need to store your luggage as they have free storage spaces to use.

 

Getting Around Lisbon

Lisbon is an incredibly walkable city, so as long as you’re up for it, and you have comfortable walking shoes you can get almost anywhere on foot!  Otherwise, there are great, affordable transportation options if you’re not up for walking.

 

RIDESHARE

There are a couple of ride-share companies operating in Lisbon that I would highly recommend using – Uber and Bolt.  Both are affordable options, I recommend downloading both apps and comparing prices at the time of riding.

Both of these options pick up and drop off from the airport.

 

TAXI

There are taxi’s all around the city, and while they cost more than ride-sharing does, it can be a more convenient option at times.  Just make sure that the meter is on and running so you don’t get scammed.

 

TRAM

The famous trams (or trolleys) in Lisbon, might be enticing – but they aren’t too practical.  However, if you do want to ride on the tram, the cost for a one-way ticket on board is €3.  For a more detailed guide on how to use the tram system in Lisbon, read this guide.

 

TUKTUK

Lastly, you can also get around Lisbon in a more fun way – by tuktuk!  There are tons of tuktuks driving around the city, waiting to pick you up.  Out of all of the options mentioned, this is probably the most expensive, but it can be fun and convenient.  Make sure to have cash on you when riding and set your price ahead of time.  (You’re also able to negotiate with the drivers).

 


If you’re planning on renting a car to see Portugal, you don’t need one in Lisbon so I suggest picking it up on your way out of the city.  If you’re planning a Portugal road trip, make sure to read The Best 8 Day Northern Portugal Road Trip; and for more tips on renting a car in Portugal, make sure to check out Everything You Need to Know About Renting a Car in Portugal (if You’re an American)


 

Things to See and Do in Lisbon

There’s so much fun to be had in Lisbon from hearing live Fado music, to learning about the history of the city in museums and tours, and so much more.  Below were my favorite activities to do in Lisbon!

 

CATCH BEAUTIFUL VIEWS OF LISBON AT MIRADOR DE GRACA & MIRADOURO DE SAO PEDRO DE ALCANTARA

Both of these lookout points offer sweeping views over Lisbon’s pastel colored homes, waterways, and bustling streets.  I recommend grabbing a bottle of wine and setting up a picnic for sunset.

Of note, Mirador de Graca does have a small bar where you can purchase drinks from.  There are also benches, but if you’re looking to have an actual picnic, Miradouro de Sao Pedro de Alcantara would be the better choice as there’s more green space.

 

GO ON A FREE WALKING TOUR

One of my favorite ways to see a city and learn about the culture and history is from a free walking tour! When I visited Lisbon, I saw the city with Lisbon Chill Out, a tour that focuses on sustainability and seeing sites more off the beaten path and less touristy.

 

TAKE A BEER TOUR AT MUSEU DA CERVEJA

While this isn’t the most comprehensive or informative beer tour I’ve been on, it was cheap, unique, and the best part about it was that you got to pick any beer from the museum (price is included in your ticket) to drink when the tour ends.

 

VISIT THE LX FACTORY

By far the best thing to do in Lisbon it to spend a day at the LX Factory.  Located a few miles north of the city center, the LX Factory is a historical industrial complex that has an array of bars, restaurants, and boutique shops.  There’s even a hostel you can stay at!

If you visit the LX Factory don’t miss the bookstore – Ler Devager – eating Latin American food at Ni Michi, or buying canned fish at Comur.

 

The Best Bars/Restaurants in Lisbon

 

A CEVICHERIA

This small Peruvian, Asian fusion restaurant on R. Dom Pedro V Street is an ideal lunch spot.  Known for their insanely delicious ceviche, this small restaurant has great décor and an intimate feel.

Plus, if you have to wait to be seated, there’s a window where you can purchase drinks out of and drink them on the sidewalk while you wait.

 

CASA DA PRAIA TAPAS BAR & WINE BAR

Located near A Cevicheria, Casa da Praia Tapas Bar & Wine Bar is the cutest little wine bar in Lisbon!  It’s the perfect place to go for wine and apps before dinner, or after dinner drinks.  Lit by candlelight and surrounded by hundreds of bottles of wine, this wine bar is the perfect mix of cozy and intimtate.

 

CASA SAO MIGUEL

Located in the Alfama neighborhood, Casa Sao Miguel is a small cafe specializing in Portuguese treats.  It’s an ideal place to go for a morning espresso and croissant, or kicking back and relaxing late in the afternoon while munching on pastel de nata and coffee.

 

FERROVIARIO

Out of everywhere I visited in Lisbon, Ferroviario felt like the most local place of all!  Located a bit north of the city, Ferroviario is a rooftop oasis with great cocktails, a lively atmosphere, and views of the ocean.

 

GRACA DO VINHO

I walked by this little wine bar one night on my way to dinner and ended up turning around because it looked so *cute*.  Lucky for me I was able to secure a table and experience this gem of a wine bar in the heart of Alfama.  Graca do Vinho is a perfect place to go for charcuterie, oysters, and wine before dinner or as a light snack.  It’s quaint and quirky and on a nice day the doors fully open up outside giving you a nice breeze!

 

PAVILHAO CHINES

This quirky bar is an old grocery store that has been converted into a five-room bar, with rooms decorated like a museum using toys from two world wars.  It’s an interesting and unique place to grab a few drinks!  But please be mindful, they request that no photography is done here.

 

TAPA BUCHO

Tapa Bucho was one of the best dining experiences I had in Lisbon.  The entire menu was incredible, with an extra special emphasis on the pork belly, ox’s tail sandwich, and the smoked ham croquettes.  I highly suggest making dinner reservations ahead of time as this restaurant isn’t a secret.

 

TIME OUT MARKET

Time Out Market is a food lovers dream with 20+ food stalls lining the food hall.  Here you can get anything from the local specialty – bacalhau, to asian food, seafood, and more!  This market is the perfect place to go with a group of people or solo!  Just make sure to show up hungry.

 

Lisbon is an incredible city, full of charm, character, friendly locals, and incredible food and history.  There’s so much to see and do in Portugal’s capital city that a few days simply won’t do it justice.  If you’re visiting Lisbon, I can only hope that you enjoy the city as much as I did!

 


If you want a more visual look at Lisbon or you’re looking for more recommendations on Portugal, make sure to check out my Instagram page/highlight reel and search #ppinportugal or look for the highlight “Portugal”!


 

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passportsandpreemies
passportsandpreemies

Kylee is a Neonatal Intensive Care (NICU) nurse passionate about making travel affordable and accessible to nurses. Inspiring nurses to travel both near and far, Kylee began Passports and Preemies in 2017 while volunteering in Skopje, North Macedonia as a way to reach nurses and advocate for the prevention of nurse burnout by traveling. Kylee is the original creator of the “8 Day Vacay” – a vacation geared towards nurses who aim to take advantage of the potentially 8 days off between work weeks with no need to use PTO.

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