5 Places to See and 5 Things to Do in Lisbon
5 Places to See
5 Things to Do
- Visit Cascais and lay on its beach
- Take a sunset boat trip
- Walk around the old town of Alfama
- Spend the evening in Barrio Alto
- Soak in a mix of cultures at Calouste Gulbenkian
The Portuguese capital is full of many wonderful places to visit and well as great things to do. In this article we give you our list of the best things to do, so you can make the most of your visit.
Places to See
A large square located right next to the river, this is where historically, ships would dock after returning from exploration and bring the goods they had acquired into the city. Nowadays this beautiful square is home to many bars and restaurants as well as a couple of museums which you can visit. It even leads onto a small beach on either side of where the dock used to be. All the buildings in the square have beautiful architecture, especially the Arco da Rua Augusta. This ornate arch was built in 1875 and now has a viewing platform which provides a good view of the city.
For the best view of the city, visit the Castelo de S. Jorge. This Moorish castle dates back to the 11th century and offers terrific views out across the bay with the western side offering a 180-degree view of the city, from which you can see many of its famous landmarks. The castle itself is remarkably well preserved, the gardens inside the outer wall offer a shaded walk through the grounds with abundant views on one side and the castle on the other. Inside is an archaeological museum which gives you a view into the various peoples who have inhabited the area over the millennia. Artefacts here date from the Roman period through to the late medieval.
A 45-minute train journey or 30-minute drive outside of the city is the visually stunning town of Sintra. This UNESCO World Heritage site is well known for its striking castle, The Palacio Nacional De Pena, which is brightly painted and has been faithfully restored to appear how it did in 1910 when the Portuguese nobility fled the country. Sintra is home to many beautiful historical buildings, palaces such as Palacio Nacional de Sintra and Monserrate Palace or the Moorish castle Castelo dos Mouros and finally Quinta da Regaleira, a neo-gothic mansion. In short, Sintra is not lacking in beautiful buildings to see and is definitely worth a day trip from the city.
Located in the Belem area, this beautifully ornate monastery would be worth visiting purely for the building itself, but this UNESCO World Heritage site also houses two museums the Museu Nacional de Arqueologia and the Museu de Marinha. The former; as you probably guessed is an archaeological museum, that holds finds from across Portugal and details its rich history throughout the centuries. The latter documents Portugal’s history as a maritime power and has remnants of ships, models and much more.
Not far from the Jeronimos Monastery and standing guard over the Tagus River is the Belem Tower. Originally built to help defend Lisbon from attack with its twin on the other side of the river. It was then used as a prison and now holds a museum. It offers a great view along the river and is situated in a park where you can relax.
Things to Do
Located in the area known as ‘the Portuguese Riviera’ this beautiful seaside town is easily reached by train from Cais do Sodre or by car from the city. It’s a great place to visit for a day with a wonderful old town and plenty to soak up. The best part of it however is its beaches, with beautiful golden sand and blue waters it’s a great place to relax and soak up the sun, with the pretty town as the backdrop.
In our opinion the best way to see the city. Many boat trips run from various points in the city and enable you to see a different side of Lisbon. Depending on the trip you book and the number in your party you can get anything from larger commercial boats to private sailing boats. The boat's crew are very knowledgeable and tell you everything about the history of what you’re looking at. You may be lucky and even get to see dolphins skipping through the waves. These trips can be booked for any time in the day but we recommend booking one that goes at sunset or when it's dark, so you can see the lights of the city.
In the district surrounding the Castelo de S Jorge is the old town area of Alfama. Retaining its look for many years, these picturesque narrow streets feature many buildings fronted with traditional Portuguese tiles. These house many small shops filled with handcrafted items and bakeries which serve some of the best Pastel de Nata (Portuguese Custard Tarts) in the city. The most scenic way to get there is via the tram. The trams which Lisbon is famous for are traditional small yellow ones. The E28 tram which takes you through the winding streets to Alfama is one of these.
The hub of the city’s nightlife, Barrio Alto is an area that within its narrow streets holds plenty of bars, restaurants and cafes where you can spend your evening. There is a strip of bars in the centre of the area for those who want to party the night away but there are plenty of quieter places you can find to sit and enjoy some dinner or a drink. This is a better place to spend the night than the less traditional and more tourist-focused pink street which is close to the waterfront. Just bring your hiking boots as like much of Lisbon, it is up a large hill!
Probably the best museum in the city, this site in the centre of a park with the same name is home to two museums both set up by the 19th-century oil magnate Calouste Gulbenkian. One part is a museum of Portuguese and modern art and the other houses artefacts, paintings and much more which tell the story of different cultures across the globe. With everything from Egyptian statues and Greek vases to Chinese pottery and Turner paintings, this museum tells interesting tales of time periods from across the globe.
And there we have it, our list of the best things to see and do in Lisbon. We hope this has given you some idea of how to make the most of your time in the city and what has to offer. It may show you why it is a place you must visit. For more travel inspiration and destinations, read our blogs or take a look around our website and then give us a call on 01157843388. If you already know where you’re looking to book, call us, email firstname.lastname@example.org or fill in our contact form with what you’re looking for. Don't forget to follow us on social media to find out the next Destination of the Week and for all your holiday needs. If you've been to Lisbon, where was your favourite place? What was the best thing you did, or do you think we missed anything that you must do? Let us know in the comments or on social media, just click the buttons below which take you to our social pages