Portugal’s capital should be on everyone’s list of places to visit. Once you have experienced first hand its rich history and colourful, character-filled buildings you are sure to agree with this statement. This is our guide to the top things to do in Lisbon!
This well-known, tourist’s favourite is a must-do on your trip! Unlike many cities, Lisbon still relies heavily on the transport which was first commissioned years ago, such as these trams from the 1930’s that take you up through the undulating hills of Lisbon and through neighbourhoods such as Baixa, Graça, Alfama and Estrela. The best time to ride is first thing in the morning or early evening when passenger numbers are at their lowest. This is the perfect way to get a tour of Lisbon without putting your legs through the strain of confronting the steep, hilly streets!
You will feel like you’ve gone back in time, wandering through this neighborhood which is the oldest in the city! It even survived the 1755 earthquake. The neighbourhood is full of narrow, ancient streets, perfect for exploring. The best undiscovered location in the Alfama is the Largo da Graça. It is a peaceful, tree shaded plaza positioned in front of the Graça Church. It provides amazing views over the castle and the centre of Lisbon. Visiting this spot at sunset has to be done at least once on your visit to Lisbon. This district used to be the poorest part of Lisbon but is now one of the trendiest areas of Portugal’s capital whilst still keeping its ancient charm.
st george’s castle (CASTELO DE SÃO JORGE)
You can see this castle from almost all of Lisbon, with some parts of it dating back to the 6th century. It was built on the highest point of Lisbon, so if you explore some of the eleven watch out towers you can get amazing 360 degree views of the city surrounding you (as you can see in the image!). The castle is home to roaming peacocks and a small archaeological museum. There are also a couple of terraces with perfect views over Alfama. Having been in the hands of so many different types of rule from Romans to Muslims, this castle is a living memory of Portugal’s history.
Lisbon is home to the largest indoor aquarium in Europe featuring a massive, circular tank where more than 450 different species live. The building floats in the water and is accessed by crossing a footbridge. Aside from the large tank there are also 4 smaller ‘habitats’ surrounding it; North Atlantic, Antarctic, Temperate Pacific and Tropical Indian. It is also ordered so that the upper floor is home to surface animals and plants, while on the lower floor you’ll find the marine species from the depths of the ocean.
Palácio Nacional da Pena
This beautiful area of Portugal will make you feel like you’re in a fairy tale! The picturesque, colourful castle has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is surrounded by lush vegetation. The palace is located in Sintra, a train journey away from Lisbon (the trains are every 15 minutes from Rossio station at €4.30 for a a return). Not only is the outside of the palace stunning but the the interior state rooms are luxuriously designed, and the views from each vantage point are unbelievable! The surrounding forest and gardens are also worth visiting as you can truly get lost in the leafy paradise!
The Jerónimos Monastery is arguably the most impressive monument in Lisbon and it’s been declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Building of this beautiful building started in 1501 under the orders of King Manuel I. The amount of intricate detail that was designed into this masterpiece is outstanding and you can easily spend a couple of hours walking around and admiring it all. You will notice things such as the maritime theme, which was included due to Portugal’s successful naval empire during the time it was built. The cathedral is also spectacular, built from the same golden limestone which is found in the area, and it is also home to the tombs of King Manuel I and his wife.
where to stay?
With so much to do in Lisbon, the only question that remains is: where to stay? We have a lovely range of self catering accommodation for you to browse through, from apartments to houses, in the best locations! Check out the selection here.