15 Fun, Culture-Packed Things To Do In Lisbon

Portugal

Lisbon is one of my favourite European destinations. The vibrant city is simply bursting with colour, culture, and amazing food… and it’s not too expensive either! Whether you’re a history buff, a foodie, or looking for fun experiences in the city, there’s always something new and exciting for everyone in Lisbon.

Here are 15 epic things to do in the beautiful city of Lisbon!

brunette woman in gold-orange dress sits in a tiled courtyard of white arches and blue detail

1. Visit the National Azulejo Museum (Tile Museum)

I love me a good tile! If you’re interested in the traditional art of azulejos, colourful glazed tiles that adorn many buildings in Lisbon, then the National Azulejo Museum is a must-visit. Located in the Madre de Deus Convent, the museum has a vast and unique collection of azulejos dating back to the 15th century.

At the museum you can learn about the history and techniques of this art form – the term azulejo derives from the Arabic word “azzelij” (“little polished stone”). Not only is it fascinating to learn about the history and significance of these tiles, which feature heavily in Portuguese architecture, but the museum itself is housed in a former convent with stunning views of the city. The Museum’s building itself is beautiful, full of arched ceilings, intricate tilework and elegant courtyards – a great place to shoot photos. Oh, and there’s a pretty museum café that serves pastries and fresh orange juice – perfect for a bite before heading back into the city!

  • Want a private tour and a sweet treat? Do the Azulejo Museum Private Tour and Pastel de Belem Tour

  • If you fancy making your own tiles, try this Tiles and Tales Azulejo Workshop and Private Museum Tour

Planning to shoot in Lisbon? Check out the Most Instagram-Worthy Photography Spots in Lisbon

2. Try Pasteis de Nata in Belem

Portuguese desserts are known for their rich flavors and indulgent textures… and no trip to Lisbon is complete without trying the famous “Pasteis de Nata” or “Pastel de Nata”, a traditional Portuguese custard tart with a crispy pastry crust! While you can find them all over the city, the best place to try them is at Pastéis de Belém.

This bakery has been making pastel de nata since 1837 and is considered by many to be the best in the city. You can enjoy your pastel de nata with a cup of coffee or tea on their beautiful outdoor patio – the café itself is intricately decorated with azulejos (tiles) and has lots of other pastries to try. Also, although Pastéis de Belém is the most famous spot for pastel de nata, there are plenty of other bakeries in the area that serve these.

  • Fancy being a pastry chef for the day? Try the Desserts of Lisbon Masterclass: Pastel De Nata and more

  • For culture and dessert, check out the Azulejo Museum Private Tour and Pastel de Belem Tour

3. Go on a Portuguese Foodie Tour around Lisbon

On that note, since Lisbon is known for its delicious food and drink, one of the best ways to experience it all is by going on a guided foodie tour! There are several options available, from walking tours of local markets and restaurants to wine and cheese tastings. You’ll get to try amazing traditional dishes and drinks while learning about the history and culture behind them. Here are some top recommended food tours in Lisbon:

  • Treasures of Lisboa Food Tours (1,000+ 5-star reviews)

  • Lisbon Small-Group Portuguese Food and Wine Tour (1000+ 5-star reviews)

  • Portuguese Cuisine: 17 Tastings Lisbon Food Tour (300+ 5-star reviews)

4. Explore the iconic Pink Street (Rua Nova do Carvalho)

Rua Nova do Carvalho, known as Pink Street, is a vibrant and Instagram-worthy walking street located in Cais do Sodré. Paved with pink cobblestones and featuring colourful buildings and street art, Pink Street is one of Lisbon’s most popular photography spots. Bring a wide-angle lens to capture the entire street or a portrait lens to capture the street performers and locals. It’s also packed with bars and restaurants that come alive at night – so double back in the evening for a lively nightlife vibe once you’ve done all your sightseeing!

  • Do you love street art? Try this highly-rated 3-Hour Guided Street Art Walking Tour of Lisbon!

  • Come back after hours and get involved with a Pink Street Pub Crawl. Saúde! Cheers!

5. Explore Bairro Alto by Day and Bar-Hop by Night

Bairro Alto is one of Lisbon’s most lively neighborhoods, known for its colourful buildings, lively nightlife, and trendy restaurants. During the day, stroll its narrow streets and admire its character. At night, when the neighborhood comes alive with, Bairro Alto is the place to be. Lined with bars and clubs, the atmosphere is electric. The best way to experience the nightlife in Bairro Alto is to bar hop, trying different drinks and soaking up the lively ambiance. Popular local spots include “Pavilhão Chinês,” (“Chinese Pavilion”) a quirky bar filled with vintage toys and games, and “The Gin House,” which serves an extensive list of gin cocktails. Don’t miss out on the traditional Portuguese drink “ginjinha,” a sweet cherry liquor, which is often served in shot glasses made of chocolate. They’re more-ish!

  • For a fun-filled night of partying, get involved with a Lisbon Wild Pub Crawl!

6. Catch a live Fado show

Fado is a traditional Portuguese music genre from the early 19th century, known for mournful melodies and soulful lyrics. Fado shows are a fantastic way to immerse yourself in Portuguese music culture. If you’re in Lisbon, catch a Fado show at Clube de Fado (a super famous small club in the historic Alfama neighborhood), Casa de Linhares (a charming restaurant in Bairro Alto neighborhood where you can eat delicious local food while listening to talented Fado singers), O Faia (an elegant and historic Bairro Alto restaurant serving up Portuguese cuisine and hosting Fado shows since 1947), or Adega Machado (a renowned Fado house in Chiado, popular for tourists and locals alike since the 1930s).

7. Take a day trip to Sintra

While Lisbon is a fantastic city in its own right, it’s also surrounded by beautiful countryside and historic towns. One of the best day trips you can take is to Sintra, a UNESCO World Heritage site just a short train ride from Lisbon. This picturesque town is known for its colourful Pena Palace (Palácio da Pena) and enchanting gardens, and it’s a must-visit for anyone interested in history, architecture, and nature. Sintra is super beautiful!

8. Catch sunset on the Tagus River

A Tagus River cruise is a great way to see Lisbon from a different perspective and take in the city’s stunning architecture and natural beauty. There are plenty of options for Tagus River cruises inc;uding Carristur and Lisbon by Boat. Check out some of these experiences:

  • Lisbon All-in-One Hop On and Off Bus and Tram Tour with River Cruise

  • Lisbon Sunset Catamaran River Cruise

  • Sunset Sailing Tour on the Tagus River

9. Visit the Belém Tower and Explore the Riverside on Wheels

Located in the Belém neighborhood, the Belém Tower is a beautiful 16th-century fortress that once protected the city from invaders. Today, it’s one of Lisbon’s most iconic landmarks and a must-visit for anyone interested in history or architecture. Take a tour of the tower to learn more about its fascinating past and enjoy stunning views over the Tagus River. I’d also highly recommend renting an electric scooter or bicycle and taking in the sights of the city on wheels – way more fun than walking! If renting a scooter, try to download those apps in advance on wifi at your hotel or accommodation so you don’t burn through roaming data outside.

  • Bike Tours Lisbon – Centre of Lisbon to Belém

10. Have a beach day or learn to surf at Costa da Caparica

Whilst the Algarve is known for beaches, Lisbon is actually home to some beautiful stretches of sand. Just a short train ride from the city centre, you can find yourself on the Atlantic coast, with stunning views and crystal clear water. Some of the best beaches near Lisbon include “Praia do Guincho,” which is popular with surfers, and “Costa da Caparica,” a long stretch of sand with plenty of bars and restaurants. We took an Uber to Costa de Caparica, which cost around 14 euros across the bridge from my Airbnb in Alfama, and we had a lovely meal and wine by the sea as the sun went down. Remember to bring your own beach towels!

  • Fancy learning to surf? Book a session with The Surf Instructor at Costa Caparica!

  • Go one step further and buddy up with a small surfing group via The Lisbon Surfing Experience

11. Try local Portuguese dishes and seafood specialties

One of the best things about traveling to new places is trying the local food. Lisbon has a fantastic culinary scene, with plenty of traditional dishes to sample. Some must-try dishes include “bacalhau,” a salt cod dish which is a staple of Portuguese cuisine, “cozido,” a meat and vegetable stew, and “sardinhas assadas,” grilled sardines that are a summer favorite. For the full experience, head to a “tasca,” a traditional Portuguese tavern, where you can try these dishes in a lively, authentic setting.

Portugal is a country with a very strong seafood tradition, and Lisbon is no exception. One of the most famous seafood dishes in Lisbon is “arroz de marisco,” a seafood rice stew made with clams, mussels, shrimp, and other fresh seafood. For a delicious and authentic arroz de marisco, head to Cervejaria Ramiro, a popular seafood restaurant that has been serving up delicious dishes since 1956. You can also try other seafood specialties like grilled octopus, garlic shrimp, and crab. As mentioned above, why not treat yourself to a foodie tour?

  • Treasures of Lisboa Food Tours (1,000+ 5-star reviews)

  • Lisbon Small-Group Portuguese Food and Wine Tour (1000+ 5-star reviews)

  • Portuguese Cuisine: 17 Tastings Lisbon Food Tour (300+ 5-star reviews)

12. Have a picnic at the 25 de Abril Bridge

If you’re looking for a beautiful place to watch the sun go down, head to the 25 de Abril Bridge for a picnic with a view. This suspension bridge spans the Tagus River and offers breathtaking views of Lisbon. Pack a basket of Portuguese cheeses, bread, and wine, and enjoy the sunset somewhere overlooking this lovely installation – which was actually inspired by the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco!

  • Lisbon Sunset Catamaran River Cruise

  • Lisbon All-in-One Hop On and Off Bus and Tram Tour with River Cruise

  • Sunset Sailing Tour on the Tagus River

13. Explore LX Factory, Lisbon’s Creative Mini-City

LX Factory is a vibrant creative hub in Lisbon, home to art galleries, boutiques, restaurants, and cafes. The industrial buildings have been transformed into a trendy space where you can discover local designers and artists, try delicious food, and relax with a coffee or a cocktail. I’d recommend seeing the iconic Ler Devager bookstore if you like reading – and taking a snap since it’s a bonafide Instagram spot!

  • If you don’t fancy going around on foot, why not take a Tuk-Tuk Tour to LX Factory?

  • If you’re into street art, check out this highly-rated 3-Hour Guided Street Art Walking Tour of Lisbon!

15. Take a ride on Lisbon’s iconic Tram 28

One of the most popular tourist attractions in Lisbon is riding the iconic Tram 28. This vintage yellow tram winds its way through the narrow streets of Lisbon, taking you up and past some of the city’s most historic and picturesque neighbourhoods. Hop on at one of the stops along the way and enjoy a leisurely ride through the heart of the city, tram-style! These cute yellow trams make for great photo opportunities too.

Check out this all-in-one tour: Lisbon All-in-One Hop On and Off Bus and Tram Tour with River Cruise

15. Visit the Alfama neighbourhood

You can’t leave Lisbon without exploring the charming streets of Alfama. This historic area is home to narrow, winding streets, colourful houses, and stunning views over the city. Take a stroll through the neighbourhood, stopping to admire the churches, fountains, and viewpoints along the way. Don’t miss the “Miradouro de Santa Luzia,” a beautiful terrace with panoramic views of Lisbon and the Tagus River. I really recommend heading to this viewpoint either at sunrise or sunset, so you can see all of Lisbon’s lovely red rooftops bathed in a golden hour glow. Inspiring stuff! If you’re a photographer, I’d recommend using a zoom lens when you’re up there, so you can capture close-up details as well as wide angles. My favourite travel lens is the Sony 24-70mm!

Source: https://www.illumelation.com/