Lisbon Travel Guide
Our best tips for first-timers to Lisbon
Our Most Popular Posts About Lisbon
Why a city trip to Lisbon is definitely worth it
- Everything in Lisbon is simply beautiful. Every small street is a highlight in itself.
- You can easily combine a city trip to Lisbon with a beach vacation.
- Lisbon is relatively inexpensive compared to other city trip destinations in Europe.
- Lisbon offers excellent food options at every corner.
- Lisbon enjoys sunny weather when it’s already gray and dull where you live.
Top 5 Attractions in Lisbon
Lisbon's Tram Line 28E
Probably the most beautiful tram in the world
Taking ride on Tram Line 28E is a must-do in Lisbon. The route is simply cool as it winds through narrow streets and up steep hills.
We recommend taking the tram as early as possible to avoid the tourist crowds.Our tips for a ride with tram line 28E
Neighborhood with many highlights
The neighborhood of Belém is located slightly west of the center of Lisbon.
Here, you will find well-known buildings such as the Torre de Belém, the Padrão dos Descobrimentos monument, and the Jerónimos Monastery.
In addition, you can taste the famous original Pastéis de Belém.
Historic neighborhood with a gigantic castle
The neighborhood of Alfama is definitely a highlight in itself.
Getting lost in the small, charming alleys of the historic quarter is a must-do on a trip to Lisbon.
Sitting atop a hill in Alfama is the fortress of Castelo de São Jorge. From here, you can enjoy breathtaking views of Lisbon and the Tagus River.
Time Out Market
Also known as Mercado da Ribeira
The Time Out Market, located near the Cais do Sodré metro station, is a great spot for foodies.
You can find a variety of delicious food options to fit any budget, so be sure to swing by for a bite to eat.
There’s a wide selection of over 30 food stalls offering a variety of specialties, and you can also sit down to enjoy your meal inside the market hall.
A hipster hotspot between the city center and Belém
It used to be a factory area but now it’s full of trendy designer shops and hip restaurants. You can find some awesome knick-knacks here and snap some amazing photos of the creatively designed stores.
Oh, and there’s plenty of other cool stuff to check out in Lisbon too – we’ve got it all listed in a separate article for you:22 Highlights of Lisbon
Hotel tips for Lisbon
You definitely want to stay somewhere central so you can easily hit up all the sights and not have to trek too far after watching the sunset. Check out our favorite hotels in Lisbon:
For more tips on accommodations in Lisbon, check out our hotel articles. There you’ll find the most charming boutique hotels as well as the best neighborhoods to stay in and our hotel recommendations.
The best activities in Lisbon
City tours of Lisbon
The best way to get to know Lisbon
The Portuguese capital has a lot to offer that you may not see during normal sightseeing.
That’s why we highly recommend taking a city tour in Lisbon.
Our favorites are a street art tour and a sunset boat ride.
Hidden gems in Lisbon
Our insider tips off the beaten path
Are you done with sightseeing in Lisbon and want to discover some more hidden places? Great idea!
You can visit the flea market Feira de Ladra or check out the narrowest building in Lisbon, for example.
In our insider tips article, you’ll find even more cool hidden gems.The coolest Lisbon insider tips
Especially great for watching the sunset
For us, Lisbon is definitely the city with the most beautiful sunsets and viewpoints.
You can enjoy stunning views of the city from many different places, so it’s not easy to choose just a few.
Activities with Kids
Fun for the little ones
Wondering if Lisbon is a good destination for families with kids? Our answer: absolutely yes!
There are incredibly cool places for children to visit in Lisbon.
Our kids had a blast at the science museum Pavilhão do Conhecimento, the Oceanarium, and the cable car in Parque das Nações.
Bring your camera
Lisbon is above all, photogenic!
In addition to the many beautiful viewpoints, there are many other great photo locations in Lisbon.
These include the MAAT Museum, the Alfama neighborhood, and the Cemitério dos Prazeres cemetery.
Surfing in Lisbon
The best surf spots
City trip and surfing? Yes, you can easily do both in Lisbon.
There are surf spots near Lisbon that rank among the best in Portugal.
For example, Ericeira, the surfing capital of Europe, is only an hour’s drive from Lisbon and is perfect for a day trip to catch some waves by the sea.
6 cool facts about Lisbon
- Lisbon has around 500,000 residents.
- Popstar Madonna used to call Lisbon her home for a while.
- Lisbon was almost completely destroyed by an earthquake in 1755.
- Lisbon wasn’t always the capital of Portugal – the city of Guimarães held that title before.
- Lisbon enjoys mild weather throughout the year, with daytime temperatures often reaching double digits even in winter.
- In June, Lisbon celebrates the Festas dos Santos Populares, with the city’s streets turning into a party zone and everyone hitting the town.
The Best Day Trips Near Lisbon
Fairy tale town close to Lisbon
If you’re staying in Lisbon for a few extra days, you absolutely have to take a trip to Sintra.
This beautiful place with its many castles and palaces is only a 40-minute train ride away from Lisbon Rossio.
The absolute highlight is the Palácio Nacional da Pena.
Sweet neighboring town of Lisbon
Cascais is one of those day trip destinations that has it all. It’s super easy to get there – just a 30-minute train ride from Cais do Sodré.
Plus, Cascais has a beautiful old town, a cool harbor, and some great beaches. Like in Sintra, you could easily spend a whole day here.
Beach day trip
Beautiful beaches are not far away
Lisbon is almost right by the sea. Luckily, there are many great beaches nearby.
The easiest ones to get to are Praia de Carcavelos or Costa da Caparica.
For truly dreamy beaches like Praia de Galapinhos, you’ll have to go a bit further.
Getting around in Lisbon
You can easily explore Lisbon on foot but be warned: at the end of the day, your legs will definitely feel it because the streets in Lisbon are steep and there are endless stairs that lead you up and down. So, it’s a good idea to hop on public transportation in some areas.
Public transportation in Lisbon
Fortunately, Lisbon has a very good public transportation system, consisting of subways (Metro), trams, buses, and various elevators and cable cars.
You can buy tickets on trams, buses, and cable cars/elevators. However, they are significantly more expensive than if you buy a ticket beforehand.
Our tip: The most flexible and, in most cases, cheapest option is a Viva Viagem Card with credit. You can get the cards at any ticket machine, which are in all metro stations, among other places.
The small paper card itself costs 50 cents. You can either load single tickets onto this card, which will cost you €1.50 per ride, or load credit onto the card.
How to get from Lisbon Airport to the city center?
The cheapest option to get from the airport to the city is by taking the red metro line.
If your hotel is in the center, you will need to switch to the green line at Alameda or the yellow line at Saldanha, depending on your exact destination.
Including the transfer, the metro takes about 30 to 40 minutes to get to the city center.
Alternatively, you can take the airport bus for 3.50 euros, or a taxi for around 10 to 15 euros. A last option is a private transfer for about 29 euros.
Going around Lisbon with the Lisbon Citypass
Lisboa Card for easy sightseeing
If you want to see as much as possible in a short time in Lisbon, you should consider buying the Lisboa Card.
This city pass is like a compact admission ticket for sights and activities in Lisbon that can save you money and time waiting in lines.
Getting to Lisbon
There are direct flights to Lisbon from many major European cities, such as London, Frankfurt, or Amsterdam.
There are also direct flights from Canada and the USA, including with the Portuguese airline TAP.
We usually use the Skyscanner portal to search for our flights. With just a few clicks, you can compare the prices of all airlines and find the best fare. It’s much easier than checking all the different airlines’ connections directly.
Our tip: If you have enough time, you could also book the outbound or return flight, or both, to Porto. The city is also a great travel destination, and you can take the train from Porto to Lisbon for about 20 euros per person. It only takes three hours.
Local Cuisine in Lisbon
If you’re on vacation in Lisbon, you definitely want to try the city’s and Portugal’s most delicious specialties. Here’s what you can’t miss:
Pastéis de Nata
The culinary highlight par excellence
Warning: highly addictive! You’ll find Pastéis de Nata on every corner in Lisbon – luckily! Because these small puff pastry tarts filled with pudding are incredibly delicious.
You might have heard of Pastéis de Belém, right? That’s because there’s this huge café in Belém called Fábrica dos Pastéis de Belém, where they bake the original recipe, supposedly making the best pastries ever! Those are the ones called Pastéis de Belém.
The Portuguese's favorite food
Fish is eaten a lot in Portugal and therefore also in Lisbon, and it’s super tasty.
The Portuguese national dish is Bacalhau (cod), which is prepared in countless variations, dried, fried, boiled, in soups and pies.
If you’re not a fan of cod, there are, of course, other delicious fish specialties.
Drinks in Lisbon
Delicious wine and coffee
Make sure to try some Portuguese wine while you’re here. You can snag a house wine in basic restaurants for as low as 2-3 euros per half-liter.
And hey, did you know they have Vinho Verde (green wine) in Lisbon too? It’s a zippy, crisp white wine that’s not really green, but named after where it comes from.
And don’t miss out on the espresso in Lisbon either! It’s usually only around 60 cents and is super tasty.
When is the best time to visit Lisbon?
You can travel to Lisbon all year round. Even in the winter months, it’s still quite pleasant as temperatures rarely drop below 10 degrees.
The best months for a city trip to Lisbon are March, April, May, September, and October. The weather is usually perfect during this time.
If we had to choose, we would favor Lisbon as our May destination.
How expensive is Lisbon?
The currency used in Portugal is the Euro, and while card payments are usually accepted, it may not be everywhere.
Lisbon is an inexpensive travel destination compared to other European cities, but hotel prices are significantly higher during the high season than the low season.
In peak travel seasons like spring and fall, a central hotel room may cost more than 100 euros.
Nevertheless, the cost of living in Lisbon is relatively cheap. Here are a few examples of what you can expect to pay while in Lisbon:
Main course in a restaurant: 8 – 15 euros
House wine (0.5 l): 2 – 5 euros
Beer (0.5 l): 1.50 – 3 euros
Espresso: 0.60 euros
Metro ticket (1 h): 1.25 euros
Water in a kiosk (1 l): 1 euro
How much time should I plan for a Lisbon vacation?
If you want to explore the top attractions in Lisbon, you should schedule a minimum of three full days, during which you’ll be active from morning until night.
If you have more time, you can comfortably spend over a week in Lisbon, allowing you to take excursions to neighboring places such as Sintra or Cascais and enjoy a day at the beach.
What language is spoken in Lisbon?
The official language in Portugal is Portuguese – not Spanish. The Portuguese don’t like it when people confuse the two.
The language has a very unique sound and seems like a mix of southern and eastern European languages.
Most young Portuguese people speak very good English, unlike most Spaniards. Nevertheless, the Portuguese appreciate it if you can speak a few words in Portuguese. Therefore, we have listed the most important words for you:
Hello – Olá
Good day (forenoon) – Bom dia
Good day (from afternoon) – Boa tarde
Bye – Tchau
Yes – Sim
No – Não
Thank you – Obrigado / Obrigada (men say Obrigado, women Obrigada)
You’re welcome – De nada
Cheers – Saúde
One – Um
Two – Dois
Three – Três
Four – Quatro
Which Lisbon travel guide is the best?
Our first choice: Our favorite travel guide for Lisbon was definitely the Pocket Lisbon guide from Lonely Planet. It’s incredibly convenient and well-designed, complete with helpful maps, restaurant recommendations, and insider tips.
To the Pocket Lisbon by Lonely Planet
Our second choice: We were also big fans of the DK Eyewitness Top 10 Lisbon travel guide. Its top 10 lists of the best sights, activities, museums, and more make it easy to quickly plan your itinerary for your short trip or first visit to Lisbon.
To the DK Eyewitness Top 10 Lisbon
Our third choice: If you’re already familiar with Lisbon and seeking authentic insider knowledge from a local, The 500 Hidden Secrets of Lisbon is a great pick for you. This 265-page guide is incredibly comprehensive, providing a wealth of off-the-beaten-path tips and recommendations.
What should I pack for a Lisbon vacation?
Depending on the season, you should definitely pack a sweater and a thin, windproof jacket. Even if it is summery warm during the day, it can get noticeably cooler in the evening, especially in spring.
Very important for a city trip in general, but especially for Lisbon, are very comfortable shoes.
Since the city is built on seven hills, it is constantly going up and down steeply.