11 things you can’t miss in Lisbon, Portugal

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Lisbon, Portugal is easily one of my favorite cities in the world. From the colors to the food, I fell in love the first day that I arrived, and have been back many times since!

If you’re planning a trip I’ve compiled a list of 11 things that you absolutely can’t miss in Lisbon, an essential stop on any Portugal itinerary! But first, if it is your first time in Lisbon i’d check out my comprehensive “First-Timers Guide to Lisbon” first!

Things to do in Lisbon, Portugal

1. Wander the old streets of Alfama

Alfama is one of the cutest neighborhoods to wander and get lost in in Lisbon!

I loved the older, local feel to it as we wandered down quaint, quiet roads. You’re going to want to bring your camera for this one.

I recommend spending at least a couple of hours wandering and getting lost in Alfama, enjoying a coffee and a fresh pastel de nata, or perhaps a ginja shot (local cherry liquor).

Charming streets of Alfama
Charming streets of Alfama
Charming streets of Alfama
Alfama is also a great place to enjoy traditional Portuguese music – Fado


2. Catch a sunset view in Graca (and see the adorable buildings)

Looking for an amazing sunset in Graca?

If you’re looking for the best view of Lisbon, it only makes sense to head to the highest point in the city. Miradouro da Senhora do Monte, located in Graca, offers sweeping views of the city down below and one of the best sunset views in Lisbon. 

Expect a steep walk uphill as you climb Rua da Senhora do Monte up the view point. I promise the views will be worth it! Just be sure to pick up a bottle of wine or beer to enjoy as you watch the sun set offer the colorful rooftops. 

Next, you can head over to Penalva Da Graca for an incredible seafood dinner and a budget-friendly bottle of house wine! I highly recommend starting with the clams, I promise you won’t regret it! I have visited so many times over the years and it is always just as good.

Note, this restaurant is cash only so make sure to come prepared.

Beautiful buildings in Graca, Lisbon
The uphill walk to Graca
Beautiful tile buildings in Graca, Lisbon, Portugal
The beautiful tiled homes of Lisbon

3. Take a day trip to Sintra

Did you know that Sintra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is located just 35 minutes outside of Lisbon’s center? This not only makes it an easy day trip, but a can’t miss in Lisbon activity!

The train from central Lisbon costs only 2,5 euro each way and takes 30-40 minutes, depending on where exactly you are coming from. Once you arrive you will need to take a bus or private car to reach the sights.

If you’re limited on time make sure to visit both Pena Palace and Moorish Castle! To save some money we decided to view the palace from the outside, rather than entering in.

Over the years it has gotten much more popular, so I would avoid visiting on the weekends, and aim to arrive early to beat the crowds.

Exploring Pena Palace in Sintra, Portugal
Make sure to arrive in Sintra early or visit on a weekday
Exploring Pena Palace in Sintra, Portugal
Exploring Pena Palace in Sintra, Portugal

4. Try a traditional Pastel de Nata

If there is one thing that you must eat while in Lisbon, it is a traditional Pasteis de Nata. These are small baked tarts, filled with a creamy custard. Traditionally served with cinnamon and powdered sugar, these flaky tarts are typically enjoyed in the morning with breakfast.

The classic tart, Pasteis de Belem, originates from Belem! While there are many variations of this found throughout the city, and throughout the country for that matter, it is not officially a Pasteis de Belem unless it is made in Belem. Make sure to stop by the original shop, Pasteis de Belem, touting the best tarts in town. 

Once you’ve had your fill of Pasteis de Nata, there are plenty of other delicious local pastries to check out. Another popular morning pasty is the Pasteis de Feijao, a flaky tart filled with bean curd.

Can't miss dessert in Lisbon, Portugal (Pastel de Nata)
You cannot visit Lisbon and not try a traditional pastel de nata

5. Lisbon’s speciality coffee scene

 If you’re anything like me, you’re going to love the cafe scene in Lisbon. Lisbon is filled with speciality coffee shops and cafes, with new ones popping up all the time. So of course I had to do my own research into the best cafes in Lisbon.

Here a few cafes that you don’t want to miss on your next trip to Lisbon:

  • Heim
  • Mendo coffee
  • Copenhagen Coffee Lab
Lisbon has one of the best cafe scenes in the world
Lisbon has one of the best cafe scenes in the world
COMOBA has the best matcha in Lisbon
COMOBA has the best matcha in Lisbon

6. Enjoy a glass (or a few glasses) of natural wine

One of my favorite things about this magical city is the more recent boom in the natural wine market. An industry that was typically more popular in countries such as France, Italy, and Spain, Portugal now has its own growing natural wine scene. 

Here are a few of the best natural wine bars in Lisbon:

  • Vino Vero
  • Holy Wine
  • Bom Bom Bom
  • Black Sheep
  • Uva Senhor
Try a glass of natural wine in Lisbon
Try a glass of natural wine in Lisbon
vino vero lisbon
Vino Vero – the best natural wine bar in Lisbon

7. Lisbon’s best restaurants

Just like Lisbon knows its wine and coffee, it also knows a thing or two about food. There are so many incredible restaurants in Lisbon, from budget-friendly to Michelin star, local and international.

Here are a few of my favorite restaurants in Lisbon:

  • Tasca Pete
  • Kefi Greek Bistro
  • Penalva a Graca
  • Senhor Uva
  • Agua Pela Barba
  • Prado
  • Fares
  • Pateo do Avillez
Tasca Pete
Tasca Pete
Kefi Greek Bistro
Kefi Greek Bistro

8. Explore St. George’s Castle

St. George’s Castle, known as “Castelo de São Jorge” in Portuguese, is a historic castle located in the heart of Lisbon, Portugal. It is one of the most iconic and recognizable landmarks in the city

Not only is this centrally located castle itself pretty cool, but the views from the top are some of the best in Lisbon.

The line gets pretty long so I recommend visiting early to avoid the crowds.

Tickets cost 15 EUR for adults, with discounts for under 25 and over 65. Children under 12 are free! Or you can visit as part of a full day tour of Lisbon.

One of the best views in Lisbon from the Castle
One of the best views in Lisbon from the Castle
Peeking out from St George's Castle in Lisbon, Portugal
View from St. George’s Castle

10. Get Lost in Lisbon

Leave plenty of time in your itinerary to wander down random roads and up quaint streets.

It was often walking between destinations that we found the cutest, most picturesque spots! But be prepared for a lot of uphill treks in this hilly city. You’ll definitely want to pack some good walking shoes.

The beautiful colorful streets of Lisbon
The beautiful colorful streets of Lisbon
The famous yellow trams in Lisbon
The famous yellow trams in Lisbon


Visiting Portugal? Here are some other articles to check out:

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