What To Do In Lisbon – 7 Things To Do In The City Of Seven Hills (and 2 fun day trips!)

Lisbon is a fascinating city with tons of history and something for people of all interests to enjoy. From foodie stops to museums to Instagram-worthy sites, you’ll find it all in the City of Seven Hills.

With the increasing popularity of budget airlines, many are offering free stopovers in their home city and TAP Air Portugal is one of them – allowing you to layover in Lisbon. However, I feel like Portugal as a whole and Lisbon, specifically, is worth a trip itself.

Lisbon is a city that you can visit year round where the temperature stays comfortable – not too hot, not too cold – in all seasons.

Average monthly temperature in Lisbon
The city is comfortable all year.

Because the city is fairly consistent in terms of weather, what I suggest to pack will be fairly similar with the only real change being the length of sleeve that I take. You can find my post about packing for Portugal here.

While you can simply wander the streets and almost assuredly have a great time, I compiled a suggestion for my ten best things to do in Lisbon to help you plan a great visit:

Shop Around Baixa District

In addition to famous sites like the Praça do Comércio, you can hop between trendy shops and restaurants while experiencing the more hustle-and-bustle side of the city.

Don’t forget to stop by the Elevador de Santa Justa which sneaks up on you despite its impressive size.

The Elevador de Santa Justa
The Elevador de Santa Justa
Climb Castelo de Sao Jorge

Whether you come here solo or as a group tour, you’ll have the best views of the city (and maybe some of the best views in all of Portugal) on each side of the castle.

Inside, you’ll have access to the main terrace from which you can observe the city, an archeological site where people are continuing to work on unearthing history, and the main keep with its high walls and more incredible views.

The line can be long, so be wary of when you go and make sure the peacocks don’t butt in front of you.

Have A Night Out In Bairro Alto

Bairro Alto was a neighborhood with two distinct personalities. During the day, it was a calm, residential neighborhood with mild traffic and people leisurely strolling about.

At night, it turns into a busy haven for fun and nightlife. Young adults will meet up with friends and head off to one of the bars for a few drinks.

We enjoyed catching dinner at Boa Bao (Asian fusion) or By The Wine (Tapas and wine) before heading out to a bar called Park, aptly named because it was built on top of a parking garage.

Ride The Famous Tram28 From Start To Finish

We thought this was going to be a tourist trap at first, but we were definitely wrong. Slightly lucking out by staying in an Airbnb near Martim Moniz where Tram28 starts, we woke up and caught one of the first cars and rode it the entire way to the other end of its route.

You can get off at any stop and it only takes standing in a queue (these lines can be pretty daunting at certain times of the day) to get back on. However, we decided to get a lay of the land and ride it the entire way to the end where we were dropped off at Prazeres Cemetery, home of the largest mausoleum in Europe and many famous Portuguese people. It’s free to enter (and has a free-to-use restroom) and explore around.

Once you get back on, you’ll have an idea where you’ll want to stop on the way back and using the 24-hour ticket saves you from having to buy a ticket each time you want to hop on. Just validate your ticket at the scanner and you’re good to go.

I forgot to take a picture of the tram itself, but here’s a growing mid-day queue.
Grab Lunch At Time Out Market

A fantastic place to grab lunch and wander around is the Mercado da Ribeira, better known as Time Out Market after its namesake sponsor. You have a myriad of choices here from Portuguese to Japanese to American cuisines and everything in between.

What’s common between each vendor is that they almost all offer wine by the glass (or bottle) so grab a bite and some vino with a friend and unwind for a little in the middle of the day.

Nearby is the famous Pink Street, although I find it skippable, but since you’re already nearby, might as well snap a picture.

Explore LXFactory

Along the Tram15 route to Belém, you can hop off at the Calvário stop (or use any other method of transportation to get to Alcantara) and step into LxFactory. Originally a textile factory in the mid-19th century, it is no a creative hub of shops and businesses.

You’ll wander into an area of upcycled art pieces and street art, restaurants and shops, galleries and tattoo studios. Every time you think you’ve gotten to the end, you can climb another staircase or round another corner.

Our favorite spot was a bookstore that was converted from an old printing press.

Catch A Fado Show

Admittedly, we didn’t take the chance to see one of these incredibly renowned shows primarily due to cost (opportunity and monetary) but it came highly recommended by almost every local we encountered.

The most common show we found was around €45-60 and included entrance and a set dinner.

If you have a spare night or would like to experience the emotionally-charged music, make sure to catch a Fado show.

Take A TraM Out To Belém

Hop on Tram 15 and make your way all the way out to Belém, essentially the turning point from the Atlantic Ocean to the Tagus River.

Among the main attractions here is the gorgeous water-side walk that takes you past Belém Tower and the Padrão dos Descobrimentos (Monument to the Discoveries.) You’ll also find the Jerónimos Monastery and several museums nearby.

While you’re here, you should also make sure to grab the original Pastéis de Belém that inspired my favorite egg custard bakery item ever.

Visit A Fairytale City In Sintra

Okay, I know, it’s not technically in Lisbon, but if you’re spending at least 3 days in the capital, you have to make the trip out to this medieval town.

A quick train ride away, you’ll get access to all kinds of gorgeous landmarks, including the colorfully famous Pena Palace.

It’s impossible to write about this day trip in one small section, so follow this link for a deeper dive into this magical place.

Whether you follow these ideas or come up with an itinerary of your own, I’m positive that you’ll enjoy your time in Lisbon. What do you think of these suggestions? Let me know in the comments below.

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