Top Tourist Attractions and Things to do in Lisbon (Portugal)
Portugal, just like its neighbor Spain, is well-known for its festive and lively culture. So, if you are asking is Lisbon worth visiting, the answer will undoubtedly be yes. When you take a trip to Lisbon, you will be amazed by the tradition and the architectural landmarks there. You will be excited to know that there are so many fun things to do in Lisbon.
Listed as an alpha level global city, Lisbon holds essential roles in many aspects, such as economics, education, entertainment, and tourism. Not only in the modern era, but Lisbon has also been a prominent city for a very long time. It is considered as one of the oldest cities in the world, and the oldest one in Western Europe. Its existence precedes other significant cities in Europe, such as Rome, Paris, and London.
This capital city of Portugal is filled with many stunning antique buildings decorated with intricate details. Palaces, churches, and museums are dotting this beautiful historical city. You can enjoy these beautiful views almost any time of the year.
Blessed with Mediterranean climate because of its position in the Iberian Peninsula, Lisbon has enjoyable weather throughout the year. The winter is warm with the temperature ranging between 8 to 15 degrees Celsius.
However, if you want to enjoy the warm sunny weather, the best time to visit Lisbon is from March to May. September to October will also be the best time to go to Lisbon. During these months, the weather is warm, and it is not the peak season; so things are cheaper, and there will be less crowd in Lisbon.
If you are planning to visit Lisbon for the first time and wondering what you can do there, our Lisbon travel guide will help you with this list of Lisbon things to do and places to go in Lisbon.
Table of Contents
- 1 Experiences and top things to do in Lisbon
- 2 Practical information and Lisbon travel tips
- 3 Where to stay in Lisbon?
- 4 Short on time? Go sightseeing in Lisbon on a tour!
Experiences and top things to do in Lisbon
Live The Lives of The Royals
As the home of one of the most influential kingdoms in the past, the Portugal Kingdom, Lisbon is filled with a lot of stunning palaces. These legacies from the golden era of the country have become the most beautiful Lisbon points of interest.
One of the most famous palaces in Lisbon is Palace of Ajuda. Locally called as Palacio da Ajuda, this palace is one of the most interesting Lisbon tourist attractions. The construction of this palace started in the late 1700s. Standing on the top of a hill in Ajuda parish, this grand palace amazes us with the mixed Baroque, Rococo, and Neoclassic styles. You can visit The National Palace of Ajuda every day except on Wednesdays.
There are many other palaces in Lisbon that you can visit during your trip to Lisbon. Some of the most famous Lisbon points of interest are Palácio da Pena, Palácio de Queluz, and Palacio de Belem, which now becomes the presidential palace. You can explore the presidential palace during the guided tours held every Saturday.
Visit Amazing Churches
Portugal used to have a prominent role in spreading Christianity across the globe. That was why Lisbon was an important religious site. Many remarkable churches have been built, and now they become the gems of Lisbon tourism. These churches show different kinds of architectural styles, from the Roman to the Baroque and Manueline style.
Mosteiro dos Jeronimos, or commonly referred as Jeronimos Monastery, is one of the most magnificent churches in Lisbon. This Lisbon church and monastery is so big and beautiful, and it is in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Site.
This Lisbon point of interest is a legacy from the Portuguese Age of Discovery. Built with Manueline style, Jeronimos Monastery also houses the tombs of several Portuguese prominent figures, such as Vasco da Gama and Fernando Pessoa.
Some other churches you can visit for sightseeing in Lisbon are The Church of Santa Engracia and The Church of Saint Roch.
Go from One Museum to Another
Rich in history and culture, Lisbon has so many artifacts to display. Hence, you will be able to see a lot of interesting museums to visit in Lisbon. These museums offer you impressive things to see in Lisbon. You can visit these museums on your own, or you can join the tours in Lisbon.
One of the unique museums in Lisbon is The National Coach Museum. This museum is, in fact, one of the only two museums in the world that display coaches.
The National Coach Museum, or Museu Nacional dos Coches as the locals call it, is located in Afonso de Albuquerque Square in Belem neighborhood of Lisbon. This museum in Lisbon has an astonishing collection of some of the finest and most antique carriages in the world.
Queen Amelia initiated the idea to found this coach museum to house the extensive collection of the Portuguese royals’ carriages. Some of the Lisbon museum coach collection is the coach that King Philip II of Portugal used to travel to Portugal from Spain in 1619 and a ceremonial coach that was a gift from Pope Clement XI to King John V in 1715. The National Coach Museum opens from 10 AM to 6 PM from Tuesdays to Sundays.
The Coach Museum is one of the most attractive museums in Lisbon. There are many more museums that worth visiting while you travel to Lisbon. If you are interested in arts and history, you can go to Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga.
To see the long history of Portugal-Asia relation, you should head to Museu do Oriente. For something more contemporary, you have MUDE – Museu do Design e da Moda and Museu Colecção Berardo to visit.
Observe Wonderful Wild Creatures
If you bring your kids during your Lisbon trip, there are quite plenty of family-friendly places to go in Lisbon. One of those Lisbon tourist attractions is The Lisbon Oceanarium or better known by the locals as Oceanário de Lisboa.
The Lisbon Oceanarium is an enormous indoor aquarium in Europe. Situated in Parque das Nações, this oceanarium is the home for around 16,000 animals from approximately 450 different species.
One of its unique water creatures is the sunfish. There are not many other aquariums in the world that have sunfish in their collections because there are several conditions that need to be made to keep this kind of fish alive and healthy.
Not only water creatures, but you can also observe other kinds of marine animals, such as penguins and seagulls in The Lisbon Oceanarium. Considered as the best aquarium by many Lisbon travel guides, The Lisbon Oceanarium deserves to be in your Lisbon things to do list.
Another great Lisbon point of interest where your kids can have fun with the animals is The Lisbon Zoo. Established in 1884, this zoo in Lisbon keeps about 2,000 animals that consist of 300 species from around the world.
The Lisbon Zoo has several daily shows, such as dolphin show, reptiles presentation, and pelican feeding. The children can also have fun in the zoo’s Children Farm where they can interact with domesticated animals. Or, you can also make them get rid of their fear of reptiles in the Reptiles House.
If walking around the zoo is too tiring for you and your kids, you can ride the zoo mini train. Cable cars are also available for those of you who wish to see the zoo from above.
Meet The Toys Doctors
Long, long time ago, there was an old lady in a tiny shop in Plaça da Figueira, and she was the person almost everyone in Lisbon would look for to fix their broken dolls. The lady’s name was Ms. Carlota.
As time went by, she became more and more famous, and people started to call her tiny shop with the name Hospital de Bonecas, or The Doll Hospital. The history of this one of the unique places to visit in Lisbon dated from the year 1830.
Hundreds of years later, this establishment still exists, and it has become one of the best Lisbon points of interest. You can have a tour around this place just by paying 2 euros. Hospital de Bonecas opens from Mondays to Saturdays. If you have a broken doll, you can bring it here too because the Doll Hospital still accepts “patients to cure.”
Hop on A Tram
One of the best things to do in Lisbon if you want to go sightseeing in the city is having a tram ride. The best and the most famous tram route to go sightseeing in Lisbon is tram no 28. Starting from Martin Moniz, tram no 28 will take you to some of the most exquisite tourism spots in Lisbon, such as Graça, Alfama, Baixa, and Estrela.
The last stop of this tram would be in Prazeres. Once it reaches Prazeres, tram no 28 will go back to Martin Moniz. There is usually a long queue to get into the tram, but this queue is to get a seat inside the tram.
If you don’t mind standing, you can skip the queue and hop inside the tram, but if you want to have a seat while sightseeing without having to wait in the line for a long time, you should go very early or very late.
Explore The Wonders of Literature
For those of you who consider yourself as a bookworm, there is one spot in Lisbon that you will love. That Lisbon must visit a place is Livraria Bertrand. This old bookstore started in 1732, and it has managed to stand the test of time.
Until today, Livraria Bertrand is the oldest and the most significant book chain store in Portugal. Not only in Portugal, but The Guinness Book of Records also declared this Lisbon bookstore as the world’s oldest bookstore that still operates.
Located on Rua Street, this bookstore was the favorite meeting point for the intellectuals of Portugal. This antique bookstore has now become one of the most beautiful jewels in Lisbon tourism. Livraria Bertrand opens its door every day with a shorter operational hour on Sundays.
Buy Something Vintage
Looking for an enjoyable place to go shopping in Lisbon? Are you a collector of vintage items? If your answer is yes, then make some time to go to LX Factory.
LX Factory was an abandoned industrial area, but the place received a massive makeover in 2008. It has been turned into a super chic, super hype urban center filled with unique galleries, shops, music halls, and dining spots.
What makes this creative hub more buzzing is the weekend flea market it hosts. Every Sunday, hundreds of sellers gather in LX Market, selling unique, vintage, and mostly second-hand stuff along the main street of this area.
You can buy clothes, jewelry, house decoration, and collectible items here. Packed with creative young people, LX Market is one of the best Lisbon points of interest to absorb some positive energy and boost your mood.
Escape from The Big City
When you feel a little bit worn out by the crowd and the hype of energetic Lisbon, you might want to step back and have some quiet time. You can have a short trip to Cascais. Just outside Lisbon, west of this Portugal’s capital city to be exact, lies Cascais, a fishing town that has become a favorite holiday spot in the country.
Promising you beautiful beaches, Cascais is a great place to relax. The town is equipped with charming restaurants, lively nightlife, and incredible hotels with facilities as exceptional as those hotels in Lisbon.
With train service that connects Lisbon and Cascais, it is possible to have a one-day tour from Lisbon to Cascais, but since there are many exciting things to do in Cascais, you are advised to take several days tours from Lisbon to this impressive seaside town.
Taste the Local Booze
As the city who knows how to party, Lisbon has its traditional liqueur to fuel the night. Ginjinha is the local source of pride. This liqueur is made by infusing the sour cherry or also known as ginja berries.
Ginjinha is typically served straight, and sometimes the locals like to put a piece of cherry that has been marinated in the liqueur at the bottom of the glass to give that extra kick.
If you are interested in trying ginja, the short for ginjinha, you can find plenty of ginja bars all over Lisbon. One of the best bars in Lisbon where you can take some of the best shots of ginja is A Ginjinha in Largo São Domingos.
Trying ginjinha is without a doubt one of the unique things to do in Lisbon. You will not find this drink anywhere else.
Practical information and Lisbon travel tips
Why should you visit Lisbon?
Lisbon is the charming capital city of Portugal. Every year many tourists attracted by the lively culture and traditional beauty of this coastal city. The main attractions are many years old beautiful limestone architectures. You can explore many historic landmarks such as museums, palaces and, churches. It is possible to visit many popular places in Lisbon on foot or even you can take a free hiking tour. You will love the enchanting city landscape with ocean views while exploring around.
When is the best time to visit Lisbon?
- Summer (May to August)
- Summer is the highest season and you can expect big tourist crowds around this time of the year
- July to August is too hot
- May is the good time to visit
- You can witness many local events, festivities, parades in June
- The average temperature is 25°C
- Autumn (September to November)
- September to October is the best time to enjoy your trip in Lisbon
- The weather is warm
- Towards the end of autumn and the beginning of winter starts to be a bit rainier
- Hotel room rates dropped during this time
- Expect fewer crowd of tourists
- Winter (December to February)
- Winter is warm and sometimes rainy
- The average temperature is 15°C
- There are lesser crowds as this is the low season for this city
- Spring (March to April)
- March to April is also the best time to visit Lisbon
- The weather starts to be warmer
- Trees are starting to bloom and there’s more sunshine
- Hotel room rates dropped this time
- Perfect time to enjoy any day trip
- You can witness film festival starts in April
Do you need a visa for Lisbon?
Portugal is part of the Schengen area and citizens of EU group of countries can freely enter while citizens of USA, Canada, New Zealand and Australia can enter the country just with their passports and stay for 90 days. You can check our complete guide on how to get a Schengen visa and as well to see if you’re eligible to enter the country with just your passports or if you’ll need to apply for a visa prior entry.
Where to book your flights to Lisbon?
Check our handy-dandy guide on how to find the cheapest flights around the world – read it here.
Do you need an insurance?
Remember this: anything can happen! Read our take on why you need a travel insurance and how it can save you money when things go unplanned – read it here.