Lisbon Travel Guide

Visiting Portugal


Visiting Portugal? This Lisbon travel guide will give you the full rundown on where to go, what to do, what to eat & more! 

Iconically known for its epic red roof skylines, classic old-world European charm, and affordable prices, Lisbon is one of the hottest destinations for travelers today! This historical city is one of the oldest cities in Western Europe, best known for its colonialist history, ornate architecture and tradition of Fado music. But some of its best features are in the everyday – the spectacular hilltop views, the moderate weather with over 290 days of sunshine a year, the friendly locals and authentic culture & so much more. Lisbon is a city where you feel safe wandering around day or night, where the cuisine is dedicated to creating over a thousand ways to cook their beloved bacalhau cod fish, and where you’ll find hotels and restaurants to suit every taste, budget and requirement. Further, this beautiful (& hill filled) city is extremely affordable, easy to navigate, offers an incredible culinary scene, and is famous for its hospitality. If you’ve heard the buzz about this ageless city and want to see what all the fuss is about, then this detailed travel guide will tell you all you need to know to plan your first trip to Lisbon.

Quick Tips


The official language of Portugal is Portuguese, and it’s a good idea to learn some basic phrases before you visit.


With an average of 290 days of sunshine, Lisbon is a great city to visit year-round. But if you are after a warm vacation, try to visit between May and September.


Western European Summer Time

Getting There

Lisbon is an easily accessible city. Like most of Europe, Portugal has an excellent train system, making it easy to travel to Lisbon from many places throughout Europe. If traveling from Porto, its about a 2.5 hour train ride. If flying, you can expect to land in Lisbon Portela Airport (LIS), located about 4.3 miles from the city center. From there you can hire a taxi or Uber (12 – 18 EUR), ride the Aerobus, or take the metro.

What To Expect



With an average of 290 days of sunshine, Lisbon is a great city to visit year-round. Like most destinations, June through August is the peak season, with large crowds and temperatures often exceeding 80 degrees Fahrenheit. The weather in the winter is much milder than in other European capitals, so it is still a good time to visit. Our preference is to visit in the Spring (March – May) or in the Fall (September – October), when you can expect cheaper hotel rates, smaller crowds, and moderate temperatures in the 60’s and 70’s.


The clothing style is pretty casual in Lisbon, but it is still the capital of a European country, so when choosing what to wear in Lisbon, don’t be afraid to add dressy elements. Lisbon natives walk the streets with a style that’s effortlessly chic with a twist of edge. Clothing is laid back and easy but peppered with hits of vibrancy, color and cool-factor. Don’t forget your comfortable walking shoes! Even at night, we recommend avoiding heels due to the cobblestone streets, which are uneven and super slippery. 


Yes! We felt extremely safe wandering around Lisbon at all times of the day and night. As always, be aware of your surroundings and keep belongings in front of you at all times. Crowds on trams, trains, and buses often attract pickpockets.


Also known as the city of seven hills, Lisbon can be quite the workout by foot, so be sure to pack your walking shoes! If hiking endless hills isn’t for you, not to fear, as Lisbon is incredibly well connected by its massive public transportation system of trains, buses, lifts, bikes, scooters, the metro & more! The public transportation is fairly simple to use, generally safe, quite modern, and the fastest way to travel around the city. Be sure to purchase a Viva Viagem MetroCard for public transportation, which allows you to pay per ride or purchase a 24-hour unlimited option. The 24-hour pass is worth it if you plan to take public transportation 5+ times in 24h hours. 

Renting a car is another option, but due to limited parking and narrow roads, it’s likely to be more of a headache than anything. Taxis and Ubers are also abundant throughout the city, with taxis usually being the most expensive route.


The quickest way to get around the city and the most ideal option if traveling long distances. Entrances are marked with a large “M,” and the stations themselves are air-conditioned, clean and are known for their modern art displays. They run 6:30 am – 1:00 am daily and cost 1.50 EUR for a single fare / 6.40 EUR for a 24-hour pass.


Lisbon has nearly 60 trams around the city that roll along 5 different routes. You can spot tram stops by looking for the small yellow (paragem) sign hanging from lamp posts. Tram rides cost 3 EUR each and are cash only. Aside from providing transportation, trams also serve as a fun way to see the city! Don’t miss a ride on Tram 28, which runs through a number of picturesque neighborhoods along the city’s narrow, twisting streets.


Hundreds of buses drive through the city on 88 different routes. While traveling around the city you will hop on a Carris bus, which you can pay for using your Viva Viagem card or cash. If traveling to/from the airport you can also consider taking the Aerobus.

Funicular Lifts

Also known as elevators, lifts are basically funiculars that help locals and tourists climb the steep slopes that are so characteristic in Lisbon. The 3 lifts include Elevador do Lavra, Elevador da Glória, and Elevador da Bica, and each of them cost 2.90 EUR per ticket. You can pay cash or with your Viva Viagem card (tip: the ride is only € 1.45 if paying with your metro card). Be aware that lifts have become a popular tourist activity due to the gorgeous views they provide, so don’t be shocked by the long lines.

Taxi / Uber

Taxis are plentiful in Lisbon and found at a number of taxi stations around the city. They can also be hailed on just about any street. Since the Metro stops running at 1 a.m., Taxis and/or Ubers are your best option late at night. Generally speaking, it should not cost more than 10 euros to travel by taxi anywhere within the city.


What About Money?



The Euro (EUR) is the currency used throughout Portugal and other European countries. We recommend exchanging and/or withdrawing euros at an ATM or local bank once you arrive in Portugal to get the best conversion rate. Avoid exchanging money at the airport.


Portugal is known as one of the cheapest destinations to visit in Europe! You can expect to pay 6 – 15 EUR / meal, 1 – 5 EUR / snack, 2 – 3 EUR / beer, 0.5 – 1 EUR / bottle of water. Many places do not accept credit cards or bills larger than 20 EUR, so always be prepared with cash (EUR).


Tipping is not expected, but it is always appreciated! Be sure to keep small coins on hand specifically for tips. 

Neighborhood Guide



Alfama is one of the most beautiful and authentic areas in Lisbon, whose narrow streets have been home to fishermen throughout history. Situated between the hill of São Jorge Castle and the ocean, this neighborhood truly holds the essence of the city. All throughout this neighborhood you will find endless history, spectacular views, streets bustling with locals and tourists alike, and restaurants pouring out Fado music. If fact, Fado, the best known genre of Portuguese music, was created right here in Alfama back in the1820’s. Don’t miss our full review of an evening of Fado music.


Baixa is the most central and renowned neighborhood in Lisbon, where the majority of the shops and leisure activities can be found. The district has large classical avenues flanked by houses covered in tiles, in typical Lisbon style. It is home to the city ‘s most famous squares and streets, including Restauradores Square, Avenida da Liberdade, Rossio Square, Praça da Figueira and Praça do Comércio, and the Santa Justa lift. If visiting Lisbon for the first time, this is the best area to stay in.


This beautiful avenue, lined with 19th century buildings and endless mosaics, is one of the most luxurious places to stay in Lisbon. You can expect almost a full mile stretch of 5-star hotels, shopping malls, designer boutiques, and upscale restaurants. Situated within walking distance of the city’s main sights, it is an ideal choice for people looking to stay in a more luxurious neighborhood in Lisbon.


Chiado is an elegant, yet bohemian neighborhood in Lisbon that is often considered to be one in the same with Baixa. Located just west of Baixa, Chiado is a bit more hilly, but offers incredible shopping, a full range of boutiques and cafes, and is centrally located within the city. his is also a great place to stay on your first trip to Lisbon.


If nightlife is important to you, then Bairro Alto is definitely where you want to be. It’s a quiet neighborhood with cobblestone streets during the day that turns into one of the liveliest and most vibrant areas in Lisbon at night. It’s home to many trendy restaurants, bars, cafes, and rooftop terraces, and it’s a must-not-miss area to explore! Don’t miss the festive Fado restaurants or the nighty pub crawls.


Just 3 miles east of Central Lisbon, this waterfront neighborhood is a must-not-miss on your Portugal vacation! We recommend grabbing a taxi or Uber from the Time Out Market and heading to Belem for a full afternoon of sightseeing. Be sure to bring your camera and snag tickets in advance before visiting the Belem Tower, the Monument to the Discoveries, MAAT, and the Jerónimos Monastery. Pro tip: once your sugar levels start dropping, head to Pastéis de Belém to devour some delicious pastel de nata (AKA custard cakes). Check out our full Belem travel guide for more details! 

Where To Stay

Sofitel Lisbon Liberdade

This gorgeous, 5-star hotel is centrally located along Avenida da Liberdade. You can expect world-class service, extremely comfortable beds, and gorgeous amenities, located among the chic boutiques and designer jewelry ateliers that line Lisbon’s most prestigious avenue.

Tivoli Avenida Liberdade Lisboa Hotel

A gorgeous hotel that is centrally located in downtown Lisbon. If you are after a hotel with a great rooftop, look no further!

The Ivens

Located in a prime spot in one of Lisbon’s poshest neighborhoods, The Ivens is a brand new hotel designed for explorers. The hotel offers a delicious in-house restaurant called Rocco, as well as a gastrobar, a crudo bar, and 87 gorgeous rooms. 

Barrio Alto Hotel

The iconic yellow building, located in Lisbon’s most buzzing district, is synonymous with outdoor dining, trams rolling past and locals and tourists alike taking in the atmosphere of the city. Luckily, the hotel is well-soundproofed – so you can soak up the atmosphere and still get a good night’s sleep. This is the place to be if a buzzing atmosphere is what you are after.

The Independente

Looking for a fun, budget-friendly option? The Independente is the place to stay! Located between the sleepless Bairro Alto and the very trendy Príncipe Real, this witty and shabby-chic hotel is in the perfect location to make new friends and enjoy the nightlife! There’s also an excellent bar and restaurant on site. 

Things To Do


Get Lost Wandering The City

Between its historical site and monuments, spacious squares and parks, spectacular hilltop vistas, stunning architecture, and beloved trams, Lisbon is the perfect place to wander aimlessly and soak it all in. We mapped out our walking route with the must-not-miss places below, but remember, there is no right or wrong way to wander the city! 

Starting at Parque Eduardo VII → head south on Avenida da Liberdade → Praça dos Restauradores → Rossio Square → Praça da Figueira → Santa Justa Lift → Garden of Carmo → Next head east to the neighborhood of Alfama →  tour Castelo de S. Jorge → Miradouro das Portas do Sol and  Miradouro de Santa Luiza → Lisbon Cathedral → head towards the waterfront to explore Praça do Comércio Square → Arco da Rua Augusta → explore the main streets of Baixa-Chiado → Pink Street → Stop for lunch at the Time Out Market → Take a ride on the Elevador da Bica → then head north and explore Bairro Alto → hop on the train to Belem 

The Praça do Comércio Square

This lively square is situated directly on the Tagus River and is a hub of activity in Lisbon. At the center of this large, open square is a bronze equestrian statue of King José I. And lining the edges are various restaurants where you can sit outside and enjoy an afternoon cocktail.

Rossio Square

A lively place for people watching and one of the best places in Lisbon to see the black and white wave-patterned cobblestones that are popular all over Brazil. The square has two beautiful baroque fountains and is lined by cute cafes, perfect for an afternoon coffee. It’s an ideal spot to spend a lazy afternoon in the sunshine.

Plaza Comercio

The grandest of all plazas in Lisbon. See the amazing 360 views of Lisbon and the beautiful harbor at the Arco da Rua Augusta. Learn Lisbon’s fascinating history at the Lisboa Story Center museum. Then dine in on one of the numerous fine restaurants and authentic cafes.

Santa Justa Lift

The Santa Justa Lift is an elevator in Lisbon and is the fastest way to get from the Baixa neighborhood to the Bairro Alto district.  But beyond being a convenient means of transportation, this lift has also become a popular tourist attraction! Visit the stunning stunning observation deck at the top to experience some of the finest views of central Lisbon for about 5.30 euros.

Praca do Rossio

The liveliest area in all of Lisbon where tourists and locals meet. The square is filled with restaurants, bars and shops.

Sao Jorge Castle

The Castelo de São Jorge is a castle in Lisbon that was built in the mid-11th century. It was never meant to be a residence, but rather as a place for military troops in case of a siege. Today you can visit the castle and walk along the ramparts, enjoying spectacular views of the city of Lisbon below.

More Things To Do



Lisbon is iconically known for its epic red roof skylines and classic old-world European charm, so it is key to know where to find the best views in the city: Aka, head straight for the miradouros! Miradouros, which translates to “viewpoints” in Portuguese, are gorgeous patios and/or open spaces to hang out and take in the best views of the city. A few of our favorites are Miradouro de Santa Luzia, Miradouro da Graça, and Miradouro da Nossa Senhora do Monte. They are free of charge, bursting with energy, and a great place to get some impressive photos of the beautiful city below.



Tram 28, which serves as both local transportation and a sightseeing adventure, is one of the best ways to explore the city’s most historic areas. Of all the tram routes that crisscross the city, it is the number 28 that has become so iconic, as it takes in some of Lisbon’s most defining views and neighborhoods. Over the one hour ride, the distinctive yellow tram navigates through steep hills, narrow streets and the sharp turns of Alfama, Baixa, Graça and Estrela districts.


This charming Portuguese town is located about 20 miles west of Lisbon and is a must-not-miss day trip! Between the stunning scenery, fascinating historical buildings, old castle ruins, cafes & more, there is so much to explore in Sintra. You can expect to see many castles, including the Palácio Nacional de Sintra (a main abode of Portuguese royalty until the early 20th century), the hilltop and storybook Palácio da Pena, Quinta da Regaleira (incorporating several architectural styles and with gorgeous surrounding gardens), the Castelo dos Mouros (Moorish Castle), and the Palácio de Monserrate. Sintra is accessible via train, taxi, or Uber. We recommend visiting as early as possible, as the lines tend to get long throughout the day! While in Sintra, be sure to stop for lunch at A Raposa. And on your way back to Lisbon, we recommend stopping by Cascais to enjoy a sunny afternoon at the beach. 



The Belém Tower & Jeronimos Monastery are the two most visited sites in Lisbon and are definitely worth checking out. Located a few miles away in Belem, they are accessible via the number 15 tram from Praça da Figueira, or a quick taxi ride. We recommend purchasing tickets online in advance, and getting there early to beat the crowds. Once you finish your visit, head to the large waterfront monument, Padrão dos Descobrimentos Monument, which was built to celebrate the country’s contribution to the Age of Discovery. Finally, finish off your time in Belem by visiting the original custard tart café, Pasteis de Belem. Head over to our Belem Travel Guide for more information. Visit the LX Factory on your way home from Belem

Enjoy a night of music

As soon as the sun goes down, the restaurants and venues throughout Alfama, Mouraria, and Bairro Alto light up with the passionate, invigorating, authentic music of Portugal, known as Fado. Fado isn’t just a traditional music style, rather it’s an emotional experience, consisting of a mournful sounding solo singer accompanied by a classical Portuguese 12-string guitar. It’s electric, it’s raw, it’s emotional, and it is an absolute must-not-miss while visiting Lisbon. Fado can be experienced in local watering holes with impromptu performances, in small informal eateries like tascas, or in full-on restaurants (called adegas). For the most authentic and immersive experience, we recommend booking a full night of Fado, complete with Portuguese food and local wine and/or port, served alongside a 3 hour + fado performance. Some of the most famous Fado spots include Sr. Fado, Tasca do Jaime, Café Luso, Clube de Fado, and Mesa de Frades. 



Set within the old-school Mercado da Ribeira, where locals buy their meat and fish, the Time Out Market is a must for food lovers! The upbeat food hall in Cais do Sodre offers 26 restaurants, 8 bars, a dozen shops and a high-end music venue, all with the very best in Lisbon (the best steak, the best hamburger, the best sushi and the best live performances, amongst others). Additionally, it is home to some of the city’s best known and longest-running market vendors of meat, fish, fruit and flowers. Head here for lunch one day and waste away the day sampling food from some of Portugal’s most famous chefs!


Crispy-crunchy pastry crust with a smooth and creamy custard filling is what awaits your bite into these traditional, world famous sweet custard tarts from Lisbon! First cooked up by monks in the early 19th century, these iconic pastries are a beloved national favorite. The city has thousands of Portuguese bakeries, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find a bad one anywhere in Lisbon. But keep your eyes peeled for some of the best spots for these sweet treats, including Manteigaria, Pasteis de Belem (the original home of the Pastéis de Nata), Pastelaria Versailles and Pastelaria Santo António.



There are several quaint beach towns within a short distance from Lisbon, and all of them are easily accessible by train. The coastal town of Cascais is just one to choose from that offers a nice, sandy beach and a cute pedestrian old town with cobblestone streets and tons of bars and restaurants. We recommend spending an afternoon in Cascais on your way back to Lisbon from Sintra.


Named the world’s top foodie hotspot in 2019 by National Geographic, Lisbon is one of the hottest food cities in Europe! This city has culinary love flowing freely from every nook and cranny, with unique flavors coming from each of its neighborhoods. Portuguese cuisine draws on global flavors from the country’s centuries of trade, while Lisbon’s restaurateurs have access to top-quality fish and seafood, unique cheeses, lovely wines, and vegetables from organic farms just outside the city. Whether you’re grabbing street food in the parks, devouring Pastéis de Natas from a bakery, chowing down on local delicacies while listening to Fado, or drooling over Michelin starred restaurants, you are in for a treat. A few local foods that you must try include: bifana (iconic portuguese sandwich), bacalhau (the famous salted cod fish), caldo verde (warm green soup, Portugal’s national dish), croquettes de carne, piri piri chicken, ginjinha (sour cherry liquor), and pasteis de nata. We have listed a few of our top restaurant recommendations below

Silk Club Rooftop

This Japanese / sushi restaurant provides some of the best views of the city! Snag a reservation early and enjoy gorgeous sunset views over the water, while devouring fresh sushi, refreshing drinks, and DJ-run tunes.


Stasha Restaurant

This delicious Mediterranean restaurant is centrally located in Bairro Alto, and offers lively weekend vibes. Be sure to snag a reservation in advance for a Friday or Saturday night before hitting the nightlife scene!



This trendy restaurant located next to Avenida da Liberdade is known as one of the most instagrammable restaurants in the world! While they don’t take reservations, this all-day brunch spot is a must on your trip to Lisbon! You can expect a modern, avant-garde space with an industrial look, offering brunch classics, such as Eggs Benedict, Pancakes, French Toasts, Banana Bread and more.



A must-not-miss spot to try the most popular dessert in all of Lisbon, Pastéis de Nata. With numerous locations in the Time Out Market, Baixa, and Chiado, there’s no excuse not to try this delicious custard treat. Watch them being made right in front of your face at this popular bakery that many consider to have the best Pasteis de Natas around!


A Raposa

This romantic tearoom in Sintra offers tea & pastries, plus Portuguese wines and simple, home-cooked savory dishes. It presents a fusion of Mediterranean and Portuguese cuisine, a relaxing atmosphere, and impeccable service. Be sure to book this in advance, and don’t miss the foie gras!


Taberna – Bairro do Avillez

 A must visit Baixa / Chiado restaurant focused on  savoring traditional delicacies, carefully reinvented to appeal to both those who enjoy a good hearty meal or prefer a lighter snack. The restaurant is designed to resemble a rustic eatery, something that typifies the cozy, family-run cafes scattered throughout the country’s interior.


Ponto Final

This Portuguese waterfront restaurant in Almada is accessible only via the ferry – and it is completely worth the trip! Snag an outdoor table if possible and chow down on classic Portuguese plates & wine, while enjoying the waterfront scenery.



If you want to indulge in a really exquisite meal during your trip to Lisbon, then you’ll want to make a reservation at the Michelin Star-rated restaurant, Belcanto. With unique flavor combinations and outrageously creative food presentation, you’ll have a wonderful dining experience!


Must-Not-Miss: Sr Fado

This hole-in-the-wall Alfama restaurant has a total of 9 tables, with one seating a night at 7:30pm sharp. Book this as far in advance as possible and get ready for a magical night of local Portuguese delicacies and Fado music. It’s a prix-fixe menu served by the owners Ana Marina and Duarte Santos. As soon as dinner hits the table, they’ll transform from servers into performers, giving you a true Portuguese experience.


Aside from the colorful streets, appetizing foodie scene, charming day trips, and host of heritage hot spots, Lisbon boasts an even crazier nightlife scene. In fact, Lisbon is known for its rowdy rooftop bars, DJ-based dinners, art-infused day parties, and wealth of wild nightclubs. It is commonly considered one of Europe’s best partying destinations, with hundreds of nightlife options for you to discover. Whether you’re looking to party all night long or simply soak up the alluring atmosphere, there’s something especially suited to satisfy everyone’s tastes. Our recommendation is to start the night in Bairro Alto, hopping from bar to bar over a few hours. Trust us when we say that you do not need to have a specific bar in mind, just wander around as you go. Every night of the week you will find the streets of Bairro Alto flooded with people drinking, dancing, hoping from one bar to the next. To make it even better, there does not seem to be any open container laws, meaning most people are drinking on the streets just as they would inside of a bar. It is an absolute blast and a great way to make new friends! If dancing and clubs are your thing, then head to Pink Street around 1:00am and experience lively clubs, such as Music Box, Lux, Incognito, Ministerium club & more! As always, we highly recommend joining a pub crawl to ensure the most fun evening possible!

Extra Tips

  • As of May 2022, masks are still required in all public transportation, including taxis. Be sure to come prepared. 
  • Bring a good camera  
  • Remember to pack a travel plug adapter 
  • Always keep small coins and bills with you. Most places will not accept a bill of 50 euros of more 
  • No need to rent a car in Lisbon, but if you do, avoid Europcar! 
  • Don’t forget comfortable walking shoes
  • We recommend staying at least 3 days to get the full experience. If you do not plan to visit Sintra and/or Cascais, then 2 days may even be sufficient.



As the capital of Portugal, this windy, hilly, gorgeous city truly is magical. Even if you are not a big-city type of traveler, we still recommend at least 2 days in Lisbon, as it has so much more to offer than big buildings alone. Between the history, monuments, ocean views, rooftop bars, incredible nightlife, excellent culinary scene, and more, it should be a must-not-miss stop of your next European trip. We hope you have enjoyed our post and can’t wait to hear about your Portugal adventures! Don’t miss our Belem travel guide and Porto travel guide!

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