Your Ultimate Lisbon Travel Guide 2023
Lisbon is a vibrant city with plenty of activities to offer its visitors. Whether you’re looking for culture, history, or a place to party, Lisbon has something for everyone! From the famous trams to the fun nightlife, there are so many incredible things to do in Lisbon that it can be difficult to narrow down your choices. To help you plan the ultimate adventure, we’ve rounded up the top things to do in Lisbon so you can experience the city to its fullest. You may also want to check out our Porto travel guide!
Top 5 Things To See And Do In Lisbon
- Visit The Belém Tower: One of the most iconic landmarks in Lisbon, the Belém Tower is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that dates back to the 16th century. You can explore the tower’s many rooms, climb the winding staircase to the top for panoramic views of the Tagus River, or stroll through the manicured gardens surrounding the tower.
- Wander The Streets Of Alfama: Lisbon’s oldest district is a maze of narrow streets, colorful buildings, and hidden alleyways. You’ll find plenty of charming cafes, local shops, and historic landmarks in this neighborhood, including the Castelo de São Jorge and the National Pantheon.
- Take A Tram Ride Through The City: Lisbon’s historic trams are a fun and unique way to see the city. Hop on Tram 28, which winds its way through the city’s narrow streets, or take Tram 15 to the Belém district for stunning views of the river.
- Explore The Jerónimos Monastery: Another UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Jerónimos Monastery is a magnificent example of Manueline architecture. Be sure to check out the ornate cloisters, the beautiful church, and the nearby Maritime Museum.
- Relax In A Park: Lisbon has plenty of green spaces to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. Head to Jardim da Estrela for a peaceful stroll or a picnic, or visit Parque das Nações for a more modern park with attractions like the Lisbon Oceanarium and the Vasco da Gama Tower.
Where To Stay In Lisbon
- Alfama: Located in the heart of Lisbon’s historic center, Alfama is a charming neighborhood with winding, narrow streets, and stunning views of the Tagus River. It’s one of the oldest neighborhoods in Lisbon, known for its traditional architecture and colorful buildings. Here you can find many local shops, cafes, and restaurants, as well as the iconic Castle of São Jorge.
- Baixa: Baixa is the downtown area of Lisbon and is perfect for those who want to be in the middle of all the action. Here you can find a wide range of shops, restaurants, and cultural attractions, such as the historic Praça do Comércio and the Santa Justa Elevator. Baixa is also a great base for exploring other neighborhoods, as it’s well-connected by public transportation.
- Chiado: Chiado is a lively and sophisticated neighborhood, known for its trendy cafes, bars, and designer boutiques. It’s the perfect neighborhood for those who enjoy a bit of luxury and want to be in the heart of Lisbon’s cultural scene. Here you can find attractions such as the iconic Convento do Carmo, the National Theater of São Carlos, and the famous Café A Brasileira.
- Bairro Alto: Bairro Alto is a lively neighborhood that comes to life at night with its many bars, clubs, and live music venues. During the day, you can explore its narrow streets and colorful buildings, or relax in one of its many cafes and restaurants. It’s a great neighborhood for those who want to experience Lisbon’s nightlife and cultural scene.
- Belém: Belém is a historic neighborhood located on the outskirts of Lisbon, known for its cultural landmarks and beautiful scenery. Here you can find attractions such as the Jerónimos Monastery, the Belém Tower, and the famous Pasteis de Belém pastry shop. It’s a great neighborhood for those who want to explore Lisbon’s rich history and enjoy a more relaxed pace of life.
Top Lisbon Hotels
- Four Seasons Hotel Ritz Lisbon: This luxurious hotel is situated in the heart of Lisbon and offers panoramic views of the city. The rooms are spacious and elegantly decorated, featuring modern amenities and plush furnishings. Guests can enjoy a range of facilities, including a spa, fitness center, and two on-site restaurants.
- InterContinental Lisbon: The InterContinental Lisbon is a stylish and sophisticated hotel located in the city center. The rooms are contemporary and comfortable, with modern amenities and high-quality linens. Guests can enjoy an array of facilities, including a fitness center, swimming pool, and rooftop bar with stunning views of the city.
- Bairro Alto Hotel: The Bairro Alto Hotel is a boutique hotel located in the trendy Bairro Alto neighborhood of Lisbon. The hotel features chic and stylish rooms, each decorated with unique artwork and luxurious furnishings. Guests can enjoy the rooftop bar with panoramic views of the city, as well as the on-site spa and fitness center.
- Memmo Alfama Hotel: This boutique hotel is located in the charming Alfama district of Lisbon, and offers breathtaking views of the Tagus River. The rooms are modern and elegant, featuring luxurious amenities and beautiful design details. Guests can relax in the hotel’s rooftop lounge or take advantage of the on-site fitness center.
- Myriad By SANA Hotels: This contemporary hotel is situated in the Parque das Nações district of Lisbon, offering stunning views of the Tagus River. The rooms are spacious and sleek, featuring modern amenities and stylish decor. Guests can enjoy a range of facilities, including an infinity pool, spa, and on-site restaurants.
Where To Eat In Lisbon
Lisbon is a city that is full of delicious cuisine that can leave any traveler craving for more. From seafood to sweets, there’s no shortage of places to eat in Lisbon. Here are the top 5 places that you must try:
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- Mercado Da Ribeira: This is a food hall with over 35 kiosks, each one offering different types of food. This place is perfect for groups of people with different tastes as everyone can find something they like. Here, you’ll find local dishes like pastel de nata, sardines, and ginjinha.
- Time Out Market: This market was voted the best food hall in the world, and for a good reason. Here, you’ll find some of the city’s best chefs serving up their signature dishes. You can try anything from seafood to burgers to sushi.
- O Ramiro: If you’re looking for fresh seafood, then you have to visit O Ramiro. This restaurant has been serving up seafood for over 50 years, and they’re still going strong. Try their garlic shrimp, grilled squid, and crab.
- A Cevicheria: This is a Peruvian-Japanese fusion restaurant that offers a unique dining experience. Their ceviche is a must-try, as well as their tiraditos and causas. They also have a great selection of pisco sours to wash it all down.
- Bairro Do Avillez: This is a food and drink complex that features several restaurants, a deli, and a bar. The standout restaurant is Pateo, which serves up Portuguese cuisine with a modern twist. Try their roasted octopus, veal cheeks, and duck rice.
No matter where you choose to eat in Lisbon, make sure you’re prepared for big portions, affordable prices, and amazing flavors. Bon appétit!
How To Get Around Lisbon
When it comes to exploring Lisbon, you’ll find that there are several transportation options available to you. Depending on your budget, comfort level, and itinerary, you can choose from the following modes of transportation:
- Trams: Lisbon is known for its iconic trams that run through the city’s narrow and hilly streets. Tram 28 is the most popular among tourists as it takes you past many of the city’s top attractions. However, be prepared for long queues and crowded trams, especially during peak season.
- Metro: Lisbon’s metro system is clean, efficient, and inexpensive. It has four lines that cover most parts of the city, including the airport. You can purchase tickets at the ticket machines or kiosks at the stations. Consider getting a Viva Viagem card if you plan to use the metro frequently as it offers discounted fares.
- Buses: Buses in Lisbon are also affordable and cover areas that are not accessible by the metro. There are several bus routes, including night buses, that run until late at night. However, be aware that some buses may not run on Sundays and public holidays.
- Taxis: Taxis in Lisbon are plentiful and can be hailed from the street or booked via an app. They are metered, but be sure to check that the meter is running before you start your journey. Taxis are a good option if you’re traveling in a group or carrying luggage.
- Uber: Uber is also available in Lisbon and can be a convenient and affordable way to get around the city. The app allows you to book a ride, track your driver’s location, and pay via your phone.
Regardless of the mode of transportation you choose, be prepared for some uphill walks, especially if you’re exploring the city on foot. Lisbon is known for its steep hills, and some of the sidewalks can be quite slippery, so wear comfortable shoes and be careful.
Lisbon boasts of mild weather all year round, thanks to its coastal location. However, each season brings its unique climate conditions, and you should plan accordingly when visiting.
- Spring (March to May): Spring in Lisbon is generally mild and comfortable, with temperatures ranging from 15°C to 20°C. It is an excellent time for sightseeing and outdoor activities.
- Summer (June to August): Summer is the peak tourist season in Lisbon, and the temperatures can reach up to 30°C. The hot and sunny weather is ideal for beach activities, but it can get crowded, and you should plan ahead.
- Fall (September to November): The temperatures drop slightly in the fall, ranging from 20°C to 25°C. It is still warm and pleasant, and the autumn foliage adds to the city’s charm.
- Winter (December to February): Winter in Lisbon is relatively mild, with temperatures ranging from 10°C to 15°C. However, it can be rainy, and you should pack warm clothes and a raincoat.
Overall, the best time to visit Lisbon depends on your preference and the activities you plan to do. Spring and fall are the shoulder seasons, and the weather is ideal for exploring the city and enjoying the outdoor cafes. However, if you’re looking for beach activities, summer is the best time, but it can get crowded. Winter is the off-season, and you can find good deals on flights and accommodation, but you should be prepared for the rain.
Best Time To Visit Lisbon
Lisbon has a Mediterranean climate, which means mild winters and hot summers. The best time to visit Lisbon is during the shoulder seasons of spring and fall when the weather is mild, and the crowds are smaller. Spring (March to May) is the best time to visit if you want to enjoy the beautiful parks and gardens that Lisbon has to offer. Fall (September to November) is another great time to visit as the weather is still warm, and the colors of the leaves make the city even more beautiful.
Summer (June to August) is peak season in Lisbon, and the city gets crowded with tourists from all over the world. If you decide to visit during this time, be prepared for long lines at popular attractions, and high hotel and restaurant prices. However, the beach weather and the city’s lively outdoor events may make up for the crowds.
Winter (December to February) is the least popular time to visit Lisbon because of the colder weather, but if you don’t mind bundling up, it can still be an enjoyable experience. Plus, there are fewer crowds, lower hotel prices, and holiday festivities to enjoy. No matter when you decide to visit Lisbon, be sure to pack for the season, as the weather can be unpredictable. Don’t forget a light jacket or sweater for cooler evenings and rainy days.
How To Stay Safe In Lisbon
While Lisbon is generally a safe city for travelers, there are some precautions you can take to ensure your safety.
- Watch Out For Pickpockets: As in any big city, pickpockets are common in tourist areas and on public transportation. Keep an eye on your belongings and be aware of your surroundings. Consider using a money belt to store your personal items while you are out and about.
- Stay Alert At Night: Some neighborhoods, like Bairro Alto and Cais do Sodré, are known for their nightlife, but they can also be sketchy at night. Stick to well-lit streets and avoid walking alone.
- Use Licensed Taxis: To avoid being scammed by unlicensed taxi drivers, use only licensed taxis that have a meter and display their license information.
- Beware Of Street Vendors: While street vendors selling souvenirs may seem harmless, some of them are known for using aggressive tactics to sell their wares. Avoid getting into any confrontations and don’t let anyone grab you or your belongings.
- Know The Emergency Numbers: In case of an emergency, dial 112 for the police, ambulance, or fire department.
By following these safety tips, you can enjoy a worry-free visit to Lisbon and make the most of your time in this beautiful city.
Lisbon Customs And Etiquette
When traveling to Lisbon, it’s important to understand the customs and etiquette of the locals. Here are a few tips to help you navigate the culture in Lisbon:
- Greetings: In Lisbon, it’s customary to greet someone with a handshake or a kiss on each cheek. It’s also polite to address people with their proper title (e.g. Doctor, Professor, etc.)
- Dress Code: Lisbon is a relatively casual city, but it’s important to dress appropriately when visiting religious sites. Both men and women should avoid wearing shorts, short skirts, or revealing clothing.
- Meal Times: Lunch is the biggest meal of the day in Lisbon and most restaurants are busiest between 1 pm and 3 pm. Dinner is usually served later, around 8 pm or 9 pm.
- Tipping: Tipping in Lisbon is not as common as it is in the US. It’s acceptable to round up your bill or leave a small amount (10-15%) for exceptional service.
- Language: Portuguese is the official language of Lisbon, but most locals speak English as a second language. However, it’s always appreciated to learn a few key phrases in Portuguese to show respect.
By following these simple customs and etiquette, you’ll show respect to the locals and have a more enjoyable experience in Lisbon.
Other Things To Know About Lisbon
When planning a trip to Lisbon, it’s important to be aware of some basic information about the country. Portugal is a Western European country located on the Iberian Peninsula, bordered by Spain to the east and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. The official language is Portuguese, although English is widely spoken, particularly in tourist areas. The currency used in Lisbon and throughout Portugal is the euro, and the time zone is Western European Time (WET), which is one hour ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC+1). Make sure to bring euros with you, as many places do not accept other currencies, and consider purchasing a universal adapter for any electronics you may bring to charge. It’s also helpful to learn some basic Portuguese phrases to communicate with locals and show respect for their culture. Overall, being prepared with this information will enhance your experience in Lisbon and make your travels smoother.
Lisbon Travel Costs
If you’re planning a trip to Lisbon, Portugal, you may be wondering how much it will cost you. While the cost of your trip will depend on your travel style and budget, here’s an overview of the typical expenses you can expect:
- Accommodation: Accommodation prices in Lisbon vary greatly depending on your budget and preferences. On average, you can expect to pay around €30-€60 per night for a budget hotel or hostel, while mid-range hotels range from €70-€120 per night. For luxury options, prices can go up to €200-€400 per night.
Food And Drinks: Lisbon is known for its delicious food and affordable dining options. You can find budget-friendly meals at local restaurants and street food stalls for around €5-€10 per person. Mid-range restaurants typically cost around €20-€30 per person, while fine dining can cost up to €100 per person. Drinks are also reasonably priced, with a glass of wine or beer costing around €2-€3.
- Transportation: Public transportation is relatively inexpensive in Lisbon, with a single metro or bus ride costing around €1.50. Taxis are also affordable, with prices starting at €3.50 plus €0.47 per kilometer. Uber is also widely available and generally cheaper than traditional taxis.
- Activities: Many of Lisbon’s top attractions, such as museums and historical sites, offer discounted or free admission for children and students. Adults can expect to pay anywhere from €5-€20 per attraction. Walking tours and other activities also vary in price, with some being free and others costing around €30-€50 per person.
Overall, the cost of a trip to Lisbon can vary greatly depending on your travel style and preferences. With careful planning and budgeting, however, you can experience the best of Lisbon without breaking the bank.
Finding Affordable Flights To Lisbon
When planning your trip to Lisbon, finding affordable flights can help you save money and make your budget stretch further. Here are some tips for finding cheap flights to Lisbon:
- Use Flight Search Engines: There are many flight search engines like Skyscanner, Expedia, and Kayak that allow you to compare prices from different airlines. Use these sites to find the cheapest flight to Lisbon.
- Book In Advance: Generally, the earlier you book your flight, the cheaper it will be. Aim to book at least 2-3 months before your trip to get the best deals.
- Be Flexible With Dates: Flights are usually cheaper on weekdays and during off-peak seasons. If you’re flexible with your travel dates, you can find cheaper flights.
- Consider Connecting Flights: Direct flights can be expensive, so consider booking a flight with one or two connections. It may take longer, but it could save you money.
- Use Low-Cost Airlines: Budget airlines like Ryanair and EasyJet offer cheap flights to Lisbon from other European cities. However, keep in mind that they may have additional fees for baggage and other services.
- Sign Up For Email Alerts: Airlines, such as United Airlines, often send out promotional offers to their email subscribers, so sign up for email alerts to get notified about discounts and deals.
By following these tips, you can find affordable flights to Lisbon and make your dream trip a reality.
Backpacking Lisbon Suggested Budgets
For backpackers, Lisbon is a fantastic city that offers a lot of budget-friendly options for accommodation, food, and activities. Here are some suggested budgets for backpackers traveling to Lisbon:
Low Budget: €20-€30 per day
If you’re on a tight budget, you can easily get by on €20-€30 per day in Lisbon. You can find a bed in a hostel for as low as €10-€15 per night. Eating street food or at local markets will save you a lot of money, with most meals costing between €3-€5. You can also enjoy free activities like exploring the city’s charming neighborhoods and checking out its street art.
Mid-Range Budget: €30-€50 per day
With a slightly higher budget, you can enjoy more of what Lisbon has to offer. You can still find budget-friendly accommodations in hostels or low-cost hotels for €20-€30 per night. Eating at inexpensive restaurants will cost you around €10-€15 per meal, and you can indulge in some cheap local wine or beer. You can also visit some of Lisbon’s attractions like the Tower of Belem or the Lisbon Oceanarium, which costs around €10-€15 for entrance fees.
Luxury Budget: €50-€80 per day
With a budget of €50-€80 per day, you can live quite comfortably in Lisbon. You can opt for a private room in a budget hotel or Airbnb for €30-€50 per night. You can enjoy eating at mid-range restaurants that offer excellent seafood dishes or enjoy some local wine or beer at a cozy bar. You can also enjoy more activities such as visiting museums, galleries, or taking a day trip to nearby towns or beaches.
Keep in mind that these suggested budgets are estimates, and actual costs may vary depending on your preferences and spending habits. It’s always wise to do your research and plan your budget ahead of time to make the most of your Lisbon experience.
Lisbon Money Saving Tips
If you’re planning a trip to Lisbon on a budget, there are many ways to save money without sacrificing the quality of your trip. Here are some Lisbon money saving tips to help you plan your adventure:
- Take Advantage Of Free Attractions: Lisbon is full of free museums, monuments, and attractions that won’t cost you a dime. Visit the National Museum of Ancient Art, explore the Castelo de São Jorge, or take a stroll through the colorful streets of the Alfama neighborhood.
- Use Public Transportation: Lisbon’s public transportation system is reliable and affordable, making it easy to get around the city. Purchase a rechargeable public transport card and use the city’s buses, trams, and metro to save money on transportation costs.
- Eat Like A Local: Lisbon is known for its delicious cuisine, but eating out at touristy restaurants can be expensive. Save money by eating at local cafes and food markets where you can try traditional dishes like bacalhau and pastéis de nata for a fraction of the cost.
- Stay In A Hostel: Lisbon has many affordable hostels that offer comfortable accommodations at a low price. Plus, staying in a hostel is a great way to meet other travelers and get insider tips on the best things to see and do in the city.
- Book Your Flights In Advance: Flights to Lisbon can be expensive, especially during peak travel season. Book your flights in advance to get the best deals and save money on your trip.
By following these Lisbon money saving tips, you can make the most of your trip without breaking the bank.
What To Pack For Lisbon
Packing for your Lisbon adventure can be exciting and challenging at the same time. Here are some things that you should consider packing for your trip to Lisbon:
- Comfortable Walking Shoes: Lisbon is a city of hills, and you will need to do a lot of walking. Pack a pair of comfortable walking shoes that will allow you to explore the city without any discomfort.
- Lightweight Clothing: Lisbon enjoys a Mediterranean climate, which means it can get hot and humid in the summer months. Pack light, breathable clothing, and bring a jacket or a sweater for cooler evenings.
- Sunscreen: Lisbon is a sunny city, and you will need to protect your skin from the harmful effects of the sun. Pack a high SPF sunscreen, and apply it regularly throughout the day.
- Camera: Lisbon is a city of stunning architecture, colorful street art, and scenic views. Pack your camera or your smartphone to capture the beauty of the city.
- Backpack Or Tote Bag: A backpack or tote bag will come in handy for carrying your camera, water bottle, sunscreen, and other essentials as you explore the city.
- Adaptor: Portugal uses Type F plugs, so if you’re traveling from outside of Europe, bring an adapter to keep your devices charged.
- Travel Documents: Make sure you have all your travel documents, including your passport, travel insurance, and any relevant tickets, safely packed and easily accessible.
Overall, pack light, stay comfortable, and bring only what you need. Lisbon is a vibrant city, and you will want to have the flexibility to explore and enjoy it to the fullest.
Can You Drink Tap Water In Lisbon?
One of the most important things to know about Lisbon, or any city for that matter, is whether it’s safe to drink tap water. The good news is that Lisbon has some of the best quality tap water in the world. It’s clean, fresh and safe to drink straight from the tap. Unlike some other cities in Europe, where you may be advised to boil the tap water or buy bottled water, in Lisbon you can fill up your water bottle wherever you like. Not only is it convenient, but it’s also eco-friendly and will save you money on buying bottled water. So, whether you’re walking around the city, sightseeing or relaxing in a café, you can stay hydrated with Lisbon’s refreshing tap water. Just be sure to use a reusable water bottle to reduce your plastic consumption.
Other Things To See And Do In Lisbon
Aside from the top 5 attractions we mentioned earlier, there are still plenty of things to see and do in Lisbon. Here are some of the top recommendations:
- Belem Tower: This iconic monument is one of the most recognizable symbols of Lisbon. It was built in the 16th century to protect the city from invaders and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Jeronimos Monastery: Located next to the Belem Tower, this stunning monastery is another UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is a prime example of Portuguese Manueline architecture and is definitely worth a visit.
- Castelo De Sao Jorge: This castle sits atop a hill in the historic Alfama district and offers breathtaking views of the city. You can also explore the castle and learn about Lisbon’s history.
- Alfama District: Speaking of the Alfama district, this charming neighborhood is the oldest in Lisbon and is filled with narrow streets, colorful houses, and traditional fado music. It’s the perfect place to wander and get lost in.
- LX Factory: This trendy area was once an abandoned industrial complex, but has since been transformed into a hub for artists and creatives. You’ll find plenty of cool shops, cafes, and street art here.
- National Tile Museum: Lisbon is known for its beautiful tilework, and this museum showcases some of the best examples from throughout history. It’s a must-visit for anyone interested in art or design.
- Time Out Market: This indoor food market features stalls from some of Lisbon’s top chefs and restaurants. It’s a great place to sample local cuisine and experience the city’s food culture.
- Day Trip to Sintra: While not technically in Lisbon, the town of Sintra is just a short train ride away and is definitely worth a visit. It’s home to several stunning palaces and castles, including the famous Pena Palace.
Overall, Lisbon is a city that has something for everyone. Whether you’re interested in history, food, art, or just soaking up the atmosphere, you’re sure to find plenty to see and do here. So book your trip and get ready for an adventure!
The Bottom Line
Lisbon is a vibrant city that offers an array of attractions and activities to suit every traveler’s taste. Whether you’re a history buff, a foodie, or an adventure seeker, Lisbon has something to offer for everyone. From exploring its historic landmarks and vibrant neighborhoods to sampling its mouthwatering cuisine and experiencing its lively nightlife, there is no shortage of things to do in this beautiful city. However, it’s important to plan your trip carefully to make the most of your time and budget. By following the tips and recommendations in this guide, you’ll be able to experience the best of Lisbon without breaking the bank. So, what are you waiting for? Book your flight, pack your bags, and get ready for an unforgettable adventure in Lisbon!