Forget about Paris or Rome; expert travelers are finally paying more attention to Lisbon, Portugal. In recent years it’s been on everyone’s radar. Whereas not long ago, Lisbon was not as visible to the traveler’s eye as it is now. Below are a couple of factors you need to plan a trip, pack your bags and visit Lisbon shortly.
Best Time to Visit
I traveled in December, right before Christmas, but the temperature was 58º F (14º C). It was a blessing for me as I came from a freezing cold temperature when I left New Jersey; it was only 17º F ( -9º C). Therefore no need to hesitate if you are planning a trip to Lisbon even in December.
How To Get Around
Airport to the city center transportation is excellent in Lisbon. The metro is right at the terminal; all you need to do is just follow the sign. The ticketing machine works for cash or debit/bank cards; even a person who was helping in any way is unsure of operating the machines. If you are too scared of using a machine, no problem; there is also a ticketing booth with an attendant who could assist you. I bought a ticket valid for 24 hours and an unlimited ride and paid only € 6.85 (US$ 7.89), which is pretty cool. The ride from the airport to the city takes about 30 minutes, depending on where you get off.
Lisbon Metro Fares 2017. €6.15 – 24-hour unlimited travel, which includes all Lisbon buses and trams. Lisbon metro fares are loaded onto the Viva Viagem card, and the unused fare lasts for several days; therefore, a return ticket can be used on a subsequent day.
Best way to get around Lisbon
The best way to explore Lisbon is to walk. Despite being hilly, the city is full of hidden gems that will amaze you at every corner. Whether it’s magnificent views, excellent street scenes, authentic restaurants, historical monuments, or beautiful street art, you’ll never find it unless you’re walking.
Top Things To Do In Lisbon
Day 1 – Lisbon Itinerary: What to See on The First day
The first day is dedicated to exploring Lisbon‘s downtown. Prepare yourself to walk around a lot, and keep extra time aside to get to know your way around.
Hop On to Tram 28 and explore
The iconic Tram 28 takes passengers on a tourist-friendly scenic route, not only through traditional neighborhoods like Baixa, Graca, and Bairro Alto but also to popular attractions, such as St. George’s Castle and Alfama. A ride along the entire 28 tram route provides one of the best tours of the capital and is often a highlight of any holiday to Lisbon. However, this team tends to be crowded due to its popularity among tourists because they are historical; in fact, some of them were even used in World War II.
Visit Aflame District
Alfama is one of the oldest districts of Lisbon and is a charming network of narrow cobbled streets and antique houses which lead up the steep hill from the Tejo Estuary to the castle. This district has many historic buildings, including the Se Cathedral, the Castle, the National Pantheon, and Saint Anthony’s Church.
Visit St. George’s Castle
Once you are in the Alfama district, why not visit St. George’s Castle, located atop Lisbon’s highest hill in the oldest neighborhood, offering great history and a beautiful scenic view of the city and the sea. This castle was fortified and later turned into a royal palace before Portugal’s first king took it. You can get there by Tram 28 or walk from the nearest metro stations, Rossio or Martim Moniz.
Miradouro Das Portas do sol (observation deck)
Miradouro (viewpoint in English) Porta’s de Sol is very close to the Castle, so just walk up there and have a great time. You can’t miss it; if you see any sign that says ‘Miradouro,’ just follow it; it will lead you to popular picturesque city views.
Attractions in Bairro Alto District
Relax in Camões Square (Largo de Camões)
It is located between Chiado and the Bairro Alto district. The square is one of the city’s favorite meeting points, especially in the evening, and if you are traveling by the iconic tram 28, this will be one of the main stops. Cobblestone streets surround the square, and in the center is a huge bronze statue of the poet Luis de Camoes.
Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara
If you want to enjoy a great view of the city and the Sea from a viewpoint located on the top of a hill, then I would recommend visiting Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara, which is close to Camões Square (Largo de Camoes), just follow the sign. I can guarantee you that this place is well worth a visit.
Miradouro de Santa Catarina (Santa Catarina Viewpoint)
This is a relatively petty viewpoint facing the Tagus river, mainly attracting young crowds and expecting to see activities associated with that age. It’s a perfect place to be, especially in the evening, a great place to enjoy a cold beer at Noobai Kiosk and enjoy the beautiful view of the 25 de Abril Bridge (25th of April Bridge) over the river Tagus and the Almada on the other side of the river. Easy to get there from Largo De Camoes; if you are facing the river, just follow the tram line 28 towards the west (on your right); once you pass the Petiscaria Do Elevador, make a left on R. Mal. Saldanha. Walk to the end of the street until you see the viewpoint.
Praça do Comércio (Comércio Square)
The Praça do Comércio (Comércio Square) is a huge wide open square in Lisbon and one of the largest in Europe. Once, it was the gateway to the city, a trading place for goods imported from the colonies. Still, it has its originality, surrounded by historical buildings and the river Tagus. A great place for locals and tourists to hang out, listen to street music and watch the sunset. Easy to get there, take the Blue or Green Metro and get off at Baixa – Chiado Station; take the R. da Victora exit; once out on the street, take a right on R. Aurea, keep going straight until you see the open square.
Visit Baixa District
Even though it’s a little touristy, your Lisbon trip is incomplete without visiting the heart of Lisbon, The Baixa district. Very popular among locals and tourists alike, surrounded by historical buildings, plazas, a huge variety of restaurants to choose from, excellent hotels, AirBnB places, boutique shops, and many tourist attractions.
Day 2 – Lisbon Itinerary: What to See On The 2nd Day
The second day is dedicated to exploring Lisbon‘s Balam district. Same as the 1st day, prepare yourself to walk around a lot and eat out.
Arco da Rua Augusta (Rua Augusta Arch)
The 19th-century Rua Agusta Arch is located in the Baixa district by the river Tagus at the northern end of Praca do Comercio on Rua Augusta—a symbol of the city’s recovery from the 1755 earthquake. A great way to see the amazing views of Lisbon is from the top of the Triumphal Arch. The cost to get up there is only 2.50 Euro, but the reward is priceless.
Elevador de Santa Justa (Santa Justa Lift)
The Elevador de Santa Justa is an ironwork lift that carries passengers up the steep hill from the lower streets of the Baixa district to the Carmo Square (Largo de Camões) and the ruins of the Carmo church. The lift with an observatory platform with panoramic views has become a unique attraction of the city. It will cost you 2.80 Euro for the lift ride, but undoubtedly worth every penny you spend.
Explore Belem District
The Belem waterfront is a historic neighborhood that is located 6 miles west of the city center, easily accessible via metro or by tram 15 from Parc do Commercio. It is the home of some of Lisbon’s historical monuments, museums, Pasteis de Belém, and a trendy Portuguese tart place—a beautiful neighborhood to enjoy a day out there.
Torre de Belém (Belém Tower)
The tower is located on the northern bank of the Tagus river, built between 1514 and 1520 as part of the Tagus inlet defense system to protect the kingdom’s capital in the 16th century. The Tower of Belem is definitely a masterpiece of Portugal and is classified by UNESCO as a ‘Cultural Heritage of Humanity.’
Monument to the Discoveries in Lisbon
The 170 ft (52 m) tall Monument of the Discoveries is a remarkable structure designed to celebrate the Age of Discoveries in Portugal. The monument is made up. This monument is located in the Belem district, north of Tagus river, 6 miles west of Lisbon city center, and close to other attractions such as Jeronimos Monastery.
The Jerónimos Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is one of the most visited sites in Lisbon. So soon you get off from tram 15 at Belem stop, the landmark is right there. This magnificent monastery and a true architectural masterpiece are not to be missed. It’s impossible not to be impressed with all the 500 years old craftsmanship!
Explore MAAT (Museum of Art, Architecture & Technology)
Since you are visiting Belem District, visiting the MAAT – Museum of Art, Architecture, and Technology is a great idea. Beautifully located next to the river an excellent opportunity for photographers, especially from outside, during sunset.
Visit Time Out Market For Lunch
Mercado da Ribeira is Lisbon’s oldest and largest food market, recently converted into Time Out Market, with traditional Portuguese foods and other international food. The sitting area is in the middle of the market, surrounded by many food stalls and wine stores. We enjoyed our lunch here on our way back from Belem. Take the Metro Green Line and get off at the last station Cais do Sodré. Once you leave the metro station, the building is on the other side of the street Av. 24 de Julho. Or take the tram 15 from Praca do Comercio and get off at Cais Sodré stop; you can’t miss the Time Out Market Lisbon is across the street.
Explore Rossio Square
Rossio Square, also known as D. Pedro IV square, has been one of Lisbon’s main squares since the Middle Ages. The monumental Column of Pedro IV and the mermaid fountains is the most famous landmark of Rossio Square. The National Theatre D. Maria II is located on the north side, and the Quaint little house is on the other side of the square. You will also find many famous cafes and restaurants in the area.
Igreja de Sao Domingos
Near the National Theatre and Rossio Square, Saint Dominic’s Church, a national monument, is definitely worth a visit.
Explore Graca District
The Graça District is one of Lisbon’s oldest suburbs, located on top of her highest hill, a few blocks northeast of the Castelo de Sao Jorge and just up the hill from São Vincente de Fora Monastery. The neighborhood, which centers around the Lago da Graça
Attend a Cooking Class
The chef will instruct you on how to cook a traditional Portuguese meal consisting of a fish dish, a meat dish, and a dessert in a hands-on experience. Then, you will enjoy the meal you have cooked with fine Portuguese wines.
Local Food & Drinks
Cervejaria Ramiro, Av. Almirante Reis nº1 – H, 1150-007 Lisboa – Try one of the locals favorite Cod on top of spinach and potatoes for a real Portuguese taste.
A Cultura do Hamburguer, Rue das Salgadeiras 38 – Try out great burger prepared for local taste buds. Walking distance from Camões Square
Where to stay in Lisbon, Portugal
Best apartment in Baixa-Chiado, Lisbon
The Best apartment in Baixa-Chiado is located in the center of Lisbon, just a 6-minute walk from Commerce Square and 0.4 miles from Rossio Square. In addition, the property features river views and is a 14-minute walk from St. George’s Castle and half a mile from Dona Maria II National Theatre. The apartment has 3 bedrooms, a fully equipped kitchen with a fridge and an oven, and 1 bathroom with a bidet and complimentary toiletries. The nearest airport is Humberto Delgado Airport, 5 miles from the Best apartment in Baixa-Chiado.
Baixa GuestHouse, Lisbon
With a central location in Lisbon, a 2-minute walk from Rossio Square, Baixa GuestHouse offers free WiFi access. All rooms include a flat-screen TV and a private bathroom with a shower and a hairdryer. In addition, Baixa GuestHouse offers secured accommodations, a CCTV system, and a security safe box where guests can store their private belongings. Rossio Train Station is within walking distance and offers links to Sintra in a 30-minute train ride. Santa Justa Elevator offering panoramic views over Lisbon, is a 10-minute walk from Baixa GuestHouse. Lisbon International Airport is a 20-minute bus ride away.
My Opinion and Last Word
Have you been to Lisbon, Portugal? Any cool tips to share?
loved being in Lisbon, Portugal, and want to go back again. I hope my story has motivated you to visit Portugal.
Please leave a comment below! I’d love to hear from you to improve my knowledge.
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A Few Photos From The Trip
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This Post Has 2 Comments
A very informative and helpful travel blog! The photos are beautiful too especially, the night shots and brick roofs.
Thank you Em for visiting my post and also for your nice comment, I am glad that you liked it!