Discover the Best Things to Do in Lisbon

Paulo Evangelista
January 4
Written by Elena Kostas

Find out the top places to visit in Lisbon and enjoy this charming city. Don't miss it!

In this article, we will show you the best things to do in Lisbon. With its narrow cobbled streets, beautiful viewpoints, and rich culture, Lisbon will surprise you at every corner. From the impressive Castle of São Jorge to the lively Commerce Square, there is so much to discover in this gem of Portugal.

If you're looking for what to see in Lisbon, don't miss wandering through the neighborhoods of Alfama and Bairro Alto, where you can experience the authentic local life, live music, and delicious traditional food. And of course, you can't leave without trying the famous pastéis de nata at the Belém pastry shop.

1. Belém Tower

Historical Monuments and Architecture
a group of people walking on a beach next to a tall tower
Belém Tower / Ray Donnelly, Unsplash

The Belém Tower is one of the main landmarks in Lisbon. Built in the 16th century, the tower was originally used as a defensive fortification at the mouth of the Tagus River.

Today, it is a popular tourist attraction that offers stunning views of the river and the city of Lisbon.

A visit to the Belém Tower is an opportunity to explore Portugal's maritime history and learn more about its legacy as a seafaring power.

2. Castle of São Jorge

Historical Monuments and Architecture
black street lamp turned on during night time
Castle of São Jorge / Robenson Gassant, Unsplash

The Castle of São Jorge, also known as Castelo de São Jorge, is one of the main tourist attractions in Lisbon. Located on the highest hill in the city, it offers spectacular views of the Portuguese capital and the Tagus River.

Built in the 11th century by the Moors, the castle has witnessed numerous historical events over the centuries. Inside, you can find the ruins of the ancient royal palace and the impressive Tower of Homage.

In addition to exploring the castle itself, visitors can also enjoy the surrounding gardens, walk along its walls, and discover the different themed spaces that house exhibitions about Lisbon's history and culture.

3. Commerce Square

Historical Monuments and Architecture
a person walking down a hall way
Commerce Square / Asa Rodger, Unsplash

Commerce Square, also known as Terreiro do Paço, is a square located in the heart of Lisbon. It is one of the most iconic squares in the city and has become one of the main tourist attractions. Surrounded by historic buildings and overlooking the Tagus River, Commerce Square is a place full of history and culture.

The square was built after the devastating 1755 earthquake and became the commercial and administrative center of the city. It is located in a privileged location, with direct access to the river and the historic center of Lisbon. Its impressive arcades and equestrian statue of King José I make it a very photogenic place.

In addition to its architectural beauty, Commerce Square houses several important buildings, such as the Arco da Rua Augusta, Café Martinho da Arcada, and the statue of Dom João I. It is also the starting point for numerous sightseeing tours and offers a wide range of restaurants and shops to enjoy.

4. Alfama

Historical Monuments and Architecture
a couple of men standing next to each other
Alfama / Liam McKay, Unsplash

Alfama is one of Lisbon's most emblematic neighborhoods and a true historical treasure. With its cobblestone streets and picturesque houses, this ancient fishing district is a must-visit for history and architecture lovers.

Alfama is famous for its narrow and steep streets, which invite you to get lost and discover its secrets. Strolling through this neighborhood is like traveling back in time, as it retains much of its medieval charm and historic buildings.

One of the main attractions of Alfama is the Castle of São Jorge, an Arab fortress that offers stunning panoramic views of the city. You can also visit the Lisbon Cathedral, an impressive Gothic church dating back to the 12th century, and explore the maze of alleyways filled with shops, restaurants, and traditional bars.

5. Jerónimos Monastery

Historical Monuments and Architecture
a large building with two towers on top of it
Jerónimos Monastery / The Creativv, Unsplash

The Jerónimos Monastery, also known as the Monastery of Santa Maria de Belém, is one of Lisbon's most iconic landmarks. This magnificent monastery, built in the 16th century, is a prominent example of Gothic and Renaissance architecture in Portugal.

When visiting the monastery, you can take a stroll through its impressive cloisters, adorned with intricate architectural details. You can also admire the detailed portals and the magnificent church, where several historical figures, including the famous explorer Vasco de Gama, are buried.

Don't miss the opportunity to explore this historical and cultural treasure during your visit to Lisbon. The Jerónimos Monastery is a must-visit for history and architecture enthusiasts.

6. Bairro Alto

Historical Monuments and Architecture
multicolored concrete buildings
Bairro Alto / Luca Dugaro, Unsplash

Bairro Alto is one of the most emblematic neighborhoods in Lisbon. With its cobbled and steep streets, historic houses, and vibrant nightlife, Bairro Alto attracts visitors from all over the world.

It is also known for its bars, restaurants, and vintage shops, which give it a unique charm. In this article, you will discover what to see in Lisbon and why Bairro Alto is a place you shouldn't miss.

Explore its narrow streets and discover its colorful facades. Walk up to the São Pedro de Alcântara viewpoint and enjoy stunning views of Lisbon. Admire the typical architecture of the area, with its azulejos (blue tiles) and wrought iron windows. Don't forget to try the famous pastéis de nata (custard tarts) in one of the traditional pastry shops in the neighborhood. And don't miss the nightlife of Bairro Alto, with its fado bars, live music, and nightclubs.

7. Fado Music Shows

Entertainment and Pop Culture

Fado music shows are one of the top tourist attractions in Lisbon. Fado is the traditional music of Portugal, known for its emotiveness and expression. At Fado music shows in Lisbon, you have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the magic of this unique music and enjoy an unforgettable evening.

Fado music shows are usually held in small restaurants or bars, where you can enjoy a meal or simply have a drink while listening to the melancholic sounds of Fado. The music is accompanied by a Portuguese guitar, which gives it a distinctive and thrilling sound.

In addition to the music, Fado music shows also offer you the chance to taste traditional Portuguese dishes and wines. From delicious seafood dishes to codfish pastries, you can savor authentic Portuguese cuisine while immersing yourself in the unique atmosphere of Fado music shows.

8. Santa Justa Lift

Historical Monuments and Architecture
a city street lined with tall buildings and trees
Santa Justa Lift / Kit Suman, Unsplash

The Santa Justa Lift is an important landmark in Lisbon that you don't want to miss. Also known as the Elevador de Santa Justa, it is an architectural marvel that connects the Barrio Alto with the Baixa Pombalina. It was inaugurated in 1902 and has since become a popular tourist attraction.

The lift is located on Rua de Santa Justa in the city center and stands at a height of 45 meters. Its iron and glass structure is impressive and offers breathtaking panoramic views of Lisbon from its upper platform, which is open to the public.

In addition to its architectural beauty, the Santa Justa Lift also has great historical significance. It was designed by Portuguese engineer Raoul Mesnier du Ponsard, who drew inspiration from the Eiffel Tower in Paris for its creation. For many years, it was one of the few vertical transportation means in Lisbon and is still used today to facilitate access between the two neighborhoods of the city.

9. Tram 28

Historical Monuments and Architecture
yellow and brown tram train near people
Tram 28 / Portuguese Gravity, Unsplash

Tram 28 is one of Lisbon's most popular tourist attractions. It travels through the steep streets of the city, taking visitors through the most historic and picturesque neighborhoods.

Tram 28, or Eléctrico 28 as it is known in Portuguese, is an old and charming tram that has been in service since 1914. Its route starts in the Graça district and passes by iconic places such as Lisbon Cathedral, São Jorge Castle, Alfama neighborhood, and Camões Square.

Riding Tram 28 is like taking a journey back in time. As you navigate the cobblestone streets, you can admire the traditional architecture and colorful tiles that adorn the buildings. It is the perfect way to experience the essence and charm of Lisbon.

10. Lisbon Oceanarium

Museums and Art Galleries
black and white snake on gray rock
Lisbon Oceanarium / Maksim Shutov, Unsplash

The Lisbon Oceanarium is one of the largest and most modern aquariums in Europe. Located in Parque das Nações, this aquarium is one of Lisbon's most popular tourist attractions. With its impressive architecture and variety of marine ecosystems, it offers visitors a unique experience to admire marine life.

As you wander through the Lisbon Oceanarium, you'll have the opportunity to see different marine species in their natural habitats. From the penguins that inhabit the rocky coast of Cape Verde to the sharks swimming in the central tank, each experience is fascinating. In addition to penguins and sharks, the Lisbon Oceanarium is also home to other impressive species such as manta rays and sunfish.

Don't miss the chance to explore the different marine ecosystems that the Lisbon Oceanarium has to offer. From the North Atlantic to the Indian Ocean, each tank represents a unique ecosystem and provides you with the opportunity to admire the diversity of marine life.