Lisbon is, in my opinion, one of the best European cities to visit. Not only is it totally gorgeous, but there’s a whole heap of the best places to see in Lisbon that are dotted across all the neighbourhoods. Plus, you’ve got the fairytale-like spots like Sintra that are a stone’s throw from the city itself.
Better still, Lisbon is the kind of city you can visit for a long weekend (or much longer) and still get a great taste of how diverse and incredible it is.
After visiting Lisbon quite a few times (I think around five times over the last few years), we’ve come to realise that a little planning goes a long way when making the most of your time in the city. The reason being is that Lisbon, as a city, is distinctly split up into hilly neighbourhoods that make up the urban area itself.
Without any kind of plan, you’ll end up wandering and miss quite a few of the key spots. Now, that’s not to say that wandering and exploring without a plan is bad; just that it can be harder in a city like Lisbon that is quite split between hilly neighbourhoods.
With that in mind, I wanted to share some of the best places to see in Lisbon on your next trip. It’s an incredible city and there’s so much to see and explore whilst you’re there.
Take a look, below, at the best places to see in Lisbon.
1.) Visit Torre de Belém (Belem Tower)
Situated on the coast, Lisbon’s UNESCO World Heritage Site of Belem is well over 500 years old. Not only that, but it’s also one of the best places to see in Lisbon that you can’t really miss whilst walking the shores.
Now, if you want to go inside, make sure to visit early in the day. Queues can form really quickly here; especially on a weekend. To save time, and not waste your trip in some slow queue, keep an eye pon the time and head here first thing in the morning.
Afterwards, make sure to explore some of the rest of Lisbon’s coastal routes. Depending on how far you stroll, you can even head up towards the Gare de Oriente and beyond. It’s great if you want to spend a few hours in the promenade area and explore this area of Lisbon.
2.) Explore Castelo de São Jorge (St George’s Castle)
One of Lisbon’s most iconic landmarks, with over 1000 years of history, Castelo de São Jorge is one of the best places to see in Lisbon.
My top tip is to visit around dusk, the castle has 360-degree views across the city and becomes a perfect place to watch the sunset. Plus, it’s really easy to wander all the quaint little streets of the Alfama neighbourhood, too.
Afterwards, for some homemade dishes, pop into O Velho Eurico that’s totally yummy. It’s nothing fancy but the food is great.
3.) Ride The Famous Trams
If you’re wanting to give you feet a little break, then hop on one of Lisbon’s historic trams. For decades, they have rattled their way across the city and it’s one experience in Lisbon that won’t break the bank, either.
Now, one of the best routes to take is Tram 28, this is because you can ride the length of the route and take in so many of the epic neighbourhoods. For instance, you’ll get to stop off at; Baixa, Alfama, Estrela and (of course) Graca.
Though don’t expect any airconditioning or sumptuous ride, it can get very busy and hot at peak times.
4.) Eat (and drink) some Portuguese classic
Okay, rather than just the best places to see in Lisbon; this is one you can actually eat!
Home of the original Piri-Piri chicken, Lisbon is such a foodie city and there’s a heap of tasty places to eat whilst you’re here.
Once you’ve arrived, head to one of the cities local foodie spots that serve the freshest and most succulent per-peri. If you like spicey, then ask for extra hot. Oh, and make sure to have some Piri-Piri oil on the table, too. It’s so yummy.
If you don’t fancy Piri-Piri, try some other Portuguese dishes like; Açorda that you can get in lots of places too. It’s lots of thinly sliced bread, lashings of garlic, coriander and egg all in a bow with some coming with seafood like prawns or fish. Honestly, it’s a big meal (even if the plate looks small and you will leave stuffed.
Alternatively, if it’s a liquor you’re after, pop over to grab a Ginjinha (or Ginja) at A Ginjinha in the centre of Lisbon. It’s a tart cherry liquor that packs a punch and this place is something of an institution, too.
Also, don’t forget to grab a Pastel de Nata, too. Though, I’ll mention more on that further down on my list of the best places to see in Lisbon.
5.) Explore the Alfama Neighbourhood
Okay, so Alfama is probably one of my favourite neighbourhoods and easily one of the best places to see in Lisbon during your trip. Better still, it’s really easy to get to (by tram, car or walking) from the lower parts of the city itself.
After arriving, take a wander through all the tiny little streets, see the blue-tiled houses and explore the little artist studios, cafes, restaurants and shops the line the streets here. It’s totally gorgeous and so history.
Oh, and don’t forget to make a stop at the Sé Cathedral, too.
6.) Padrão dos Descobrimentos
So, for Portugal, Lisbon was a starting point for many ships and expeditions to explore the word within the ‘age of discovery’.
Well, the Tribute To The Age Of Discovery is one of the best places to see in Lisbon to see a reminder of this.
This gigantic monolith creeps over the edge of the river Tagus that’s a huge feature of the waterfront area.
Plus, if you want an inside view, why not take a lift to the top and discover a birds-eye view of the surrounding area yourself!
7.) Elevador de Santa Justa
Just like the Eiffel Tower in Paris, or the Statue of Liberty in New York; Lisbon has the Elevador de Santa Justa. It’s one of the best places to see in Lisbon that’s pretty hard to miss if I’m honest.
Long ago, the Elevador de Santa Justa was built by Raoul Mésnier du Ponsard who was said to be an actual apprentice of Gustave Eiffel himself. Now, it seems Eiffel’s work had a big impact on his apprentice, as the structures are very similar in design; well, with a few tweaks.
Originally built as a way to connect the hilly areas of the city, you can still ride the elevator to this day.
8.) See Mosteiro dos Jerónimos
Built way back in the 15th Century, Mosteiro dos Jerónimos is one of the best places to see in Lisbon if you love history.
Commissioned by King Manuel I (in 1501) this beautiful and ornate historical building has been perfectly preserved and is well worth exploring when it’s open to the public.
Plus, it’s not too far from the waterfront and you can easily combine a stroll there with a Pastel de Nata in hand.
9.) Visit Sintra
So, just on the outskirts of Lisbon is Sintra, another of the regions UNESCO sites that you have to see.
Now, it’s easiest to get to Sintra by car (30-minutes), but you can also take a train (about 40-minutes) and you can stroll up or take a taxi from the station to all best places to see in Sintra.
Once here, make sure to explore Pena Palace, see the stunning Monserrate Palace and explore the Initiation Well, too. They’re stunning and it’s easily one of the best places to see in Lisbon that’s a stone’s throw from the city itself.
10.) Eat A Pastel de Nata
There are easily one of Lisbon’s most famous tarts to eat. Honestly, gorging on one (or a few, in my case) Pastel de Natas is something that just has to be one.
These freshly baked and warm treats are totally yummy, especially if they’re freshly-baked and sprinkled with cinnamon. In fact, locals have been eating them in Portugal for centuries.
Now, one of the most famous places to eat is at Pastéis de Belém, who pride themselves on the traditional baking method.
Oh, and don’t worry too much at the sight of long queues, they are fast-moving and disappear as quickly as a Pastel de Nata in my hands!