Top 10 Things to do in Lisbon
The Portuguese capital is one of my favorite cities (as well as the closest European capital to the US). If it’s your first time to the City of Seven Hills, don’t go home without experiencing these treasures.
- Take the tram: The classic yellow street cars connect the whole city, but for a quick way to see Lisbon, Tram 28 passes through many of the main districts, and up to the Castle, cathedral and flea market.
- Have a custard tart: You can try pasteis de nata at any café along with a bica (as the Lisboetas call espresso), but the original and best come from Belém, about 20 minutes outside the city. Join the queue at the Antiga Confeitaria de Belém near the World Heritage Jeronimos monastery, home to the monks who first invented them. After your sugar hit, explore the river-side including the chess piece-shaped Belem Tower.
- Ride the Elevador: There are several of these funiculars across the city, but the Elevador de Santa Justa is the only remaining vertical one, with views down to Rossio Square.
- Head to the seaside: Enjoy some sea and sand during your city break on one of Cascais’ beaches, just half an hour away.
- Have a drink: Relax with a glass of lightly sparkling Vinho Verde or sample a drop of the country’s famous Port, including several hundred varieties at the Solar do Vinho do Porto along with tours and tastings.
- Listen to fado: The melancholy songs are unique to the country, and Lisbon is famous for solo performances. Avoid the touristy versions in Bairro Alto and head to the city’s Alfama district for the most authentic fado restaurants.
- Take a Go-car tour: Lisbon specialises in hills and twisty cobbled streets, so give your feet a break by hopping in one of these three-wheelers. GPS guides you around the city while you listen to the commentary so you can explore at your own pace too.
- See the palaces of Sintra: The summer home of the Portuguese royals has fairytale castles, cobbled streets and beautiful wooded scenery, just over 30 minutes from Lisbon. Don’t miss the medieval Castelo dos Mouros as well as the stunning azulejo tiles at the hilltop Pena Palace.
- Eat at Casa do Leao: The restaurant is inside the Sao Jorge castle walls, so outside opening hours you can only get through the gates with a reservation, giving you chance to enjoy a new side to the ancient building plus a great dinner.
- Drink at Pavilhao Chines: Ring the bell for entry into this quirky bar packed with kitsch and memorabilia. Perfect for cocktails while you marvel at the weird and wonderful collection packed into the cabinets around the walls.