Oooooh, Lisbon… I’ve visited gorgeous cities (and have to visit many places), though even after my second time in Lisbon, I want to return! There are many reasons to visit Lisbon and Portugal, though in this post I’ve highlighted only 5+1 experiences to not miss in Lisbon. I’m telling you, you have to travel to Lisbon! And without further ado, let me share the top 5 things you need to experience in Lisbon, Portugal!
5 experiences you cannot miss in Lisbon, Portugal
On the following map (My Maps by Google Maps) you can see the instagrammable azulejo spots, main viewpoints, pastelerias (bakeries), beaches and perfect 1-day trip destinations from Lisbon.
By clicking on the tab next to “5 things you cannot miss in Lisbon, Portugal”, you can see the actual points, and it’s also possible to turn off and on layers. Furthermore, you can also save this map (if you have My Maps account) by pressing the star next to the map title.
1. Adore the artistic azulejos, the Portuguese tiles
I have many favourite things about Lisbon and Portugal, though the first thing that comes to mind is the azulejos, the traditional Portuguese tiles.
In the beginning, the tiles were used for religious purposes. Only from the 2nd half of the 19th century, azulejos appeared as a decoration on facades. So nowadays, you can see them almost in every street in Lisbon and other Portuguese cities. In Lisbon, you’ll find most of the buildings decorated with azulejos in Baixa, Chiado and Alfama districts.
Mostly, you can notice traditional shapes and motifs, though, in some parts of Lisbon, contemporary patterns and more vivid colours appear. A few of my favourites are…
- Parque Das Nações, the site of the 1998 Lisbon World Exposition
- Campo de Santa Clara is bordered with a long wall covered in colourful tiles (on the photo)
- Avenida Infante Santo is a home of many colourful abstract patterns
- Metro stations are also decorated with colourful azulejos
If you’re interested in the history of these Portuguese tiles, don’t miss Museu Nacional do Azulejo (National Tile Museum), which presents a wide selection of azulejos from the 15th century till present days. For me, the highlight was the Lisbon panorama before the 1755 earthquake prepared from tiles.
2. Stroll on charming streets and travel by vintage trams
Lisbon is built on 7 hills, just like Rome, so the city is full of curvy cute streets. Most of the roads are steep and covered by cobblestone, so make sure to wear non-slippery and comfy shoes.
Get ready to walk and discover the cute streets of Lisbon.
Or you can also take a tram… On these narrow, steep streets, you’ll find many vintage trams, which were introduced first in 1901 and sometimes you can see them turn at super tight corners.
The most famous line is 28, which is usually loaded with tourists. It connects Martim Moniz and Campo Ourique and it goes through the center of Lisbon passing by Basílica da Estrela, Praça Luís de Camões, R. Conceição and Sé de Lisboa.
If you wish to see the city centre from the vintage tram, take on at one of the final stations to save your seat. If you want to avoid crowds, travel early or late during the day.
Elevador da Glória
Elevador da Bica
This other funicular, Elevador da Bica runs on a steep road and connects Rua de São Paulo and Largo Calhariz, where many people take photos of the yellow vintage tram with the river in the background.
3. Visit Lisbon’s best viewpoints (miradouro)
As I mentioned before, Lisbon is built on 7 hills and these hills provide a fascinating view of the city and the river. During your stay in Lisbon, don’t miss the panorama terraces called miradouro in Portuguese.
The best panorama terraces in Lisbon
- Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara
- Miradouro de Santa Catarina
- Miradouro de Santa Luzia
- Miradouro das Portas do Sol
- Miradouro da Graça
- Miradouro da Senhora do Monte
+ Here are some extra attractions, which offer a gorgeous view (after paying an entrance fee):
- Castelo de S. Jorge
- Elevador de Santa Justa
- Terrace of Panteão Nacional
- Padrão dos Descobrimentos
- Torre de Belém
4. Pastel de nata, the must-try food in Portugal
One of the must-try foods in Portugal is pastel de nata. You might have heard names like patéis de nata and pastel de Belém. These are almost the same. The plural of pastel is pastéis and the pastel de nata made in Belém is called pastel de Belém (in plural pastéis de Belém).
What is pastel de nata?
Pastel de nata is a pastry basket filled with super delicious egg tart cream. It’s incredibly tasty when it’s served warm and topped with cinnamon.
Where to eat pastel de nata in Lisbon?
Pastéis de Belém owns the original pastel de nata recipe, which was developed by the nuns in the nearby Mosteiro dos Jerónimos (Jerónimos Monastery). Don’t miss it during your visit in Belém district.
The other famous company is called Manteigaria, which has many pastry shops in the city. At Praça Luís de Camões, you can even watch how it’s made. This one is just as good as the originals coming from Belém.
Every pastry shop (pasteleria) serves pastel de nata, so it won’t be hard to find a spot where you can try it out. We’ve tested it at several places and never been disappointed 😉
5. Enjoy the sunshine and beaches around Lisbon
In central and southern Portugal, the weather is sunny and warm. Winters are mild, though midsummer can be hot. Lisbon has a great location with mostly sunny days.
Best time to visit Lisbon
Lisbon is not situated directly on the coast, so it’s better to visit the city in late spring and early autumn. The city can be hot in July and August.
Though visiting the beaches in July and August would be ideal, because the weather can be colder and windier at the coastline. And the water is cold… Very cold…
Beaches south from Lisbon:
- Praia da Fonte da Telha
- Praia do Meco
Beaches close to Cascais and Estoril:
- Praia de Caxias
- Praia de Carcavelos
- Praia do Tamariz
- Praia da Conceição
- Praia da Ribeira (on the 1st photo)
- Praia do Guincho
- Praia da Ursa (on the 2nd photo)
5+1. Perfect day trips from Lisbon
Lisbon is situated close to the Atlantic ocean, almost in the middle of Portugal and its ideal location offers fantastic day trip opportunities.
If you don’t want to rent a car, use the train system, which has many lines from Lisbon and the ticket costs only a few euros. To smaller, more hidden places take the bus, which usually has more stops, but takes you to your destination.
These places are perfect for a day trip around Lisbon:
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These were the 5+1 things to not miss in Lisbon. However, this list could be much longer because Lisbon is such a gorgeous city and it definitely should be on your bucket list!
Tell me, why would you visit Lisbon? Which was your favourite “thing”? Leave a comment below.
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