Destination Food'n Road

Lisbon
Travel Guide

Between vintage and modern

Lisbon has never been more fashionable than now. That image of an ancient city is long gone. For some years now, the Portuguese capital has shown a new face, authentic and modern. In the wake of these changes, there were new museums, restaurants, hotels, shops, fairs… all without losing that traditional Portuguese style.

It was a matter of time before Lisbon managed to win back the hearts of tourists. Today, the capital is among the favourite destinations of travellers from all over the world. It is no wonder: with so many attractions and leisure options, it is a full plate for any type of itinerary. In this guide, you will find tips on what to do, where to eat, the best regions to stay in Lisbon and much more.

Planning Lisbon

Pin Map - Lisbon Travel Guide

General

Information

Capital of Portugal.
Language: Portuguese.
Distances: Porto (313km), Coimbra (204km), Faro (278km).
Lisbon comes from the expression “Alis Ubbo”, which in Phoenician means “safe harbour”.
Curiosity: It is known as the “city of seven hills” and the residents are called “alfacinhas”.

Transportation

How to get there

Humberto Delgado International Airport (LIS) receives daily flights from several world capitals. It is only 6 km from the centre of Lisbon. To get out of there and go to the central region, you can take a transfer, bus, subway or taxi / transport by application. You can also arrive in other cities in Portugal and travel to Lisbon by train or bus.

Transportation

In the city

For those with a lot of energy, Lisbon is a city that can easily be explored on foot and by public transport. If that is your case, it is worth buying the Lisboa Card which gives access to circulate by bus, train, subway and elevators – and still get entrances to museums and train trips to Sintra and Cascais. Cable cars (electric) and tuk-tuks are also an option. For those going by car, parking is easy (and cheap).

AGENDA

When to go

The climate in Lisbon is pleasant all year round. From December to February, it’s a bit cold. The thermometer is not negative, but you may get a little rain. The heat comes between June and September, along with the (many) tourist groups that invade the city. It is the most expensive time there. October, November, March, April and May are milder and have more friendly prices.

Where to stay

Best Neighbourhoods

Where to stay in Lisbon - Best neighbourhood map Lisbon Travel Guide

Well Located: Baixa

It owns the largest concentration of hotels per square meter in Lisbon. For this reason, it has options for all tastes (and all budgets). Even though it is right in the tourist buzz, you find reasonable prices and good value for money. It has easy access to the river, restaurants of all kinds and the subway.

A bit of everything: Chiado

The region is well served by restaurants, shops and sights. No wonder, it is considered one of the best places to stay. From there, you can easily explore the entire central region on foot – not to mention that it is on the side with the best public transport offer in the city. Despite the flow of tourists, you can get a taste of what a typical Lisbon neighbourhood is.

Trendy and Cool: Príncipe Real

It is the “fashion district” in Lisbon. For some time now, it has gained several of the most popular addresses in the city. You can find good hotels and several properties and rooms for rent. Staying in this region, you’ll have trendy shops and interesting restaurants within walking distance. The negative point is that it is in an area of slopes where the ups and downs are inevitable. It’s for those who aren’t lazy to walk and want to explore a less tourist side of the town.

To go back in time: Alfama

Although it has lost some of its charms in recent years, Alfama remains one of the best places to discover the more traditional side of Lisbon. There are alleys full of tiles, houses of fado, balconies with clotheslines… The hotels, despite being in old buildings, have a modern look. The good thing is that almost everything is just minutes from the central region.

Lisbon

In Frames

Colourful houses in Lisbon
© Hugo Sousa via Unsplash
25 Abril Bridge - one of the most famous scenes from Lisbon
© João Reguengos via Unsplash

Lisbon has the feel of a big city, but without leaving aside the charm of the countryside. When walking through the streets, you can find a modern and award-winning restaurant and then right after, find a small tavern that only the locals know. Be sure to notice the cable cars, the stone sidewalks, the neighbourhood groceries …

Trams - Cable Cars typical from Lisbon
© Julian Dik via Unsplash

Eat and Drink in Lisbon

The gastronomic scene in Lisbon has recently been revamped. The taverns, local markets and patisseries are still there – of course – but now they share space with a bunch of brand new restaurants with signatures dishes and bold proposals.

In these modern places, you see that Lisbon cuisine goes far beyond the triad cod, sardines and pastel de nata. Expect to find recipes from all over the world, very well executed by young (and award-winning) chefs. In markets such as Time Out Market and Campo de Ourique, you can get a broader view of what is going on in the city’s gastronomic scene. But, if you want to understand the essence of Portuguese cuisine, there is no other way: you’ll need to surrender to the delicious and friendly traditional taverns.

Gastronomy

5 must try food & beverages

Bacalhau à Bras is a typical Cod Fish Dish from Lisbon

Bacalhau à Brás

The original recipe includes cod, potatoes and egg. Only, instead of being served in slices, the Cod comes shredded, mixed with the other ingredients.
Where to prove it? At Casa do Bacalhau, Laurentina or Taberna Sal Grosso.

Lisbon Grilled Sardines on a toast

Grilled Sardines

The name says it all: one of Lisbon’s specialities is grilled sardines. Expect good sauces to accompany. If you want to find more fleshy fish, go in the summer.
Where to prove it? At Pateo 13, in the Último Porto and in Carvoeiro.

Typical Clams Dish from Lisbon- Amêijoas à Bulhão Pato

Amêijoas à Bulhão Pato

They are usually served as starters or snacks. In addition to clams (or cockles), the preparation requires lemon, coriander, olive oil and garlic.
Where to prove it? At Cervejaria Ramiro, Ribadouro and Nunes Real Marisqueira.

Ginjinha is commonly served in a chocolate cup in Lisbon

Ginjinha

Ginja is a red fruit that looks like cherry. It serves as the basis for a bittersweet liqueur that became a symbol of Lisbon and is sold in small grocery stores and specialised stores.
Where to prove it? At Ginja Lisboa, Ginginha do Carmo or A Ginjinha Espinheira.

A piece of pastel de Belém. A unique dessert to eat in Lisbon

Pastel de Belém

The best known sweet in Portugal is actually called pastel de nata. Only one pastry shop in the world is authorised to name the delicacy as Pastel de Belém – and it is located in Lisbon, close to the Jerónimos Monastery.
Where to prove it? At Pastéis de Belém, Aloma or Alcôa

List: The Most Famous Typical Dishes of Portugal

What to do in Lisbon

Lisbon appeals to all types of public: from the most classic and conservative to young people who enjoy the city buzz. Expect to find a good supply of restaurants, museums and historic addresses. You also find many hidden gems that tourists have not yet discovered. And despite being an urban destination, the good news is that the capital is just a few kilometres from areas to escape with nice beaches and mountains. Just put your backpack on, take the train and go relax.

Activities

Main Attractions

Sunset at MAAT Museus - Featured attraction in the Lisbon Travel Guide
© Dessy Dimcheva via Unsplash
Tascas - Traditional Restaurants in Lisbon
© Clifford via Unsplash

Praça do Comércio and Augusta Street

Although a bit cliché, they are not to be missed. It is there that you will find the Lisboa Story Center, which tells the history of the city, and the Café Martinho da Arcada, where the poet Fernando Pessoa used to frequent a long time ago. Walking a little further, you will find the Arco da Augusta and the Santa Justa Elevator.

Museums

There is a museum for each taste in Lisbon. From art galleries, with the Berardo Collection and the Calouste Gulbenkian, to those that tell a little piece of the country’s history, such as the Fado Museum, Azulejo (Tiles Museum) and Carris. In the “newly opened” series, there are the modern and technological Money Museum and of course the must-visit Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology.

Bairro dos Descobrimentos (Discoveries)

Belém is the region where you will cross out several “mandatory” items on your list. Start at the Belém Tower, walk along the Tagus river banks and arrive at the imposing Monument to the Discoveries. From there, you can continue on the walk to the Jerónimos Monastery and the Navy Museum. End the day by tasting the most famous custard tarts in the world.

Houses of Fado

Not everyone likes the idea, but there is no way to leave Lisbon without stopping by a house of fado. Most are 100% assembled for tourists, but some are outside the tourist standards and still retain the essence of Portuguese rhythm. Look for Parreirinha de Alfama, Tasca do Chico or Maria da Mouraria.

Shops and Bookstores

Lisbon is no shopper’s paradise, but if you look carefully, you can find selected items at good prices. The Embaixada store occupies an old palace in Príncipe Real, with pieces of clothing and works by contemporary designers. The Vida Portuguesa rescues the traditional side of Portuguese culture. The focus is on retro products, which pay homage to the country’s artisan work. Passing Bertrand, you will have the opportunity to visit one of the oldest bookstores in the world.

Inside Time Out Market - Lisbon Travel Guide
©Time Out

Markets and Street Fairs

The Ribeira Market has undergone changes and today functions as a large food court. The Time Out Market brings together dozens of kiosks, serving smaller (and cheaper) portions of recipes from renowned chefs. Something similar happened with the old Companhia de Fiação e Tecidos Lisbonense. A few years ago, it underwent a retrofit and today LxFactory operates a large complex of stores, restaurants, bars and offices. If books are your thing, don’t miss the Alfarrabistas Fair, which takes place every Saturday in Chiado.

Paisagem de Cascais - bate-volta a partir de Lisboa
©Ross Helen via Canva Pro

Day-trips: Sintra and Cascais

The day-trips from Lisbon are already so well known that they became a classic. Once in the capital, go to Cais do Sodré station and take the train. In about 30 minutes, you will reach the coastal Cascais, with its clear water beaches and charming historic centre. If your goal is just to take a dip and discover the local cuisine, one day is enough. If you want to get to know the city more calmly, it’s worth the stretch. Another option is to travel to Sintra, which is about 1 hour by train from Lisbon. It is on the side of a mountain and has served as a refuge for great authors such as Eça de Queiroz and Lord Byron. Don’t leave without visiting the Moorish castle, the Pena Palace and sampling local delicacies, such as the travesseiro and the queijada de Sintra.
Tip: If you are in a rush, you can visit both places with a guided tour.

Things to do in Lisbon

Plan your trip to Lisbon step-by-step. Check out our additional tips for a 2-3 day itinerary in the country’s capital.

Book Tours in Lisboon

Be inspired before the trip

Video:Vídeo: 'Light of LISBON' via Saghrou Tarek Youtube Channel

Movies

Night Train to Lisbon Movie Poster

Night Train to Lisbon

Thriller based on the best-seller book written by Pascal Mercier , tells the story of a Swiss professor on a journey of discovery through Lisbon.

Books

Book Cover: The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis

The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis

Written by José Saramago, the book narrates the return of one of Fernando Pessoa's heteronyms to Lisbon.

Videos

The history of pastel de belém tart

The Famous: Pastéis de Belém

Get to know the history of Portugal's most famous delicacy in this Secret Lisbon video.

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