A charismatic fusion of old-world charm and striking modernism, Lisbon is without a doubt one of Europe’s most vibrant cities. We’ve carefully selected our favourite places to eat, sleep and explore in this stunning capital.
No trip to Lisbon is complete without a ride on the historic Tram 28. Dating back to the 1930s, the charming yellow trams travel down the city’s narrow streets and steep hills through the popular districts of Graca, Alfama, Baixa and Estrela.
Towering over the Portuguese capital is Castelo de São Jorge. Wander aimlessly around the Moorish Castle and learn about its fascinating history. Or why not join one of the guided tours such as ‘Discovering the Castle’, where you’ll explore the citadel, archaeological site and the permanent exhibition. From the castle, you can also witness the unforgettable panoramic views of the city.
View the fine collection of European and Asian paintings and decorative arts at the Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga. Set within a beautiful 17th-century palace, the art museum is home to over 40,000 items. Highlights include Panels of St. Vincent by Portuguese painter Nuno Gonçalves and St. Augustine by Italian painter Piero della Francesca.
Roam around the city’s impressive Mosteiro dos Jerónimos. Situated in the Belem district, the historical and religious monastery is one of the most prominent examples of the Portuguese late Gothic Manueline style of architecture. Stroll around and gaze at the striking carvings of saints, elaborate pinnacles and other decorative features.
Discover magnificent vistas from one of the city’s most iconic buildings, the Arco da Rua Augusta. The impressive arch was built in 1755 to commemorate the rebirth of a new Lisbon after the tragedy of the great earthquake. Climb to the top to see the sculptures by Célestin Anatole Calmels whilst taking in the breathtaking 360° views.
Home to an eclectic mix of more than 50 independent shops, restaurants, cafés and bars, Lisbon’s trendy LX Factory is the place to visit if you’re in need of a little retail therapy. This renovated industrial complex is also a creative hub and has hosted a dynamic range of events from fashion and art to music and architecture.
For the most important meal of the day, a visit to Dear Breakfast is a must. Its contemporary white-washed walls and stylish décor make it a refreshing and calming spot to kick start your morning. They serve everything from buttery croissants and wholesome omelettes to hearty acai bowls and nourishing fruit salads.
It would be a crime to visit Lisbon without trying one of its finest delicacies, the famous Pastéis de Nata. Nowhere makes their version of these moreish treats quite like Pastéis de Belém where you can taste the tradition in every bite.
If you’re after a bit of everything, and we mean everything, Time Out Market in the Cais do Sodré neighbourhood is your place. Home to 24 restaurants, 8 bars, a dozen shops and a high-end music venue, the building is a central hub for residents and tourists, day and night. Indulge in burgers, pizza, seafood, Asian cuisine, local specialities, plus more. Our mouth is watering just thinking about it.
Enjoy gourmet dining at its finest at Two Michelin-starred restaurant, Alma. Opened in 2009 by executive chef Henrique Sá Pessoa’s, the renowned menu offers contemporary cuisine that attracts visitors from near and far. Take in the relaxed yet sophisticated atmosphere whilst savouring the flavours of signature dishes such as seared foie gras, salted cod and suckling pig confit.
Hotel da Baixa is located in Lisbon’s historic downtown area and is ideal if you’re looking for somewhere that’s close to the main attractions. A short 5-minute stroll from town, the gorgeous boutique hotel boasts modern rooms, a library and a restaurant specialising in authentic Portuguese cuisine.
The Independente Hostel & Suites is perfect if you’re on a budget but don’t want to compromise on style. Ideal for the 20-something crowd, the accommodation offers two restaurants, film screenings, communal dinners, as well as live performances by local musicians.
For rooms with a view, Solar Dos Mouros hits the spot. Overlooking Lisbon, São Jorge Castle and the River Tagus, this hotel is conveniently located between Alfama and Baixa, and in close proximity to the city centre. Rooms feature colourful soft furnishings and original works of contemporary art.
By Jessica Challoner-Sterland