Lisbon: Where Past and Present Embrace

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Advisor - Laura Vaughn
Curated By

Laura Vaughn

  • Lisbon

  • Arts & Culture

  • Beaches

  • Portugal

  • Outdoor

  • Architecture

  • Local Culture

Colorful buildings in Lisbon
Curator’s statement

Lisbon, the vibrant capital of Portugal, offers a captivating fusion of history and modernity. Cobblestone streets wind through lively neighborhoods, revealing treasures like São Jorge Castle and the soul-stirring fado music. Delight your taste buds with iconic custard tarts and fresh seafood and immerse yourself in a dynamic arts scene that spans from traditional to contemporary. With its stunning location along the Tagus River and the Atlantic Ocean, Lisbon's waterways add an extra layer of enchantment, offering breathtaking vistas and opportunities for riverside exploration. Lisbon's warm locals, innovative spirit and seamless blend of tradition and progress create an unforgettable experience that lingers in your memories.

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Where to stay in Lisbon

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Things to do in Lisbon

Tram in Lisbon

Private Fado Experience

Immerse yourself in Lisbon's soul with an intimate fado music session at a hidden gem of a local fado house. Feel the poignant melodies and heartfelt stories as you connect with Portuguese culture on a personal level.

Sunset Sail along the Tagus

Embark on a luxurious private sailing experience on the Tagus River. Marvel at the city's iconic Belem Tower and Jerónimos Monastery from a unique vantage point while sipping on local wines and indulging in gourmet treats.

Mercado da Ribeira

Join locals at the Mercado da Ribeira, where the historic market blends with modern culinary trends. Taste your way through an array of gourmet stalls and savor Portugal's finest flavors, from artisanal cheeses to freshly caught seafood.

Explore Alfama's Hidden Streets

Wander through the enchanting maze of Alfama's narrow streets and discover tucked-away cafes, boutique shops and mesmerizing street art. Engage with the local ambiance and witness the authentic charm of Lisbon's oldest neighborhood.

Tram Ride to Belém

Elevate your journey by booking a private tram ride to the iconic Belem Tower. Traverse Lisbon's scenic landscapes in style, learning about its history from a knowledgeable guide. Arrive at the tower with a newfound appreciation for the city's rich heritage.

Palácio Fronteira Gardens

Experience luxury intertwined with history at Palácio Fronteira. Explore its stunning gardens adorned with intricate tiles and fountains and delve into Portugal's aristocratic past through guided tours of the palace's opulent interiors.

Feira da Ladra Flea Market

Delve into local life at Feira da Ladra, Lisbon's oldest flea market. Discover eclectic treasures, vintage items and antique gems as you mingle with both locals and fellow travelers, creating a truly authentic and unique shopping experience.

Day Trips


A picturesque coastal town near Lisbon, embodies a blend of elegance and relaxation. Its beautiful beaches, charming cobbled streets and lively town center make it a popular escape. Enjoy the vibrant art scene, explore the historic Citadel and soak in the sun-drenched ambiance while savoring fresh seafood at seaside restaurants.

Sintra and Pena Palace

Escape to the magical town of Sintra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where fairytale castles like Pena Palace and Moorish Castle emerge from lush forests. Wander through whimsical gardens, explore historic streets and immerse yourself in the romantic allure of this enchanting destination.

Places to eat & drink in Lisbon

Rooftop restaurant in Lisbon at night


Pastéis de Belém: Indulge in the iconic Portuguese custard tarts, pastéis de nata, at Pastéis de Belém. A historic bakery since 1837, it's renowned for its flaky pastries with a creamy custard filling, served warm and sprinkled with cinnamon and powdered sugar.

Dear Breakfast: Experience a trendy morning delight at Dear Breakfast, celebrated for its creative and Instagram-worthy breakfast options. From savory avocado toasts to sweet açai bowls, this modern hotspot caters to both taste and aesthetics.


Time Out Market Lisboa: Savor diverse culinary delights at Time Out Market Lisboa, a vibrant food hall showcasing some of Lisbon's top chefs and eateries. Feast on gourmet bites ranging from seafood to artisanal burgers in a dynamic, bustling atmosphere.

Cervejaria Ramiro: Indulge in a seafood extravaganza at Cervejaria Ramiro, an iconic Lisbon institution. This seafood paradise offers an array of fresh catches, from succulent prawns to delectable crab, making it a must-visit for seafood enthusiasts.


Bairro do Avillez: Created by celebrity chef José Avillez, Bairro do Avillez enchants diners with its diverse culinary spaces under one roof. From gourmet Portuguese cuisine to casual petiscos (small plates), this gastronomic haven is a true reflection of Lisbon's culinary scene.

Alma Restaurant: Alma, led by Chef Henrique Sá Pessoa, offers modern Portuguese cuisine in an elegant Michelin-starred setting. Locally sourced ingredients are transformed into inventive dishes, creating a culinary journey that celebrates both tradition and innovation.

Belcanto: Under the guidance of Chef José Avillez, Belcanto is a Michelin-starred gem known for its creative approach to Portuguese flavors. Housed in a historic building, the restaurant presents meticulously crafted tasting menus that blend tradition and ingenuity, providing a sophisticated dining experience.

Need to Know

Looking for more travel inspo? Check out my guide, The Best of Negril, Jamaica.

Advisor - Laura Vaughn

Travel Advisor

Laura Vaughn

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This guide is a part of our ongoing series on travel to Lisbon.