Beyond the Ordinary: A Cultural and Experiential Guide to Lisbon, Portugal

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Advisor - Colette Gueye Owona
Curated By

Colette Gueye Owona

  • Luxury Travel

  • City Travel

  • Food & Wine

  • Arts & Culture

  • Group Travel

  • Family Travel

  • Off-the-Beaten-Path Travel

  • Couples Travel

  • History

  • Sightseeing

  • Local Culture

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Curator’s statement

Lisbon, Portugal's capital, is a vibrant and exciting city with so many things to see and do. No matter which neighborhood you choose to explore, be sure to take your time and soak up the local culture. Lisbon is a such beautiful city with picturesque narrow streets, unique architecture, a rich history and vibrant contemporary and cultural scene, and there's always something new to discover. That's why I love this city. Make sure to try the local food which simply amazing, with its fresh seafood, delicious pastries, and excellent wines. In terms of neighborhoods to stay, I would recommend Bairro Alto for its vibrant nightlife and trendy bars and restaurants, Chiado for its art galleries, theaters, and cafes or Alfama the most charming neighborhoods in Lisbon.

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Where to stay in Lisbon

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Things to do in Lisbon

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  • Explore Alfama, the oldest neighborhood in Lisbon, get lost in the narrow funky streets, be amazed by the historic buildings, and traditional Fado music. Wander through the maze of alleyways, and stop at a local restaurant for a taste of traditional Portuguese cuisine.

  • Walk into Santos area for designer stores and the terraces of stylish cafés.

  • Ride the historic Tram 28 through some of Lisbon's most picturesque neighborhoods.

  • Explore the street art scene: Lisbon has a thriving street art scene, with colorful murals and graffiti adorning many of its buildings and walls.

  • Attend a Fado music performance, the traditional Portuguese musical style. There are several venues in Lisbon where you can experience this unique art form, but I would recommend Mesa de Frades, a one-of-a-kind intimate venue.

  • Relax at one of the top hotels rooftop bars to enjoy a drink or a meal while taking in the stunning scenery. Definitely go to the Sky Bar of Tivoli Avenida Liberdade Lisboa hotel which is easily Lisbon’s most high-end rooftop bars, serving up craft cocktails, live music, and views of Lisbon’s terracotta roof.

  • Visit the São Jorge Castle, a must-see attraction for anyone visiting Lisbon, as it offers a unique glimpse into Portugal's rich history and culture, as well as some of the best views of the city.

  • Explore Belém which is home to several historic landmarks, including the Jerónimos Monastery and the Tower of Belém.

Whether you're interested in culture, history, luxury, or the 3 all together, Lisbon has always something to offer.

Places to eat & drink in Lisbon

light pink exterior of a building with tables with white umbrellas

Here are some of the best places to eat with the local vibes:


  • Dear Breakfast: This cozy restaurant is your go-to address for brunches and breakfasts, they serves yummy food from classic bacon and eggs to more creative dishes like sweet potato waffles and shakshuka.

  • Manteigaria, if you craving for the famous pastel de nata. You will be delighted with the ones from Manteigaria, filled with the right amount of cream and vanilla. These are ones of the best in Lisbon.

  • Copenhagen Coffee Lab: try their dangerously delicious buns.


  • Ofício Tasco Atípico: Located in Barrio Alto and recently re-furnished, this restaurant is for real foodies who love to eat where traditions are respected. You will eat unique and sophisticated dishes with impecabble wine, everything in a such cool and informal atmosphere. No meal is complete without a slice of the cheese tart. The staff is very knowledgable, so make sure learn from them.
    I highly recommend you to book weeks in advance.

  • Pica-Pau: This restaurant is an institution for locals. You will find there classic authentic Portuguese dishes. Take a chance to engage with locals in getting to know more about the local cuisine and traditions.

  • O Velho Eurico: A cosy restaurant close to São Jorge Castle, serving authentic Portuguese dishes such as Bacalhau à brás (a classic dish made from shreds of salted cod, onions and thinly chopped fried potatoes) or the squirty fries (topped with cheese and a tomato-based gravy). This is another great place to hang with locals. Best to go there with a group of friends or family for the convivial atmosphere. Recommended to book in advance via the email listed on their Instagram page.


  • Belcanto: If you have a special occasion or want to do a romantic diner in a very special place, Chef Jose Avillez (a celebrity in Lisbon)'s refined food will delight you. The Chef combines Portuguese flavours with new and unexpected textures, all served with incredible Portuguese wines. If you look for a high-end and top restaurant in Lisbon, this is the place to go.

  • Alma: A 2 Michelin star signature cuisine restaurant is located in the heart of Chiado. Chef Henrique S’a Pessoa and his team offer tasteful and fine dining with innovative twist on Portuguese cuisine, in a stunning venue, where everything is prepared in detail to give you the best experience. You can choose between two tasting menus or a la carte. Booking in advance is recommended.

Day trips

Sintra: This charming town is located just a short train ride from Lisbon and is known for its colorful palaces, lush gardens, and stunning views.

Evora: Looking for farm-fresh food, full-bodied red wines, and a charming walkable town? You’ll find all of that in the UNESCO World Heritage Centre of Évora, just a 1.5-hour drive from Lisbon.

Cascais: Coastal town located about 30 minutes Lisbon, known for its beautiful beaches, charming historic center.

Advisor - Colette Gueye Owona

Travel Advisor

Colette Gueye Owona

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This is part of our ongoing series on travel to Lisbon, and our longer series on travel to Portugal.