Exploring Lisbon

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Advisor - Melanie Panchal
Curated By

Melanie Panchal

  • Lisbon

  • Arts & Culture

  • Boutique Travel

  • Food & Wine

  • Portugal

  • History

  • Local culture

  • Hidden Gems

Pastel-colored buildings in Lisbon.
Curator’s statement

This vibrant capital of Portugal has an irresistible blend of old-world charm and contemporary allure. Cobbled streets wind through colorful neighborhoods, inviting you to explore historic landmarks and soak in the local culture. From chic rooftop bars to hidden boutiques showcasing small designers, Lisbon is a haven for style-savvy adventurers seeking an unforgettable European experience. And with 300+ days of sunshine per year, it's always a good time to take a trip to Lisbon!

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Where to stay in Lisbon

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Things to do in Lisbon

Facade of Jeronimos Monastery

Tuk tuk tour - Get to know the city by jumping on one of the may tuk tuk tours. It is a fun way to get around this city of many hills - stopping along the famous look-out points to get a great view of the city and snap a few photos

Take a tram ride - Lisbon's vintage tram system is a unique and nostalgic way to explore the city. If you hop on Tram 28, it winds its way through some of Lisbon's most picturesque neighborhoods, including Graça, Baixa and Chiado. Make a stop in these neighborhoods to visit boutiques and cafes.

Visit Belém - Head to the historic district of Belém, located along the Tagus River. Here, you can admire iconic landmarks like the Belém Tower and the Jerónimos Monastery, both UNESCO World Heritage sites.

Sail along the Tagus river at sunset, enjoying a crisp glass of local wine as you get a different perspective on this beautiful city as the sun goes down.

Visit the National Museum of Modern Art - This beautiful sculptural building overlooks the river and also has a cafe with stunning views- great spot for lunch!

Shop till you drop

LX Factory - Former industrial complex now home to boutiques, art and restaurants. I got the most darling pair of earrings at the Loja Real pop-up shop.

Embaxaida - Located in the Ribeiro da Cunha Palace, one of the most emblematic buildings of the trendy Príncipe Real neighborhood. It was transformed into an innovative commercial gallery where several national brands and artists work on design, craftsmanship, fashion, cuisine and Portuguese culture. I’m obsessed with Hirundo for sustainable hand-made sneakers you wont find anywhere else.

Bordallo Pinheiro: Every local has something from Bordallo Pinheiro in their home - the whimsical ceramics brand. They have quirky collection of ceramic sardines that make ther perfect souvenir.

Skinlife: if you are a beauty junkie like me, don’t miss this organic skincare emporium. I picked up the most stylish travel perfume dispenser and they filled it with a scent of my choice - great memory from my trip!

Velas Loreto: Truly a hidden gem of LIsbon, this charming candle shop has been in business since 1789. You can find both whimsical candles as well as sophisticated candles that are practically works of art.

Shon Mott- something for the boys: - It is always difficult to find stylish menswear and this shop does it well. This is a Spanish brand but you will only find it in Europe. Stylish neutrals at affordable prices are the perfect addition to any man’s wardrobe.

If you are like me and you need to work off some of those pastries while on vacation, I popped into Studiorise- a trendy spin studio (think Soul Cycle) and defnitely worked up a sweat. If you want to keep it clean afterwards, walk over to Ela Canela for gorgeous vegan cuisine.

Take a day trip to Azeitão - a charming village located in the Setúbal District of Portugal. Azeitão is renowned for its wine production - make sure to stop at Jose Maria Da Fonseca and sample some of their sweet Moscatel de Setúbal. Have a very local lunch at Casa Janeiro- be sure to sample the sardines as well as the local wine of the house - pressao, a draft white wine with a little carbonation. If you want to extend your day, carry on a bit further to Arrabida where you can rent a boat and explore the rugged coastline. If you are lucky you might spot a dolphin.

Day trip

Sintra: Just a short train ride from Lisbon, the town of Sintra awaits with its magical palaces and lush landscapes. Explore the enchanting Pena Palace, the colorful and eclectic National Palace of Sintra and the mysterious Quinta da Regaleira with its intricate gardens and hidden symbolism. Don’t miss lunch at Incomum.

Places to eat & drink in Lisbon

Praia no Parque is a trendy Lisbon restaurant-bar.

Restaurants

Time Out Market: A food lover's paradise, there is reason the Time Out Market is on everyone’s list. A bustling culinary hub in Lisbon, offering an array of dishes from various renowned chefs and vendors - the best of Lisbon's culinary scene under one roof.

Ramiro: legendary Lisbon restaurant known for its fresh seafood dishes. Book in advance or join the waitlist but it is worth it. In recent years it has become popular with tourists, but you still find locals here as well, it’s just that good. Local favorite Sapateira (stuffed crab) is a hidden gem.

Suba: Located atop the contemporary Verride Palácio Santa Catarina, Suba offers exceptional Portuguese cuisine but also breathtaking views of Lisbon's historic landmarks. This is one to watch as the chef is certain to win a michelin star soon.

O Mercado: You won’t find this in any guide book - it’s full of locals. O Mercado is a traditional food market that features a wide selection of delicious dishes and fresh produce. Pick your fish and they will prepare it. The decor is basic but the fresh fish is a dream.

Palacio Grillo: A modern restaurant housed within a historical palace this place is truly unique. Live performace art happens all around you - this is about the experience and you are truly immersed in it. Appetizers and espresso martinis are the best bet on the menu. Stay for drinks and a DJ late into the night.

O Frade: Charming family-owned resturant on a charming corner of Belem neighborhood. Sit at the counter and enjoy traditional portuguese dishes with a modern take. Don’t miss the duck rice.

Drinks & Nightlife

Drink Go A rooftop: Casual cocktails with a view of the city's stunning skyline. Great spot for sunset.

Praia no Parque: Restaurant-bar—nightclub for late night drinks and dancing. Located in Parque Eduardo VII, with excellent views over the city and chic, sexy design. Go for dinner and stay for dancing, or arrive after midnight to start the party.

Memmo Alfalma Terrace: Lisbon loves it’s rooftops, and this one is a gem. Enjoy spectacular views from this stylish rooftop terrace bar.

Mama Shelter Rooftop: Cocktails, Dj sets, finger foods and a great view. Another stunner of a rooftop.

Red Frog: Step into the Prohibition era at Red Frog, a speakeasy-style bar with inventive cocktails and a mysterious vibe. Its secret entrance and skilled mixologists make it an exciting destination for cocktail enthusiasts.

Cafes

Manteigaria: Locals know this is truly the best spot for the famous Pastel de Nata. Watch them come out of the oven and then enjoy with a sprinkle of cinnamon and an espresso.

Landeau: A must-visit for its legendary chocolate cake - known as one of the best chocolate cakes in the world. There is nothing else on the menu except this cake, and coffee of course.

Need to Know

Looking for more travel inspiration? Check out my guide, 3 Family-Friendly Days in Seville, Spain.

Advisor - Melanie Panchal

Travel Advisor

Melanie Panchal

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