On my vacations, I like to indulge in a little bit of everything: a little bit of food, a little bit of drink, a little bit of beach, a little bit of sightseeing – and so on. So please keep that in mind while reading about the best things to do in Lisbon that it is not a complete list and only reflects my opinion. But we all know that my opinion is the best opinion. ;)
Visit the Botanic Garden of Lisbon
Peace and calm. Even though Lisbon isn’t New York when it comes to stress, the Botanic Garden is still a refreshing oasis. If you like picnics and parks, you will love the Botanic Garden.
Botanical Garden Lisbon, Rua da Escola Politécnica, 58, Principe Real
Eat Pasteis De Nata from Manteigaria
The traditional Portugese pastry Pasteis de Nata can be found everywhere, but you won’t understand the craze about it unless you try the good ones. We went to their original place of birth, to the one in Belem, but they weren’t better than those you can find in the city center at Manteigeria. In fact, they’re almost better, because there are no queues and you get to eat them with a quick Bica (espresso) shot.
The little packets are cinammon and sugar, by the way, not wet wipes (as we thought, whops).
Manteigeria, Rua do Loreto 2, 1200-108 Lisboa, Portugal
Watch the sunset at Miradouro de Santa Catarina
The Miradouro de Santa Catarina feels like Görlitzer Park, except with a much better view. There’s a hypnotizing smell of weed, with youths playing the guitar and skating the marble grounds.
There are many Miradouros in Lisbon, but none of them are as lively. With a Portugese pastry (of course) and a fresh beverage, you can listen to plenty of Bob Marley while enjoying the youthful atmosphere.
Miradouro de Santa Catarina, 401, R. de Santa Catarina, 1200 Lisboa, Portugal
Eat the best Ceviche of your life at A Cevicheria
You may have a different palate, but if you like Ceviche, you must try A Cevicheria in Lisbon (near the Botanic Garden). A Cevicheria is a very popular and mid-budget restaurant. They do offer a generous lunch menu for a lower price. There’s a strict first come, first serve policy, but if it’s crowded, you can enjoy a Pisco Sour outside.
Ceviche is lightweight food with exceptional taste, and here, at A Cevicheria, the Peruvian speciality meets a new challenger, chef Kiko. Lisbon is generally crazy about seafood, but not many have created such exceptional versions of it.
A Cevicheria, R. Dom Pedro V 129, 1250-096 Lisboa, Portugal
Visit the favorite local’s beach Caparica
The best things to do in Lisbon definitely include a trip to the beach. The locals beach is called Caparica and is only about an hour away with public transport. If you’re two people, you can split a cab from the ferry (it’s on the other side of the river) and it’s just about the same price as the bus fair.
The beach is 30 km long and the longer you go down south, the gayer it gets. We only made it to the first part of it, though. The waters were cold, but manageable (even in September). The sleepy town of Caparica isn’t worth staying for, but we did enjoy the arcade halls.
The direct bus from Lisbon to Costa da Caparica is the 161 service operated by Transportes Sul do Tejo (TST).
Eat at the wonderful Taberna Da Rua das Flores
More Ceviche and fish tartar, but by far the best atmosphere and culinary experience in town. If you’ve been to Goldener Hahn in Berlin, you’ll know what Taberna is like. The food ranges from Portuguese specialities with a modern twist, to Italian and Spanish sea food combinations that will definitely keep you coming back. There are no reservations, so you just come as early as you can and queue up.
The house wine is served in low glasses, the lemonade according to Portuguese tradition, and following the contemporary food trend, everything is “made to share”. Dishes are made with whatever is fresh that day, and are generally guided by the chef’s taste and inspiration.
Taberna da Rua das Flores, Rua das Flores, 103 , Chiado, 1200-194, Lisbon
Sit outside Sol e Pesca and indulge in tin cans of fish
The Portugese have a thing for canned fish, and now I have, too. There’s even a restaurant – Sol e Pesce – down near Cais do Sodre, where you can order canned fish (you basically chose the tins) and then it gets served in olive oil and with bread.
It’s not just the tinned fish. Design lovers will fall in love with the intricate and artistic compositions of the tins. There are also many stores around town that will sell special tins. They make a perfect souvenir to remember a wild night at Sol e Pesca.
Sol e Pesca, R. Nova do Carvalho 44, 1200 Lisboa, Portugal
Get yourself a fix of filter coffee at Copenhagen Coffee Lab
I love electrifying espresso, but I need my filter coffee. If you are looking for a contemporary coffeeshop in typical Airspace aesthetic, the Copenhagen Coffee Lab in Lisbon will serve you well.
Nice people, free wifi and the typical assortment of filter and granola will remind you of home.
Copenhagen Coffee Lab, R. Nova da Piedade 10, 1200-298 Lisboa, Portugal
Take a day trip to Sintra, Praia Do Guincho and Cascais
Sintra and Praia Do Guincho are magical places. One is a town with eccentric castles that were built by royalty as summer residences once, the other is a famous surfer beach with ice cold water and fearsome waves.
You can do all the spots within a day trip from Lisbon. We were lazy and decided to jump on board with We Hate Tourism Tours instead of planning out our own itinerary. A bit too expensive for a one day tour, but convenient, including a little picnic with a good view.
If you can only pick one thing from the best things to do in Lisbon list, please pick Sintra. It’s a magical place and you won’t regret it.
Take a tour through Lisbon on the Tram 28
The tram 28 is a controversial tourist hotspot. While it takes you up the steep hills to the beautiful Alfama neighborhood, it is also known as a hotbed of petty thieves and pickpockets. So if you decide to go on a little trip, be sure to keep your belongings safe. That said, I’m not sure if it belongs on the list of BEST things to do in Lisbon, but I think it’s definitely a MUST do in Lisbon.
It’s a pretty touristy activity, but I thought it was worth it to save some time and energy. It’s usually packed, so don’t expect a wonderful view.
And that’s it! As I said before – this isn’t an extensive list, it’s just my personal favorite collection of things you can (besides shopping and only eating out) in Lisbon. You can definitely include going to a live bar gig and hanging out in Bairro Alto, but in general, Lisbon is best explored on foot and by going with the flow.
If you think I should add something to the best things to do in Lisbon list, let me know in the comments!