10 Tips to Help You Avoid Crowds in Lisbon

10 Tips to Help You Avoid Crowds in Lisbon

Dreaming about Portuguese capital but don’t want to deal with the masses? Don’t worry! We are here to share the best tips to avoid crowds in Lisbon.

Lisbon has been booming in the past years, which means that the central part of the city gets filled with crowds easily. The vibrant capital of Portugal has become a magnet for travelers, thanks to its stunning architecture, old history, and rich cultural scene.

As tourism has flourished, so have the crowds, making it increasingly challenging to experience Lisbon’s charm without feeling overwhelmed by the masses. And can we talk about extensive lines for popular attractions like Tram 28 and Jerónimos Monastery in Belém?

Don’t let this discourage you! Lisbon has so much to offer beyond its popular paths, and with insider knowledge, you can still avoid crowds in Lisbon.

We’ve lived in Lisbon for years and have gathered insights into the best ways to enjoy the peaceful side of Lisbon. Whenever I share my Lisbon content, people ask how the streets are so empty and some even accuse me of using Photoshop.

The truth is, you don’t need Photoshop to capture Lisbon without crowds. That is why in this Lisbon guide, we’ll share 10 valuable tips to help you avoid crowds and make the most of your visit to Lisbon. Let’s unlock empty Lisbon together!

*Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. If you purchase after clicking one of these links, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.

How to avoid crowds in Lisbon?

1. Wake up early to see Lisbon empty

10 Tips to Help You Avoid Crowds in Lisbon
Bica Funicular

First and foremost, there is no magic trick. If you want to avoid crowds at the popular attractions in Lisbon, you will need to set up your alarm early every single day. And by early I mean around sunrise.

Many tourists follow a similar pattern: they wake up late, have a leisurely breakfast, and start their day around mid-morning. By this time, popular attractions and neighborhoods are already filled with crowds.

And I get it, you are on holiday and want to take it easy, but I am sure you can wake up early at least once during your trip. Naturally, I wake up early, so this was never a difficult task for me, but I know we are all different.

Here is a possible itinerary for one early morning in Lisbon: Praça do Comércio, Rua Augusta Arch, Sé de Lisboa, Miradouro de Santa Luzia, Portas do Sol, and the rest of Alfama. This helps you visit the most beautiful places in Central Lisbon without crowds.

If the alarm is not your friend, you will enjoy other tips in this guide.

2. Visit Lisbon during the low season

10 Tips to Help You Avoid Crowds in Lisbon
Miradouro de Santa Luzia

The low season in Lisbon provides a different perspective of this beautiful city and it comes with fewer crowds & other benefits. Let’s discover when is the peak season and when is the low season in Lisbon.

Peak Seasons in Lisbon: summer months (June to August) and major holidays, such as Easter and Christmas. Nowadays, May and September are as popular as the summer months.

Low Seasons in Lisbon: the winter months (December to February) and early spring (March & April) as well as late autumn (October & November).

Low season is a great alternative for budget travelers as the accommodation prices tend to be more affordable. This also gives you a wider choice of possibilities if you book a last-minute trip.

3. Avoid popular events & local holidays

10 Tips to Help You Avoid Crowds in Lisbon
Bairro Alto

The Portuguese love to travel around Portugal as much as tourists do, so make sure you avoid popular events, local holidays, and long weekends in Lisbon. Generally, I would try to plan to stay in Lisbon on a weekday and spend my weekend somewhere else.

Also, I would avoid international holidays as people tend to take time off during those periods.

Major Celebrations in Lisbon to avoid:

  • Festa de Santo António (mid June)
  • Carnaval (February/March)
  • Lisbon Marathon (October)
  • Christmas and New Year
  • Festivals and concerts in the summer months.

4. Stay away from popular spots

10 Tips to Help You Avoid Crowds in Lisbon
View from Rua Augusta Arch 

So let’s say that you are visiting Lisbon during the peak season and you simply cannot get yourself out of bed early in the morning. Your best bet is to stay away from the most popular tourist attractions in Lisbon.

Most crowded attractions in Lisbon:

  • Praça do Comércio and Arch of Rua Augusta
  • Elevador de Santa Justa
  • Lisbon Cathedral
  • Tram 28
  • Castelo de São Jorge
  • Rossio and Rossio Train Station
  • Belem Tower
  • Jerónimos Monastery
  • Miradouros of Lisbon

Now, you might be wondering what there is left for you to see in Lisbon. Don’t worry, I am here to help you with that as well, so keep on reading.

5. Discover hidden gems in Lisbon instead

10 Tips to Help You Avoid Crowds in Lisbon
Fronteira Palace

Busy time of the day during peak season in Lisbon is the best time to leave popular attractions and discover some hidden gems instead.

Less crowded attractions in Lisbon:

  • Palace Fronteira
  • Elevador do Lavra
  • Jardim do Torel and Calçada de Sant’Ana
  • Church of Nossa Senhora das Mercês
  • Santo Amaro Chapel
  • Largo do Intendente
  • Mouraria & Rua João do Outeiro
  • Casa do Alentejo 
  • EmbaiXada
  • Museu Nacional do Azulejo

These are the top 10 secrets of Lisbon but click here to discover the best hidden gems in Lisbon together with other useful tips.

6. Don’t be afraid to get lost

How to avoid crowds in Lisbon?

I usually make an extensive list of places that I want to visit and things I want to do, which means I have to have a plan whenever I travel. But! It is so important to wander off the usual route and simply get lost.

Whenever you are around a popular attraction, head to the opposite side of the crowd. That’s how we discovered the most hidden gems listed above. In fact, when we first moved to Lisbon, we would often grab the camera and wander around the new neighborhoods of Lisbon.

Also, don’t be scared to enter the secret patios or small churches. If you see an open door or gate, this is your signal to step inside and you might discover something wonderful.

So even if you are someone like me and you want to stick to the plan when traveling, don’t be afraid to get off the touristic route and discover beyond popular areas.

7. Head to the outskirts of Lisbon

How to avoid crowds in Lisbon?
Azenhas do Mar

Most popular day trips from Lisbon include Sintra, Cabo da Roca, and Cascais, however, if you want to escape crowds in Lisbon head to explore the less popular outskirts of Lisbon instead.

One of my favorite day trips from Lisbon is Azenhas do Mar. It is a dreamy village located in coastal Portugal and it is often left behind as people prefer to visit Cabo da Roca.

If you want to enjoy a beach day, head to Costa de Caparica instead. The heart of Costa de Caparica tends to get crowded, but the beach is wide and long. Praia da Mata is a great place to enjoy a peaceful beach day.

Not ready to deal with crowds in Sintra? Visit Queluz National Palace instead! While it is not a hidden gem, most tourists are too busy visiting Sintra, so this palace is not part of their itinerary.

And in case you want to see the charm of Portuguese towns, you will love Mafra or Obidos. Obidos has gained a lot of popularity in the past years, but Mafra is often left behind.

8. Enjoy views of Lisbon from your hotel

hotel with view in Lisbon
Photo credit: Torel Palace Lisbon via Booking.com

Another excellent way to avoid the crowds in Lisbon is to book a hotel with a view. This allows you to have your own private Miradouro, enjoying stunning panorama without the hassle of dealing with crowds.

As always, we have done the work, so you don’t have to. Click here to discover the best hotels in Lisbon with a view or check the overview below if you don’t have the time to read the full article.

Overview of the best hotels in Lisbon with views:

9. Plan strategically 

How to avoid crowds in Lisbon?
Belem Tower

I know that this might sound very obvious, but this is your reminder to plan your Lisbon itinerary strategically. What does it mean?

To avoid crowds in Lisbon, focus on the popular attractions early in the morning and hidden gems later in the afternoon. When we travel, we wake up for sunrise, stay out until lunch, and then go back to the hotel to rest.

Noon is the busiest time in Lisbon and there is no point in visiting the central part during this time. Instead, you can use this time to plan some chill time or even a nap.

10. Embrace the crowds

How to avoid crowds in Lisbon?
Pink Street

Last but not least, make sure you embrace the crowds once in a while. Certain places simply call for crowds and I am sure you will love the lively atmosphere of these attractions.

Time Out Market is one of the popular markets in Lisbon and I truly enjoy the traffic of people passing by. Pink Street is another great example that comes alive with crowds. And Bairro Alto is a popular nightlife district, so a lively atmosphere is part of the magic.

While it is nice to stay away from the masses, complaining about crowds won’t make it any better. We all want to see Lisbon, so can you really blame others?

Are you a photographer? You will love these tips!

  • Bring your zoom lens and capture details
  • Try out different angles and perspectives
  • Views from miradouros don’t show the crowds
  • Don’t forget your patience!

Read next: 10 Amazing Tram 28 Photo Spots in Lisbon

Final thoughts…

10 Tips to Help You Avoid Crowds in Lisbon

This is the end of the best tips to avoid crowds in Lisbon and I am sure you know all the right shortcuts to enjoy the peaceful side of Lisbon.

I would love to hear your feedback, so feel free to leave a comment below. If you need further help with planning, check out these Lisbon travel tips, hotel recommendations, or food guides.

Pin it for later and save how to avoid crowds in Lisbon!

10 Tips to Help You Avoid Crowds in Lisbon
10 Tips to Help You Avoid Crowds in Lisbon

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