Top 10 Things to Do in Lisbon, Portugal

Top 10 Things to Do in Lisbon, Portugal / Ascensor da Bica in Lisbon

Wondering what are must try Lisbon activities? Find a list of the top 10 things to do in Lisbon that you can’t miss when visiting the Portuguese capital.

Lisbon offers a unique blend of traditional charm and modern sophistication. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a foodie, a music lover, or someone who enjoys outdoor activities, Lisbon has something for everyone.

The endless possibilities may seem overwhelming, especially when you have limited time and want to explore Portugal beyond Lisbon. This is why I have gathered a list of the best things to do in Lisbon.

We will cover only the most iconic experiences and must-do Lisbon activities. If you are planning to visit Lisbon, these things simply need to be on your bucket list. So let’s dive in and unlock the top 10 things to do in Lisbon.

10 best things to do in Lisbon

1. Ride Tram 28

Top 10 Things to Do in Lisbon, Portugal
Tram 28 near the Estrela Basilica

When exploring the top things to do in Lisbon, riding Tram 28 is a must. This tram route lets you experience the heart of the city and its beautiful sights,  including some of the most iconic districts, like Graça, Alfama, Baixa, and Estrela. 

People often say, “Life is about the journey, not the destination.” Tram 28 in Lisbon is a perfect example of this idea. You’ll want this ride to last as you enjoy the Lisbon postcard from your window.

The tram route starts at Martim Moniz and ends at Campo Ourique, near Prazeres Cemetery. You can hop on anywhere along the route. Trams run every 10-15 minutes, depending on the season, and the whole journey takes just under an hour.

Despite the frequent departures, Tram 28 fills up quickly and often doesn’t stop because it’s full. I think the ride is only worth it if you can find an empty seat because it’s hard to enjoy the views if you’re struggling to stand through the steep streets of Lisbon.

💶 Buy a Carris/Metro ticket for 1.80 euros at any metro station and use it when you jump on the tram. It is valid for 60 minutes. If not, you will need to pay 3 euros in cash directly to the tram driver. If you have a daily ticket or Lisbon card, you can use any tram for free.

Extra tip! Don’t want to wait in line for Tam 28? 

Start your journey from the final stop at Prazeres Cemetery in Campo Ourique. Most visitors jump on Tram 28 in Martim Moniz, which forms a massive line during peak hours, while Campo Ourique is empty. If you are an early bird, you can enjoy a peaceful ride as well.

Other iconic rides in Lisbon:

🚠 Ascensor da Bica
🚠Elevador da Gloria
🚠Elevador do Lava
🚠Elevador de Santa Justa
🚠And the latest addition – Elevador da Graça

2. Climb up to the best viewpoints of Lisbon

Climb up to the best viewpoints of Lisbon
Miradouro de Santa Luzia
Climb up to the best viewpoints of Lisbon
Miradouro das Portas do Sol

In Portuguese, “miradouro” translates to “viewpoint,” and Lisbon boasts an abundance of them. Although reaching these viewpoints might require a bit of effort, visiting just a couple of them will allow you to easily spot all the best sights making it one of the top things to do in Lisbon.

The most popular viewpoints in Lisbon are:

  • Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara
  • Miradouro de Santa Luzia
  • Miradouro das Portas do Sol
  • Miradouro da Graça
  • Miradouro da Senhora do Monte

If you are looking for less popular options with fantastic views, I am sure you will love one of these:

  • Miradouro de Santa Catarina
  • Miradouro do Monte Agudo
  • Miradouro de Santo Estêvão

My favorite is Miradouro de Santo Amaro, one of the best-hidden gems in Lisbon. It is located further away from main landmarks, however, you can combine it with LX Factory, another free attraction in Lisbon.

3. Visit the main attractions of Lisbon

Top 10 Things to Do in Lisbon, Portugal
Se de Lisboa
Top 10 Things to Do in Lisbon, Portugal
Jerónimos Monastery in Lisbon

When it comes to the main attractions, Lisbon does not disappoint. I am sure you have seen iconic views from the Castelo de São Jorge, Belem Tower sitting on the Tagus River, or the magnificent details of Lisbon Cathedral.

I mean, have you even been to Lisbon if you haven’t seen these iconic landmarks? Even if you have just one day in Lisbon, you should still find a way to visit at least some of these places.

I have gathered a list of the best sights that you can’t miss during your trip to Lisbon. This list includes useful travel tips and important information to help you plan your visit.

4. Savor the famous Pasteis de Belem

the iconic Pastéis de Belém - one of the best things to do in Lisbon
the iconic Pastéis de Belém - one of the best things to do in Lisbon

Trying the authentic pastel de nata is, without a doubt, one of the best things to do in Lisbon and a must for first-time visitors. While you can find pastel de nata on every corner, Belem holds the original recipe of this famous Portuguese tart.

The origins of Pastéis de Belém date back to the early 19th century. Legend has it that monks from the nearby monastery, facing financial difficulties, began making and selling these pastries to support themselves.

Visiting this café not only lets you taste these delicious pastries but also gives you a chance to see how they are made. You can watch the bakers at work and appreciate the skill involved in crafting each tart.

To avoid long waiting times, come at 8 am when the café opens. It has 250 tables, so it takes some time to fill up. The takeaway queue is usually shorter, but you shouldn’t miss the experience of sitting in the café itself.

A single pastel costs 1.40 euros, and coffee prices range from 1-3 euros. Since the recipe dates back to the 19th century, there are no vegan or gluten-free pastéis. If you’re a vegetarian, you will find other pastries and snacks instead.

Some people might argue that the café is expensive or overrated, but I truly believe this place needs to be visited at least once. Locals might not wait in line for a pastel and certainly know cheaper alternatives, but this café combines history, culture, and cuisine in a truly unique way.

5. Listen to the Fado

Fado: must try experience in Lisbon

Fado, which means “fate” in Portuguese, is a form of storytelling that reflects the profound emotions of life, love, and loss. Originating in the early 19th century, Fado has become an iconic symbol and one of the best things to do in Lisbon.

Fado is traditionally performed by a solo singer, known as a fadista, accompanied by the Portuguese guitar, and the classical guitar. The lyrics often explore themes of love, loss, and the inexorable passage of time, reflecting the hardships and hopes of the artist.

One of the most renowned figures in the history of Fado is Amália Rodrigues, often referred to as the “Queen of Fado.” Her powerful voice and emotive performances brought Fado to international acclaim in the mid-20th century.

If you want to learn about the history of Fado, you can visit the Fado Museum or join a free walking tour with a professional Fadista. In case you are on a budget, you will love these free things to do in Lisbon.

Where to listen to Fado in Lisbon?

Tasca do Chico: great place to listen Fado in Lisbon
Tasca do Chico: great place to listen Fado in Lisbon

When enjoying Fado music, you have two options. You can listen while having drinks and petiscos, which is an affordable choice. Alternatively, you can have a full dinner with live music, which is a more expensive option.

Sometimes performance is included with your meal and sometimes you need to pay an additional fee and get a separate bill for your food. Nowadays, there are many tourist traps that host fado shows but offer low-quality food or overpriced menus.

If you are looking for a local fado experience, head to Devagar Devagarinho. This restaurant hosts Fado shows every Wednesday and Friday, but the seats are limited, so reservation is a must.

Another great alternative is O Corrido – Casa de Fado. This restaurant offers a set menu for 20 euros and a fado performance for 30 euros. Drinks are not included. However, don’t get discouraged by the set menu, because it is one of the best-rated fado houses in Lisbon.

Tasca do Chico is definitely the most popular place if you are looking for petiscos and drinks as you enjoy your fado. Fado is free as the restaurant hosts new rising stars. However, the place is very small and it fills up quickly, so it is not easy to get a table at the Tasca do Chico.

Real Fado Concert is a great alternative if you are solely looking for a performance and don’t care about food & drinks. The location of the concert makes it even more special and you can choose between EmbaiXada, Pavilhão Chinês, or Reservatório da Patriarcal.

Prices vary from 20-30 euros and the show lasts one hour. I personally have seen Real Fado at the EmbaiXada and it was a 10/10 star experience. You can find upcoming events and buy your tickets here.

6. Snap the photos of the best azulejos

Top 10 Things to Do in Lisbon, Portugal
Azulejos Museum
Top 10 Things to Do in Lisbon, Portugal
Leitaria E Manteigaria A Minhota

As you can see, azulejos play a big role in Portuguese culture, and chasing the best samples of tile work is one of the top things to do in Lisbon. When I first came to Lisbon, I had an entire gallery dedicated to azulejos and I am sure I’m not the only one.

So where to find the best azulejos in Lisbon? Azulejos Museum is one of the best places to visit. Especially if you want to learn more about the history behind Portuguese tiles.

One of the most stunning tile works is in Largo do Intendente, next to A Vida Portuguesa. Nearby, you’ll find Leitaria E Manteigaria A Minhota on R. São José, a hidden gem that is not even marked on Google Maps.

Fábrica Sant’Anna is one of the few authentic tile shops left in Lisbon. With its long history dating back to the 18th century, it feels more like a tile museum and it offers unique tile workshops. Another similar place is Solar Antiques.

Casa do Ferreira das Tabuletas is another important azulejos attraction. It is easy to miss while exploring the main attractions in Lisbon. The rest of the Baixa-Chiado area features many beautiful tiles and it is one of the best places to stay in Lisbon for first-time visitors.

Lastly, visit Miradouro de Santa Luzia. While everyone admires the view, don’t miss the tile work on the Igreja de Santa Luzia.

7. Eat your way through Portuguese cuisine

Top 10 Things to Do in Lisbon, Portugal
Sardinhas Assadas: a must try in Lisbon

Seafood is definitely the highlight of Portuguese cuisine and you can’t leave Lisbon without trying Polvo à Lagareiro, Caldeirada or Cataplana de Marisco. However, my top choice is Dourada Grelhada or Sardinhas Assadas during the hot months of the year.

Codfish also known as Bacalhau is the most popular option on the menu and there are 365 different ways to cook it – one for every day of the year. Bacalhau con Natas, Bacalhau à Brás and Bacalhau Assado are served almost in every Portuguese restaurant in Lisbon.

In between meals, you can snack and enjoy Rissóis de Camarão or Bolinhos de Bacalhau instead.

Popular meat dishes include Cozido, Bitoque, Arroz de pato. Bifana is the perfect street food to enjoy at one of the many markets or food stalls in Lisbon.

If you are a vegetarian, you should try Migas, Peixinhos da horta, Arroz de tomate, and one of the many vegetable soups. Portuguese Olives and Tremoços are a perfect snack that goes perfectly with a local beer or wine.

When it comes to sweets, pastel de nada does not need an introduction. If you want to explore beyond that, look for Arroz doce, Baba de Camelo, Leite creme, Bolo de Bolacha.

🦞 Want to join a food tour in Lisbon? This experience includes a professional guide and 17 tastings. Come hungry!

8. Learn the significance of the 1755 Lisbon earthquake

Visit Convento do Carmo and learn the significance of the 1755 Lisbon earthquake
Convento do Carmo

The 1755 Lisbon earthquake is one of the most significant natural disasters in European history. Occurring on the morning of November 1, 1755, this catastrophic event reshaped the city of Lisbon and altered the course of Portuguese history.

The earthquake struck Lisbon with an estimated magnitude of 8.5-9.0, causing buildings to collapse. The destruction was compounded by a massive tsunami that swept up the Tagus River, flooding the city. To make matters worse, fires broke out across Lisbon.

As you walk around the Portuguese capital and visit the main sights of Lisbon, you will notice that most historical attractions speak about this tragic event. If you think about the history of Lisbon, there was life before 1755 and life after 1755.

And that makes perfect sense because the earthquake reshaped Lisbon both physically and politically. Lisbon Cathedral, São Vicente de Fora, and the Church of Nossa Senhora da Conceição were some of the few buildings that survived.

Where to learn about the 1755 earthquake in Lisbon?

Quake is an earthquake museum where you can learn more about the 1755 Lisbon earthquake through an interactive experience. This museum is open every day from 10 am to 6 pm and it takes almost 2 hours to visit it. The entrance fee is 21 euros and you can buy your ticket here.

Another important point of interest is Carmo Convent as it’s one of the best examples of the impact of the 1755 earthquake. The earthquake occurred on All Saints’ Day, meaning the convent was full of locals during the disaster. After the earthquake, the convent was left without a roof to honor the victims.

It is open from 10 am to 6 or 7 pm depending on the season. The convent is closed on Sundays. The adult entrance fee is 7 euros, but reduced fares are available. If you have a Lisbon card, it will cost you 5 euros instead.

—> If you want to gain even deeper knowledge about the earthquake, you will love this guided tour with Luis!

9. Discover Moorish influence in Lisbon

EmbaiXada - one of the best hidden gems in Lisbon
Casa do Alentejo in Lisbon, Portugal
Casa do Alentejo

The Moors, who arrived in Portugal in the 8th century, shaped Portuguese culture and their influence is still visible in Lisbon as we know it today. Learning about this period of history is one of the best things to do in Lisbon and you shouldn’t skip it.

Once the Moors took over Lisbon, they created the foundation of Portuguese agriculture. They left their impact on other fields as well, including architecture, science, and art. I am sure you have heard about azulejos in Portugal: that was just one of the samples of Moorish influence.

Castelo de São Jorge is one of the most popular sights in Lisbon and the legacy of the Moors. On the outskirts of Lisbon, you can visit Castelo dos Mouros, which is another important contribution. Embaixada and Casa do Alentejo feature the iconic Moorish style as well.

In addition to specific buildings, the influence of Mudejar architecture—a blend of Christian and Moorish styles—can be seen throughout Lisbon. This hybrid style emerged when Muslim artisans and craftsmen continued to work in Christian-ruled territories. 

Mudejar elements include horseshoe arches, ornate stucco work, and elaborate tilework, all of which can be found in various churches, palaces, and public buildings across Lisbon. Simply walking around Alfama and Mouraria will let you see the footsteps of the Moors.

Want to know more? Join this walking tour and learn about the African Presence in Lisbon.

10. Take a sunset river cruise

sunset river cruise on the Tagus River in Lisbon

To wrap up the best things to do in Lisbon and your trip to the Portuguese capital, there is nothing better than a sunset river cruise on the Tagus River. End your love affair with Lisbon and enjoy a romantic sunset together with the city!

The Tagus River is the longest in the Iberian Peninsula, flowing from Spain through Portugal to the Atlantic Ocean. The river has been a vital artery for trade, exploration, and cultural exchange since ancient times.

It was from the banks of the Tagus that Portuguese explorers like Vasco da Gama set sail during the Age of Discoveries, embarking on voyages that would change the world. Wouldn’t you want to explore at least a small part of Vasco da Gama’s journey?

During the river cruise, you can see some iconic attractions like the 25th April Bridge, Cristo Rai, Belem Tower, Ajuda Palace, and more. Even if you have seen these places already, the river cruise offers a new perspective.

This sunset river cruise offers a sailing tour for a small group and it is one of the top-rated tours in Lisbon. If you prefer to enjoy a private experience, you will love this Sailing cruise from Lisbon. No matter which one you choose, I am sure that this will be the perfect ending to your trip.

Final thoughts…

Top 10 Things to Do in Lisbon, Portugal

This is the end of the best things to do in Lisbon and I am sure you have added most experiences to your Lisbon itinerary by now.

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 the best things to do in Lisbon!

Top 10 Things to Do in Lisbon, Portugal
Top 10 Things to Do in Lisbon, Portugal

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