If you’re planning a trip to Lisbon, read this Lisbon Guide & intinery 1st!
The best things to do in Lisbon Portugal pretty much stay the same year after year as it’s such a historical city. However, there are some new tours offered every year and popular spots like Pink Street Lisbon. The list below were our favorite things to do Lisbon Portugal from tours to historical sights. Top of our list was the food tour exploring all of the local spots. It was a great way to try places we probably wouldn’t have found by ourselves. What we were most looking forward to our Sintra day trip. It looks absolutely stunning and everyone told us we had to go, which you do! Unfortunately we went during a heat wave and it was canceled due to the fires so we need to go back. So we booked a wine and cheese tasting tour instead. More on that below.
18 Can’t Miss Things to See & Do in Lisbon
- Sunset and Wine Sailing Tour
- Explore Belem
- Miradouro da Graca, Miradouro Santa Luzia, Miradouro de Santa Catarina or Miradouro Sao Pedro de Alcantra viewpoints.
- Elevador da Bica (Rua da Bica de Duarte Belo )- great spot to photograph iconic trams or Elevador Santa Justa.
- Pink street Lisbon on Rua Nova do Carvalho. You can skip this as there’s not much here but it’s good for photos
- Time Out Market/Mercado do Ribiera: good for lunch
- Rooftop bar: Rossio Gastrobar for panoramic views.
- Rossio Square (Praca do Rossio) shops, restaurants and cafes (3 mins N of above). You can skip this if you’re short on time.
- Book a food tour that visits local spots. This was our favorite tour in Lisbon.
- Relax by your pool and soak up the views.
- Sintra day trip
- Take a ride on the trams.
- Commerce Square (Praca do Comercio) is Lisbon’s most famous square. Stop for photo ops of the monumental Arco da Rua Augusta, giant statue of King Jose I on horseback or a glass of wine (tourist prices).
- St George’s Castle: I highly recommend a skip the line ticket
- Lisbon Cathedral.
- Explore the streets by foot.
- Go wine and cheese tasting in Bacalhoa if you have an extra day.
- Try the Pasteis De Natas or any of the local pastries or cakes.
Tips for how to do the best things to do in Lisbon
Book your tours in advance. Especially small group or private tours during high season (school holidays) as they sell out fast. Check if they offer hotel pick up. If not, make sure the meeting place isn’t too far and is easy to find.
If you go on the sunset sailing tour make sure to take lots of layers to be able to wrap up warm. It gets really cold once the sun drops and the wind hits you on the water. A sweatshirt might be enough but I’d personally recommend a warmer coat and even a scarf but I also run really cold.
Lisbon Portugal 3 day itinerary
This was our 3 day itinerary but you could do Lisbon in 2 days and I’ll let you know what we enjoyed the most and where we could have skipped or spent less time.
Lisbon Day 1:
We arrived in Lisbon around mid afternoon and after dropping our bags at the hotel took an Uber straight to Belem. We stayed at the adults only Memmo Alfama hotel which I highly recommend for it’s rooftop pool and location. If you have time and like towers you could go inside Torre De Belem.
However, I’d recommend skipping climbing it as there’s long lines and you can get better views from other places. There’s also not much to see inside and it’s small so it’s a better spot just to take photos and enjoy the view.
We took our Sunset, wine and cheese cruise from Belem which we booked through Viator. They have lots of options to choose from so you can find one that works with your time frame and budget.
Lisbon Day 2:
This was the day we’d set aside to do our self guided walking tour, checking off most of the things in the list above and starting with a Skip The Line Pass Tour of St George’s Castle.
We ended our day with the Lisbon Foodie tour. If you only book 1 tour in Lisbon and like food, drink and trying local dishes and places, this is the tour to do.
This is the order we walked the things to do in Lisbon as it made the most sense route-wise.
- We started at Miradouro de Santa Luzia as it was en route to St George’s Castle (Castello di São Jorge). The views here are spectacular but you only need 5-10 minutes.
- St Georges Castle only takes 45-60 minutes to explore with a skip the line pass which is cheap and well worth it.
- If you’re looking for a cool spot to take photos, Pink street on Rua Nova do Carvalho in Cais do Sodre neighborhood is perfect. There’s not much else to do there though so you can easily skip this. The best time to shoot is around lunchtime after the trash has been collected.
- Pink Street is close to Time Out Market/Mercado do Ribiera if you’re looking for somewhere to eat. We had this on the list but skipped it as we had a late breakfast and I just wanted a cocktail and an ice cream to cool down. It’s supposed to be good for lunch with 26 restaurants selected by editors of Time Out Magazine to be best in the city.
- Commerce Square (Placa do Comercio) is Lisbon’s most famous square. There’s lots of photo ops here of Arco da Rua Augusta, the giant statue of King Jose I on horseback, and other beautiful historic buildings. There’s also a beer tasting place and some cafés but expect tourist prices and be careful of pickpockets.
- Watch the Elevador Santa Justa go up and down. You can also ride it but there’s normally lines. This elevador connects the lower level Baixa neighborhood to Carmo Square. You can go up to the top for beautiful panoramic views of central Lisbon but we didn’t since we did rooftop bars for our views.
- Rossio Square (Praca do Rossio) has shops, restaurants and cafes as is a 3 minute walk North of Elevador Santa Justa. It’s very touristy but worth a stroll through if just to get to Rossio Gastrobar and to see the fountains when they’re on.
- Lisbon Cathedral (Se de Lisboa) is in the Alfama district, about a 10 min walk from Commerce Sq. If you don’t go in, time it either around lunch or dinner time to eat at the Tapas place right up against the Cathedral walls. It’s a relaxing, shaded place to eat with good tapas.
Lisbon Day 3: Day Trip to Sintra:
Sintra is supposed to be one of the best things to do from Lisbon Portugal as a dy trip and this is the day we were supposed to go to Sintra. We’d booked a day tour through Viator. However, since it got canceled we ended up booking a wine and cheese tour that went outside of Lisbon down to Bacalhoa.
It was the best plan we could come up with since we’d already explored everywhere we wanted to in Lisbon and it was so last minute everything else was booked. I’d skip this if you only have 3 days in Lisbon but if you have more time and enjoy wine and aren’t going to Porto or Douro it’s worth the drive.
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Other things to do in Lisbon Portugal: Rooftop bars with a view
We always look for rooftop restaurants and bars when we travel as they normally offer some of the best views of the city. We had so many recommendations but didn’t do as many as we’d planned as my husbands foot had started playing him up. So we tended to just do night caps at our hotel bar as it had such great views.
I highly recommend the Lisbon hotel we stayed at. We spent a lot of time researching where to stay and loved the location and infinity rooftop pool at Hotel Memmo Alfama.
- Sky Bar at Tivoli Avenida Liberdade. This was a friends recommendation that’s close to Parque Eduardo 7th.
- Limão Rooftop Bar– a more casual bar with Mediterranean vibes, tapas, Gin & Tonics, bubbles and wines. It’s open from 1pm-00:00.
- Rossio Gastrobar – is the rooftop bar we went too. It’s more modern and upscale and offers tapas if you’re hungry. It’s right by Rossio Square with the most amazing views. It’s open from 12:30-00:00. We didn’t have a reservation but went early so had no problem getting a seat.
- BAHR is a modern and bohemian bar with a Michelin Star chef.
- OKAH rooftop Bar & Restaurant – this cool and unique bar is made from containers and open for lunch & dinner.
- Rooftop bar Mundial – This is more of a locals spot and they don’t take reservations. So go before it gets busy late at night.
- Sky Bar Oriente – If you’re staying in the Parque das Nações district check out this waterfront bar.
One place we didn’t get to was a restaurant my parents has said was amazing because of the building not just the food. Since we didn’t get to see Sintra or dine here, a return trip to Lisbon is definitely on the books.
How to get around Lisbon
The easiest way to get around all of the best things to do in Lisbon Portugal if you like to walk is by foot or to do a hop on hop off bus ticket. We walked miles everyday as most of the things we wanted to see and do we were in a very compact area.
However, there are also trams, buses, ubers and taxis to get to places that are a little further away like Belem. As well as on days that are too hot to walk. We took an Uber instead of public transport just to save time.
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