Lisbon is an amazing destination for a short city break pretty much all year round since temperatures rarely drop below 15 degrees C! From wandering around the cobbled streets whilst viewing the colourful houses to the many pastry and cake shops situated on every corner, there is something for everyone in this vibrant and romantic city!
Unless you’re going outside the city to visit its surrounding neighbourhoods in our opinion Lisbon is a 2-3-day destination. What we mean by this is if you’re purely going sightseeing, you’ll be able to see its main attractions in that amount of time.
We absolutely loved exploring Lisbon over the weekend. We’ve managed to narrow down the long list of things we did to five things you absolutely cannot miss on your trip to this amazing city!
1. Watch the sunset
There are so many different amazing viewpoints in Lisbon to watch the beautiful sunset as it is such a hilly city. You really don’t have to wander too far to be overlooking Lisbon in all of its charms.
The view from the Castle is absolutely breathtaking, as is the view from many other random viewpoints nestled and hidden along the city streets. If you are not sure where to go, grab a tuk-tuk or Uber and just ask them to take you up to one. It will save your legs, save you from getting lost in the maze of streets and ensure you don’t miss the sunset!
If you don’t want to go ‘high’ at the end of the day then we can wholeheartedly recommend watching the sunset sitting on the rocks right by one of Lisbon’s most iconic squares; Praca do comercio! The sun going down over the Tagus River, all its colours reflecting back at us is one of the most beautiful views we have seen in our years of travelling. The view was perfectly complimented by the bottle of Portuguese wine (wine always compliments any experience in our opinion!) and the traditional music being played by street performers in the background.
2. Ride a Tram
The famous tramway network in Portugal’s capital city is not only one of the best ways to get around this romantic city, but it’s also one of Lisbon’s most important tourist attractions. The tramway network currently has six lines and has been in operation since 1873!
The number 28 Lisbon tram is the most famous and most sought out by flocking tourists visiting the city, and for good reason. It passes through most of the capital’s popular districts meaning you have a unique ‘tour bus’ experience minus the bus and the audio guide!
However, with its popularity come longer queues and waiting times. If you enjoy your sleep like us and don’t want to get up early, or you enjoy pottering around at your own pace just jump on any of Lisbon’s many trams or funiculars that rattle their way up the city for a similar or more unique experience. We rode the Ascensor Da Bica which is less well known but there were no queues and we pretty much had the tram all to ourselves!
3. Get High
When visiting the picturesque city of Lisbon one of our favourite things was exploring its many viewing platforms. From rooftop bars to corner street cafes, taking in its many panoramic views! The views not only provide some beautiful photo opportunities, but they are great spots to rest your legs with a pastry and a tea or coffee.
Given the city was built on seven hills it’s no surprise there are so many great viewpoints perched high above the cities winding maze of cobbled streets. Just wandering around the city, you are bound to stumble across one or two just by chance. Just head up the city by foot (towards the castle has some of the best) or if you are not up for the hike then grab a local tram or tuk-tuk and you will be there in seconds.
Our favourite view was from São Jorge Castle, whilst sat on a bench drinking a cold glass of wine, they even have a wine van!
4. Visit the local flea market
Lisbon has an array of different local markets from food stalls to second-hand items and new goods.
If you are visiting Lisbon over a Saturday or a Tuesday head to Campo de Santa Clara (Alfama district) where you can explore one of the city’s most scenic and renowned flea markets, Feria da Ladra.
Feira da ladra quite simply translates into ‘Thieves market’ and it is believed by some that the name arose when the market began around the 17th century. Traders used to meet in this spot to sell their ‘stolen goods’.
The flea market now has a friendly relaxed atmosphere and is bustling with tourists and locals alike. The stalls set up on the hills, awash with new and used goods, set against a backdrop of some of Lisbon’s colourful street art makes the market picturesque and atmospheric.
Even if you are not looking to buy anything it’s a cool experience to manoeuvre around the many blankets laid on the floor covered in second-hand goods and rub shoulders with the locals.
5. Wander around Alfama
Alfama is the oldest district in Lisbon and is located on one of the seven hills of Lisbon. The best way to explore without exhausting yourself and being faced with just how unfit you are is to catch a tram or tuk-tuk and then wind your way down the cobbled maze of streets on foot.
The majestically tall colourful buildings and narrow streets dotted with coffee shops and wine bars make Alfama the perfect area to stroll around and get lost in. and we would absolutely recommend you do try and get lost, which is no effort when I am involved.