Before you set off to check out the places to explore in Lisbon, you must be introduced to this fascinating city. Lisbon is the capital city of Portugal and is one of the charismatic and vibrant cities of Europe. Lisbon is a thriving city; considered to be one of the most livable cities in the world. It has old-worn charm mixed with a modern, electric vibe. It is considered a hub for commerce, culture and creativity (just look at their street art and graffiti!).
Lisbon is also the oldest city in Europe. It is a perfect blend of heritage and striking modernism. A patchwork of distinct and colourful city districts, from the rustic Alfama to the colourful Baixa, Lisbon offers a buzzing lifestyle with a beautiful coastline and beaches only on a short train journey away.
Lisbon becomes the vision of European Culture with the domed cathedrals and ancient ruins. And one must not miss the famous pasteis de Nata (egg custard tarts), seafood (mainly sardines and codfish) and the moving guitar music.
Here’s a short guide to the best places to explore in Lisbon, what to indulge in and where to stay.
Places to Explore in Lisbon for Sightseeing
1Oceanário de Lisboa
The Oceanarium is the best treat you can get from Lisbon.
This is one of the most modern aquariums in Europe and one of the largest in the world. The oceanarium is mind-blowing with an array of fishes and marine animals. The ingenious layout represents four separate seas and landscapes, effectively the habitats of the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, and Antarctic oceans.
The plexiglass allows a perfect view of the magical undersea world.
You also get to see the sea dragon and the comic clownfish. This aquarium is the most famous and popular among Lisbon’s tourist attractions. Oceanário de Lisboa promotes conservation of the world’s oceans which is a social cause.
2Castelo de Sao Jorge
Castelo de Sao Jorge – An Iconic Landmark
The most recognized of Lisbon’s major attractions, St. George’s Castle is located at the glorious position on the crown of hill Alfama which gives the most scenic view of the Portugal capital.
The castle is famous for the museum, battlegrounds and fascinating archaeological sites which makes the castle a rewarding experience for the family, especially for kids. Visitors become happy as they admire the fabulous views of the city from the terrace that gives the most panoramic views of the city including the River Tagus, and the distant Atlantic Ocean. Also, tourists can enjoy the view of the city from Camera Obscura which gives a 360 degree projected view.
3Museu Calouste Gulbenkian
Museu Calouste Gulbenkian – Priceless collection of Eastern and Western art.
The astonishing Gulbenkian museum houses artefacts from eras such as ancient Egyptian, Mesopotamian, Armenian and more. The museum has created two circuits, each housing exhibits and galleries in a chronological as well as geographical order.
Here, one can easily spend half a day by absorbing the history of different periods, exploring the exhibition galleries and checking out the mesmerizing collections of art on the continent.
One room from the museum is dedicated to Francesco Guardi and his studies of Venice. Also, the fantastic collection of jewellery and glassware crafted by French Art Nouveau jeweller is a treat for the ornament lovers.
4Elevator De Santa justa
An antique elevator which gives the best city views.
Looking at the rooftop of the Lisbon’s Baixa (downtown) district, one can see the views of the Santa Justa lift, a neo-Gothic elevator and the most eccentric and novel means of public transport in the city. The elevator has an iron frame and battleship-grey paint which is again a fantabulous place for enjoying the scenic views of Lisbon.
Below, the top terrace is the creak cabins. From here, passengers can either walk across a bridge or climb the staircase that leads you to the upper terrace. The Santa Justa elevator gives you the views of the pedestrian zed streets, picturesque squares, and the omnipresent castle and River Tagus.
Se: Lisbon’s imposing cathedral.
This is Lisbon’s fortified Romanesque cathedral – the Sé is located in the Castelo district near the ancient Alfama. What you get to see at Se is the mesmerizing architecture and the amazing features of the cathedral-like the twin castellated bell towers that embellish the downtown.
6Padrao down Descobrimentos
Caption: Padrao down Descobrimentos – A tribute to the Age of Discovery
You can jump in the elevator to see the seagull’s-eye views of the river and the surrounding street at the top. One can get sunk in the amazing panorama of the city from the top. Here, one gets the best opportunity for an unusual photo shoot.
This, however, is located in Belem, a short train ride away from Lisbon city. Nearby you can find the Belem Tower and Jeronimos Monastery, both within walking distance.
Also read: Things to do in Lisbon with kids
Places to explore in Lisbon for Food Indulgence
7Decadente, Bairro Alto
Decadente, Bairro Alto – An iconic restaurant to indulge.
This hotel is one of the impressive crop of stylish hotels. Decadente is an in-house restaurant which is a funky space for the locals as well as the tourists to enjoy delicious treats. This budget-conscious resto feeds you with the best food. The best Portuguese menu here serves seafood rice along with the other food items. The hotel provides the best ambience of the big shuttered windows and artfully arranged vintage kitchen.
8Cantinho do Avillez, Chiado
The tartar with the steak potatoes.
Cantinho do Avillez is a perfect getaway for the tourists, with its simple room coming to life with a concrete floor and factory lights providing a chic industrial vibe. You can pick from the international cuisines like lamb tagine, steak tartar with New York potatoes and suckling pig with Asian flavours. Olives with a delicious tomato and olive oil dip and filigree-thin toast make you indulge in something truly delicious.
9Kiosks and churrascarias, city-wide
Kiosk: The best chilling restaurant in Lisbon.
Kiosks are available citywide mostly on the city’s famous hills or in shade-covered parks. It offers decent snacks, reasonably priced fresh juices, good coffee, beer, and even cocktails. The older ones maintain their classy look with their wrought iron frames restored and the newer ones have the same green colour as the originals. Every neighbourhood has at least one Kiosk. White paper tablecloths, TV on in the corner, tables full of locals are the speciality of the Kiosk. Come at any time, this restaurant will feed you.
Places to Stay in Lisbon
You may be looking for a quick stay or an extended vacation, a romantic getaway or the family trip, Lisbon offers some of the best places to stay.
10Memmo Principal Design
Get to experience the arena of the sleek modern design at Memmo Principal Design.
The third hotel by Memmo’s is blessed to be situated in one of best spots the city has to offer. From the terrace of their restaurant and cocktail bar, you can get some of the best views of the city. The secure valet parking is the responsibility of the hotel. Also, you can get free walking tours provided by the hotel which leaves from reception daily at 5 pm.
11Pousada de Lisboa
Pousada de Lisboa: The impressive for the stay.
Pousada de Lisboa hotel is a small luxury hotel which offers prompt luxury and lovely Portuguese art. The lobby is lined by the best sculptures and paintings, stairwells and rooms. It is situated in the impressive Pombaline Interior Ministry building in central Lisbon.
Lisbon is the best city to chill out with your friends, family and even alone! Go check it out.
Also read: Get the best of Lisbon in a single day!