Famous landmarks of citys are not always the best thing…
1. A walk through the Alfama district
Alfama is one of Lisbon’s oldest districts that spreads on a hill from Sao Jorge Castle and the Tejo river. A labyrinth of picturesque narrow streets and small squares leads all the way to the top to the castle. The houses are decorated with colorful, hand painted tiles, each one with its own charm. When walking through the district it is hard not to fall in love with this unique neighborhood, there are many small restaurants and shops to be discovered and if you want to enjoy an evening listening to Fado, thats the right place. Once you walked up the narrow streets there are many viewpoints from where you can enjoy the view of the city and all the small houses painted in all the colors of the rainbow. The Miradouro the Santa Luzia and
Alfama, once a place where the poorest and the fishermen lived, has bloomed and now is a district for dreamers. Make sure to enjoy its atmosphere by daylight as well as by night.
2. Take a ride in the historical trams
One thing which is really special is that they still have those old trams from the past with a wooden interior. The tram 28E is very popular for the tourists because it goes up and down the small streets of Alfama. The queue for that tram is usual quite long and you need to wait for a bit. The best place to sit is on the benches by the window so let people pass and wait a bit longer in order to secure a seat.
But really if you want to experience a ride in an old tram, you don’t necessarily need to take the 28E, there are a lot of other lines, which are less busy. The ride might not be as spectacular but still a very nice experience to sit in the tram and look out of the window and get to know the city a bit more that way.
3. Visit Belém and try the famous pastries
Take the tram or rent a bicycle and make your way out of the city center to visit the district Belém where you can find most of Lisbon’s famous landmarks and distinctive buildings. Start exploring at the historical avenue Rua de Belém where a lot of historical buildings have survived 16o years of change and modernization. But most importantly you will find the original pastéis de Belém here. The famous pastry shop Fábrica de Pasteis de Belém sells those mouthwatering deliciousness here. It’s an egg tart made with flaky pastry and I am sure that fellow travelers will tell you about them, the minute you arrive in Lisbon. Get yourself a view pastries for the road and go for a stroll. There is so much to see here because it had once an important military position and was home to prestigious families.
Not to miss are the Belém Tower, the Monument to the Discoveries, the Belém Palace and the Centro Cultural de Belém.
4. Enjoy the best view over the city from Miradouro da Nossa Senhora do Monte
If you are looking for the best spot to enjoy a view over the entire city, the Tejo river, the sea and the 25 de Abril Bridge head to this viewpoint. It is very easy to reach: Take the historical tram 28 until Graca and then it is only a short walk away. If you want to take pictures, watch the sunset or just enjoy the best view over the entire city- this is where you should go.
5. Go surfing
Portugal is world famous for its great surf spots. Not far out of Lisbon you will get the chance to catch some nice waves. Whether you are a pro or a beginner- there is something for everyone. You will find a lot of surf schools where you can hire equipment or take lessons and thanks to the great weather all year round you will get the chance to go surfing almost every day.
6. Experience a Fado evening
An evening listening to the melancholic Fado music is something that has to be experienced when being in Lisbon. You get to enjoy hypnotizing voices and moving music in several locations. A truly genuine Fado house is Mesa de Frades where you can listen to the music and taste popular Portuguese dishes.
7. Stroll around Baixa and explore its neighborhoods
There is a lot to see and do in Baixa. It is the official city center with a lot of great public places, long shopping streets and quite a few sights. The best way to explore the district is by walking. Start at the impressive gate to Baixa, the triumphal arch at Praca de Commercio, then walk down the grandiose shopping street Rua Augusta until you reach Rossio, the central square of Baixa. Then head to Rossio and make sure to try its traditional drink ginginha. From there head to Chiado and take a photo with Fernando Pessoa in the Brasileira coffee house.
8. Have lunch at Time Out Mercado da Ribeira
In the new Mercado da Ribeira the best flavors the city has to offer can be tasted. The market is divided in two sections, shops with local products and food stalls for tasting. There are several cuisine sections to choose from and you simply want to try everything. The choice of food is huge and everything is prepared freshly for a moderate price. The atmosphere is great and this must be heaven for foodies.
9. Head to Bairro Alto for the best nightlife
Bairro Alto, an old district of Lisbon, comes to life at night when everyone comes out for a drink or two. Plenty of restaurants and bars are lined up next to each other and the streets fill up with people. There is a friendly and happy buzz in the air and it is easy to start a conversation with locals and travelers over a beer or some port wine.
Also during the day it is hard not to fall in love with that place, you walk up and down the hill through narrow cobble stone streets, turn, think you are lost and then discover plenty of adorable cafés and Fado bars.
10. Go on a street art tour or spend the day in museums
You will be surprised by the great street art scene. Around every corner, in the narrowest streets you will be astonished to see amazing graffitis and paintings on the wall. It is fun to discover them by yourself and if you are into art a lot and want to see the best pieces, you could join a street art tour where you will discover the backstage of Lisbon underground culture, while making a tour around the city.
Also the great museums which are usually free to visit are not to miss. There is one for every interest and won’t get boring.