Things to do in Lisbon Portugal
A complete Guide

“It is better to see something once than to hear about it a thousand times.”

Lisbon is a charming city that appeals to the masses, and it just so happens to be the capital of beautifully sought after Portugal. From digital nomads and backpackers to families and romantic partners, the Portuguese capital surely won’t disappoint. 

With crystal clear waters as vibrant as those who reside, and with history as rich as the culture that it boasts, Portugal is a dream destination for many.

While Lisbon itself is still one of the least visited capital cities in Europe, it’s a complete mystery as to why, so be sure to visit while it’s still somewhat of a hidden gem!

Throughout this article, we’ll be discussing all things Lisbon, Portugal. Not only will you discover everything you need to know before traveling to such a city, but you’ll learn of the best beaches, things to do, and places to see.

To make your travel plans even easier, we’ll offer you a summarized itinerary that will help guide your dream destination vacation. 

So, if you’re ready to book that ticket to Lisbon, Portugal, and begin preparing your itinerary, this complete guide is for you. Without further ado, let’s get into it!

Things to do in Lisbon: What You Need to Know 

Before diving deep into the fun part of your travels, it’s important to cover your bases and discover the necessary information required to plan your trip successfully. These necessary pieces of information include when to visit, how long to visit, how to commute, safety & precautionary measures to take, and budgets to account for, among other things.

Of course, several of these factors largely depend on one’s preferences and objectives of travel. In other words, traveling with a young family for a vacation encompasses different requirements than what a digital nomad would require, for example.

Nevertheless, below will be a summarized, yet detailed list of what you need to know before traveling to Lisbon.

While it’s impossible to cover every type of traveller, we’ll do our best to provide a broad enough explanation so that YOU can determine your destiny based on the information provided! 

First, when should you visit?

When to Visit Lisbon

Like most European destinations, Lisbon’s peak season runs from July through to August and into September. The reason for the this is obvious; the weather.

While Lisbon has a fairly warm climate year-round, the weather is at its nicest during the summer months. Moreover, it can become quite cold on days in December, January, and February comparatively. 

With that said, Portuguese weather during the summer months can become overwhelming for some, reaching upwards of 40-degrees Celsius. If you’re a sucker for beaches and the scorching sun, peak season may be for you. However, for most, a moderate climate is likely more suitable. As such, visiting Lisbon during the spring months might be a smarter consideration.

If crowds aren’t your thing either, avoiding peak season altogether is a must. Instead, consider visiting during the winter months.

While you may not be able to enjoy the beaches in all its glory, you’ll still be welcomed with moderate temperatures. Even better? You’ll avoid the inflated prices that accompany peak tourism season! 

As you can probably conclude on your own, there’s no bad time to visit Lisbon, or Portugal at large for that matter. In summary, if you’re eager to avoid large crowds and price increases, avoid peak season at all costs. In contrast, if you’re a beach lover who wants to indulge in all that Portugal has to offer, and during the best of weather, peak season is for you.

A two-cent recommendation: Consider traveling during the spring months. This way, you can still experience the wondrous weather we’re all chasing, but without the overwhelm of unbearably hot temperatures and inflated prices. 

How Long to stay in Lisbon

While this answer differs depending on the type of travel you desire, it’s worth noting that Lisbon in its entirety can be technically explored within 3-5 days. Of course, depending on how much you enjoy it, your stay may last months! 

Whether you’re visiting on vacation, backpacking through the country, or hunkering down for the long-term, Lisbon and Portugal at large are incredibly desirable destinations, suitable for both short and long-term trips.

How to Get Around in Lisbon

While renting a car is certainly available if you so choose, it’s unlikely to be the most efficient option unless you plan to drive across the country. Instead, consider commuting through other modes of transport such as public transport, cabs, or Uber.

Of course, we can’t forget to mention Portugal’s infamous and historic tram system. Even if you have nowhere to go, hopping on the trams of Lisbon is a must-do!

If you do happen to rent a vehicle in Lisbon, beware. While the roads are generally safe, it is known to be quite erratic, overwhelming, and chaotic; traffic that is…

Is Lisbon Safe?

Lisbon, and Portugal at large is known to be one of the safest, kindest countries in Europe. Like any foreign destination, however, there’s always a risk of petty theft, pick-pocketers, and rare or unprecedented crime. 

Generally speaking however, you should have no concerns for your safety in Lisbon, whether you’re a family visiting on vacation or a lone backpacker visiting solo. Just be sure to practice common sense and implement basic safety precautions at all times. 

Cost of Living in Lisbon for Tourists

Lisbon, and Portugal at large, is an extremely affordable destination for all, no matter if you’re visiting on a solo, budget backpacking trip, or your intentions are luxurious and elaborate. In fact, Lisbon is dubbed one of the most inexpensive cities to visit in all of Europe!

Again, if you’re visiting on a budget backpacking trip, for example, you can still thrive on €70-100/day! With that said, you can also live like a king in quite an affordable manner. 

Things to Do in Lisbon

This complete guide to Lisbon, Portugal wouldn’t be complete without sharing the top things to do here whilst visiting. Of course, it would be impossible to share all of the things one can partake in here in Lisbon, however, below will be a list of the top 5 things to do, whether you want to live like a tourist, or live like a local!

 the top five things to do in the Capital City:
  1. Visit the Infamous Wonder at the Torre de Belém
  2. Tour Through the Capital on the Historic Tram 28
  3. Spend a Day in the Old Alfama District and Visit St. George’s Castle
  4. Party into the Night in Bairro Alto
  5. Visit the Monastery of Jerónimos

Visit the Infamous Wonder at the Torre de Belém

From a tourist’s perspective, if there’s one attraction that’s a must in one’s travel itinerary through Lisbon, it’s the Torre de Belem. While it’s quite the common recommendation for those traveling to the capital city, it’s popular for good reason.

Not only is it arguably the most iconic monument in Lisbon, but it also happens to be a UNESCO Heritage Site; an historic piece of architecture that you’d be remiss not to visit during your stay. 

Tour Through the Capital on the Historic Tram 28

While there are several ways to commute through Lisbon, Tram 28 is the most desired, sought-after, historic, and recommended modes of transport. Even if you have nowhere in particular to commute, it’s an experience worth having nonetheless.

While it’s one of the most popular tourist attractions, it’s also a working transportation for locals and visitors alike. 

So, whether you need to get somewhere fast but want to take the scenic option, or you just want to mindless explore Lisbon in all of its glory, taking the Tram 28 is a must! 

Spend a Day in the Old Alfama District and Visit St. George’s Castle

While there are several desirable districts within Lisbon, the Old Alfama District is likely the most scenic. As one of Lisbon’s oldest regions, visitors and locals alike can enjoy all of its offerings, both historic and modern. To explore the area more deeply, it would be great to take a free alfama tour. Here, you’ll have the pleasure of indulging in local shops, restaurants and bars, as well as several monumental attractions.

One notable attraction? St. George’s Castle. Perched atop the historic neighborhood sits this infamous castle that can be seen from anywhere in the capital city; A welcomed addition for your archives of travel, so don’t forget to capture it in photograph form! 

Party into the Night in Bairro Alto

Another desirable neighbourhood in Lisbon is Bairro Alto; a visitor’s dream boasting cobblestone streets, lavish architecture, entertaining nightlife, cafes and restaurants galore, and diverse crowds. If you’re visiting Lisbon for a good time, not a long time, Bairro Alto is where you’ll want to invest your time!

Finally, we can’t forget beach hopping! Depending on the season in which you’re visiting, you’d be remiss not to indulge in the world-famous beaches of Lisbon and Portugal at large!

Visit the Monastery of Jerónimos

As a World Heritage monument, you’d be regretful not to visit this historic site. Whether you’re a history buff, an architectural arbiter, or simply a tourist looking to acquire all the experiences and knowledge available during your stay, the Monastery of Jeronimos won’t disappoint. 

Situated in the Belem district, this ancient monument sits nearby several other desirable attractions, so you really have no excuse to miss out! Encompassing tombs of famous explorers, churches with sky-high ceilings, and views to boot, you’ll thoroughly enjoy your tour through this monumental monastery. 

Best Beaches Near Lisbon, Portugal

Portugal at large is widely known for its world-renowned beaches, and for obvious reasons. While it would be impossible to list, let alone in detail, the several beaches that spread across the country, below will be a summary of some of the most desired of Lisbon beaches. 

Even for beaches just outside of Lisbon territory, commuting is quick, easy, and efficient due to the nature of location; along the coastline of the Atlantic Ocean. 

the four most desirable beaches to visit around the Lisbon: 

Costa da Caparica 

For starters, Costa da Caparica, located along the coastline, is the epitome of Portugal beaches, offering picturesque views, crystal clear waters, and inspiring waves to boot. This beach is the perfect addition to your day in the small yet popular resort-town of Costa da Caparica! 

Praia de Carcavelos 

While your stay is in Lisbon, you’d be remiss not to venture out of the capital city to explore the many famed beaches of Portugal at large. One of those famed beaches just outside of Lisbon is Praia de Carcavelos. A world-renowned beach in its own right also happens to be held to the standard of ‘the best beach in Portugal’ for many who have visited. 

Lagoa de Albufeira 

While the vast majority of beaches are public and littered with tourists and locals alike depending on the time of year you’re visiting, Lagoa de Albufeira is a more private gem. If you’re looking for a pristine getaway that has an exclusive vibe, this beach is it.

Praia de Santa Amaro de Oeiras 

Last but certainly not least is Praia de Santa Amaro de Oeiras. Known by many to be the best sandy beach in and around the capital city of Lisbon, this beach boasts crisp white sand and more. If you’re looking to visit a beach that you could only dream of, this is the one for you!

While there are most definitely several incredible, world-renowned beaches missing from this list, the four  discussed above is definitely a great place to start, especially if your trip is centric around beaches!

A Trip of a Lifetime

Lisbon, Portugal is a dream destination for many, and for good reason. With a year-round climate preferential to most, a safe environment comparatively, an affordable cost of living for both travelers and locals alike, and an endless amount of attractions, things to do, and places to see, Lisbon sits atop the list for must-visits!

Have you ever been?! If so, what was your experience like?

Stay Gold

About Todd Smidt

Todd is a man of simple tastes: traveling, words, whiskey, & dad jokes. He enjoys first-rate banter, long walks along the coast, High West, and Vonnegut. He spends his free time traveling the world, drinking whiskey, and writing about it.

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