top of page
  • Danieka Strathdee

A Locals Guide to Lisbon, Portugal's Enchanting Capital

Welcome to Lisbon, Portugal, where centuries of history blend seamlessly with contemporary flair, creating a city brimming with charm and character. From its cobbled streets to its majestic viewpoints, Lisbon invites you to explore its hidden treasures and vibrant culture. In this Lisbon travel itinerary, we'll dive into the best landmarks to see in Lisbon, neighbourhoods to visit, food to eat in Lisbon, public transport in Lisbon and much much more! Read our local guide, with the best places to eat and where to visit. Be sure to build these local spots into your 2, 3, 4, 5 + day itinerary in Lisbon!


ADVERTISEMENT

Inside this scoop – your locals guide to Lisbon:



Section 1: Discovering Lisbon's Historic Landmarks

  • Pink Streets (Rua Nova do Carvalho): Experience the vibrant nightlife and charming ambience of Lisbon's Pink Streets, lined with trendy bars, restaurants, and colourful facades.

  • São Jorge Castle: Explore the ancient walls and breathtaking views from São Jorge Castle, a symbol of Lisbon's rich history.

  • Belém Tower: Marvel at the ornate Manueline architecture of Belém Tower, a UNESCO World Heritage site overlooking the Tagus River.

  • Jerónimos Monastery: Admire the intricate carvings and grandeur of Jerónimos Monastery, a masterpiece of Portuguese Gothic architecture.

  • Rossio Square: Immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere of Rossio Square, a bustling hub surrounded by historic buildings, cafes, apnd shops, where locals and visitors converge.

  • Alfama District: Wander through the narrow alleys and winding streets of Alfama, Lisbon's oldest neighbourhood, known for its charming architecture, traditional Fado music, and picturesque viewpoints.

  • Praça do Comércio: Experience the grandeur of Praça do Comércio, Lisbon's majestic riverside square, lined with elegant arcades and offering stunning views of the Tagus River and the iconic Rua Augusta Arch.

  • Carmo Convent: Step back in time at Carmo Convent, a hauntingly beautiful ruin that stands as a reminder of the devastating earthquake of 1755, with its roofless nave and ancient artifacts.

  • National Pantheon: Marvel at the grandeur of the National Pantheon, a majestic church-turned-monument that houses the tombs of prominent Portuguese figures and offers breathtaking views from its rooftop terrace.

  • Ajuda National Palace: Explore the opulent interiors of Ajuda National Palace, a neoclassical masterpiece adorned with exquisite furnishings, royal collections, and magnificent gardens overlooking the Tagus River.

  • Lisbon Cathedral: Visit Lisbon Cathedral, a historic landmark dating back to the 12th century, featuring a blend of architectural styles, ornate chapels, and stunning cloisters.

  • Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology (MAAT): Experience the cutting-edge exhibitions and contemporary architecture of MAAT, located along the Tagus River, offering a unique blend of art, technology, and innovation.


ADVERTISEMENT

Section 2: Exploring Lisbon's Charming Neighbourhoods

  • Alfama: Lose yourself in the labyrinthine streets of Alfama, Lisbon's oldest district, known for its winding alleys and traditional Fado music.

  • Bairro Alto: Experience the bohemian vibe of Bairro Alto, with its eclectic mix of boutiques, bars, and street art.

  • Chiado: Immerse yourself in the elegance of Chiado, Lisbon's cultural hub, home to historic cafes, theatres, and bookstores.

  • Time Out Market Lisboa: Indulge in a culinary adventure at Time Out Market Lisboa, a vibrant food hall showcasing the best of Lisbon's gastronomy, from traditional Portuguese dishes to international cuisine, all under one roof.

  • Pasteis de Belém: Treat yourself to the famous Pasteis de Belém, delectable custard tarts that have been a Lisbon delicacy since 1837, served warm and sprinkled with cinnamon and powdered sugar at the iconic Antiga Confeitaria de Belém.

  • Seafood Delights: Sample fresh seafood delights at Cervejaria Ramiro, a renowned seafood restaurant known for its mouthwatering crab, prawns, clams, and other delicacies, served in a lively and authentic atmosphere.

  • Ginja Liqueur: Sip on Ginja liqueur, a traditional Portuguese cherry liqueur, at A Ginjinha, one of Lisbon's oldest bars, where locals and visitors alike gather to enjoy this sweet and tangy drink served in a chocolate cup.

  • Bifana Sandwich: Sink your teeth into a delicious bifana sandwich at O Trevo, a local eatery famous for its tender pork cutlets marinated in garlic and spices, served between crusty bread rolls and enjoyed with a refreshing beer.

  • Petiscos and Vinho Verde: Experience the Portuguese tradition of petiscos (small plates) paired with Vinho Verde (green wine) at Taberna da Rua das Flores, a cozy tavern offering a delightful selection of tapas-style dishes and regional wines.

  • Custard Tarts Workshop: Learn the art of making Pasteis de Nata with a hands-on workshop at Manteigaria, where you can knead dough, fill tins with custard, and watch as your delicious pastries bake to golden perfection, ready to enjoy fresh out of the oven.

  • Vegan and Vegetarian Options: Explore Lisbon's vibrant vegan and vegetarian scene at places like Ao 26 Vegan Food Project, where innovative plant-based dishes take centre stage, from hearty burgers to colourful bowls bursting with fresh ingredients and bold flavours.


Section 3: Indulging in Culinary Delights

  • Pastéis de Nata: Indulge in Portugal's famous custard tarts at Pastéis de Belém, where each bite is a taste of Lisbon's sweet history.

  • Bacalhau: Sample the iconic bacalhau (codfish) dishes at local taverns and seafood restaurants across the city.

  • Grilled Sardines: Savor the flavours of the sea with grilled sardines, a Portuguese delicacy best enjoyed at beachside eateries along the coast.

  • Belém Tower: Marvel at the iconic Belém Tower, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and symbol of Portugal's Age of Discovery, with its intricate Manueline architecture and stunning riverside location overlooking the Tagus River.

  • Jerónimos Monastery: Explore the grandeur of Jerónimos Monastery, another UNESCO-listed masterpiece, renowned for its elaborate Gothic and Manueline-style design, tranquil cloisters, and the final resting place of explorer Vasco da Gama.

  • Alfama District: Get lost in the labyrinthine streets of Alfama, Lisbon's oldest neighborhood, where narrow alleyways, steep staircases, and colorful houses adorned with laundry lines create a charming and timeless atmosphere.

  • Castelo de São Jorge: Ascend to Castelo de São Jorge, a medieval castle perched atop Lisbon's highest hill, offering panoramic views of the city skyline, the Tagus River, and beyond, along with archaeological sites and lush gardens to explore.

  • Praça do Comércio: Admire the grandeur of Praça do Comércio, Lisbon's majestic main square facing the Tagus River, flanked by imposing yellow buildings, an equestrian statue of King José I, and the iconic Triumphal Arch leading to bustling streets and waterfront promenades.

  • Santa Justa Lift: Ride the historic Santa Justa Lift, a wrought-iron elevator dating back to the 19th century, which transports passengers from the Baixa district to the Carmo Square, offering breathtaking views of Lisbon's rooftops and landmarks along the way.

  • Chiado District: Immerse yourself in the artistic ambiance of Chiado, Lisbon's cultural hub, home to elegant boutiques, charming cafes, and historic theaters, including the famed Café A Brasileira, a beloved literary hangout frequented by Fernando Pessoa and other intellectuals.

  • National Tile Museum: Discover Portugal's rich tile-making heritage at the National Tile Museum (Museu Nacional do Azulejo), housed in a former convent, showcasing centuries of ceramic artistry and craftsmanship through intricate tile panels, mosaics, and decorative works.

  • Lisbon Oceanarium: Dive into an underwater world at the Lisbon Oceanarium, one of Europe's largest aquariums, where mesmerizing marine exhibits transport visitors on a journey through diverse ocean ecosystems, from the Atlantic to the Antarctic.

  • Calouste Gulbenkian Museum: Explore the cultural treasures of the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, home to an extensive collection of art, artifacts, and antiquities from around the world, including Egyptian mummies, Renaissance paintings, and Lalique glassware, displayed in a serene park setting.


ADVERTISEMENT

Section 4: Embracing Lisbon's Cultural Offerings

  • Gulbenkian Museum: Discover world-class art collections and serene gardens at the Gulbenkian Museum, a cultural oasis in the heart of Lisbon.

  • Fado Houses: Experience the soul-stirring melodies of Fado music at intimate venues like Clube de Fado and Tasca do Chico.

  • LX Factory: Explore Lisbon's creative hub at LX Factory, where former industrial spaces have been transformed into galleries, studios, and hip cafes.

  • Pastéis de Nata: Indulge in Portugal's iconic custard tarts, known as pastéis de nata, with their crispy, flaky pastry crusts and creamy egg custard filling, dusted with cinnamon or powdered sugar. Try them at Pastéis de Belém, a historic bakery in Belém known for its original recipe dating back over 100 years.

  • Bacalhau: Sample bacalhau, Portugal's beloved salted codfish, prepared in myriad ways, from traditional bacalhau à brás (shredded cod with eggs, onions, and potatoes) to bacalhau à Gomes de Sá (baked codfish with onions, potatoes, and olives), showcasing the versatility and culinary ingenuity of Portuguese cuisine.

  • Sardinhas Assadas: Savor sardinhas assadas, grilled sardines, a quintessential Portuguese dish enjoyed fresh off the grill during Lisbon's summer festivals and celebrations, paired with crusty bread, olive oil, and a glass of vinho verde for the ultimate seaside dining experience.

  • Caldo Verde: Warm up with caldo verde, a hearty Portuguese soup made with kale, potatoes, onions, garlic, and chorizo, simmered in a flavorful broth and drizzled with olive oil, served piping hot and accompanied by crusty bread for a comforting and satisfying meal.

  • Francesinha: Treat yourself to francesinha, a decadent Portuguese sandwich originating from Porto but enjoyed throughout the country, featuring layers of cured meats, steak, sausage, and melted cheese, smothered in a rich beer and tomato sauce, served with fries and a fried egg on top.

  • Bifana: Sink your teeth into bifana, a traditional Portuguese pork sandwich, featuring thinly sliced marinated pork loin seasoned with garlic and spices, served on a crusty roll and typically enjoyed with mustard, hot sauce, or pickles for added flavour and kick.

  • Seafood Rice: Delight in seafood rice, a classic Portuguese dish made with tender rice cooked in a flavorful seafood broth, studded with an assortment of fresh shellfish, shrimp, squid, and fish, creating a rich and aromatic one-pot meal bursting with oceanic flavours.

  • Petiscos: Explore Portugal's culinary tapestry with petiscos, the country's answer to tapas, featuring a variety of small plates and snacks perfect for sharing, such as grilled chorizo, octopus salad, marinated olives, cheese boards, and fried petingas (small fish), accompanied by local wines or craft beers.

  • Ginjinha: Conclude your dining experience with a sip of ginjinha, a traditional Portuguese cherry liqueur infused with sour cherries and spices, served as a shot in chocolate cups or tiny glasses, offering a sweet and tangy finish to your gastronomic journey through Lisbon's vibrant food scene.

  • Vegan and Vegetarian Options: Embrace Lisbon's growing vegan and vegetarian food scene, with an array of plant-based eateries and health-conscious cafes offering innovative dishes like vegan pastéis de nata, falafel wraps, buddha bowls, plant-based burgers, and dairy-free desserts, catering to diverse dietary preferences and lifestyles.


Section 5: Soaking in Lisbon's Scenic Beauty

  • Miradouro de Santa Catarina: Watch the sunset over the city from Miradouro de Santa Catarina, a panoramic viewpoint with stunning views of the Tagus River.

  • Parque Eduardo VII: Take a stroll through Parque Eduardo VII, Lisbon's largest park, and enjoy lush greenery and sweeping city views.

  • Belém Waterfront: Wander along the Belém waterfront and admire iconic landmarks like Belém Tower and the Monument to the Discoveries, set against the backdrop of the Tagus River.


Section 6: Navigating Lisbon's Public Transport

  • Trams and Funiculars: Ride Lisbon's historic trams and funiculars for a scenic journey through the city's narrow streets and hilly terrain.

  • Metro System: Navigate Lisbon easily using the efficient metro system, which connects the city's neighbourhoods and attractions.

  • Walking Tours: Discover Lisbon's hidden gems on foot with guided walking tours that offer insights into the city's history, culture, and architecture.


As you bid farewell to Lisbon, carry with you the memories of its ancient alleys, lively neighbourhoods, and warm hospitality. Whether captivated by its historic landmarks, enchanted by its culinary delights, or drawn to its scenic beauty, Lisbon promises an unforgettable journey of discovery.


Comments


Verified tick

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with our Founder @DaniekaStrathdee 👋

ADVERTISEMENT

bottom of page