Welcome to Lisbon
An unconventional European capital, known for its laid-back atmosphere and a colorful character, Lisbon, Portugal, is truly a unique city. Once a city that pioneered the age of discovery to the new world, it is now a land waiting to be explored by its visitors. Perched atop seven hills with its cobbled narrow streets and steep alleyways, it oozes charm at every turn.
Tourists know the famous attractions, but a worldwide local knows how to experience it best. Enjoy this insider’s guide of some of Lisbon’s finest spots.
Lisbon is a city known for its rich history, delicious seafood, and interesting traditions. With so many ways to see the city, stepping out of the Lisbon airport and into the fray can be a bit frightening. This guide will direct you on how to make the most of your stay.
Begin in the Baixa
The Baixa District is the heart of Lisbon where all roads lead to the Praça do Comércio. During Portugal’s colonial era, this square was a significant spot where the ships have ventured from all over the world and come to trade spices and other exotic items. As the largest square in Lisbon, it is a hub for activities. This hub hosts concerts and events within its spacious grounds. It is a great spot to start your journey throughout the city.
Worldwide Local Tip: The summer months can attract hordes of tourists, and the prices at the Lisbon hotels can be inflated. The best time to visit is during the cooler months from November to January, when there aren’t as many visitors. The Lisbon weather is mild during the winter, with the temperature not usually dipping below 48 degrees.
Its transport system is extensive with an underground metro, bus system, and tram routes, but exploring Lisbon is best done on foot. The city, however, is well-known for its vintage trams. They slowly pass through the streets and it’s an experience you simply can’t miss. Enjoy one of the most nostalgic things to do in Lisbon by catching tram route number 28 which runs through Lisbon’s scenic districts including Chiado, Madragoa, and Alfama.
Worldwide Local Tip: Be sure to wear comfortable walking shoes. The streets turn from a level street to an incline almost unexpectedly. In addition, the cobblestone streets can hurt your feet if you wear unsupportive footwear.
For a Local Experience, Head to the Alfama
Explore the labyrinth of the Alfama District, where you can have a taste of the traditional Lisboetas experience. Its streets are populated with locals living their daily lives, where you are granted front row seats to the worldwide local experience. From the echoes of locals talking through the alleyways to the scent of freshly aired laundry, the neighborhood is a living museum. For panoramic views of the city, visit the Sao Jorge Castle. It’s an imposing medieval castle built to watch over the city.
Worldwide Local Tip: For a great dining experience in one of the best restaurants in Lisbon, head to Parreirinha de Alfama. This rustic restaurant serves fresh seafood like Bacalhau. During the evening, you will get treated to a performance of Fado, a traditional style of expressive music that’s often associated with melancholy.
Lisbon After Dark
It’s easy to have a wild time in Lisbon due to its buzzing nightlife, especially in the Bairro Alto District, a peaceful neighborhood during the day that comes to life at night. Bairro Alto is brimming with busy restaurants and lively bars, where the party atmosphere is contagious. Locals and tourists mingle together with an endless supply of beer and wine, often taking the festivities to the streets. Embark on a memorable pub crawl as you try each bar’s specialty drink.
Worldwide Local Tip: While visiting a restaurant, if the waiter gives you a basket of bread, including sides like butter and olives, know that this is not free and can be pricey. If you choose not to have it, you can leave it and you won’t get charged for it.
Lisbon’s Famous Dessert
Lisbon is known for a delectable dessert called the Pasteis de Nata. During your visit, you’ll enjoy this creamy sweet treat created by monks from the Jeronimos Monastery during the 18th century. Head over to the Fabrica de Pasteis de Belem for a history lesson to learn about its background. Grab a box or two of the famous treats and experience the taste sensation. You can explore Belem’s other notable monuments, like the dreamy Belem Tower or Padrao dos Descobrimentos.
Worldwide Local Tip: Pasteis de Belem can get crowded inside, so grab your Pasteis de Nata to go, then head over to Praça do Império and grab a seat on one of the benches. You will have the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful backdrop of the Jeronimos Monastery.
Enjoy Your Stay!
Lisbon’s allure ensures your visit will be a memorable one, but make sure not to get consumed by its tourist traps. Roaming the city as a worldwide local will grant you unparalleled access to its amazing sights and fascinating sounds.