Lisbon is one of the popular attractions of Europe and the capital of Portugal. It’s built on seven hills, just like Rome and it has the unique charm of Mediterranean cities. With a lovely weather, Lisbon is the perfect destination for a first-time traveler, especially because it offers a lot of things to do and see.
The easiest way to get around Lisbon is by metro, which can take you from the airport to the city center. You can also take the bus or trains. A day pass which allows you to take any means of transportation is around $7. Yet, the best way to explore Lisbon is by foot.
Lisbon is divided into several districts, but the most popular for tourists are Chiado, known for shopping, and Alfama, the old city center and the oldest part of the town. There are many places to see in Lisbon, so here are my top 5 things to do and see in the capital of Portugal.
Mingle with the locals
I explored the neighborhood of Alfama by foot and I fell in love with its charming streets and colorful architecture. But I also fell in love with the locals, who are quick to offer you tips on what to do in Lisbon. One of the girls I met around the old town told me to try queijo da Serra (a creamy cheese) and the local wine – excellent advice!
Speaking of cheese and wine, make sure to check the local market, where you can find the best foods and drinks.
Admire the views
Sao Jorge Castle is one of the best places to admire the entire city. Another great viewpoint is Rua Augusta Arch, which offers a vibrant image of the busy city. Every rooftop in Alfama is a great viewpoint, so you can find your own place to enjoy the view.
Visit the cathedrals and monasteries
Lisbon is home to many cathedrals and monasteries. Jeronimos monastery is impressive (while in the Belem area make sure to visit the iconic Belem tower), Carmo Convent has an amazing architecture and Lisbon Cathedral offers a sneak peak into the life of the locals, back in the time when people didn’t had cars and smartphones.
Take the old tram
From Lisbon Cathedral you can take one of the old trams, which are still in use. They look like they come from another age and they are a charming way to admire the city.
Admire the tiles and the doors
This might sound strange, but in Lisbon the tiles and the doors are real masterpieces. There is also a tile museum, where you can admire the intricate details of tiles.
Other interesting things
Pasteis de Belem is the oldest (maybe) pastry shop in Lisbon and they make delicious tarts since 1837. While in Lisbon taste caldo verde and Ameijoas a bulhao pato, two of the local dishes.
LX factory is a lesser known destination you should be visiting: you can find cafes, alfresco bars and gifts shops and many other great stuff.
Lisbon is amazing and you can always find more things to do. It’s worth to venture outside the city. Algarve, Sintra and Cascais make great day trip opportunities, so try not to miss them.