Lisbon is one of the smallest capitals in Europe with a population of just under 600 000 but still has something for everyone! The postcard-perfect city of Lisbon with its huge variety of interesting and fun things to do and see should definitely be on your bucket list!
Food and Wine
The Portuguese love their food and wine, it is very much a part of their culture and for good reason! Go spend a night of wine and Petiscos, similar to the Spanish Tapas, where you keep ordering delicious small dishes to share with your friends.
Most of their traditional dishes are fish-based. Bacalhau (Cod fish) and Sardines are the most popular fish used in Portuguese cuisine. You will find their favourite fish Bacalhau (codfish) everywhere and in every form and recipe; grilled, as croquettes, cakes, etc. Despite their love for codfish, it isn’t a fish that is native to the Portuguese waters.
Sardines are also massively celebrated in Lisbon, particularly at the time of the St. Anthony festival in June, which is otherwise known as the Lisbon Sardine Festival.
Let’s not forget the pastries in Portugal! Go grab a Pastel de Belém or Queijada de Sintra and sit down somewhere to enjoy the view. By the way, Pasteis de Nata are available pretty much anywhere in Lisbon so you will definitely get the chance to try one at some point! There is a whole controversial debate on whether the Pastel de Nata in Lisbon is as good or better than the original custard tart – the pastel de Belém, so go try both and decide for yourself!
Lisbon is a fairly calm city in the day in comparison to bigger cities but the nightlife here is very much alive! Bairro Alto and the surrounding areas are considered the hotspot for nightlife in Lisbon with a huge number of bars and restaurants. For those who are here to go all out, make your way to Largo de Santos where the most popular nightclubs are.
Make sure you try Portuguese drinks! The most famous one internationally which you have probably heard of before is Port wine, but there are two more you should taste as well!
The first one is Ginjinha, a liqueur made from Ginja berries which is said to be very good for your health. They say that women should have 5 shots a day and men 7 in order to heave the heathiest and happiest of lives!
the second one is Vinho Verde which translates to Green Wine. However, this wine is not actually green, it is made from very young grapes and does not store well so it must be consumed within a short time. It is a fresher-tasting semi-sparkling wine.
Photo by Philippe Tarbouriech
If you wanted to spend a more typically Portuguese night, why not go to a Fado show?! You should head over to the neighbourhoods of Alfama and Mouraria to one of the many Fado houses where you can enjoy the music and have snacks, a meal and wine. During Fado shows, the singers and musicians play throughout the night with little breaks in between every few songs!
If you enjoy more peaceful trips and just like to wander around the city and chill at some parks, then Lisbon should definitely be up there on your travel list! Did you know that Lisbon is one of the greenest cities in Europe? So, head over to one of the several beautiful parks here to have a picnic, escape the crowd and enjoy the sun!
Lisbon has so many more spots to relax, you just need to wander around and get lost in the picturesque neighbourhood of Alfama and find a cute little square to relax on a bench and read a book.
Here are some of the many parks you should check out in Lisbon:
First start in the museum, check out the amphitheatre and chill in the most famous garden in Lisbon. It is a very green garden with sculptures scattered around. If you get the chance to visit a symposium or listen to the Orchestra and Choir, you should definitely take the time to check out this garden!
Jardim da Estrela
This is a nice garden, especially if you are travelling with children. Whilst they play in the playground, you can chill on the benches or grab a coffee at the terrace café. This park is so peaceful and enjoyable, you will never want to leave!
This is the largest park in Lisbon and is named after England’s Edward VII, after his visit to Lisbon in 1903 to reaffirm the Anglo-Portuguese alliance. It is great for sunbathing and picnicking and it has a great view at the top! There are also 2 main attractions there; the Estufas; the hothouse, filled with exotic plants, and the greenhouse, filled with loads of different types of cacti, tropical plants and ponds.
If you don’t like being in cities for long and feel the urge to venture somewhere more remote, Sintra is a beautiful mountainous area full of forests and Castles! Also, a good thing about Sintra is that it is only a 40-minute train ride away, costing you only 5 euros for a return journey from the centre of Lisbon!
Sintra is a magical place that you will definitely leave wanting to see more! There are so many different palaces and landscapes to see, so go for a hike around and explore as much as you can! Plus, it is by the sea – what more could you want?
Lisbon is a city of history and culture which you can learn about everywhere. Feel free to join one of our Free Walking Tours to get an introduction to the city and its history and then visit one of the many museums in Lisbon.
Just to name a few:
Museu de Arte Antiga
This is the National Museum of Ancient Art which hosts an extensive number of historical pieces of European, African and Eastern Art, dating back centuries. Even some dating back to the Portuguese Discoveries Era! This Museum is located at Rua das Janelas Verdes, open every day (10am-6pm) except Mondays.
Museu de Fado
You might want to visit this museum if you wish to learn more about the history of Fado music and how it was born. Discover why it is such a big part of the Portuguese culture and the true meaning behind the most famous Fado songs and what “Saudade” really is.
Museu nacional do azulejo
Portugal, and Lisbon particularly, is famous for its azulejos – colourful patterned tiles covering houses in the whole city. If you’re intrigued by the origin of this art and want to discover various different types of tiles and learn about its history, then go visit the national museum of Azulejo to uncover the reason why it has become a tradition in Portugal.
And if you’re a fan of aquariums, the Oceanario de Lisboa is definitely a must-see! It is one of the biggest in Europe, hosting schooling fish, various sizes and types of manta rays, penguins, otters and even a huge sunfish!