47 Best Things to Do & See in Lisbon

Lisbon is hands down one of the best cities in Europe to take a short break, or even a spend a week or two. There is so much to see and do, and the great thing is it is all easy to get to as Lisbon has great transport and is relatively small. 

Blessed with a warm, sunny climate Lisbon offers visitors a host of attractions both indoors and outdoors. Many of my favourite activities won't cost you a penny; getting lost in the Alfama, or passear-ing (strolling) along the riverside in Belem are highly recommended. It is also a city of contrasts with things to see both ancient and modern. On the old side there is the castle overlooking the city, churches and monasteries that are both austere and splendid and ostentatious palaces in the outer districts. For those seeking more contemporary attractions there are any number of cultural venues around Lisbon - the Berardo Collection, Gulbenkian Museum or even just some of the city's striking architecture will all oblige. 

Lisbon is also a city that families will love with a number of open spaces and parks. There are a number of attractions that will appeal to kids in particular such as the zoo, aquarium and several museums.

In this section you will find all the best things to do in Lisbon and around. And if all this wasn't enough, Lisbon is perhaps the only city in Europe where you will find world-class sandy beaches less than half and hour's train ride away.

Showing 1 - 15 of 47

  • Lisbon Cathedral and tram - Alfama
    Lisbon Cathedral
    CanStockPhoto/Mapicss

    Reputed to be the oldest building in Lisbon, the cathedral (Sé de Lisboa) certainly has the appearance of being built to last. Compared to the frivolous Manueline architecture of the Jeronimos Monastery the Romanesque lines of the cathedral appear quite austere. Along with castellated walls and arrow slits in the towers Lisbon Cathedral, like other Portuguese cathedrals of the period, had the appearance of a fortress as much as a church.

    Work began on the cathedral in 1147, the same...

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    Alfama Lisbon
    Churches
  • Elevador de Santa Justa, Lisbon
    Elevador de Santa Justa)

    The Elevador de Santa Justa (Santa Justa lift) is a 47 metres (145ft) Lisbon's only remaining vertical elevator and connects Rua do Ouro in the Baixa to Largo do Carmo near Bairro Alto. It was built, along with several other cable powered urban lifts and funiculars, in a time before cars and the Metro. Whilst this may sound quite utilitarian and uninteresting nothing could be further from the truth.

    Inaugurated in 1902, the elevator is a cast iron tower decorated with Neo-Gothic style filigrana details. Some say it is reminiscent of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, and this is not...

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    Baixa Chiado Lisbon
    Unusual
  • Jeronimos Monastery
    Jeronimos Monastery
    Jose Manuel

    The Jerónimos Monastery was built during most of the 16th century in the Manueline style. It was built at a time when Portugal had an empire and was in the mood to show the World its status through a plethora of monuments and palaces

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    Belem
    Churches
  • Convento do Carmo
    Convento do Carmo

    Mediaeval convent that was ruined in the great earthquake of 1755. Set overlooking the city the ruins provide a poignant reminder of the destruction wrought on Lisbon. The convent is also home to an archaeological museum with exhibits including a Peruvian mummy.

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    Lisbon
    Churches Museums and Galleries
  • Castelo de Sao Jorge - Lisbon

    Set in a commanding position overlooking Portugal's capital, the Castelo de São Jorge dates back to Moorish times. The existing citadel is mainly medieval and contains the ruins of the royal palace and gardens

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    Lisbon
    Castles
  • Sao Vicente monastery - Alfama
    Sao Vicente Monastery and the Alfama

    Imposing 17th century monastery overlooking Lisbon. Built in the Mannerist style the monastery's Pantheon contains the tombs of the House of Braganza.

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    Lisbon
    Churches
  • Santa Engracia - National Pantheon - Lisbon
    Santa Engracia - National Pantheon

    The 17th century Church of Santa Engrácia with its huge dome was designated the National Pantheon in 1966. Within are buried many of Portugal's presidents and cultural icons

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    Alfama Lisbon
    Churches Monuments
  • Lisbon tram number 12
    Lisbon number 12 tram
    dziambel | BY-SA

    It only takes around 20 minutes to complete the full circuit of Lisbon’s number 12 tram route, but climbing into one of the iconic, yellow Remodelado coaches can be a fun way of getting to see the Baixa and Alfama districts and taking in sights such as the Se Cathedral and St Anthony’s Church.

    The tram doesn’t get to build up much speed on the journey; there are quite a few steep inclines in this part of town, and there can be some pretty hair-raising sharp turns and sudden jolts.  But this, together with the sound of the brakes shrieking and the people-watching opportunities are,...

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    Lisbon
    Railways
  • Praca do Comercio statue
    Praca do Comercio statue
    fotosvanHugo

    No visit to Lisbon would be complete without a stop-off at the majestic Praça do Comércio, one of Europe's largest squares, surrounded on three sides by classical 18th century buildings and opening up on the south side to the Tagus River estuary. This plaza was once known as the "gateway to Lisbon", in recognition of the time when merchant ships arriving at the port would offload their cargo here.  This was also where passenger ships disembarked. 

    ...

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    Lisbon
    Public Places
  • 25 de Abril Suspension Bridge, Lisbon
    25 de Abril Bridge
    Günter Wieschendahl

    Stretching across the estuary at the Tagus River in Lisbon is the Ponte 25 de April (25th April Bridge); the largest suspension bridge in Europe and the 20th longest in the world. Often considered as a twin sister of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco because of its similar design the bridge in Lisbon is actually 300 feet (100m) longer.

    Officially opened in 1966 the Ponte 25 de April was considered the primary connection between north and south Portugal until the Vasco da Gama Bridge was built in 1998. Around this time works were carried out to suspend two railroad tracks under...

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    Lisbon
    Bridges
  • Praça da Figueira - Lisbon
    Praça da Figueira - Lisbon
    Bernt Rostad | BY-SA

    Praça de Figueira is a large square in the centre of Lisbon, one of three in the Baixa district. The name translates as fig tree square, although there is little sign of the original trees. The square was created in the 18th Century after the Lisbon earthquake of 1755 had destroyed the buildings that had stood on the site beforehand (as well as much of the rest of the city). It had previously been the location of Lisbon’s main hospital; the Real de Todos os Santos. Plans to rebuild...

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    Lisbon
    Public Places
  • Rossio - Lisbon

    If you’re looking for the heart of Lisbon, this centrally located square with its traditional Portuguese mosaic cobbles has been one of the city’s main plazas for centuries. Located in the downtown Baixa district it is officially known as Praça Dom Pedro IV, the locals prefer to use its old name, 'Rossio'.

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    Lisbon
    Public Places
  • Calouste Gulbenkian Museum - Lisbon
    Calouste Gulbenkian Museum

    World famous museum with collections of Oriental, European and Classical Art. Regular exhibitions

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    Lisbon
    Museums and Galleries
  • Praca do Comercio - Lisbon

    Positioned on Praça do Comércio and acting as a grand opening onto the Baixa's central Rua Augusta, this ornate and imposing archway is also known as the Rua Augusta Arch.

    As the name hints, the Arco Triunfal was originally built to commemorate Lisbon’s reconstruction following the devastating earthquake in 1755, although the version that exists today dates from 1875.

    The Rua Augusta Arch is adorned with various statues of historical figures and following restoration in 2013 it now gives...

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    Lisbon
    Monuments
  • Manueline portal - Igreja da Nossa Senhora da Conceição
    Manueline portal - Igreja da Nossa Senhora da Conceição
    SchiDD | BY-SA

    Built around 1500 on the site of an ancient synagogue, and also known as Our Lady of the Conception, this was once the second largest place of worship in Manueline Lisbon. Nowadays this historic church, with an ornate façade reminiscent in style and grandeur of the Jerónimos Monastery in Belém, seems to be sandwiched between two more pedestrian buildings down a largely overlooked street. But therein lies the story of this building.

    Mostly destroyed in the...

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    Lisbon
    Churches

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