13 things to do in Lisbon, Portugal
Lisbon is Portugal's capital and is an amazing destination should anyone want a cheaper European destination. Although Lisbon weren't in our cards when we visited Europe, we decided Lisbon as a pit-stop as we managed to get cheap tickets (~$1000) on Swiss Air during the December holiday period!
The Belem District is located slightly away from the heart of Lisbon but here is the area where you'll find the most traditional and cultural sites of Lisbon:
1. Belem Tower
The Belem Tower is a fortified tower located in the Belem district. It is considered one of the must-see landmarks in Lisbon and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The tower sits in the waters and is an incredible sight especially during sunsets. To get here, you can take tram 15 or 127. Otherwise, hop onto one of the hop-on-hop-off buses.
Walk up the tower for a good view of the surrounding area! Many guides may say that it is a tourist trap, well... it is overly crowded during the summer months but when we were there in winter, there's hardly anyone at the tower. Climb up and you can even see the 25 de Abril Bridge!
Av. Brasília, 1400-038 Lisboa, Portugal
2. Pasteis De Belem
At the Belem area, don't forget to also try the famous portuguese custard tarts! One is not enough! You can read more about it here: Pasteis De Belem, Lisbon, Portugal.
Pasteis De Belem
R. de Belém 84-92, 1300-085 Lisboa, Portugal
3. Padrão dos Descobrimentos
Nearby, you'll find this monument that celebrates the Portuguese Age of Discovery during the 15th and 16th centuries. Like the Torres De Belem, the monument is located along River Tagus.
4. Jerónimos Monastery
The Monastery, like the Belem Tower, is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage site. The Jeronimos Monastery is the one of the most prominent examples of the Late Gothic Manueline style of architecture in Lisbon, and in Portugal. It is so beautiful and massive such that you can literally spend the entire afternoon there!
Praça do Império 1400-206 Lisboa, Portugal
The Bairro Alto neighbourhood is quirky and is located on a slope and on higher ground than all the other neighbourhoods in Lisbon. It is the oldest and most traditional neighbourhood in Lisbon. The famous tram 28 brings you here but do watch out for pickpockets!
At night, it is extremely happening with all the contemporary Portuguese bars. It is a neighbourhood that never sleeps and party-goers will definitely enjoy the eclectic bars and restaurants here! For families with children, you perhaps would not want to stay at this area as is rather dangerous with all its nightlife.
5. Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara
You'll also be able to see a beautiful sunset if you head to Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara, a little terrace that overlooks the city of Lisbon located in the Bairro Alto area.
Baixa Chiado District
Baixa Chiado is the heart of Lisbon and IS the place to be whenever you visit Lisbon. Here, not only will you find the Santa Justa Lift, you'll also see a long stretch of shopping street. It is considered the downtown area of Lisbon and is the main tourist district. This district starts from Tejo Estuary up to the Marquis de Pombal Square.
6. Santa Justa Lift
This is an interesting attraction but unfortunately it was closed when we were there! It is part of the public transportation in Lisbon! This means that when you purchase the 24-hours ticket, you get to take this lift plus all the available public transportation in Lisbon! Ride up the lift to get a view of all the other buildings of Baixa!
7. Praça do Comércio
This is one of the main plaza of Lisbon. Many sightseeing buses start here and you'll definitely be able to recognise it from its signature yellow-toned buildings!
From Praça do Comércio, walk downtown to look at all the shops and restaurants.
We took a 24-hour pass on City Sightseeing and it was really fun time because we felt like we owned the entire empty bus!
These are some of the amazing buildings we've seen on the bus
Parque das Nações
This area is one of the less mentioned districts in Lisbon but is one of our favourite areas! It is an up-scale district (a little like Sentosa Cove in Singapore) This district can either be your first or your last stop since it is located fairly close to the Lisbon Airport. Here, you can enjoy the attractions near the Tagus River.
8. Torre Vasco da Gama
The Torre Vasco de Gama is an observation tower that is right next to the Riad hotel. You can take the Telecabine close to this tower to head to the Oceanarium!
Ride the cable car from one end of the beach to the other! We highly suspect that Singapore's Sentosa Cable Car stole the idea from Lisbon!
It was a short cable car ride but it offers scenic views of the Tagus and the city area. It only costs 5.90 euros for a round trip and 3.95 euros for one-way for adults!
Passeio das Tágides - North Station
(next to the old Vasco da Gama tower, now the My Riad hotel)
1990-280 LISBOA Portugal
Passeio de Neptuno - South Station
(next to the Oceanarium)
1990-280 LISBOA Portugal
10. Oceanário de Lisboa
The Oceanarium is located close to the Tagus and is a large area that showcases a huge variety of marine life. It was a really good attraction especially for families with children! To get to the Oceanarium, it is only a short walk from Estação do Oriente or a short walk to the Telecabine from Moscavide metro station.
Oceanário de Lisboa
Esplanada Dom Carlos I s/nº, 1990-005 Lisboa, Portugal
11. Centro Vasco Da Gama
This is a shopping centre located close to the Moscavide metro station. At the top level, there is a food court that serves amazing food!
Italian Burger House
Choose from a range of burgers. It comes with fries and risotto! You should also try their tiramisu that comes in a beautiful glass!
Don't miss out visiting the large supermarket too!
Centro Vasco Da Gama
Av. Dom João II 40, 1990-094 Lisboa, Portugal
12. Centro Colombo
Centro Colombo is another mega mall in Lisbon. It has a dome in the middle of the building that looks really grand from the outside. Inside the mall, you'll find a large Primark!
Av. Lusíada, 1500-392 Lisboa, Portugal
13. Miradouro Park Eduardo VII
This is a humongous park that gives you a great view of Lisbon right out to the Tagus. Even if you do not wish to stroll or roam around the park, you can still visit this scenic spot for a spectacular view!
Miradouro Park Eduardo VII
Alameda Cardeal Cerejeira, 1070-051 Lisboa, Portugal
So there you go, here are 13 must-visits when you head to Lisbon. There were also a lot of night shopping streets located at the Baixa Chiado and Avenida area which we did not really cover here.
STAY: Hotel Milanesa
During our 3 nights in Lisbon, we stayed at Hotel Milanesa. It is a very simple guesthouse located near the Avenida metro station. It is a very convenient location as it was only a short walk to the shopping area and there were many cafes and restaurants nearby. We paid 30 euros per night on Booking.com.