Lisbon is one of my all time favorite cities in Europe. The Portuguese capital is hip, cultural, vibrant, and charming, all at the same time. I visited for a long weekend that pretty much comprised of eating copious pastéis de nata, tiring our feet through pretty cobblestone streets, spotting all the beautiful tiles, and drinking plenty of Ginjinha! Lisbon is a great city to add to any European itinerary and can easily be explored in three days.
In this weekend travel guide to Lisbon, I will share some of the best things to do, how to get around, where to eat and drink, and where to stay when visiting the Portuguese capital.
How To Get Around Lisbon
Lisbon is a big (100.05 squared kilometers), hilly city with steep inclines, so exploring by foot can be quite a workout. Traveling by Uber is the best way to get around Lisbon as it is convenient, and really cost efficient especially when traveling long distances. If this isn't feasible, then Lisbon's efficient network of trams, metro, buses and elevators will be the next best option.
Where To Stay In Lisbon
Lisbon has different neighborhoods and districts that vary in atmosphere and vibe. Baixa is Lisbon's lively heart, Chiado is the central historic and shopping hub, Bairro Alto is the nightlife capital, and Alfama is the oldest district full of charm. Here are my top picks for where to stay in Lisbon.
Santiago De Alfama - €€€ - A charming hotel tucked away in Alfama, with beautiful bright rooms and an on-site spa. This is where I chose to stay when I visited Lisbon and high recommend it - friendly staff, great breakfast and nestled in cute pink streets.
Flora Chiado Apartments - €€€ - Beautiful and modern apartments located in the heart of Lisbon.
The Lumiares Hotel & Spa - €€€ - A stunning hotel located in Bairro Alto with a beautiful terrace with views overlooking Lisbon.
H10 Duque de Loule - €€ - A fairly priced hotel located in one of Lisbon's historical buildings with stunning views and beautiful Portuguese details in design.
Browns Central Hotel - €€ - Situated in the centre of Lisbon with beautifully decorated rooms and marble bathrooms.
What To Do In Lisbon
Whether you are in Lisbon for a romantic weekend, girls trip, or a family weekend, there are endless things to do in the modern metropolis. From cultural activities to nightlife, here are my favorite things to do in Lisbon.
Alfama is Lisbon's most captivating neighborhood - a network of winding streets and alleys, brightly splashed houses adorned with festive decorations, hilltop panoramas, and lots of intricate Portuguese tiles. Laundry billowing in the breeze, grandma's selling ginjinha from their backdoor, and lush orange trees all add charm to the neighborhood. When in Alfama, visit Sé Cathedral and Portas do Sol miradouro for the spectacular views.
Lx Factory is a bohemian industrial complex with a parade of independent shops, bars, galleries, stalls, restaurants, cafes, studios, and street art. Lx Factory is the perfect way to spend a Sunday in Lisbon, starting with coffee at WISH Concept Store. Meander through the street soaking in all the art, then head to Ler Devagar - a quirky and cool bookstore. When hunger strikes, visit one of the many restaurants where you can have sushi, burgers or peri peri chicken. After, head to the industrial rooftop, Rio Maravilha for drinks with a view of Ponte 25 de Abril, the iconic Lisboan bridge.
Fado music is integral to the Portuguese experience. It is a form of Portuguese singing, popular in restaurants and bars. Fado is known for how expressive, raw and greatly melancholic it is, leaving even the most insensitive of people in tears! You can experience Fado in many of the bars and restaurants in Lisbon. There are restaurants where you can have a traditional Portuguese set course meal with a three hour Fado performance, or there are bars you can visit where different singers perform through the night. I highly recommend going to Sr. Fado, a casual family run Fado house, or O Faia Casa de Fados, which is more upscale, with exquisite food and wine. Reservations are advised for both places.
Take A Walking Food Tour
One of the best things you can do in Lisbon is to take a walking food tour through Alfama - not just any tour, but this exact tour via AirBnb. It is the most popular experience on the platform that even the CEO of AirBnB, Brian Chesky, came to Lisbon to take the food tour. This food tour will take you to very unassuming and family run eateries that are nothing short of spectacular! The tour includes food and drink from eighteen places in the Alfama district, exclusive to this tour, from Portuguese wines & liquor, charcuterie, codfish, sardines, and typical Portuguese pastries. Note - you will leave the tour buzzing and full, ending the tour with the famous pastéis de nata.
Shopping in Lisbon is great. From ceramics, to hand embroidered linens, Portugal has something for everyone. My all time favorite shop in Lisbon is A Vida Portuguesa. Here you can find beautifully crafted Portuguese homeware and kitchen products, that make for special gifts and souvenirs. For high end shopping, visit Avenida Liberdade. For books, visit Bertrand, which is the oldest book store in the city where they will stamp the inside of your book making it a lovely souvenir or gift.
Considered one of the best cities in Europe for nightlife, Lisbon caters to so many different tastes and preferences when it comes to evening activities. From Fado bars, to nightclubs, and everything in between, Lisbon is one of my favorite places for a night out in the town! I highly recommend Foxtrot Bar for cocktails in a stunning Art Nouveau cellar, Topo Martim Moniz for casual rooftop drinks, the trendy SUD Lisboa for fancy rooftop drinks overlooking the bridge, and Terrace BA in the Bairro Alto Hotel for its luxe feel and laid back charm. For casual bar hopping, head to the popular Rua Nova do Carvalho, famous for its pink street, where you can find a number of casual places that you can walk in and out of with music and dancing.
Where To Eat & Drink In Lisbon
Pastéis de Belém - the best place to get your pasel de nata fix! Buy a box to take back home - you will not regret it!
A Cevicheria - no doubt the best cevicheria in Lisbon, with outstanding dishes, and an all round beautiful experience. The stunning restaurant is small, and they do not take reservations, so plan your trip ahead of time as you will likely need to wait. They open at 12 so I actually recommend coming here for a stress free lunch instead of dinner - you won't have to wait and you can enjoy its decor in daylight.
Hello, Kristof - a must visit cafe for for home cooked style breakfast, a fine selection of indie magazines, really great coffee, and laid back vibes.
Bairro do Avillez - an awesome concept of multiple restaurants in the one place. Taberna is a tapas style restaurant with small sharing dishes. Pateo is more upscale with high end dishes. I highly recommend the Mil-Folhas de Pastel de Natas. Reservations are recommended.
Fabrica Coffee Roasters - Fabrica coffee roasters brews some of the best coffee in Lisbon. They roast their own beans which are available for purchase as well. The space is big, making it the perfect spot to rest those feet, brew in hand before a lot of walking!
Restaurante Casanova - Hailed as the best pizza in Lisbon next to the famous nightclub, Lux. This pizzeria was recommended by friends who live in Lisbon and is great. They don't take reservations so be prepared to wait a little.
Prado - Prado is a beautiful restaurant in a former jam factory, serving creative small plates using high quality ingredients. The food is excellent and innovative, ambience superb, all with a great wine selection. Reservations are recommended.
Dear Breakfast - one of my favorite places for breakfast in Lisbon is Dear Breakfast. They offer all the typical breakfast dishes, but made to perfection. The interior is clean, ambience great with music playing in the background, and the food excellent.
Copenhagen Coffee Lab - Another fantastic coffee spot in Lisbon is Copenhagen Coffee Lab. They have multiple locations, serve good pastries and light breakfast, and the coffee is awesome.
Time Out Market - Time Out Market is an huge food hall located in the historic Mercado da Riberia with over thirty vendors serving everything from seafood to speciality cheeses. This is a good place to come to with a group as there is something for everyone.
Prado Mercearia - A beautifully designed organic food store with high quality produce and groceries like sandwiches, granola, coffee, chutneys, jellies and natural wines. This place is great for gifting something special.
With travel picking up in the coming months, I can't recommend Lisbon highly enough! I was there with my husband, best friend and her husband, celebrating both boys birthdays. It was such a great experience with it's chilled out vibe and casual feel. It felt so much like San Francisco with it's trams, hills and pleasant weather (I was there at the end of November). It's by far one of my favorite cities in Europe!
Pin this for your next trip to Lisbon!