13 Things to See in Lisbon

jana meerman lisbon (1)

Lisbon is Portugal's vibrant capital city, located in the middle of the country on the mouth of the Tagus River. While I must admit, I preferred Porto in the north, I found Lisbon to be exciting and busy - and most importantly, warm and sunny long into the November days.

To get to Lisbon from the airport, hop on the Metro pink line from which you can transfer to your city destination. I recommend getting an AirBnB and basing yourself there to explore - there's tons of cute and affordable options. Lisbon is much bigger than Porto, so while you can walk if you're centrally based, I also recommend topping up a Viva Viagem transport pass, available for purchase at any metro station, and using it to tap on to the various buses, trams and metros you may wish to ride.

I spent three weeks based in Lisbon during November, working remotely by day, exploring the city in the afternoons and traveling around the region on weekends, I've compiled a number of blog posts you may find useful for your own trip planning here. Perhaps you're looking for where to find the best vegan bites in town, or the best viewpoints of Lisbon to get those amazing photos.

Otherwise, if you're after a guide to the best things things to see in the city, then you've landed in the right spot. And without further ado, here are my picks for what to see in Lisbon:


1. The Tram on R. da Bica de Duarte Belo

Perhaps the most iconic view of Lisbon's well-known and well-loved trams that zip around the city is the little tram that runs up and down the steep R. da Bica de Duarte Belo.

jana meerman lisbon portugal (1)

2. Jardim do Alto de Santa Catarina

This quiet little garden in the heart of the city has a terrace similar to the very famous one at Miradouro de Santa Luzia but with barely any of the crowds!

jana meerman lisbon

3. Alfama

Quite possibly Lisbon's most famous neighbourhood, Alfama is a jumble of tiny houses and winding cobblestoned streets where you can easily get lost. Wander at leisure, stop in at the little boutiques and enjoy a meal or a coffee in the hubbub of it all.

jana meerman lisbon portugal (2)
jana meerman lisbon portugal (2)
jana meerman lisbon portugal (2)

4. MIRADOURO DO CASTELO DE SÃO JORGE

From the massive St. George's castle, built in the 11th century, that stands tall in the heart of the city high on a hill, you can get this incredible view over the whole city.

jana meerman lisbon portugal (12)

5. Convento do Carmo

The ruins of the old Church of Santa Maria do Carmo lie in the heart of the city. Builty in 1389, much of the structure, save the iconic roof arches and the walls, was completely destroyed in the Lisbon earthquake of 1755. Reconstruction was attempted in the late 1700s and early 1800s but never completed. Today it is an epic visual of the impact of one of the biggest earthquakes in Europe and a wonderful video is shown in the museum that tells the story.

jana meerman lisbon portugal (10)
jana meerman lisbon portugal (10)

6. MIRADOURO DE SANTA CATARINA

This viewpoint is the best spot in the city for sunset as it goes down right behind the famous bridge. There's a bar here with a sunset terrace too, but the gardens are the perfect free spot and often crowded with people eager to catch a glimpse of the view.

jana meerman lisbon portugal (13)

7. Praça do Comércio

The famous archway of Arco da Rua Augusta (the top image on this post) welcomes visitors to the city from the riverfront. Situated on a grand place surrounded on three sides by pastel yellow buildings, this is one of the hubs of the city.

jana meerman lisbon (1)
jana meerman lisbon (1)

8. TEJO PROMENADE

You can actually pick up this pathway from the archway above and walk for an hour and a half or so all the way out to Torre de Belém, but the nicest part starts just under the Ponte 25 de Abril (bridge) and meanders along the waterfront, with prime sunset viewing. There's restaurants along the waterfront and it's a popular place to walk, run and bike.

jana meerman lisbon bridge sunset

9. THE FERRY FROM CAIS DO SODRÉ

You can get some of the best views of the bridge and looking back towards Lisbon as you ride the little ferry from Cais do Sodré south across the river. The ferry is on the same payment system as the rest of Lisbon transport (buses, metro, tram) so you can just tap your Viva Viagem card to board.

jana meerman ferry cais do sodre to santuario cristo do rei

10. SANTUÁRIO DE CRISTO REI

The best view in all of Lisbon is from the statue of Christ the King on the opposite side of the river. Take a ferry from Cais do Sodré and hop on a bus to the most wonderful panorama all over the city and with the bridge perfectly framed in the shot. Highly recommend at sunset.

jana meerman santuario cristo do rei lisbon (3)
jana meerman santuario cristo do rei lisbon (1)

11. PALÁCIO NACIONAL DA AJUDA

Up until the 19th century, the Portuguese royal family called this opulently decorated palace home. Ornate rooms take up the space where you are free to wander, spotting artwork, architecture and furniture from around the world lavishly filling the rooms.


12. IGREJA SANTA MARIA DE BELÉM

Out in the neighbourhood of Belém, in the west, you can visit this church, attached to the famous Mosteiro dos Jerónimos, and enjoy its sweeping ceilings and intricate columns.


13. TORRE DE BELÉM

Built in the 16th century to defend Lisbon, this tower is now one of Belém's most well-known spots and a protected UNESCO site, too.

jana meerman torre de belem

4 DAY TRIPS TO TAKE FROM LISBON

While based in Lisbon, I made sure to spend my weekends exploring the regions nearby, hopping on trains and buses to visit some of the beautiful castles, towns and cities. Click on each picture below for a full guide to each destination!

Sintra

Tomar

Évora

Óbidos


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