Travel Guide

Lisbon Travel Blog: Complete City Guide

This Lisbon travel blog and guide has all you need to know to plan your trip to the trendiest hotspot in Europe right now. Budget, tourist traps and places not to miss vs main tourist traps, places to eat and of course insider tips. After all I’ve lived in Lisbon for a decade!

After living in Lisbon for 10 years, I know pretty much every corner and street of Lisbon by now and it’s unlike any other European capital.

Although it’s lively and busy, the rhythm of life is somehow slower. Although it has got a modern vibe, it respects tradition. And although it is visited by an ever-increasing number of tourists, it still boasts tons of character and uniqueness.

Together with this detailed itinerary, this easy-to-digest guide will tell all you need to know before visiting Lisbon.

lisbon travel blog guide baixa district santa justa view
Olá Lisboa!
Lisbon Travel Guide

hotels lisbon safest areas

Top hotels in Lisbon

I’ve made the hard work for you.
This is a pre-filtered list of hotels in the best areas to stay in Lisbon.

⚠ Overtourism in Lisbon

Lisbon has a LOT of tourists right now, and I’m afraid we have reached the amusement park level and is suffering the consequences of massive tourism and gentrification. For more chances to discover the “local” and “authentic” Lisbon, come outside the summer months (June, July, August) and avoid staying in AirBnB-packed areas like Alfama.

Best time to visit Lisbon

praca comercio tejo river lisbon travel blog guide
Good news: you can expect THIS clear sunny weather most of the year!

You are absolutely fine to go to Lisbon anywhere between March and October, as the warm weather in Portugal lasts for about half a year.

That said, visiting during the months of July and August the experience can be disappointing. Not only it might be too hot for some people to be walking around – temperatures can easily reach 35 degrees – but also everywhere you go will be busy. Prices of accommodation and goods are higher during summer.

Personally, I think June and September are the best months to be in Lisbon. June is the official month of Lisbon street festivities, so expect parties, open-air concerts, and shows pretty much every day.

September is just right in terms of weather – perfect for a beach day in one of Lisbon’s gorgeous golden sand strips – and tourist crowds.

What to visit in Lisbon

Lisbon Attractions Map

The below map contains all the main attractions in Lisbon as well as some of the top restaurants and bars in the city. These are handpicked my me.

You can easily download this map offline and use it to get around when you’re there.

Orange pins: Places not to miss
Blue pins: Points of interest
Purple pins: Restaurant recommendations
Green pins: Bar recommendations
Grey pins: Day trips

Lisbon is a playground for adults, with a lot to do and unique things to to experience. Don’t forget all the day trips you can do from Lisbon too!

What is worth to visit

I’ve covered all the worthy attractions in my detailed itinerary of Lisbon in more detail.

I’ll now address about what to expect in each area of Lisbon.


This area used to be the harbour and departure point of all the Portuguese ships in Discoveries Era. You can breathe history here amongst the majestic monuments, spacious gardens and gorgeous river views.

Many things to keep you busy here. The overcrowded Torre de Belém (Belém Tower), the imponent Padrão dos Descobrimentos and the intricate Mosteiro dos Jerónimos are all ode to the glorious Portuguese past as well as beautiful photo opportunities.

travel blog lisbon city guide belem jeronimos monastery
Inside Jerónimos Monastery. Game of Thrones should’ve been shot here!

Belém is also the museum district of Lisbon, where locals go for their monthly cultural dose. You can find interesting exhibits in Museu Berardo, Museu dos Coches or in the futuristic MAAT – museum for art, technology and architecture.

How to get to Belém

Take the train or the tram E15 in Cais do Sodré. Your destination stop is Belém. You can also take the 27, 28, 29, 43 and 49 buses which follow the same route.

Alfama, Sé, Graça & Castelo

Alfama is in essence a labyrinth of steep cobblestone streets who up until recent years were the most traditional part of the city. These days, every other door is an Airbnb apartment, but somehow the essence still lingers by. Great neighborhood to get beautifully lost and find kids playing soccer, neighbours chit chatting or putting the laundry out to dry.

Many places worth to visit in the surroundings. Sé Catedral and one of the many miradouros (viewpoints). My favorite are Miradouro da Nossa Senhora do Monte and Miradouro Portas do Sol with its absolutely gorgeous panoramic views facing east and southwest of the city, respectively. Both are great places to grab a cup of wine and take it all in.

lisbon 3 day itinerary alfama district what to see and do lisbon

Despite being increasingly touristy, Lisbon has still some uncovered bits and most of it the hidden beauty lies in these parts. Places like the overlooked Museu do Azulejo (Tile Museum) or the bi-weekly flea market of Feira da Ladra are true hidden gems.

Crowning this maze of authenticity and sitting on the highest hill of Lisbon, the millenium-old Castelo de São Jorge also deserves a visit. For better experience, time your visit for the sunset.

Got a place to stay in Lisbon already? (1/2) ⭐

lisbon itinerary 3 days - Hotel HF Fenix Music best hotel lisbon swimming pool rooftop
Image source:
Hotel HF Fenix Music

Charmingly music-themed hotel, super close to the center. Oh it comes with this stunning rooftop swimming pool.
Book now

Baixa & Rossio

Contrasting to the rest of the city, the downtown area of Lisbon – Baixa Pombalina – has ordered streets, majestic buildings and consistent architecture. This is where visitors usually spend more time.

My personal favorite is Praça do Comércio (Comércio Square): the grandest of the squares in Lisbon and one of the largest in Europe. Historically this was the gateway to the city, where goods from the colonies were traded.

lisbon airport to city center insider tips
The bright Praça do Comércio.

Be sure to take a look and go up Rua Augusta Arch, on the northern end of the square and Cais das Colunas, a popular relaxing spot next to the river. Also in Praça do Comercio you can find the iconic café Martinho da Arcada, a favorite from legendary portuguese writers like Eça de Queiroz and Fernando Pessoa.

A bit further up opposite the river, Rossio is the very heart of Lisbon. The beautiful wave-inspired cobblestone pavement – calçada portuguesa – covers the entire square.

💡 TIP: Most restaurants in Baixa are massive tourist traps, offering mediocre food at big prices. Avoid eating in this area.

Chiado & Bica

These are two very different neighborhoods sitting very close to each other.

travel blog lisbon city guide lisboa portugal chiado rua garrett summer
Rua Garrett, the trendiness epicenter in Lisbon.

Chiado is the elegant and artsy district, beloved by many poets and writers. Place of theaters, old bookshops and fancy restaurants, you can find a real-sized statue of Fernando Pessoa in A Brasileira, one of Chiado’s century-old cafés.

Most of this bustling area was destroyed in a massive fire in 1988 but has since been reborn. Together with Avenida da Liberdade, Rua Garrett holds the title for the more expensive real estate of Lisbon.

lisbon travel blog guide bica hidden gem district
Cute little things everywhere.

Despite being a more laid-back and picturesque residential district, Bica is still home to one of the most photographed streets. Bica Funicular, a top tourist attraction, runs through Rua da Bica de Duarte Belo since 1892.

The rest of the neighborhood still remains true to its past though, boasting charm from its extremely steep streets, 17th century buildings and balconies filled with flowers.

Separating both Chiado and Bica, lies Largo de Camões: a popular meeting spot for lisboners. Take the pulse of the city here amongst the trams, the traditional kiosk and the elegant buildings all around. The statue in the center is in honour of Luís de Camões, an iconic portuguese 16th century poet who wrote the Os Lusíadas masterpiece.

Other areas to go in Lisbon

Uphill Chiado and Bairro Alto, Príncipe Real is the hipster-est and trendiest part of Lisbon. This is where you’ll find alternative bars, gay bars, second-hand shops as well as vegetarian/vegan/gluten-free/organic/kosher/whatever places to eat. You get the idea. That said, this area has hands down some of the best restaurants in the city.

Sit on the a café in Jardim do Príncipe Real and do some people-watching. Jardim Botânico (Botanical Garden) is very rough around the edges, but still a pleasant stroll. My favorite place: the leafy Praça das Flores, one of the most chilled spots in the city.

city guide lisbon travel blog principe real district kiosk
A kitsch kiosk in Principe Real.

Hop on a ferry at Cais do Sodré and head to Cacilhas, on the other side of the Tejo river. This side is dominated by the Cristo Rei (Christ the Redeemer) statue, a 40-min walk away. A mini version of the one in Rio de Janeiro, but not really worth the walk IMO.

Instead, just walk along the docks in Cacilhas. Apart from a different-yet-still-beautiful perspective of Lisbon, there are 2 great restaurants here: Atira-te Ao Rio and Ponto Final. Both amongst the best choices for a romantic dinner with the river literally at your feet and Lisbon as backdrop.

They’re always packed so come early or make a reservation.

lisbon travel blog guide cacilhas restaurant river tejo
An unique view for your meal.

Extra: Day trip to Sintra

Finally I HIGHLY recommend you take a day trip to the fairytale village of Sintra. Here, imposing castles and ancient palaces live in harmony with exotic gardens and greenery. This is a UNESCO World Heritage Site for a reason.

There are sights in Sintra to keep you busy for a whole day. From the mysterious Quinta da Regaleira to the intricate Palácio de Montserrat or the iconic Castelo dos Mouros.

lisbon travel blog guide daytrip to sintra
Castelo dos Mouros @ Sintra.

The main attraction however is Palácio da Pena, a colorful Disney-like palace brimming with over-the-top designs. It is located on the very top of a hill and from up there, you can delight yourself with breathtaking views from all the Sintra, Cascais and Lisbon region. Go early as it gets really crowded after 11am.

How many days to stay in Lisbon?

You might be wondering how many days would you need for all this. My detailed itinerary of Lisbon is based on 3 full days. Any less and you will be missing out one way or another.

lisbon travel guide and blog

Lisbon Detailed Itinerary (3 Days)

Continue reading more about Lisbon with a complete 3-day itinerary packed with tips and advice for the main sights of the city.
Read now >>

However I highly recommend you staying longer. Not only you can see the main sights less in a rush, but there’s just so many secret places worth to uncover and great day trips to go in!

The below table contains day plans up until 6 full days in the city.

Days What to see
1- Belém District
- Largo de Camões
- Viewpoints
2- Parque Eduardo VII
- Avenida da Liberdade
- Rossio
- Carmo
- Praça do Comércio
3- Parque das Nações
- Baixa
- Alfama District
- São Jorge Castle
4- Day trip to Sintra
5- Feira da Ladra
- Panteão Nacional
- Igreja São Vicente de Fora
- LX Factory
6- Beach day trip to Comporta/Arrábida

Lisbon Tourist Traps

After the goodies, I decided to incorporate a section on the experiences you want to AVOID in Lisboa.

It’s a bit depressing to think 5 or 10 years ago this section wouldn’t make sense. Back then pretty much everything in Lisbon was a hidden gem and there were definitely no tourist traps. Heck, there were hardly tourists!

Anyway, here are the main time and money wasters of Lisboa.

Torre de Belém

lisbon travel blog guide belem tower tourist trap
A dreamy view on the outside, a nightmare inside.

Torre de Belém (Belém Tower) is a iconic symbol of the Portuguese Era of Discoveries and a stunning sight on the outside. A true architectural statement sitting right next to the river. For some reason I’ve featured it on my Lisbon itinerary.

The tourist trap happens from the moment you buy the ticket and go inside. Firstly, there’s not really much to see, apart from the major staircase and the main terrace.

Then – you guessed it – it’s overrun with tourists. Prepare to dry out in the sun while you wait in the queue as well as major human traffic congestions of people going up and down the narrow staircases inside.

Basically see it from the outside, avoid going in.

Pastéis de Belém

Apparently the original recipe of custard tarts is held by Pastéis de Belém, a pastry shop that opened in 1837. Today, is recommended by travel guides who have no idea what they’re saying when they say this is the “best pastel de nata” in town.

Every time I go there I feel underwhelmed. The tarts are always cold. There are way too many people inside, to the point where the chit chatter becomes noise. And the service is just what every restaurant/bar/coffee shop doesn’t want to be: blunt and industrial.

Fortunately there are now many good pastry shops in Lisbon with homemade pastéis de nata. One of them is #7 on my list of hidden gems of Lisbon!

Santa Justa Lift

OMG, for some reason people are obsessed with this place. I honestly don’t get why would anyone people place themselves on a huge queue for a absolutely-normal-and-definitely-not-life-changing 20-second lift ride.

You can get a similar experience without wasting an hour of your life. Or even without paying. Just enter through Largo do Carmo for free and make your time count!

The Tram 28

travel blog lisbon city guide tram 28
Taken years ago. Now the queue is 10x longer.

The Tram #28 is perhaps the largest tourist trap in the city. I mean, it’s literally a trap. The tram is known by the high concentration of pickpockets, as the crowded rides are the perfect opportunity for them to act.

Apart from this, prepare to wait (a lot!) to hop on 28. In peak months, the waiting time on the queue can be up to 1h30 as the stops are absolutely packed with tourists.

In fact I truly feel bad for the locals in this area, their daily transportation routine has been completely ruined.

Fado dinner “tours”

Fado is the most unique type of portuguese music and integral part of Lisbon‘s culture. It’s beautifully melancholic and you’ll most likely feel the song, if you don’t understand a word of they’re singing.

That said, deny any suggestion of guides trying to shove down your throat suggest dinner + Fado shows as one of the most authentic things you can do in Lisbon. Why?

  • The price. The dinner + fado combo “packages” cost anywhere between 40-60 euros which is a total rip-off. In some, drinks are not even included.
  • The food. One word: mediocre.
  • Not a “local” experience. Very rarely locals this. Fado shows are the equivalent of flamenco shows in Spain. They’re made for tourists and only for tourists only which is a huge turn-off if you ask me.

Museu Calouste Gulbenkian

It really surprises me how this place is featured in some of Lisbon’s top guides. It is in essence a rich man’s personal collection with no particular highlights. And I’m pretty sure personal collections can get more interesting than this.

I can see loads of better things you can do in Lisbon with the 10 EUR entrance fee.

How to get around Lisbon

Best way to get around Lisbon

By far the best way to explore Lisbon is to walk. Despite being hilly, the city is full of hidden gems that will surprise you at every turn. Whether its magnificent views, a little kitsch shop or just amazing street art, you’ll never find it unless you’re walking.

Public transportation in Lisbon

Public transport is good, but not excellent. To ride the metro, trams, buses and trains you’ll need a reusable VivaViagem card. This paper card is reusable and you can then top-up up with individual trips Note however the tickets are NOT the same: the card only holds tickets of one type (bus, metro, train, etc).

For this reason I prefer to top-up VivaViagem with money (Zapping version). This credit is valid in any combination of public transport. There’s also a 24H day multi-transport pass, which pays itself after 3 bus/tram rides.

travel guide lisboa blog transport diagram
Metro and Train (CP) diagram.
Source: Metro Lisboa.

For more detailed info on public transportation in Lisbon head here.

Other ways of getting around

Strangely, you’ll see many tuk-tuks around. These have been described by locals as a plague and are directed for tourists only. Prices can be expensive.

I’d avoid taxis completely as they’re known for scams when they have tourists as clients. Specially in airport trips. Apps like MyTaxi help you make sure you get a friendly and honest driver. There are cheaper ride-sharing options though: Uber and Cabify are widely available.

Where to stay in Lisbon

Buildings in the old neighbourhoods in Lisbon have been refurbished to serve as accommodation for tourists on Airbnb. As a result, the flat offer locals is now much smaller and the rents are unbearable for Portuguese standards.

Instead of an apartment, if possible book a hotel or guesthouse which does have less of an impact on the local housing market.

hotels lisbon safest areas

Top hotels in Lisbon

I’ve made the hard work for you.
This is a pre-filtered list of hotels in the best areas to stay in Lisbon.

Best areas to stay in Lisbon

Alfama and Castelo are entirely packed with tourists.
Intendente, Anjos are cheaper may have some (rare) safety issues and are not the prettiest areas to live for a few days.

I’d also avoid staying in the up-and-coming hipster areas of Bairro Alto (it can get very noisy at night) and in Martim Moniz.

Aim for any area in the “central axis” of Lisbon – São Sebastião, Marquês, Avenida, Restauradores and Baixa and Príncipe Real. They’re all a great choice in terms of shops, restaurants, and transportation.

Below are my top 2 recommendations.

Value-for-money places to stay in Lisbon


road trip portugal lisbon - Hotel HF Fenix Music best hotel lisbon swimming pool rooftop
Image source:
Hotel HF Fenix Music

Charmingly music-themed hotel, super close to the center. Oh it comes with this stunning rooftop swimming pool.
Book now


road trip lisbon portugal best hotel chiado downtown
Image source:

We Love F Tourists

Located in busy Rossio – the heart of Lisbon – it’s just one of those amazing value places that will make you feel at home. Perfect to make friends. Book now

Or… find your own!

Use this list of quality hotels and guesthouses I’ve put together to get you started. ALL of these are located in the best central areas of Lisbon, with WiFi and with a rating of 8 or higher. Just pick your favourite!

Lisbon Beaches

One of the major selling points of Lisbon is its proximity to wide Atlantic beaches, perfect for surfing, swimming or just procrastinating while getting tanned. There are many beach possibilities around – specially if you get a car to get around – but I’ll just drop here my top 5.

Make sure to check my Lisbon beach guide, with complete reviews, a map and tips as to where to go and where NOT to go.

Top 5 beaches near Lisbon

With no particular order:

  • Portinho da Arrábida. Located in a bay enclosed by the a natural park it boasts incredible crystal clear waters. 1 hour from Lisbon and sadly a nightmare to park.
  • Praia da Adraga. A rugged coast with huge cliffs make this beach one of the most dramatic ones in Portugal. The landscape is gorgeous and a bit more safeguarded from the crowds in Praia das Maçãs.
  • Praia da Mata. This beach is actually just one of a total of 15km of Atlantic golden sand beaches of Costa da Caparica. Get there by bus or car. When there’s no traffic, it should be only a 25-min journey.
  • Praia do Meco. Wild and remote, but with great facilities. The main bar/restaurant is very popular hotspot for watching the sunset with a caipirinha in one hand. 1h from Lisbon by car.
  • Praia da Comporta. I just love the beach near this little town surrounded by rice fields and the bliss of Alentejo landscape. 1h30 to get there from Lisbon, so worth to consider staying there for the night.

To make it clear: these are my favorite beaches. You can still find some lower quality but more accessible beaches near Estoril and Cascais. They’re a 30/40 min train ride from the Cais do Sodré station.

What and where to eat in Lisbon

travel blog lisbon guide lisboa pasteis de nata egg custard tarts
Pastéis de nata. Don’t you dare leave Lisbon without trying one!

There’s hardly a better destination for foodies. Lisbon is packed with great food at delicious prices!

Make sure you try the most popular local specialties:

What to eat in Lisbon

  • Sardinhas grelhadas: grilled sardines are one of Portugal’s most beloved dishes. They’re the symbol of Festas de Lisboa month-long party in June.
  • Bacalhau: they say Portuguese have 365 ways of cooking bacalhau (cod) – we are really world experts. Bacalhau com natas (with cream), Bacalhau à Brás (with fries and scrambled egg) are the most popular choices, but you’re on to a memorable meal with anything on the menu.
  • Caldo Verde: kale soup with slices of chorizo. Sounds boring but it’s actually authentic, delicious and healthy.
  • Pastel de nata: the iconic egg custard tarts. They’re easily available in all pastry shops and accompanied by a bica (café).

The restaurant scene is more alive than never. There’s a place for every budget nd type of food.

Yet I still think for anyone visiting the goal is to go local and seek authenticity on a plate. There are a few places where you can have delicious traditional food in Lisbon:

🍴 Toma Lá Dá Cá (Travessa do Sequeiro, 38)

Very typical and unpretentious place. Don’t expect creative or imaginative dishes, just authentic food as it’s served in any Portuguese home. I find it a particularly amazing choice for meat lovers, but grilled fish is great too. You won’t be disappointed.

🍴 A Gina (Parque Mayer)

Great honest food from the North of Portugal, respecting traditional ingredients and ways of cooking. You can eat a LOT for 20EUR/person, but I’m particularly fan of their meat.

🍴 Carvoaria Jacto (Rua Maria Andrade, 6A)

A steakhouse, done the portuguese way. Choose your meat (lamb, beef or pork), the cut and size and they’ll cook it for you. Salad is complimentary. Everything is great quality, but the Posta À Mirandesa will rock your world.

💡 TIP: the side items that magically appear on your table before the meal are NOT free. I’m talking about bread, olives, cheese, etc. If you don’t want them, flag immediately to the waiter so that they don’t charge you in the end.

city guide lisbon travel blog meat platter food lisboa
Meat platter @ A Gina.

Seeking a place to stay in Lisbon? Search no more! (2/2) ⭐

lisbon itinerary 3 days best hotel chiado downtown
Image source:

We Love F Tourists

Located in busy Rossio – the heart of Lisbon – it’s just one of those amazing value places that will make you feel at home. Perfect to make friends. Book now

Lisbon nightlife

One thing I love about Lisbon is how down-to-earth it can be. “Going out” in the city can be as simple as grabbing a drink from a bar and drinking on a street in Bairro Alto. And it’s damn fun.

There are fancier cocktail bars and clubs, but for this you can go everywhere else in the world, right?

Cais do Sodré

This part of Lisbon is mostly known for its nightlife with loads of unique bars and nightclubs around. People gather around Rua Nova do Carvalho, also known as Rua Cor-de-Rosa (Pink Street).

Have a drink at Pensão Amor, which used to be a cheap pension with rooms rented by the hour to prostitutes and their clients. The 18th-century building has a total of 5 floors and amongst its burlesque decoration, you can find old posters from peep shows, poles and other suggestive items.

Bairro Alto

During the day is one of the oldest and most traditional neighborhoods in Lisbon. At night, specially during weekends, this maze of cobblestone streets gains a new life and turns into the city’s major nightlife hotspot.

Tips for Lisbon nightlife

  • Timings are everything. Locals usually have dinner between 20:00 and 21:30 and don’t go clubbing before 1 or 2 in the morning.
  • Most people will grab a drink in Bairro Alto or Cais do Sodré. If you’re looking for a more chilled location, try Bica and the street along the funicular line (Elevador da Bica).
  • The most famous – and allegedly best? – nightclub in Lisbon is Lux (Av. Infante D. Henrique, Armazém A, Santa Apolónia). This converted warehouse is known for its ecletic electronic music.

hotels lisbon safest areas

Top hotels in Lisbon

I’ve made the hard work for you.
This is a pre-filtered list of hotels in the safest areas of Lisbon.

How to get to Lisbon

Lisbon is not in a central location in Europe, so the best way of getting there is by plane.

Companies like TAP Portugal assure daily connections from the United States, South America and Africa. If you’re based in the US, also have a look at travel package deals combining flight + hotel + transfers. Some of them might be a good deal – the best one for this is Azores Getaways.

If you’re coming from inside Europe, your choices are dramatically larger. Several low-costs fly to terminal 2 of Lisbon airport, including Ryanair, Easyjet and Norwegian. To find which one has the best prices on the dates you’re interested, check Skyscanner or my new favorite app TravelPerk.

Regardless of where you’re flying from, when arriving Lisbon, make sure you don’t scammed by the taxi drivers. There are far better options to go to Lisbon city center.

Cost of things in Lisbon

To give you a good idea of the budget you can expect, I’ll give you some examples of what things usually cost me in Lisbon. The prices have been updated in August 2019.

Lisbon budget and daily costs

  • Transportation: The VivaViagem card costs 0,50 EUR. An individual metro ticket is 1,5 EUR, but the Zapping option (topping up money is more convenient). For buses, onboard ticket are even more expensive so it’s better to buy your ticket in advance.
  • Food: a typical lunch menu will cost anywhere between 8 and 15 euros (includes main dish + drink + dessert). For dinner, prices start at 30/35EUR for a full dinner for two, including wine.
  • Water: going up and down those hills will make you thirsty. A big water bottle (1,5L) costs from 0,35EUR in local supermarkets.
  • Accommodation: Prices of accommodation have risen significantly in recent years. Realistically, private rooms start at 40 euros per night. But there’s a room for all budgets – see here my list of hotel suggestions.
  • Entrance fees: the main sights in Lisbon range from the 3 EUR for Arco da Rua Augusta up until the 12 EUR of Mosteiro dos Jerónimos.

Overall and comparing to other european capitals, Lisbon is very cheap. You’ll see the city offers loads for your money, particularly in the food department.

If you’re traveling with more people and dividing costs, it is perfectly possible to get around with less than 60-70 euros per day, accommodation included.

hotels lisbon safest areas

Top hotels in Lisbon

I’ve made the hard work for you.
This is a pre-filtered list of hotels in the best areas to stay in Lisbon.

Insider tips for Lisbon

  • Avoid taking taxis, specially if you’ve just arrived to Lisbon. There are far more reliable scam-free options to get to the city center.
  • “Drug” dealers in Baixa are completely harmless. In fact most of them don’t even sell real drugs. Say no and go on with your life.
  • Start off your days portuguese style with a café (coffee) and a pastel de nata (custard tart) in any coffee or pastry shop. Repeat after lunch and dinner, if desired.
  • Whenever you see a sign saying miradouro, follow it. You’ll be rewarded with great views.
  • Couvert items in restaurants – olives, cheese, bread, etc – do not come for free. In fact they can be overpriced. If you don’t want them, just say no as soon as the waiter comes.
  • Do NOT eat in any restaurant with hawkers inviting you in. While in some the food is actually not that bad, others can be a tourist trap. This is specially true in Rua das Portas de Santo Antão.
  • Tipping is completely optional. You do it only if you think your service was far more than expected.
lisbon travel blog guide chiado architecture blue sky
Beauty is in the details.

Lisbon Review

It’s kind of awkward to review the city where I’ve lived for almost 10 years. It’s like you’re reviewing your family: you acknowledge all the flaws, but you still love them anyway.

There’s no doubt recent years have completely transformed Lisbon. Some say it’s for worse – and for sure the “Venice effect” is there. More visitors, tuk-tuks, souvenir shops, and hotels opening in historical buildings are now opening to cater this

On the other hand, it also means less decrepit buildings, increased safety, more food choices. There’s a positive energy and vibe in the air. There might be many underlying problems going on, but my beloved Lisbon is alive and charming as always.

Lisbon Travel Guide – Other Useful Links

Have you used this Lisbon travel guide? Which other tips for Lisbon would you add?
Feel free to share below your experience, I want to continuously improve this article!

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  1. Lisbon is a great destination for a long weekend escape; it’s a multicultural, passionate, multifaceted city, and it will conquer you with its mix of modern and old-fashioned architecture. Often underrated, Lisbon is one of my favorite cities in Europe together with London, and I hope you’ll like it as much as I do. If it’s your first time visiting Lisbon and you’re wondering what to see in Lisbon with so many choices, I recommend you to start out with a very popular, essential tour of Lisbon that will show you’re spending at least a week in Lisbon to get it all done! Before visit to Portugal apply for a Portugal Visa UK so that you can easily travel to Portugal.

  2. What a great article! We’re currently dreaming of going to Lisbon again – we’ve been there before and we love, love love it! Here’s to hoping for a better 2021 and 2022 with loads of travel plans and new experiences!

    – Cirkeline // RejsRejsRejs

    If you want even more tips for your trip to Lisbon, you’re welcome to read
    (link removed)

  3. Yes, Lisboa has changed and tourists are in abundance. The baixa and alfama are full of “souvenir” shops that invade the sidewalks with postcards and magnets. Medíocre restaurantes aggressively vie for tourists. There are still neighborhoods where life is peaceful but I wont say where!

  4. Wow!! Great blog post on Lisbon. I love that the fact that you reviewed the place you lived for 10 years. It just be both sweet and awkward at the same time. Lisbon is definitely one of my places to visit in 2020 so thank you very much for this amazing guide. Great job!!

  5. Please update your public transport entry. The VivaCard has been used in all transports for quite a while – all it takes is to use the Zapping option and you put money in it and it can be used in all transports, including the boats and the trams and buses in Almada.

  6. Wow! Thanks for such an amazing, well put together article We’re headed to Lisbon soon and are stoked to check out some of your recommendations. Thanks so much.


  7. Hi I’m staying in Lisbon tomorrow until Sunday at the fenicius charme hotel which states it’s the Alfama area but I’m unsure. Looking for a fado restaurant near by is it worth it?

  8. Hello! Thank you for your very thorough blog, I really loved it. I will definitely be using it when I’m going to visit Lisbon in February.

    I do have 2 questions for you:
    1. We’ll be staying on Av. Fontes Pereira de Melo, is this a central location?
    2. And knowing were our hotel is located, we’ll be definitely needing the Viva viagem card right? Or is it a good idea to buy the Lisboa card?

  9. Ohh Lisbon, I loved you but not anymore. What a stressful city these days. Cars, planes, people, chaotic city that gives you headaches.

    1. Sad to hear your experience has changed Som.
      Could it be that you changed and are less tolerant of these things or started appreciating other things such as silence and nature?

  10. This is a very helpful unique information.Keep it up. Thank you so much.

  11. Thank you for sharing this. Is the 3 day itinery available for printing?


  12. This is really informative and valuable post. Thanks for sharing this wonderful post.

  13. A lot of hype over Lisbon lately and if you make a fair assessment you realise it is still a rather polluted, noisy and messy city. Now it is also overcrowded with tourists that can barely move, let alone fit in the sidewalks of Baixa and Chiado. Hope this crazy hype ends soon as residents increasingly feel like strangers in their own city. Portugal has a lot more to visit.

  14. Hi, thank you very much for such a lovely information on Lisbon. Having read your article I traveled to that beautiful country recently and prepared some tips on Youtube named “Tips on Lisbon” and “Lisbon – what you need to know”. The tips are very valuable without much empty talking. Hope you and everyone can see them at (link removed)
    Your article and advice was really valuable and I somehow managed to include many things you advised in that video.

  15. Lissabon is a beautifull city, very kind people and a hotspot. Today we were bestolen probably by a pickpocket-gang. You could say , so what ..this happens every day in European city’s .We lost money, and a identity-card . We went to the police who was very kind and helpfull, and were not alone . Every day tens of tourists make a theft report.The problem is that the Portugese law is practically impunity for steal on the streats. So Lissabon became a target for crime-gangs to operate and probably the hughest threat for tourism ,an important motor of Portugese economy !!!
    Our holiday is over, we don’t mind of the money but we loose holiday-time to search for papers , going to embassy … our holiday is finished .We are so disappointed.
    Go to the Portugese islands , go to the country.. but stay away from Lissabon-centre!!!!
    Just stay away ,it is not safe anymore.We are so ashamed,sorry.

    1. I’m truly sorry for your experience.
      Still, just because it happened to you, doesn’t mean is an unsafe place and that people should “stay away” from. If that was the case, no city in the world was safe.

  16. Hi thank you for your tips! I have been in Lisbon with my girlfriends 2 year ago and it was amazing! Unfortunately we spent only one night there before we had to go back to Porto which also truly amazed us. We did a wine tour there with great guide and very funny group. Love Porto wine! Check them we were really satisfied (link removed). Hope it’ll be helpful. Enjoy your trips guys and don’t forget to eat a lot of pastell de natas! 🙂

  17. Lisbon just won the award for the worst airport in the world in 2019. Check bloomberg article. Enjoy your flight! 🙂

  18. Great post, I’ll be sure to use your tips on our upcoming trip to Lisbon. Thanks so much!

  19. Be aware of scams in Lisbon. The latest one is a bunch of kids dressed up as if they were part of a NGO asking tourists for donations to assist poor people. It’s all fake and it’s a big scam. Also be aware of pickpockets. Hate to say this but unfortunately my city is no longer the nicest place to visit.

    1. Thanks Maria.
      Even despite these unfortunate situations I can confirm, it’s far from being an unsafe place.

  20. Hi,
    I loved this. You write about Lisbon the way I write about San Francisco. I have a small tour company where I give private tours in a convertible MINI Cooper. I go all over San Francisco and surrounding areas.
    I love how you love the city in spite of the changes. These insights are great. I can’t wait to visit Lisbon and see for myself.

  21. Golden visas will eventually end. Just check today’s report from the European Parliament that presses EU governments to stop this program.

  22. Portugal has so much to see and Lisbon is too touristy these days. I recommend trips to Braga/Porto/Coimbra/Aveiro, Sesimbra/Comporta, Óbidos/Nazaré (world’s biggest waves), Algarve/Costa Vicentina. If you decide to go to Lisbon (I suggest 2 days to visit Baixa/Chiado, Castle/Alfama, Belem) you should rent a car or take train to visit Sintra, Guincho, Cascais/Estoril, Évora. Tips from a local 🙂

  23. The reasons why people keep visiting stressful and chaotic cities is something that I really don’t get. The problem is that nowadays with social media you create hypes over certain places and when that happens the places immediately lose their magic. Overtourism has killed cities like Barcelona, Amsterdam, Rome, Venice and now Lisbon. Advice from someone who travels a lot: avoid big touristy cities and visit smaller cities and you will save money and have a more pleasant time.

    1. I have to completely agree with you Ralf, my best travel experiences lately have been in smaller cities as well.

  24. Hi

    My wife and I moved from California to Lisbon 2 years ago with our then 3-year-old son. When our son got sick we had no idea on where to find a pediatrician other than the emergency room. Not speaking the language as well was really scary for us. We later discovered an App called Kovered that helped us with finding most health & well-being.

    I hope this helps any travelers.

  25. My trip to Portugal. (+) Great weather and good food (except in Lisbon where it is overpriced and not authentic), (-) Lisbon is overcrowded, noisy and stressful especially in Baixa and Chiado. I also made day trips to Sintra/Guincho, to Alcochete/Costa da Caparica/Sesimbra and to Comporta and loved every bit of it. Also went a bit north to Nazare where you can see the biggest waves in the world. Quite a moment that one should experience. Honestly, I’d spend as little time as possible in Lisbon. Just rent a car and go around Lisbon if you want to feel the authenthic portuguese culture and gastronomy. Also heard nice things about the north of PT (Porto, Aveiro, Coimbra, Braga). It’s on my list.

  26. How dangerous is Martim Moniz? I note you’ve said in your article to avoid it. We have an air bnb apartment booked, closer to Rossio but just wondering whether I should cancel? Thanks.

    1. Martim Moniz can be dangerous at night but it really depends on the street. If you are closer to Praca do Comercio then it should be fine.

    2. There are some specific streets which can be dodgy at night, but if you’re closer to Rossio you should be fine.

  27. Lisbon is quite nice, but I have to agree that it became too popular and it lost some of its magic. Maybe Porto is a more decent choice these days.

  28. Just came back from Lisbon and honestly I think it is overated and too touristy. I loved Guincho and Sintra though.

    1. Thanks for sharing your experience Sam and it’s a shame it didn’t leave to your expectations.

  29. Lisbon is packed with turists these days so expect long queues for anything that is slightly popular, overcrowded streets that cause you stress and artificial souvenir shops everywhere. Also, Lisbon became very expensive over the past years featuring currently in the 100th most expensive cities in the world ( If you want to have an authentic cheaper experience you should go somewhere else in Portugal (e.g. Aveiro, Coimbra, Guimaraes, Nazare, Obidos, Evora, Tavira, Lagos, Vilamoura).

  30. I found your site doing some research about visiting Lisbon again when my team moves there later this year. It’s been four years since I was last in Lissabon but I remember loving it. Surely I’ll be following a few of your tips! Thanks for your tips.

  31. I appreciated what we did here. I enjoyed every little bit some of it. I am always trying to find informative information this way. Thanks for sharing around.

  32. Thank you for a fantastic tutorial. This has helped me tremendously.
    I have a question please – when I insert a picture into a post the image can be seen but when I add a featured image only the name of the image appears. When I save the changes made and look at the preview of the post there are no images and both the post image and the feature image show up as the image name only.
    What am I doing wrong or why is this happening?
    Thanks for your help

  33. One of the best travel guides I’ve seen. Going to Lisbon this weekend and taking into account everything you’ve said. Thank you for putting the time and effort into this 🙂

  34. Dear Mr Bruno,
    Please be 100% sure that everything you wrote above helps people and they benefit and gladly refer to your valuable tips. Many people wish to visit Lisbon and they save their time greatly after having read your personal observations! Thanks a lot from Kazakhstan, Astana

  35. 100% agree with everything except the “pasteis de Belem”. They really are the best… the trick is to not seat inside and order at the bar instead. 90% of the time they are warm. Just pick a box up and eat them outside.

    1. Thanks for sharing your experience!
      Even though sounds like a good alternative, I would still have to disagree they’re the best – the taste in other places in Lisboa is very superior. But hey, each to its own!

  36. Wow, this is such a fantastic quide! This will be my starting point when planning my itinerary when I go there in 2 months. As a solo female traveler, are there specific areas I should avoid in Lisbon, in terms of safety? Should I completely rule out walking around at night at all? Thank you!

    1. You’re perfectly fine to walk around in the center at night. I’d avoid areas like Intendente and Martim Moniz though.

  37. Hello Greetings !
    I love the way you’ve explained everything in Details. Amazing article. Easy guide and lovely tips! I literally took screenshots.

    Best wishes ,
    L from India

  38. Bruno … hello .. excellent info. thank you.

    Question … I will be coming to Lisbon in October to look into it as a possible retirement place. Probably 10-14 days. Which area of the city would be best located for us to use as a base for exploration?

    Although we will be doing some sightseeing, the primary intent is to explore neighborhoods, look at apartments, get familiar with public transport options, check out grocery shopping, make some contacts, etc.

    thanks for any help!

    1. I’d stay as central as possible. Somewhere near Marquês or Avenida will allow you to do all that!

    2. thank you … are you referring to the Marques de Pombal and Avenida metro stops ?

  39. Great post with nice tips. We are in Lisbon now but the weather is not that great here now. But we will try your tips out anyway. I think we are going to try out the free walking tour too.

    1. Sorry to hear about the weather, but the good thing is that the sun doesn’t wait long to show up 😉

  40. Good article! one of my friends visited Lisbon a few months ago and now I’m planning to go there. Your article is going to help me in many regards.


  41. Nice guide! Great photos too. I just spent a week driving up the West Coast in a van and Lisbon was the the ideal spot to round off an amazing adventure. I think I fell in love with every charm-filled corner. Wish I’d found this guide first… never mind, next time!

  42. Great article!
    I travel a lot and use people like you at to learn about the places I visit.
    I highly recommend you check it out and maybe make a few more bucks 🙂

  43. Any recommendations for a driver to take us from Porto to the Algarve mid September?

  44. Wow! Great guide. So full of great info. My brother, his wife, and I plan to visit Lisbon march or april 2018. This guide is so relevant to what we do when visiting europe. We love to walk around eat local food visit local areas and be as non touristy as possible ( though we still visit some tourist traps ). Thank you for the time and effort you put into this guide. For sure bookmarked in my phone so i can read over and over again. Cant wait to visit Lisbon from Vancouver Canada.

    1. You welcome! Still a long time to go, but that gives you lots of time to great planning! 🙂

  45. This is a fantastic guide. I wanted to chime in with a perspective from a non-Portuguese who’s newer to the city but has been here long enough to see everything on this guide:

    – Being in Lisbon in June and experiencing the Festas de Lisboa was one of the most unique experiences I’ve ever had. I highly recommend going around in the week around the eve of Santo Antonio’s Day, June 12. The festival might make for a good future guide post 🙂

    – I haven’t gone up the Torre de Belem, but everyone I’ve talked to who’s gone up there says its underwhelming as well. A tip from my friend was that you can get a better view with less crowds at the top of Padrão dos Descobrimentos.

    – Maybe my palate is a bit different, but so far Pasteis de Belem has been the best pastel de nata I’ve tried. It has really good flaky crust and is not too sweet. It’s been hot out of the oven when I’ve had it though. I’ve tried them at Manteigaria, Aloma and some of the local places. It’s all subjective though, and Manteigaria is 95% as good to me with a fraction of the work to get it.

    – The Gulbenkian was actually a nice surprise to me, since I wasn’t expecting much from one guy’s collection. It is well curated. That being said, I wouldn’t replace anything in your 6 day list with it. If you’re going to go to one off the beaten path museum, the Tile Museum is a much better option!

    1. Also, forgot one thing. It’s touristy, but I feel like the Time Out Market is a must for anyone visiting Lisbon. It has stalls from many of the best Lisbon chefs and restaurants under one roof and allows people to try many things quickly (including pastel de nata from Manteigaria!). It works well with to pair a lunch at Time Out Market with a trip to Belem since you can catch the train from Cais do Sodre.

    2. Thanks very much for sharing your feedback. It’s always interesting to see how an expat looks into a place you know very well!

      The Time Out Market is a great tip. To be honest, I liked it a lot more when it was still not discovered by locals and tourists, but is still a place with a very unique energy.

      Thanks again, really enjoyed reading your perspective!

    3. Thanks! Yeah, I hear ya on the Time Out Market. It can get pretty crowded, especially on the weekends, but despite that, our friends who have visited have all mentioned it as one of their favorite things in Lisbon.

      Your posts on Lisbon and Portugal are my favorites (and I’ve read a lot of them)!