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Lisbon, A Beautiful City Full of Surprises

Visit Lisbon Portugal min

My nutshell version of Lisbon: The people are friendly and it’s an amazing city with plenty to see, do, explore, and beautiful architecture. The food is delicious, and the enchanting city is full of surprises. 

So, let’s jump right in because Lisbon is calling you!

Best time to explore Lisbon

Lisbon has a Subtropical-Mediterranean climate, i.e. mild winters and hot summers.

June / July is the high season, so a bit crowded. But the vibe is amazing, especially during the annual Sardine Festival, namely the Feast of St. Anthony Sardine Festival, in June.

Talking about crowds… If you want to skip the crowds, then September / October is a good option. Especially September, because the weather is still relatively warm and most European schools have started thus fewer crowds. 

Alternatively, April and May are also less crowded, and the weather is cooler than in June / July.

A multi-award-winning city

If you have ANY doubts about whether to get on the next plane and fly to Lisbon, then you’ll have no more after I share Lisbon’s accolades.

  • The city won the World’s Leading City Break Destination award in 2020, 2019, 2018, and 2017.
  • As if this is not enough, the city won Europe’s Leading City Tourist Board award in 2020 and 2019.
  • Then the city walked away with the award for Europe’s Leading City Break Destination in 2009, 2010, 2013, and 2019.
  • Other awards include the World’s Leading City Destination (2018), Europe’s Leading City Destination (2018), and Europe’s Leading Destination (2009).

Places of interest

Top things to do and sightseeing attractions in Lisbon Belem tower Santa Justa Elevator cascais lighthouse min

Above, from left to right: Belem Tower, Santa Justa Elevator, Padrao dos Descobrimentos, Cascais Lighthouse.

  • Belém with all its seafood restaurants and maritime landmarks, is a must-visit, just 5 km from Lisbon. 
  • Castelo de S. Jorge is not only rich in history, but it has some dramatic city views. If you only have one day to see Lisbon, I suggest the castle and Lisbon Cathedral.
  • Praça do Comércio square is an ideal place to do a bit of shopping and relax at one of the many cafes. Similarly, but more quaint, is Rua Augusta. It’s a beautiful promenade!
  • Santa Justa Lift is famous for its 1902-cast iron elevator linking city levels. 
  • Oceanário de Lisboa, is an interesting and fascinating waterside aquarium with ocean ecosystems.
  • For spectacular contemporary art, go to The National Museum of Contemporary Art. Speaking about museums, Lisbon’s fascinating history is depicted at Lisboa Story Centre. Another interesting museum worth visiting is Museu Nacional de Arqueologia, the archaeological museum.
  • An amazing example of 18th-century Portuguese engineering is The Águas Livres Aqueduct, covering 18 km. (i.e. the main course). The entire network of canals stretches over almost 58 km.
  • Padrão dos Descobrimentos is a concrete monument to maritime explorers. The sculpting is magnificent, to say the least. Another monument with great sculpting is on Marquis of Pombal Square. Also, see Restauradores Square with its obelisk monument. You’ll find the most beautiful bronze fountains at Rossio square, with its amazing mosaic pattern.
  • For beautiful photographs and panoramic views, go to Miradouro das Portas do Sol. Organize a picnic basket and enjoy!
  • Do a day trip to Cascais, a nearby gorgeous seaside town. Also, make a point to visit Almada‘s pretty port. Here, you can’t miss spotting the just-over-2 km long Golden Gate-style suspension bridge. Ponte 25 de Abril links Almada with Lisbon.
Travel to Lisbon sightseeing cathedral castle bridge min

Above, from left to right: Ponte 25 de Abril, Cathedral, Street Performers, Castelo de S. Jorge

What & where to eat

Portuguese cuisine Pasteis de Nata sardines bifana sandwich piri piri chicken min

Above, from left to right: Pastéis de Nata, Sardines, Bifana Sandwich, Chicken Piri Piri.

Cacilhas is a scenic waterfront district and the perfect setting for seafood dining. 

Pastéis de Nata and Portugal go hand in hand. You will want to eat this morning, noon and night. And then, there is other good stuff too…

  • Alheira is a Portuguese specialty sausage with kosher meat. For instance, chicken, veal, and duck.
  • Seafood lovers should try Bacalhau, which I found to be quite salty. There are many variations of the fish. Of which I found the fish cakes to be super tasty, called Pastéis de Bacalhau.
  • If you eat pork, grab a Bifana Sandwich, add some French fries and a Sagres beer and you are sorted for a budget-friendly meal
  • Chouriço, a Portuguese sausage, can be found all over the world, but it’s not half as good as in Lisbon. Therefore, it’s a must on my list of “what-to-eat”.
  • Ginjinha is a Portuguese liqueur with cinnamon, Morello cherries (or sour Ginja), and of course, sugar. Another must-try.
  • Piri Piri Chicken (Portuguese for chicken, is “frango”) is a must if you’re not vegetarian. It’s embedded in the Portuguese cuisine and super tasty, moist, and just mouth-watering good. In summer it goes well with a side salad.
  • Sardines may be last on my list, but it’s no reflection of its priority. Quite the opposite. It’s Sardine country, so you’ll find them deliciously prepared in many different dishes. Grilled (try it grilled), fried, whatever your fancy. 

Authentic Portuguese Dinners

Give restaurant cooking a miss, and enjoy true Portuguese hospitality combined with traditional Portuguese cuisine. You will want to do it again!

Portuguese cuisine Chourico sausage bacalhau alheira sausage ginjinha cherry liquer min

Above, from left to right:  Chourico Sausage, Bacalhau, Alheira Sausage, Ginjinha Cherry Liqueur.

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Things to do

Lisbon Tours


Flights to Lisbon

Best Hotels in Lisbon with Sea Views

I have this thing for when I am in a destination at the sea, I want to book at a hotel with a sea view room. Ask for one when you book at the Santiago de Alfama and get the most of your stay in Lisbon.

Travel Tip(s)

Look for free cancellation options: Some hotels offer free cancellation up until a certain date. Booking accommodations with free cancellation can provide flexibility in case your plans change.

Check the map view: has a map view feature that shows the location of hotels. This can help you identify accommodations in areas that are both desirable and affordable.

Top 10 Hotels in Lisbon

Travel Tip(s)

Hotel da Baixa is conveniently set in the city center and worth considering. You will be welcomed by friendly and professional staff that has your comfort as their priority.

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Taking TRAVEL Experiences HOME

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