Lisbon is the new place to be.
Lisbon has a rich history, having been involved in conquering the New World, but also building quite a legacy in Europe, despite its diminutive size. It has been included in the top 10 cities to visit in the world. because there’s so much to do in this lively city, all of which within reach of most budgets. Luxury hotels can be had for $300/night and gourmet meals for two, with wine around $80-100. There are Churches, Palaces, Streetcars, and steeped streets that are picturesque and will fill your IG feed with fanciful photos.
When is the Best Time to Visit?
Lisbon is known as one of the sunniest city in Europe. May to August is the perfect time to visit Lisbon. These months have a lot of local weekly activities like music and food festivals, and the bars and restaurants are at full-pace and staffing during these months. But if you’re a budget traveler then you could visit around November to February, the weather is calm and cool and most importantly the prices are much cheaper.
Top Places to Visit in Lisbon
Belem Tower is one of the most visited landmarks in Lisbon. The medieval tower, and its stairs are famous and offer amazing views from the top. The majority of Lisbon is low-rise so your view is unimpeded. The tower is located near the river and if you want some lovely pictures, you could visit there sunrise or sunset. On your walk to the tower, stroll through the Monastery garden, which has been bestowed as a UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Belem Tower is open the whole year, though if you are planning to go there in summer, well, plan on arriving early because it’s their peak season, and lines can be long.
If you are roaming around Lisbon and looking for some souvenirs to bring back home for your loved ones then you should definitely visit A Vida Portuguesa. This shop has a lot of trinkets on offer for tourists. and their specialty are traditional and vintage goods.
Santa Justa Lift
Museum of Art, Architecture, and Technology or also known as MAAT. It shows national and international exhibits that are made by contemporary artists and architects. The curvy and modern architecture annex of the museum is a 7000 square meters space that attracts sunset revelers, while the white stone of the building turns into gold against the setting sun.
Torre de Belem (Belem Tower)
The Tram #28 is the most popular tourist attraction in Lisbon. In peak season, the tram has crowded rides and queues are at it’s longest. The crowded nature draws even more tourists, so try to avoid these times. Beware, pick-pockets prey in these areas, so if there’s a crowd around you, hold onto your belongings or just avoid crowds in general.
A Vida Portuguesa
Santa Justa Lift, also known as the Carmo Lift, has become popular due to its neo-gothic arches and geometric patterns. There is typical a long queue to get up to the top, but once you’re up there, it’s an open platform perfect for sunset gazing or pictures. It’s an amazing, free destination for budget travelers.
Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology
Lisbon is known for its beaches. Its coastal location gives you tons of miles of beach, plus fishing and other ocean activities are available if you do a quick search on TripAdvisor. If you have the time, a sailing trip around the bay is a can’t miss experience. Getting to the beaches is a breeze. You can take the train going to Estoril and Cascais and if you wanna go to the west of Setubal Peninsula, you can take a ferry and enjoy and be mesmerized by Costa da Caparica.
Best Places to Stay in Lisbon
The Dorm offers a new and astonishing sleeping experience when you’re in Lisbon. It has is fully equipped, with 2 communal bathrooms, free breakfast, and Wifi all throughout the building. This place is perfect for this who are backpacking and used to a hostel experience.
Casa do Principe is one of the nicest, sophisticated, and exciting hotels in Lisbon. It has large and spacious rooms that will make you feel at home. The location of the hotel is very convenient since it is near some shops, great city sights, and restaurants.
Memmo Príncipe Real is a boutique hotel located in a very nice location with an amazing sightseeing spot and some magnificent views. It’s where we stayed, and its perched on a cliff that overlooks the city. The pool is beautiful, but best experienced later in the day due to the nature of the build. They have 41 rooms all designed in a modern aesthetic with a great bathroom, bed and mini-bar. There is no gym on the property.
Almalusa is located in the heart of the city. This is a go to if you want to have an authentic Portuguese experience. They offer things that will make your stay worthwhile, from friendly and helpful staff plus exceptional amenities and various souvenirs.
If you want a place that you wanted to feel like a local then Independente Hostel and Suites would be a great choice. The Independente is located in the historical and liveliest part of the city, halfway between Pricine Real and Bairro Alto. The suites are classic Lisbonese.
Where to Dine and Drink in Lisbon
Mini Bar is a great place to have dinner with your travel buddies, especially on the weekends. The menu in this restaurant has 6 “acts” which makes them popular. The menu is constantly changing based on the season, offering only the freshest items. The best thing about Mini Bar is that the prices are reasonable, making it an ideal choice for budget travelers.
Pateo at Bairro Do Avillez is owned by the celebrity chef Jose Avillez. Their specialty is traditional seafood dishes paired with some great tasting wine and the place is surrounded by natural light that make your dining experience splendid.
Time Out Market is one good way to experience the best of the city. It’s a giant food hall that offers pretty much any type of fare you’d be interested in. We got burgers and a cheese plate, plus they also had pizza, sushi, thai food and pretty much anything else you would want. There is also live music, and plenty of wine vendors, so my advice is to hold up fort here, grab some bites and enjoy the people watching. The area around here is a bit sketchy, so make sure to travel in groups at night.
A Cevicheria is an intimate lunch or dinner spot. The ceviche is their specialty, and it was absolutely fantastic. I can still remember the taste of the tigers milk ceviche (made with coconut milk), wow, that was good. My advice: as soon as you land, you head to A Cevicheria, and get one of the best meals in Lisbon.
Toma Lá Dá Cá (Travessa do Sequeiro, 38)
Toma is a modest place to dine. They serve authentic Portuguese dishes just like what the locals serve at their own home. This is perfect you haven’t tried any of it yet and if you’re a meat and grilled fish love then this place is for you. They won’t disappoint when it comes to local favorites.
Looking for a special dining experience, then Insolito fits the bill. This restaurant is set in a grand old house that will make you feel that you are in a private club. They also have tables available on the terraces where you can see and appreciate the beauty of the city lights. They serve a Portuguese menu complete with fresh seafood and local veggies sure to wow.
Craving for some late night Pasteis de Natas? Well, Manteigaria is the place for your cravings to be satisfied. What is a Pasteis de Natas? It’s a little egg tart that’s delicious. They cost around 1 Euro and are worth more than their weight in gold. Pair your Pasteis de Natas with an espresso and you’ll be ready to take on the day. Most Portugese stop by here for lunch or after work before heading home. It’s a tiny little shop with a line out the door, but don’t worry, things move quickly because the menu is tiny and the egg tarts are constantly being baked.
Oficina do Duque will surely give you an amazing dining experience due to it’s delicious and well-priced menus. The location is also a plus and will give you a nice view looking at the Lisbon neighborhood. The ambiance is what helps this spot stand out. If you love pumpkin soup then this is the best place to get it! From bread, to main courses, down to desserts, this place won’t fail you!
Pensao Amor will give you a cool and cozy vibe for your drinking session and if you love dancing they have a small dance floor with some glitter balls. The place offers an authentic yet bold atmosphere, lively DJ sets, and music. We stopped in during a burlesque show, and the dark, intimate nature made it an amazing experience. Cocktails are a bit on the sweet side, so be careful with what you choose.
Pavilhão Chinês is a grocery store turned into a bar in between Bairro Alto and Principe Real. They have rooms with a nostalgic touch of an old pub cobbled together with some cool collectibles that are displayed around the room. This is a fun spot that will make you feel like an old-school Lisboa citizen.
Nightlife in Lisbon
Bairro Alto neighborhood is known for various of bars that go all night long. They close at 2 am during weeknights and later on weekends but the party and the awesome nightlife doesn’t end there. The after-party continues at certain nightclubs.
Cais do Sodré
Like Bairro Alto, Cais do Sodre is also one of the most popular spots when it comes to nightlife. Rua Nova do Carvalho is also known as the Pink Street, known for offering hotel rooms with hourly rates (wink, wink).
How to Get to Portugal
Travel in Business Class
TAP Portugal is pretty much the best direct flights into Lisbon, and if you’re flying Economy Class, you’ll be fine, but if you’re looking to upgrade to Business Class, you’ll be confused. TAP Portugal does not offer points transfer from any other credit cards or points programs, which means you need to purchase Business Class with cash.
They do also offer a way to upgrade your Economy ticket to Business Class using their auction system. I personally upgraded my ticket on our trip, and I wrote an in-depth guide on how to upgrade your TAP portugal ticket to Business Class.
New Flights Available
Boston to Lisbon and Vice Versa
- TP218 Boston to Lisbon6:40 pm → 6:00 am (+1 day)
- TP217 Lisbon to Boston10:55 am → 1:30 pm
New York to Lisbon and Vice Versa
- TP204 New York to Lisbon11:30 pm → 11:10 am (+1 day)
- TP209 Lisbon to New York5:00PM → 8:00PM