Seven cinematic hillsides overlooking the Rio Tejo cradle Lisbon's postcard-perfect panorama of cobbled alleyways, ancient ruins and white-domed cathedrals – a captivating scene crafted over centuries.
Beyond Bacalhau: Lisbon for Foodies
Dining in Lisbon is far more dynamic than navigating countless preparations of Portugal's beloved bacalhau (dried and salted cod fish; 365 recipes and counting!). While bacalhau à Brás (shredded cod with onions, eggs and potatoes; a Bairro Alto original) is never far, Lisbon's strategic seaside position on Europe's doorstep means a bounty of fresh seafood (octopus, tuna, monkfish, shrimp, sardines, clams, snails) rules the city's kitchens, from Michelin-starred restaurants to gourmet-food markets to countless corner tascas (taverns). Top-grade Alentejan beef beckons with juicy steaks and gourmet burgers, and you'll find everything from tantalising Indian curries to authentic Moroccan couscous in between.
Last Call, Lisbon!
Cheap booze and the absence of open-container laws means Lisbon loves a night on the town! Don't be fooled by Bairro's Alto's sleepy daytime feel – by night, these narrow cobbled lanes transform into one of Europe's most raucous drinking locales. Student dives, traditional fado houses, upscale wine bars and LGBT hot spots merrily coexist among the muddled mess. In Cais do Sodré, Pink Street and environs are home to some of the city's classic nightclubs and rowdiest cocktail bars, while trendier megaclubs stretch along the waterfront from Santos to Santa Apolónia. Last call? Sunrise!
The Great Lisbon Earthquake
You couldn't blame your average lisboêta for thinking of the Apocalypse when the ground gave way just before 10am on 1 November, 1755. What followed was eight astonishing minutes of city-shattering shaking spread across three tremors, followed 40 minutes later by a massive, city-engulfing tsunami, culminating in a week-long firestorm that incinerated what little was initially spared. Lisbon was decimated. Today, the modern city is shaped by these cataclysmic events – nearly everything is defined as before or after the earthquake – and the Pombaline architecture that defined post-quake Lisbon reconstruction was some of the first seismically protected building in Europe.
Miradouro Mania: Scenic City Views
Lisbon's trademark seven hills are spread across the cityscape like lofty guardians of colour and history. Capped by a collection of terraces known as miradouros (viewpoints), a must-see web of no-filter-necessary views over Lisbon, the Tejo and beyond is formed. Our favourite miradouros – Portas do Sol, São Pedro de Alcântara, da Graça, da Senhora do Monte, Santa Luzia and, of course, Castelo de São Jorge – all offer stunning spots to get your bearings and while away afternoons over bica (espresso), elegant glasses of Touriga Nacional or refreshing pitchers of sangria, while rubbernecking the city's stupendous horizons.
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These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Lisbon.
MonasteryMosteiro dos Jerónimos
Belém’s undisputed heart-stealer is this Unesco-listed monastery. The mosteiro is the stuff of pure fantasy: a fusion of Diogo de Boitaca’s creative…
CastleCastelo de São Jorge
Towering dramatically above Lisbon, these mid-11th-century hilltop fortifications sneak into almost every snapshot. Roam its snaking ramparts and pine…
Wander downhill (to save your legs) through Alfama's steep, narrow, cobblestoned streets and catch a glimpse of the more traditional side of Lisbon before…
MuseumMuseu Nacional de Arte Antiga
Set in a lemon-fronted, 17th-century palace, the Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga is Lapa’s biggest draw. It presents a star-studded collection of European…
MuseumMuseu Calouste Gulbenkian – Coleção do Fundador
Famous for its outstanding quality and breadth, the world-class Founder's Collection at Museu Calouste Gulbenkian showcases an epic collection of Western…
Don't leave the city without riding popular tram 28E from Largo Martim Moniz. This rickety, screechy, gloriously old-fashioned ride from Praça Martim…
ViewpointMiradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara
Hitch a ride on vintage Ascensor da Glória from Praça dos Restauradores, or huff your way up steep Calçada da Glória to this terrific hilltop viewpoint…
ArchitecturePalácio dos Marqueses de Fronteira
This 17th-century former hunting pavilion is in the Benfica neighbourhood. Italian Renaissance influences are blended with Portuguese-inspired blue-and…
RuinsNúcleo Arqueológico da Rua dos Correeiros
Hidden under the Millennium BCP bank building are layers of ruins dating from the Iron Age, discovered on a 1991 parking-lot dig. Fascinating…
AquariumOceanário de Lisboa
The closest you’ll get to scuba diving without a wetsuit, Oceanário is mind-blowing. With 8000 marine creatures splashing in 7 million litres of seawater,…
ViewpointMiradouro Panorâmico de Monsanto
Lisbon’s beloved secret viewpoint is a graffiti- and art-plastered building that was once an exclusive high-society restaurant in the late 1960s. A series…
PlazaPraça do Comércio
With its grand 18th-century arcades, lemon-meringue facades and mosaic cobbles, the riverfront Praça do Comércio is a square to out-pomp them all…
ChurchBasílica da Estrela
The curvaceous, sugar-white dome and twin belfries of Basílica da Estrela are visible from afar. The echoing interior is awash with pink-and-black marble,…
MuseumMuseu Nacional do Azulejo
Housed in a sublime 16th-century convent, Lisbon's Museu Nacional do Azulejo covers the entire azulejo (hand-painted tile) spectrum. Star exhibits feature…
ChurchIgreja & Museu São Roque
The plain facade of 16th-century Jesuit Igreja de São Roque belies its dazzling interior of gold, marble and Florentine azulejos – bankrolled by Brazilian…
MuseumMuseu Nacional dos Coches
Cinderella wannabes delight in Portugal's most visited museum, which dazzles with its world-class collection of 70 17th- to 19th-century coaches in an…
MuseumMuseu Coleção Berardo
Culture fiends can get their contemporary-art fix at Museu Coleção Berardo, the star of the Centro Cultural de Belém. The ultrawhite, minimalist gallery…
RuinsConvento do Carmo & Museu Arqueológico
Soaring above Lisbon, the skeletal Convento do Carmo was all but devoured by the 1755 earthquake, and that's precisely what makes it so captivating. Its…
ChurchIgreja de São Domingos
It’s a miracle that this baroque church dating to 1241 still stands, having barely survived the 1755 earthquake, then fire in 1959. Its sea of tea lights…
TowerTorre de Belém
Jutting out onto the Rio Tejo, this Unesco World Heritage–listed fortress epitomises the Age of Discoveries. You'll need to breathe in to climb the narrow…
Whether it’s a guided tour of a historic landmark, private tasting of local delicacies, or an off-road adventure — explore the best experiences in Lisbon.
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