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DESTINATION GUIDES & ITINERARIES / EUROPE

13 Top Attractions and Things to Do in Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon Portugal orange rooftops at sunset

Portugal has long been overshadowed by its larger neighbor to the east, Spain. But things are starting to change, and word is getting out about the beautiful little nation on the Atlantic. Back when I first backpacked Europe for a month half a decade ago, Lisbon was my final destination, and it blew me away. It tied with Salzburg as my favorite city in Europe, and today I’m sharing the top things to do in Lisbon that you should not miss. Enjoy!

Lisbon Portugal orange rooftops at sunset

Pssst! Consider getting a Lisboa Card to save money on seeing all the things to do in Lisbon below. The 24-hour option is just €20, and you can view the full list of Lisbon attractions and public transport included on the card at the site.

Arco da Rua Augusta

The Arco da Rua Augusta (Rua Augusta Arc) or Terreiro do Paço is an arc built to celebrate Lisbon’s recovery after an earthquake and subsequent fires and tsunami in the late 1700s. Enjoy views over Lisbon and the Rua Augusta street by climbing to the top of the arc for €8.

Arco da Rua Augusta in Lisbon Portugal

Praça do Comércio

The Praça do Comércio (Commerce Square) is a beautiful, riverfront square lined with shops and cafes. This square is one of the largest in Europe, and it houses the Arco da Rua Augusta as well as a statue of King José I in its center.

Praça do Comércio with Arco da Rua Augusta and statue in Lisbon

Castelo de São Jorge

Perched on top of Lisbon’s highest hill, the Castelo de São Jorge is a must-visit attraction. Not only is a fun historical landmark to explore, but it’s home to way more peacocks than you’ve ever seen in your life (look in the trees) and offers some of the best views over Lisbon. Entry to Castelo de São Jorge is €10.

Castelo de São Jorge view over Lisbon with Portuguese flag on tower

Torre de Belém

The Torre de Belém (Belém Tower) is an intricately carved stone tower, originally used as a fortress and later a prison. The main attraction is the tower’s exterior, but entry is €6 and grants views from the tower’s top floor.

Torre de Belém in Lisbon with tourist girl on bridge

Mosteiro dos Jerónimos

The Mosteiro dos Jerónimos (Hieronymites Monastery) is a ridiculously ornate piece of architecture and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Back when it was built, it sat right at the edge of the Tagus River. But the water has receded, allowing room for the beautiful Praça do Imperio (Empire Square) in front of the monastery today. Entry will set you back €10.

Mosteiro dos Jerónimos behind Praça do Imperio in Belém, Lisbon, Portugla

Padrão dos Descobrimentos

The Padrão dos Descobrimentos (Monument to the Discoveries) is a large, impressive monument in Belém, along the edge of the Tagus River. Stop by and take some time observing the different statues along the monument. 

Padrão dos Descobrimentos monument in Lisbon Portugal

Pastéis de Belém

While in Belém to visit the tower and monastery, you’d be nuts to miss stopping by the world-famous Pastéis de Belém. Many reference it as one of the best pastry shops in the world. It’s famous for its delicious pastel de natas – a Portuguese custard egg tart dusted with cinnamon and optionally topped with additional powdered sugar. Mm mm mmmmm. I practically lived on these things during my visit. Even if you don’t make it to Pastéis de Belém (though you’d really be missing out!) make sure to try these tarts at some point while in Portugal.

Pastéis de Belém assorted pastries in box

Parque Eduardo VII

The Parque Eduardo VII (Eduardo VII Park) is a huge, lush park located just north of the Avenida da Liberdade street. The park has three greenhouses, but I think the view over the lawn and Lisbon is enough of an attraction itself.

Parque Eduardo VII view over Lisbon

Praça do Rossio

The Praça do Rossio (Rossio Square), or Praça Dom Pedro IV, is a centrally-located and lively spot in Lisbon. Locals and tourists alike stop by to hang out or enjoy a drink at one of the square’s cafes. 

Praça do Rossio square with fountain and monument in Lisbon

Sé de Lisboa

The Sé de Lisboa (Lisbon Cathedral), or the Sé, is a Romanesque style cathedral and the oldest church in Lisbon. Entry is free.

Sé de Lisboa Lisbon Cathedral exterior

Igreja de São Roque

The Igreja de São Roque (Church of Saint Roch) is very simple and bland from the outside. But, as the saying goes, don’t judge a book by its cover. Once inside, you’ll find a richly decorated interior with possibly the most gold I’ve ever seen in one place! Entry is free, except on Mondays when there is no entry.

Igreja de São Roque gold in Lisbon Bortugal

Elevador de Santa Justa

Lisbon is pretty hilly, and the Elevador de Santa Justa (Santa Justa Lift) is the fastest way to get between upper and lower Lisbon. The lift itself is very beautifully designed. Plus, it offers greats views over the city, so it’s no wonder it’s also a tourist attraction. A return trip on the lift will set you back €5.15, and the viewpoint is an extra €1.50.

Oceanário de Lisboa

The Oceanário de Lisboa (Lisbon Oceanarium) is the largest indoor aquarium in Europe and considered by many as one of the best aquariums in the world. I’m partial to my Monterey Aquarium from back home as the “best in the world.” But this aquarium was impressive, and I can personally vouch it makes a fun activity for a rainy Lisbon day. Adult tickets are €19 and can be purchased in advance online at the official site.

Oceanário de Lisboa entrance with girl and statue in Lisbon

What Do You Think About Lisbon?

I really loved Lisbon on my visit and can’t wait to see more of the country, but what about you? Is Lisbon on your list? Have you already been? Let me know any tips or things to do in Lisbon that I missed in the comment section below. I want to know for my next trip!

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Looking for what to do in Lisbon Portugal? This quick Lisbon travel guide to things to do in Lisbon has got you covered for one day or two days in Lisbon. Includes top attractions like the Castelo, Belem Tower, egg tarts food, and more. Lisboa

14 Comments

  • MK
    April 11, 2024 at 1:54 AM

    Hi, Thanks for the lovely list. I am planning to travel to Portugal and Spain with my husband and lil one in July. Could you please recommend any other places in Portugal and also if July is good option as I’m taking my daughter as well.

    Reply
    • That Travelista
      April 11, 2024 at 3:51 AM

      Hi MK,

      I’m glad this list is helpful!

      In mainland Portugal, I haven’t been to these places, but they are on my list for the future: Porto, Sintra (day trip from Lisbon), Algarve.

      I would think Portugal would be fine in July. I’ve never been at that time of year, but most destinations I imagine you’ll visit are coastal, and I’ve never heard anyone say it is bad there. Spain, on the other hand, is an inferno in July lol. Some coastal places might be OK, but places like Madrid, Seville, Cordoba, etc. should all be quite bad (over 100F/40C).

      I would recommend spring or fall for mainland Spain!

      I hope that helps.

      – Em

      Reply
  • Hannah
    January 22, 2021 at 11:51 AM

    I can’t wait to be able to visit Portugal. Lisbon has been on our list for a long time, not just for the pastel de natas and tourist sites, but for the wider food culture and architecture (Padrão dos Descobrimentos !!! )

    Reply
    • That Travelista
      January 22, 2021 at 12:02 PM

      That’s awesome! I didn’t know much about Portugal before I went to Lisbon as a “why not” after Spain, but now I want to see more for sure 🙂

      Reply
  • Michele
    January 20, 2021 at 1:04 PM

    Wow, the Padrão dos Descobrimentos is so impressive! Although you may find me stuffing my face with Pastéis de Belém instead of sightseeing 😉 I’ve wanted to visit Portugal to eat Pastel de Nata since I first read about them 🙂

    Reply
    • That Travelista
      January 22, 2021 at 12:00 PM

      The Pastel de Natas are SO GOOD!! It’s pretty much all I ate, since I don’t eat much meat and the food in Lisbon was pork and seafood heavy.

      Reply
  • Andi
    January 20, 2021 at 11:54 AM

    I only got to spend a weekend in Lisbon before a cruise on the Douro river and I loved it! My hubby and I are thinking of retiring there one day – so we need a lot more trips to.figure out where we want to live!

    Reply
    • That Travelista
      January 22, 2021 at 11:59 AM

      That sounds lovely! I hear Portugal has nice incentives for foreign retirees!

      Reply
  • Krista
    January 20, 2021 at 10:30 AM

    I’m really hoping to get to Lisbon this year as I’m based near the Portuguese border with Spain and can drive up there. Definitely saving these helpful tips!

    Reply
    • That Travelista
      January 22, 2021 at 11:58 AM

      Ooo that sounds like a lovely base! So many pretty places nearby. I’m hoping to move to Spain this year and explore more of Portugal and Spain than I did before 🙂

      Reply
  • Jules
    January 20, 2021 at 10:22 AM

    Woow I loved your list! I have been to some of these places but I’ll definitely visit Castelo de São Jorge next time I go, thanks for the tip on finding the Peacocks 🙂

    Reply
    • That Travelista
      February 22, 2021 at 7:54 PM

      Yes, Castelo de São Jorge is a must! 🙂

      Reply
  • kmf
    January 20, 2021 at 10:06 AM

    Lisbon, Portugal is on my list. Beautiful photos of this stunning area…especially love the architecture.

    Reply
    • That Travelista
      January 22, 2021 at 11:57 AM

      Yes, the architecture is so pretty!

      Reply

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