Of all the cities in Europe, something has been continually calling me to Lisbon.
Perhaps it’s because I have a thing for coastal cities. Or maybe all the photos of classic trams and brightly tiled walls that just look too perfect to be real. Or, it might be the real-life fairytale castles of nearby Sintra.
Let’s be real, it’s probably a little of all of those things. Plus, the fact that it’s much more affordable than big European cities like Paris or Barcelona.
So this Sunday we’re off to Lisbon for what will be two blissful (and work-free!) weeks. There’s so much I want to see and do! And while I know we probably won’t be able to tackle it all, we sure as heck can try, right?!
Are you planning a trip to Lisbon?
I researched for months and months to create this ultimate Lisbon bucket list!
Here’s 50 things I’ve concluded everyone must see and do in Lisbon!
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1 | Photograph the classic tiled walls of Chiado. It’s perhaps one of the most iconic sights in Lisbon, and while not completely unique to Chiado, you’ll find plenty of good photo ops in this upscale neighborhood.
2 | Take in the sights from a Miradouro, aka viewpoint. In a city like Lisbon, there are countless spots to choose from. On our list are Portas do Sol, Graca, Nossa Senhora Do Monte, and Sao Pedro de Alcantara.
3 | Sunbathe along Ribeira das Naus, the recently renovated riverside area with steps that extend down into the Tagus River.
4 | Ride the iconic tram no. 28. Just plan to arrive plenty early before the rest of the tourists!
5 | Try Couvada de Bacalhau at Laurentina. I saw this tip from Margo over at The Overseas Escape, and couldn’t possibly pass up the opportunity to try this local cod dish for myself!
6 | Explore the castles of Sintra. Pena Palace, the National Palace of Sintra, and the Moorish Castle are each magical in their own right. If you’re short on time or don’t want to work out the logistics yourself, you can book a pre-planned day trip like this one.
7 | Go on a Tuk Tuk tour of the city; one of the best ways to explore Lisbon’s winding pedestrian streets and passageways. This 3-hour tour will show you all of the highlights.
8 | See a live fado show, particularly at A Tasca do Chico, one of the most well-known and iconic Fado bars in Lisbon.
9 | Climb the Belem Tower, a monument to Portugal’s Age of Discovery. Standing at the entrance to Lisbon’s harbor, it was the last sight many explorers saw of their home country.
11 | Visit Quinta da Regaleira in Sintra. This 20th century residence is often missed by visitors, since the other three castles of Sintra can easily eat up an entire day. We plan to return to Sintra for a second day to fit this grand house and gardens in.
12 | Shop Mercado de Alvalade Norte, a daily farmers market that is sure to make you feel like a local, though it’s gained popularity among tourists since Anthony Bourdain visited back in 2012.
13 | Visit Cabo da Roca, a beautiful, rocky stretch of coastline that also happens to be the westernmost point in Europe. It’s a bit off the beaten path, so the easiest way to get there is as an extra stop on a Sintra group tour, but if you have a car, it’s an easy drive.
14 | See the sea life at the Oceanario de Lisboa, one of the best aquarium’s in the world, according to TripAdvisor.
16 | People watch in Praca do Comercio, one of the largest squares in all of Europe.
17 | Buy souvenirs at Conserveira de Lisboa, a shop selling nothing but the tinned fish that Portugal is so well-known for. I can’t wait to bring these back to friends and family as souvenirs – ha!
18 | Hit the beach in Cascais. Just 20 minutes outside of Lisbon’s center, Cascais is a popular resort city for daytrippers and worthy of a special trip.
19 | Take the ferry to Cacilhas, and eat fresh seafood along the Tagus River. You’ll find prices here are much cheaper and the food even more authentic than in Lisbon, so I’m told.
20 | Explore Castelo de Sao Jorge, an 11th-century fortification offering unparalleled views over Lisbon from it’s eleven towers and perimeter walls.
21 | Go on a Lisbon street art tour, learning about the history of both well-known pieces and hidden artwork in narrow alleyways.
22 | Get lost in Alfama, Lisbon’s oldest neighborhood. Even better if captured by a professional photographer!
23 | Hunt for treasures at Feira da Ladra, Lisbon’s original flea market where you’ll find everything from junk to handmade artisan goods and antiques. The market is held every Tuesday and Saturday, from dawn to the early afternoon.
24 | Buy an original blue azulejo, or better yet, learn to paint your own!
25 | Ride Santa Justa Elevator, the quickest way to climb the hill from downtown to Bairro Alto, and offering picturesque views over Lisbon.
26 | Sip Morangoska in Bairro Alto, a refreshing cocktail made with muddled strawberries and vodka.
27 | Bike your way around the city. There are plenty of tours using electric bikes, so you don’t have to worry about peddling up all those hills!
28 | Wander Jardim Botanico Tropical, a garden in the Belem District with free-roaming peacocks.
29 | Indulge in a pastry from Confeitaria Nacional. Open since 1829, it may very well be the oldest bakery in Lisbon.
30 | Visit the Lisbon Cathedral, aka Se de Lisboa, the oldest and most important church in Lisbon.
31 | Buy trinkets from A Vida Portuguesa, a chain of shops dedicated to all things Portugal.
32 | Eat all the pasteis at Casa Pasteis de Belem. There are lots of places to get pasteis de nata in Lisbon, but these are the original.
33 | Trek to Boca do Inferno in Cascais. It’s a bit of a hike from Ribeira Beach, but you’ll be rewarded with beautiful cliffs and a natural archway. (Plus, you can reward yourself with a drink afterwards at nearby Rocha do Inferno.)
34 | Spend an afternoon at Pavilhao do Conecimento. It’s right next to the Oceanario de Lisboa, so you can ideally cover both in one day.
35 | Head to Time Out Market, inside Mercado da Ribeira. The modern food hall serves a variety of Portuguese foods, treats, and drinks. Ranging from budget-friendly eats to Michelin star chefs, some of the very best food in Lisbon can be found at Time Out Market.
36 | Explore the Museo do Fado and learn about the history of Portugal’s unique musical tradition. It was born right here in Alfama.
37 | Eat at O Prego da Peixaria, home of the Prego, a traditional sandwich that is Portugal’s answer to the hamburger.
38 | Walk along “the pink street”, aka Rua Nova do Carvalho. The area used to be home to Lisbon’s red light district, but is now a trendy spot for nightlife with art-filled walls and a literal pink street.
39 | Stop by A Ginjinha, the traditional home of Ginjinha (or simply, Ginja), a cherry liquer served straight, with or without an alcohol soaked cherry in it.
40 | Take in the Museu Nacional do Azulejos, a collection of decorative ceramic tiles spanning five centuries. The museum costs just 5 Euros and is open every day except Monday.
41 | Head to LX Factory, one of Lisbon’s coolest spots that’s become an art hub with a collection of hipster restaurants, bars, shops, and street art. Come on Sunday for the weekly LX Market flea market. Be sure to plan plenty of time, as you could literally spend an entire day here eating, shopping, wandering, and relaxing.
42 | Go on a food tour and try all of Lisbon’s best flavors. This top-rated tour offers tastings of everything from pastries to cheese to seafood, which discovering under-the-radar neighborhoods and learning about Lisbon’s culture and history at the same time.
43 | Explore Jeronimos Monastery, built to commemorate Vasco Da Gama’s journey and give thanks to the Virgin Mary for its success (his tomb still lies there today). The cloisters are an especially stunning display of architectural detail.
44 | Visit the botanical garden in Principe Real, with its collection of plants, some endangered, from all over the world. A visit to the butterfly garden in spring is a definite must.
45 | Indulge in ice cream at Santini, a legendary local ice cream parlor with outposts in both Lisbon and Cascais.
46 | Day trip to the Portuguese countryside, seeing the rural fishing town of Nazare and neighboring villages of Fatima and Obidos with this small-group tour.
47 | Picnic in Jardim da Estrela. The English-style garden has two playgrounds, a cafe, and hosts a craft fair on weekends.
48 | Stroll Sintra old town. If there’s one thing I’ve read over and over again, it’s that Sintra really needs two days to fully be appreciated. After our first day exploring the castles, we’ll return to experience the rest of the city at a slower pace.
49 | Take in the Sao Roque Church and Museum, with its detailed ceilings and walls and an extensive collection of religious art. The museum is free on Sundays until 2 PM.
50 | Climb to Cristo Rei in Cacilhas, the ‘Christ the King’ monument overlooking Lisbon from the southern bank of the Tagus River. On a clear day, you can see as far as Pena Palace in Sintra. This article has some great info on the best way to get there.
Lisbon Bucket List: Free Printable!
What are your favorite places in Lisbon? Let me know in the comments below!