Portugal was the one country that I absolutely fell in love with because of many reasons. Not only there are many interesting places to see, Lisbon has that bohemian vibe that made me curious and always in a state of wonder. Unlike other capitals in its neighbouring countries, Lisbon has the impression of being a little underrated but it has so many charms that made me wonder why on earth have I not gone to this gorgeous place sooner.
I spent 4 days in Lisbon and I loved how relax and easy the city was to me. I didn’t see all the must see sites since I had limited time and even took a day out for Sintra.
DREAM: Is this the right destination for you?
Lisbon is your dream destination if you:
- don’t mind walking its hilly roads and its narrow alleys
- love a big city with a laid back atmosphere
- are interested in quirky things like tiled houses and amazing street arts
- love eating fresh seafood and mouth watering pastries
- prefer mild weather (it doesn’t get too cold in the winter)
EXPLORE: Interesting places to see
I think every corner of Lisbon is just simply amazing, even the metro stations are sometimes interesting to admire. I remember walking through the massive Baixa-Chiado metro station to find amazing colours installed at its ceiling and a small concert playing Portuguese songs that sounded sweet to my ears. Exploring Lisbon means you get to see wonderful things like gorgeous neighbourhoods, stunning churches and a dramatic castle.
Here are some of my favourite places to explore in Lisbon:
Mosteiro dos Jerónimos
I was simply blown away when I saw this monastery that sits in the heart of Belém. The place is listed as a UNESCO heritage site and was built in the style of Late Gothic Manueline, a style of architecture that incorporated some maritime elements. It has been around since the late 1400s and was once home to monks who offered shelters to passersby coming from the sea. Exploring this monastery will take some time given its size, so take your time and soak in the marvellous building.
Also check out Belém Tower located in front of the monastery and the famous Pastéis de Belém for its amazing egg tart that will leave you addicted and hooked for more.
TIP: It is better to allocate one day in this area, though I didn’t explore all of Belém, I have heard that the neighbourhood is quite pretty. And also, the kebab located next to Pastéis de Belém is quite delicious and a great lunch spot (I know, I know a kebab in Lisbon?! But really it was good!)
Praça do Comércio
I don’t think you can go to Lisbon without paying a visit to this square. Its seafront location is perfect for you to enjoy some sea breeze as well as admire the busy square. People watching is a great activity to be done here as you will see both tourists and locals passing by as well as Lisbon’s famous bright yellow trams.
Also check out the Arco da Rua Augusta.
Estação do Rossio
The Rossio train station is worth the visit for its famous horse shoe-like arches that decorate the front door. Like the monastery, this place too has the architecture in a Manueline stlye. Architecture lovers should not miss this place.
Also check out Praça do Rossio which is just a short walk away from the train station. Locals use this place as a meeting point and it is also a really great place to hang out and just observe locals doing their daily activities.
Cemetério dos Prazeres
Cemetery lovers should not miss this place that is located at the last stop of tram 28. Do check out my post on this for more details: Cemetery Travel to Cemetério dos Prazeres, Lisbon.
Casa Do Alentejo
This amazing “house” is home to the culture of Alentejo, which is a region in southern Portugal. I found the house to be filled with amazing architecture details, such as old chairs and intricate tile works. I was explained that the house also had some Arabic influence as seen from some of the Arabic words decorated in some of its walls. The place was built in the 17th century and has been passed on from owners to owners. Nowadays it is used as a culture centre for the region of Alentejo, there is also a restaurant there if you wish to try dishes from Alentejo and admire its gorgeous interior.
Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara
My free walking tour guide calls this place as “the place to see the most beautiful view of Lisbon” and I have to say he is right. Come here and see for yourself!
Other places that you may want to see in Lisbon (that I didn’t get to see): Castelo de São Jorge, Convento do Carmo, Elevador de Santa Justa
WANDER: Where to get lost
The best way to get to know Lisbon is to get lost in its narrow streets. Here are some of my favourite places to get lost in Lisbon:
This famous neighbourhood is for those who’d like to chill at cool cafes, shop till you drop and enjoy the busy life of Lisbon.
This area was very popular to artists in the 16th century. Today strolling around the neighbourhood would give you a glimpse of some of the local’s everyday life with rows of houses decorated in azulejos. When you wander in the afternoon, you will also see some traces of an exciting night life. This is because this district is popular for its lively night life. Come by in the night and have a caipirinha or two!
This neigbourhood is popular for its funicular, Ascensor da Bica. This area was once sought-after by sailors coming from the nearby by port. It was soon transformed into a centre for Fado music, a genre of music in Portugal, and a hang out place for young people. Unfortunately over the years people started to find other places in Lisbon to hang out, especially for their night life. What’s left now here is rows of pretty houses decorated in a typical Portuguese style and of course, the famous vintage tram.
Street Art Wander
Keep your eyes wide open while in Lisbon to spot the city’s street arts. Street arts can be found in many area in Lisbon so it is always fun to do street art hunting while you stroll aimlessly around the city. You can also take a street art tour if you’d like to learn more about them. As a street art lover, I was completely satisfied with my “hunt”.
This might a little touristy, but really there is no way you can come to Lisbon without getting on this legendary tram. I hopped on this train from the centre and rode it until the last stop (Prazeres). It was like a mini roller coaster as it passes through the narrowest streets. Alternatively, you could get on this tram and stop at some of its popular stops like Baixa and Alfama (a neighbourhood near the castle which is also worth seeing), wander around then get back on the tram again. Be careful though, some people reported cases of thievery on this tram.
Have you been to Lisbon? What did you think of the city?