Lisboa: 10 insider tips

Discover the secrets of Portugal’s capital

When it comes to travel destinations, Portugal too often seems to be forgotten. Travellers seem to prioritise other European cities such as Paris, Berlin or Barcelona.

Albeit these cities are undeniably incredible, all those that put aside Portugal should think again and place Lisboa much higher on the ‘Travel Bucket List.’

The beauty of this sea-side town is enchanting. A colourful and vibrant city with a never ending maze of little streets, beautiful architecture and all night parties.

Meet Beth:

The avid explorer, who after 2 years in the beautiful, undulating, water-side city of Lisbon is now off to Brazil. Before taking off she wanted to share the real Lisboa with us, the local knowledge to this colourful, vibrant and captivating city.

1. Miradouros

Lisbon’s viewpoints are not a secret but are well worth the mention.

Beth’s personal favourite is Miradouro da Senhora do Monte in Graça. The highest of them all, providing panoramic views of the city, the river Tejo and beyond.

It’s perfect for a few drinks with friends at sunset.

2. Tapada das Necessidades

A Secret Garden-esque park in Santos where you can stroll and enjoy the sunshine. It’s perfect for a picnic and a wonderful place to explore abandoned buildings and lost gardens.

Address: Rua do Borja, Lisboa

3. Jardim Botânico Tropical de Belém

The Botanical Garden in Belém is a tranquil and beautiful place to take a break and relax after delving into the somewhat touristy turbulence of this district.

There is shady grass to nap on and a great variety of stunning flowers, plants and trees to help you reconnect with nature after a few days in the city.

Address: Calçada Galvão, 1400, Lisboa

4. Museu da cidade de Lisboa

This lesser-known museum is a wonderful place to learn about the history of the city, from when it began, going through the disastrous earthquake to the reconstruction period and then to the present day.

It also has lovely gardens to walk in, with peacocks and amazing animal sculptures.

Address: Campo Grande 245, 1700–091 Lisboa

5. Largo de Intendente

On this square, in the recently revamped district of Intendente, there are lots of bars with good company and great music.

Casa Independente is a bar, café and restaurant with a beautiful courtyard terrace which hosts bands, DJs and exhibitions every week.

Café do Largo is a lovely place to relax and meet friends inside or out on the square in the evening heat.

Sport Clube Intendente is a music venue where you can discover new bands from different countries.

Address: Pina Manique, Lisboa

6. The Food Temple

An innovative vegan restaurant tucked away in the small streets of Mouraria.

This small open-kitchen-come-dining-room has a cosy and relaxed atmosphere if you’re inside and a fresh, friendly, summer vibe if you’re outside.

Every day they create inspiring new dishes including a soup, three tapas dishes, a main course and a variety of desserts for you to share or scoff solo.

Address: Beco Jasmim 18, 1100–289 Lisboa

7. Galeria Zé dos Bois

You’ll find ZDB in the middle of Bairro Alto’s characteristically confusing streets.

It houses cultural events, films, bands, DJs, an outdoor terrace, exhibitions and various rooms to explore and sip cocktails.

Address: Rua da Barroca 59, 1200, Lisboa

8. Primeiro Andar

This former school building has something for everyone, from s club to a basket ball court. On the left of the court you’ll find the door to the bar/ café which serves delicious dishes, snacks and cakes.

In these eclectically furnished rooms there is always music, beer and a good atmosphere. On the right of the court and up the stairs, there is another room serving as a club, which is open until late.

If you’re looking for something a little different, you can also do dance classes such as Lindy Hop in the room just next to the café.

Address: Rua das Portas de Santo Antão 110, Lisboa

9. Cacilhas

If you venture out of Lisbon to the other side of the river, you’ll find that a different ambient awaits you. In just 10 minutes, you can travel by boat from Cais do Sodré to Cacilhas.

In this characteristic, dare I say run-down, little town, there are lots of restaurants and cafés to discover, not to mention a beautiful view of Lisbon framed by the river and (more often than not) blue sky.

There has been a recent influx of trendy new places to eat and drink around the harbour and up the main pedestrian street, rua Cândido dos Reis.

For seafood and fish, Beth’s usual is Solar Beirão, which provides huge platters of prawns, crab, clams and lobster for very reasonable prices!

10. Getting out of the city: Sintra

A short train ride away from Lisbon lies the historical, and UNESCO protected, town of Sintra.

Explore the forest leading up to the castle which is perched 400 metre above sea level for a breathtaking view of miles around.

Stop for a glass of chilled rose on your way back down, life couldn’t get much better than this!

Boa viagem!

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Next week, 10 insider tips to London.

You might also like last week’s inside guide to Paris.