Lisbon has it all: sunshine, good food, great views, a river, history, colorful buildings and everything at walking distance and for a good price. It’s the perfect daytrip from Ericeira, only a 45 minute car drive and you’re in the center. A lot of people ask us where to go in Lisbon, because it’s easy to get trapped in the tourist places. So what are the fun things to do in Lisbon? We’ll let you in on our favorite spots in this city, away from the touristic crowds.
Just walk around these 3 cool neighbourhoods
Lisbon is not a very big city and it’s best to discover it by foot. The center of the city can get very crowded with tourists, so that’s why we prefer to avoid this part and see more of the real Lisbon. These 3 neighbourhoods are all within walking distance. Our favorite neighbourhood is Príncipe Real. At the center of this hip area is a park with tropical plants and some small café’s to get coffee and a sandwich. Around this park the streets are filled with pastalarias, offices of hip companies and boutique stores.
Our second favorite neighbourhood is a small one right next to Príncipe Real, called O Triangulo. It’s the triangle between Poço dos Negros, São Bento and Poiais de São Bento. This triangle was named in the Top 10 Coolest Neighbourhoods by Lonely Planet. Because it’s quiet, the buildings are beautiful and it’s just now being ‘discovered’ by young creatives and entrepreneurs.
Another up and coming neighbourhood that we really like is Intendente. It used to be a pretty unwelcoming area until a couple of years back when they renovated the Largo do Intendente, the main square. First it was a truckers stop and now it’s a beautiful square with cool vintage shops and nice restaurants. Drink your cocktails at Casa Independente and go souvenir shopping at A Vida Portuguesa.
Every Sunday at the LX Factory you’ll find the LX flea market out on the streets. The scenery is an old industrial area thats been taken over by young creatives. Lots of street art, concept stores and food trucks. Definitely worth a visit if you’re into vintage clothing, handmade jewelry and vinyl. During the week it’s also a cool place to just wander around, but Sundays are the best.
Enjoy the views from the miradouros
Lisbon is built on seven hills. This means that you are walking up and down a lot when walking through Lisbon, but it also means that you have great viewing points in the city. These are called ‘Miradouros’ in Portuguese. The best ones for watching the sunset are Miradouro de Santa Catarina (in winter, when the sun sets more in the south) and Graça, which gives a wonderful view over the Sao Jorge castle and the river. Miradouro São Pedro de Alcântara gives one the most photogenic views of the city, and there is a beautiful park. Almost all miradouros have a kiosk where you can get a drink while enjoying the view.
Visit Jardim da Estrela
A little bit further out of the center -but worth the walk- you’ll find Jardim de Estrela. The official name is Jardim Guerra Junqueira, but no one calls it that apparently. It’s a beautiful park in a nice neighbourhood. In summer time there are live music performances in the weekends and every first weekend of the month there is a market where people sell home made things. If you’re looking for some peace of mind and just want to drink a coffee on a terrace or enjoy the sun Jardim de Estrela is the right park for you. Don’t forget to look at all the giant cacti while you’re there.
Eat Pastéis de Belém
If you’re into sweet things you will love a pastel de nata. It’s a custard pastry that’s Portugal famous for. Especially the ones from Belém, pastéis de Belém, is something you need to try when you’re in Lisbon. Belém is right next to Lisbon, on the Tejo river, and it’s easy to get to by tram from the city. It’s a pretty tourist place but don’t let it hold you back from getting the best pastéis. Don’t get scared away by the big line outside either, it moves pretty fast. And when you’re there, take a look inside. The café is bigger than it looks and you can see the pastry bakery, where the pastéis are made by hand.
Drink a ginjinha
Ginjinha or ginja, is a cherry liquor that Portuguese people love. Drinking a shot of ginja at a tiny ginjinha bar is part of the Lisbon expierence. The bars are photogenic and the drink is nice. There are many places to get a ginja, our favorites are east of the Teatro Nacional Doña Maria II by Rossio square, or Ginginha do Carmo, at the beginning of the stairs next to the train station.
That was our list of favorite things to do in Lisbon so far. What are your favorite things to do? Let us know if you feel something’s missing!