Looking for ideas on top things to do in Lisbon? Below is a list of what I consider the top ten things you do not want to miss during your visit to the beautiful Lisboa. Many of these can be done in the same day, so if you’re short on time- this is the list for you!
1. Visit the Belèm Tower
Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983, the Torre de Belèm is considered one of the Seven Wonders of Portugal. Once you visit for yourself, you’ll understand why. The tower stands 4 stories tall (about 30 meters high- almost 100ft) and is made of beautiful limestone. It boasts its beauty in Portugese Manueline style- being built in the early 16th century (c. 1514). It sits along the mouth of the Tagus River and is a beautiful fortress overlooking the water.
6 euros for an individual ticket, or 13 euros if you purchase in combination with the entry ticket for Mosteiro dos Jerónimos + Museu Nacional de Arqueologia (See below.)
2. Try Bacalhau: The National Dish of Portugal
Bacalhau (salted cod) is the highly revered, national dish of Portugal. Apparently its prepared in 365 ways- a way for each day in the year, as it is eaten so often here. You’ll find a Bacalhau option on nearly every menu you come across in Portugal. Its one of those “must-try” or “must do” moves when you’re in Portugal.
The most popular preparations you’ll find are:
- Bacalhau com Natas (Cod with Cream- made with potatoes, onions and, you guessed it- cream.)
- Bacalhau à Bràs (Cod, onions and thinly sliced potatoes bound with scrambled eggs)
- Pastéis de Bacalhau (croquettes made of bacalhau)
- Bacalhau à Gomes de Sá –my personal favorite- (bacalhau, potatoes, eggs, olives, olive oil and onion. It is a speciality from the northern Portuguese city of Porto- which is where I had this dish though I’m sure it can be found in Lisbon.)
3. Try Pastel de Nata from Pasteis de Belèm
If you haven’t tried a Pastel de Nata yet- its a warm, creamy egg custard tart, with a flaky crust and a dust of cinnamon and sugar. From the center of Lisbon, you can take a 15 minute tram ride over to the famous “Pastèis de Belèm,” right in proximity to the Belèm Tower mentioned above.
4. Santa Justa Lift
The Elevador de Santa Justa is a 19th century lift that allows passengers a ride up the steep hill from the Baixa district to the Largo do Carmo and the ruins of the Carmo church. Its a quick, fun ride that allows for some beautiful picturesque views from the top. See below! 🙂
Cost: about 2 euros to ride the lift.
5. Try the famous “Bifanas” : Portugese Pork Sandwich
Do yourself a favor and try these on your first day… so that you have plenty of time to order, find and enjoy these yummy sandwiches during your stay. They’re simple and cheap, but just delicious and you’ll definitely crave them after you leave.
The bifana sandwich is prepared on papa seco, a Portuguese bread roll. Inside, the roll is stuffed with a few pieces of marinated pork loin. The juice that the pork is cooked in drizzles onto the bread and adds depth in flavor that you may not have expected from these little sandwiches!
Its the perfect mid-afternoon snack, best accompanied by a cold bottle of Super Bock- which is a light Portugese Lager.
6. Visit Sao Jorge Castle
Sao Jorge Castle is a must see. The views it offers are just incredible! It sits atop one of Lisbon’s many hills, boasting a spectacular view of the city, the Tagus River, and the 25 de Abril Bridge.
Cost: Around 9 Euros
7. Visit the Jeronimos Monastery
Jeónimos Monastary is a classified UNESCO World Heritage site that was opened in 1495. Its a beautiful example of Portuguese Gothic Manueline architecture, similar to the Belém Tower. The detail and design of the architecture is stunning. You will certainly feel overcome by beauty and a sense of calm upon visiting here- particuarly in the courtyard (pictured above).
Cost: 7 euros to enter just the monastery, however, if you combine this entrance with the entrance to the Belém Tower (recommended!) then the cost is 13 euros for both.
8. Try the Blood Sausages
Give these a try, they’re delicious and an opportunity to engage in a food related cultural experience!
9. Find and Experience Fado Music
Another cultural experience likely to leave an impression. Easy to find all over but, check out these three:
- Mesa De Frades: tiles and murals on the walls, and a unique Fado musical experience.
- Cafe Lusso: Located in area of Barrio Alto and a historical experience nonetheless. Music runs from 8p.m. to 2a.m.- stop by for a glass of wine and an opportunity to soak in the rich tradition of Portugal.
- Adega Machado: Another great spot in the area of Barrio Alto. Check it out, you won’t be disappointed.
10. Ride the Tram
Its about 3 euros one way, we rode from nearby our hostel,
, to get to the area of the Belém Tower and Jeronimos Monastary. Check it out!