Lisbon is one of the best city trips in Europe with its contrast of historical, lovely narrow streets, design neighborhoods and trendy rooftop bars so plan your travel to Lisbon the best way possible with this guide
Lisbon is one of the best cities worth visiting in Europe because it has an amazing list of things to do thanks to its incredible history, trendy neighborhoods and design cool bars . The weather in Lisbon is (almost) always sunny and warm, it has great food and is one of the best value for money destination in Europe. Being my hometown, I will explain here how to plan your trip to Lisbon perfectly.
BEST TIME TO GO TO LISBON
Lisbon is all-year round a very good destination due to its mild Atlantic weather, rarely going below 10 degrees celsius in Winter. The best time to go is from April to June and then from September to November, as the temperatures will be warm from 15 to 25 degrees celsius and the rainfall will be limited. If you are looking to go to the beach, then June and September will most likely be the best options, as temperatures should be around 30 degrees celsius in most of the days.
July and August are best avoided because temperatures will likely be above 35 degrees celsius but if you don’t mind it’s also a good alternative as most local people will be outside on vacations. And any beach trips will be almost guaranteed to be warm with the water is still going to be cold at 20-22 degrees celsius in the areas South of Lisbon (Costa da Caparica) and West of Lisbon (Cascais, Estoril for example).
HOW TO GET TO LISBON AND GET AROUND
The best way to go to Lisbon is by flying to the Lisbon Airport. The most important European airlines fly into Lisbon given its rising popularity including several low costs or in codeshare with the portuguese national carrier TAP Air Portugal that is quite reliable and good quality.
From the airport to downtown Lisbon shouldn’t take more than 20-25 minutes by taxi and costs a maximum of 15€ including luggage. Uber is also available for slightly cheaper fares even if pickup at airport must be at departures not arrivals. Cheaper alternatives are to take the subway or bus for less than 2€, they connect to all the main of Lisbon areas.
The ideal way to get around Lisbon is subway- very efficient and fast, taking you almost everywhere. Electrical tram is probably the most traditional way of passing by the main tourists sites if you take the classic routes as there are some modern trams too. A recent interesting alternative are now the tuk-tuk, a kind of motorcycle, an original from Thailand to Portugal, that offers you a tour of the top attraction in Lisbon old town, Negotiate well the price! For the public transportation, also bus, you need to buy a specific Lisbon transport card and charge it often as per your trip planning – see the options below
TRANSPORTATION: I recommend that you buy the Viva Viagem card in order to ride metro, bus, tram, funicular, ferry and suburban trains. You can reuse as many times as you want it, you just need to charge it up with money as per your need. You can buy it at any Metro, ferry and suburban train stations from the automatic ticket machines or ticket office for 0.50€ and then charge it. You then have 3 options: #1 to charge it as per your needs , so you use your credit to the end as you top up, as an example a bus or Metro ride cost 1.50€ one way #2 charge with the one day access 24 hours day, with costs differing on which transports you use, so if you ride bus/subway/tram it will cost 6.40€, with train access it will be 10.60€ #3 Zapping allows you to top up the card with predefined amounts of 3€ and multiples up to 40€, with the advantage that you will pay less by trip vs the normal top up- so a bus/subway ride will be 1.35€ instead of 1.50€.
Lisboa CARD: Lisboa Card is the alternative to the pure public transport card Viva Viagem. It’s basically a sightseeing pass to see Lisbon’s attractions and have unlimited use of Lisbon’s public transport for the duration of the card (24, 48 or 72 hours). A card costs from €20 for one day to €42 for three days, including 26 museums, namely Belém Tower and Jerónimos Monastery and the free usage of public transports. It also offers discounts on a number of museums and activities. It’s then the best option if you want to visit more museums and monuments. You can buy a Lisboa Card online before you travel to Lisbon or at any Tourist Office in Lisbon. More infos: https://www.visitlisboa.com/en/p/lisboa-card
WHERE TO EAT IN LISBON
Lisbon has many great places to eat with a diversity of gastronomy that is unparalleled in Europe. The local cuisine is mostly based on fresh fish / seafood and an excellent selection of meat but there is also a booming vegan / vegetarian culture sprawling around the city most known neighborhoods meaning that there is plenty of food options to fit all tastes
Lisbon’s restaurants usually have a balanced offer of meat and fish, so you usually get to choose from a good menu. This selection is based on my experience in terms of ambiance, great appetizers and food quality. They specialize in meat but also have fish and salads.
Here is my traditional restaurants list in Lisbon:
🥩Solar dos Presuntos in Restauradores @solardospresuntos_oficial
🍔Hambúrgueria Gourmet in several locations @hamburgueriagourmet_lisboa
🥩Churrascaria Sabor Mineiro in Campolide @gruposabormineiro
🥩Adega das Gravatas in Carnide (a lovely neighborhood known by its many restaurants)
🥩Comptoir Parisien in Belém @restaurante_comptoir_parisien
🥩Adega de Belém in Belém @adega.de.belem
🥩Delfina Restaurante in Bairro Alto @delfinarestaurant
🥩KOB by Olivier in Bairro Alto/ Príncipe Real @olivierrestaurants
🥩 Floresta das Escadinhas in Rossio @florestadasescadinhas
Visiting Lisbon and not eating seafood is like going to Italy and not trying a pizza! So the best and most traditional seafood restaurants are called “Marisqueira “ or “Cervejaria”. Sushi is still new but there are some great places. Here is my list:
🦞Cervejaria Ramiro, located in Almirante Reis near to Martim Moniz @cervejariaramirooficial
🦞Marisqueira Nunes Real, situated in Belém @marisqueiranunes
🍣 Confraria Lx , placed in Cais do Sodré, close to Pink Street @confrarialx
🍣Arigato sushi, in Parque das Nações and Campo Pequeno @arigatosushihouse
🦞Cervejaria Trindade in the area of Bairro Alto/Chiado @cervejariatrindade
🦞Cervejaria Ribadouro in Avenida da Liberdade @cervejariaribadouro
🍣Yakuza by Olivier in Avenida da Liberdade @olivierrestaurants
🦞5 Oceanos in Alcântara , right under the 25th April Bridge @5oceanos
🦞Marisqueira Azul in Time Out Market near Cais do Sodré @marisqueiraazul
🦞O Palácio in Alcântara @restaurante_palacio
Then the 7 seafood dishes you should try:
😋”Sapateira” a deliciously cooked crab including it’s sheLl with a delicious sauce with beer
😋”Amêijoas à Bulhão Pato”, tasty mussels in a white wine, olive oil and garlic sauce
😋”Arroz de marisco” , a juicy seafood rice that is like a risotto and paella in one but much tastier
😋”Camarão tigre” , giant grilled shrimps that resemble a lobster but feel much softer
😋”Lavagante “ , a type of lobster bred and freshly done from the restaurant aquarium (usually you can pick it up yourself from a plate to check the size)
😋”Sardinha Assada”, the most typical fish to be eaten in Portugal, grilled sardines are at its best in Summer
😋”Bacalhau com natas “ , the most famous bacalao recipe in Portugal is a must try in Lisbon
WHERE TO STAY IN LISBON
Lisbon isn’t a large city but location does matter if you want to be closer to the main attractions in a walking distance. Given the many hills of Lisbon and the fact that there are many narrow streets, the selection might be hard of you want a view or prefer more a backyard location with good value for money. Below some of my favorite locations and recommendation on where to overnight in Lisbon.
Where to stay: I personally recommend Avenida da Liberdade, Restauradores or Marques de Pombal areas with its many hotels , usually more modern yet in stylish buildings – Tivoli Lisbon, Fonte Cruz or VIP Eden Hotel are my favorites.
If you want to be on a more cozy yet traditional place in the old town, then Airbnb will be the best choice to look for a nice room in Bairro Alto, Chiado or Principe Real.
If you only have one night and need to be close to the airport then Olivais/ Parque das Nacoes has great options rather than stay at an airport hotel, as its a mere 10 minutes by car from the departures terminal by taxi, bus or metro. My favorites here are Tivoli Tejo and VIP Arts
WHERE TO ENJOY THE BEST ROOFTOP & TERRASSE BARS OF LISBON
Having 7 hills means that Lisbon has a good choice of rooftop bars, but given the density of houses , you need to select the ones with a great view.
This list is my personal choice , based on location, service and drinks quality:
🍹Sky Bar, located on top of luxury Hotel Tivoli it has the drinks , views and fine service @skybarlisboa
🍹Bar Terraço de Santa Luzia has the perfect location near the Santa Luzia viewpoint and with old Lisbon / Portas do Sol at his feet @barterracosantaluzia
🍹Silk Club Bar is an old timer but I do love the classic bridge and castle views from here plus a nice Japanese cuisine @silkbarlb
🍹Esplanada da Graça has an enviable sunset location even if it lacks the flair of a rooftop, it’s the place for the evening before going to the night bar @esplanadadagraca
🍹Entretanto rooftop barco at Hotel Chiado is probably one of the trendiest bars across town with incredible castle hill views @hoteldochiado
🍹Noobai bar is chic, has great views and a dream location in Bica area near Santa Catarina viewpoint @noobai_lx
🍹Park is a very popular place but deserves well its status as it has immense views of most Lisbon by day & night @parklisboa
A 3 – DAY TRAVEL ITINERARY IN LISBON AND MORE ABOUT LISBON
Most visitors spend a long weekend in Lisbon , that is also what I recommend you to visit main highlights in at least 3 days. Read more about that itinerary in Lisbon and have a look to my other available or soon to be available posts about Lisbon’s top things to do and hidden gems.
If you have any questions, do let me know! Enjoy Lisbon!
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My name is Renato Azambujo. I live currently in Hamburg, but was born and raised in sunny capital of Portugal, Lisbon. I also lived in Switzerland for some years, before settling in Germany for the last years.
I am huge passionate about travel, photographer and a global explorer, always looking to the next destination.
I have so far visited over 70 countries across the 5 continents, because I really love knowing about new places, interact with different cultures and get to know myself better after each journey.