When we prepare to travel and see new places, we always check what there is to do - or there are friends who have already visited and tell us: don't forget to go to this and that place, or try this or that food.
We’d like to be that friend that gives you the best suggestions about what to do in Lisbon.
The best viewpoints in Lisbon
They say there are seven hills, but no one ventures to count them on a walk, unless there is something up there that encourages it, like the various Lisbon viewpoints, with breathtaking views: from the walls of São Jorge Castle over the whole city, or the viewpoint of São Pedro de Alcântara, overlooking the Alfama hill and the castle; or even the viewpoint of Santa Catarina with a quiet view of the river, it is a terrace of esplanades, and a few steps away we find excellent wine bars.
The truth is that the walk becomes pleasant, peeking through the various alleys and sidewalks, photographing details - that facade with the pattern of old tiles where we are so well framed - or the cat that peeks in that window with embroidered curtains.
Stopping to smell the scent of freshly laundered clothes lying by the window, or the brown wraping paper and fruit at the grocery store, or the fragrant and cheerful basil plants - if it's the season.
Lisbon Funiculars and Santa Justa elevator: one typical trip.
The funicular, that narrow cabin that goes up the street, not only saves our efforts but is an experience not to be missed. The light bulb turns on, it means it's time to close the gates and start the little adventure! The funicular does not excel in speed, and this is one of its charms, because we see that all around it, life goes on in perfect harmony: we see people passing by, side by side with us on the street, the neighbour who greets - and still has time for a little chat - with the passengers who use the funicular as their daily transport. Similar is the Santa Justa elevator, but it rises up to an impressive viewpoint, with a passage for those who go to the neighborhoods on top of that hill.
Remember that Yellow Bus tickets give free access to these transports as well.
There are 3 funiculars in Lisbon to be discovered: Bica, Gloria, and Lavra.
Santa Justa Elevator, a centenary ironwork, with a spectacular viewpoint at the top, connects Downtown area to Chiado hill, a great place for shopping, good restaurants, and 5 min walk to Bairro Alto, one of the nightlife Lisbon references.
Your Yellow Bus ticket offers you free access to the Lisbon funiculars and Santa Justa Lift. Enjoy!
What to eat in Lisbon
Impossible for a workout like this not to open your appetite! And no guilt, since we seem to have run out of steps on the pedometer...
For the lack of guilt we have codfish - it can be eaten in 1001 ways, so they say, but as the days go by you will see that this number was perhaps even quite modest. In the middle of the morning or afternoon, there's nothing like a Portuguese codfish cake, but if it's time to get to the table, the options are endless. Portuguese codfish dishes also vary from region to region, and you will only find a few here: it is usual to have codfish baked in the oven with lots of olive oil, garlic, and baked potatoes ("lagareiro style") or shredded and fried with thin french fries and lots of parsley (“Brás style") or au gratin in the oven with cream.
We can't help choosing, we like them all...
At the end of the meal, ask for a bica probably the most typical way to drink coffee in Lisbon-: espresso, short and strong - and a “pastel de nata” (a typical Portuguese tart, considered a Lisbon pastry icon). It will help you to manage your energy after a good meal, for the next adventures.
Fado in Lisbon
Among the various strong emotions, Fado marks its presence, because when it is heard it leaves no one indifferent.
The voices are powerful, melodic and aligned with the strings of the famous Portuguese Guitar, that with a unique melody, gives Fado a soul of its own - it's not by chance that we always say: "Silence, for Fado is about to be sang".
Fado means Destiny, and that is often the theme of songs: the fate of long journeys (which sailors already sang about), loving and unloving, "Saudade" - the melancholic feeling of something or someone we miss, or of past memories. Amália Rodrigues (1920-1999) is known as the “Queen of Fado". Endowed with a unique voice, she travelled internationally throughout her career, popularising Fado worldwide. 20 years after her death, she remains as the best-selling Portuguese artist in history.
Lisbon is also portrayed in many Fados, some of them quite joyful and contagious. Fado is classificed Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO in 2011, and has also evolved with more modern musical trends, in the creativity of new artists who give voice to it.
We suggest that you book a dinner at a Fado house, where you can taste a typical dish and a good wine, to the sound of Fado; it is a unique experience, not to be missed.
You can opt for the Fado Club or Adega Machado, which are both good suggestions.
Enjoy the river Tagus in Lisbon.
If you walk along Rua Augusta in the Baixa area, you will see several canvases with landscapes of Lisbon, with the houses, monuments, hills and squares.
The viewpoints provide many of these perspectives, some quite famous such as the São Jorge Castle and the Cathedral on the slope of Alfama. But the greatest perspective, and the one from which Lisbon is best seen, is undoubtedly from the river.
Lisbon descends, like an amphitheater to the river, discovering rooftops, domes, different colors and lots of light from the mostly always blue sky. And as we slide on, Lisbon follows the Tagus river in its esplanades, sidewalks, bars, and marinas until we reach the historic district of Belém, the Discoveries' district par excellence.
There, History meets us: the great caravel, which is the Monument to the Discoveries, advances into the river, and the Tower of Belém also looks like a stone galley, richly decorated with elements that, for a moment, take us to other faraway places.
Huge cruises pass us by, the imposing Christ the King can also be seen up close in an impressive approach, such as the structure of the 25 de Abril bridge.
We are also accompanied by dolphins that surprise us, and the sun shines on the faces of the smiles that come out, delighted with the moment.
Guarantee your place on the Yellowboat - river Tagus cruise. A relaxing experience that invites to admire the views of the city, the Christ king, the 25th Abril Bridge and the most iconic Belem monuments.
Belém, a place full of history and well-kept secrets
We are such a small country, but centuries ago it expanded across the seas and brought new worlds to the world, as Camões once wrote.
This living soul of the Discoveries can be found in the Belém quarter, where by the Tagus River we can see some of the most important Lisbon monuments, true jewels of Portuguese architecture, which have come down to us since those times to tell us all about history, such as the grand Jerónimos Monastery and the original Belem Tower. Besides the museums and other monuments, one of our best kept secrets is also discovered the Portuguese tarts - “pasteis de Belém”. There, History brings the aroma of cinnamon, milk and is sweet from the first bite.
The best tours to discover Lisbon.
We can keep writing but it has no end, the rest should be added by our visitors. We can give you a hand with that, as we have several tours waiting for you, in Yellow Bus tours.
But when in doubt between the best choice, there is nothing like buying the All in One combo 72h – hop-on hop-off. that gathers all Lisbon tours in one ticket: 2 panoramic bus city tours, a tramway through the most typical neighbourhoods, and a river cruise along the Tagus. Book now!