Is Lisbon worth visiting?
Is Lisbon worth visiting?
This is the most common question I get from people planning their trips to Portugal. The short answer is yes! Lisbon is one of the most enchanting cities in Portugal. It offers visitors stunning views from its many hills, delicious cuisine, vibrant nightlife, and plenty of activities to explore.
Whether you’re in search of ancient architecture or modern culture, Lisbon has something for everyone. From its iconic monuments like Belem Tower to its cobblestone streets lined with colorful buildings and lively cafes, there’s no shortage of reasons why Lisbon should be at the top of your travel list.
So join us as we explore some of the best things that this charming Portuguese capital has to offer!
Table of Contents
Is Lisbon Worth Visiting? The Most Common Questions
What’s Lisbon famous for?
Lisbon is famous for its rich history, stunning architecture, and vibrant culture. The city is home to iconic landmarks such as the Belem Tower, Jeronimos Monastery, and the Sao Jorge Castle.
Lisbon is also known for its delicious cuisine, with dishes such as bacalhau (salt cod) and pastel de nata (custard tart) being must-try delicacies.
The city is a hub for street art, with vibrant murals and graffiti adorning many buildings. Its lively nightlife, which offers visitors a range of bars, clubs, and music venues is also one of its hallmarks.
Overall, Lisbon is renowned for its unique blend of tradition and modernity, making it a fascinating destination for tourists from all over the world.
Is Lisbon safe?
Yes, Lisbon is generally considered to be very safe and is a popular destination for travelers. The city has low rates of crime and you’ll generally find people to be friendly and helpful.
However, as with all cities, visitors should exercise caution and take basic safety precautions such as avoiding carrying large amounts of cash or valuables, not leaving possessions unattended in public places, and being aware when walking alone late at night.
Although Lisbon is a very safe city to visit, we can’t forget that it is a European capital, and quite a large city.
How many days do you need in Lisbon?
I recommend staying in Lisbon for at least 3-4 days to get a good feel for the city. This will give you enough time to explore some of the landmarks and monuments, try out some of the delicious food, and go out on the town.
You just might also have time for a lazy afternoon of people-watching in a park or a square and enjoy the views on a rooftop bar!
If you have more time, spending 5-7 days allows you to really immerse yourself in all that Lisbon has to offer and explore a little further out. If your trip is flexible there are many day trips from Lisbon which can be easily squeezed into your itinerary.
Sintra is one of the most popular destinations for day trips from Lisbon – it’s a picturesque town with a magical vibe and plenty of intriguing palaces to see. Cascais, Ericeira, Nazare and Peniche are all interesting day trips which shouldn’t be missed if you can spare the time.
When is the Best Time to visit?
The best time to visit Lisbon is the shoulder season, from March to May, or September to November. This is when there is the best possibility for nice weather and smaller crowds.
In the summer months, the prices tend to go up and the heat can be a bit overwhelming. In the winter months, you’ll find cooler temperatures, but there is also a higher risk of rain.
The average temperature in summer is around 30°C (90°F), while winter temperatures range from 5-15°C (40-63°F). Rainy days occur throughout the year, so visitors should consider packing a light rain jacket or umbrella.
If you are looking for festivals and events, June to August are popular months due to the warm weather, while December brings festive cheer as Lisbon celebrates Christmas with lots of markets and fairs.
Depending on what you are looking for, Lisbon has something different to offer travellers at specific times of the year. Considering all these factors will help you make the right choice when deciding on the best time to visit for your next trip to Portugal.
Do people speak English in Lisbon?
Yes, English is widely spoken in Lisbon and many of the younger locals can communicate in English. Most people who work in tourist-related industries, such as restaurants, hotels, and stores are able to speak basic English.
There are also plenty of English-speaking residents living in the city. So you should have no problem getting around or finding someone to help if you get lost!
How can I get around Lisbon?
I never recommend a car rental in central Lisbon since traffic and parking can do your head in. Instead, walk, use public transport, or take an Uber/Bolt/tuk tuk.
Lisbon has an excellent transportation system with many options for getting around, including buses, trams, elevators and metro. The easiest way to get around is by taking the tram and bus lines that run throughout the city.
Tickets can be purchased at any metro stations or kiosks located near stops. Taxis are also a convenient option but can be pricey and frankly, a little sketchy. For a more economical choice, you can use Uber or Bolt which both offer excellent rates for as low as a few euros.
If you plan on staying in Lisbon for more than one day it may be worth purchasing a transit pass (Viva Card) which allows unlimited travel on all public transport networks within Lisbon’s city limits, or a Lisbon Card which includes attractions as well as public transport for a great deal.
✅ Find out about the Lisbon Card here
Finally, if you’re looking to explore further out of town for a day trip there are plenty of city trains and buses that go to nearby cities and towns for prices as low as 6 Euros. Alternatively, if you are a group you can get a private transfer, which is often more convenient and not that expensive if you can fill a car.
Where should I stay in Lisbon?
When it comes to where to stay in Lisbon, you have plenty of options! Depending on your budget and the type of experience you want, there are a variety of neighborhoods with hotels offering a range of amenities.
Central Lisbon is right in the middle of attractions like the Cathedral, Castle and Alfama district as well as lively nightlife spots. However, if you seek a more laidback atmosphere then try Bairro Alto or Principe Real – both areas offer great cafes and restaurants while still being relatively close to downtown. For views with fewer crowds than some more touristy areas explore Martim Moniz, Intendente, Graça or Estrela districts.
If you’re on a budget, hostels in Mouraria, Santos or Baixa Chiado could be ideal alternatives if you’re looking for something different from the typical hotel experience; however prices start at around €30 per night.
Luxury travellers can find 5-star accommodation throughout Lisbon in places like Rossio Sq., Avenida da Liberdade or Parque das Nações which all feature chic hotels complete with rooftop pools and flats with magnificent views across the city skyline!
Here are a few accommodation options you might want to consider:
Hostel: Be Lisbon Hostel Intendente is a great option for people traveling alone who want a clean, safe environment where they can meet others in a centrally located hostel.
Budget Hotel: Holiday Inn- Lisbon Continental is an excellent budget hotel located in the heart of Lisbon right next to the Campo Pequenho metro station. The large bedrooms and great breakfast make for a comfortable stay in town.
Luxury Flat: Almaria – Officina Real Apartments is located in one of the hippest parts of town and is spacious, elegant and comfortable. An excellent choice for a couple.
Chic Hotel: PortoBay Liberdade is one of the nicest hotels in town, and it’s roof top spa, pool and gorgeous decor will make your trip so much more relaxing! Located right next to the prestigious Avenida da Liberdade, this hotel is the place to be!
What are the Best things to do in Lisbon?
The best things to do in Lisbon include exploring the historic Alfama district, taking the tram along the spectacular waterfront and through the winding alleyways, and visiting iconic monuments like Belém Tower and Jerónimos Monastery.
Make sure to enjoy delicious seafood dishes at a traditional restaurant, go shopping in the bustling Chiado neighborhood, and admire the amazing views from one of its many hilltop viewpoints or skybars.
Other popular activities include sampling local flavors with an appetizing food tour in Bairro Alto, going on an art walk to explore street art around Baixa-Chiado neighborhoods, catching a film in Moonlight Cinema outdoor theater during the summertime and sipping on a refreshing drink while partying all night long at vibrant nightclubs.
For day trips outside of Lisbon consider exploring quaint palaces or the golden beaches nearby for unforgettable memories!
Don’t forget that Portugal is also the best spot in Europe to go surfing! It has the only World Surf Reserve in Europe, the charming whitewashed village of Ericeira, so catching some waves should definitely be part of your itinerary!
Is Lisbon or Porto Better?
It really depends on what you’re looking for. Lisbon is a vibrant city with lots of culture, art, and history as well as plenty of nightlife options. Meanwhile, Porto is smaller and more relaxed while still having its own unique charm with its breathtaking views along the Douro River and colorful architecture. And lest we forget the wine and all the gastronomy that comes with it!
Depending on your preferences, either city can be better than the other. While each has something special to offer in its own right, it ultimately comes down to personal preference when deciding which one is best for you!
The Pros of Visiting Lisbon
Lisbon is a city that charms visitors with its beauty, history, and vibrant culture. From its iconic landmarks to its delicious cuisine and lively nightlife scene, there are countless reasons to visit this charming capital. Read on for the main reasons you should most definitely visit.
Lisbon is one of the most accessible cities in Europe for tourists, offering a variety of travel options that make it incredibly easy to reach.
International flights to Portugal generally arrive at Lisbon Airport, and the airport itself is conveniently located just 6km from the city center, which means that visitors can be in the heart of the city in no time.
The airport is also well-connected to other major cities and attractions in Portugal, making day trips to nearby towns and beach resorts relatively hassle-free.
Additionally, Lisbon has an efficient public transportation system making it easy to go anywhere in town and discover all it has to offer.
Lisbon is walkable
Lisbon is an incredibly walkable city, even though it’s famously surrounded by seven hills. It’s relatively flat in the center and has many hidden gems to discover! Plus, with strategically placed elevators throughout the city, you can easily access higher points of Lisbon for breathtaking views of the entire cityscape without the huffing and puffing!
Walking is also the best way to discover the city’s vibrant culture and unique atmosphere. As you stroll through its narrow streets and climb the picturesque staircases, be sure to take a peek at all the stunning azulejos (traditional Portuguese tiles) gracing many of Lisbon’s pastel-colored buildings.
✅ Check out our free walking tour of the center!
Lisbon is a foodie paradise, boasting an array of traditional dishes and flavors that will tantalize your taste buds.
Eating out is not seen as a luxury in Portugal, which is why you’ll always find cafes and restaurants brimming with people at breakfast, lunch and dinner. Restaurant food is still relatively cheap when compared to many other European capitals.
From the fresh seafood to the scrumptious pastries and mouth-watering street food, there’s something for everyone in Lisbon! There are even well-attended food truck festivals that always lure the locals out for a bite and a drink.
But if you’re looking to get an even deeper experience into Portuguese cuisine, then consider joining one of the many popular food tours across Lisbon. These guided tours offer tourists a unique opportunity to dive headfirst into Portugal’s rich culinary culture while sampling some of its most iconic dishes along the way!
✅ Check out the Undiscovered Lisbon Food Tour
When it comes to weather, Portugal is truly blessed with a mild climate that allures tourists year-round. Lisbon, in particular, enjoys a wonderfully temperate climate with an average temperature of around 10°C to 30°C, depending on the season.
The city is renowned for its over 300 days of sun per year, and during the summer months, the weather is perfect for beach days and outdoor activities.
But even in the winter, Lisbon’s climate remains mild and sunny, making it an excellent escape from the harsh cold of other European countries.
So, whether you’re planning to explore Lisbon’s charming neighborhoods or soak up some sun on its stunning beaches, you’re sure to enjoy the city’s delightful weather.
The Incredible Nightlife
You can’t speak of Lisbon without mentioning its incredible nightlife. The city is renowned for its vibrant and diverse entertainment scene that caters to all tastes, from the traditional Portuguese Fado music to the modern electronic beats and cute bars in Bairro Alto.
Visitors can spend their evenings hopping between rooftop bars, cozy tavernas and jazz clubs, or wandering around Alfama’s winding streets, where locals gather for impromptu street parties.
The nightlife in Lisbon is unique in that tourists and locals mix seamlessly, creating an incredibly welcoming atmosphere that will leave you with unforgettable memories.
Don’t miss Pink street where one of Lisbon’s oldest brothels was turned into an incredible venue, A Pensao do Amor. Here you’ll find burlesque shows, live music, DJs, a fortune teller and even a sex shop all within the walls of the ancient building! Not to be missed!
Whether you’re looking for a wild night out or a romantic evening with your partner, Lisbon’s nightlife is sure to exceed your expectations.
The Historical Monuments
Lisbon has been attracting visitors for centuries, thanks to its rich history and architecture. As one of the oldest countries in Europe, Portugal has been home to numerous civilizations throughout history, each leaving its unique mark on the city’s landscape.
From the iconic Belem Tower to the famous Sao Jorge Castle, Lisbon’s majestic monuments stand as testament to its long-ago grandeur and importance in the old world. The city is also home to numerous museums, art galleries, and historical landmarks, making it the perfect destination for history buffs and culture lovers.
Whether you’re walking through the charming Alfama neighborhood or admiring the grandeur of the Jeronimos Monastery, Lisbon’s historical baggage is sure to leave a lasting impression on you.
The Lisboa Card allows free access to many of the city’s most beautiful monuments, palaces and museums, so make sure to read more here to find out if it’s right for you.
✅ Find out about the Lisbon Card here
One of the most prized features of Lisbon is its numerous viewpoints, known as “miradouros” in Portuguese.
These stunning vantage points offer breathtaking views over the city and its surroundings, making them a popular spot for tourists and locals alike.
From the famous Miradouro de Adamastor (Santa Catarina), overlooking the Tagus River, to the lesser-known but equally charming Miradouro da Senhora do Monte (Graça), perched atop one of the city’s seven hills, each of these lookout points offers a unique perspective on the city’s beauty.
It’s no wonder that locals often flock to these viewpoints to enjoy a drink at sunset before heading out to dinner, making them an integral part of Lisbon’s cultural fabric. So, don’t miss the chance to take in the unforgettable views that Lisbon has to offer from these magical spots!
In addition to all of its incredible features, Lisbon is also the perfect starting point for unforgettable day trips. Within an hour’s drive of the capital, visitors can explore a rich variety of landscapes and activities, from majestic castles and palaces to breathtaking beaches and protected natural wonders.
For history lovers, the medieval town of Obidos and the mystical Sintra Palaces are top must-sees, with their enchanting architecture and rich legends.
Nature enthusiasts will be thrilled by the stunning Arrabida Natural Park, with its pristine beaches and crystal-clear waters, as well as the charming fishing village of Sesimbra, where you can gorge on delicious fresh seafood and soak up the local atmosphere.
For a more adrenaline-filled day out, head to the westernmost point of Europe, Cabo da Roca and drive up to Ericeira known for its surfing, spectacular cliffs and dramatic landscape.
Last but not least, wine lovers can indulge in a day trip to the surrounding vineyards along Lisbon’s Atlantic coast, where they can vineyard-hop and partake in some of the best wine tastings and tours in Portugal .
With Lisbon as your base, the possibilities for unforgettable day trips are endless, making it the perfect destination for travelers who want to explore all the wonders that Portugal has to offer.
The Cons of Visiting Lisbon
Although there really are many wonderful things about Lisbon, a few thorns do exist in this otherwise perfect rose garden! Read on for some of the less enjoyable facts about Lisbon.
Although Lisbon is popular year-round, it’s no secret that between May and September, the city can get incredibly crowded with tourists from all over the world.
This means long lines at popular attractions, packed restaurants and cafes, and difficulty finding accommodations in the city’s most coveted areas.
However, by traveling during the shoulder season, which runs from October to April, visitors can enjoy all that Lisbon has to offer without dealing with the frustration of crowds. During this time, temperatures are still mild, and many of the city’s attractions remain open for visitors to explore.
Not only will you have more space to yourself, but you’ll also be able to take advantage of lower prices on everything from accommodations to dining and even souvenirs.
So, if you’re looking to escape the crowds and have a more relaxing vacation experience, consider planning your Lisbon trip for the shoulder season, or even wintertime, if heat isn’t your thing!
Prices Have Gone Up
While Lisbon remains an incredible destination for travelers, it’s worth noting that the pandemic has had a negative impact on the city’s affordability.
Lisbon was once known for its relatively low cost of living, but the global crisis has meant that prices have increased for everyone, making life more difficult for locals and slightly more expensive for visitors.
Despite these changes, Lisbon still offers plenty of great value and exciting experiences, so visitors should not let this discourage them from exploring all that the city has to offer.
By doing a bit of research and planning ahead, travelers can still find affordable accommodation, dining, and entertainment options in the city and truly experience all the wonder that Lisbon has to offer.
Lisbon’s 7 Hills
One thing that visitors to Lisbon should be aware of is that the city is built on seven hills, which can make walking around outside the old center quite the workout.
However, don’t let that discourage you from exploring all of the city’s incredible sights and neighborhoods. In fact, there are plenty of ways to navigate the hills without working up too much of a sweat.
Lisbon’s iconic elevators, such as the Elevador de Santa Justa and the Elevador da Glória, will whisk you up to some of the city’s best viewpoints in no time. Alternatively, you can hop on a colorful tuk-tuk for a fun and easy ride through the winding streets.
And once you reach the top of one of Lisbon’s hills, you’ll be rewarded with stunning panoramic vistas that are well worth the effort. So, lace up your walking shoes, or hop on a tuk-tuk, and get ready to discover the beauty and history of Lisbon‘s seven hills.
Insane Parking and Traffic
While exploring a new destination, the convenience of having a rental car sometimes seems like a great idea, but in Lisbon, the reality of traffic and parking means it’s not the best option.
The winding streets and steep hills of the city center make it difficult to navigate by car, while the abundance of residential neighborhoods with limited parking makes finding a spot to park a real challenge.
Additionally, downtown Lisbon is home to a number of one-way streets, often adding to the congestion and making it nearly impossible to get where you want to go when Google Maps keeps telling you to turn into the same dead end!
Instead, why not embrace the city’s walkable streets and take advantage of public transportation options like the metro, buses, or trams, to discover more of Lisbon’s secret spots?
So, Why Visit Lisbon?
From its breathtaking views to its unique cultural experiences, Lisbon is a must-see for any traveler looking for an unforgettable holiday. With mild temperatures and fewer crowds in autumn and winter months, plus plenty of affordable options available, there’s no better time than now to visit this beautiful city.
Whether you’re exploring old neighborhoods or relaxing on one of the seven hills with a stunning view, Lisbon offers something special that can’t be found anywhere else. For more on secret spots in Lisbon, read The 10 Most Beautiful Lisbon Streets: Picture Perfect.