Top 10 of the places to visit in Lisbon

Miradouro das Portas do Sol - what to see in Lisbon

Lisbon, the capital and biggest city in Portugal, is in the top of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. The “city of the seven hills” has won the hearts of visitors from all over the world through a sumptuous fusion of tradition and modernity. Have you ever thought of what to see in Lisbon?

Here is the top 10 of the places to visit and what to see in Lisbon:

1. Lisbon’s historic quarters

Most of the authenticity you’ll find in Lisbon is at its historic quarters. There, you’ll get to know the most genuine people, taste the most typical meals and, why not, take the opportunity to hear the real Lisbon fado.

The beautiful Alfama quarter is one of the oldest in the city and is one of those places you can’t forget when making a list of what to see in Lisbon.

Located in the heart of the capital, this is definitely one of the most typical locations to discover the Portuguese culture. The narrow streets, flowered balconies, restaurants, fado and daily life scenes are part of the tour. Furthermore, you can ask around – surely you’ll find someone that can tell you what to see in Lisbon.

Tip: take the tram nº 28 to visit Alfama or walk there (wear appropriate footwear). Make a stop at one of many old taverns and enjoy a meal of fresh grilled fish.

Another quarter you should discover in the Portuguese capital is Bairro Alto. The quarter has two faces: ordinary during the day and classy at night. There are many bars, restaurants, bookshops, discos and a superb panoramic view.

Apart from these reasons, you should know that Bairro Alto is also very welcoming and everyone is eager to help you out if you need any information.

Tip: take one of these two elevators: the Ascensor da Bica or the Elevador da Glória.

There are other historic quarters in Lisbon worth a visit but these are definitely two of the most authentic and genuine.

2. Lisbon’s viewpoints

Lisbon is also known as the “city of the seven hills” and, maybe because of that, there are many viewpoints scattered throughout the city offering its visitors some of the best views over the Portuguese capital.

Stroll through the historic quarters and stop at the viewpoints to admire the city and its monuments like São Jorge Castle and the National Pantheon. Among the favourite viewpoints, I must point out the ones of Senhora do MontePortas do Sol, São Pedro de Alcântara and Santa Catarina.

3.Tower of Belém (Torre de Belém)

When you think of what to see in Lisbon, one of the first things that comes to mind is Tower of Belém. UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1983, Tower of Belém was built from 1515 to 1521 to watch over Lisbon’s harbour thus controlling the passage of ships.

About 30 metres high, Torre de Belém is one of the most beautiful examples of Manueline-style architecture, with its very characteristic traits such as the cross of the Order of Christ, the armillary sphere and naturalist elements. From here you can enjoy an astounding view over Tagus river.

Tip: for about 12 € per person, some companies offer a boat trip from Cais do Sodré to Tower of Belém.

4. Hieronymites Monastery (Mosteiro dos Jerónimos)

In 1502, King Manuel I decided to order the construction of this huge and religious monument. Located in Belém historic quarter, this magnificent building mirrors the richness of the Portuguese discoveries all over the world in the 16th century.

Like Tower of Belém, this monument is also one of the most important symbols of Manueline style and it is today one of the most visited places in Portugal. Apart from its architectural beauty, you’ll have the opportunity to admire the amazing tombs of Portuguese figures such as Camões, Vasco da Gama and D. Manuel I.

Tip: if you also want to visit Tower of Belém, choose the combined ticket and visit both monuments for a reduced price.

5. Oceanário


The Oceanário of Lisbon is definitely one of the cultural buildings that attract more visitors in the whole country and has been considered as the best aquarium in the world on different occasions. It was inaugurated in 1998, just in time for Lisbon’s Expo ’98, and its mission is to raise awareness about the wonderful world of the oceans and species living there.

Today, the Oceanário is composed by two buildings connected by a long corridor decorated by a 55 000 glazed-tile panel. Here you can admire temporary and permanent exhibitions and, of course, get to know all of its beautiful “residents”.

6. The Cathedral

The Cathedral of Lisbon holds the title of oldest church in the Portuguese capital, having been built in the second half of the 12th century, right after Lisbon being conquered from the Moors.

As years went by, this cathedral was enriched with different architectonic styles, with Romanesque, Gothic and Baroque traits and it was here that some Portuguese started to be buried.

Unfortunately, the major earthquake of 1755 destroyed several original parts of the cathedral and, because of that, a reconstruction was in order. In the beginning of the 20th century, refurbishment works returned some of the medieval beauty to this building.

7. Cristo Rei National Sanctuary

Located in Almada, on the south bank of Tagus river, Cristo Rei is a sanctuary and a religious monument representing the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Inspired by Rio de Janeiro’s Christ Redeemer, this wonderful 110-metre high building was inaugurated in 1959.

This sanctuary and the statue, in particular, welcome with open arms people who want to visit Lisbon region and here you can also enjoy this place that is one of the most beautiful viewpoints offering views over the Portuguese capital.

Tip: take the opportunity of getting to know the glamorous streets of Almada.

8. Praça do Comércio

The square Praça do Comércio, also known as Terreiro do Paço, is one of the most famous places in Lisbon and is located in Baixa Pombalina (downtown), facing Tagus river. This is definitely a place to consider when thinking of what to see in Lisbon.

It was here that, throughout centuries, many heads of state disembarked for meetings with the Portuguese kings and queens.

But other important historical events took place at this location such as the destruction caused by the major earthquake of 1755 and the regicide of D. Carlos and his son, in 1908, that marked the beginning of the end of monarchy in Portugal.

9. National Pantheon

Considered one of the most emblematic buildings in Lisbon, the National Pantheon is the last residence for many important Portuguese historical figures of different areas such as Almeida Garrett, Amália Rodrigues and Eusébio.

Apart from the tombs of presidents, writers and others, you’ll find here some cenotaphs of other Portuguese heroes like D. Nuno Álvares Pereira, Henry the Navigator and Pedro Álvares Cabral.

10. Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology (MAAT)

Located in Belém quarter and close to other points of interest, this museum is the newest museum in Lisbon and is one focused on contemporary art.

Constituted by two buildings, property of Fundação EDP, MAAT transformed the cultural landscape of the Portuguese capital and it intends to offer its visitors a modern and sophisticated collection.

Take the opportunity to stroll through the landscaped space close to the riverfront and, as a curiosity, know that you can cross the beautiful pedestrian bridge over the busy Avenida Brasil.

  •     Days you will need to visit Lisbon: 4 days

TransportationWhere to eatWhere to sleepUseful information

How to get to Lisbon

You can travel to Lisbon by plane, car, train or bus.

If you’re travelling by plane, you can go to the historic centre of Lisbon by taxi, metro or bus. If you choose to take a taxi, it will take you 15 minutes. You can also take the metro at the airport (red line) that will take you to the historic centre of Lisbon. If you prefer to take the bus, check here the available lines.

If you’re coming by car, check here the available parking lots in the centre of Lisbon.

Getting to Lisbon by train is a great option for those who are coming from Porto, Coimbra, Évora or Algarve. To know the prices of the tickets check here.

Bus is a good option if there is no train station nearby. Check here the available lines connecting the whole country to Lisbon.

Getting around in Lisbon

Before you think of what to see in Lisbon you should think on how to go to the different places. The best way to get around Lisbon is by public transportation (metro, tram, bus).

I suggest you buy a day ticket if you’re counting on using public transportation on a regular basis.

Buying this ticket will give you the chance to use the metro, buses, trams and lifts the times you want. Using this limitless ticket starts when you get in a public transport for the first time and lasts until the following day at the same hour.

When you buy this ticket you’ll have to buy the Viva Viagem card that you can use to charge other tickets (daily or single).

If you’re going to use public transportation only twice a day, buy single tickets that will allow you to use public transportation for an hour.

Important: Don’t buy a ticket in the buses and trams because the price is more expensive. Always buy in the ticket machines, in metro stations.

You can also use Lisboa card for public transportation, free of charge. For more information, click in “Useful Information” above.

Where you can spend the night

The 3 best hotels in Lisbon

All the information on what to see in Lisbon:

Tourist Office

Lisboa Card: Wondering of what to see in Lisbon? Don’t worry, Lisboa Card allows you to freely use the metro, buses, trams and Carris lifts. You can also use the card to travel to Sintra and Cascais by train. 

Aside from public transportation, you’ll also have free access to 25 museums, monuments and other points of interest. When thinking of what to see in Lisbon, this card will also help you decide.

Are you going to visit Lisbon? Then don’t hesitate to book your hotel room and your car by clicking the links below. This way you are helping me in the development of my blog and I’ll be able to offer you free tips and travel guides so that you can better prepare your visit to Portugal. Thank you!

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About Tiago

Tiago, 30 years old, Parisian for 18 years, I decided to go on an adventure and make my dream come true: get to know our country from one end to the other. I believe that if we don’t know our origins we don’t truly know ourselves. Read more here