Lisbon Travel Guide | Wandering Portugal

Lisbon essential travel guide, including day trips out of the capital of Portugal.

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The westernmost capital of mainland Europe occupies a stunning position on the Atlantic coast, where the Tagus river empties into the Atlantic Ocean.

Built on seven hills, Lisbon presents many interesting faces to the tourist. Grab a navegante card, and you’re all set to explore Lisbon’s legendary neighborhoods, from the narrow alleyways of the Alfama to the monument-rich Belem district.

While the population of Lisbon proper is a little over half a million people, the Lisbon Metropolitan Area is composed of 2.8 million people.

Praca Do Comercio
View into the Praca Do Comercio, Lisbon

Historic Climate of Lisbon

Influenced by the Gulf Stream, Lisbon has one of the mildest climates of Western Europe. Winter and early spring offers the most rain, but it snows only infrequently in Lisbon and freezing temperatures are rarely felt. Mist off the Atlantic sometimes makes Lisbon feel cooler than inland Portugal. For Lisbon historic temperatures and rainfall, as well as current weather conditions, see Lisbon, Portugal Weather.

Lisbon Portela Airport (LIS)

Lisbon Portela Airport is located 7km north of the city of Lisbon. There are two taxi stands at the single airport terminal, outside Departures and Arrivals. The new extension of the Red line connects the international airport to the Lisbon metro system. See the metro map.

ScottUrb provides transport to the airport from the Estoril and Cascais area. Buses operate every day and leave every hour from 07:00am to 10:30pm.

Lisbon Rail Stations

Lisbon has several railway stations: Santa Apolónia with its Neoclassical facade in the Alfama district of Lisbon, and the Gare do Oriente are the major ones. All offer access to the city center via public transport or are within walking distance. Santa Apolónia, the larger main station, has a tourist information office.

Rossio station is located in the heart of Lisbon. Map of stations

Lisbon Tourist Offices

There is a good tourism office located at the Arrivals hall of Lisbon Airport. If you don’t have a hotel reservation when you arrive, this is the place to get your map and make lodging plans. Other offices are located at Apolónia rail station, Mosteiro Jerónimos in Belém. There is a kiosk n the heart of the city in old quarter of Baixa, that will answer all your questions as you walk around in this fascinating city. The main Lisboa Ask Me Centre is in the Placa do Comércio.

The Lisbon Tourism website is Turismo de Lisboa.

Lisbon Accommodations

Hotels in Lisbon cost less than in most other capitals of Western Europe. This makes Lisbon a great place to splurge on a level of luxury you can’t normally afford. I’ve had great stays at the five star Dom Pedro (a high-rise with great views over Lisbon) and the ultimate in luxury, the Lapa Palace.

The Bairro Alto Hotel is a favorite with visiting Americans. Even if you’re not staying there, its panoramic terrace is a fine place to have a drink in the afternoon or evening.

If you need an apartment in Lisbon, VRBO lists thousands of them in Lisbon district.

Attractions in Lisbon – Top Things to Do

The seven hills of Lisbon are loaded with things to do. The Alfama district near the Targus has escaped many of the earthquakes that have ravaged Lisbon, and you can walk through the narrow lanes and enjoy the old village atmosphere of Lisbon. Nearby is the Fado Museum which also features performances, a must for music lovers. There are several other fado clubs nearby.

Santa Maria Maior de Lisboa or Sé de Lisboa is Lisbon’s cathedral and the oldest church in the city. It’s been rebuilt many times after various earthquakes, and has a jumble of architectural styles. Construction started on it in 1147.

Lourenco de Salzedo's 16th C Altarpiece
Lourenco de Salzedo's 16th C Altarpiece in the Main Chapel of the Monastery of Jeronimos Picture

Get great views of Lisbon from the Castle of São Jorge on the city’s highest hill.

Castelo de São Jorge
Castelo de São Jorge - Castle of Saint George, Lisbon

Take the #15 tram from Comercio square out to the Belem district, where you’ll likely spend all day seeing the Mosteiro dos Jeronimos, visiting the Belem Tower, or Terre de Belem, and the Padrao dos Descobrimentos (discoveries monument), with time out for a Pasteis de Belem, the famous custard tarts of Lisbon. Have lunch at A Comenda Restaurant inside the Belem Cultural Center.

Monastery of Jeronimos lisbon
Monastery of Jeronimos Cloisters

If you have time left over, take the #28 bus from in front of the Monastery to Postela and visit the Parque das Macoes, built for Expo98, and see the Oceanarium, one of the biggest aquarium displays in Europe.

For shopping and nightlife, the Bairro Alto is the place to be. Nearby is the Elevador de Santa Justa or Santa Justa lift, where you can not only see Lisbon from above and visit the Convento do Carmo, an earthquake-ruined Carmelite Convent that stands as a sort of symbol of Lisbon, but you can buy transportation tickets good for all forms of public transport at the base of the Elevador.

Estação do Oriente, Orient Station, besides being a major transportation hub, is a beautiful iron and glass structure particularly evocative at night.

Day Trips from Lisbon

One of the most compelling day trips from Lisbon is to Sintra, a 45 minute train ride away and a world apart, full of (real) fantasy castles and villas.

While the trip to Sintra is very easy to do on its own, you might want to consider a Viator day trip from Lisbon tour.

For a clever map of Lisbon’s neighborhoods, see hoodpicker

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Lisbon Travel Guide originally appeared on , updated: Mar 19, 2024 © .