Rush delivery has arrived. After many, many requests for insight into this city, I’m quickly realizing that if not already, this will be Europe’s hot destination this summer. With tiled walls, rolling hills, and a fresh ocean breeze, Lisbon is already on its way to being well-loved.
The Portuguese way of life seems to be easy to adapt to. Espresso along a cobblestone street, a jaunt down to the ocean for a good walk, and late-night eats at a happening restaurant all make for a typical day in Lisbon. Somehow Lisbon has blended the old and new in a way I’ve never seen before. Traditions like Fado in the Alfama district are alive and well, whereas the younger Bairro Alto has those trendier gems that are restaurants and boutiques. Whether you call it Lisbon or Lisboa, it will sweep you off your feet.
Here’s what to do, see, and eat during your first time in Lisbon:
The First-Timer’s Guide to Lisbon
What to See/Do in Lisbon
- Walk. Walk everywhere. Walk the Alfama district, the Bairro Alto, and venture into the Chiado for those classic tiled walls you’ll never get enough of.
- Belem Tower. The walk isn’t worth it, but the $7-10 cab from the center of Lisbon is. This iconic, historic site is stunning, and I’d suggest it for sunset. Don’t forget to try the Pastéis de Belém, a mainstay of Lisbon History.
- Miradouros or “viewpoints.” Across the city there are multiple hills, with viewpoints at places like Miradouro Das Portas Do Sol, Miradouro Da Graca, and Miradouro Da Nossa Senhora Do Monte.
- A Vintage Moto-sidecar tour. This is a perfect way to photograph Lisbon by way of a fun afternoon of driving around the city.
- Explore the ruins of Carmo Covent and understand the play of the great earthquake.
- Day trip to Cascias to escape by the sea.
- Day trip to Sintra for the castles
Where to Eat/Drink in Lisbon
- Lunch at A Cevicheria
- Drinks at Park
- Fancy dinner at Sea Me
- Coffee at the iconic A Brasileira
- Medrosa D’ Alfama for a bite and hear the Fado music from the restaurant next door.
- Mercado de Ribeira for a world of culinary indulgence, with multiple restaurants inside, to try many different kinds of food.
- Other restaurants: Ponto Final, Tease, Deli Delux.
Where to Stay in Lisbon
- Four Seasons Hotel Ritz Lisbon: Located footsteps from the mainstays of Lisbon, this iconic luxurious hotel is the place to call home if you’re looking for comfort in style. Rooms are spacious, breakfast to die for, and the views from up top will make you wish you could stay forever. Read my full review on the stay at the Four Seasons Hotel Ritz Lisbon.
Search more Lisbon Hotels here:
PS — Are You Booking a Trip Soon? Use My Booking Checklist!
These are the sites I use most to book my own trips. Using the links below is a great way to support Bon Traveler’s travel journalism at no extra cost to you. If you need help organizing your itinerary, get my free travel itinerary template here.
1. Book Your Flights
Use Skyscanner to find the best flights. It searches 100s of airlines and websites across the globe to ensure you’re not missing out on any route options or deals.
2. Book Your Accommodations
Use Booking.com for hotels and guest houses. They have the biggest inventory and consistently offer the best rates.
3. Book Your Tours & Experiences
4. Book Your Car
Use Discover Cars or Rentalcars.com to find the best car rental deals. I recommend comparing rental agency reviews on Google to ensure you are booking with the best company in that destination, as the reviews are often more accurate than the car rental search engines.
5. Don’t Forget Airport Lounge Access
Get a Priority Pass membership to gain access to 1,400+ VIP lounges and airport experiences worldwide. The Priority Pass app is the first thing I check when I have a layover. I’ve been a member for over a decade, and having a comfortable place to relax before and between flights makes air travel so much more enjoyable.
6. Don’t Forget Travel Insurance
I never leave the country without travel insurance. It provides comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong (ie. illness, injury, theft, and cancelations, etc.). I use it frequently for my travels to stay protected.
My favorite companies that offer the best coverage and rates are: