Top 5 Things to do in Lisbon (if you’ve never been)

Top 5 Things to do in Lisbon

It’s been a while since I’ve thrown together one of these little lists, but I’ve got Portugal so much on the brain lately so I figured now’s the time!

Lisbon was one of my favorite stops on my last Europe trip. It was the last stop, so after a month traveling through Europe I was exhausted. But, when I got to Lisbon I was immediately revitalized by the city’s vibrant culture and bright, sunny landscape.

After visiting Lisbon, I’ve come to realize that Portugal may just be one of Europe’s most underrated countries. It’s cheap, there’s so much to do, and it’s obviously beautiful.

Although I wasn’t in Lisbon for long, I managed to do some amazing things! So if you’re ever in Lisbon and have absolutely no idea where to begin, or if you only have a short time there and want to make the most of it, here are my recommendations of the Top 5 things to do in Lisbon!

1. Visit São Jorge Castle

This is one of Lisbon’s well-known tourist attractions, and it’s definitely worthy of the title. Situated on a hilltop, this castle has some amazing view of the city. Other than the views, the castle itself if still well intact and very interesting. There’s lots of greenery and beautiful gardens as well. But be prepared to feeling your legs burning…not only is the castle itself on top of a hill, but there are several towers in the castle you can climb up to catch great views. OH, and don’t forget to check out the peacocks roaming the grounds, strutting their stuff! Find out more about the castle here.

São Jorge Castle São Jorge Castle São Jorge Castle São Jorge Castle

2. Have (at least) one meal at Mercado Da Ribeira

If you like markets, and you like food, you’ll LOVE this food market. Showcasing some of Lisbon’s finest, this indoor food market has a huge variety of options to choose from, as well as plenty of sitting space! After choosing what option to try (which is REALLY difficult, trust me), enjoy your meal on one of the long wooden tables in the middle of the room and get to know your neighbors! It’s a great way to socialize with people sitting next to you at the shared tables. This foodie hangout will give you a taste (pun intended) of the best food

………………I went twice in 4 days……………..

Mercado da Ribeira Mercado da Ribeira    Mercado da Ribeira Mercado da Ribeira

3. Stroll through the stalls at Feira da Ladra

This “Thieves’ Market” is Lisbon’s best flea market, located in the Amalfa district. The market starts at the Arco de São Vicente, an arch near where the famous Tram 28 stops and is held Tuesday and Saturday, all day long. From jewelry makers selling original hand-made pieces to college students trying to make some extra cash by selling their second-hand clothes laid out on a blanket, you’ll see a wide range of items for sale here. Some people may toss around the word “junk” when describing the market, and maybe this is true; there are a lot of booths were people are just selling random second-hand items. BUT, as they say…”one man’s junk is another man’s treasure,” and you’re bound to find some cool stuff if you look hard enough. You could spend hours wandering through the web of sellers, and you definitely won’t leave empty-handed.

Feira Da Ladra Feira Da Ladra    Feira Da Ladra Feira Da Ladra

4. Take a day trip to Sintra

As vibrant and Lisbon is, I’m a firm believer that the best way to see a city is to get out of the city for at least a day. To see what lies at the city’s edge, or check out another town nearby. Doing just that while in Lisbon will lead you to some amazing places, like Sintra. This place is like a fairytale. Picturesque palaces and villas dot it’s lush hills. You can visit exquisite castles, palaces, or residences (like the Quinta da Regaleira) to feel like royalty, or beautiful gardens, parks, and hiking trails if you’re more outdoorsy. And best of all, it’s very easy to get to from Lisbon by train! This small town has enough charm to keep all of it’s visitors enchanted and entertained.

Sintra, Portugal Sintra, Portugal Sintra, Portugal Sintra, Portugal

4. Go on a night out in the Bairro Alto neighborhood

Another way to truly explore a city is to experience it’s nightlife. The nightlife of every country is very influenced by that country’s culture and way of thinking, and the nightlife is a big part of the way of life. Lisbon has an amazing nightlife, characterized by lots of socializing and lots of life music. The Bairro Alto neighborhood is known for it’s bustling streets after the sun goes down. The whole area becomes a sort of block party, where bar patrons overflow onto the street with cold drinks in their hands, chatting amicably. The live music from the various bars is heard on the streets, and it’s an all around lively atmosphere. You can’t beat a night out in Bairro Alto!

Bairro Altophoto via

Bairro Alto
photo via

Honorable mentions include: riding Tram 28 through the Amalfa district, seeing a Fado show, visiting the coast in Cascais, and much more! Lisbon is FULL of such cool things to do!

Oh, and if you enjoyed this list and found it helpful, don’t forget to check out my Top 5 lists for Dublin and Edinburgh

Have anything you feel should’ve made the Top 5 list? Let me know in the comments below!