If you travel for the love of good food, rich colourful culture, great weather, unique architecture and plenty of activities, Lisbon is the perfect choice. Let’s explore what to do in Lisbon and what’s on offer all year long for a diverse list of visitors.
Lisbon is a treat for your eyes with so much to see
When considering what to see in Lisbon, you’ll be spoilt for choice, as there are several Lisbon attractions not to be missed. Starting with great views, there are multiple lookout points or ‘miradouros’ dotted throughout Lisbon’s famous hills, where you’ll get epic panoramic views of the city. Once you have seen the city from above, head to ground level and visit places that showcase jaw-dropping historic architecture like Arco da Rua Augusta. And don’t forget to look down! Lisbon is famous for its colourful azulejos (ceramic tiles) and you can learn more about how they’re made and go on a tour of some of their most famous pieces around the city when you book a tour at Calçada Portuguesa.
Escape Europe’s darkest months when you visit Lisbon in Winter
You might be asking yourself, is it worth visiting Lisbon in winter and what is there to do in Lisbon in the winter? It’s well known for its relatively sunny winters and is therefore a popular choice for hiding from the rest of Europe’s gloom during December. Lisbon in winter is not as busy as during summer months, so you can enjoy a calmer atmosphere but still have plenty to do, like traditional Christmas concerts and the annual Comic-Con Portugal festival.
Lisbon in January is still winter in Lisbon and is in fact one of the coldest months of the year in the city. Still, you probably won’t need much more than a light jumper to keep you warm.
There is plenty to do during a winter vacation in Lisbon that will have you busy with delight throughout December and January, and the best ways to get around the hills of Lisbon throughout the year are by taxi rides and private rides from SIXT ride, which you can even schedule in advance.
- Catch a ride on the iconic Tram 28, which is so much more pleasant with the reduced crowds in these winter months, and head past multiple famous sights as you pass through districts like Alfama, Estrela, Baxia and Graca.
- Visit the Castelo de São Jorge and walk its favoured walls that have a history dating back to the Moors.
- Take a gentle hike through Alfama. The rest of Lisbon was flattened by a devastating earthquake and rebuilt, but Alfama missed the destruction and is now the oldest untouched part of Lisbon.
- And of course, there’s the winter gastronomy. Your taste buds will be in heaven with warm winter dishes like grilled pork sandwiches, fried cod and Lisbon’s prominent cherry liqueur.
A perfect spot to sample food from all over Portugal’s coastal regions
When considering where to eat in Lisbon, you first need to look at what to eat in Lisbon. Lisbon is a foodie paradise, which attracts tourists whose sole purpose for the trip is the food. The Portuguese cuisine is a blend of Mediterranean dishes that are unique and proudly presented all over Lisbon.
When considering what to do in Lisbon, trying out the local foods should be on your list. Let’s look at a few delicious treats and where to find them.
- Pastel de Nata – These creamy eggy tarts are traditional Portuguese pastries invented by monks. They’re recognisable by their bright yellow colour, and are considered a street treat, which can be found everywhere. The most celebrated places for Pastel de Nata are Manteigaria, Pastéis de Belém and Confeitaria Nacional.
- Bifana – This iconic sandwich experience is a must-try when you visit Lisbon, unless you are vegan of course! The sandwich is made of marinaded pulled pork in a crispy roll and can be found at favourite spots like O Trevo Square, where street vendors will happily serve you.
- Bacalhau – This dish of salted cod is a deep part of Portugal’s culinary heritage. The dish was created to sustain intrepid explorers during long journeys at sea and now it comes in hundreds of mix-ups. Favourites include the variation with eggs and boiled potatoes known as Bacalhau à Brás and Pastéis de Bacalhau, which is a fried fish cake version for on-the-go eating.
- Sardinhas – Sardines are enjoyed all year-round in Lisbon and are served in a variety of ways. You will find them canned, fresh or dried, but mostly just drizzled with locally produced olive oil and grilled. Consumed as a snack wherever you go or paired with a great local wine at a table at the restaurant Can the Can.
When the lights go out, Lisbon comes alive
You might think Lisbon is a charming coastal city that offers great food and drinks, day tours through its unique villages, water activities, beaches and local curio shopping. You’d be right, but at night Lisbon comes alive. Thinking about what to do in Lisbon at night won’t be a hard task, as the Lisbon nightlife scene is fierce and keeps partygoers who enjoy dancing, comedy and live music happy throughout the year. Start the night at a bar like Chapitô that is attached to a circus school, then head to Lux Fragil, which is Lisbon’s favourite club with two dance floors and DJs spinning electro and hip hop till the sun peaks through the windows.