Top Ten Must Sees in Lisbon

Top Ten Must Sees in Lisbon

Culture, coastal views and tasty cuisine; Portugal’s capital has it all. Famous for its sea of red rooftops, cobbled streets and Moorish castle overlooking it all, Lisbon offers the perfect weekend getaway. Escape to the coast and explore the avenidas of tiled facades, feast of pastels de nata and dip in and out of monasteries and boutique shops. Here are our top ten must sees in Lisbon to inspire your next trip. 

  1. Feira da Ladra
  2. Sunset at a Miradouro
  3. Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga
  4. Catch a Live Fado Performance
  5. The 28E tram
  6. The LX Factory
  7. Castelo de São Jorge
  8. The Belem Tower
  9. The Immersivus Gallery
  10. Time Out Market


Feira da Ladra

Feira da Ladra, Lisbon’s famous flea market, is the perfect place to hunt for souvenirs. Every Tuesday and Saturday from dawn until dusk, you’ll find stalls upon stalls of traders in Campo de Santa Clara. The market has been in the same spot since 1903, but has been active in the city since 1272, so you can shop with a side of history. It’s the place to go for vintage clothes, second-hand books and bric-a-brac. Plus, it’s right behind the monastery of São Vicente de Fora, so you can knock two must-sees in Lisbon off your list at once. 


Sunset at a Miradouro

Not only will Lisbon’s hilly streets give your legs a good workout, they deliver gorgeous views, too. There’s no better place to see the sunset in the city than at one of the many miradouros (viewing points). As the city was built on several hills, there are a ton of these scattered around but our preferred one is São Pedro de Alcatara in the Principle Real neighbourhood – it’s just perfect if you want a snapshot of the city’s pastel-coloured houses. For sunset with a cocktail, head to the TOPO terrace bar at the top of the Elevador Santa Justa and enjoy golden-hour tipples.


Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga

No city break is complete without a trip to an art gallery, so be sure to drop by the Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga (basically Portugal’s answer to the Louvre). Inside this 17th-century palace, you’ll find artworks from all around the globe, from Europe to Asia and Africa. The manicured gardens are well worth a stroll, too, for the views looking over the River Tagus.


Catch a Live Fado Performance

Technically a performance rather than a place, fado is another must see in Lisbon. This melancholy music, set to dreamy guitar, originated amongst the sailors and dock workers of the city’s harbour and is at the heart of Portuguese music today. The best place to catch a performance is at Casa de Fados in the Mouraria neighbourhood – once the home of the 19th-century fado singer, Maria Severa. If you’re around the Alfama neighbourhood, you’re sure to spot a street performance or two as well. 


The 28E tram

A tram might not be up there on your bucket list in every city but it’s a real must-see here. The 28E tram has graced the front cover of Portuguese guidebooks, postcards and even wine bottles and has become a Lisbon icon. It crosses right across the city centre, taking you through the city’s best neighbourhoods. As one of the most popular trams in the world, it can get busy, so go early to beat the queues and bag a seat. 

Lisbon tram6.

The LX Factory

A textile factory turned creative district; LX Factory is the trendy heart of Lisbon’s creative community. The cobbled sector dates back to 1846 but delivers a metropolitan vibe, brimming with boutiques, galleries and bars – you can even get a tattoo or fresh haircut here if you fancy. Sunday is market day so head here then to grab an artsy souvenir. Before you leave, head up to the rooftop bar at the factory’s hostel for a caipirinha in the sun. 


Castelo de São Jorge

The Castelo de São Jorge dominates the city’s skyline, making it one of our must sees in Lisbon. Originally built in 200 BC by the Romans, it’s seen its fair share of Portuguese history. It also sits on Lisbon’s highest peak (São Jorge hill), so delivers incredible views out over the city. As one of Lisbon’s most popular attractions, it can get busy, so we recommend booking in advance and also getting skip-the-queue add-ons to your ticket if you don’t want to wait in the sun.


The Belem Tower

No visit to Lisbon is complete without pasteis de belem at the UNESCO-listed Belem Tower. Designed as a gateway to the city and as a defence against invasion, it was built between 1515 and 1521 in the Manuelino style. Each of the five floors has a terrace that looks out over the city and the north bank of the Tagus River. Be sure to head to the western side of the facade to spot the unique rhinoceros gargoyle.


The Immersivus Gallery

Go underground at Immersivus Gallery. This immersive art gallery is based in Lisbon’s underground reservoir complex (trust us, it’s more elegant that it sounds). Visiting exhibitions give a glimpse of works by the likes of Frida Kahlo and Claude Monet, bringing them to life using high-tech projections, holograms and light shows. It’s also a great chance to see the city’s historic aqueducts, before you emerge back into the sun for a final pastel de nata. Perfeito, no? 


Time Out Market

Last up on our list of must sees in Lisbon is the iconic Time Out Market. This gourmet food hall in Cais do Sodré is a popular pitstop for tourists and locals alike, with a mouthwatering 36 restaurants and kiosks, some of which are headed up by Michelin starred chefs. Take a seat at one of the communal tables and tuck into everything from steak sandwiches and Pad Thai to octopus hot dogs and wood-fired pizza.

Header image by Lucy Laucht