Manuel Manso

The 30 best things to do in Lisbon

From pastel de natas to late-night jam sessions, these are the best things to do in the Portuguese capital this year


Welcome to Lisbon, where the views are spectacular and the pastis de nata are sweet. You can do Lisbon in two days if needed, but we’d recommend a long weekend to really soak up all that is great about this incredible city. 

The best part? Lisbon is an incredibly walkable city, so you can hit all of its top things to do without having to spend your whole day on public transport. On our list you’ll find Lisbon’s can’t-miss attractions for your first time there, alongside more niche finds that only locals will know (those are thanks to our editorial team at Time Out Lisbon). Enjoy!

🏠 The best Airbnbs in Lisbon 
🎭 The best attractions in Lisbon 
🍷 The best wine tours in Lisbon 
🏨 The best hotels in Lisbon

This guide is by the editorial team at Time Out Lisbon, and Lisbon-based travel writer Lucy BrysonAt Time Out, all of our travel guides are written by local writers who know their cities inside out. For more about how we curate, see our editorial guidelines

Time Out Market Lisbon

A massive food hall with every all-star cuisine you can imagine, curated by us. Find 26 of our favourite food picks from the magazine, shoved into a massive food hall (think sushi, sizzling burgers and steaks), along with some cracking live music and DJ sessions.

Top things to do in Lisbon

  • Museums
  • Belém

What is it? Looking not unlike a giant ray that deflected off the river, the ultra-modern Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology has been all over Lisboetas’ Instagrams since it opened in 2016.

Why go? It opened, then it closed, and then it opened again, but what’s certain is that this project by the EDP Foundation is much more than its acronym. MAAT’s architectural lines struck the city at its 2016 launch and now justify regular pilgrimages to the area of Belém. If nothing else, the structure designed by British architect Amanda Levete, combined with a sunset backdrop, makes a killer pic to share on social media. But of course, you shouldn’t stop there: we recommend consulting the agenda for information on permanent and temporary exhibitions.

Don’t miss: Be sure to take a tour of the Tejo Power Station, one of the permanent exhibitions of this tremendous museum.

  • Portuguese
  • Santa Maria Maior
  • price 3 of 4

What is it? Established more than 80 years ago by a German/ Galician duo, Gambrinus was initially a brewery serving German fare. Thirty years later, new management remodelled the venue into the look it still has today.

Why go? Unwritten rules for eating at Gambrinus bar: 1) always eat a croquette with the house mustard; 2) ask for the Gambrinus tulipa, a very good mixed beer; 3) Do not skip on the toasted almonds; 4) wait patiently for the rye bread toast; 5) Try a prego (beef sandwich) or a roast beef sandwich with tartar sauce; 6) watch the preparation of the balloon coffee – and drink it, of course. This is the perfect place for having lunch alone, although with so many employees, you're never really alone.

Don’t miss: The croquettes? The prego? Or will it be the crêpes suzette?

  • Things to do
  • Markets and fairs
  • São Vicente 

What is it? Held from dawn to dusk every Tuesday and Saturday, this market is an absolute gem in Lisbon. It's been serving up the best bargains around since the 13th century, would you believe, and set up camp at this spot in 1903.

Why go? This is the perfect flea market to spend the day strolling and admiring. From vintage clothes to second-hand books and general bric-à-brac, you’re sure to nab something that will help you remember your trip forever. 

Don’t miss: Mornings are the best for comfortable strolling (and bargains). 

  • Attractions
  • Towers and viewpoints
  • Benfica/Monsanto

What is it? You can catch some of the best views in the city from an abandoned building in Monsanto park. In the past, it was a luxury restaurant, a bingo hall, a nightclub, an office building and a warehouse.

Why go? This architectural UFO designed by Chaves da Costa has been given a new lease of life as a viewpoint, which was always its second calling anyway. Heck, we’ll go so far as to say it has the best views in the whole city. Abandoned in 2001, the building was officially off-limits and received only sporadic visits from intrepid urban explorers, tourists, curious onlookers and people armed with spray paint, who went there to do what people generally do with spray paint. In 2017, it became safe and legal to visit.

Don’t miss: The 360º view of the city and great location (in Alto da Serafina Recreational Park) make this derelict building the best place to check out the sights in Monsanto.


5. Sample Portuguese cosmetics at Benamôr

What is it? A Portuguese beauty brand known for its famous face cream, the formula for which has remained unchanged since 1925 (now without parabens).

Why go? The three stores in Lisbon, on Rua dos Bacalhoeiros, Príncipe Real and LX Factory, strictly follow the nearly century-old tradition of what they like to call ‘beauty kitchen’. The stores are among the most Instagrammable spots in the city due to their impeccable arrangement, colours, and packaging of each range of the brand.

Don’t miss: The Benamôr family has grown over the years. One of the most popular is the Nata range, inspired by Portuguese pastries and traditional sweets, with egg and cinnamon extract. The line consists of hand cream, body cream, and lip balm.

  • Shopping
  • Parque das Nações
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended

What is it? Founded in 1732 (it moved to its current location some 50 years later), Bertrand is Portugal's oldest bookshop.

Why go? While you can find a branch of the bookstore chain in various shopping centers, nothing compares to entering the one in Chiado, considered the oldest bookstore in the world by the Guinness Book of World Records and founded in 1732 (that alone is reason enough to visit). In addition to local literature, it offers a great selection of English novels as well as guides and foreign magazines, those hard to find elsewhere.

Don’t miss: A few years ago, the bookstore added a café room with snacks inspired by the authors featured on the shelves and national wines.

  • Art
  • Marvila

What is it? A colossal warehouse in Braço de Prata, which serves as a home to some of the most prominent urban artists of today.

Why go? Founded in 2010, this is as much an exhibition space as a venue for artistic residences. It has a sister in Cais do Sodré, an Art Store which opened in 2014, at which you can buy bagels and coffee with your art. 

Don’t miss: The temporary exhibitions. Check its website for details. 

  • Castelo de São Jorge

What is it? A punk approach to traditional Portuguese cuisine.

Why go? Velho Eurico is no longer the model of the trendy modern tavern in 2010. Here, it’s all about regional recipes without any authorial intrusions. The menu is consistent, but with some occasional changes according to the season and the available produce. Great atmosphere, efficient and knowledgeable service, poor ventilation, short and weak wine list. Everything as one desires in a tavern.

  • Cafés
  • Avenidas Novas

What is it? With decorated ceilings, art nouveau mirrors and crystal lamps, Versailles is one of the most beautiful bakeries in Lisbon.

Why go? How many places can serve afternoon tea or late-night hot chocolate surrounded by chandeliers, carved wooden display cases and stained glass? This 1922 gem has a huge selection of cakes, meringues and pastries. From éclairs, custard tarts, and thick hot chocolates to the famous croquettes, everything that comes out of its kitchen is delicious.

Don’t miss: You can have lunch or dinner here too: the desserts are fantastic.

10. Spot an Obey Giant mural

What is it? American artist Shepard Fairey, best known for his project Obey Giant, brought his iconic style to the neighbourhood of Graça.

Why go? On the side of a building on Rua Natália Correia, Obey Giant painted a woman wearing a revolutionary beret and holding a rifle with a carnation in its muzzle. Giant is best known for the ‘Hope’ poster he used in Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign.

Dont’ miss: In the same area, he collaborated with Vhils (Portuguese artist Alexandre Farto) to create a mural representing a woman’s face, on Rua da Senhora da Glória, Graça.

  • Nightlife
  • Intendente

What is it? Casa Independente opened in 2012, just as the city centre square, Largo do Intendente, was becoming a destination of choice for a night out on the town.

Why go? In a decaying mansion that has housed all manner of clubs and associations over the past century, this is the liveliest incarnation. The large front Tiger Room hosts gigs and DJ sets, there are various small rooms that are good for a chat or a spot of work on your tablet, and the café and back patio are great places to relax.

Don’t miss: The bar serves a good range of teas, fresh juices and cocktails, while finger food is served until midnight.

  • Martim Moniz

What is it? A restaurant famous for its roasted cod.

Why go? There is actually no Zé at Zé da Mouraria. There is a Virgílio, not from Mouraria but from the Minho region. He opened the neighbourhood's most popular restaurant 20 years ago, where once a Galician fellow had a grill named Zé dos Grelhados. Now that you know about the name, let us tell you about their internationally renowned roast cod, whose secret is to use thick slices with no bones while adding good quality chickpeas, olive oil and roast potatoes. 

Don’t miss: The roasted cod, obviously.

  • Shopping
  • Princípe Real

What is it? Embaixada Lisboa is a concept store in the Palacete Ribeiro da Cunha, with awe-inspiring nineteenth-century neo- Arab design, at Príncipe Real.

Why go? Design, fashion, and temporary exhibitions all feature. Housed in an eighteenth-century mansion, you’ll find a bunch of unique Portuguese and foreign stores all under the same roof (sometimes decked out with flowers) and a revered steak house that also serves vegan burgers.

Don’t miss: Gin fan? Check out the Gin Lovers Bar and Restaurant. 

  • Portuguese
  • Chiado/Cais do Sodré

What is it? By day, Taberna da Rua das Flores is a simple tavern serving traditional dishes. But by night, it is a chef’s laboratory, mixing influences from around the world.

Why go? To run a restaurant where the menu changes daily, you need creativity. Chef André Magalhães has it in spades, and knows a lot about forgotten or hard-to-source Portuguese ingredients. Even locals are confused by some sections of the menu, but fear not – the staff is on hand to help.

Don’t miss: Put your name on the door when you arrive (no advance reservations, and it fills up fast) and sip a drink as you stand in line.

  • Shopping
  • Santa Maria Maior

What is it? This small, wood-panelled space opened in 1930 and is lined with a dazzling array of colourfully packaged tins - sardines, tuna, anchovies, fish paste and the like.

Why go? If you like fish, you’ll be spoiled for choice at the charming Conserveira de Lisboa, which has resided here for over 90 years. The wooden shelves lined with colourful cans invite you to purchase from the exclusive house brands, Tricana, Prata do Mar and Minor.

Don’t miss: The store now stocks a range of gourmet jams and liqueurs for tourists.

  • Attractions
  • Alcântara

What is it? Markets, exhibitions, shops, cafes, concerts, and parties. There is a whole world to discover in this cosmopolitan ‘factory’ that has completely altered the landscape of Alcantara since its opening.

Why go? Essential things to do on your retail therapy excursion include a trip to renovated industrial complex LX factory, a shopping city within the city. This uber-trendy venue hosts an eclectic selection of places to eat, drink, dance and spend some serious Euros. Here you can cut your hair, get a tattoo, browse for art, or sip a rooftop caipirinha.

Don’t miss: The weekly market on Sundays.

  • Burgers
  • São Sebastião
Try the best burgers in Lisbon at Ground Burger
Try the best burgers in Lisbon at Ground Burger

What is it? Let there be know doubt: Ground Burger has the best burgers in Lisbon. Doubting is Descartes' job - all we care about is the 150g of Black Angus meat carefully placed  between slices of homemade bread and served with fries.

Why go? These. Are. The. Best. Burgers. In. Lisbon. Let that sink in, because there’s pure culinary magic happening in the Ground Burger lab. A huge slab of 100 percent Black Angus beef served on a super-fresh brioche bun, with crunchy onion rings or rosemary-seasoned french fries for dipping in mustard.

Don’t miss: The titular Ground Burger is the best of a superb selection (including a vegan option).

  • Nightlife
  • São Vicente 

What is it? Lisbon's best club, with two dance floors (one loungey, one sweaty) and a roof terrace overlooking the river.

Why go? There are loads of clubs in Lisbon, but none compares to Lux Frágil. The décor is on point, and the music is second to none, courtesy of the resident DJs and top international guests who swing by each week. As the hip furniture indicates, it is a see-and-be-seen place, but the crowd is friendly, and the measures Lisbon-large. House and guest DJs offer everything from electro and hip-hop to bursts of '80s music. Thursdays are popular with locals keen on leftfield names; on Saturdays, the place is mobbed by out-of-towners. Lux's programme - which includes live bands, the odd Sunday afternoon event and big international DJs - and its catch-all social role remain unrivalled. Exude photogenic importance at the door if you arrive after 2am.

Don’t miss: The sunrise on the balcony.

  • Museums
  • São Sebastião

What is it? One of Europe's leading fine arts museums, with exhibits dating from 2000 BC to the early 20th century.

Why go? Save time for the final room and its breathtaking glass and metal art nouveau jewellery by René Lalique. Audio guides are available in multiple languages to help you get the most from the experience. There are also excellent temporary exhibitions, with pieces lent by institutions around the world. Downstairs is an art library (which often hosts midday classical recitals on Sundays), an excellent café and a small gift shop.

Don’t miss: Taking a stroll around the tranquil, bird-filled gardens (they are free to visit).

  • Nightlife
  • Alfama

What is it? Informal and refreshingly under-the-radar, Tejo Bar is a tiny live music venue whose shelves are a handful of tables loaded with books and board games.

Why go? Talented music lovers turn up to strum the house guitars (but don’t clap: patrons instead rub their hands together to show their appreciation, minimising noise). The bar has many regulars – who help themselves to drinks, noting down what they’ve taken – but it’s also a magnet for students and even established musicians.

Don’t miss: Tejo hates to turf people out, so the place sometimes closes after 5am.

  • Nightlife
  • Late-night bars
  • Avenida da Liberdade

What is it? This place, inspired by Prohibition-era bars in the US, has clandestine air, not least because it is in the basement. You must ring the bell to be let in.

Why go? Head up Rua do Salitre, and stop when you see a red frog at the door. Ring the bell, descend the staircase, and you’ll find a space that recreates the atmosphere of bars in the US Prohibition era. The drinks list was drawn up by an expert and has lots of creative, well-mixed cocktails.

Don’t miss: It is impossible to recommend one because the list is constantly changing. The best thing is to leave it to the barman’s imagination.

  • Nightlife
  • Cais do Sodré

What is it? MusicBox is one of Lisbon's most exciting venues, with a regular programme of rock bands, electronic live acts, singer-songwriters and DJ sets (all night on Fridays).

Why go? The managers of this key club in Cais do Sodré have music industry connections and exploit them creditably. Note that some shows may start as late as 2am; for details, check the website, which is comprehensive. The space has an underground feel and look and is located in what was once one of Lisbon's seediest streets (and is now one of its buzziest at night).

Don’t miss: You’re in the nightlife district, so enjoy the rhythm of the night.


What is it? A former Chiado steakhouse reinvented as a cool, contemporary take on the traditional Portuguese tasca. 

Why go? The perfect happy medium between Lisbon’s no-frills traditional tascas (cheap and cheerful family-run restaurants) and the city’s celebrated fine dining scene, Ofício sets out its stall as an ‘atypical’ tavern, serving high-quality wines and elegantly presented small plates designed for sharing. The excellent price-to-quality ratio has not gone unnoticed by Michelin, who awarded Ofício a ‘Bib Gourmand’ award in 2022, marking it out as one of the best places to eat in the city without blowing the budget sky high. 

Don’t miss: Where to start? Chef Hugo Candeias has crafted a delicious menu of petiscos (tapas-style small plates), many of which feature super-fresh fish and seafood, and which jostle for stomach space with an appealing array of Portuguese cheeses and cured meats. Leave space for the famous, and quite unique, sweet cheese tart for dessert.

What is it? An immersive art gallery installed inside an underground reservoir complex.

Why go? An art experience unlike any other, Immersivus Gallery shook up Lisbon’s cultural scene when it opened in 2022 inside Reservatório da Mãe d'Água das Amoreiras – a cavernous underground reservoir. A grand space for visiting exhibitions, Immersivus Gallery uses high-tech projections and holograms to bring to life iconic works from the likes of Frida Kahlo and Claude Monet.

Don’t miss: Immersivus Gallery is as much about the space as the exhibits. The temple-like Mãe D'Água (literally, ‘Mother of Water’) Reservoir is an incredibly ornate 18th-century network of chambers and water features that marks the starting point of Lisbon’s grand Aqueduto das Águas Livres – the enormous aqueduct that once brought drinking water to the city.

  • Estrela/Lapa/Santos

What is it? Loco is an haute cuisine restaurant headed by one of the most creative minds in the city, chef Alexandre Silva. Go with an open disposition for tasting dishes outside your comfort zone and embrace this magnificence of avant-garde Portuguese cuisine. And book ahead.

Why go? Six Time Out stars for the late Bocca, five stars (only because we don't give out six anymore) for Loco and now a Michelin star. Alexandre Silva earned them all. Silva is one of Lisbon's most creative minds, despite his calm and sober demeanour. A bit like his restaurant – haute cuisine where the staff greets patrons wearing trainers. The mood is relaxed, but the food is very delicate, and great effort went into it. This is a place where you should go a bit wild (and be ready to spend some money) and where you will be treated as a unique guest.

Don’t miss: Drinks go beyond the traditional fine dining list: there are liqueurs and fermented juices.

What is it? An archly sexy space for late-night cocktails. 

Why go? It’s no secret that Lisbon’s downtown party district of Cais do Sodré was formerly a red light district, and the much-loved Pensão Amor (itself housed in a former brothel) celebrates this with a decadent interior design, racy bookstore, and regular burlesque shows. The cocktails and DJ sets are the stuff of local legend, and when the space reopened in 2022 after two years of post-pandemic closure, its bohemian clientele breathed a collective sigh of relief.

Don’t miss: The cocktails. Escape the late-night crush of  ‘Pink Street’ - Lisbon’s liveliest nightlife strip - and make your way up to the lush cocktail lounge for a Moscow Mule or the signature Mojito.

  • Cafés
  • Santa Maria Maior

What is it? This establishment on Lisbon’s grandest square began life in 1782 as a shop selling drinks and ice.

Why go? At Martinho da Arcada (Lisbon's oldest restaurant), they believe in ghosts. Or in symbolic gestures. It is in all the tourist guides as one of Fernando Pessoa’s favourite places, and local mythology says that Martinho da Arcada has a place constantly booked, waiting for the poet.

Don’t miss: Let’s get right to it; in the coffee house, quick meals are served at attractive prices. Pick up a copy of The Book of Disquiet and get yourself here. 

  • Ice-cream parlours
  • Chiado

What is it? Artisanal ice creams made the Italian way. With more than 60 years behind them in the Greater Lisbon area, Santini shows us that no matter how many other ice creams try to compete, these guys always nab the top spot.

Why go? The original ice cream parlour in Cascais, opened in 1949 by Italian ex-pat Attilio Santini, was patronised by local high society, including the Spanish royal family in exile. At this Lisbon outlet, the wonderful all-natural ice creams and sorbets are just as popular. They deliver too.

Don’t miss: The fruit and nut flavour – and dare to try the seasonal specials.

  • Things to do
  • Benfica/Monsanto

What is it? A public park three times the size of New York’s Central Park. Not that we’re bragging.

Why go? Walking, running, riding a bike or skating, enjoying a picnic date, taking the kids to the playground, or sipping an alfresco drink at a kiosk are some of the suggestions we have to pass the time in this green space that’s so big that you lose sight of where it begins and where it ends.

Don’t miss: Start at Alameda Keil do Amaral, visit Mata de Benfica and get to know Moinho do Penedo.

  • Shopping
  • Home decor
  • Lisbon

What is it? For over 30 years, Joaquim José Cortiço dedicated his life to collecting and studying industrial Portuguese tiles, which belonged to factories that went out of business. Today, his grandchildren continue to give life to his project with Cortiço & Netos, where you can find several ceramic tiles that tell its history from the '60s onwards.

Why go? Unlike other azulejo shops listed in this guide, this place stocks mostly mass-produced tiles. But with hundreds of discontinued lines, it is a veritable museum of style through the decades and a great place to pick up one-off decorative bargains. For years, the owner snapped up stock from factories as they closed; his grandchildren (the Netos of the name) are busy selling it.

Don’t miss: Buy one now while you can!

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