Lisbon is a city steeped in atmospheric history, alluring charm and spades of culture. Although quite hilly, the capital is nicely compact and the streets are lined with pastel-coloured buildings, many of which are adorned with the famous Portuguese tiles.
Outside the city, the coastline beautifully stretches out as far as the eye can see, it’s ideal for water enthusiasts, beach buffs and sun worshippers alike!
With all this in mind, we’ve figured out the very best way to spend a week in Lisbon. Our comprehensive guide is broken down for you to suit all ages and tastes! So, in short, it’s time to pack your bags, because we’re off to Lisbon!
Get to Know the Area…
Best Beaches in Lisbon…
?️ For a totally chilled out beach day, we highly recommend São Joao, São Pedro and Carcavelos – the largest expanse of sand on the Estoril Coast. Tamariz is another glorious beach at Estoril (also the penultimate stop of the coastal train line). At the end of the promenade at Estoril, there is a natural seawater pool with diving blocks which is a great place for children to safely enjoy the sea and go rock pooling.
?️ For the longest stretches of sand, you should head south of the city to discover Costa da Caparica, sandy Troia and Galapinhos Beach.
?️ Kite-surfers and surfing enthusiasts should make their way to Guincho. This beach is situated at the foot of the Sintra Hills and faces directly into the Atlantic Ocean, providing perfect conditions for water sports.
?️ Besides having great beaches, Cascais has a charming Old Town, a harbour and palace where King Luís I chose to be the location of his royal summer retreat. Make sure you follow the coastal path past the marina to go and see the magnificent cliffs jutting out into the ocean. One spectacular feature is Hell’s Mouth, known locally as Boca do Inferno. The unique rock formation is a collapsed cliff that has been eroded by the powerful Atlantic waves.
Things to See and Do…
?? Belem, which is on the other side of the Ponte 25 Abril bridge. There, you can marvel at the Padrão dos Descobrimentos (Monument to the Discoveries), which stands 170 ft tall, commemorating the age of discoveries in Portugal. Belem is home to many museums, a botanical garden and the beautiful Jerónimos Monastery which is the resting place of Vasco de Gama, the Portuguese explorer who was the first European to sail to India.
?? The Castello de São Jorge sits atop the São Jorge hill in Alfama, one of the oldest districts in Lisbon. From the top, there are stunning views across the whole city – perfect for Instagram! Be on the lookout for resident peacocks who roam around, sometimes hiding among the trees.
?? One truly magical and romantic location is Sintra – a picturesque Portuguese town, set amidst the Parque Natural de Sintra-Cascais. Nestled in between the pine trees is the colourful Palácio da Pena – a fine example of 19th-century romanticism style architecture. You’ll feel like you are in a fairytale, wandering through exotic gardens, century-old trees and crumbling ruins in the middle of the natural landscape.
?? Be sure to climb up to one of the city’s many miradouros (viewpoints). It is particularly enjoyable to find one for the sunset. People usually bring drinks or buy them there and sit down to enjoy some live music as the sun goes down. Two of our favourites are Santa Caterina and Miradouro da Nossa Senhora do Monte in Graça.
?? The iconic number 28 tram is unmissable whether you want to see it or not. The bright yellow carriage runs through the city centre passing through all the popular tourist districts. A single ticket is €2.90 but travel on the tram is included in the 24-hour public transport ticket.
?️ The Lisbon Zoological Park is a wonderful zoo and a great option for spending a day out with your little ones. Feed the pelicans, meet reptiles and snakes, watch majestic birds of prey and tour the zoo in the cable car! There is no end to these activities!
?️ Release your inner Tarzan at Lisbon’s Jamor Adventure Park. Take your pick of the tree top trails – it’s the perfect afternoon activity for letting your children blow off some steam.
?️ For those interested in marine life, Lisbon’s Oceanarium is the largest indoor aquarium in Europe and can be found in the Parque das Nações the former site of the 1998 Expo. Here you can see many different species in the four marine habitats. If you’re feeling brave you can even spend a night having a sleepover with sharks!
Food & Drink…
? This one tops the list for good reasons! You simply cannot visit Lisbon without trying one of the local pasteis de nata. These egg custard tarts encased in beautiful flaky pastry are simple but utterly delicious. The first taste will leave you wanting many, many more…
? If you’re looking to sample outrageously good food all under one roof then you need to head down to the Time Out Market. Five of Lisbon’s top chefs have kiosks amongst the other 35, all selling regional specialities. All the stalls and dishes have been curated by an independent panel of experts offering a culinary experience like no other.
? If you want to catch one of the city’s beautiful sunsets, all the while indulging in a fantastic dinner, don’t worry Noobai has your back. This ideally situated terraced restaurant and bar is perfect for catching the last of the sun’s rays whilst enjoying a glass of bubbly and delicious Mediterranean food.
Where to stay in Lisbon…
Villa Isidoro, Villa Laria, Villa Sorrell, Casa Sintra & Villa Leonor
If you’re looking for more inspiration, get in touch with our concierge team. They’ll be with you every step of the way to ensure your holiday to Lisbon goes off without a single glitch.