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 Lisbon Coast beautifully stretches out as far as the eye can see – 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 itinerary is broken down for you to suit all ages and tastes! So all you have to worry about is packing your bags!
Get to Know the Area
Things to See and Do
- Found on the other side of the Ponte 25 Abril bridge, the area of Belem is home to many museums, a botanical garden, and the Padrão dos Descobrimentos (Monument to the Discoveries). Standing at 170 ft tall, it commemorates the age of discoveries in Portugal.
- 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 in the Parque Natural de Sintra-Cascais. Nestled 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 here, wandering through exotic gardens, century-old trees and crumbling ruins.
- Be sure to climb up one of the city’s many miradouros (viewpoints) – particularly special if done at sunset. Locals usually bring drinks and sit down to enjoy some live music as the sun goes down. We suggest 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. This bright yellow carriage runs through the city centre, passing through all the popular tourist districts, and a single ticket is just €2.90.
Food & Drink
Portuguese dessert Pastel de Nata
- You simply cannot visit Lisbon without trying one of the local pasteis de nata. These egg custard tarts come encased in beautiful flaky pastry – 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 among the other 35, all selling regional specials, with each stall and dish curated by an independent panel of experts; this i a culinary experience like no other.
- If you want to catch one of the city’s beautiful sunsets while indulging in a fantastic dinner, make a reservation at Noobai. This terraced restaurant and bar is perfect for catching the last of the sun’s rays while enjoying a glass of bubbly and some delicious Mediterranean food.
Best Beaches in Lisbon
Join in on the fun at Carcavelos Beach
- 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 trainline). At the end of the promenade at Estoril, there is a natural seawater pool with diving blocks – 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, harbour and palace – it’s where King Luís I chose to enjoy 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 largest aquarium in Europe
- The Lisbon Zoological Park is 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.
- Release your inner Tarzan at Lisbon’s Jamor Adventure Park. Take your pick of the treetop trails – a 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, found in the Parque das Nações. Here you can see many different species in the four marine habitats, and if you’re feeling brave, you can even spend the night having a sleepover with sharks!
Now that you’ve got your itinerary sorted, why not check out our best villas on the Lisbon Coast? And, 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 is the best it can be.