After reading our review, you will know what to see in Lisbon first of all. We have included in our rating those Lisbon attractions that are recommended by both guides and locals. Every tourist should see them with his or her own eyes.
Your trip to the capital of the country will be unforgettable if you pay attention to the following excursions in Lisbon:
A calling card of the city, built as early as the second century B.C. Over its long history the building has been destroyed and reconstructed many times. However, it still has a massive and imposing appearance, the strict symmetry of architectural forms. It is not easy to visit such interesting places in Lisbon - the castle rises on top of a mountain.
Official site: https://castelodesaojorge.
A fortress-like structure that has both a powerful and refined appearance. According to the story that all guides in Lisbon like to tell travelers, it was here in the 15th and 16th centuries that Portugal’s might was born. The order to erect the tower was given by the monarch Manuel the First.
Official website: http://www.torrebelem
When listing the sights in Lisbon, many guides give this temple first place. Because it is considered the most popular tourist attraction of the whole country and is included in the list of “Seven Wonders of Portugal”. Each year it is visited by about 800-900 thousand guests. In the chapel, on the site of which the monastery was built, Vasco da Gama prayed before he left for India (now there is a sarcophagus with his remains inside the building). Historians call 1496 the year of Jeronimos’ creation. But construction work from this year continued for two hundred years. Geronimusz is both a monastery for parishioners and a memorial, inside which are the ashes of the royal families of the state. In addition to the temple itself, it is interesting to see its courtyard with flowerbeds arranged in a clear geometric order. Your trip to the capital will be incomplete if you forgo a visit to this landmark.
Official website: http://www.mosteirojeronimos
The most memorable, colorful and visited district of the city, consisting of impeccably smooth streets that intersect each other at right angles. In 1755 the quarters of the Lower Town were destroyed by a violent earthquake. The Marquis de Pombal helped to rebuild them, making Baixa’s buildings less chaotic than before. If you don’t know what to see in Lisbon in 1 day, come here. You can stroll among the beautiful houses, visit souvenir shops and restaurants, cafes and stores.
Where to go in Lisbon as a family? The enormous oceanarium (the second largest on earth) with an aquarium of 5 million liters of water and 4 small pools. The number of local inhabitants is growing every year. Even today there are more than 20 thousand different marine creatures from around the world. In addition to fish and invertebrates, the oceanarium in the capital is home to mammals, amphibians and even birds. The flora and fauna enjoy a fertile environment: the waters of the Arctic Ocean, the underwater forests of the tropics, coral reefs and coastal cliffs. The Lisbon Oceanarium is included in all lists of “Portugal’s best attractions“.
Official site: https://www.oceanario
A neo-Gothic-style elevator elevator designed in the 20th century. The main purpose of the landmark was to help pedestrians conquer a rather steep slope, getting from the Lower Town to the Chiado district. The structure was originally propelled by a steam propulsion system, later replaced by electric motors. The engineering object is of national importance, the reviews of the trip in this elevator from travelers are invariably enthusiastic.
Official website: http://www.carris.
The Gothic architectural style temple was erected for members of the Carmelite order. Today the mystical and mysterious building is in a dilapidated state (also because of the disaster of 21175). Only the stone carvings, lancet arches, columns, and massive walls of the monastery have survived. If you don’t know what to see in Lisbon, but are passionate about architecture, a visit here will be a real pleasure.
Because of an earthquake that shook the city in the mid-18th century, the royal family’s castle was almost completely wiped out. So in 1796, construction began on a new palace for the Portuguese monarchs in the Ajuda Hills. The bright facade of the three-story building was decorated with sculptures and pilasters, and the architectural style of the building was neoclassical. The preserved palace interiors deserve special attention. In the spacious rooms you can see the ancient tapestries, paintings by the best artists in the world, ceiling frescoes, royal furniture and huge mirrors. Even the best hotels in Lisbon cannot boast such opulent furnishings.
Official website: http://www.palacioajuda
A historically important 18th-century site whose baroque sacristy houses the remains of St. Vicent. Between the jagged towers of the majestic building there is a stained glass window and a portal. The ancient religious monument was built in 1150. The combination of different architectural styles (from Gothic to Romanesque and Baroque) in the decoration of the cathedral is explained by the fact that at one time it was owned by both Christians, Moors and Visigoths.
Our list of “the best sights in Lisbon” would not be complete without this unique complex nestled in the grounds of the Jeronimos Temple. In former times Portugal was considered one of the greatest maritime empires, it was able to conquer colonies in different parts of the world. This is what the specimens of the Lisbon museum prove: instruments for navigation, maps, models of various ships, on which the great travelers and admirals of the state once performed their feats.
If you are interested in the traditions and culture of the Orient, pay special attention to the following recommendations. The Oriental Museum has many artifacts from the South East, from Japan and India, from the Philippines and China: jewelry, masks, paintings, furniture, ceramics, fabrics, porcelain, and other antiques from different ages. Once a week (Fridays) a visit to the complex is offered free of charge.
Official website: http://www.museudooriente
Many of Lisbon’s architectural monuments boast luxury and splendor. But most are still inferior to this legendary 18th century castle. What’s more, it is considered one of the most chic and large castles in all of Europe. The palace began to be built in honor of the royal first-born of the family of A. Austrian and Joao the Fifth.
Official website: http://www.palaciomafra
In the Park of Nations, the Interactive Science Museum opened a themed Knowledge Pavilion in 1999. Visiting it will be of interest to people of all ages, from babies as young as 3 years old and seniors alike. In the pavilion, divided into separate halls, you can perform all kinds of experiments, for example, in chemistry and physics, participate in experiments, learn about technological innovations and natural phenomena. Separate attention should be paid to the hall with interactive modules called Escaping Exhibition: here you can ride on a rope at a height of 6 meters on a bicycle, or relax at a huge table.
Official website: https://www.pavconhecimento
Talking about the main attractions of Lisbon, it is briefly worth mentioning this site as well. One of the city’s most beautiful parks, loved not only by tourists but also by locals. The neatly trimmed lawns and lawns, shrubs and flowerbeds, gazebos and benches are arranged for a peaceful rest in the lap of nature.
A panoramic vantage point whose area is divided into two levels. Each level has small restaurants, sculptures, benches, fountains and vegetation. This is where the local intellectuals and young people of the capital gather. You do not need to pay for access to this outdoor viewing terrace.
After visiting all those sights of Lisbon, photos with names and descriptions of which you have just seen, be sure to find time to see:
The date of construction of the castle, decorated with unique tiled panels, is 17th century. The building is surrounded by a beautiful garden with a flowering terrace and marble sculptures, also decorated with amazing ancient panels.
Every year this complex is visited by more than 200 thousand visitors. The exhibits of the center are all sorts of carriages, racing carriages, stagecoaches, lendos and strollers from various eras. The museum was opened at the behest of D. Amelia (the last ruler of the state) in May 1905 in a historic 18th-century building.
Official website: http://museudoscoches
A large-scale 50-meter sculpture that was created to commemorate the era of legendary geographic discoveries. According to the design, the monument is supposed to represent the exploits of the famous Portuguese navigators. On the upper level of the monument is an observation deck.
Official website: http://www.padraodos
The date of the architectural construction is the end of the 18th century. The majestic arch was decorated with statues, sculptures of famous Portuguese people, stone carvings, bas-reliefs and column groups. Having paid a few euros, you can go up to the observation deck, located on the roof of the building.
This unique menagerie stands out from other zoos in that it has no cages or aviaries. The inhabitants live in recreated “natural” conditions: the rhinoceros has a house in the form of an entire African village, macaques and chimpanzees jump in real trees, tigers and lions rest on the “savannah” grass. There are tables and benches in the square of the complex for comfortable watching the animals and organizing picnics. If you come to Lisbon with children, a visit to this wonderful zoo is a must.
Official website: https://www.zoo
The Praca do Comercio in Lisbon is considered one of the most beautiful squares in Europe and was the starting point of the city’s active development of the famous geographic discoveries as far back as the 15th century. It was during these years that the construction of the port and administrative facilities with links to the maritime trade began. During Lisbon’s prosperous years, the port saw the arrival of treasure ships from the Portuguese colonies and important royal delegations and, in modern times, the Praca do Comercio still bears witness to its former glory, with its monumental monuments, old administrative buildings and various places of interest. The historic buildings that line the square are now home to ministries, banks and other government offices. There is also the legendary Cafe Martinho da Arcada, where true aristocrats dined.
And what to do in Lisbon when you want to take a breather from the excursion hustle and bustle and just wander around the city? The first thing worth seeing is Augusta, Lisbon’s main pedestrian street. It runs from the central square of Rocio to the famous Arc de Triomphe and is paved in a bizarre pattern of ancient mosaics. It is a popular stroll spot for locals and visitors, a major shopping area and a popular recreational spot with numerous outdoor cafes, boutiques, exhibitions of local artists and musicians. Colorful facades of old mansions surround everything, and the end of the walking route is crowned by the majestic Arc de Triomphe, which is a separate attraction in its own right. The grandiose structure is decorated in a mix of Baroque, Renaissance and Manuelino styles. A spiral staircase and elevator leads to the top of the arch, where the observation deck is located.
The sights of Porto and Lisbon are a unique tandem of two Portuguese gems, allowing you to discover all the most atmospheric places in Portugal, feel its lively character and dive into antiquity. It is the ancient buildings and centuries-old streets of these cities that allow you to escape into the past and understand how the glorious history of the state was formed. One of the most iconic places in Lisbon is Rosio Square, which is a must-see. It is surrounded by buildings from the 17th and 18th centuries that today house many stores, cafes and restaurants, from modern eateries to the finest art nouveau establishments. During the centuries of its existence the square had seen a lot - the Romans arranged their racetrack there. Bullfights, festivals, military parades, and even executions were held there. Today they celebrate city and common holidays, study original installations and just have a rest.
If you look at Lisbon’s landmarks on a map, you can see that in the southeast of the city along the banks of the Tagus River stretches the Alfama district, the only one in the city that has preserved its appearance even after the earthquake of the mid-18th century. Its architecture contrasts vividly with the rest of the city, with chaotically placed alleyways and small houses with stairs on the slopes creating a medieval image, and the whole thing feels less like a district and more like a small village within a city. Down to the banks of the river Tagus, the neighborhood takes on more modern features - old port warehouses have been transformed into modern loft spaces with restaurants and trendy nightclubs. All in all, Alfama is located at the foot of two of Lisbon’s seven hills, one crowned by St. George’s Castle and the other by St. Vincent’s Cathedral.
The National Palace immediately grabs the attention of those who arrive in Belem, once a suburb but now one of Lisbon’s districts. This laconic structure, with a soft pink facade, is now the residence of the Portuguese president and was once the royal chambers. Commissioned by Prince Manuel in the 16th century, the palace is a complex of five buildings, seemingly modest for a royal residence. Thanks to the pink color of the facade and snow-white decoration, the structure is also called the “pink palace. All the royal chic reveals itself in the interior decoration - the interiors were changed several times, the interior rooms were generously decorated, and now the entire space is covered with mosaics of Portuguese azulejo tiles. In front of the palace is a well-kept garden with beautiful views of the Tagus River.
In general, the best attractions in Lisbon are not only to be found in its historic center, but also in its surroundings. In the suburban area you can visit the luxurious palace complex of the mid-18th century - Queluz, once built as a summer royal residence. Here the first persons of the kingdom rested and entertained in full, throwing lavish balls and social parties. And despite the once raging elements, the palace survived the earthquake and is preserved today in its best condition. This elegant and airy building is a wonderful example of the Rococo style, with light colors, ornaments, moldings, and countless mirrors, making the palace’s interior almost infinite. Today you can see this splendor with your own eyes, looking into the luxurious interior halls, which abound with paintings and statuettes. It’s also worth a stroll through the garden complex with its manicured shrubs, lush flowerbeds and fountains.
Official website: https://www.parquesdesintra
When looking for what to see in Portugal, religious buildings are also worth paying attention to. The shrines in Lisbon are a special kind of historical monuments, which were usually erected in honor of a certain saint. The monastery of Sao Vicente de Fora is no exception, which bears the name of Saint Vincent of Saragossa, the patron saint of Lisbon - his relics rest within the walls of the temple. This monastic complex is one of the most revered cloisters in the country, dating back to the 12th century. It was originally built by the first Portuguese king for the Augustinian monks. The building embodies the best canons of the Renaissance, brought here to unearthly perfection. The perfect symmetry of the facade, with its slender pilasters, elegant windows, marble statues of saints, is fascinating. The interior decoration is a true treasury of art, here one can see the incredibly beautiful azulejo panels that sparkle in the sunlight.
The church of St. Roch was erected on the site of an ancient cemetery where the bodies of the victims of the plague were buried. Burials were made until the 16th century, and later the Society of Jesus founded a church in these lands that took the name of St. Roch, a Catholic saint who was revered as the patron saint of pilgrims, seriously ill people, and also known for miraculous healings of those suffering from the plague. All in all, it was the first church of this order in Portugal. The interior and exterior are characterized by contrasts - the white stone facade on the outside looks rather modest, its only decoration being the round rose window. The external laconism is compensated by the internal furnish which amazes with the luxury and grace: for decoration of walls and ceiling valuable species of wood, lapis lazuli, agate, ivory, amethyst are used; the arch is decorated with jasper and bronze. The Renaissance tile mosaic is a real masterpiece.
The hill to the west of Lisbon is crowned by a majestic structure, the Basilica da Estrela, which was erected by order of Queen Maria of Portugal. At the time of her marriage, she vowed to build a temple for the nuns of the Barefoot Carmelite order if God would grant her a son. After a while, she had an heir, and at the end of the 18th century, the construction of the basilica began. Thus grew a unique structure with columns, belfries and bas-reliefs. The dome is complemented by a tower with a cross, which to this day serves as a landmark for travelers - you can see it from almost any part of the city. Unfortunately, by the time construction was completed, the queen’s son had already died of smallpox. The picturesque architecture of the church combines the Baroque and Neo-Gothic styles, the facade is decorated with sculptures of angels and six allegories. The central dome is surrounded by a terrace from which one can admire spectacular views of the capital.
Official website: http://www.patrimoniocultural
One of the most impressive creations of Portuguese Baroque architecture is the Church of Saint Engracia, also called the National Pantheon. It is a grandiose edifice of pink marble with a huge dome, at the base of which, at a height of about 80 meters, there is an observation deck with a view of the city and the Tagus River. Construction began in the 17th century, but was added to and rebuilt over the next three centuries. The construction process was so bogged down that the famous phrase “construction of Santa Engracia” appeared in Portuguese parlance, which meant endlessly dragging out the work. The church has a design that had not previously been used in any Portuguese structure - the interior space is distributed according to the scheme of the Greek cross. Above the entrance are niches with statues, and a beautiful baroque portal leads inside, where two angels hold the Portuguese coat of arms.
The period of late fall in Portugal is a season with changeable, cool, often rainy weather. While this scares some people, others flock to the capital to take advantage of the low season. Forward-thinking travelers pre-loaded with ideas of what to see in Lisbon in the rain, the more so that there are many options. For example, arrange a useful and informative tour of cultural institutions, including the National Museum of Ancient Art. This is one of the largest collections of fine art in Portugal and all of Europe. The museum exhibits art from the 14th to the 19th century, based on items collected from churches and monasteries after the abolition of the monastic orders. The entire collection is divided into floors: the first level features works by European painters, the second represents works of art from Asia and Africa, starting from the Middle Ages. The third floor is entirely devoted to an exhibition of Portuguese paintings.
Official website: http://www.museudearte
Usually private museum collections do not attract as much attention as large national museums. Galust Gulbenkian’s gallery is a special case, with a huge and diverse collection that would outshine any large-scale exhibition. The collector himself was born in Turkey, his family had Armenian roots, later lived in London and Paris, and finished his days in Lisbon. Being the biggest oil tycoon, he was also a collector and his financial solvency allowed him to establish a museum foundation. The first part of the exhibition presents Greek, Egyptian and Persian art objects, you can see the rarest jewelry, precious vases and fragments of Egyptian tombs. The second part is devoted to European art - collections of paintings, carvings, sculptures and various decorations. But the most impressive part is the collection of paintings with paintings by Rembrandt, Renoir, Claude Monet and other famous painters.
Official website: https://gulbenkian.
Lisbon has a lot of places where you can spend an informative time. For example the Aquarium, the largest in Europe, showcases hundreds of species of marine life, and the Electricity Museum offers exciting experiments in electricity generation. The exhibits are units, machines, devices and mechanisms that visually demonstrate the principles of electricity. The exhibit is interesting because all the items are interactive: you can touch them, look at them, twist them, take them apart, and study them in action. The museum building itself is located in the premises of the old power plant, some parts of which are still working, but are used as practical aids for visitors. Children are particularly interested: they are introduced to electricity in a playful way, helped to understand how current is generated and shown how it is generated. The second part of the exhibition presents devices related to the generation and use of electricity.
Official website: https://www.maat
Powerful supports, dozens of cables, the curved line of the roadway over the waters of the Tagus River - all this about the longest cable-stayed bridge in Europe. Vasco da Gama is more than 17 km long and its appearance marks the 500th anniversary of the great navigator’s discovery of the route to India. The structure crosses the river at its widest part, connecting one part of Lisbon with the opposite towns of Montijo and Alcushet. Today it is hard to imagine that once there was an industrial area instead of a green embankment in these neighborhoods, but by the end of the 1990s the areas had been transformed and a grandiose bridge had grown. The celebration of its opening was no less grandiose: the longest 5-kilometer table was set up, and the world’s largest feijoada was prepared to treat 15,000 people. It is worth noting that Vasco da Gama’s structure is capable of withstanding the elements, 4.5 times more powerful than the famous Lisbon earthquake of the 18th century.
Official website: https://www.lusoponte.
Through the narrow, uneven streets of Lisbon’s historic neighborhoods are streetcar tracks that have been around for more than a century. They are followed by the miniature yellow streetcars Remodelado, which appeared in the early 20th century, and today everything inside them, from the control levers to the wooden benches, as if transported to a charming era of the past. Among the transport routes the most popular is the route number 28, which passes through all the historic districts of Lisbon. The route is so popular that it is a real attraction for tourists who board the old yellow carriages to explore the city’s sights. While exploring Lisbon’s ancient quarters, you should not forget about its surroundings, which are no less rich in historical monuments. For example, you can go outside Lisbon and explore Sintra - Moorish castles, palaces and ancient monasteries in a verdant landscape.
We will be glad if our review will help you compose a fascinating tour itinerary of Portugal’s hospitable capital.