This post covers our top 25 top things to do and places to visit in Lisbon, including nighttime, family-friendly, and free things events, attractions, and activities.
Let's get cracking!
TOP 25 THINGS TO DO IN LISBON
Be sure to also read our 3-day suggested itinerary for Lisbon.
1. Take a Free Walking Tour
Trying to save a bit of money? There are several tour companies that offer free walking tours in Lisbon!
These outings are pay-what-you-wish, which means you get to decide what the tour was worth after completing the journey.
For more details on these services, please read our post about free Lisbon walking tours and sign up for the tour that best fits your schedule or interests.
2. Explore Alfama
This is postcard Lisbon.
This hillside neighborhood survived the great earthquake mostly intact. It's winding cobblestone streets and alleys make for a delightful couple of hours.
3. Experience a Live Fado Show
In addition to all the hot concerts that happen throughout the year, there is another musical activity that you simply have to experience.
Fado Music is a form of folk music unique to the Portuguese people, and there are more than 40 Fado houses in Lisbon where you can hear it for yourself.
If you’re hoping to learn all about the history of this musical movement and see a live performance, there are several tours that include both activities.
Tickets start at €35 but can run as high as €95 depending on what is included with the service.
4. Discover Belém
This is arguably one of the most historic districts in Lisbon, and there are many notable landmarks to see in the area.
We've listed the top 14 sights in Belém.
There are daily free tours that cover these sights and there are paid tours you can take which include admission to major locations.
5. Take a Food Tour
Whether you want to learn more about Lisbon’s culinary history or you just want to find the best foods to eat in this city, there are food tours available that cover a variety of great dishes.
Secret Food Tours currently offers an outing that includes 5-7 stops and 6-7 different samples such as Portuguese cheeses, ham, petiscos ("snacks" or small plates), fish, pastries, a Bifana (pork sandwich), and more.
This trip also includes drinks such as white wine, red wine, beer, and a Portuguese liqueur known as ginjinha (made from sour morello cherries).
At 3 - 3 ½ hours in length, you’ll have plenty of time to discover the city through some of its best food!
6. Save Money With a Discount Pass
There are currently two tourist passes in Lisbon which include a variety of activities and attractions for one flat price.
Depending on which pass you choose and how you use it, you should be able to save between 20% - 40% off general admission prices.
Here are a few of the more notable sites and tours included with these services:
- National Ancient Art Museum
- Hop on Hop off Bus Tours
- National Coach Museum
- LISBOA Story Centre
- Jerónimos Monastery
- Pilar7 Bridge Experience
- National Tile Museum
- National Pantheon
- Belém Tower
- And more!
For more information, please read our post covering Lisbon tourist passes.
7. Visit the São Jorge Castle
This is one of the most historic sites in the city, and it’s included on several different tours.
We could spend a lot of time talking about all the great options, but we’ll just focus on two of our favorite outings here.
One of the best options is called The Downhill Lisbon tour, and it includes admission to São Jorge Castle, Sé Cathedral, and the Cathedral Bell Tower.
Over the course of 3-½ hours you’ll also enjoy a tour of the Baixa neighbourhood from an expert local guide.
Alternatively, there is also a Lisbon in a Day tour which lasts for 9 hours and it also includes admission to São Jorge Castle, Sé Cathedral, and the Cathedral Bell Tower.
In addition to those locations, you’ll also enjoy an Azulejos tile workshop tour, transportation to Belém, admission to the Jerónimos Monastery, a guided river cruise, a traditional Portuguese pastry, and more!
8. Discover Bairro Alto & Chiado
If you’re interested in seeing even more historic sites, there are several notable locations to see in the Bairro Alto & Chiado neighbourhoods.
Thankfully, there are some great tours available which cover most of the important landmarks!
One excellent choice is the Best of Bairro Alto & Chiado tour, and it includes admission to the Convento do Carmo, tickets for the Santa Justa lift, a tour of the Church of Sao Roque, and much more.
Another option is the Flavor of Bairro Alto & Chiado tour. As the name implies, you can expect samples of Portuguese green wine, local cheeses, and cured ham.
This tour also includes tickets to the Convento do Carmo, the Santa Justa lift, and a tour of the Church of Sao Roque as well.
9. See the Sites of Sintra
If you don’t mind traveling a little further out from the city centre, Sintra is a charming coastal town and probably one of the most beautiful nearby locations to visit.
As a matter of fact, there are quite a few tours which include a trip to Sintra, including at least one free tour of Sintra's center!
One great option is the Sublime Sintra tour which provides admission to the Pena Palace and a tour of the site, a Tuk Tuk ride in Sintra Natural Park, transportation to and from the palace, and more.
There is also a full-day tour called Supreme Sintra which includes all of the above and admission to the Quinta da Regaleira, as well as an opportunity to explore the Sintra village at your own pace.
Some locations in Sintra are included at no extra cost with Lisbon tourist passes.
10. Go on a Wine Tasting Tour
Lisbon is home to several unique and interesting flavors, and that includes a variety of wines you probably won’t find anywhere else!
If you want to discover some of the greatest drinks in this city, consider taking a Secret Urban Wine Tour. This outing offers 5 stops and a variety of different wines to sample along the way.
This wine tour will take about 2-½ to 3 hours to enjoy and it’s limited to groups of just 8 people, allowing you to avoid large crowds as you sip on several different samples.
In addition to the drinks, you can also purchase an upgraded food package which includes Iberian ham, a regional dessert, and a Portuguese appetizer.
11. Take the Kids to Lisbon Zoo
This is arguably one of the most popular family-friendly attractions in Lisbon.
Children love visiting the zoo, and there are a lot of interesting animals to see at this location!
In addition to a variety of mammals such as Zebras, Tigers, Hoalas, Bisons, Meerkats, Giraffes, Lions, Elephants, and more, this zoo is also home to aquatic animals like dolphins and crocodiles.
Visitors can enjoy a cable car and train, as well as several picnic areas and places to grab a bite to eat.
The Lisbon Zoo is included with some hop on hop off bus tour combo packages, allowing you to save a few euros on tickets.
12. Discover Lisbon’s History Through Tiles
At the Madre de Deus Convent there are entire walls covered in tiles that make up murals representing the history of this city from the 15th century to modern times.
This location is known now as the National Tile Museum, and it’s one of the most unique and artistic cultural expressions you’ll ever see!
In addition to experiencing all of these beautiful tiles, you’ll also have the chance to see the historic Madre de Deus church which is a fantastic example of baroque architecture.
Admission to this location is included with at least one Lisbon tourist pass, allowing you to save money on tickets.
13. Go to the Oceanarium
If you’re looking for even more family fun, it’s hard to beat a trip to the Oceanarium.
This attraction is home to four different marine habitats holding 5 million litres of seawater and a variety of aquatic life.
With over 180 different species of fish, sea otters, penguins, frogs, coral, starfish, anemone, octopus, shrimp, and many others, there’s plenty to see and experience while you’re here.
In addition to all the animals, there are also a lot of different plants and algae to see, including coconuts, coffee plants, palm trees, ferns, and more.
Best of all, admission is included with some hop on hop off bus tour combo packages, so you can actually save money on both activities!
14. Visit the Pilar7 Bridge Experience
This is one of the most impressive suspension bridges in the world, and aside from traveling across it, there is one excellent way to see everything that went into building the structure.
The Pilar7 Bridge Experience is an immersive tour covering the history of the Ponte 25 de Abril.
This attraction includes multimedia presentations, virtual reality experiences, and much more.
At the end of the tour, you’ll take an elevator ride up to a panoramic observation deck which gives you one of the best views in all of Lisbon.
Admission is included with at least one Lisbon tourist pass, allowing you to potentially save a few euros on tickets.
15. Go to the LISBOA Story Centre
This attraction is actually one of the best ways to learn the history of Lisbon, as it provides a variety of interactive exhibits that tell the story of this city.
In addition to multimedia presentations, there are also elaborate sets and dramatic recreations of the most important historical events from throughout Lisbon’s past.
Experience the tragic events of All Saints’ Day in 1755 in one room and move onto the next where you’ll accompany the Marquis of Pombal in reconstructing the city.
These are just two of the exhibits available, but there are many more to discover at this location.
16. Visit the National Coach Museum
There have been many coaches used throughout the history of Lisbon, so it shouldn’t surprise anyone that this actually became the home of the very first coach museum in the world back in 1726.
Believe it or not, the museum still exists to this day, although it has undergone many changes over the years.
The National Coach Museum is now one of the best attractions in the district of Belém.
In addition to housing several historic coaches, this museum also works on the conservation of various vehicles including motor vehicles and other historic forms of transportation.
Admission to this attraction is included with at least one Lisbon tourist pass, allowing you to save a few euros on tickets.
17. Take a Cruise on the Tagus River
Lisbon is located alongside the Tagus River, and there are several different cruise services you can enjoy in the city as a result.
One of the easiest ways to take a cruise is by getting a combo ticket with a hop on hop off bus tour.
Most of the bus tour companies in Lisbon offer combo deals with both bus and boat tours.
There are also hop on hop off cruises, allowing you to spend a whole day cruising around the city with ease.
Alternatively, there are also traditional sightseeing cruises and even sailing excursions.
This is an excellent family-friendly activity, and with sunset sails and cruises available, it could also be something fun to do at night!
18. Visit the Mafra Palace
This UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the most notable historic buildings in Lisbon, and it’s also a great example of both baroque and neoclassical architecture.
The Mafra Palace has 1,200 rooms, 29 inner yards and courtyards, 156 stairways, over 4,700 doors, and windows, and it was built with limestone and marble from throughout the region.
There are a lot of things to see here, including the convent, basilica (church), library, and two carillons (bell towers).
Admission to this landmark is included with at least one Lisbon tourist pass, making it easy to save some money on tickets.
19. Go to the National Ancient Art Museum
Art lovers shouldn’t pass up the opportunity to visit this incredible museum which houses a variety of artwork dating from the 12th - 19th centuries.
In addition to several paintings, there are also sculptures and jewelry made with silver and gold, as well as many decorative arts from several different cultures.
This is also the site that houses the largest number of works that have been deemed national treasures in Portugal, so you can bet there are a lot of great things to see here!
Tickets are included with at least one Lisbon tourist pass, allowing you to save money on admission.
20. See the National Pantheon
If you want to see even more historic landmarks in Lisbon, this is definitely one of the most notable sites in the city.
Founded in the 16th century, the National Pantheon is another excellent example of baroque architecture.
As is common with this style of building, there was a lot of marble used in the construction of the Pantheon.
While it is most often used as a reference point nowadays, this location also offers one of the best views in the city.
Admission is free with at least one Lisbon tourist pass, but you can also get in for free on Sunday mornings and national holidays.
21. Discover Portugal’s History of Theatre and Dance
Portuguese performing arts are culturally unique, with many interesting differences from other cultures around the world.
Thankfully, there is an attraction you can visit to learn more about what makes Portugal’s theatre and dance so special.
The National Museum of Theatre and Dance has over 300,000 pieces including costumes, stage props, scenes, billboards, musical scores, and many other exhibits that provide a glimpse into the history of performing arts in this country.
If you’re looking to save some money, you can save money on tickets to this museum by using a Lisbon tourist pass.
22. Take a Hop on Hop off Bus Tour
If you want to experience everything this city has to offer, there are several different hop-on hop-off bus tours available in Lisbon.
Most of these services include stops at popular locations such as the Jeronimos Monastery, Belém Tower, São Jorge Castle, and more.
There are also some bus routes that offer stops at attractions such as the Oceanarium, Lisbon Zoo, the National Coach Museum, and many other popular locations.
You can get free tickets for a hop-on hop-off bus tour by using a Lisbon tourist pass, and there are also combo packages that include additional activities or attractions.
For more details, please read our post covering Lisbon hop on hop off bus tours.
23. Go on a Spiritual Day Trip
There are several historic landmarks just outside of Lisbon which represent the spiritual history of Portugal.
Some tour companies offer day trips which include several notable locations you may want to visit.
One great option includes a trip to the Convent of Christ in Tomar, the Batalha Monastery, and the Alcobaça Monastery.
The convent is noted as being the former headquarters of the Knights Templar, while the monasteries house tombs of past royalty.
Admission to each of these locations is also included with one of the major Lisbon tourist passes, so you could even save money by just visiting each site on your own!
24. Visit the Ajuda National Palace
Although it may not be as notable as some of the other historic landmarks in Lisbon, this palace is pretty important to the royal history of the city.
Built in the Baroque-Rococo architectural style, art lovers will find many details to love about this attraction!
In addition to the historical value of this location, visitors will also find several collections of decorative arts dating from the 15th - 20th century, including various sculptures, ceramics, jewelry, photography, and more.
If you’re trying to save money on tickets, admission is provided at no extra cost with one of the major Lisbon tourist passes.
25. Attend a Sporting Event
When it comes to sports, Lisbon is absolutely crazy about football (aka "soccer" in the US).
If you’re a fan, you’ll have several opportunities to see both of the teams in this city face off against others in the league.
Both teams typically play from late summer to the end of spring, taking only a few months off during the middle of the year.
On average, you can expect each team to play at least one match every week or two, so chances are you’ll be able to attend at least one game while you’re in town.
If you’re wondering about any other sports activities, check this list of sporting events in Lisbon to get an idea of what’s going on during your trip to the city.
BONUS - Go to a Concert
No matter when you choose to visit Lisbon, you might want to check and see if there are any notable musicians performing while you’re there.
This city tends to attract a lot of popular artists including names like the Foo Fighters, Lenny Kravitz, Guns 'n Roses, Kiss, Iron Maiden, and more!
If you’re interested in seeing a great concert, check the calendar at the following venues:
Alternatively, you can also check this list of concerts in Lisbon to see what’s happening during your visit.
BONUS – Enjoy an Exploration Game
If you want to learn more about the history of Lisbon, this self-guided mystery game will give you the opportunity to solve a puzzle while you discover some of the most notable landmarks in the city.
Although it clocks in at about 2 hours in length, you can take your time and enjoy this outing at your own pace.