33 Things Nobody Tells You About Visiting Lisbon Portugal

Best Travel Tips For Visiting Lisbon Portugal

Lisbon, Portugal is PACKED with charisma!

This is a city where beautifully tiled homes line its narrow streets and iconic yellow trams screech along the main avenues. Meander down the cobblestoned walkways to Lisbon’s waterfront to join locals and tourists soaking in the energy of its lively squares.

And the vibrant street life and colorful buildings aren’t the only things this place has going for it. We have to mention all the happy-dance-worthy food that will have you waltzing all around Lisbon’s tiled streets!

We spent two weeks exploring nearly every corner of Lisbon! And we learned that this city gets better with time. We really connected with Lisbon after checking off the most popular things to do from our list. Lisbon is a place to let yourself simply enjoy life!

So who cares if it’s technically too early for a ginjinha (ginja berry liqueur), or if you’ve had so much pastel de nata your pants don’t fit? Let yourself go a little!

And let these tips guide you to an unforgettable vacation in the City of Seven Hills. From unmissable cuisine to packing essentials, here’s our list of 33 useful, not at all useful, and slightly amusing things nobody tells you about visiting Lisbon, Portugal!

Estimated reading time: 31 minutes

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Things Nobody Tells You About Visiting Lisbon, Portugal

33 Things Nobody Tells You About Visiting Lisbon, Portugal

1. Pack Elastic Pants For Your Lisbon Vacation

Lisbon, Portugal is one of the world’s great culinary cities. And let’s be honest, part of the reason you want to visit is to eat delicious Portuguese food! From spicy Piri-Piri chicken to the soul-satisfying bifana sandwich, this place is foodie heaven.

And the best way to eat and drink to your heart’s delight is by wearing your stretchiest pair of pants. So combine form and function and throw on your most comfortable travel attire. Check out this blog post with 80 cute and comfortable summer-vacation looks for the ladies! *Authored by the CEO of this blog.*

Don’t miss the chance to try a bunch of Portugal’s incredible cuisine! Check out this Lisbon food tour with over 5,000 5-star reviews!!!

Not sure where to find the best Portuguese cuisine in Lisbon? Let your curiosity lead you into the welcoming doors of the next place on this list.

WOTW Tip: we are obsessed with Portugal’s fried balls of joy called coxinhas. But coxinhas are tricky to order because it sounds like ‘cozinha,’ which means kitchen in Portuguese. So be careful when asking if a place has ‘coxinhas,’ the interaction might end with the waiter giving you a dumbfounded look. Or a tour of the kitchen. And yes, this is spoken from experience!

2. Visit The Neighborhood ‘Tasca’ For Epic Portuguese Food

traditional Portuguese cuisine at Tasca restaurant
Image source: Canva

Do you see that long line of local Lisboans waiting anxiously outside an unassuming restaurant? They are waiting to indulge in Portuguese homestyle favorites! And nowhere serves better comfort food in Lisbon than the neighborhood ‘tasca.’

So now you’re asking, ‘what the hell is a tasca?’

Well, these are family-operated restaurants that serve healthy portions with big smiles. While they have menus, ordering one of their daily specials is the way to go. The food is affordable and filled with all the love you would expect from a little family-run business.

And yes, there are many excellent restaurants to choose from in this city. With 13 Michelin Star restaurants, and countless other eateries dishing out local and international cuisine, you may wonder if visiting an unassuming tasca is the best advice.

But trust us, eating at a tasca is an authentic Lisbon experience! And don’t worry about the hearty meals they serve. You already got the memo about elastic pants with the first tip on this list of things nobody tells you about visiting Lisbon, Portugal!

WOTW Tip: tascas are local eateries, so the best place to find them is away from the more touristy neighborhoods like Baixa. We ate at Adega do Tagorro. It’s a cozy family-run restaurant with delicious food and super-friendly service!

3. Lisbon, Portugal Is Home Of The World’s Greatest Pastry

Pastel de nata in Lisbon Portugal

We found it! The world’s greatest pastry!!!

Lisbon may have its fair share of historic churches and monasteries, but your first bite into the creamy ‘pastel de nata’ might be the most divine experience of your vacation!

At first glance, pastel de nata (plural = pasteis de nata) may appear to be a simple egg-custard filling wrapped in filo dough. But underestimating the sanctity of this sweet treat is a huge mistake!

If we are being honest, Turkish baklava is our favorite pastry in the world. But these Portuguese treats are a close second!

Great pastel de nata is characterized by a ridiculously delicate and flaky exterior, filled with an understated creamy custard. Sprinkling cinnamon on top is acceptable, but adding powdered sugar will upset the purists!

Continue to the next thing on this list to find out where to try Lisbon’s most celebrated version of this iconic pastry.

WOTW Tip: there is no such thing as having too many pasteis de nata. We liked to have one as an after-breakfast snack, and one with the afternoon coffee. This is an advisable pastel de nata consumption routine.

4. Pastel De Nata Was Invented At Lisbon’s Jerónimos Monastery

Jeronimos Monastery in Lisboa
Image source: Canva

See, you thought I was throwing around words like ‘divine’ and ‘sanctity’ all willy-nilly. But pastel de nata was actually invented by Portuguese monks!

Ground zero for the pastry is the stunning Jerónimos Monastery in Lisbon’s relaxed Belem neighborhood. And while the monk’s original recipe no longer resides in Jerónimos Monastery, we can be thankful for the fact that they passed along their secrets to the now infamous pastry shop – Pasteis de Belem.

We did a blindfolded pastel de nata taste test! Find out if we noticed the difference between Pasteis de Belem and the supermarket version on our Portugal travel series!

Only seven people at Pasteis de Belem have access to the secret recipe. That’s like CIA-level classified material! And despite the results of our pastel de nata taste test, no visit to Lisbon is complete without sampling their heavenly pastry.

WOTW Tip #1: the lines at Pasteis de Belem can get pretty long, but the to-go line moves quick. Find a sunny spot in the park across the street and give in to the spiritual moment.

WOTW Tip #2: We never actually entered Jerónimos Monastery, but you should! I mean… it is a UNESCO Heritage Site. The lines here also get pretty long, and the ticket booth is not next to where you wait to get in. The point I’m trying to make is that you should buy your Jerónimos Monastery tickets online!

5. Wear Comfortable Shoes When Exploring The City

The hilly streets of Lisbon Portugal
Image source: Canva

I have great news, folks! You don’t have to feel too guilty about eating all that mouthwatering food while visiting Lisbon, Portugal.

‘Why,’ you ask?

Well, do you remember when I called Lisbon ‘The City Of Seven Hills’ in the intro? It got that name because it was built on seven hills! As a result, Lisbon is super hilly!

CRAZY, right???

These are our favorite comfy, stylish & sustainable pair of shoes! We both have them and they’re super versatile. They’re cool enough for the city, but casual enough for one of Portugal’s coolest beach towns. We’ve traveled with these for over 15 months!!

Touristy areas near the Tagus river, like Belem and Baixa, can be easily navigated on foot. But it’s not easy to avoid climbing up and down inclined streets and staircases if you want to experience great Lisbon neighborhoods like Bairro Alto and Chiado. So our advice… bring comfortable shoes!

That said, hope isn’t lost if you forget to pack your favorite pair of walking shoes. Keep reading to find other great ways to get around Lisbon!

Like this post? Make sure to read these next:

6. Let Lisbon’s Iconic Trams Take You Around In Style

Ride the tram when visiting Lisbon Portugal
Coca-Cola ad covering one of Lisbons iconic yellow trams.

The vintage yellow trams rumbling through the narrow city streets might be the most quintessentially Lisbon thing there is. The iconic trams have been in operation since the 1870s. And riding on the hard wooden seats while they screech their way from one end of town to the other is one of the most popular things to do in Lisbon!

While they can be fun to ride, the little cable cars can also effectively conquer those steep hills we just mentioned.

Click here for information about tram routes and timetables.

The E28 tram is the most popular one in town. It is the most scenic route, taking visitors from Chiado, through Baixa, and up into the historic Alfama district. But the E28’s popularity means you’ll likely have to wait in line to jump on. We found the other trams to be fine if you only want a taste of the Lisbon tram experience.

WOTW Tip #1: some trams and the popular tourist routes get packed! Not only do you have to wait to get in, but you might be left standing in the middle of the car. Unfortunately, you can barely see outside the window when standing.

WOTW Tip #2: you can’t pay with a debit or credit card on the tram itself. Cash is the easiest way to pay if you just want a single ride. Or consider purchasing the Viva Viagem card if you plan to use public transportation while visiting Lisbon, Portugal.

7. Lisbon Has Elevators To Help Lift You Up

A less exciting way of getting around Lisbon is taking the elevator! Riding a tram to your destination is clearly more charming than standing in an elevator. And you probably wouldn’t share the experience on Instagram. But elevators are a convenient way of getting around while visiting Lisbon!

These are the most useful elevators in Lisbon:

Elevador de Baixa: take this to get from the popular Baixa neighborhood to Castello São Jorge (St. George Castle).

Elevador Castelo: this one takes you up from Baixa to Madalena street. It’s also good for heading towards the São Jorge Castle, or up to the cute little bars on São Cristovão street.

Santa Justa Lift: okay, so this is more a popular attraction than a way to efficiently get around. You also have to pay to ride it. Keep reading our list of things nobody tells you about visiting Lisbon to discover more about the Santa Justa lift!

WOTW Tip: aside from the elevators, there are also three funiculars. Funiculars basically look like Lisbon’s famous trams, but they only go straight up and down steep parts of the city. While they definitely do the job, there’s often a long line to hop on. The cost to ride is 3.80 Euro, ’round trip’.

Did you know there’s a cast-iron elevator in Lisbon inspired by the Eiffel Tower?

Sometimes referred to as the ‘Carmo Lift,’ the Elevador de Santa Justa is one of the most recognizable structures in all of Lisbon, Portugal. It was built in 1902 by Raoul Mesnier du Ponsard, a student of Mr. Gustave Eiffel, himself.

The funky elevator connects lower Baixa to Carmo Square in Lisbon’s Chiado district. And if you are willing to pay 5 Euros and wait up to 40 minutes in line you can take the lift up the equivalent of three floors!

Uhhh, what???

If you ask us, buying a ticket and waiting in line to go up the Santa Justa lift is a bit silly. There is a modest set of stairs right next to the lift that bring you to the same exact lookout area. We think you can skip waiting in line for this famous Lisbon attraction! (Unless physical limitations don’t allow you to climb stairs.)

WOTW Tip: Lisbon has many ‘miradouros,’ or viewpoints, located around the city. The most famous is Miradouro da Senhora do Monte. But the one at the top of Santa Justa is also one of the best. And now you know that you can take the steps to enjoy the view for free!

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9. Tuk Tuks Can Zip You Around Lisbon, Portugal

Getting Around Lisbon With Tuk Tuk
Image source: Canva

Maybe the most fun way to get around Lisbon, Portugal is on a tuk-tuk! While these South-East Asian imports are not as authentic as the city’s trams, their relatively small size means they can squeeze through Lisbon’s narrow streets to get you to where you need to be!

Check out this tuk-tuk tour with over 1,000 5-star reviews!

Most tuk-tuks you’ll find will offer sight-seeing tours, but you can also find some that will take you in between neighborhoods like Baixa and Belem or up to the historic Alfama neighborhood near São Jorge Castle. So give them a holler when there’s just no possible way that you can walk yourself up another hill!

10. Praça do Comercio Is The Place To Start Your Lisbon Visit

Praca do Commercio in Lisbon

The Praça do Comercio (Commerce Square) is the most important plaza in Lisbon. Bordered by the Tagus River and the tourist-favorite Baixa neighborhood, this enormous and dignified square is a natural starting point for any first-time Lisbon visit.

Come here to soak in the positive energy of all the happy people visiting Lisbon. And as an added bonus, you can even take a photo with the guy dressed as a Roman gladiator! This is a city where all your dreams can come true.

Now turn your back to the Tagus River and look up to the right. You’ll see another one of Lisbon’s essential attractions dominating the skyline. Let’s talk about that one next…

WOTW Tip: walk west along the river to find some nice spots to have a drink in the sun. Kick back as you watch the boats pass by and maybe even catch a sunset! The food and service won’t blow your mind, but in this setting, who cares?!?

11. Spice Things Up At The São Jorge Castle

Castillo São Jorge Lisboa
Image source: Canva

You can find Castillo de São Jorge (St. George Castle) nestled on the top of the Alfama and Castelo neighborhoods. Perched on top of the highest of Lisbon’s seven hills, the centuries-old castle is one of the city’s distinctive images.

Paying a visit to this historic structure is considered one of the essential things to do in Lisbon, Portugal.

São Jorge Castle is beautifully maintained, has stunning views from the top, and has enough space to walk around and explore. However, a visit to the castle is light on historical context.

Here’s an audio guide of St. Jorge Castle for you history buffs!

We noticed some genius humans bringing their own little picnic into the castle. With wine and everything! Copying this brilliant move will let you make the most of the 10 Euro entry fee. Time your visit around sunset, and you have the makings of an unforgettable afternoon in Lisboa!

Okay, time to move along to a different part of town!

12. Portugal’s Famous Explorers Set Sail From Belem, Lisbon

Portugal was once the wealthiest country in the world! But let’s not go crazy celebrating this historical fact. The Portuguese stole literal boatloads of gold from Brazil, in addition to trading ivory, spices and people they acquired from their colonies abroad.

Located right offshore from the Belem neighborhood, the Belem Tower (pictured to the left) is one of Lisbon’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Also known as the St. Vincent Tower, this 16th-century fortress marked the official starting point for ships leaving to explore faraway lands. Many of Portugal’s most famous explorers set out into the new world from the Belem Tower.

The nearby monument known as Padrão dos Descobrimientos (pictured to the right) pays homage to the Portuguese sailors that led the country through ‘The Age of Discovery.’

13. Do Your Best Vasco Da Gama Impression On A River Cruise

Actually, famous explorers like Vasco da Gama are probably not who you want to emulate in life. Apparently, he was a jerk. And an imperialist. You really need to pick some better role models!

Needless to say, you should ignore my mindless rambling. But you should take our advice and take advantage of Lisbon’s windy conditions by sailing along the Tagus River!

This Lisbon river cruise on a beautiful sailboat has over 3,000 5-star reviews! You can also spend a bit more to cruise the Tagus river from a vintage sailboat!

And if cruising the Tagus River inspires you to learn more about Portugal’s complicated past, we have the perfect Lisbon activity for you!

14. Exploring Lisbon’s African Influence Is Totally Worth It!

Portugal’s Age of Discovery brought Asian, South American and African people and products to Europe. It’s necessary to acknowledge the exploitation that took place during this period. But it also resulted in making Lisbon a melting pot of different cultures.

While they are now independent, Portugal’s African colonies of the past still speak Portuguese. Sharing a common language makes Lisbon a popular destination for people emigrating from Portugal’s ex-colonies in Africa. And the African influence in Lisbon continues to this day.

Curious to know more about the city’s African heritage? Check out this highly-rated walking tour exploring Lisbon’s African roots!

Sorry if this feels like a history lesson. But now you have more fun facts to make you an informed traveler. Being informed about the places you visit is all a part of responsible travel.

So look at you being all responsible! Never mind that you’re just scarfed down four pasteis de nata in one sitting. At least you’re informed…

WOTW Tip: we had excellent Mozambican food at Roda Viva restaurant! The flavors were so foreign and exciting. And the Mozambican music playing in the background made Roda Viva a perfect lunch stop!

15. One Of The Best Things To Do In Lisbon Is To Leave

Sintra Lisbon Day Trip
Image Source: Canva

Leave on a day trip that is!

There are many amazing Lisbon day trips to go on. But none is more popular than an excursion through the rolling hills to the town of Sintra.

The historic town and surrounding area is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. But Sintra’s biggest claim to fame is the fairy-tale castle known as Pena Palace. The National Palace of Pena is also one of the Seven Wonders of Portugal!

The Palace was built as the summer residence for the Portuguese royal family. Fancy, fancy! Doesn’t it look like it could be in a Disney movie!

16. Visit The Best Lisbon Beaches In Cascais Or Comporta!

Cascais. Image source: Canva

Did you know that you could spend some time at the beach while visiting Lisbon? The city isn’t known to most as a place to relax on sandy beaches. But newsflash – you can totally plan for lazy days soaking in the sunshine during your vacation in Lisbon!

Here’s a short list of highly-rated beaches in Lisbon:

  1. Cascais: the most popular seaside town near Lisbon. Located an hour’s train ride from central Lisbon, Cascais is a charming little fishing village and a favorite among locals and tourists alike!
  2. Comporta: the trendiest beach near Lisbon. Accessible by car (1-hour drive), Comporta is a favorite hangout for surfers and bohemian types.
  3. Carcavelos: this wide, golden-sand beach can be reached in less time than Cascais or Comporta. Praia de Carcavelos has plenty of activities and amenities for a perfect beach day.

Okay, enough relaxing on the beach. Keep reading this list to learn about one of the world’s deadliest earthquakes and super-trendy neighborhoods. This post is an emotional rollercoaster!

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What You Need To Know Before A Lisbon Portugal Vacation

17. ‘Lisboa’ Is One Of The World’s Oldest Cities

Lisbon is one of the world’s oldest cities? How’s that for a fun fact?!?

Honestly, we didn’t know this until we started putting together this post. But Lisbon totally is one of the longest continually inhabited places in the world. And it’s the oldest city in Western Europe! Mind-blowing, amirite?

We’re not really sure what to do with this information. But in fairness to us, we did mention in the intro that the post would have some not-at-all-useful information. It may come up in a bar trivia at some point in your life!

And while we’re on the subject of fun facts…

18. You Can Relive The Great Lisbon Earthquake!

Quake Earthquake Center In Lisbon Portugal

One of the world’s most powerful and deadliest earthquakes hit Portugal in the 1700s.

Yes, indeed. It was the Great Lisbon Earthquake of 1755!

This monster earthquake and subsequent tsunami and fires wiped out Lisbon. A quarter of the city’s population died from the combination of these natural disasters, and the vast majority of Lisbon was destroyed.

Today, visiting the Quake Lisbon Earthquake is one of the most unique things to do in Lisbon. The world-class attraction has a simulator that lets you experience what a 7.7 magnitude earthquake would have felt like!

There are also tons of interactive exhibits where you can learn about how the Great Lisbon Earthquake led to radical new concepts in urban planning, philosophy and governance.

The Quake Experience gets an A+ in our book!

WOTW Tip: we were the only adults at the Earthquake Experience not visiting with kids. But we still had a ton of fun, and it’s totally appropriate for adults. Visit their website to book tickets in advance!

19. Start Exploring Lisbon’s Vibrant Neighborhoods In Chiado

Explore Chiado neighborhood while visiting Lisbon Portugal
Image source: Canva

There are so many incredible sites to see while visiting Lisbon that it can feel overwhelming. Sheesh!

But it’s time to switch gears and talk about some of Lisbon’s best neighborhoods. For us, the best part of visiting Lisbon was exploring the incredible neighborhoods.  

Chiado is basically a must-visit for anyone who likes to experience a city’s trendier areas. Located directly next to Baixa, Chiado has tons of cafes and little restaurants in a less touristy setting. And the neighborhood’s stunning architecture creates the perfect backdrop for outdoor drinks.

Chiado is also filled with cool boutique clothing stores and trendy design shops. Yes, you can find some high-end shopping along the shady Avenida da Liberdade. But you can find those shops in any major city. Avenida da Liberdade is nowhere near as fun and energetic as Chiado!

20. Alfama Is (One Of) Lisbon’s Oldest Neighborhoods

View of Alfama neighborhood in Lisbon Portugal
Image source: Canva

Remember that crazy earthquake and tsunami we just talked about? Well, it destroyed nearly everything in town. But the historic downtown neighborhood of Alfama thankfully survived the disaster!

So while many buildings in Lisbon are relatively new by European standards, the Alfama neighborhood still has the winding alleyways packed with historic charm.

Alfama is a fantastic place to get lost, bump into some tiny little plazas, and discover the quaint little streets of one of Lisbon’s most beautiful neighborhoods.

21. Bairro Alto Is the Place To Go For Lisbon’s Biggest Street Party!

I’ll admit that we are not big party people. And bar hopping in a crammed street is not our cup of tea. Boring, we know.

BUT! If you want to party until the wee hours of the morning, the best place to kick off your night is in Lisbon’s Bairro Alto neighborhood. The tiny bars fill up quick, and the crowds spill into the streets with everyone having a grand old time. The narrow pedestrian streets turn into Lisbon’s best block party!

Let’s keep the good times rolling in the next place on this list of things nobody tells you about Lisbon, Portugal!

WOTW Tip: the Portuguese start partying late. You will be all by yourself if you show up to Bairro Alto right after your 7 pm dinner. At least you won’t have to wait in line for a beer!

22. The City Is Home To The World’s Coolest Neighborhood

Okay, we have three things to say about Lisbon’s ‘coolest’ neighborhood.

  1. It’s actually ranked the 2nd coolest neighborhood in the world… sorry.
  2. We never actually spent any time here.
  3. How does one score the world’s best neighborhoods? There are so many!

Anyways, the award for the world’s 2nd coolest neighborhood (as reported by TimeOut) goes to Cais do Sodre! Take a bow!!!

One of the main reasons Cais do Sodre received this esteemed praise is because of its nightlife. As we just mentioned, we don’t party too much. It’s hard enough trying to create a YouTube channel without a Category-5 hangover.

Moving along…

23. Visiting Lisbon, Portugal Is Totally Unsafe

Safety is probably not high on people’s list of concerns when visiting Lisbon. But it should be!

Nope, totally just kidding.

The only reason we’re telling you that Lisbon is unsafe is that it might steal your heart. See what happened there? Super lame, we know…

Find out how to embrace the broken heart you’ll get when it’s time to start saying goodbye to Lisboa in the next item on this list of things nobody tells you!

24. Experience Fado And Explore The Beauty Of Sadness

Fado night in Lisbon Portugal

Are you ready to listen to traditional music so full of pain and sadness you won’t be able to hold back the tears? Okay, maybe it was partially the red wine that made us so sentimental that evening. But there’s no judging. Ways of the World is a safe space.

Forget trams, grilled sardines, tiled buildings and even pastel de nata. There is nothing more Lisbon than Fado music!

Don’t miss Fado nights during your Lisbon visit! Book a Fado music and dinner experience, or go with something more intimate and informative with a performance in a local’s apartment!

If you don’t know what fado is, it’s a form of melancholic music that originated in Lisbon. It started when sailors’ wives sang heartfelt songs about missing their lovers when they went out to sea.

The music is exemplified by the word ‘saudade.’ Which is defined as an intense longing and sadness for things that happened in the past. We definitely felt ‘saudade’ as we realized our time in Portugal was coming to an end. Aimara still can’t listen to Fado without getting teary eyed.

WOTW Tip: do you love Fado music? Consider visiting Coimbra, Portugal. This underrated city has their own style of Portugal’s iconic music!

25. Bifanas Are Another One Of Lisbon’s Heavenly Delicacies

Bifana Lisbon Portugal Street Food

Did you go a little heavy on the red wine at Fado night? We’ve all been there!

This is the perfect time to get acquainted with one of Lisbon’s great street foods – the bifana sandwich! This garlicky, spicy, savory sandwich will make any grogginess disappear. Or, at the very least, it will taste good!

Bifana consists of thin slices of pork marinated in a simmering sauce of white wine, garlic, and paprika. It’s served on a soft roll before being topped with your choice of mustard or Piri-Piri sauce.

Ugghhh *drooling*!

It would be foolish to dismiss the bifana simply as Portuguese comfort food. We’re telling you this bad boy is spectacular!

WOTW Tip: ‘As Bifanas Do Alonso’ is a fantastic spot to try one or two of these mouthwatering sandwiches. They open their doors at 8:30 am and often sell out early. This is not a drill! (Also, they are closed on Sundays).

26. Lisbon, Portugal Is Surprisingly Affordable

Affordable Lisbon Portugal

Traveling to Lisbon can feel like a bargain! Especially compared to Western Europe’s other capital cities.

And it’s not just that the prices are low. The quality is also high! This is especially true regarding the incredible food and drinks you can find in this city!

Here is our average travel budget for Lisbon, Portugal (US$):

  • Accommodation: we paid $89 per night for Airbnb in the central Lapa neighborhood. (Prices can vary drastically based on the season).
  • Food: $7 – 10 for a meal at a local tasca restaurant (per person).
  • Drinks: $2.50 pint of domestic beer; $2.50 for a glass of Portuguese wine;
  • Public transportation: $1.75 for a metro ticket; cost for train tickets varies by zone ($1.35 – $3.50).
  • Other transportation: $3.5 – $8.00 for Uber rides within the city center.

As you can see, once you get beyond your accommodation (which is still affordable based on Western European standards), you can have a great time in Lisbon, Portugal without breaking the bank!

27. It Gets Packed With Tourists In The High Season

Portugal’s capital city has become a trendy place to visit. The city will be buzzing with fellow travelers, especially if you are visiting Lisbon in the high season (June – August). And based on everything we’ve just told you, you can probably understand why!

Tour groups pack the massive Praça do Comercio. Pedestrian streets like Rua da Agusta are filled with travelers enjoying Aperol spritzes and Portuguese pestiscos (tapas). And finding a spot at the highest-rated restaurants can feel like a chore!

So what advice can we give you? Book ahead if you are visiting Lisbon in the summer. And consider investing in the next thing on this list to skip the lines at 39 popular Lisbon attractions!

28. Avid Sightseers Should Get The Lisbon Card

We told you in the introduction that we connected with Lisbon, Portugal after we had explored the major attractions. This is a city we fell in love with once we slowed down and embraced its easy-going energy.

That said, we know there are people out there with a non-stop motor who couldn’t forgive themselves if they didn’t take advantage of all the awesome things to do while visiting Lisbon. And to those people, we present the Lisbon Card!

Buy the Lisbon card in advance to help you save a ton of money! The card can be purchased for 24, 48, or 72 hours, and the time starts after the first time the card is used.

For a set price, the Lisbon Card offers visitors unlimited public transportation, ‘free’ access to Jerónimos Monastery and Belem Tower (among 37 other museums and historical sites), and discounts for shopping and tours. Make sure to check it out – this card can help you save a lot of money!

29. The Best Time To Visit Lisbon Is Not What You Think

Beautiful Lisbon weather

Pro tip: Lisbon is a very pleasant place to visit in the offseason!

The busy summer period obviously coincides with the highest temperatures. And remember all those steep hills and staircases we mentioned earlier? Extreme back sweat was the order of the day during our first Lisbon visit at the end of September!

So consider visiting Lisbon in the shoulder seasons. There are chances for a bit of rain in the fall and winter months (especially November – January). Still, the trade-off for cooler temperatures and fewer crowds could be worth it!

30. English Is Widely Spoken In Lisbon, Portugal

Do you want to visit Lisbon but are worried that your Portuguese is not up to snuff? Well, let us tell you that you can kick your worries aside. That’s because most people employed in the city’s travel industry speak excellent English!

As in many countries, the level of fluency varies by generation. Lisbon’s younger residents are the likeliest to have a stronger command of English.

But even if many of the people you are likely to interact with will speak English, the next thing on this list will make traveling to Lisbon much more enjoyable!

31. Learning Portuguese Basics Is ‘Muito Bom!’

Speak Portuguese
We can order breakfast in Portuguese!

Here’s something you didn’t know about me (Gordon): Portuguese is one of my favorite languages! It’s just so melodic and sometimes oddly nasally. And here’s something else you may not know: many common Portuguese phrases will be easy to learn if you speak even a little Spanish!

Here’s a short list of Portuguese basics:

  • Hello = Óla
  • Good morning: Bom dia
  • Good afternoon: Boa tarde
  • How are you? = ‘Como vai voce?’ or ‘tudo bem?’
  • Yes: Sim
  • No: Não
  • Please: Por favor
  • Thank you: Obrigado(a)
  • You’re welcome: De nada
  • Do you have…wine?: Voce tem…vinho?

WOTW Tip: speaking and knowing Spanish is shockingly effective in communicating with the lovely people in Lisbon. Spanish and Portuguese are pretty similar. And many Portuguese speakers will understand you if you speak Spanish slowly. But be ready – they will likely respond in Portuguese!

32. Check Out LxFactory For A Change Of Pace

We are approaching the end of our list of things nobody tells you about Lisbon, Portugal. And you may be getting a little tired of the UNESCO heritage sites and other historical sites that this place is famous for.

So let’s switch things up! It’s time for something a little edgier and off-the-radar. Let us introduce you to the LxFactory!

This colorful and trendy little district between Belem and Chiado is a converted industrial complex. What was previously an abandoned and run-down part of the city was spruced up in a deliberate effort to make it a colorful and alternative set of shops and restaurants in central Lisbon.

Is it a must-see area while visiting Lisbon? No, it’s not. And you can see it all in 20 minutes if you’re simply looking around.

But if you are ready to trade tiled facades for graffitied walls, then LxFactory is the place to be! And if you get to the point where the smell of grilled sardines makes you nauseous, you’ll be happy to know that pizza, sushi and Mexican food can all be found in this eclectic part of town!

There is one more important thing to know before booking your vacation in Lisbon…

33. Visiting Lisbon, Portugal Is 100% Worth It!

Saying Goodbye to Lisbon Portugal

We had a blast during our two weeks exploring beautiful Lisbon, Portugal! And our most fond moments are walking through its colorful streets, having lazy coffees at outdoor cafes, and enjoying sunset happy hours along the river.

To be clear, we’re not suggesting that you skip the most popular things to do in Lisbon. After all, visiting the Jerónimos Monastery, the São Jorge Castle and even the Santa Justa lift can be nice experiences. But trust us when we say that you need to give yourself enough time to live the good life in Lisbon, Portugal!

Here is the best advice we can give you for your Lisbon visit:

  • Enjoy two-hour lunches along the Tagus river with the locals.
  • Eat a pastel de nata every time the craving strikes!
  • Grab a cozy spot on a terrace facing the square.
  • And order another round!

Thanks for reading!


Did anything on this list surprise you? Leave your thoughts in the comments or DM us on Instagram!

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