Bem-Vindo a Portugal!
Portugal’s borders were recognized in 1143, making it one of the oldest countries in Europe. Situated in the most western point of the old continent, this small fascinating country is becoming a popular destination among tourists but it still has the secrecy that makes it so special.
I know that when you think about traveling to the south of Europe, the images that traditionally pop to your mind are the beautiful greek islands, the amazing Italian food, and the Spanish sunny weather. And you’re not wrong.
But if you’re not considering a visit to Portugal, please rethink your choice of the itinerary as this place will offer you amazing places to visit. This country will surprise you and will make you stay for much longer than you expected at first – I’ve been witnessing this situation for a while now.
So, if you are thinking that you just need a little extra information to book your next trip, let me give you seven awesome things to do in Lisbon, the Portuguese capital city:
1. Be amazed by the Miradouros
Lisbon is known as the city of seven hills. That gives you an idea about how difficult it can be to walk around in this city. But if you are not afraid of going up and down, the good news is that these hills provide you numerous Viewpoints across the city that offer the most beautiful and inspiring views. Lisbon has a magical light, so just go to one of the Miradouros and have a beer as the sunsets. From São Pedro de Alcântara Miradouro you can see the Castle and the Alfama neighborhood, whereas in the Portas do Sol Miradouro the view is towards the Tejo River.
Suggested Tour: Alfama Walking Tour
2. Live a fairytale in Sintra
Sintra is a picturesque town near Lisbon (around 30 minutes by car), classified as UNESCO World Heritage Site. This medieval city is the perfect day trip when you are visiting the Portuguese capital! The beautiful and colorful buildings, the Romantic style Pena Palace, the Moorish Castle, and the National Palace are just a few of the many historical monuments that you will be able to visit. Situated on the famous Sintra Hill, and surrounded by a beautiful green landscape, this city will allow you to feel like royalty when walking around the historical center.
Suggested Tour: From Lisbon: Sintra Highlights Full-Day Tour
3. Listen to Fado in Alfama
Fado is the traditional Portuguese music. Very intense and melancholic describes a feeling – “Saudade” – a word with no translation that means something or someone you miss very deeply. Alfama is the oldest neighborhood in Lisbon and the most authentic one. Here you can find the most traditional small shops and restaurants, outside the busy touristic center. The kids play on the narrow streets, the women hang their laundry and grill sardines outside. In the evening, the restaurants are filled with people drinking a glass of wine and being inspired by this powerful music.
Suggested Tour: Evening City Tour with Dinner and Live Fado Show
4. Get to know our history in Belém
Belém, situated along the river Tejo on the way to the Atlantic Ocean, was the place where the former Portuguese caravels left to explore the world, during the Discoveries. Here you can find the tribute to the ancient navigators, brave men who spread the Portuguese culture around the world. Visit the UNESCO World Heritage Sites Jerónimos Monastery and Tower of Belém, both symbols of the Manueline architectural style – also called Portuguese late gothic. It’s mandatory to try the delicious Pastel de Belém, a traditional cream custard tart sprinkled with cinnamon!
Suggested Tour: Lisbon Sightseeing Hop-On Hop-Off Tour
5. Party in Bairro Alto
Bairro Alto is the most famous bar district in Lisbon. A former working-class neighborhood turned into the center of the nightlife in the Portuguese capital. A labyrinth of little streets filled with bars and pubs, restaurants and cafés, where you can listen to every kind of music and see both locals and tourists. During summertime, people gather outside and drink and dance on the street until 2 a.m (3 a.m on the weekends). Then it is time to leave to Cais do Sodré, where the clubs of the Pink Street will keep you awake until the early morning.
Suggested Tour: Full-Day Shopping Private Tour
6. Try the delicious food
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Portuguese people eat a lot of fish and seafood since half of our country is surrounded by water. Among our most traditional ingredients are the salted cod, bacalhau, that can be cooked 365 different ways, the grilled sardines and grilled seabass, octopus and squid. Soup is also very present, often made with fresh vegetables and meat or fish. With a strong Mediterranean influence, the use of olive oil, bread, garlic, onion, and olives is widely spread in the Portuguese kitchen. Don’t forget the wine and try our famous Porto wine and also the Red Wine from the Douro region.
Suggested Tour: Fado and Food Walking Tour
7. Get tanned at the beach
The Portuguese capital is approximately 30 minutes away from the beach, which can be a very tempting idea if you’re visiting the city during summer. Even though the water is not as warm as in Algarve, in the south, you will find beautiful beaches in every corner. Between Lisbon and Cascais, there is Carcavelos beach, very popular among young people, and Guincho, worldwide know for surfing. This is usually where the locals head to on the weekends. On the south side of the River Tejo, Costa da Caparica beach will amaze you with its long sand rails and clear water.
Suggested Tour: Sintra, Natural Park and Cascais Beaches: Full-Day Tour
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