Welcome to Lisbon, Portugal! Once a quiet, sleepy town, Lisbon has become one of the most exciting cities in Europe (and one of the cities we’d move to on a whim!). From nightlife to beach life, from hipster cafes to shopping streets – you name it, they’ve got it. Let me bring you on an adventure in Lovely Lisbon with some of the places and attractions that you can’t miss out on. Here are some of the top things Lisbon is famous for:
- 1. Castelo de Sao Jorge (St George’s Castle) – topping every Lisbon highlights list
- 2. Pasteis de Belem – Lisbon sweets of choice
- 3. Alfama – the most hip neighborhood in Lisbon
- 4. Ginjinha – Lisbon’s favorite drink
- 5. Fado – Portuguese traditional music
- 6. Cascais – the perfect day trip destination from Lisbon
1. Castelo de Sao Jorge (St George’s Castle) – topping every Lisbon highlights list
A journey here provides you an experience like no other. Be amazed at the beauty of the medieval architecture and view you get from the castle, which sits prettily on top of Alfama’s hill.
For an even better view, you should head to the Tower of Ulysses within the castle and use a periscope (Camera Obscura) to get a panoramic 360-degree view of Alfama, Lisbon.
2. Pasteis de Belem – Lisbon sweets of choice
Food is huge here in Lisbon, and it doesn’t get any better than the famed Portuguese egg tarts, specifically those served here in Pasteis de Belem.
The bakery specializes in the preparation of these tarts, so much so that you can’t stop at one (Speaking from experience here!). The captivating smell and delightful texture and taste of the egg tarts are to die for (literally).
You can opt for other types of pastries or even sit and have a cup of coffee with your friends and family. It is often open till late at night, past midnight.
If you’d like to learn how to bake your own, Pastelaria Batalha in Chiado runs pastel de nata workshops. In a couple of hours, you learn how to make puff pastry, custard, and all the secret tricks to bake an authentic Portuguese custard tart. All levels and ages welcome!
3. Alfama – the most hip neighborhood in Lisbon
While we’re covering Alfama, you should also take a walk down the area and witness the vibrant district yourself.
The district, with its many alleyways, is often alive and upbeat due to the many tourists and good music from the numerous street-side restaurants. It’s hard to believe what you can expect at each turn – whether it’s a historical landmark, a beautiful coffee shop, or stunning views of the city.
This city on the hills is worth a visit, and apart from Castelo de Sao Jorge mentioned above, there are many other things to see or do here.
4. Ginjinha – Lisbon’s favorite drink
A Portuguese liqueur made by using ginja berries, Ginjinha has received lots of attention worldwide for being a sweet alcoholic drink fit for any social events.
You can find amazing Ginjinha all over Lisbon, but none compares quite as well as those found at A Ginjinha and Ginjinha Sem Rival. A Ginjinha has received numerous great reviews, and quite rightly so – the ambiance of the bar and quality of the ginjinhas are top-notch.
A journey to Lisbon would not be complete if you don’t try this drink (trust me!)
5. Fado – Portuguese traditional music
Who would have thought that Fado, a traditional Portuguese music genre that can be traced back since the early 1800s, is still very vibrant in Lisbon today? You can find Fado in almost all corners of Lisbon in all forms – whether it’s in a classy theater or in a downtown bar.
One of the top places to catch Fado over good music is at Clube de Fado, a restaurant that has occasional “Fado Nights” accompanied by great, traditional Portuguese food.
6. Cascais – the perfect day trip destination from Lisbon
Beach lovers, rejoice! In a region where the weather is mostly cold and rainy, Cascais in Lisbon provides visitors, both locals and tourists, a great day out in the sun and sea.
Situated on the west of Lisbon, the beach town of Cascais (pronounced Kush-Kaish) is filled with luxurious sea-side hotels and low-cost rental apartments, making it a fantastic option for you to wrap up your Lisbon trip.
There are lots to do here in Cascais – you can choose to explore the town in all its beautiful colors and historical building designs, rent a bicycle to cycle around the town, or simply head to the beaches, the most popular one being Guincho beach.
Another popular attraction would be Boca do Inferno cliff lookout point, which gives you great panoramic views of the ocean atop beautiful rock formations – a perfect location for nature lovers!
What else would you add to this list of things the city of Lisbon is famous for? Let us know in the comments below.