Ultimate Guide to Lisbon: What to See, Eat, & Drink

Sitting across seven (although it feels like a lot more) hills, Portugal’s evocative capital will have you hooked with its Iberian charm and endless views. The charming streets, colourful tiles, delectable food, friendly locals, and spirited nightlife are just some of the aspects that make Lisbon so loveable. If that’s not enough, let’s throw in the fact it’s one of the cheapest city breaks in Western Europe for good measure.

Lisbon gets bigger every year. There’s always somewhere new to go, a new restaurant, and a new place to party. But after recently visiting the city, we reckon we’ve got a good grasp on what’s happening in the city right now. In our guide to Lisbon, we share what we did, where we ate, and where we drank. It’s also worth mentioning that while Lisbon is a great city break, there is so much to discover here that a weekend trip will barely scratch the surface. So while we did a pretty good job of fitting a lot into four days, we can say for certain that we’ll be back and armed with even more recommendations. But until then, here it is: our guide to Lisbon.

Ultimate Guide to Lisbon

Guide to Lisbon: What to do

Praia Irmão

The beach club, just a thirty-minute drive from Lisbon’s centre, ticks all the boxes. It’s in a fantastic location, is aesthetically gorgeous, with brilliant cocktails, and has great food. The only niggle we have is that it’s on the pricier side, especially for Lisbon, but it’s what you’d expect from a beach club. What you wouldn’t necessarily expect is how breathtakingly beautiful it is. When walking up the boardwalk to the entrance, the hippie dream of the bamboo, plants, feathers, billowing sheer curtains, and Arabic-style floor cushions come into vision. Combine that with the softest sand we’ve ever felt and a view of the glittering Atlantic Ocean and you’ve found paradise.

Most people spend the day on their respective beach beds, whether that be on the chic floor cushions, the Bali Bed, the Pyramid Bed, or simple sun loungers, soaking up the sun and sipping sangria until the live music starts at 7pm. By then, the sun will have started to set, which lucky patrons get a full view of. As night falls, the huge disco ball sparkles on those dancing to the funky tunes courtesy of the live band.

Alfama District

The Alfama District is a non-negotiable when visiting Lisbon. The old neighbourhood is where you’ll find some of the city’s most important sights and best views. Alfama was once the whole of Lisbon and even though the city grew beyond it, this district is still big and easy to get lost in, so an idea of the places you want to visit is a good idea.

When it comes to top sights in Alfama, there are too many to list here. But of course, São Jorge Castle is high on the list with its spectacular views across the city. There are several other viewpoints, or miradouros, such as Miradouro da Graça, Miradouro de Santa Luzia, and many more.

guide to lisbon

Top tip: Alfama is very hilly. We recommend taking the historic tram 28 to the top of Alfama and making your way downhill.


Cascais is actually a quaint fishing town outside of Lisbon, but it’s well worth the visit. Hop on a train from the train station at Rossio Square and within around 40 minutes, you will have reached a coastal paradise. The seaside resort is full of old-world charm, from its palm-tree-lined roads to the historic homes, it exudes laidback, coastal elegance.

A day trip to Cascais is a fantastic option for those visiting Lisbon in the warmer months and fancy a few hours on the beach. But there’s more to the town than its beaches. The Old Town is gorgeous any time of year, and there’s even a Museum Quarter, for lovers of art, history, and culture.

Top tip: If you can, buy your train ticket from the station the day before you go to avoid the long queues on the day.

Sunset boat trip

One thing we would encourage anyone to take from this guide to Lisbon is a sunset boat trip along the Tagus River. You can easily find them on Air B&B, but we did this one. With an attentive and passionate tour guide, complimentary snacks and drinks, and amazing views, it’s a must-see.

guide to lisbon

Guide to Lisbon: Where to eat


This cute place is perfect for brunch. There is usually a bit of a wait to be seated, but there’s a small square right outside which makes waiting not so bad. Try to get a seat outside on the terrace for the full experience – the iconic tram 28 passes right in front of the cafe. The menu is extensive and it’s the kind of place where you want to order everything. However, we can personally say that the hummus, avocado, and mushroom on toast is fantastic. Each dish comes with a pickled salad around it, which is a nice touch and complements the main meal beautifully. And while this might not be the most traditional spot to grab a pastel de nata, it was actually the best we had in Lisbon.

Ponto Final

A lot of people consider this place to be a tourist trap. And it might well be, but places are often popular for a reason, and this is one of them. It’s probably the most unique restaurant in Lisbon, snaked along a small cliff edge. It’s actually located in Almada, just across the Tagus River. To get there, you can either get a thirty-minute taxi or take a twenty-minute ferry ride from the Cais do Sodré ferry terminal in Lisbon. It might seem like a faff. After all, there are so many great restaurants in Lisbon, what makes this one so special?

There’s something to be said about asking for a wine recommendation and not flippantly being told one of the most expensive options. The bartender gave it some thought after asking us a few questions and recommended the best white wine we’ve ever had for €14 a bottle. In terms of food, everything on the menu looks fantastic, but we can say for certain that the salmon, seabass, and prime ribs are brilliant.

Photo by: willflyforfood.net

Top tip: Book as far as you can in advance. It gets booked up very quickly. However, if you don’t manage to book a table (which we didn’t), you only have to wait twenty minutes or so before one becomes available. It also gets very cold and windy beside the river when the sun sets, so be sure to bring a jacket.

Café Império

This place came as a recommendation from Pedro, our captain on the sunset boat. It’s quite a bit off the beaten path, mostly frequented by locals, and has a bit of an 80s Godfather vibe with its red carpet and waistcoated waiters, but it’s all part of the experience when you’re having the best steak in Lisbon. We wanted a traditional Portuguese-style steak, and we got it.

Portuguese steak is going to differ depending on where you go in the country, but it’s always going to be drowned in a sauce so delicious you’ll want a pint of it.

Chapitô à Mesa

Nestled in a somewhat hidden spot, Chapitô à Mesa sits below the walls of the São Jorge Castle. After searching for a restaurant that didn’t seem like a tourist trap, we walked past what looked like a shop with a menu outside of it. Hungry and tired of walking, we decided to go in, but we couldn’t have imagined that walking through the shop would lead us to a rustic restaurant with amazing views across the city.

Despite its prime location, Chapitô à Mesa is laidback and affordable, serving up fantastic local dishes. A starter of bread, cheese, and olives is the norm in Lisbon, and not one to go against tradition, we obliged. You’ll see codfish all over Lisbon – it’s not like the oily, greasy cod you’d find in a chip shop in the UK (still great), it’s juicy and meaty. We highly recommend the codfish here, along with the Piri Piri chicken, beef croquettes, and even the chips were impressive.

guide to lisbon

Guide to Lisbon: Where to drink

Park Bar

Park Bar is one of Lisbon’s many rooftop bars, perfect for catching the sunset. It’s always busy with both locals and tourists, and you’ll see most people armed with jugs of their signature sangria. Made with cava instead of red wine, it’s a fruity, delicious take on the traditional cocktail. When night falls, and the sangria starts to hit, the party continues, with many going inside the bar for a good old dance.


After finding this bar on a whim, we can safely say it’s a gem. Only full of locals and some tourists that were in the know, it’s a fantastic neighbourhood cocktail spot. It’s not the most affordable, but the cocktails are creative and brilliant. It’s also an oyster bar, taking bar snacks to the next level, serving up picture-perfect trays of oysters among other excellent ‘bar snacks’.

Bairro Alto

Bairro Alto is like nowhere we’ve ever been. The party doesn’t just ‘spill out onto the streets’ from the bars, it is entirely in the streets. It’s the perfect place for bar hopping, full of streets lined with small bars squeezed together. It must be said that Bairro Alto can be sleazy. However, we did visit on a weekend, so that could account for its chaos. It’s absolutely packed, but the atmosphere is booming. And there are loads of dancey bars that are worth your time once you get past the main drag.

guide to lisbon

What didn’t live up to the hype

Pink Street

Pink Street is good for the picture, but then we’d recommend finding somewhere else to go. This is as touristy as it gets in Lisbon. It is a nice spot for maybe one drink but can get seedy during the nighttime.


Sintra is highly regarded as the best day trip from Lisbon. In theory, it’s a storybook town with magical castles and fairytale-like woods. In reality, while it is those things, it comes with the addition of hundreds (if not thousands) of tourists, a lot of queuing, and expensive entry into every single attraction (at least €10). Everything is so spread out that you either hire a tuk-tuk driver for a day or buy a day bus pass, but then there is a lot of waiting around for the bus to take you to the next stop. It was still beautiful, but not what we expected. A lot of people do absolutely love Sintra, so maybe that was just our experience.

Aleyna Yilmaz

Aleyna loves learning about a culture through its food, whether that's closer to home or being out there in the world. She’s always happiest when experiencing somewhere new, but her base in Manchester is a close second. A blend of her love of writing, food, travel, and culture has naturally led her to travel writing full time.

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