Here you have it; the very best list of 29 FUN things to do in Lisbon, Portugal. This is not your ordinary 5 coolest things to do in Lisbon – list. No this is your insider guide to the best the Portuguese capital has to offer.
Or at least, what we think is pure fun.
Lisbon is Portugal’s hilly, coastal and historical capital city.
It’s a paradise for beach lovers, foodies, history geeks and of course, hostel geeks!
Keep scrolling and you’ll find our first-hand pointers on what you need to know about Lisbon.
(We updated this guide in February, 2020)
Scroll further and discover our 5 Star Hostel Sunset Destination. This is the #1 hostel in Lisbon. It comes with a rooftop terrace and a swimming pool on top.
Read: the 3 best hostels in Lisbon of all time
It’s certainly the best place to stay in the city.
In this article, we cover:
- Coolest FUN Things to do in Lisbon
- Fun things you need to know about Lisbon
- A handy map of all activities pinpointed
- Where to stay in Lisbon
The Ultimate List of fun things to do in Lisbon
This list covers a few things you may not even expect.
This is not your typical guide. But for sure, this guide offers cool activities for everybody; for solo travelers, couples, families with kids, retirees.
Enough introductions; What to do in Lisbon is the real question! Choose the stuff you are interested in.
And please don’t forget: You are on vacation, so keep enjoying and take it slow!
Is your stay in Lisbon short? Then I recommend joining the Lisbon in 1 Day Tour. It is the absolute best way to explore with less time. You will explore the Castle, Cathedral Climb, Jerónimos Monastery, Belém and even hop on a River Cruise.
Okay, let’s kick this list off wiiiiiith…
1. Sunset: Miradouro da Senhora do Monte
Easy: This spot is the best viewing point in Lisbon!
Bring a bottle of red wine, a blanket, and enjoy the best view over Lisbon while the sun goes down! It is the perfect spot to end the day after a long, long day in the city.
It is also quite a romantic spot, so one of the many romantic things to do in Lisbon for couples.
2. Yummy Food: Mercado da Ribeira all day long
Lisbon and Portugal are about food – besides many other things.
The Mercado da Ribeira is a big market hall with dozens of restaurants and of course a top spot to buy local ingredients.
Here you’ll find all kinds of cuisines you are craving for!
You can come here to
- or just to have a drink
A few years back, the Mercado da Ribeira was still a hidden gem. Nowadays, tourists discovered it already. No worries, it is still a wonderful experience. And we have a few more hidden gems below.
Good to know: Mercado da Ribeira is also known as Time Out Market.
And hey, this market place is located just across the 5 Star Hostel Sunset Destination Hostel.
18. Day Trip to Pena Palace and Sintra
If you only want to take one day trip from Barcelona, then make it this one: Sintra!
For sure you have heard already about Sintra. This pops up ever time you look for day trips from Lisbon. For good reason.
There’s a beautiful palace called Pena Palace perched on top a rocky peak less than an hour from Lisbon.
The Pena Palace and Gardens is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Once you have a look at the video below, you will instantly understand that the Pena Palace is hugely popular with visitors to Sintra.
Here is our best tip: Join a tour by Take Walks!
They use special timings and first entry tickets to bypass the crowds so you don’t spend hours waiting in line to get inside for your fully, expertly guided tour! Yes, you are the first ones in!
We joined Take Walks tours already in Venice, Rome, Florence and Athens. What I love most about them: They always have these special entries no one else has.
It makes you feel a bit like a travel-ninja!
You can choose between a
- Sublime Sintra: First Entry Fully Guided Pena Palace Interior, Terraces & Gardens Tour (4 hours tour)
- Supreme Sintra: First Entry Guided Pena Palace Interior & Terraces plus Quinta da Regaleira Tour (9 hours tour)
When you have more time on your hand: You can also stay here, there is some beautiful hostels in Sintra. Staying overnight for sure has some pros, as it is less crowded when the day-tourers leave.
4. Live Music: Open Air Concerts you cannot miss & a Social Club
Free open-air concerts sound awesome, right?!
Every weekend during summer there are bands and DJs playing in different locations around Lisbon.
Good vibes and a chilled atmosphere! For concerts and any type of event, check out the official tourism website of Lisbon.
However, there is one spot we love to recommend.
Clube Ferroviário is the new kind of social club, organizing many cultural events such as open-air cinema, theater, art performances, concerts, and more.
Check the events for your travel dates on their official Facebook fan page.
5. Pure Nightlife: Pensão Amor
The Pensao Amor is a fun bar, art gallery, and cocktail bar!
It’s a former brothel that kept its unique atmosphere and might be just the right place to end the night!
This bar is not the cheapest bar around Lisbon, but we think it’s worth the extra coin. Also, this bar is located just 2 streets away from the 5 Star Hostel Sunset Destination Hostel.
6. LX Factory of awesomeness
We told you, we have a few more hidden gems in Lisbon up our sleeve.
This little gem of LX Factory is for everybody who is into creativity!
The LX Factory is a miniature of a city loaded with creatives.
Architecture, music, fashion, design, art, food – the LX Factory is a trendy spot for locals to come together for concerts, enjoy meals, art, and all types of performances.
You can find all special events and their regular schedule on the official website.
7. Hop on Tram 28 for the most scenic tram ride
A tram ride has to be on your bucket list for Lisbon. I mean, many cliché photos from Lisbon show a yellow tram. It might be touristy, okay, but it is really really cool!
This tram of #28 was developed in 1914 and happens to showcase the best spots in Lisbon.
Costing no more than a couple of Euros for the entire journey, we’d say this is one of the best ways to explore the city!
Top tip: attempt to hop on during less sociable hours of the day. It’s incredibly popular.
8. Mosey to the Belém Tower
Are you a bit of a history nut? Cool! Head 6km west of Lisbon and you’ll discover the
first tower built to defend Lisbon.
The surroundings of the Belém Tower are also very beautiful. Coincide your visit with a tram ride that follows the coastline.
Fun game: can you locate the rhinoceros shaped gargoyle?
There is basically 3 ways to enjoy the Belém Tower:
- Join a Tour of Best of Belém, including Jerónimos Monastery and Belém Tower Tour with Scenic River Cruise
- Get your own fast track entrance ticket here with no tour
- Get the Lisbon Card (only pays off when visiting many sights!)
The Lisbon Card is the better option when planning to visit more than one sight. It gives you access to all popular attractions. It includes (sorry, it is a really huge list now):
- Lisboa Story Centre – Free
- Arco Monumental da Rua Augusta – Free
- Mosteiro Jerónimos – Free
- Torre de Belém – Free
- Carris – Lisboa de Eléctrico – Free
- Sintra Mitos e Lendas – Free
- Museu Coches – Free
- Museu Nacional Arte Antiga – Free
- Palácio de Mafra – Free
- Elevador Santa Justa – Free
- Carris – Free
- Metro – Free
- CP Sintra Cascais – Free
- Fergus – 25%
- Panteão Nacional – Free
- Palácio da Ajuda – Free
- Mosteiro Batalha – Free
- Mosteiro Alcobaça – Free
- Convento de Cristo em Tomar – Free
- Museu Arqueologia – Free
- Museu Nacional do Azulejo – Free
- Museu Nacional Etnologia – Free
- MAAT – Museu de Arte, Arquitectura e Tecnologia – Free
- Museu Nacional Traje – Free
- Museu do Chiado – Free
- Museu de Lisboa – Teatro Romano – Free
- Museu de Lisboa – Museu Santo António – Free
- Museu Nacional do Teatro e da Dança- Free
- Museu de Lisboa – Palácio Pimenta – Free
- Casa Museu Anastácio Gonçalves – Free
- Museu Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro – Free
- Museu da Música – Free
- Estufa Fria – Free
Furthermore, you receive big discounts on other museums and sights such as Padrão Descobrimentos – 30% and Belém Monumental – 20%.
The Lisbon Card is worth it if you want to explore many attractions on your own. It odes not include guided tours. For guided tours, I recommend Take Walks.
9. Take a Selfie with a Preserved Head
Okay, this is for sure one of the weirdest things to do in Lisbon. Seriously.
An early Portuguese serial killer’s head is alarmingly well preserved in a jar at the University of Lisbon.
Yep, you read that correctly.
Perhaps a bit disturbing, yet strangely fascinating. This is certainly a perfect example of morbid tourism!
Go to the Hospital de Santa Maria (next to the University of Lisbon) and head (haha get it?) to the anatomy section.
10. Hunt Down Awesome Street Art
The street art in Lisbon is somewhat impressive, to say the least.
What’s cooler is that a lot of it is hidden away from the obvious city spots.
That is why we deem the Street Art Tour to be one of the coolest things to do in Lisbon!
Follow someone who knows and discover the most impressive art without hassle.
11. (Pub) Crawl your way around
For those of you looking to have a wild time, a classic pub crawl experience is perfect.
This Pub Crawl in town happens to be the biggest in Lisbon!
Explore the coolest bars and clubs for 5 hours or more.
Skip the lines, enjoy 1 hour of unlimited sangria and dance like no one is watching.
Forget about planning – relax and blindly follow your guide for the evening.
12. Visit a Fado Show
This unique music genre dates as far back as the 1820s Lisbon. Lisbon is where it was born!
Cool fact: the word Fado means „destiny, fate“.
It’s profoundly melancholic and deserves some attention whilst you’re in the city.
Heck, UNESCO declared Fado as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
13. It’s all about the Lisbon Essentials
Looking for a fun way to kick start your Lisbon adventure?
Consider learning about the essentials: history, stories, and lifestyle.
We agree it’s lovely to aimlessly amble around. But there’s much to be said about fully understanding what you’re looking at.
Bring this beautiful city to life by joining the Lisbon Essentials Tour.
Did you know? Lisbon was hit by an earthquake in 1755. Now you do, so go and impress the tour guide!
14. Cruise into the Sunset
For the love birds out there, this one’s for you.
After you’ve enjoyed the sunset at the top spot in Lisbon (see #1), go one step further.
Watch it from aboard a yacht! It’s a super cool way of seeing the famous landmarks from a new perspective, too.
Just bring yourself – wine and blankets are already onboard.
Drift down the Tagus river for 2 hours in style.
Book your spot and find out why this is one of our top things to do in Lisbon.
15. Cycle effortlessly around Lisbon
Before you scoff at the electric bike, hear us out.
Lisbon, believe it or not, has hills and plenty of them! They’re known as the 7 Hills of Lisbon.
See, we’re just trying to save your legs.
Exploring by bike is eco-friendly and intimate.
Over the 2.5-hours you’ll discover the beautiful areas of Alfama, Mouraria, and Graça.
The bonus? Each electric bike tour is accompanied by a story-teller.
16. Beep beep: Tuk Tuk coming through
If walking, cycling and tramming aren’t your thing; take a tuk-tuk.
Yeah we know, we were a little surprised to find the Asian’s favorite vehicle here, too. But it works.
The streets of Lisbon are narrow and steep, after all. You’ll come across many tuk-tuk drivers offering a tour.
Which one to trust? It’s always tricky. We recommend this City of Neighbourhoods 1-hour tour.
Tip: the price is per group of 3. Why not find a friend or two at your hostel to join?
17. Gourmet your way through the City
Calling all wine-connoisseurs! Well actually, just lovers of food and wine in general.
Let the culinary wonders of Lisbon tickle your taste buds.
Learn something new, try something tasty.
Take a 3-hour tour of Lisbon’s traditional eateries – one of the most appetizing things to do in Lisbon.
18. Surfing & Beach: Costa da Caparica
Lisbon is located right on the Atlantic Ocean. So it is normal there must be some cool beaches around, right?!
Costa da Caparica is the perfect beach for the beginner surfer. Just take a bus from Praca Espanha, rent your surfboard at a local surf rental, and enjoy the Atlantic waves!
You can also join beginner surf courses here.
As this beach is easy to access from the city, this beach can get crowded.
If you like walking, walk more south along the beach – the further you go, the fewer people you will find.
Good to know: This beach is also fantastic to enjoy sunbathing!
Address: Costa de Caparica, Portugal
19. Explore Arrábida National Park by Kayak
This is our personal top fun thing to do in Lisbon, by far!
Fancy a venture outside of the city to discover the jagged coastline and secret beaches? Yes, please.
We did it and it was fantastic.
We took the 4-hour tour and found it to be the perfect amount of time. Who knew kayaking was so tiring?!
Our group was small and our guide super attentive and interesting.
Recommended: take the local bus 207 or 260 to Sesimbra. This way you have freedom either side of the tour to explore. Sesimbra is around a 1-hour drive from the city.
20. Go to the beach – and do nothing
Just exactly where are the best beaches around Lisbon? Which ones are less crowded?
We’re sure you have many similar questions. Heck, we understand you’d rather not spend hours researching.
An excerpt of the best beaches in Lisbon are:
- Areia Branca Beach – Lourinhã
- São Julião Beach – Sintra.
- Magoito Beach – Sintra
- Adraga Beach – Sintra
- Guincho Beach – Cascais
- Tamariz Beach – Estoril, Cascais
- Carcavelos Beach – Cascais
- Meco Beach – Sesimbra, Setúbal
Read this beach guide for more details.
Sometimes sitting on a beautiful beach to do absolutely nothing is needed. It’s actually encouraged!
21. Mix with the Locals at an Indie Cinema
There is a hidden treasure that’s all things film.
The Cinemateca Portuguesa is a museum of Portuguese film which shows films on a daily basis.
There’s also a neat little restaurant inside.
Some would describe it as the “most important spot for cinema in Lisbon”. Cool huh?
It’s certainly a hit with the locals.
Why not do something different and purposefully go to see a foreign film with no subtitles; it’s certainly a unique thing to do in Lisbon.
22. Jazz lovers alert!
The Jazz scene is pretty damn cool. Especially when you enter into a well-designed 1920s art-deco club.
The Hot Clube de Portugal hosts a different night throughout the week. There is usually a jam session on Tuesdays. The entrance is free.
Grab a drink, enjoy the music and conversation all at once.
23. Art freaks head to Culturgest
The purpose of the Culturgest is to manage an array of culture facilities.
This includes cultural, scientific and artistic activities. Visit experience dance, exhibitions, music, theatre performance, seminars, and cinema.
The best thing to do would be to contact Culturgest via Facebook and enquire about upcoming events.
24. Eat a massive sorbet flower
After all, exploring your sugar levels will no doubt drop. Time to go in search of incredible sorbet!
Personally, it was very difficult to choose a flavor from the 20+ options at Amorino Gelato. Until I was told I could have as many as I wanted!
Recommended: choose the large cone option and go wild with flavors.
The staff will create a beautiful Amorino rose which is cleverly color-coordinated.
Psst! Vegans are catered for brilliantly here, too.
25. Cordoaria Nacional – exhibition paradise
For exhibition lovers, Cordoaria Nacional is one of the top spots in Lisbon.
It has hosted exhibitions such as Animals Inside Out, Dinosaurs Alive, and Da Vinci Inventions.
We went to see the Animal’s Inside Out and were blown away.
It seems not many people know of this place, so it was lovely and quiet. It’s just a short tram/bus ride from Lisbon central – a great option for a rainy day.
The best way of finding out what’s current is by contacting the museum directly.
26. Witness Cristo Rei, Rio’s Twin Statue
One of Lisbon’s most iconic monuments is inspired by Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio.
It’s believed that the artist built Cristo Rei facing the Redeemer in Brazil.
It was once a pilgrim destination. Now the monument stands over blessing the people of Lisbon.
Its location is on the other side of the suspension bridge.
Views from the 82m high platform are pretty impressive!
Tip: instead of paying the platform fee, climb the clifftop viewpoint which is free.
27. Who are you calling a Custard Tart?
The Pasteis de Nata is a puff pastry filled with sugary, lemony custard. Simple.
The seemingly simple custard tart is somewhat of a cult in Lisbon.
Fad or not, who’s going to argue against a tasty treat? As for the best one in town, we’re not sure. It’s up to you to go and find out for yourself!
FYI we take no responsibility for over-indulgence or food-babies.
28. Discover Pink Street (beer + books)
THE place in the city for a good time: Pink Street is the home of good bars.
Actually quite a small area, it makes choosing a bar (or two) for the night simpler. It’s also possible to enjoy a quiet drink outside during the day.
We found this wonderful little bar-come-book store called Menina a Moca.
Buy a cocktail and read for free whilst nibbling on local olives. Peeeerfect.
29. Indulge in the Vegan Foodie Scene
All we can say is wow. The vegan scene in Lisbon is huge!
It’s no secret that veganism has grown rapidly in the last few years. With that, lots of niche restaurants are popping up all over the place. No longer is a boring rabbit salad all that’s on offer.
As huge foodie fans, we couldn’t resist going in search of awesome vegan restaurants. We highly recommend:
- Ao 26 Vegan Food Project – ever-changing menu
- Os Tibetanos – cozy Tibetan style restaurant. Try the mango curry.
- Princesa do Castelo – amazing avocado cheesecake
- Aloha Cafe – friendly owner + wonderful set lunch menu
Fun things you need to know about Lisbon
After spending a few days in this eclectic city, we have a few pointers to share.
Book your table
One thing we wished we’d known is just how full restaurants get in the evening. A typically Portuguese thing, it seems, is to open small spaces.
As cozy as this is, it’s a nightmare for spontaneous dining.
Take our advice: ring and book your table in the morning before heading out. Don’t wander the streets gone 10 pm after being turned away twice (like we did).
This is surprisingly cheap. Buy a 24-hour ticket which covers trams, buses, metro, and trains.
If you’re in no rush and don’t mind lugging your bags; take the metro from central Lisbon to the airport. It will set you back a couple of coins at most.
Don’t forget your sunglasses!
The Portuguese pavements are something to be marveled at. They’re super reflective and super slippery.
Expect to go blind after a few days without sunglasses. Take your time going down the hills – I slipped numerous times, as did many others.
All activities in Lisbon put on a Map
You made it this far – great!
Didn’t we tell you there are so many awesome things to do in Lisbon?!
We’ve put together this handy map for you so that you can familiarise yourself with where all of the top things to do are located.
Have fun exploring beautiful Lisbon.
Where to stay in Lisbon?
Hopefully, you’re aware by now of our awesome 5 Star Hostel in Lisbon, Sunset Destination Hostel. This central, lively hostel has a swimming pool overlooking the ocean and a fabulous breaky.
The Sunset is obviously the number 1 in town. Yet, there is more.
Check out our full guide to the best hostels in Lisbon.
A quick overview of coolest hostels in Lisbon:
- Sunset Destination (best hostel for solo-travelers) – see our full review of Sunset here
- Hub Lisbon Patio Hostel (top pick for backpackers)
- Lisbon Calling (awesome for couples)
This guide covers all the boutique hostels you can imagine and even party hostels.
Read: Best hostels in Portugal – with map and itinerary
Summary: FUN and COOL things to do in Lisbon
Of course, there are many many more things to do in Lisbon. By no means is this the full list. Yet, not to worry. We will keep this list updated and always fresh.
Here is again the full list of all mentioned funny and hip things to do in Lisbon:
- Sunset: Miradouro da Senhora do Monte
- Mercado da Ribeira all day long
- Day Trip to Pena Palace
- Live Music: Open Air Concerts you cannot miss & a Social Club
- Pure Nightlife: Pensão Amor
- LX Factory of awesomeness
- Hop on Tram 28 for the most scenic tram ride
- Mosey to the Belém Tower
- Take a Selfie with a Preserved Head
- Hunt Down Awesome Street Art
- Best Pub Crawl in Lisbon
- Visit a Fado Show
- the Lisbon Essentials
- Sunset Cruise
- Cycle effortlessly around Lisbon
- Tuk Tuk Tour
- Food Tour – Gourmet your way through the City
- Surfing & Beach: Costa da Caparica
- Explore Arrábida National Park by Kayak
- Go to the beach
- Mix with the Locals at a Indie Cinema
- Jazz live concert
- Art freaks head to Culturgest
- Eat a massive sorbet flower
- Cordoaria Nacional – exhibition paradise
- Witness Cristo Rei, Rio’s Twin Statue
- Eat a Pasteis de Nata
- Discover Pink Street
- Indulge in the Vegan Foodie Scene
Is your stay in Lisbon short? Then I recommend joining the Lisbon in 1 Day Tour.
You can find all the tours and activities here.
Let’s just say; the more time you have for the Portuguese capital, the better!
Over to you
Any questions? Please please bother us and leave a comment.
Your comment helps us to improve this Lisbon guide.
Perhaps you have something to add? Maybe something isn’t quite right? We’d love to extend this list and make sure it’s spot on!
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Hostel Packing List
It is time to see what you should pack in your backpack or suitcase. Make sure you always pick a quality hostel, it totally reduces the things you need to pack. Here is our ultimate hostel packing list. It features 23 items you should really throw in your backpack.The most important things to pack are:
- eye mask
- key chain flashlight
- the right backpack, the Nomatic (our review of Nomatic here) or Lowe Alpine Lightflite 45 Pack
- packing cubes
- generic padlock (fitting all locker types)
- quick-dry travel towel
- universal power adapter
- travel-sized toiletries