Benefits Of Hosting & Contributing To Collaborative Blog Posts

Collab posts can be beneficial for both bloggers taking part and the bloggers hosting them. They are a great way to get content out there to a different audience as well as earn karma points for collaborating and networking! If you're unsure what the...

What Is Perlu Influencer Network and Why Travel Bloggers Should Be Using It

Female Travel Bloggers is thrilled to become the Travel Blogging advisor for Perlu - an influencer network. We've been poking around on the site for a few weeks and we are loving the experience so far. Perlu is an innovative professional network for...

Are Followers Important on Pinterest?

Followers on Pinterest! What everyone wants, but everyone struggles to gain. Followers used to be very important on Pinterest when they prioritized pins from people you follow in your feed. Pinterest has been putting the emphasis on ALL pins across...

Best National Parks in the United States

National Parks have a long history in the United States and special meaning to many Americans. Before air travel was overwhelmingly popular people in the U.S. would load their families up and go on a road trip to see the natural beauty close to home. The...

How to Use Tailwind Tribes For Your Travel Blog

If you’re reading this post, you probably already have some idea of what Tailwind tribes are, but if you don’t, we will catch you up to speed. Tailwind tribes are a great feature that work similarly to group boards on Pinterest, except they encourage...
    • About FTB

      Want to find out more about how FTB started and our mission to support, educate and connect Female Travel Bloggers? This is the place! 

    • Meet The Team

      Want to find out more about the ladies behind FTB? You're in luck, come and get to know us!

    • FTB Recommends

      Knowing which web hosting provider or social media tool to use can be daunting. And with so many courses out there to choose from, who knows where to start! We have put together a list of services, tools, and courses that we think are the best of the best to help you get started. 

    • SEO

      SEO is the Holy Grail for many bloggers and business owners alike. Our resources will not only help you get started with the basics but also to consistently increase your traffic.

    • Basic Keyword Research and Ranking Strategies

      Basic Keyword Research and Ranking Strategies

      Keyword research is time-consuming. Implementing a strong keyword strategy from start to finish in order to rank competitively can take hours and involves a combination of independent research and utilizing a keyword research tool. Having a solid basic...

      15 Common SEO Mistakes and How To Avoid or Fix Them

      15 Common SEO Mistakes and How To Avoid or Fix Them

      SEO is probably one of the most mysterious aspects of travel blogging. A lot of guides out there focus on what you can do to improve your SEO game, but they often don’t highlight what you are doing wrong making it hard to target problem areas to fix them....

    • Social Media

      With ever-changing algorithms, social media can be a never-ending mystery. Our resources are aimed at using the powers of being social without wanting to tear your hair out!

    • Are Followers Important on Pinterest?

      Are Followers Important on Pinterest?

      Followers on Pinterest! What everyone wants, but everyone struggles to gain. Followers used to be very important on Pinterest when they prioritized pins from people you follow in your feed. Pinterest has been putting the emphasis on ALL pins across...

      How to Use Tailwind Tribes For Your Travel Blog

      How to Use Tailwind Tribes For Your Travel Blog

      If you’re reading this post, you probably already have some idea of what Tailwind tribes are, but if you don’t, we will catch you up to speed. Tailwind tribes are a great feature that work similarly to group boards on Pinterest, except they encourage...

      How to Set Up Your Tailwind Account

      How to Set Up Your Tailwind Account

      So you decided to try out Tailwind to help increase traffic to your blog from Pinterest? Congrats! We adore Tailwind and the way it allows you to streamline your Pinterest strategy. If you know me, you know how much I love efficient processes and data, and...

      How to Create a Board List on Tailwind

      How to Create a Board List on Tailwind

      If you’re reading this post, you probably have a little bit of an idea what Tailwind is. You know that it’s a great way to save time and optimize your Pinterest account. If you haven't set up your Tailwind account yet, STOP and read this post first. In...

    • Website Development

      Website Development is one of those Marmite aspects of blogging; you either love it or hate it. No matter what you're feelings are, there's no doubt that a great looking and high functioning website increases traffic and all the analytics you need to worry about!

    • What Is A WordPress Child Theme & Do I Need One?

      What Is A WordPress Child Theme & Do I Need One?

      Parent themes. Child themes. Premium themes. If you’ve looked into upgrading to a premium Wordpress theme, chances are you have come across the term child theme. However, when there’s so much to know and learn, it's not surprising it can all be confusing....

      The Best WordPress Plugins For Blogs

      The Best WordPress Plugins For Blogs

      The world of plugins can be a confusing one - there’s so much advice about which ones to use, how many to use and how they impact your site. So, right off the bat let’s set the record straight: as with many things, it’s about quality, not quantity. It's no...

      Is WordPress The Perfect Platform For My Travel Blog?

      Is WordPress The Perfect Platform For My Travel Blog?

      There are plenty of options to choose from when it comes to choosing a website building platform: Wix, Sitebuilder, Weebly, Squarespace, Wordpress.com and Wordpress.org to name just the big players. With so many options, it can be overwhelming to know...

      11 Things To Love About The Divi WordPress Theme

      11 Things To Love About The Divi WordPress Theme

      When it comes to Wordpress themes, there are plenty of options to choose from and it can be daunting. In terms of paid themes, there are a few big players: Divi by Elegant Themes, Genesis Framework by StudioPress and Avada by ThemeFusion. We see a ton of posts in the...

    • Collabs

      With so many wonderful women in our community, it's easy to put together great collaborations!

    • Are Followers Important on Pinterest?

      Are Followers Important on Pinterest?

      Followers on Pinterest! What everyone wants, but everyone struggles to gain. Followers used to be very important on Pinterest when they prioritized pins from people you follow in your feed. Pinterest has been putting the emphasis on ALL pins across...

      Best National Parks in the United States

      Best National Parks in the United States

      National Parks have a long history in the United States and special meaning to many Americans. Before air travel was overwhelmingly popular people in the U.S. would load their families up and go on a road trip to see the natural beauty close to home. The...

    • Motivation

      We know how hard it can be to stay motivated! Our resources aim to help keep you healthy, fit, and prepared for your travels and blogging!

    • How To Stay Motivated As A New Travel Blogger

      How To Stay Motivated As A New Travel Blogger

      Wherever you are in your blogging journey, blogging can be hard and I bet there are days you don’t enjoy it and wonder what on earth made you decide to start a blog in the first place! By its very nature, blogging means sharing your heart and soul with the online...

      Ultimate Packing List for moms who travel

      Ultimate Packing List for moms who travel

      We think moms who travel deserve a medal (as do dads!) Not only do they pack for themselves but they also remember all the must-haves for the children too. We asked all the moms who travel in the FTB community to share their favorites, necessities and the...

      Road Trip Essentials for the best road trip

      Road Trip Essentials for the best road trip

      Are you heading on a road trip soon and wondering what to bring? First of all, we’re jealous! Second of all, we have you covered with this awesome packing list of road trip essentials. We put together 10 essentials for a road trip together so you don’t...

  • Blogging FAQs

We may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post, at no additional cost to you. As an Amazon Associate, FTB earns from qualifying purchases.

Sharing is caring!

Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, is one of the oldest capital cities in Europe and, according to the 2017 World Travel Awards, the best city break destination in the world. That’s quite the title to live up to! Let me assure that the city does not disappoint. There are plenty of things to do and lots of great food choices so to help you plan your trip, I have narrowed down what I think are the best things to do in Lisbon.

There’s an energy to Lisbon that I find unique; it’s an overall feel-good sensation that is contagious. And the light? The light is what always wows me, even after 20+ years living here.

Best things to do in Lisbon

Alfama, Lisbon old town

With tourists almost outnumbering local residents, Alfama has become the image of gentrification and over tourism used in every article and political statement on sustainable tourism over the past five years.

Getting lost in the winding, narrow cobblestoned streets of Alfama is still a must-do experience in the city and one of the best things to do in Lisbon.

For the sake of sustainability, steer away from anything that looks like a tourist trap, remember that Alfama is (still, for the most part) a residential area and mind the locals’ quality of life, and, if you pick one of the many Lisbon tours available, choose one that follows responsible travel guidelines.

Belém, The Hot Spot For Manueline Architecture

The Age of Discoveries (15th to 17th centuries) opened Portugal to the world and the world to Portugal. Vasco da Gama set sail from Belém, determined to find an alternative sea route to India, and the far western end of Lisbon will forever be linked to that historical period.

Manueline Architecture style (named after King Manuel the first, the main patron and supporter of the Indian Ocean explorations) mixes the straight lines of the Renaissance period with the aesthetic influences of the intricate details of Hindu temples.

Viewpoints Over The City

Torre de Belem

Torre de Belem

Mosteiro dos Jeronimos Manueline Architecture landmark Lisbon

Mosteiro dos Jeronimos Manueline Architecture landmark

Last time I counted, there were over 30 viewpoints (official and non-official) to see Lisbon from the top. They don’t call it the city of seven hills for nothing and so, of course, seeing the city from up high is one of the best things to do in Lisbon.

As much as I’d love to list them all (yes, there is no such thing as too many photos of Lisbon’s terracotta rooftops, the glistening lazy waters of the Tejo river, and the iron-red bridge 25 de Abril), Miradouro do Monte Agudo, Miradouro de Santa Luzia, and Panorâmico de Monsanto are my all-time favorite.

The view from Panoramico de Monsanto viewpoint

The views from St. George Castle, Santa Justa lift, and Portas do Sol are popular among tourists (and, therefore, slightly crowded during high season).

For History buffs, the view from the top of the Rua Augusta Arch is the perfect spot to see the before and after versions of the 1755 Great Earthquake – Alfama, on the right, as the before, and Baixa (in the center) and Chiado (on the left), as the after.

Fado, Unesco World Heritage Site

Historians say that Portugal’s Urban Song (classified as World Heritage by UNESCO) was born in the bohemian low-life bars and brothels in Mouraria, the old Moorish quarter, in the early 1800s.

Fado means fate in Portuguese and most of the classic songs speak of love, jealousy, heartbreak, and saudade (sorrow, roughly translated). You don’t have to understand the language to feel completely blown away by a live performance in any of the casas de Fado (Fado houses) in one of the typical neighborhoods of Bairro Alto, Alfama, or Mouraria.

Typical house with clothes hanging in Bairro Alto

Typical house with clothes hanging in Bairro Alto

Start your cultural immersion with a visit to the Fado Museum in Alfama to explore all the ins and outs of the music genre, listen to some of the most popular tracks, and see the only award won by a Portuguese fadista (Fado singer) at the 2014 Latin Grammy Awards.

The Mighty River Tagus

The Tagus river, the longest river in the Iberian Peninsula, stretches for over 1,000 km (over 600 miles) from Sacedón in Spain until it reaches the Atlantic Ocean near Belém in Lisbon.

The river is so wide, that tourists usually confuse it with the ocean. It’s an honest mistake.

If you’re willing to go for a long walk (or a bike ride, or run), take the 8 km (5 miles) trail from Cais do Sodré to Belém. You get to see the shifts in architecture (from industrial warehouses in Cais do Sodré and Alcântara to mansion-like houses and wide-open gardens as you get closer to Belém) and, if you get there by sundown, the famous golden hour at Torre de Belém.

There are plenty of riverside cafés and restaurants for pit stops along the way.

Lisbon’s Best Food & Drink Options

Grilled sardines and pasteis de nata are Lisbon’s undisputable culinary calling cards but there is so much more to discover. Lisbon is one of Europe’s oldest cities, built on layer upon layer of diverse cultural influences over the eight centuries of its existence as the Portuguese capital and it shows – in architecture, in customs, and, well, in food.

Pastéis de Nata

“Where to find the best pasteis de nata?” is the most-asked question in Lisbon. Tourists ask out of genuine curiosity and locals use it as an excuse to root for their favorite custard tart place in town.

The selection is usually narrowed down to two options: Pastéis de Belém and Manteigaria. I suggest a test-taste of custard tarts from both places. I take no sides because I genuinely liked them both on different occasions and for different reasons.

Insider’s hint: I recently learned at a pastry class that all handmade pastéis de nata have a spiral at the bottom. It means that the dough was thumbed down (yes, literally) into the little cake pans.

Tasca Zé dos Cornos

Eating at a tasca (a low-key, tavern-like restaurant, best compared to a chophouse) is the best way to try typical Portuguese food. No frills, no fuss, just good food in gigantic portions. For vegans and vegetarians, tascas are always a tough call though because meat- and fish-based dishes are all you see in the menu.

At the family-owned Tasca Zé dos Cornos, the service is fast, the food is cooked with a homey touch, and the single portions are big enough for two.

Organi Chiado

The catch-of-the-day style of menu at this no-meat restaurant in the heart of Lisbon always includes a vegan/vegetarian dish and a fish/seafood dish.

Lunch menus are the best value option at Organi Chiado and getting there closer to opening hours (12.30 pm) gives you a better chance to take a seat at the small terrace outside.

Mezze

Everyone from the Portuguese Prime Minister to local celebrities have been to Mezze, so I think it’s fair to say this is the hottest restaurant in Lisbon right now.

Run by former Syrian refugees, Mezze serves delicious middle eastern food at the Arroios Market, in the heart of the most culturally diverse neighborhood of Lisbon.

Stupido 1/1

This bar/art gallery is curated by the famous Portuguese street artist Alexandre Farto aka Vhils.

Vhils selects one street artist per year, local or not, to decorate the bar so it doubles as an art piece. The first featured artist was Argentinian-Spanish Felipe Pantone and the installations rotate every September.

Terraços do Carmo

Blink and you might miss this terrace bar just behind the ruins of the Carmo Convent in Chiado.

With a glorious and unobstructed view of St. George Castle and the back of the Santa Justa lift, Terraços do Carmo is perfect for an end-of-the-day drink before dinner when the weather gets warmer.

Getting Around Lisbon

If you don’t mind hilly streets, you won’t mind walking around the city as you explore the best things to do in Lisbon. The city is small and mostly walkable, and exploring on foot will give you more chances to admire the typical black-and-white pavement patterns known as calçada portuguesa and the mix-and-match of architectural styles in the old quarters.

For longer distances (or when in need to rest your feet), make use of the great public transportation system consisting of the Metro (operated by Metro Lisboa), trams and buses (operated by Carris), suburban trains (operated by CP), and cross-river ferries (operated by Transtejo and Soflusa).

Purchase a Lisboa VIVA card for €0.50 (available at Metro, ferry, and train stations) and top it off as you need at any station or shops and kiosks with a Payshop or MOB sticker. The card is valid for one passenger, so if you’re traveling in a group, each person will have to buy their own card.

One-day tickets (valid for 24 hours) for buses, trams, and Metro cost €6.30 and one single ticket costs €1.45.

Usually, people queue for transportation and, in the Metro, it’s expected of you to wait for people to come out first before going in. In buses and trams, passengers enter through the front door and exit through one of the rear doors.

Places To Stay In Lisbon

The city is small, but where to stay in Lisbon is not the easiest question to answer. Do you want to experience life as a local or do you want to be closer to all the things to do in Lisbon that everyone talks about?

Alfama, Mouraria, Chiado, and Bairro Alto concentrate most of Lisbon’s Airbnb listings which makes them the most touristic places to stay in Lisbon.

If staying at a hotel is that part of traveling you never let go of, then choose hotel hubs like Marquês de Pombal, Baixa or Oriente. The catch with the Oriente area (also known as Parque das Nações) is that it’s closer to the airport and one of the international train stations, but away from the city center and major landmarks.

Most hotels in Lisbon are listed on Booking.com, so make sure you browse the search engine for special deals and to compare prices.

Don’t Miss Out On Lisbon’s…

Golden hour(s)

There is something about how sunlight hits the city’s tiled buildings and bounces off the river Tejo that makes Lisbon a photographer’s dream. To be frank, you can get away with just a point-and-shoot camera. That’s how effortlessly photogenic the city is.

The best spots are Portas do Sol viewpoint in Alfama, Cais das Colunas near the river in Baixa, and Belém (Torre de Belém, in particular).

Foodie scene

Whether you’re exploring the finest Portuguese chef-owned restaurants in Príncipe Real, browsing the food court of Time Out Market, or going on a quest to find the best tascas, there is no such thing as boring food in Lisbon.

Lisbon has something for every palate, including plenty of vegan and vegetarian restaurants to choose from.

These are some of the dishes you will find frequently on the daily specials: bacalhau à brás (salted cod fried with eggs, onions, and chips), pataniscas de bacalhau (salted cod fritters), peixinhos da horta (green beans tempura), polvo à lagareiro (octopus baked in a sea of olive oil).

Green bean Tempura, things to eat in Lisbon

Green bean Tempura

Lisbon Things To Know

Spanish sounds nothing like Portuguese

Avoid the faux pas of attempting to speak the neighboring country’s language to a local (some might take it lightly and kindly correct you; others may not). From 1581 to 1640, due to a succession crisis (meaning the Portuguese king at the time died and left no heirs), Portugal was ruled by Spanish kings and… well, let’s just say the 1640 Independence Day on November 1st is still a celebrated National Holiday for a reason. Portuguese people hold no grudges against the Spanish but, you know, to each their own.

Tourist Traps

Fresh fish and seafood restaurants are one of Lisbon’s biggest tourist traps. If a restaurant doesn’t display its fresh fish, suspect that it’s not a reputable place recommended by locals.

Be prepared to walk

Pack comfortable shoes because walking up and down the cobblestoned hills of Lisbon wears you out. Use funiculars (Glória, Bica, and Lavra) and elevators (Santa Justa, Castelo at street Chão do Loureiro, and Baixa at street Fanqueiros) as shortcuts whenever you can.

The iconic Bica Funicular in Lisbon

The iconic Bica Funicular in Lisbon

Be responsible

Although Lisbon is far – I hope – from becoming the next Barcelona, Venice, or Dubrovnik when it comes to overtourism, do have a responsible and sustainable approach to traveling in the Portuguese capital. Support local business as much as possible and avoid the tourist traps at busy touristic streets in Baixa, Alfama, and Chiado. Choose a hotel over an Airbnb if you can or, if short-term rentals are part of your traveling style, choose a single unit over a building with serviced apartments.

Lisboetas (Lisbon’s residents) are welcoming, pleasant, and speak, at least, one foreign language (usually English).

Click on the pin below to save it on Pinterest for your Lisbon trip!

Are you a Female Travel Blogger?
Request to join our supportive Female Travel Bloggers Facebook community to ask questions and network with like-minded women! All you need is an active travel focused website to be accepted.

Sandra Henriques Gajjar

Sandra Henriques Gajjar

FTB Member

Sandra is a freelance web content writer born in the Azores and based in Lisbon for 20+ years. Since 2014 she’s been blogging about travel, culture, and the people she meets in between at Tripper, a blog about sustainable cultural tourism.

Follow her on her site Tripper to learn about her travels. You can connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest here.

shares