Any time is a good time to visit Lisbon. Ideally positioned at the western end of the Iberian peninsula on the Atlantic Sea and by the Tagus River, Lisbon offers plenty of sunshine. In fact, the sun shines on an average of 290 days per year. The temperature during the coldest month barely drops below 50 degrees Fahrenheit and during the hottest month, it hovers around 74 degrees Fahrenheit.
Lisbon is one of the most affordable destinations in Western Europe and with the strong US dollar you are in for a treat. It takes seven hours 15 minutes from New York City and eight hours 42 minutes from Atlanta to fly to Lisbon. Lisbon is served by almost 50 airlines from around the world. The city is well connected with trains and major roads to other parts of Europe. You can even sail into Lisbon if you want to, either by cruise ship or on your own private yacht.
Wondering what there is to do in Lisbon? Here are Travelmath’s 5 best things to do:
1. Visit the museums and historic sites
Lisbon’s newest addition, The MAAT – Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology is the city’s version of the famous British Tate Museum. Located in the old Central Tejo Power Station, it’s a cultural center for a mix of art and technology. Its aim is to be the exhibition center for contemporary artists, architects, and thinkers from Portugal and around the world. Visitors of any age will enjoy the hands-on exhibits – from the tiniest to the largest machinery.
Other museums and historic sites to visit in Lisbon:
- National Coach Museum – with 17th, 18th and 19th centuries coaches, berlins, sedan chairs, and carriages.
- Lisboa Story Centre Museum – with six areas to learn about the history of Lisbon including the Earthquake of November 1, 1755.
- Calouste Gulbenkian Museum – a place to enjoy the beautiful garden and to view sculptures and artworks by world renowned artists.
- Berardo Collection Museum – a place for contemporary arts and it is close to Belém Tower.
- Belém Tower – a UNESCO World Heritage Site and an important monument to show the significance of Portugal in their contribution to the discovery of the world.
- Jerónimos monastery – another UNESCO World Heritage Site and Lisbon’s most famous historic landmark.
- Castelo de S. Jorge – one of the best places to see views of Lisbon including colorful rooftops, bridges, and the Tagus River.
2. Explore Lisbon’s old quarters
Perhaps the top attraction in Lisbon is its old quarters. The best ways to learn more is to join a walking tour. Check out chic boutiques, vintage cafes, many bookstores and theaters in Baixa/Chiado neighborhoods. Walk on cobblestone streets in Alfama, the oldest quarters in Lisbon.
Take time to ride on the oldest tram (No. 28), visit Se de Lisboa (the oldest church) and Foz Palace and discover the traditional foods of Lisbon.
Principe Real in Bairro Alto offers trendy nightclubs, restaurants, and shops. It is surrounded by 19th-century mansions, gardens, and squares. Check out the Botanical Garden and Camoes Square.
3. Experience Fado
Fado music started in Alfama. Fado means fate in Portuguese. To experience the sound of Fado while you enjoy the authentic Portuguese cuisine and views of Lisbon, head over to the Restaurante A Travessa do Fado in Alfama. Or if you prefer fado bars, you can check out one of the many fado bars in Alfama and Bairro Alto. Fado is usually only available on Wednesday and Friday evenings.
For more of Fado, visit Museu do Fado or Fado Museum where you can learn about the instruments, the origins of the music and stories behind the music.
4. Visit Oceanário de Lisboa
Oceanário de Lisboa is the world’s top aquarium with over 8,000 marine creatures. The big central aquarium has five million liters of saltwater. See penguins, sea otters, exotic fish from around the world and all types of sea anemone.
5. Eat Portugal’s best pastries – Pastel de Nata
The most famous place for pastel de nada is at Pastéis de Belém. Since 1837 Pastéis de Belém has been making this famous pastry. Today, it still attracts locals and tourists from afar. Other popular shops are Pastelaria Versailles and Pastelaria Aloma.
Pastel de Nata goes well with a cup of bica, Lisbon’s espresso.