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If you’re wondering where should be next on your travel bucket list, consider the capital of Portugal. Imagine a European destination that isn’t as well-known as some other cities and not overrun by tourists. But is well-known enough that you can still easily navigate it and you have Lisbon. The locals are used to tourists, so they are kind and friendly, but there are still locals living there that give it an authentic experience. Unlike many hotspot destinations nearby such as Barcelona. This is why we compiled a list of 8 Reasons to Visit Lisbon.

Lisbon is close enough to a few other countries to do it on a combined trip of a few countries, including Morocco, Spain, France, and more. Portugal is cheap compared to most European cities, so you can make this trip on a budget. It is jam-packed with enough things to do, sights to see, and food to taste (hello, custard tarts!). It will quickly become one of your favorite European destinations.

lisbon-portugal

If you like exploring, Lisbon is the perfect place, because you could spend days just walking around, observing daily life and seeing incredibly unique sights. Portugal is so picturesque that just getting lost in its streets is an adventure! Though you definitely need to plan some time just to walk around, here are 8 things you must do on your next trip to Lisbon.

1.    Alfama District

38.7125° N, 9.1303° W

alfama-district

Whether you explore this area by taking an official walking tour or just exploring on your own, this historical area of Lisbon is a must-see. It is beautiful and there are many good rooftop views, making the Alfama District the spot in Lisbon to get that perfect picture. There are also many things to do in the Alfama District, including the Lisbon Cathedral, the Castelo de S. Jorge, and much more. 

2.  Historic Tram 28

38.7223° N, 9.1393° W

8-reasons-to-visit-lisbon

When visiting Lisbon, riding historic Tram 28 is one of the experiences you just can’t miss. The tram is not only historical and interesting to see itself, but it also takes you on a ride all throughout Lisbon, and is a great way to view the city! You can get off wherever you’d like, stopping to see certain sights or riding it all the way along the route. Seeing Lisbon from this angle is great because as you twist and turn through the city, seated in a quaint little tram, you can picture what life would be like as a local. Tram 28 is featured on many postcards and other souvenirs from Portugal and is often considered the unofficial symbol of this destination.

inside-historical-tram-28

3.    Belém District

38.6992° N, 9.2204° W

belem-tower-district-lisbon

There are so many things to do in the Belém District in Lisbon, it is definitely worth going to this area at least once. The most famous symbol is the Torre de Belém or Belém Tower, which is absolutely beautiful. The Tower was built between 1514 and 1520, both a cultural symbol and full of military history, all of which is explained inside. The Tower is located by the water, and you can sit and relax with your feet in the waves when you are finished, or swim if you are brave enough to face the chilly temperatures of the water! Another must-do in the Belém District is visiting Pastéis de Belém, a local pastry shop that began in 1837. There are other places to get traditional Portuguese pastries, but Pastéis de Belém is by far the best. They are served with cinnamon and sugar, and will have you initially ordering one or two, then going back for more.

pasteis-de-belem

4.    Bertrand Bookstore

41°8′49″ N, 8°36′53″ W

bertrand-bookstore

Open since 1732, Bertrand Bookstore is the world’s oldest operating bookstore and even has a Guinness World Record to prove it. You can go inside and buy books or just have a cup of coffee. If you love books, this is a must-see! Even if you aren’t a logophile, if you are in the area, it is interesting to look at just because it holds the world record. There are also many good gelato stores right in this area, and a lot of shopping near Bertrand as well.

5.    Feira da Ladra

38°42'59.5" N, 9°07'32.0" W

Feira da Ladra

The most popular flea market in Lisbon, Feira da Ladra is a must-see in this city. You can get there by taking Tram 28 if you’d like, and it is worth going early in the morning. Although it is open until the early afternoon, most of the good finds will be gone by then, as locals and tourists alike frequent this market. It is held every Tuesday and Saturday and has everything from handmade goods to hand-me-downs for sale. If you can’t make it to Feira da Ladra, don’t worry! There are many bazaars and markets in Lisbon, and you’ll likely stumble over one or more on accident. The most popular items sold are locally produced cork because it is a natural product sourced in Lisbon, fish-themed items since Lisbon is by the sea, and azulejo tiles, a glazed colored tile that is traditionally used in Portuguese buildings and is quite beautiful. Because Lisbon has just become a tourist destination for the last few years, these souvenirs are very reasonably priced.

6.    Day Trip To Sintra

38.8029° N, 9.3816° W

sintra-portugal

Though Lisbon itself has enough things to do, if you’d like to see a bit more of Portugal, a day trip to Sintra can be the perfect way to do it! If you’d like to go on your own, you can take the local train there, or if you’d like to relax and let someone else take care of the plans. There are many companies who sell day trips or half-day trips to Sintra for reasonable prices. The Pena National Palace draws many viewers, known for it’s wild yellow and red colors. The Quinta da Regaleira is also somewhere to go in Sintra, known for its beautiful lakes, fountains, grottoes, tunnels, wells, garden areas, and more. You can also stand at the most Western point of Europe, have pastries unique to Sintra, and visit many beautiful beaches, such as Guincho Beach and more.

day-trip-to-sintra

7.    Day Trip To Cascais

38.6968° N, 9.4207° W

day-trip-to-cascais

Cascais is another town you can take a day trip from Lisbon to. If you are pressed for time, visit both Sintra and Cascais in one day since they are located close together. Cascais can also be reached by a short train ride from Lisbon. This area is the perfect place to go if you need to take a vacation from your vacation. It is the perfect little beach town that gives off summer vibes all year long. This is the ideal place to go to relax, as there are endless opportunities to walk around and shop, lay on the beach, indulge in some sangria and seafood, and more. If you are looking for a unique sight or a crazy souvenir to take home, visit the Comur store. This cannery of Portugal sells tons of canned fish, especially sardines, in creative ways. Even if you don’t plan to buy anything, this store is worth merely taking a look at.

Feira-da-Ladra-lisbon

8.    Fado Music

38.7223° N, 9.1393° W

fado-music-lisbon

Another reason to visit Lisbon is because it is still a very authentic place where you can genuinely experience Portuguese culture and history. Fado is a huge part of that. Fado is Portuguese folk music, and is generally a meaningful ballad, though more modern-day Fado often puts a happier sounding twist on traditional music. Usually, Fado is experienced at a restaurant, paired with some food and drinks to make an evening of the experience. While you are listening to Fado, go ahead and have a Ginjinha, sometimes referred to as just Ginja. This is a famous drink known to Portugal, a liqueur made with ginja berries infused in alcohol. It tastes like cherries and is usually served in a shot.


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Miranda Martin is a Writer, Feminist, Traveler, and Exercise Enthusiast. She loves to travel, read, exercise, and daydream about the fall of the patriarchy. "I love to use words to tell a story and share experiences, and getting to do it for a career is incredible."

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