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7 Places For Any Traveller to See in Lisbon

Lisbon, Portugal probably isn’t the first place you think of for a European vacation. This capital city is full of history, fun, and lots of colourful Instagram spots. If you want to enjoy the Mediterranean experience, there are plenty of exciting places to see in Lisbon.

You can also easily reach one of Portugal’s beach towns or even Spain’s Andalusia region from Lisbon. Whether you’re visiting for a weekend or a week, there’s plenty of charm to see.

Navigating Lisbon

Lisbon has many historic districts inviting you to explore their winding streets by foot or the iconic yellow trams that are part of the Carris public transit system.

One will quickly notice that much of Lisbon is hilly but not unbearable. The areas touching the Tagus River, like the Belém district, are flat. Don’t be afraid to use the tram system to get around town. It’s safe, affordable, and gives your feet a rest.


Visit These Landmarks First

There are many historic churches, monuments, and museums celebrating Portugal’s history and culture. As you explore the city, you will see buildings with colourful exteriors and decorative azulejo tiles.

The largest number of tourists arrive in Lisbon from June through August. Although some attractions have large crowds, Lisbon is still one of the best places to visit in western Europe and maximize travel rewards with your travel credit card, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred to earns 2x points on all travel and dining purchases around the world.

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Jerónimos Monastery

The Jerónimos Monastery is one of the most-visited city landmarks. It’s located in the Belem district and is the resting place for maritime explorer Vasco de Gama. If you only visit one historic church building this might be your best choice because of the grand beauty and architecture.

Connected to the monastery is the National Archaeology Museum. This museum includes Egyptian and Islamic artifacts in addition to Portuguese collections from the Middle Ages. It’s interesting if you have the time or like ancient history. Admission costs €10 just visit the monastery although a combo ticket to both locations costs €12 saving you €5.

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Belém Tower

The Belém Tower is a historic city defence tower located at the mouth of the Tagus River built in the early 1500s. It has also served as a lighthouse and customs house before becoming a tourist attraction. You can easily visit the tower when seeing the Jerónimos Monastery or walking along the river in this section of Lisbon.

This tower is also a symbol of Portugal’s glory days as they explored the world and opened distant trade routes. Today, you can see the dank ground-level prison and tour the tower’s five levels. Like many of the city’s other buildings and monuments, this tower is built from the white-coloured stone.

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São Jorge Castle

At the top of Lisbon’s highest peak is São Jorge Castle which offers stunning views of the city. The original fortress dates back to the fifth century and has improved over the centuries. You can explore the various towers and imagine you are back in the Middle Ages guarding the town.

Take the time to explore the streets near the castle. The castle is in the Alfama District which is the Lisbon’s oldest district. Enjoy the panoramic overlooks, quaint streets, and old buildings.

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Lisbon Cathedral

A 12-minute walk from the São Jorge Castle is the Sé de Lisboa cathedral. There are lots of beautiful churches in Lisbon, but this is the city’s main Roman Catholic church. It’s also one of the oldest church buildings dating back to the twelfth century. Touring the cloister lets you see old Roman and Moorish ruins. A visit to the treasury lets you see relics and other valuable items.

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Tram 28

A visit to Lisbon isn’t complete until you ride one of the iconic yellow Carris tram cars. These cars are the quickest way to travel across the city without breaking your wallet. A 24-hour ticket costs €6,40 per person.


Tram 28 is the most popular route because it’s one of the most scenic and easiest ways to see historic Lisbon. It takes you to the São Jorge Castle, Alfama District, and the Sé cathedral to name a few notable landmarks.

Long lines are common to board the tram during mid-day and especially during peak season. Your best chances of getting a seat are to ride during the early morning or late evening hours. You should also consider boarding at the Martim Moniz and Campo Ourique stations which are the starting and ending points of Tram 28.

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Rua Augusta

One of Lisbon’s main pedestrian streets is Rua Augusta. It’s in the Baixa district which is located in the center of the town. There are plenty of shops and restaurants you may stop at. The area’s most notable landmark is the Rua Augusta Arch built to remember the decimating 1755 earthquake. When you’re not looking up, examine the various ground mosaics.

Other tourists like to visit the adjacent town squares. Another attraction is the Elevador de Santa Justa (Santa Justa Lift) which offers more panoramic views and also connects you to Bairro Alto which is another cultural hub.

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Day Trip to Sintra

If you spend at least three days in Lisbon, make time for a day trip to idyllic Sintra. This town used to serve as a getaway for royalty and other prominent families. Some travellers will spend the night to explore more of the area because there is much to see. Sintra is 40 minutes outside Lisbon on the Atlantic coast and is accessible by car or train.

The colourful Pena Palace is the most visible landmark in Sintra. It’s even visible from parts of Lisbon. If arriving by train, pay the €6,90 return trip cost to ride the tourist bus and avoid a long, steep uphill climb to the palace entrance. You can tour the exterior grounds and terraces which are very scenic. For an extra fee, you can also see the interior staterooms Portuguese royalty once frequented.

Another Sintra marvel is the Quinta de Regeleira Gardens which has many different stopping points. For instance, you can see a hidden cave and also look up from the base of a large well-like pit. You won’t want to rush visiting the gardens. A trip to the Quinta takes approximately two hours. Afterward, you can see another mansion or a historic church.


Take your time visiting Lisbon and the surrounding area. With many centuries-old buildings and a rich maritime culture, this European capital is one destination you can’t ignore. In fact, it might be one of the most enjoyable trips you take to the Iberian peninsula.

About the Author

Josh Patoka has been to six different countries and most of the United States. These days, he enjoys travelling with his growing family in his free time. You can find Josh writing about travel hacking on Johnny Jet.

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