View of Lisbon from above one of the cool things to do in Lisbon especially on your first visit.

Cool Things to do in Lisbon On Your First Visit

Our friends from Intentional Travelers recently made their first visit to Portugal, they share some of their top cool things to do in Lisbon. 

We had the opportunity to stay in Lisbon for a full month this past Fall, and we really fell in love. The city is full of color and art, with great seafood and pastries, and endless places to explore. Compared to nearby countries, it's also quite affordable.This post is all about the top cool things to do in Lisbon. Making travel plans in Lisbon is also very easy. Hopefully it will give you a starting point to uncover the best of what this city has to offer.

How about we start off with some inspiration!  Video: Glimpses of Lisbon in 38 Seconds

Cool Things to Do In Lisbon On Your First Visit

1. Ride the Tram

Ride the tram-one of the cool things to do in Lisbon

The popular Tram 28 begins on Praça Martim Moniz and passes through the Alfama neighborhood before heading west parallel to the riverfront. 

The trams get very crowded in the tourist district and even the waiting line at the first stop can get quite long by mid morning. It's highly recommended to go first thing in the morning and grab a seat at the initial stop. You can ride Tram 28 as far as Campo de Ourique market or hop off at Praça Luís de Camões for more sightseeing.

Other trams - both historic and modern versions - are also available around the city. If you find that Tram 28 is too busy, try a ride on Tram 12 or 25 for a similar experience.

Note: It's cheaper to pre-pay (charge your transit card in advance) at a metro station than to pay the full fare onboard the tram.

2. Walk the historic town center

The beautiful Rossio station in Lisbon

Marvel at the Moorish-style Rossio train station, shop along Rua do Carmo, find the city's public elevators and funiculars that help transport people up and down the city's famous Seven Hills. 

Lisbon is a very walkable city, but public transportation - trams, the underground metro, and buses - are also accessible everywhere. Be aware that there are many hills and that many sidewalks are made with limestone tiles that can become slick when wet.

3. See the cityscape from the Miradouros

The view of Miradouros one of the cool things to do in Lisbon

Spending time up at Miradouros, or the viewpoint overlooks, is one of the coolest things to do in Lisbon. Most of these lookout points can be found at the top of hills in Bairro Alto and Alfama where you can see over colorful buildings out to the wide river below. 

If you're up for the climb, walking up to a miradouro can be a steep hike. Alternatively, you can try out one of the famous funiculars or hire a tourist moto taxi.

4. Find your favorite Pasteis da Nata

Picture of the famous Pasteis de nata pastries to try.

These delicious egg custard pastries are iconic to this area and can be found all across town. Why not taste test from a few different cafes while you're out and about?

Our Lisbon food tour guide said that after much research, Manteigaria was her favorite. We also enjoyed them at Fábrica da Nata, which has great indoor and outdoor seating.  Be sure to enjoy them fresh and warm!

5. Visit Belém

Torre Belem - one of the cool things to do in Lisbon
If you're staying in central Lisbon, you'll want to take public transportation out to Belém (it's also nice and flat along the river if you prefer to ride a bike). 

The Belém Tower was once in the middle of the river, but you can now walk right up to this tower castle. Most accounts say it's not particularly worth paying for entrance into the castle, but walking around the waterfront is really nice. That way, you can also visit the Padrão dos Descobrimentos, or Discoverer's Monument.

Belem's impressive buildings, like the Jerónimos Monastery, were constructed thanks to the wealth coming in from Portuguese colonies. Long lines tend to form to get into the monastery, which houses maritime and archeology museums, but you can pass up the lines around the right hand side and enter the neighboring church for free.

This area is also home to the so-called "original" of the famous egg tarte pastry. At Pasteis de Belém, you can order to go or grab one of the many tables inside to dine in - coffee and other food is also available. 

6. Check out the Tile Museum

Works from the famous tile museum one of the cool things to do in Lisbon

If you're like us, seeing all the beautiful, colorful tiles around Lisbon will inspire and intrigue you. Museo Nacional do Azulejo depicts the variety and progression of tile work in Portugal, as well as parallel tile work in other countries. It's worth a visit if you have some extra time after sightseeing.

For more things to see and do in Lisbon, visit Intentional Traveler's post on a three-day self-guided walking tour itinerary for Lisbon.  Would you add anything to our list of the cool things to do in Lisbon? Please let us know. 

Looking for more posts about travel in Europe? Find them here! 

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About the Author Intentional Travelers

This is a guest post by Michelle and Jedd of Intentional Travelers. This 30-something couple left their full-time jobs to join the Peace Corps, then became digital nomads, doing work online as they travel the world.

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