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Hidden Gems in Lisbon, Portugal

10 Sights You Can't Miss

Lisbon is one of the earliest capital cities in the world, older than Rome or Paris. You can see the age in its architecture and museums, the sites around the city that show locals pride in their history. From the old tram system that still runs along the cobblestone streets to the cultural influences of the Age of Discovery in the 15th and 16th centuries. 

Built across 7 separate hills the city boasts stunning views and landscapes everywhere hence the myriad of ‘miradouros’ (scenic viewpoints). Blending the history with the acceptance of modernism Lisbon’s street art is scattered all over the city through graffiti, murals and decorations. 

Don’t forget the delicious food – custard tarts and sausages flushed down with port wines. Have a look at our guide to get some foodspo for your trip. 

We can go on forever, but for this time we narrowed down 10 unique places you must see in Lisbon. The list includes a couple of mainstream spots, but we tried to avoid classic sights like Belém Tower or Jerónimos Monastery so you get a feel of Lisbon living like a local in just a couple of days. 

Let’s get into it.

MAAT Museum 

Starting off strong, with The Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology, but more specifically the entrance of MAAT Museum. How so? Well, here you will find the best view of the famous 25 de Abril bridge. At 2,277 meters long, the 25 de Abril Bridge holds the record for the longest suspension bridge in Europe and is often compared to the Golden Gate Bridge. 

Photo credits: @rayinmanila/Flickr

Located in the Belém district the museum is worth a visit to see a collection of contemporary Portuguese art and the entrance is free every first Sunday of the month. 

Palácio dos Condes de Tomar

Facing Largo da Misericórdia, in Bairro Alto Palácio dos Condes de Tomar was built in the second half of the 19th century over pre-existing structures from the 16th century. Since 2020 it’s been home to the Brotéria – a prestigious Portuguese Jesuit monthly publication that covers a wide range of topics, including theology, philosophy, culture, and social issues. It has a long history, founded in 1902 and significantly contributed to Portuguese culture.

Photo credits: Carmo Oliveira

Take a 300-metre walk from Safestay Lisbon Bairro Alto and take a peek inside the opulent interior of the palace. It’s not only a cultural centre, a library, an art gallery, or  religious meeting point in the city. There’s also a café in the courtyard. 

Cemiterio dos prazeres

One of the largest cemeteries in Lisbon, located in the Estrela district in western Lisbon is also one of the most beautiful famous cemeteries in the world. Founded in 1833 after the outbreak of cholera in the city the cemetery is exclusively made up of mausoleums.

Photo credits: @delphinidaesy/Flickr

Apart from the intricate details of stonework or notable burials, there’s another reason to visit this place. The view from here is heavenly (no pun intended). 

LX Factory – Ler Devagar

Located in a former industrial complex is LX factory a trendy cultural and creative hub filled with art galleries, shops, restaurants, and nightlife. The space hosts works from many street artists, independent shops and is perfect destination for an evening stroll around the city. 

Photo credits: @francesbean/Flickr

However, the highlight of the entire space is the Ler Devagar bookstore. Created in 1999, Bairro Alto in Lisbon is one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world. Back in the day it was a space for debating ideas, for readings, for artistic expression and for the buying and selling of books.

It’s been moved to LX Factory in 2009 and has a cosy bar in the back of the store and a record store upstairs. 

Panoramico de Monsanto

Abandoned building that once used to be the infamous dictator’s favourite restaurant is now the go to destination for urban explores to se the views, admire the graffiti murals and take scenic photographs.

Photo credits: Ryan Sagare

Situated atop the Monsanto Forest Park (Parque Florestal de Monsanto) in the west of central Lisbon this enigmatic architecture piece built in 1960 is definitely worth visiting. There’s nothing like it.

Largo do Chiado – Hidden Elevator

Largo do Chiado is one of the busiest squares in Lisbon housing notable landmarks that give life to the Chiado neighbourhood such as Palácio Pinto Basto, the Armazéns Ramiro Leão building, the famous Casa Havaneza, the historic café A Brasileira and more. 

Photo credits: lisbonportugaltourism.com

However, the most interesting landmark here is the building in which the United Colous of Benetton shop is housed. The building interior is fabulous, but the fascinating spot here is the elevator from 1888 – one of the first elevators in Europe. Bonus tip, the view from the top is gorgeous.

Elevador da bica

Lisbon, known for its hilly terrain, has three funicular railway lines Elevador da Glória, Elevador do Lavra and Elevador da Bica. These lines provide convenient transportation options for residents and visitors navigating the city’s steep slopes. 

Photo credits: lisbonportugaltourism.com

Don’t miss out on taking a scenic ride via Elevador do Bica between Calçada do Combro/Rua de São Paulo and Largo do Calhariz, near Bairro Alto and the popular neighborhood of Bica for beautiful views of Lisbon.

Feira da Ladra

Feira da Ladra, which translates to “Thieves’ Market” in English, is one of Lisbon’s oldest and most famous flea markets with a rich history dating back to the 13th century. Its name originates from the market’s early days when stolen goods were rumored to be sold there.

Photo credits: Wikimedia (33829833080)

Here you can find antiques, vintage clothing, books, vinyl records, ceramics, handicrafts, and more. It’s a treasure trove for collectors, bargain hunters, and tourists seeking unique souvenirs. The market is usually open on Tuesdays and Saturdays, although it may occasionally be closed on public holiday and it’s best to arrive early to beat the crowds.

Casa do Alentejo

Casa do Alentejo is a renowned restaurant located in Lisbon, Portugal, known for its traditional Alentejo cuisine but famous for its stunning Moorish-inspired architecture. Intricate tile work, ornate arches, and a beautiful courtyard adorned with fountains and lush greenery is enough to transport you into a different era.

Photo credits: marianacavallaccio

As much it could be pricey to dine here, don’t be shy to come for a cheeky coffee and dessert to witness the magical atmosphere you don’t get to see often. 

National Tile Museum

Last but not least, is the National Tile Museum – a classic sight that is truly worth the penny. Azulejos (decorative ceramic tiles) are a significant part of Portuguese culture and heritage and one of the most famous symbols of Portugal. The It’s housed in a beautiful convent and showcases tiles from the 15th century to the present.

Photo credits: Wikimedia (48360271151)

The museum’s exhibits include not only individual tiles but also entire tile panels and installations, many of which are monumental in scale and breathtaking in their craftsmanship. The displays highlight various themes, techniques, and periods in the development of azulejo artistry.

What a trip! This just goes to show you there are so many layers to being a traveller. Once you’ve seen and conquered all the mainstream sights, you have to remember about the spaces that need love and appreciation. It also shows you that reading an article or researching a little bit can get you to experience the most unbelievable things! We’re still stuck on the abandoned restaurant and the views!

Another tip for ya before we go – make sure you stay somewhere well connected, with a cool ambience and like-minded people who won’t mind joining you on your urban exploration trips. That’s just a lame segue to remind you that if you sign up to our FREE membership you get the best prices but also 15% discount on your first booking for Safestay Lisbon Bairro Alto – in the heart of the city!

Published on 24th May 2024

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Booking direct with us is cheaper than all online travel sites. Best price guaranteed.

Make an online booking

You can book directly online for multiple guests. Just enter the number of guests and your dates below. To book whole rooms or for more options please visit our groups page.

Locations

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Belgium

Czech Republic

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Greece

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Poland

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Austria

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