Things to see in Lisbon off the tourist trail

Jenny Cahill-Jones

written by
Jenny Cahill-Jones

updated 17.04.2024

Looking for unusual things to see in Lisbon? Excellent. Lisbon is ready and waiting. The information in this article is taken from The Rough Guide to Portugal, your essential guide for visiting Portugal.

Visitors to Lisbon are charmed. It has a spectacular waterfront. And everyone loves pasteis de nata. But want a more local experience? Discover what to see in Lisbon off the tourist trail.

Almada - take a ferry over the Tagus for lunch

Lisbon seems to sit on the ocean. In reality that's the River Tagus estuary. And the Atlantic is 20 km downstream.

Catch the Tagus ferry for Almada. Stroll along the waterfront. Then find a local restaurant.

Most serve up views of Lisbon's skyline. We like Ponto Final. Go for classics like baked octopus. Pair it with crisp vinho verde. And enjoy Lisbon from another angle.

Almada's a good value district. Consider Cacilhas Guest Apartments for your stay.


Views of bridge close to LX Factory in Lisbon © INTERPIXELS/Shutterstock

Lx Factory - one of the cool things to see in Lisbonn

Head to Lx Factory between Belém and Bairro Alto. It was once a real factory. Now it's a hip art complex. Go for over 50 indie shops, bars and restaurants. Hang on for offbeat exhibitions.

LX Factory scores high on cool. But the atmosphere's friendly. It's described as a 'creative island'. And the history's fascinating.

Want an arty place to stay? Book Dear Lisbon - Charming House in Bairro Alto.

Largo do Carmo - what to see in Lisbon Chiado

Visit Largo do Carmo in Chiado. Glimpse the past. And sense Lisbon's spirit.

The convent dates to 1389. Damaged by the 1755 earthquake, it's still a partial ruin. But that's part of the appeal.

Check out the on-site museum. Its artefacts include a pair of child mummies. The museum shop has great city views.

Prefer to leave planning and booking to experts? Have a look at some sample itineraries. Both Complete Portugal or Portugal Itineraries offer inspiration. All Tailor Made Trips can be modified together with your local expert, then booked for a stress-free holiday. Click 'Modify this itinerary' to contact a local Portugal expert.


Largo do Carmo is one of many unusual things to see in Lisbon © Andrei Nekrassov/Shutterstock

Sunsets - things to see in Lisbon with locals

Lisbon is built on seven hills. Each comes with spectacular views. Just add 300 days of sun a year. And you've a European sunset capital.

Sunset gazing is a Lisbon ritual. So find a miradouros and join.

Try Miradouro Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen in Graça. It's named for the Portuguese poet who lived nearby. And locals love it here on warm evenings. So expect lively as the sun sets.

See the view from the river. Take a sunset sail on the Tagus from Lisbon.


See the city from one of Lisbon's miradouros © Helissa Grundemann/Shutterstock

Lisbon beaches - by rail or road

Don't miss Lisbon's beaches. You might need to rent a car for the wilder shores. But many are doable by public transport.

Easy to reach by train

Cascais and Estoril are 30 minutes from Lisbon by train.

Estoril's Praia do Tamariz is wide, sandy and good for swimming. Praia de Conceição in Cascais rents paddleboards.

Better by car

Drivers have other options. Head north west past Sintra. Or go south over 25 Abril bridge to Sétubal.

Try Praia da Adraga near Sintra. It's a pretty bay liked by locals. And the beach is lovely at sunrise and sunset.

Sétubal's Arrabida Natural Park has several idyllic beaches. Go for Galapinhos or “little Galapagos”.

Hang out longer by the beach. Book Farol Hotel in Cascais.


Praia Tamariz in Estoril is an easy train ride from Lisbon © Gennady Stetsenko/Shutterstock

Ready for a trip to Portugal? Check out the snapshot Rough Guide to Portugal. Read more about the best time to go to Portugal, the best places to visit and best things to do in Portugal. For inspiration use the Portugal Itineraries from The Rough Guide to Portugal. A bit more hands on, learn about getting there, getting around the country and where to stay once you are there. And don't forget to buy travel insurance before you go.

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Jenny Cahill-Jones

written by
Jenny Cahill-Jones

updated 17.04.2024

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