Cabo da Roca

Is this your first time in Lisbon, visiting the sun-kissed capital of Portugal? Then, it promises an intoxicating blend of historic charm, vibrant culture, and delectable cuisine.

If you’re gearing up for your first trip to Lisbon, consider this your ultimate guide to living it up, Lisbon-style!

From when to visit to where to dine, we’ve covered you with tips to ensure your trip is spectacular.

First Time in Lisbon: The Best Time to Visit

Alfama

The perfect season for the first time in Lisbon depends on your preference, as it offers loads all year round. 

Hot Tip 🔥: If you are unsure when to visit, check out any of these months to see what this fantastic city offers. 

Still, I love visiting Lisbon in late spring and mid-summer from May to July. Sometimes, I even visit in late fall, from September to October, as it presents you with favorable conditions.  

During these months, the weather is typically mild and pleasant, with temperatures ranging from the mid-60s to low 70s Fahrenheit (around 18-23°C), making it ideal for outdoor activities and sightseeing.

In late spring, you’ll experience blooming flowers, particularly in the city’s numerous parks and gardens, adding a touch of color to your explorations.

Additionally, this period is slightly less crowded than the peak summer months, allowing for a more relaxed and immersive experience.

Similarly, early fall offers a respite from the summer heat, with cooler evenings perfect for strolling along the waterfront or enjoying alfresco dining at one of the city’s many outdoor cafes.

The cultural calendar also comes alive during these seasons, with various festivals, concerts, and events celebrating Lisbon’s rich heritage and contemporary culture.

Overall, late spring and early fall provide a perfect balance of favorable weather, fewer crowds, and vibrant cultural experiences, making them the ideal seasons for first-time visitors to discover the enchanting allure of Lisbon.

The Easy Lisbon Quiz

Ready to test your Lisbon knowledge?

I’ve made an easy Lisbon quiz with 5 questions. Let’s see if you can get them right. 🤞

Unlocking Lisbon: Your Ultimate Transportation Guide

Trains Lisbon to Cascais

When you visit for the first time in Lisbon, navigating a new city can be daunting, but getting around Lisbon is a breeze with the right transportation tips.

From trams and buses to iconic funiculars and train stations, this guide will help you unlock the city’s transportation network, ensuring a smooth and enjoyable visit.

Hot Tip 🔥: Check my transportation section to get more insight into navigating Lisbon.  

Lisbon’s Public Transportation System

Car Parking Lisbon

Metro

Lisbon’s metro system is efficient, clean, and popular with locals and tourists. For the first time in Lisbon, you will find it easy to navigate using the metro.

With four lines connecting key areas of the city, the metro offers a quick and convenient way to navigate Lisbon’s sprawling landscape.

Consider purchasing a rechargeable Navegante card for hassle-free access to the metro, buses, tram 28, and even ferries. Also, remember to invest in a Lisbon SIM card.

Trams and Buses

For a more scenic journey, hop aboard Lisbon’s iconic trams, especially Tram 28, which winds through the city’s historic neighborhoods. Still, remember that Tram 28 can get busy at times.

Buses are another reliable option, with routes covering areas not serviced by the metro. Remember to validate your ticket upon boarding or use your Navegante card for seamless travel.

Bica Funicular

Funiculars and Elevators

Lisbon’s hilly terrain is navigated effortlessly by its network of funiculars and elevators. The Elevador de Santa Justa offers panoramic city views, while the Bica and Gloria funiculars provide a picturesque ride through the charming Bairro Alto and Bica districts. For a first time in Lisbon I recommend using this form of transportation.

First Time in Lisbon: Tips for Stress-Free Travel

  • Lisboa Card: Consider purchasing a Lisboa Card, which offers unlimited travel on public transport and free or discounted entry to museums and attractions.
  • Walking Tours: Many of Lisbon’s attractions are within walking distance of each other, making guided walking tours an excellent way to explore the city’s hidden gems.
  • Ride-sharing: While generally more expensive than public transport, ride-sharing services like Uber are readily available and offer convenience, especially for late-night journeys.
  • Ferry and River Cruises: Take advantage of Lisbon’s scenic waterfront with a ferry ride across the Tagus River or a leisurely river cruise, offering a unique perspective of the city’s iconic landmarks.

Lisbon’s diverse transportation options cater to every traveler’s needs, whether you’re looking for convenience, affordability, or a touch of adventure. 

Must-Know Essentials Before Your Lisbon Getaway

Bank Card

Embarking on a Lisbon adventure for the first time helps familiarize yourself with this European city’s information, making your trip smoother and more enjoyable. 

Currency and Payment

  • Currency: The official currency in Lisbon, as in the rest of Portugal, is the Euro (€). Ensure you have cash for smaller purchases and establishments that may not accept credit cards.
  • ATMs: ATMs are widely available throughout the city, allowing you to withdraw cash as needed. However, be mindful of potential fees from your home bank.
  • Credit Cards: Major credit cards like Visa and Mastercard are widely accepted, especially in tourist areas. Yet, it’s always a good idea to inform your bank of your travel plans to avoid any issues with card usage.

Language and Communication

  • Language: Portuguese is the primary language spoken in Lisbon. While many locals speak English, especially those in the tourism sector, learning a few basic Portuguese phrases can enhance your experience and interactions.
  • Translation Apps: Consider downloading a translation app or carrying a pocket dictionary for quick reference and communication.

Planning On Going To Lisbon?

I’ve created a trip planner where you enter the number of days you’re going and what activities you want to do.

Based on your input, you then get an entire vacation planned with ideas.

plan your trip to Lisbon

Safety and Health

  • Safety: Lisbon is generally a safe city for travelers, but like any destination, it’s essential to remain vigilant, especially in crowded tourist areas where pickpocketing can occur. Keep your belongings secure and be aware of your surroundings.
  • Health: Portugal has a reliable healthcare system, and Lisbon has several hospitals and clinics offering medical services. However, it’s advisable to have travel insurance that covers medical emergencies and repatriation.

Local Customs and Etiquette

  • Tipping: Tipping is appreciated but not mandatory in Portugal. A 5-10% tip is customary for good service in restaurants. Yet, it’s always best to check if a service charge has already been included in the bill.
  • Dress Code: Lisbon has a relatively relaxed dress code, but modest attire is recommended when visiting religious sites or more traditional neighborhoods out of respect for local customs and beliefs.

Dive into Lisbon’s Coziest Accommodations

Jupiter Lisboa Hotel

When finding the perfect place to stay in Lisbon, the options are as diverse as the city. Lisbon offers many cozy accommodations to suit every traveler’s taste and budget. 

Boutique Hotels with Character

  • Memmo Alfama Hotel: Nestled in the heart of the historic Alfama district in the city center, this boutique hotel offers stylish rooms with panoramic city views and a rooftop terrace perfect for unwinding after exploring.
  • The Lumiares Hotel & Spa: Located in the trendy Bairro Alto district in the city center, this boutique hotel combines traditional Portuguese architecture with modern amenities, including a luxurious spa and rooftop bar overlooking the city.

Historic Guesthouses and Pousadas

  • PensĂŁo Amor: Situated in a restored 18th-century building in the vibrant Cais do SodrĂ© district, this quirky guesthouse offers themed rooms inspired by Lisbon’s colorful history and a lively bar known for its cocktails and live music.
  • Pousada de Lisboa: Housed in a former 16th-century palace overlooking the iconic Praça do ComĂ©rcio, this luxurious pousada combines historic elegance with contemporary comfort, featuring spacious rooms, a gourmet restaurant, and a tranquil spa.

Stylish Apartments and Guest Suites

  • Feels Like Home Apartments: Offering a range of centrally located apartments, these stylish accommodations provide all the comforts of home, including fully equipped kitchens and personalized concierge services, ideal for extended stays.
  • The Independente Suites & Terrace: Located in the bohemian Chiado district, this boutique guesthouse features individually designed suites with eclectic decor, a charming communal terrace, and a popular restaurant serving modern Portuguese cuisine.

Luxury Resorts and Spas

  • Four Seasons Hotel Ritz Lisbon: For those seeking a luxurious retreat, this iconic hotel offers opulent rooms and suites, a world-class spa, and an elegant rooftop bar with panoramic city views, ensuring a truly indulgent experience.
  • EPIC SANA Lisboa Hotel: Situated near Eduardo VII Park, this modern resort boasts spacious rooms, an expansive wellness center with indoor and outdoor pools, and a rooftop restaurant offering gourmet dining amidst stunning city vistas.

Hot Tip🔥 : You can also find affordable Airbnb or hostels to check out. 

Here are the best things to do in Lisbon In April 2024

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It’ll be based on my personal experience of living and traveling around Lisbon. A lot of hidden gems.

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Spring in Lisbon

Navigating the bustling streets of Lisbon can be a delightful adventure, especially when armed with the proper transportation knowledge. 

  • Tram 28: Dubbed the “tourist tram,” this iconic line traverses many of Lisbon’s historic neighborhoods, including Alfama and Baixa. While popular, it can get crowded, so consider boarding at the starting point, Martim Moniz, to secure a seat and enjoy the scenic ride.
  • Tram 15: Another picturesque route, Tram 15, takes you from the city center to the historic district of BelĂ©m, passing by landmarks such as JerĂłnimos Monastery and BelĂ©m Tower. It’s a convenient way to explore these must-visit attractions.
  • Navegante Card: Purchase a Navegante card for convenient access to Lisbon’s metro, buses, trams, and ferries. You can top it up with credit and recharge as needed, making it a cost-effective option for multiple journeys.
  • Metro Lines: Lisbon’s metro system comprises four lines, each color-coded and interconnected, making it easy to navigate. Pay attention to station names and line directions, and consult the map or use a navigation app to plan your route.
  • Walking Tours: Lisbon’s compact size and pedestrian-friendly streets make it ideal for exploring on foot. Join a guided walking tour or create your itinerary, taking in the city’s vibrant neighborhoods, historic landmarks, and charming alleyways at your own pace.
  • Comfortable Shoes: With Lisbon’s hilly terrain and cobbled streets, comfortable footwear is essential for exploring it. Opt for sturdy walking shoes or sneakers to easily navigate the city’s diverse landscapes.
  • Funiculars and Elevators: Lisbon’s hilly topography is beautifully complemented by its network of funiculars and elevators, such as the Elevador da GlĂłria and Elevador de Santa Justa. These historic transport options offer both convenience and panoramic views of the city.

Embark on a Lisbon Adventure: Top Experiences Await

Now that I have covered the basics, it helps to know what attractions you can look forward to.

Marvel at the Timeless Beauty of Belem

Belem Tower

First-time visitors to Belém are in for a treat, as this historic district offers a captivating blend of cultural landmarks, scenic beauty, and culinary delights.

One of the must-visit attractions is the iconic JerĂłnimos Monastery. The JerĂłnimos Monastery is part of the UNESCO World Heritage site renowned for its stunning Manueline architecture and rich history.

Nearby, the BelĂ©m Tower symbolizes Portugal’s Age of Discovery, offering panoramic views of the Tagus River. For art enthusiasts, the Berardo Collection Museum showcases a remarkable collection of modern and contemporary art.

25 de Abril Bridge

Nature lovers will appreciate the serene beauty of BelĂ©m’s waterfront, which is perfect for strolls or enjoying a scenic picnic with views of the river and the 25 de Abril Bridge.

No visit for the first time Lisbon would be complete without indulging in the culinary delights of Belém. Be sure to sample the famous Pastéis de Belém, mouthwatering custard tarts that have been a local favorite for over a century.

With its blend of historic charm and modern attractions, BelĂ©m offers a memorable experience that captures the essence of Lisbon’s vibrant culture.

Wander the Narrow Streets of Alfama

Alfama Sunset

Wandering the cobbled streets of Alfama is like stepping back in time, offering a glimpse into Lisbon’s rich history and vibrant culture.

This charming district is one of the city’s oldest and most picturesque neighborhoods. You’ll encounter an eclectic mix of sights as you meander through Alfama.

From sounds, from the haunting melodies of Fado music emanating from intimate taverns to the colorful façades of historic buildings adorned with intricate azulejo tiles.

Don’t be surprised if you stumble upon hidden courtyards, quaint boutiques selling local crafts, or traditional eateries serving authentic Portuguese cuisine.

Lisbon Sunset

A visit to the SĂŁo Jorge Castle is a must, offering panoramic views of the hilly city and the Tagus River below.

As you ascend the cobblestone paths leading to the castle, you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking vistas that capture the essence of Lisbon’s timeless allure.

In Alfama, every corner tells a story, and every step reveals a discovery with your first time Lisbon adventure.

Discover Hidden Treasures at LX Factory

LX Factory Lisbon

Nestled amidst the industrial charm of an old factory complex, LX Factory has emerged as one of Lisbon’s most vibrant creative hubs, offering a treasure trove of art, culture, and food.

This avant-garde destination in the Alcântara district seamlessly blends the city’s industrial past with contemporary innovation, creating a unique and eclectic atmosphere that captivates visitors.

As you explore LX Factory’s labyrinthine corridors and open-air spaces, you’ll discover many hidden gems waiting to be uncovered.

From independent boutiques and design studios showcasing local craftsmanship to art galleries and creative workshops, the complex is a haven for artists, designers, and creative minds alike.

Food enthusiasts will delight in the diverse culinary offerings available at LX Factory. You can find something here whether you’re craving gourmet burgers, artisanal pastries, or international cuisine with a Portuguese twist. 

Venturing Beyond: Top Day Trips to Explore

Step beyond Lisbon’s vibrant streets and explore the region’s diverse treasures with stunning views with your first-time Lisbon adventure.

From charming coastal towns to historic landmarks, these day trips blend culture, nature, and culinary delights. 

Experience the Coastal Beauty of Cascais

Cascais

Step away from the narrow streets to experience the coastal allure of Cascais, a charming seaside escape just a short train ride from Lisbon.

Revel in sandy beaches, explore the quaint Old Town’s historic architecture, and stroll along the vibrant marina.

Don’t miss the dramatic Boca do Inferno cliffs and the Museum of the Sea maritime exhibits.

Whether relaxing by the sea or soaking up local culture, Cascais offers a delightful day trip that captures the essence of Portugal’s picturesque coastline.

Surf’s Up in Ericeira

Surf’s up in Ericeira, a top surfing destination just a short drive from Lisbon.

Known for its world-class surf breaks, Ericeira offers opportunities for surfers of all levels.

After catching waves, explore the quaint town center with its charming cafes and seafood restaurants.

Don’t miss the Surfing World Reserve, which celebrates the sport’s heritage and the picturesque ocean views that make

Ericeira is a must-visit for surf enthusiasts and travelers alike.

Indulge in SetĂşbal’s Gastronomic Delights

Food Tour Lisbon

Indulge in SetĂşbal’s food delights, a culinary paradise south of Lisbon. Renowned for its fresh seafood, particularly the local specialty of fried cuttlefish,

SetĂşbal offers a feast for the senses. Explore the bustling fish market, where you can sample freshly caught delicacies.

Venture to one of the town’s traditional taverns or waterfront restaurants to savor authentic Portuguese dishes paired with regional wines, such as the renowned Moscatel de SetĂşbal.

Don’t miss the opportunity to taste the local cheeses and artisanal products that showcase the region’s rich culinary heritage.

Beyond its delectable cuisine, SetĂşbal’s scenic beauty adds to the dining experience.

Enjoy spectacular views at the waterfront as you dine al fresco, soaking up the relaxed atmosphere and warm hospitality that displays SetĂşbal’s charm.

Sip and Savor in the Douro Valley Wine Region

Port-Wine

Sip and savor in the Douro Valley Wine Region, a picturesque landscape renowned for producing Portugal’s finest wines.

Nestled along the winding Douro River, this UNESCO World Heritage site is home to terraced vineyards that stretch as far as the eye can see.

Embark on a wine-tasting tour to explore the region’s renowned wineries, where you can sample a variety of award-winning ports and table wines while learning about the centuries-old winemaking traditions.

Experience the stunning views as you navigate the valley, with its steep hillsides adorned with grapevines and historic Quintas (wine estates).

Many wineries offer guided tours that provide insight into the winemaking process, from grape cultivation to barrel aging.

Savoring Lisbon: Culinary Delights Awaiting Your Palate

mussels in garlic butter

Embark on a food journey through Lisbon’s vibrant culinary scene. From Michelin-starred establishments to humble cafes, here’s where to satisfy your taste buds.

  • Mini Bar Theater by JosĂ© Avillez: Experience avant-garde dining with dishes like Liquid Olive and Prawn Corndog, located in the heart of Lisbon’s Chiado district.
  • A Cevicheria: Dive into seafood delights with signature ceviche variations, including the classic Corvina Ceviche, set in a vibrant atmosphere in PrĂ­ncipe Real.
  • Pistola y Corazon: Savor tacos with a Portuguese twist, such as the Bacalhau (salted cod) taco, in a lively setting near Bairro Alto.
  • Time Out Market: Explore a culinary haven with diverse offerings like the Prego (steak sandwich) from “O Prego da Peixaria” and gourmet burgers from “Ground Burger,” located in Mercado da Ribeira.
  • Tapisco: Indulge in fusion fare with dishes like Iberian Pork Belly Tacos and Shrimp Alhinho, crafted by Chef Henrique Sá Pessoa in PrĂ­ncipe Real.
  • PastĂ©is de BelĂ©m: Delight in Portugal’s iconic custard tarts, served warm with a sprinkle of cinnamon, from this historic bakery in BelĂ©m.
  • Landeau Chocolate: Satiate your sweet cravings with the famed chocolate cake, known for its rich and decadent flavor, located in LX Factory.
  • Gelataria Nannarella: Cool off in the trendy Chiado neighborhood with artisanal gelato in various flavors, such as Pistachio and Dark Chocolate.
  • Bica do Sapato: Enjoy a stylish dining experience with Mediterranean-inspired dishes like Octopus Carpaccio and Seafood Risotto in a chic waterfront location.

The Ultimate Café Guide: Unwind and Sip in Style

Cerveteca Lisboa

From historic establishments to trendy hideaways, embark on a journey through Lisbon’s vibrant cafĂ© scene.

Whether seeking a cozy corner to unwind with a book or a chic spot to savor artisanal brews, these cafés offer more than just a caffeine fix—they provide a unique setting to sip, savor, and socialize in style.

  • Hello, Kristof: Dive into literary delights with a side of avocado toast in the trendy PrĂ­ncipe Real district.
  • Copenhagen Coffee Lab: Indulge in specialty coffees and pastries, such as the Cinnamon Bun Latte, in the eclectic Cais do SodrĂ© neighborhood.
  • Heim Cafe: Experience Scandinavian-inspired cuisine, including the Smørrebrød (open-faced sandwiches), in a cozy atmosphere in Alfama.
  • Loja das Conservas: Sample traditional Portuguese flavors with a tasting menu of canned seafood in the historic Baixa district.
  • Embaixada: Immerse yourself in a cultural cafĂ© experience with global cuisine and artisanal cocktails housed in a 19th-century palace in PrĂ­ncipe Real.
  • Chiado Neighborhood: Explore cafĂ© culture at its best with iconic establishments in the bustling Chiado district like A Brasileira, known for its literary history and espresso.
  • Under the Cover: Unwind with books, brews, and bites, including vegan options like the Beet Burger, located near the Botanical Garden.
  • Feira da Ladra Flea Market: Discover vintage vibes and more with pop-up cafĂ©s offering artisanal treats amidst the bustling market atmosphere in Alfama.

Hot Tip 🔥: Check out some of my favorite places to enjoy brunch.  

The Advanced Lisbon Quiz

You’re now at the advanced Lisbon quiz with more difficult questions. No one gets every question right, so don’t beat yourself up on it. Good luck.

Wrapping Up: Your Unforgettable Lisbon Experience Awaits

Pack your bags and prepare for your first time in Lisbon, a journey filled with captivating sights, mouthwatering cuisine, and warm Portuguese hospitality. Lisbon awaits, and it promises to be an adventure of a lifetime!

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