Lisbon might not top the list of Europe's most popular destinations *yet,* but that's part of the reason it's so incredible. It's much more affordable than more popular cities, and it's not crawling with tourists. Between the sunny days, laid-back pace, and colorful culture, Lisbon, Portugal is the perfect out-of-the-box European getaway. After living here for a month, I've put together my 10 favorite experiences to create the ultimate Lisbon bucket list.
1. Explore the city via tram
Much like San Francisco, Lisbon's tram line isn't just public transportation, but a longstanding part of the city's culture. The most famous tram, known by its vintage look and signature bell, is the E28, which runs from Martim Moniz to Campo Ourique. You'll step back in time when you board the old wooden tram, while riding through some of Lisbon's most interesting districts including Estrela, Sao Bento, Portas do Sol, and my personal favorite, Alfama. The tram is standing room only from 10am-6pm everyday, so avoid peak hours or get on at either of the departure points to get a seat.
2. Stroll Through the Shops at LX Factory
It seems like every city these days is transforming their industrial areas into hip, up-and-coming neighborhoods... and Lisbon is no exception. LX Factory is filled with trendy shops, restaurants, and bars -- making it the perfect place to spend an afternoon. If you're looking for lunch or dinner, there's a bomb Mexican spot and an all-you-can-eat sushi restaurant. While unlimited sushi may sound questionable, it ended up being one of my favorite meals, and I'm glad I didn't discover it earlier because I ate a TON. Just make sure you show up right when it opens, it fills up quick.
Beyond restaurants and bars, LX Factory is filled with adorable boutiques, concept stores, and locally-owned shops. My personal favorites are Wish and Wild at Heart, which are filled with fun, quirky clothes and home decor. The area is also home to one of Lisbon's coolest bookstores: Ler Devagar, which is a bookstore, cafe and art gallery all rolled into one.
The last reason LX Factory is worth checking off your Lisbon bucket list? The street art! And I'm not talking about your average graffiti.
Around every corner you'll find beautiful murals painted by local artists. It adds an artsy charm to the area, drawing in both locals and visitors alike.
3. catch some waves on the coast
A short drive from the Atlantic coast, Lisbon is the perfect spot for novice and expert surfers alike. Portugal is known for its world-renowned surf spots like Ericeria and Praia Grande, but there are plenty of spots with smaller waves that make it easy to learn. There are a ton of different surf lessons to choose from that offer different services, like surf boards and gear or transportation to and from Lisbon.
Plus, the weather's almost always beautiful, so you can pretty much go any time of year.
4. See the Sunset from Lost In Rooftop
Lisbon has plenty of Miradouros, or lookout points, around the city, but if you're anything like me and prefer your sunsets paired with a glass of vino, the rooftop at Lost In is your jam. This colorful terrace is filled with bohemian charm, from the vibrant artwork and textiles, to the Moroccan decor.
Lost In offers a full menu and wine list that you can order inside or out, but we decided just to stop by for drinks and the view. Even though we came on a less-than-sunny day, and still the sunset did not disappoint.
5. Taste the best of Portuguese Wine at Bottega Montucci
I'd never expect to discover my all-time favorite wine shop by simply stumbling upon it... but that's exactly how I found Bottega Montucci. My friend and I were looking to kill time before our dinner reservation when we passed the shop, and saw the owner smiling and waving us inside. Turns out, he was actually waiting on someone else (another blogger perhaps 🤔), but his charm won us over and we decided to stay.
We decided on the wine tasting for 20 Euro, which included a tasting of Portuguese champagne, white wine, rosé, red wine, and port. If you do end up here, make sure to order the brie with Italian truffle oil. Mike explained how his young nephew dubbed it as "divine," and it was nothing short of that. But it wasn't the abundance of wine or truffle oil that made us fall in love with this place -- but the owner, with his colorful stories and obvious passion for what he does. Mike does everything to run the shop, and he's doing damn good job doing it.
Our tasting ended with the port that Thomas Jefferson drank after signing the Declaration of Independence, and we left happy, buzzed, and an hour and a half late for our dinner reservation 🤷
6. Try Some of Lisbon's Best Ceviche at A Cevicheria
Just a short walk from Bottega Montucci in Lisbon's Príncipe Real neighborhood is A Cevicheria, a ceviche restaurant that's as inventive as it is delicious. Brazilian chef Kiko Martins adds Portuguese inspiration to the famous Peruvian dish, creating a menu that's fresh, light, and thoughtfully curated. It's no surprise A Cevicheria earned itself a Michelin Star.
The restaurant itself is super trendy with a modern fish-market vibe. Since they don't take reservations, the wait can get pretty long, but you can head outside to their walk-up bar and sip on a traditional Pisco Sour to kill time.
7. explore the alfama district
The Alfama district is one of Lisbon's oldest, and most charming, neighborhoods. After the 1755 earthquake hit the city, the Alfama district was the only area salvaged after the devastation. The narrow cobblestone streets and colorful-tiled houses are traditionally Lisbon, and definitely worth checking out.
Alfama isn't just filled with candy-colored houses, but trendy restaurants, shops, and tons to do. You can visit any of the museums, or venture through the district's many historic buildings including the Se Cathedral, the National Pantheon, and last but not least, the Castelo de São Jorge.
8. Experience Traditional Fado
Fado is a type of Portuguese music that dates back to the early 1800's, and it's still going strong in the country today. It's emotional in nature, and known as a way for singers to express themselves through song. When the singers go on stage, the doors are closed, lights are dimmed, and audience is silent. Fado is a truly unique experience you can't find anywhere else. If you're looking for a local place to check out, visit Tasca do Chico, a tavern where residents go to unwind by singing Fado.
9. Eat your way through Time Out Market
Okay, so this one might be slightly touristy... but Time Out Market isn't your average eatery. Time Out brings the best restaurants in Lisbon together under one roof. From local street food to Michelin Star restaurants, there really is something for everyone, and everything is delicious. My personal favorite? The Piri Piri chicken from Miguel Laffan 👌
But amazing restaurants aren't the only thing you'll find at Time Out. It also houses bars, shops, a meat, fish, and produce market, and even an onsite cooking class - where you can learn to make traditional Portuguese dishes like seafood risotto.
So touristy or not, Time Out Market is still worth checking off the bucket list in Lisbon.
10. Take a day trip to Sintra or Cascais
It's easy to spend all your time in Lisbon, but the rest of Portugal shouldn't be missed. A short train ride from Lisbon, Sintra and neighboring Cascais are beautiful coastal towns with tons to see and do. Some of the most famous attractions include the Quinta da Regaleira, Pena Palace, and Castle of the Moors, which all make for some stunning photo opps.
Sintra is also an outdoor lover's paradise, with trails for hiking and biking, and miles of coastline for all kinds of water sports. The town is pretty hilly, so we opted to explore the coast on a Jeep tour to check out some beautiful beaches, the westernmost point of continental Europe, and a killer Atlantic sunset. Read all about our Jeep adventure here.
What's on your Lisbon bucket list? Share your favorites in the comments 🤗