All in a Day: Visiting Lisbon

Move over, Rome and San Francisco. The tiles, colors and stunning views of this capital will easily make it your favorite city on a hill.

visiting lisbon

Scroll over the interactive map to discover exciting things to do and see when visiting Lisbon.

Get Creative at LX Factory

What were factories in the 19th century have been converted into a six-acre industrial mini-village of restaurants, shops and art installations. LX’s top spots include chocolate café Oh! Brigadeiro and Ler Devager, a bookstore with a newspaper printing press (one of the space’s former uses).

Become a Seafood Connoisseur

Though bacalhau, or cod, is a staple of Portuguese cuisine, nothing says Lisbon cooking like sardines. The city’s restaurants—from high-end eateries to holes in the wall—also specialize in dorado, tuna and other just-caught offerings. Enjoy with a glass of crisp and cold vinho verde wine when visiting Lisbon.

Take the Riverwalk in Belém

West of the city center is Belém, home to some of Lisbon’s most beautiful 16th-century monuments. The Padrão dos Descobrimentos, which commemorates Prince Henry the Navigator, sits on the banks of the Tagus. A short stroll leads to the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos, a UNESCO World Heritage site. For the real payoff, however, stop into the pastry shop Pastéis de Belém to sample the custard-filled pastéis de nata, which are still made using a secret recipe that dates back to the 16th century.

enjoy Pastéis de nata when visiting lisbon

Pastéis de nata

Photo Credit: iStock

Take an Art Crawl

Forget hopping from gallery to gallery when visiting Lisbon. The Museu Calouste Gulbenkian holds a private collection of Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Islamic, Asian and European art that includes pieces by Rembrandt, Monet, Renoir and Rubens. It also features a modern art center that displays 20th-century Portuguese and British works.

Look Down

Most cities leave the magic to what is in your line of vision. But in Lisbon, lower your eyes; many sidewalks are built with mosaics of black and white stones.

When visiting Lisbon take in the city from the water.

View of the city from the Tagus

Photo Credit: iStock

Head Up to the Alfama

Take the 28 tram to the Alfama district, a hillside neighborhood dotted with narrow streets, craft shops and some of the city’s best outdoor-seating seafood restaurants.

Embrace the Portuguese Blues

Fado is Portugal’s famous melancholy music, and it can be best experienced at a host of restaurants and clubs in the Alfama district. Shows begin at dinnertime, usually around 9 p.m. Expect locals to pop in to sing or play guitar.

Day-Trip to Sintra

Just 30 minutes away, Sintra, famous for its gardens and grand houses, is an easy detour when visiting Lisbon. Leave time for a tour of the Palácio Nacional da Pena. Following a half-day tour, visit Guincho Beach—a windswept hangout for surfers—on the way back to Lisbon.

Head Out to Évora

Swap the bustle of the city for olive trees, cork oak trees and vineyards in nearby Évora. The city, the center of which is a UNESCO World Heritage site, is a well-preserved, whitewashed medieval town. After the tour, relax with a wine tasting.

Originally published in the Fall 2016 issue of AAA Traveler

Your AAA Travel Counselor can help you plan your trip to Portugal. Visit a branch or call 877-396-7159 to get started.

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Marco Ruiz, AAA Travel Counselor, Monterey, Calif.

I love to suggest Italy and Spain because of the culture and the flair of the people–their fashions, language and way of life. They take time to enjoy life's pleasures. When you're there, you feel it, too.

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