Non-touristy things to do in Lisbon

Lisbon is the capital and largest city of Portugal, located on the western coast of the Iberian Peninsula. With a rich history dating back over 3,000 years, Lisbon is a city that blends traditional Portuguese culture with modern amenities and attractions.

Tourism is a major industry in Lisbon, with millions of visitors coming to the city each year to experience its unique blend of history, culture, and entertainment. Some of the most popular tourist attractions in Lisbon include the Jerónimos Monastery, the Belém Tower, and the São Jorge Castle, all of which are steeped in the city’s rich history and heritage.

In addition to these historical landmarks, Lisbon is also home to a vibrant nightlife scene, with a wide variety of bars, restaurants, and nightclubs catering to visitors and locals alike. The city’s many museums and art galleries showcase the best of Portuguese culture, with collections of contemporary art, historic artifacts, and more.

Perhaps one of the most iconic features of Lisbon’s tourism industry is its famous tram system. The city’s narrow streets and steep hills make it difficult for larger vehicles to navigate, so trams have been an integral part of Lisbon’s public transportation network for over a century. Today, tourists can ride these historic trams through the city’s winding streets, taking in the sights and sounds of Lisbon’s bustling neighborhoods.

Of course, no visit to Lisbon would be complete without sampling the city’s famous cuisine. Portuguese food is renowned for its fresh seafood, hearty stews, and rich desserts, and Lisbon is home to some of the best restaurants in the country. Visitors can try local favorites like bacalhau (salt cod), sardinhas (sardines), and pastéis de nata (custard tarts), as well as international cuisine from all over the world.

Lisbon’s tourism industry has been steadily growing in recent years, thanks in part to the city’s reputation as a safe and affordable destination for travelers. With a mild climate, beautiful beaches, and plenty of cultural attractions, Lisbon is a city that offers something for everyone, whether they are history buffs, foodies, or simply looking for a fun and relaxing vacation.

With that said, Lisbon is also a popular city, so below are some non-touristy things to do in Lisbon to avoid the crowds

Visit the Mercado de Campo de Ourique

A food market with local vendors and live music.

Mercado de Campo de Ourique is a popular food market located in the Campo de Ourique neighborhood of Lisbon. The market offers a variety of food stalls, including fresh seafood, charcuterie, cheese, and pastries. It’s a great place to experience Portuguese cuisine and culture, as well as to purchase souvenirs to take home.

Explore the LX Factory

A former industrial complex turned hipster hangout with shops, restaurants, and art galleries.

LX Factory is a trendy creative hub located in the Alcantara neighborhood of Lisbon. The former industrial complex has been converted into a collection of shops, restaurants, and art galleries, and hosts a variety of events and festivals throughout the year. Visitors can explore the many unique shops and boutiques, attend a concert or art exhibition, or enjoy a meal at one of the many restaurants and cafes.

Take a walk through the Jardim da Estrela

A beautiful garden with a duck pond, playgrounds, and a small chapel.

Jardim da Estrela is a beautiful public park located in the Estrela neighborhood of Lisbon. The park features lush greenery, walking paths, a children’s playground, and a small lake with rowboats. Visitors can also enjoy a coffee or snack at the park’s cafe or attend a cultural event or concert held in the park’s bandstand.

Visit the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum

An art museum with collections of ancient and modern art.

The Calouste Gulbenkian Museum is a world-renowned art museum located in Lisbon. The museum’s collection includes a wide variety of art and artifacts, including ancient Egyptian artifacts, European paintings and sculptures, and Islamic art. The museum also hosts a variety of temporary exhibitions throughout the year.

Take a ride on the Elevador da Bica

A funicular that takes you up a steep hill with great views of the city.

The Elevador da Bica is an iconic funicular railway located in the historic Bica neighborhood of Lisbon. The railway connects the lower streets of the neighborhood with the higher streets, providing visitors with a scenic ride through the winding streets and past colorful buildings.

Explore the Principe Real neighborhood

A trendy area with boutiques, restaurants, and bars.

The Principe Real neighborhood is a trendy and upscale area located in central Lisbon. The neighborhood is known for its high-end shops and boutiques, as well as its many restaurants and bars. Visitors can also explore the beautiful gardens and parks in the area, including the Jardim do Principe Real, which features a large lake and a variety of exotic plants and trees. The neighborhood is also home to several historic buildings and landmarks, including the Palacio das Necessidades and the Sao Bento Palace.

Visit the Casa Fernando Pessoa

A museum dedicated to the Portuguese poet and writer, Fernando Pessoa.

Casa Fernando Pessoa is a museum dedicated to the life and work of the renowned Portuguese poet, Fernando Pessoa. The museum is located in a building where Pessoa lived and worked, and features a collection of his manuscripts, books, and personal belongings. Visitors can learn about Pessoa’s life and his unique literary style, and explore the museum’s many exhibits and displays.

Take a sunset cruise on the Tagus River

A scenic way to see the city and its landmarks.

A Tagus River cruise is a great way to see the city of Lisbon from a unique perspective. Cruises typically depart from the Praça do Comércio and offer views of the city’s many historic landmarks, including the Belem Tower, the Jeronimos Monastery, and the 25 de Abril Bridge. Some cruises also include a meal or a live music performance.

Visit the Museu Nacional do Azulejo

A museum with collections of Portuguese tiles and ceramics.

The Museu Nacional do Azulejo is a museum dedicated to the art of ceramic tile-making. The museum is located in a former convent and features a collection of over 5,000 tiles, as well as exhibits on the history of tile-making in Portugal. Visitors can learn about the different techniques used to make ceramic tiles, as well as admire the museum’s many beautiful examples of tile art.

Explore the Alameda Dom Afonso Henriques flea market

A traditional market with antiques, books, and vintage clothing.

The Alameda Dom Afonso Henriques Flea Market is a popular outdoor market located in the center of Lisbon. The market features a wide variety of vendors selling everything from antiques and vintage clothing to books and household goods. Visitors can browse the many stalls and haggle with vendors to find unique and interesting souvenirs to take home.

Visit the Museu Nacional de História Natural e da Ciência

A science museum with exhibits on astronomy, geology, and biology.

The Museu Nacional de História Natural e da Ciência is a museum dedicated to natural history and science. The museum features a wide range of exhibits on topics such as geology, biology, astronomy, and physics. Visitors can learn about the natural world and explore the museum’s many interactive displays and exhibits.

Take a walk through the Alfama neighborhood

A historic area with narrow streets, charming squares, and traditional fado music.

The Alfama neighborhood is one of the oldest and most picturesque areas of Lisbon. The neighborhood features narrow streets and alleys, traditional fado music clubs, and many historic buildings and landmarks. Visitors can explore the Castelo de Sao Jorge, a medieval castle with stunning views of the city, or wander through the many shops and cafes that line the streets of the neighborhood.

Visit the Pavilhão Chinês

A quirky bar with antique decor and a wide selection of drinks.

Pavilhão Chinês is a unique bar located in the Principe Real neighborhood of Lisbon. The bar features a collection of vintage toys, antiques, and curiosities that line its walls and shelves, creating a unique and eclectic atmosphere. Visitors can enjoy a drink while admiring the bar’s many interesting objects and decorations.

Explore the Praça do Comércio

A large square with beautiful architecture and views of the Tagus River.

The Praça do Comércio is a large public square located in the center of Lisbon. The square is bordered by several historic buildings, including the Ribeira Palace and the Arco da Rua Augusta, and offers stunning views of the Tagus River. Visitors can relax on one of the many benches in the square, or explore the nearby shops and restaurants.

Visit the Miradouro da Senhora do Monte

A hilltop viewpoint with panoramic views of the city.

Miradouro da Senhora do Monte is a popular viewpoint located in the Graça neighborhood of Lisbon. The viewpoint offers panoramic views of the city and is a great place to watch the sunset or enjoy a picnic with friends. Visitors can also explore the nearby Graça Church and the many historic buildings and landmarks in the neighborhood.

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