Lisbon is beautiful!! If you ever get the chance to go - YOU MUST GO! I'm still so impressed by the architecture and the flair of the city. The tile art called "Azulejo", which is deeply rooted in the Portuguese architecture was so inspiring to me that I wish, I could also build my future house with tiles on the outside now.
Anyways, if you want to know what you can do in Lisbon during a long weekend trip, here are your options within the city. If you are interested in day-trip options outside Lisbon, take a look at my article about options to explore the outskirts of Lisbon. And for food options, click here. Now, let's deep-dive into what you can do within the beautiful city of Lisbon.
Lisbon has so many things to explore. To be honest with you from the beginning, 4 days are definitely not enough to see it all. But if you prioritize right and plan ahead, you should be able to see nearly everything you are super interested in. Therefore, prepare and definitely pack a good pair of walking shoes in your suitcase. Here are my top Lisbon activity recommendations for you:
1. TAKE A RIDE ON THE ICONIC YELLOW TRAM 28
An absolute "touri-must" is a ride with the Tram 28. The classic start point for a ride is the station Martim Moniz. If you get to catch a window seat at this station, you are lucky. Stay on your seat and enjoy the "almost free" city tour on wheels from this beautiful perspective. My recommendation for you: Be an early bird and wait there early in the morning before everyone else has the same idea. If you are on one of the first rides, you should definitely be able to enjoy the ride sitting.
Location: Praça Martim Moniz 39, 1150-052 Lisbon, Portugal
2. TAKE A GUIDED CITY TOUR TO LEARN SOMETHING ABOUT THE UNIQUE PORTUGUESE HISTORY
My Mum always says: "If you travel, make sure you learn something about the place you visit!" The older I get, the more sense these words make to me. We actually took a wonderful guided tour in Lisbon. So for all Germans: I highly recommend "Walk-n-Roll-City-Tours" (unpaid advertisement). Our guide was also the founder of the little agency. She, a beautiful German girl, moved to Lisbon many years ago and had an incredible knowledge about the city. One of the most interesting parts to me was her story about the "Treaty of Tordesillas". Did you know that there was a time in history, 1494 to be precise, when Portugal made a treaty with Spain dividing the entire world amongst them two? I still can't believe how powerful the two countries were back then. But to be honest, the former wealth of the little seafaring nation Portugal is inevitable when you look around in the city.
With regard to the walking tour, I highly recommend to just look online for a guided walking tour if you don't speak German. There are various free/donation-based city tours available to choose from. I think, it's definitely worth the time and the money.
3. EXPLORE THE CITY'S HEART "BARRIO BAIXA"
Barrio Baixa is one of the most important barrios to visit. For your first visit, I just recommend to walk through the narrow streets and explore. You will definitely find the large city square next to the coast (Praça do Comércio) and the Elevator Santo Justa (the famous historic elevator of Lisbon). By the way, before the elevator became a tourist attraction, it was actually really used by locals to get up to Chiado & Barrio Alto (the two important neighboring barrios).
4. EXPLORE "BARRIO ALTO"
Barrio Alto, the "high neighborhood", is a beautiful neighborhood in the city center, filled with bars, restaurants and little boutique stores. I also recommend starting your little exploration tour there on foot to explore as much as you can. Very interesting to me was that Barrio Alto looks completely different from the opposing neighborhood Alfama, for example. There the streets are super narrow, whereas in Barrio Alto they are comparatively "wide". During my super cool guided tour, I learned that there is a particular reason behind: In 1755, a horrible earthquake hit Lisbon. Thereafter, big fires started which tore down the entire neighborhood. They also estimate that between 10-100k inhabitants lost their lives during the earthquake fires. While Barrio Alto nearly burnt down entirely in 1755 and had to be "reconstructed" afterward, the opposing neighborhood Alfama for example was spared. This is why the neighborhoods look completely different today.
5. EXPLORE "ALFAMA"
If you take the tour through Alfama, you will automatically pass through the "old" Alfama neighborhood we just talked about. I found the tiny narrow streets spectacular. Once up the hill, you will also find various viewpoints to which offer you the perfect view over Lisbon. Just to name a few options, you can walk up to Miradouro da Graça, Miradouro das Portal do Sol & Miradouro de Santa Luzia (right next to each other). Try to go to either one of the viewpoints early in the morning or for a sunset. The view is magical!
6. PALÁCIO DOS MARQUESES DE FRONTEIRA
The Palacio dos Marqueses de Fronteira is definitely one of the coolest spots in Lisbon. We took the Uban for about 20min from the city center to get up north and had to walk from the station for another 10 min and there it was - one of the most stunning "city" residences aka "former country house" I've seen so far.
The beautiful private residence and home of Marquesses of Fronteira was built in 1671. If you're interested in old palaces, I highly recommend you to not only purchase a ticket for the park but also a walking tour through the house. If not, you can just get a ticket for the stunning garden areal. It's a perfect photo spot. Plus, the view over the city is stunning from the garden as well as the palace.
7. LX FACTORY
LX Factory is a super inspiring and artsy spot to spend at least one afternoon. LX Factory used to be a huge industrial space in the 19th century and home of a Portuguese fabric production plant. Fifty years later, they abandoned the 23k m2 space. Then, the huge areal remained untouched for almost 100 years, until a private investor decided to create something unique out of this place. Today, the area is filled with bars, restaurants and mini (art) shops. Many local art start-ups are selling their unique products, such as handmade cork wallets or pottery there. I absolutely loved strolling through all the little stores and explore what unique things each and every little company had created.
We went to LX Factory after our Belém tour as the Factory is located between Belém and the city center. So, on our agenda was lunch at LX Factory and a little souvenir shopping hunt after. LX Factory was made for it.
8. PINK STREET
The famous Lisbon Pink Street definitely is a must-visit if you're photography. Apparently the street forms the heart of one of Lisbon's party "zones". However, next time I go to Lisbon with a group of friends, I would definitely suggest to check for a cool bar/club in Barrio Alto instead of the Pink Street areal. I was actually a bit scared even walking through the Pink Street tunnel during daylight as there were a bunch of people trying to sell drugs at the spot. So make sure, to never go alone there.
9. FEIRA DA LADRA - THE HISRTORIC FLEE MARKET
Unfortunately, I didn't get the chance to go to the famous Lisbon flee market Feira da Ladra as it only opens its doors twice per week (current dates: Tuesdays and Saturdays). If you're in the city longer, I highly recommend you to check out the market. From what I have read, it is a perfect spot to shoot some antique Lisbon souvenirs.
There are multiple beautiful viewpoints in the city to take breathtaking images of Lisbon. The one's I went to are:
3. Miradouro da São Pedro de Alcântara: The perfect Instagram spot and viewpoint during a stroll through Barrio Alto.
During my Lisbon trip research, I found tons of beautiful AirBnB options. So we chose an apartment from the platform for our stay. (unpaid advertisement). I really enjoy the "authentic" country experience Airbnb creates through a "stay with a local". Plus, you can find pretty good deals in central locations if you choose to go with Airbnb. Hotels are often further out if you don't want to spend a fortune on a good hotel.
I am convinced that you will love your trip. Lisbon has an incredible history which becomes truly visible when you stroll along the narrow streets of the city. The beautiful tile art on every house entrance, the sea in the background and the warm "summer sun" in Mid October will make you fall in love with the city within seconds. By the way, if you have any recommendations for my next Lisbon trip for me, share your unique Lisbon Travel story with me through the comments below or on Social (Bakdandraw).