With an estimated population of over 500,000, Lisbon is the capital and largest city in Portugal. You might not know this bit of trivia, but it is considered to be one of the oldest European cities that pre-dates the likes of London and Rome by many centuries. Whether you’re on a soul-searching solo trip or traveling with the family, there are many things that you can experience in Lisbon. Many travelers have cited that the food is excellent and the nightlife scene is vibrant and magical. Plus, the weather is warm and fantastic all year round. If you are planning to live (and breathe) like a local in Lisbon, then you are in luck. We have compiled a list of the best non-touristy things to do in this wonderful city.
1. Have a drink with the locals at Topo
You have had a nice Portuguese dinner and you intend to head to a local watering hole to get your drinks to start the night. We suggest heading to Topo, which is a chic and trendy rooftop restaurant and bar located on the sixth floor of the Commercial Center Martim Moniz. Here, you will get to enjoy picturesque views of the city while enjoying a beer or a cocktail from the bar. This place is very popular with the friendly locals, so don’t be afraid to blend in and make some new friends.
Address: 6th floor, sala I, Commercial Center Martim Moniz, Praca Martim Moniz
Opening hours: Tue - Thur: 5.00pm - 12.00am; Fri - Sat: 5.00pm - 2.00am (closed on Sun & Mon)
Price: 13 - 25 USD
2. Shop till you drop at the Colombo Center Mall
Ready to do some window or serious shopping after exploring all the scenic sights in Lisbon? Head on down to the Colombo Center, which is the largest shopping mall in all of Portugal. There are a jaw-dropping total of over 300 stores that sell major international and local brands. Once shopping is done, relax those tired legs with a nice cup of coffee at a cafe or catch a movie at the IMAX theatre.
Address: Av. Lusíada, 1500-392 Lisboa, Portugal
Website: Colombo Center
Opening hours: 9.00am - 12.00am (daily)
3. Listen to Fado music at Tasca do Chico
There is something magical about Fado, which is commonly known as being a typical Portuguese song. By now, your ears might have picked up these somber tunes while walking along the streets of Lisbon. These melancholy songs mostly display emotions and feelings that range from tragedy to despair, but yet something about it is so captivating. If there is a place that you can go listen with an open heart, try heading to a local bar called Tasca do Chico. You can sip a glass of red wine and snack on some local bar food while the music serenades you.
Tasca do Chico
Address: R. do Diário de Notícias 39, 1200-141 Lisboa, Portugal
Website: Tasca do Chico
Opening hours: Sun - Thurs: 7.00pm - 1.30am; Fri - Sat: 7.00pm - 3.00am
Price: 13 - 25 USD
4. Dance to the beat of Brazilian forró at Martim Moniz
The famous Martim Moniz square is probably Lisbon’s most multicultural town square and well known for its large Indian and Chinese communities here. The locals love it here because there is a wide range of shops and kiosks that sell myriad of food, groceries and other unique things. On Friday nights, the music of Brazilian forró can be heard in the main plaza. Come early for some street food dinner and then join the locals and dance to the rhythmic beats for an unforgettable experience.
Martim Moniz square
Address: Rua de Senhora da Saude, Lisbon 1100-586, Portugal
5. Have a picnic in Estrela Park
When the sun is shining and the skies are blue, it’s no better indication for a picnic at the local park. In this instance, pack a bottle of wine and some cheese and then head over to the lovely Estrela Park for a picnic. The park contains carefully maintained gardens and a small duck pond and it is popular among young Portuguese families. Take a break from being a tourist for a day and enjoy yourself!
Address: Praca da Estrela, Lisbon 1200-667, Portugal
Opening hours: 7.00am - 12.00am (daily)
6. Hop on a bike tour at Belem Riverside
Stray away from the usual tourist spots and experience Lisbon more like a local on a bike tour. There are many bike tours that start from the city, but we recommend choosing one that takes you along the riverside banks to the Belem neighborhood. You will be able to experience Lisbon as a vibrant city and all her beautiful natural and urban landscapes as you cycle. This is definitely an item to add to your itinerary.
Address: R. Fernão Mendes Pinto 13, 1400-280 Lisboa, Portugal
7. Experience retro vibes at Cafe da Garagem
With furniture and decor that have a 1980s retro vibe, the Cafe da Garagem is the place to get your hipster photo for your Instagram account. But you shouldn’t just come here to admire its interior. Rather, the view of the city of Lisbon by the large window still is easily the main attraction for this cafe. Getting to this cafe might be a bit of a trip but we promise it will be worth it. Once you get here, order a glass of white wine and take a seat by the large window and admire the sunset over the city in silence.
Cafe da Garagem
Address: Costa do Castelo 75, 1100-178 Lisboa, Portugal
Website: Cafe da Garagem
Opening hours: Sun, Tues - Thurs: 3.00pm - 12.00am; Mon: 6.00pm - 12.00am; Fri - Sat: 3.00pm - 2.00am
Price: 13 - 25 USD
We bet you will take many beautiful photographs of the city, but how about taking it up an artistic notch? If photography is right up your alley, then we recommend meeting up with a local photographer as he or she brings you around the city through his perspective. This tour will enable you to learn invaluable tips and techniques on street photography while touring historic districts like Baixa, Chiado, and Avenida Liberdade.
Lisbon Street Photography Workshops
Duration 2 hours
9. Have a taste of Ginjinha
Ginjinha, or affectionately known as Ginja, is local red Portuguese liqueur that is made by infusing ginja berries, sour cherries, sugar and other ingredients in alcohol. Ginjinha is usually served in a shot glass and has a piece of cherry in the bottom of the cup. If you are keen to try Lisbon’s official drink, you should look for a Ginjinha bar though it should not be a problem locating one. It is said that having a shot of Ginjinha is a great way to start a day of sightseeing, so why not try it for yourself?
Address: Largo São Domingos 8, 1100-201 Lisboa, Portugal
Website: A Ginjinha
Opening hours: 9.00am - 10.00pm (daily)
Lisbon may be easily accessible by trams and its other forms of public transport, but what about exploring it while on horseback? Those who are adventurous can consider going for a horseback riding tour along the picturesque white sands of the Comporta beach region. This tour is beginner-friendly and includes a round trip from your hotel or a given address.
Horse Riding Tour on the Beach Lisbon region
Duration 3 hours 30 minutes
Fuel your wanderlust in Lisbon
Without a doubt, Lisbon is one of those places on earth that anyone can enjoy to the fullest. Whether you have an old soul or a young aspiring talent, you will definitely come away with many memories. We hope that this list has made you excited to explore all that Lisbon has to offer.
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