14 Best Non-Touristy Things To Do In Lisbon, Portugal - Updated 2023

non touristy things to do in lisbon
| 6 min read

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 this city, then you are in luck. We have compiled a list of the best non-touristy things to do in Lisbon, Portugal.

1. Ride a vintage sailboat (from USD 46.0)

Dreaming of the tranquil feeling of riding a sailboat while enjoying the delicious flavors of Portuguese food and wine? Look no further! This experience allows you to enjoy Portuguese petiscos (entrees) while listening to relaxing music and sipping good wine. The majestic views from the sailboat will also be part of this memorable experience. Enjoy the calm vibe during your excursion and have an unforgettable trip.

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Daylight or Sunset by Vintage Sailboat

Duration: 2 hours

2016 reviews

2. Go for traditional tile painting (from USD 38.0)

Discover the rich history of the tiles used for tile painting. You will learn the whole process of traditional tile painting and you will see how interesting it really is. The atelier you will be painting in is sure to make you feel at home. You will be presented with a variety of designs to choose from and you will be painting two tiles. Don’t worry if it’s your first time as there will be detailed explanations on how it’s done, and you will be guided throughout the process. You will also experience using the kiln for the creation of your finished products just like the old Portuguese experts. This will definitely be an enriching experience for you.

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Traditional Tile Painting Workshop

Duration: 2 hours

152 reviews

3. Paddle on the secret lagoon (from USD 64.0)

See the incredible views of Lisbon Bridge and other notable monuments such as Torre de Belém and Padrão dos Descobrimentos while crossing the river. You will also get the chance to see a beautiful forest as you drive through it on a jeep. You will be taken to a majestic lagoon where you can try stand-up paddleboarding on the pristine waters. You can even just relax on the abundant sand near the waters if you don’t feel like paddling. You will definitely want to make the most of this tour, especially if you’re on the search for unusual places to visit in Lisbon - not even most locals know about this lagoon!

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Secret Lagoon BestLisbon Stand up Paddle

Duration: 5.5 hours

543 reviews

4. Have a drink with the locals at Topo

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Hoje temos final de dia patrocinado pela @heinekenpt no Topo Martim Moniz Ao som do Dj Anthony G, contamos convosco...

Posted by TOPO on Saturday, November 6, 2021

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

Website: Topo

Opening hours: Tue - Thur: 5.00pm - 12.00am; Fri - Sat: 5.00pm - 2.00am (closed on Sun & Mon)

Price: 13 - 25 USD

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5. Shop till you drop at the Colombo Center Mall

non touristy things to do in lisbon | shop till you drop at the colombo center mall
Source: instagram

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.

Colombo Center

Address: Av. Lusíada, 1500-392 Lisboa, Portugal

Website: Colombo Center

Opening hours: 9.00am - 12.00am (daily)

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6. Listen to Fado music at Tasca do Chico

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Mais uma gravação na Tasca do Chico, desta vez a jovem fadista Nathalie

Posted by Tasca Do Chico on Wednesday, October 18, 2017

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

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7. Dance to the beat of Brazilian forró at Martim Moniz

Parte da Praça Martim Moniz (120FAITH 3376) (37546569586)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Janko Hoener used under CC BY-SA 2.0

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

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8. Have a picnic in Estrela Park

Jardim da Estrela
Source: Photo by Flickr user Julien Chatelain used under CC BY-SA 2.0

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!

Estrela Park

Address: Praca da Estrela, Lisbon 1200-667, Portugal

Opening hours: 7.00am - 12.00am (daily)

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9. Hop on a bike tour at Belem Riverside

hop on a bike tour at belem riverside
Source: instagram

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.

Belem Riverside

Address: R. Fernão Mendes Pinto 13, 1400-280 Lisboa, Portugal

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10. Experience retro vibes at Cafe da Garagem

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Deixemos para amanhã o que não podemos comer hoje! O Café da Garagem reabre amanhã, com muitas novidades! Horário...

Posted by Café da Garagem on Sunday, April 18, 2021

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

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11. Have a taste of Ginjinha

Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Gerd Eichmann used under CC BY-SA 4.0

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?

A Ginjinha

Address: Largo São Domingos 8, 1100-201 Lisboa, Portugal

Website: A Ginjinha

Opening hours: 9.00am - 10.00pm (daily)

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12. Embark on a horseback riding adventure (from USD 314.0)

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.

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Horse Riding Tour on the Beach Lisbon region

Duration: 3 hours 30 minutes

3 reviews

13. Experience partying with drag queens (from USD 116.0)

If you’re looking for unique things to do in Lisbon, why not enjoy a live drag show and cook authentic Portuguese food? Have you always wondered how drag queens create their looks? This experience allows you to be transformed into a drag queen so you will finally know how it is done. You will drink champagne with drag queens and, later on, proceed with the cooking class. There will also be delicious sangrias for you to enjoy. You will even get to wear accessories that these drag queens use for the most authentic experience.

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Drag Queens Cooking Party

Duration: 5 hours

460 reviews

14. Master the art of street photography (from USD 197.0)

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.

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One Day Lisbon Street Photography Workshop

Duration: 1 day

1 review

Fuel your wanderlust in Lisbon

Source: Pexels

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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Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.


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Julian, hailing from Singapore, seizes travel opportunities whenever they arise. He has had the privilege of exploring various countries and immersing himself in their cultures. Japan holds a...Read more

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