10+ Romantic Things To Do In Lisbon, Portugal

Discover a plethora of things to do in Lisbon, Portugal’s vibrant capital that’s just a 6.5-hour flight away from New York — making it the nearest Mainland European city to the Big Apple. Lisbon captivates visitors through its eclectic blend of traditional and modern elements: think mosaic-lined sidewalks, cobblestone lanes, terra cotta rooftops, and buildings adorned with exquisite tiles.

Whether you’re an adventurer, foodie, or history buff, Lisbon offers an array of experiences to satisfy every traveler’s curiosity.

View from Lisbon Bairro Alto Hotel, Lisbon Portugal

Here – the Getaway Mavens give you tested advice about what to see, where to shop, the hottest places to eat, and one great hotel to put you in the center of things.  

Things to Do In Lisbon Portugal

Chiado Shopping area, Lisbon Portugal

STROLL: The Chiado shopping district.

The Chiado shopping district is one of Lisbon’s most iconic areas, seamlessly blending historic charm with contemporary flair. Situated between the neighborhoods of Bairro Alto and Baixa, Chiado is a bustling hub of retail and culture. As you stroll along its elegant streets, you’ll encounter an array of upscale boutiques, international fashion brands, and traditional Portuguese shops selling items like cork products and azulejo tiles.

The district is also rich in literary history, evidenced by the famed Bertrand Bookstore, recognized by the Guinness World Records as the world’s oldest operating bookstore. Adding to the allure are various cafes and pastry shops, where you can sample classic Portuguese treats like “pastéis de nata.” Whether you’re in search of the latest fashion trends or a dose of Lisbon’s artistic heritage, Chiado offers a vibrant and sophisticated shopping experience.

Portugese crafts, A Vida Portuguesa, Lisbon

SHOP: A Vida Portuguesa.

These include beautiful tins of sardines (3-7 Euro), luxurious soaps, art tiles, and plenty more attractively presented high quality local goods.

Paris Em Lisboa Linen Shop, Lisbon Portugal

SHOP: Paris Em Lisboa Linen Shop

Pick up luxury sheet sets and duvet covers for a fraction of what you’ll spend elsewhere at this 130-year-old emporium.

Luvaria Ulisses Glove Shop, Lisbon

SHOP: Luvaria Ulisses

The Luvaria Ulisses glove shop has been at the same location since 1925. Buy custom-fitted leather gloves for 55-75 Euro at the tiny two-person-at-a-time store.

Pelcor Cork Products, Lisbon

SHOP: Pelcor Cork Skin

Portugal is known for its cork products, and you’ll find some of the best cork handbags at the off-the-beaten-track Pelcor. 

Arco da Rua Augusta, Lisbon Portugal

WALK: Rua Augusta

Rua Augusta is one of Lisbon’s most prominent thoroughfares, offering a lively blend of retail, dining, and entertainment options. Located in the Baixa district, this pedestrian-only street is framed by grand archways at both ends, most notably the monumental Arco da Rua Augusta near the Praça do Comércio.

As you walk along the cobblestone pathway, you’ll find a variety of shops ranging from high-street fashion brands to unique local boutiques. Street performers often add a dynamic atmosphere, entertaining passersby with music, magic, and art. Cafes and eateries line the street, serving an array of Portuguese and international cuisines.

Arco da Rua Augusta, Lisbon

At one end, a monument beyond the arch looks out over the Tagus River, which was once peppered with protective towers and forts.

VISIT: The Tower of Belem

Belem Tower, Lisbon

Located in the Belem section of Lisbon, a visit to this fortification, built in 1515,  provides an overview of Lisbon’s history and grants great river views.

Discoveries Monument, Lisbon

SEE: The Discoveries Monument

This monument stands as an homage to explorers who set off from Portugal for new lands. It was built in 1960 to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the death of Lisbon’s own Prince Henry the Navigator. 

Pasteis De Belem, Lisbon, Portugal

SAVOR: Pasteis de nata 

Do not leave the Belem area without trying one of the most delicious treats–pastéis de nata– at one of the city’s most famous pastry shops, Pastéis de Belém.

Manteigaria Pastry Shop, Lisbon

Pastéis de nata are traditional Portuguese custard tarts featuring a flaky, buttery pastry shell filled with a creamy custard, often garnished with a sprinkle of cinnamon and powdered sugar.

Do not leave the Belem area without trying out one of the city’s best-known pastry shops – Pasteis de Belem. These custard delights are to Lisbon what Cafe Du Monde’s beignets are to New Orleans. The recipe hasn’t changed since 1837 when monks at the Monastery of Jeronimos next door began selling these sweet custard tarts to keep their home solvent.

While you’re at it, compare the pastries in the Barrio Alto district.

Makers of these “Pastel de Nata,” as the Belem pastries came to be called, are quite competitive. You’ll find Manteigaria‘s version right off the square next to the Diesel store. You can watch them being made and they are served hot from the oven.

Square in Bairro Alto, Lisbon, Portugal

GO: Ride the #28 Tram

The square is also where you’ll pick up Tram #28. You’ll find the tram stop on the other side of the monument (above). Electric trolly cars come every five minutes or so on the route from the Bairro Alto neighborhood to the Alfama District.

Tram 28, Lisbon Portugal

If you intend to use the great public transportation system throughout the day, it pays to purchase a day pass.

Alfama District Dandy, Lisbon

In Alfama, you’ll come across local characters like this nattily dressed gentleman sporting the colors of his favorite soccer team.

Whimsy of Pena Palace, Portugal

TOUR: Sintra Magik Private Tours

Spend the day in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Sintra – about 30 minutes from Lisbon and home to several Royal Palaces, including the whimsical and colorful Pena Palace.

To get the most out of a trip here – and the “Golden Triangle” area of Sintra, Cabo da Roca (the westernmost point of mainland Europe), the tony town of Cascais, and a fresh-from-the-sea lunch at a local fishing village, book your tour through Sintra Magik Private Tours. 

This is a personalized and professional service at its best. Guides are incredibly knowledgeable and engaging. They know Portuguese history, speak English well, and are very keen to show visitors the best and most “local” restaurants and attractions.

A full-day private tour includes all transportation from 9 am-5 pm, entrance fees, and a guided tour through Pena Palace, lunch at a local fresh seafood restaurant (not a tourist trap.)

Trident, Pena Palace, Sintra Portugal

Pena Palace is an amalgam of styles, themes, and colors – built on the grounds of a monastery and expanded by King Ferdinand in the mid-1800s.

In Sintra, the best place to sample Port Wines is in Cantinho Gourmet – in a back tasting room. You’ll learn the difference between Ruby and Tawny red Ports, and the rare but developing White Ports. 

Cabo De Roca, Westernmost Point of European Mainland, Portugal

VISIT: Cabo Da Roca

For those who thrill at “extreme” directional points on the globe, a stop at the Atlantic Oceanside Cabo Da Roca is in order, as it’s the Westernmost Point of European Mainland.

Cabo Da Roca is a very quick (and windblown) stop, before heading to Azoia, a small fishing village. Stop into a casual local restaurant for just-pulled-from-water Sea Bass, lightly grilled with olive oil and salt, filleted tableside, and served with potatoes and greens.

GO: Clube de Fado

Fado Music, a from-the-gut, low-register mix of The Blues, Opera, and Jazz, all in the Spanish-Russian sounding Portuguese language, is very alluring. Fado clubs in the Bairro Alto Neighborhood are like jazz clubs in New Orleans. You’ll find them one after another on narrow lanes. For the best (with dinner as well), book a table at Clube Do Fadowhich is known to feature rising stars in a very esoteric firmament.

Orient Train Station, Lisbon Portugal

GO: Lisbon’s Orient Train Station

Even if you have no plans to take a train from Lisbon to Porto, you should see this beautifully designed structure by architect Santiago Calatrava. New Yorkers might recognize Calatrava’s style. He also designed the dove-shaped World Trade Transportation Hub in Downtown NYC.

For even more inspiration, check out this great post on things to do in Lisbon with kids.

Restaurants in Lisbon

This is not an exhaustive list in the least but it gives you a starting point.

DRINK: Bairro Alto Hotel Rooftop Bar

Dusk in Lisbon

This is your view from the Bairro Alto Hotel’s Rooftop Terrace Bar, where your evening should begin at least one night. If you cannot draw yourself away (and most can’t), stay for dinner.

Sacramento Restaurant, Lisbon

EAT: Sacramento Restaurant

From traditional (Fado) to contemporary, Lisbon is busting out all over with innovative cuisine. Here – the fun pink interior of Sacramento Restaurant offsets its serious foodie food. One of the best in the city.

Time Out Market, Lisbon

EAT: Time Out Market

If you can’t decide on cuisine, chose from a huge selection at Time Out Market near the waterfront in Barrio Alto. A food court the likes of which you’ve never seen, this is where you’ll discover some of the best up and coming celebrity chefs. No big surprise its a great hit with locals and tourists alike.

Where to Stay in Lisbon

Bairro Alto Hotel, Lisbon

STAY: The Bairro Alto Hotel

Centrally located just steps from Chiado and the riverfront in central Lisbon, the Bairro Alto Hotel is both convenient and delightful. Tram 28 goes right by the front door, and to top it off, it’s got one of the best rooftop bars in the country.

A boutique hotel, service is fun and on the ball. Rooms and baths, though a bit small, are charming. Wi-Fi is free and European breakfast (including ordering your own egg dish) is hearty and delicious.

More Romantic Getaways In Portugal

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  • Malerie Yolen-Cohen

    Malerie Yolen-Cohen is the Author of the cross-country travel guide, Stay On Route 6; Your Guide to All 3562 Miles of Transcontinental Route 6. She contributes frequently to Newsday, with credits in National Geographic Traveler, Ladies Home Journal, Yankee Magazine, Shape.com, Sierra Magazine, Porthole, Paddler, New England Boating, Huffington Post, and dozens of other publications. Malerie’s focus and specialty is Northeastern US, and she is constantly amazed by the caliber of restaurants and lodging in the unlikeliest places.

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3 thoughts on “10+ Romantic Things To Do In Lisbon, Portugal”

  1. What a fantastic article! Your descriptions and pictures were so vivid that I feel as if I traveled to Portugal with you!

    Looking forward to reading of your more posts.

  2. Thank you so much for your article. It was a pleasure to guide you here around Lisbon & Sintra and show what we have best in our country !

    You have here a wonderful blog, very well written articles and great content. It’s a great pleasure to be mentioned here on your articles.

    Thank you once again!

    (Sintra Magik Private Tours)

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