-First Time in Lisbon: Discovering the City

Table of Contents

Hey there! 🌟 Welcome to the heart of Portugal, Lisbon, a city that’s not just the country’s capital but a pulsating hub of culture, history, and vibrant daily life. With a cozy population of about 550,000 souls, Lisbon is a place where quality meets charm, offering a unique blend of warm welcomes and open-minded vibes. It’s no wonder that folks from all corners of the globe are drawn to this sun-drenched city, seeking to call it their new home. And let’s not forget, the city’s welcoming immigration policies are the cherry on top!

Now, for all you digital nomads out there, listen up because Lisbon is calling your name! 🌍💻 Imagine wandering through the historical streets of Alfama, grabbing a coffee in the trendy Bairro Alto, or catching the sunset by São Jorge Castle. Lisbon is a complete guide to living the good life, all while keeping your wallet happy with its affordable living costs compared to the rest of the EU. It’s the perfect place to mingle with a vibrant community, dive into Portugal’s rich culture, and yes, indulge in some unforgettable nightlife.

From the picturesque views of Baixa to the iconic Santa Justa Lift, every corner of Lisbon tells a story. Whether it’s your first time visiting Lisbon or you’re a seasoned traveler, the city’s charm never fades. Public transportation makes navigating this beautiful city a breeze, allowing you to explore every nook and cranny, from the historic to the hip.

Lisbon is more than just a city; it’s a lifestyle. A place where the past and the present merge to create a dynamic and welcoming atmosphere, ideal for anyone looking to experience the Portuguese way of life. Whether you’re planning a short trip or considering a longer stay, Lisbon is an area that should definitely be on your check list. So, pack your bags (and don’t forget your laptop), because Lisbon awaits to offer you a blend of work, travel, and leisure like nowhere else. 🚀✨

Lisbon
Lisbon

Things to Do in Lisbon

Oh, Lisbon! Where the old charms meet the new world buzz, creating a cityscape that’s as diverse as it is beautiful. If you’re setting foot in this Portuguese capital for the first time, or even if you’re a returning lover of its cobbled streets and scenic vistas, there’s always something new to discover. So, let’s dive into a complete guide of things to do in Lisbon, ensuring your trip is as unforgettable as the city itself. 🌇✨

1. The Majestic Climb to the Castle of São Jorge and Alfama’s Labyrinth

Imagine standing atop the highest point in Lisbon, surrounded by the oldest district in the city – Alfama. The Castle of São Jorge isn’t just a fortress; it’s a gateway to breathtaking views and a deeper understanding of Lisbon’s love affair with the Tagus River. Wander through Alfama’s narrow streets, where history whispers from every corner, and experience the soul of Lisbon in its purest form.

2. The Soulful Echoes of Fado

Fado is not just music; it’s an emotion, a story of life’s trials and tribulations, expressed through the soulful voices of its singers. Whether you’re dining under the soft glow of candlelight or happen upon a spontaneous street performance, the haunting melodies of Fado in neighborhoods like Alfama, Mouraria, or Madragoa will touch a part of you that you never knew existed. This is the sound of the Portuguese soul – raw, beautiful, and unforgettable.

3. The Grandeur of Terreiro do Paço

Standing in the largest square in Lisbon, you’re at the heart of Portuguese history. Terreiro do Paço is not just a square; it’s a symbol of Lisbon’s resilience and rebirth following the catastrophic earthquake of 1755. Today, it offers a serene promenade by the river, showcasing splendid views at dusk, and a perspective of the city that’s as majestic from the water as it is from the land.

4. A Journey Through Time in the Santa Justa Elevator

In the bustling downtown, the Santa Justa elevator is a marvel of engineering and design, linking the lower streets of the Baixa to the higher Largo do Carmo. Designed by a disciple of Gustave Eiffel, this elevator is not just a mode of transport but a journey to the past, offering unparalleled views of Lisbon’s old quarters. It’s a must-see landmark that captures the essence of the city’s architectural beauty and innovation.

5. The Iconic Tram 28 Ride

No visit to Lisbon is complete without a ride on its iconic trams, especially Tram 28. These yellow carriages are not just public transportation; they’re moving postcards, offering a rolling tour through the historic neighborhoods of Lisbon. The clang of the tram bells, the scenic routes through Graça, Baixa, and Bairro Alto, and the charm of the tram itself make for an authentic Lisbon experience.

6. Discovering the Wonders of Jerónimos Monastery and the Tower of Belém

Lisbon is home to two UNESCO World Heritage Sites that are masterpieces of the Gothic Manueline style: the Jerónimos Monastery and the Tower of Belém. These monuments are not just about the awe-inspiring architecture; they’re stories of Portugal’s Age of Discoveries, encapsulated in stone and art. The intricate details and maritime motifs speak of a time when Portugal connected worlds.

7. The Legendary Pastel de Belém

A trip to Lisbon is incomplete without tasting its culinary icon – the Pastel de Belém. This custard tart, with its secret recipe guarded through generations, is a culinary treasure. Enjoy it fresh from the oven, sprinkled with cinnamon and powdered sugar, for a taste of Portuguese tradition that’s as delightful as the city itself.

8. Underwater Adventures at the Oceanarium

The Oceanarium in the Parque das Nações is a testament to Lisbon’s modern revitalization. It’s one of the largest aquariums in Europe, offering a deep dive into the world’s oceans. From the delicate ecosystems of the Atlantic to the vibrant life in the Indo-Pacific, it’s a mesmerizing journey through marine biodiversity.

9. A Cultural Tour: The National Tile Museum and the Coach Museum

Lisbon’s unique museums offer glimpses into its rich cultural heritage. The National Tile Museum chronicles the evolution of tiles in Portugal, from their Moorish origins to contemporary designs. Meanwhile, the Coach Museum houses an exquisite collection of royal carriages, each a masterpiece of craftsmanship and artistry, reflecting the opulence of the Portuguese court.

10. Bairro Alto: From Sunset Views to Nightlife

As the sun sets, Bairro Alto comes alive. This neighborhood is the epitome of Lisbon nightlife, with its myriad bars, restaurants, and Fado houses. Start your evening at a viewpoint like Santa Catarina, soaking in the city’s panorama, then dive into the buzzing streets of Bairro Alto. Here, the night is always young, and Lisbon’s spirit of joy and camaraderie shines brightest.

Lisbon, with its blend of historical majesty and contemporary buzz, offers endless possibilities for exploration and discovery. Whether it’s your first visit or your hundredth, the city always has something new to reveal. So embrace the adventure, immerse yourself in the culture, and let Lisbon capture your heart. 🌍💖

Restaurants and Bars in Lisbon

Lisbon, a city that dances to the rhythms of the sea, sunlight, and Portuguese guitar, offers an eclectic mix of culinary experiences that are as vibrant and varied as its history. From rooftop bars where the sunset paints the sky in hues of gold to cozy lounges that invite intimate conversations over a glass of wine, Lisbon’s dining and nightlife scene is a treasure trove waiting to be discovered. Let’s embark on a culinary journey through some of Lisbon’s most beloved spots for foodies and night owls alike. 🍽️🍸

Park Rooftop Bar

Perched atop a seemingly ordinary parking garage in Bairro Alto, Park Rooftop Bar is Lisbon’s not-so-secret gem. This spot offers breathtaking panoramic views of the city and the Tagus River, making it the perfect backdrop for sunset selfies and memorable evenings. The bar boasts a vintage ambiance that complements its selection of classic cocktails and small plates. Due to its popularity, booking a table in advance is a wise move, especially if you’re aiming to catch the golden hour.

Cinco Lounge

Nestled in the heart of Príncipe Real, Cinco Lounge beckons with its low-lit, lounge-style setting. It’s an oasis of calm and sophistication, ideal for those evenings when you crave a side of elegance with your cocktail. The menu is a playful exploration of flavors, offering everything from avant-garde concoctions to timeless classics. Whether it’s a romantic date or a laid-back night out with friends, Cinco Lounge provides the perfect ambiance for conversation and connection.

Cerveteca Lisboa

A haven for beer aficionados, Cerveteca Lisboa presents a curated selection of craft beers from around the globe. Located in the vibrant area of Príncipe Real, this bar is a casual spot where you can explore the vast world of hops and barley. The knowledgeable staff are always ready to guide you through their extensive menu, pairing your choice with delicious tapas that elevate the beer-tasting experience. It’s a place where each visit promises a new flavor discovery.

Hot Clube de Portugal

Step into a piece of European jazz history at Hot Clube de Portugal. Since 1948, this club has been a cornerstone of Lisbon’s jazz scene, hosting performances by legendary artists and nurturing local talent. Its intimate setting and rich cultural legacy make it more than just a music venue; it’s a pilgrimage site for jazz lovers. The club’s modern lineup continues to feature an impressive roster of musicians, ensuring that every night here is filled with soulful melodies and captivating rhythms.

Sky Bar at Tivoli Avenida Liberdade Lisboa

Elevate your Lisbon experience with a visit to the Sky Bar atop the Tivoli Avenida Liberdade, one of the city’s most prestigious hotels. This chic rooftop bar offers a stylish escape from the hustle and bustle below, with stunning views of Lisbon’s skyline. The sophisticated menu features creative cocktails and gourmet bites, complemented by live music performances on select evenings. Reservations are recommended to secure a spot in this sought-after venue, where the ambiance and views create unforgettable memories.

O Purista Barbière

O Purista Barbière is an intriguing blend of a classic barbershop and a contemporary bar, situated in the Baixa district. This unique spot caters to those who appreciate the finer things in life: a well-crafted drink, a friendly game of billiards, and, if you’re so inclined, a top-notch grooming session. The atmosphere is reminiscent of a gentlemen’s club from days gone by, but with a modern twist that welcomes everyone looking for a relaxing retreat.

A Cevicheria

For a taste of the sea that encapsulates Lisbon’s maritime spirit, A Cevicheria in Príncipe Real is a must-visit. Chef Kiko Martins has created a menu that’s a love letter to Peruvian cuisine, with ceviche taking center stage. The small, bustling space is dominated by a giant octopus sculpture, adding a whimsical touch to the dining experience. The freshness of the ingredients and the explosion of flavors in each dish make this restaurant a culinary landmark in the city.

The Decadente

Located in the hip and historical Bairro Alto, The Decadente is a restaurant and bar that embodies the spirit of Lisbon’s bohemian side. Offering hearty Portuguese cuisine with a contemporary twist, this spot is all about celebrating local produce and traditions. The relaxed, yet vibrant atmosphere makes it ideal for leisurely dinners or a few drinks with friends. With its focus on quality, affordability, and Portuguese hospitality, The Decadente is a testament to Lisbon’s laid-back yet sophisticated dining culture.

Lost In Esplanada Bar

Tucked away in Príncipe Real, Lost In Esplanada Bar is like a hidden garden oasis with its colorful decor and lush surroundings. It’s the perfect place to unwind with a drink in hand, gazing out at the stunning views of the city. The menu offers a variety of international dishes and cocktails, making it a great spot for a casual meal or a refreshing afternoon cocktail. The vibrant, yet tranquil ambiance of Lost In Esplanada Bar captures the essence of Lisbon’s eclectic charm.

Topo Chiado

Last but not least, Topo Chiado offers another vantage point from which to admire Lisbon’s beauty. This rooftop bar and restaurant is situated near the historic Carmo Convent, providing guests with a spectacular view of the castle and the city below. The menu features modern Portuguese cuisine and inventive cocktails, all served in a stylish and relaxed setting. It’s the perfect spot for a romantic evening or a night out with friends, where the magic of Lisbon is always on full display.

Lisbon’s restaurants and bars are more than just places to eat and drink; they’re experiences that embody the city’s rich history, diverse culture, and vibrant social life. Whether you’re savoring a glass of vinho verde, indulging in a pastel de nata, or listening to the melancholic tunes of Fado, each moment spent in these establishments is a step deeper into the heart of Lisbon. 🌟🍷

Getting Around Lisbon

Navigating Lisbon’s charming streets and vibrant neighborhoods is an adventure in itself. Whether you’re meandering through the historic alleys of Alfama or exploring the bustling avenues of Baixa, knowing how to get around efficiently can make your experience all the more enjoyable. 🚶‍♂️🚇

Public transportation in Lisbon is both convenient and cost-effective, encompassing a network of buses, trams, metro, and trains. The iconic Tram 28 offers a scenic route through many of Lisbon’s most famous districts, including Graça, Alfama, Baixa, and Bairro Alto. For those looking to explore further afield, the metro provides a quick and easy way to cover larger distances across the city.

For unlimited travel, consider purchasing a Viva Viagem card, which can be topped up for use on buses, trams, metro, and certain train services to destinations like Cascais and Sintra. Tourist passes are available too, offering discounts and unlimited rides for selected periods, which is ideal for visitors planning to cover a lot of ground.

Walking is arguably the best way to experience the unique charm of Lisbon, with its picturesque streets and hidden gems waiting to be discovered. For longer distances or to navigate Lisbon’s hilly terrain more easily, bike rentals are a great option, offering both flexibility and a fun way to see the city.

When it comes to visiting Cascais, a beautiful seaside town just a short train ride away, the journey is straightforward. Trains depart regularly from Cais do Sodré station, taking you along a scenic route that hugs the coastline, offering stunning views of the Estoril coast on the way to your picturesque destination.

Best Time to Visit Lisbon

Lisbon, with its mild climate and sunny disposition, welcomes visitors year-round. However, finding the perfect time for your visit depends on what you’re looking for. 🌞🍁

Spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November) are ideal for those seeking pleasant weather without the crowds. These seasons boast comfortable temperatures for exploring the city’s streets and nearby attractions. The light in Lisbon during these months is particularly beautiful, casting a magical glow over the city’s architecture and the Tagus River.

Summer (June to August) sees the city come alive with tourists and outdoor events, from music festivals to street fairs. While this is the peak season with higher temperatures and more crowds, it’s also the time when Lisbon shows off its vibrant culture and lively atmosphere. To beat the heat and the tourist rush, start your day early and seek out Lisbon’s many shaded terraces and cool indoor museums.

Winter (December to February) is the least crowded time, offering a unique perspective of the city adorned with festive decorations and lights, especially around Christmas. Though cooler, the temperatures are still mild compared to much of Europe, making it a great time to enjoy Lisbon at a more relaxed pace.

Regardless of when you visit, Lisbon’s diverse neighborhoods, from the historic São Jorge Castle to the nightlife in Bairro Alto, offer year-round attractions. Be sure to check the local calendar for festivals and events during your stay, as these can offer unique experiences that enhance your trip.

Nomad Friendly Cafés & Co-Works in Lisbon

Let’s dive into some of the city’s most nomad-friendly cafés and co-working spaces that cater to every taste, from the cozy nook seekers to the collaborative networkers. 🌍💻

Co-Working Spaces

Second Home

Imagine a workspace that doesn’t just feel like a second home but looks like an urban jungle paradise. That’s Second Home Lisbon for you. Located amidst the cultural heartbeat of the city, this co-working space breaks the mold with its sun-drenched open areas, lush greenery, and aesthetically pleasing design that stimulates creativity and productivity. It’s not just about the space; it’s about the community. Second Home is renowned for fostering genuine connections among its diverse group of digital nomads, entrepreneurs, and creatives.

Outsite

For those who prefer a blend of work and leisure, Outsite Lisbon offers the perfect balance. Situated in the vibrant neighborhoods of Lisbon, Outsite combines the comfort of a coffee shop with the functionality of a traditional co-working space. With amenities such as high-speed Wi-Fi, comfortable workstations, and a café serving up delicious coffee and healthy eats, it’s designed for nomads who value a cozy, relaxed work environment. Plus, its central location makes exploring the city a breeze after logging off for the day.

Impact Hub

Impact Hub Lisbon stands out for its commitment to building a supportive and collaborative entrepreneurial ecosystem. With spacious work areas, community events, and a culture of openness, it’s the go-to place for making connections and sparking innovation. Whether you’re joining for a workshop, networking over communal lunches, or simply enjoying the buzz of productivity, Impact Hub offers more than just a place to work; it provides a community to grow with.

Impact Hub
Outsite

Nomad-Friendly Cafés

Copenhagen Coffee Lab Lisboa

For the coffee aficionados and pastry lovers, Copenhagen Coffee Lab is a slice of heaven. This chain of cafés and bakeries, beloved throughout Lisbon, offers a cozy retreat for nomads. The Estrella location comes highly recommended, where the aroma of freshly baked goods fills the air. It’s not just about indulgence; health-conscious nomads will find plenty of options to suit their lifestyle. Set up your workspace here and let the caffeine and creativity flow.

The Royal Rawness

Settle down with your laptop at The Royal Rawness, where the blend of premium coffee, street-side views, and a laid-back atmosphere creates the perfect setting for a productive day. Located in a lively area of Lisbon, this café offers an alternative to the traditional office setup. Enjoy the premium food and drinks on offer as you watch the world go by, making work feel like anything but.

Casa Independente

Casa Independente serves as a cultural hotspot for those who thrive in artistic and alternative environments. Step into this eclectic space without any preconceptions and let yourself be surprised. With its unique charm and a welcoming atmosphere, it’s possible to find a quiet corner to work during the day. Come for the ambiance, stay for the inspiration.

DeBru Lisboa

DeBru Lisboa is where work meets play. By day, it’s a freelancer’s haven, with the upper floor mimicking a co-working space filled with remote workers settled into ergonomic chairs. As the evening rolls in, the space transforms, offering a selection of drinks and craft beers, making it easy to transition from work mode to socializing. It’s the ideal spot for those who enjoy a dynamic and versatile work environment.

Lisbon’s array of co-working spaces and cafés cater to the diverse needs of the digital nomad community, blending work, culture, and relaxation. Whether you’re in search of a quiet corner to meet a deadline or a vibrant community to share ideas with, Lisbon provides a backdrop that not only inspires but welcomes.

Q&A Section

Q: Is Lisbon expensive for tourists?
A: Lisbon is known for being one of the more affordable capitals in Western Europe. While prices have risen with its growing popularity, it still offers a range of options to suit all budgets, especially when it comes to accommodation, dining, and attractions. Using public transportation and taking advantage of tourist passes can also help save money.

Q: Can I explore Lisbon without knowing Portuguese?
A: Absolutely! English is widely spoken in Lisbon, especially within the tourism industry, including hotels, restaurants, and most attractions. Learning a few basic Portuguese phrases, however, can enhance your experience and is always appreciated by the locals.

Q: What’s the best way to get from Lisbon to Cascais?
A: The most convenient and scenic way to travel from Lisbon to Cascais is by train, which runs regularly from Cais do Sodré station. The journey offers beautiful views along the Tagus River and the coastline, taking about 40 minutes.

Q: Are there any must-visit neighborhoods in Lisbon?
A: Lisbon is a city of diverse neighborhoods, each with its own unique charm. Alfama is a must for its historic streets and fado music, Bairro Alto for nightlife, Baixa for shopping and cafés, and Belém for monuments and museums. Each area offers a distinct slice of Lisbon’s rich culture and history.

Summary

Lisbon, the radiant capital of Portugal, is a city that effortlessly marries traditional charm with a buzzing modern culture, making it an irresistible destination for travelers from around the globe. Whether it’s your first visit or you’re returning, Lisbon invites you to explore its colorful streets, historic neighborhoods like Alfama and Bairro Alto, and iconic monuments such as the Tower of Belém and the Castle of São Jorge. With its welcoming atmosphere, vibrant nightlife, and rich culinary scene, Lisbon offers an unparalleled experience that caters to all tastes and interests.

Navigating the city is a breeze with its extensive public transportation network, and the Viva Viagem card is a handy tool for visitors looking to explore Lisbon and its surroundings, including the picturesque getaway to Cascais. The best times to visit Lisbon are spring and autumn, when the weather is pleasant, and the city is less crowded, though its mild climate makes it a year-round destination.

For digital nomads, Lisbon presents a perfect blend of work and leisure, with numerous co-working spaces and nomad-friendly cafés ensuring productivity amidst the city’s lively atmosphere. From the culinary delights of Time Out Market to the serene views from Park Rooftop Bar, Lisbon is a city that continually delights and surprises.

In conclusion, Lisbon embodies the spirit of Portugal—welcoming, vibrant, and steeped in history. It’s a city where every visit leaves you longing to return, promising new discoveries and lasting memories. Whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or inspiration, Lisbon awaits with open arms, ready to be explored and adored. 🌟🇵🇹

Welcome to Nomadstwogo
A blog for digital nomad travelers. We're Roza and Yarden, an Israeli couple who chase our dreams and live all around the world while working online!
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