Updated: April 2, 2024

Lisbon is the charming capital city of Portugal, with vast natural beauty and rich cultural history. Set on seven hills, Lisbon is the point where the Tagus River estuary meets the Atlantic ocean. If you are planning a vacation in Portugal anytime soon, check out the biggest Lisbon tourist attractions in this article to chalk out your itinerary. As the largest city in Portugal, Lisbon has always been the center of entertainment, commerce, and prosperity of the country. Because of its well-connected coastal communication, the city has served as the major sailing point for traders and navigators since the 15th-16th century.

If you are looking to explore a city that sparks heritage and yet offers gorgeous scenic views, Lisbon is one of the greatest destinations in Europe for you.

Lisbon offers many attractions and activities for travelers of all kinds. You can embark on day trips exploring historic Lisbon. Visit the historic monuments, Portuguese gothic arches, wonderful museums, and the royal residence at the Palácio Nacional da Ajuda, or praise the city’s ancient and contemporary architecture. You can also get around the Portuguese capital swiftly by accessing the world-class metro systems, enjoying the nightlife at the river, or traversing through the serene parks and gardens. In short, Lisbon’s beguiling charm has something or the other for everyone. Read on to check out the most exciting Lisbon attractions from our detailed guide and have the most remarkable time in this beautiful city.

Understanding the Map of Lisbon City and the Surrounding Areas


Lisbon is the westernmost capital city of mainland Europe and thus possesses a strategic location. The coastline spread across the north of the Tagus River is called the Lisbon Coast, while the southern coastal area is known as the Blue Coast. The westernmost part of this city has a boundary with the Monsanto Forest Park, one of the largest urban parks in Europe, while in the easternmost part lies the Parque das Nações district.

You can experience an amazing blend of both contemporary art and ancient art in this city while on day trips. Stories of the olden times and great discoveries by famous Portuguese explorers such as Vasco da Gama are weaved intricately in the various parts of the cities. There is a wide array of famous Lisbon neighborhoods, commonly known as Bairros de Lisboa, where the different communities celebrate their distinct ethnic identities while maintaining a common cultural and historical lineage.

Some of the must-visit Lisbon viewpoints and top attractions in Lisbon are:

  1. Orient Museum, a national museum dedicated to celebrating Asian culture and heritage
  2. National Tile Museum
  3. Basílica da Estrela, known as the Royal Basilica and Convent of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus
  4. Oceanário de Lisboa or the Lisbon Oceanarium, the largest indoor aquarium in Europe
  5. Lisboa Story Centre, the place to know all about historic Lisbon and its age of discovery
  6. Igreja de São Roque, an ancient catholic church that is home to sacred art and sculptors
  7. The Ponte 25 de Abril Bridge, an astonishing replica of the iconic Golden Gate Bridge in San Fransisco
  8. Santuário de Cristo Rei, a catholic monument inspired by the famous Brazilian redeemer statue of Christ. The Cristo Rei statue arises from a hill overlooking the entire city
  9. Praça do Comércio, one of the largest shopping plazas in the country facing the Tagus river
  10. Castelo de São Jorge, a massive monument structure celebrating the medieval times
  11. Belém Tower, a UNESCO world heritage archeological site.

You can discover Lisbon while retrospecting the colorful aspects of the city’s history by planning the perfect day trips. Not only is the city home to Roman tombs, Moorish castles, royal residences, etc., but it also offers great views along the Atlantic coast. And, if you are a nature lover, the scenic beauty of the plethora of beaches in Lisbon’s different parts will surely take your breath away.

You can discover Lisbon while retrospecting the colorful aspects of the city’s history by planning the perfect day trips. Not only is the city home to Roman tombs, Moorish castles, royal residences, etc., but it also offers great views along the Atlantic coast. And, if you are a nature lover, the scenic beauty of the plethora of beaches in Lisbon’s different parts will surely take your breath away.

Alfama area

Alfama is the oldest district of Lisbon city and is located to the east  of the city center. This area lies between the Tagus River and the Castelo de São Jorge (Castle of St George)  and offers a beautiful sight to travelers through narrow lanes and small aesthetic quarters. If you want to taste the traditional culture of the city, hop into any of the multiple Fado bars and restaurants. There are many historical attractions and temporary exhibitions available for a visit as well.

One of the main Lisbon attractions in this area are the Castelo de São Jorge, which dates back to medieval times. You can get the best panoramic views of the city’s skyline from the top of the Castelo de São Jorge, enjoy a tour of the engaging national museums, or be engrossed in the stories of the impressive battles. This is a wholesome family experience where you’ll gain  rich historical knowledge.

The oldest church of Lisbon, the Lisbon Cathedral, is located in the west of this district. And, if you are a connoisseur of ancient art, a visit to the National Tile Museum is a must for you. You will be thoroughly impressed to behold the decorative pieces of Azulejos in the national museum.

Alcântara area

Once a suburban area, Alcântara has become the center point of Lisbon because of the abundance of entertainment options. In this part of the city, you’ll find magnificent river views, exciting nightlife, and a modern cityscape. Because of these perks, this area is a favorite for residential people as well.

Belém area

Belém is the most historic place in Lisbon as it served as the main sailing point for great explorers from Portugal. Many famous Portuguese explorers, including Vasco da Gama and Pedro Álvares Cabral, departed for their journeys from the Belém port area. It is known that Vasco da Gama departed for his historic voyage in 1498 from this very place.

Not only that, but Belém is also home to the Jerónimos Monastery, known as the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This monastery is one of the major highlights of the Lisbon sightseeing tour, featuring the mesmerizing Manueline cloister and the tomb of Vasco da Gama. This place is a tribute to Portugal’s Age of Discovery and celebrates the wealth and trade brought back by the famous voyagers.

Other attractions of this neighborhood include the famous Torre de Belém or the Belém Tower (another UNESCO World Heritage Site), Belém Cultural Center, and the Praça do Império garden.

Bairro Alto and Baixa areas

The Bairro Alto district is the heart of central Lisbon and attracts a lively young crowd by showcasing a vibrant entertainment culture. This has been voted as one of the most prestigious shopping centers in the world. If you are up for hearing the different vibes of modern and contemporary music, the plethora of bars and nightclubs in the Bairro Alto district are a must-visit.

The Baixa area is known as Downtown Lisbon and it is definitely another interesting tourist attraction in Lisbon with a different worldview. When in Lisbon, roam around the aesthetic corners of this area while marveling at the decorative tiles inside the beautiful tile shops, elegant neoclassical buildings, and the riverfront. The Santa Justa elevator, known as the Elevador de Santa Justa, is an interesting lift in this area that connects the lower Baixa area with the higher Largo do Carmo area.

Uptown Lisbon area

The Uptown Lisbon area primarily consists of residential and commercial buildings, but similar to most of Lisbon’s offerings, this area also showcases a bunch of world-class museums and heritage architectural sights. One of the major places to visit near Lisbon’s uptown area is the wonderful  Museum, which hosts one of the most extensive permanent collections of privately assembled antiques and ancient art pieces in the world.

You can find some awe-inspiring pieces of Islamic art, Egyptian artifacts, and many more sculptures, paintings, etc. You can also indulge in a shopping spree in the vast shopping malls of this area, Colombo and Amoreiras. If you are looking for some unusual things to do in Lisbon, a visit to the charming Fronteira Palace is recommended.

Parque das Nações Area

Parque das Nações provides a modern and futuristic aspect to the general historical culture of Lisbon. With high-rise architecture, modernized garden areas, and attractive business centers – this area is a hub of attractions in Lisbon for both locals and travelers. It also features the longest bridge in Lisbon, the Vasco da Gama bridge.

Lisbon Coast Area

The city of Lisbon is surrounded by different coastlines on all sides. Beautiful beaches on the Atlantic coast, ancient palaces, and happening markets are the highlights of the Lisbon Coast area.

Estoril region

The western coastal area is known as the Estoril Coast or Lisbon Coast. You will come across a former fishing village called Costa da Caparica, the picturesque town of Estoril, and the lovers’ paradise Sintra near the Lisbon Coast. The coastal line starts from Carcavelos, an amazing spot for surf enthusiasts, and it expands up to Guincho beach. Combining fascinating beaches, historical sights, and a wide array of exciting activities, this area attracts a lot of tourists’ attention.

Estoril has many reasons to be loved by people of all kinds. Not only does it have the largest casino in Europe, but it also showcases seven different types of golf courses, one Formula One Grand Prix racing track, plus much more besides. The glimmering sandy beach of Tamariz is just in front of the royal house of Monaco, and behind the house is the famous Estoril Casino, which has served as the inspiration for many popular Hollywood movies.

Cascais area

A beachside esplanade directly connects to Cascais from Estoril, another favorite spot of travelers. The modern seaside town of Cascais has created the famous Cascais Marina, which also hosts a bunch of enthralling sailing competitions. Occasionally, you will find food markets and commercial markets on the side of the streets. The Cascais Cultural Center features a diverse range of shows, exhibitions, and collections every year to celebrate the openness of the region. Plus, Guincho beach in this area is a must for you, if you are into surfing.

Carcavelos region

Carcavelos features one of the finest beaches in Lisbon, the Praia de Carcavelos beach. With eye-soothing golden sand and crystal-clear water streams, this beach is a heavenly attraction for Lisbon tourists. In front of the beach lies the historic São Julião da Barra fort and the Bugio Lighthouse.

Costa da Caparica

This former fishing village is a hub of seafood eateries. This area can still give you glimpses of colorful fishing boats and you can also see local fishermen selling fresh catch from the sea to tourists. In case you want a serene experience, catch the beachside train.

Sintra area

Sintra is primarily famous for the scenic beauty of the Sintra Mountains, but it has garnered a lot of praise for its UNESCO world heritage site, Sintra-Cascais Natural Park recently. Starting from pastel-shaded ornate castles and a Moorish castle, and snowclad mountain peaks to picturesque coves and sharp cliffs – Sintra is a treat to the eyes. We recommend visiting Cabo da Roca, the westernmost point of continental Europe, which is only 10 kilometers away.


Costa Azul or the Blue Coast

The southern part of the Lisbon Coast is known as the Blue Coast or Costa Azul. This area is a mixture of both nature reserves and beautiful beaches. The Arrabida Natural Park is situated between Sesimbra and Setúbal and is home to many rare species of flora and fauna. The Natural Reserve of Sado Estuary is also a wide estuary of many wild creatures. You can take cruises to visit these reserves and appreciate the amazing wild animals and birds such as herons, dolphins, swans, and flamingos.

This area also features the beautiful town of Sesimbra, which still celebrates its ancient fishing heritage. Once you are in this area, tasting the local seafood dishes is a must. Plus, this is also a great place for golfers as it showcases five different golf courses.

Summing Up

Lisbon is an interesting choice for all kinds of travelers because of its diverse offerings. Not only as a top vacation spot in Europe, but it is also a popular choice for many foreign nationals who want to invest in Europe. Portugal has a wide range of benefits for foreign investors and it also offers Golden Visas to eligible foreign citizens. You can contact our residency and citizenship division, Global Citizen Solutions, to learn more about the Portugal Golden Visa.

We suggest that you visit Lisbon to get to grips with this beautiful Mediterranean capital. You can get expert suggestions for buying Lisbon properties from us. We also offer great suggestions for real estate investments all over Portugal.