Travel Tips: What to do and not to do in Lisbon, Portugal

After visiting the capital of Portugal, we realized that we don't enjoy big cities anymore.  We are getting tired of seas of tourists, the dangers of pickpockets, and inflated prices. We couldn't skip Lisbon though. My hubby had been there before and said it was worth a second visit. Since I wanted to see Lisbon as well, we decided to go in January. Winter was great, because during the winter season, there are not so many tourists, pickpockets are rare, and prices are relatively cheaper.

If at this moment you are Googling "Where to travel this summer" and somehow came to the idea to go to Lisbon, think carefully about what you want to see and how many nights you want to spend there. We easily ran out of things on our to-do list in 3 days since we are speedy sightseers. If you love architecture and a relaxing atmosphere, it's a great destination! Perhaps we had extra time since we decided to skip museums and big tourist attractions that were over 20 euro. We concentrated more on enjoying Portuguese food, walking the winding streets, and discovering colorful tiles, which are all quite iconic to the city. In retrospect, I wish we had dedicated a day to exploring outside Lisbon.

While editing my 200000000 photos (just kidding, maybe 1500), Alfama neighborhood stood out as  my favorite thing we saw in Lisbon. My other highlight was the fried octopus, which we tried in a restaurant that eluded us on our first night, but we ultimately found later. The octopus was incredibly mouthwatering. Yum! I need to stop myself from drooling on the keyboard...

Okay, let's go ahead and share what to do and not do in Lisbon.

To do:
  • Go up on Santa Justa Elevator for the best view over the city;
  • Get lost in the Alfama neighborhood. I truly enjoyed walking around and you should definitely try some local Ginjinha;
  • Eat Portuguese pastries: pasteis de nata, bolo de bolacha,  salame de chocolate etc; 
  • Eat any seafood at any restaurant. My favorite was Polvo a Lagareiro, or simply "Fried Octopus" with roasted potatoes;
  • Visit Castelo de Sao Jorge. You can walk around the castle while enjoying the view over the city. I definitely advise you to visit it earlier in the ay, because the line can get long;
  • Take a train to Torre de Belem;
  • Use your metro card to ride the metro, tram or bus from the airport;
  • Visit a Lisbon Cathedral;
  • Look for historical tiles;
  • Protect yourself from pickpockets! Buy a safe backpack with locks that will protect you from sneaky hands. 
Santa Justa Elevator

Castelo de Sao Jorge

Historical Tiles


Yellow Tram

Delicious Desserts

Fried Octopus

Belem Tower

Don't do:

  • Don't ride Yellow Tram 28. Seriously, why would you want to ride the tram? First, it is always crowded, and second, these are the perfect places for pickpockets;
  • Don't pay for a ride on Santa Justa Elevator. First, there is a very long queue to get on the elevator. Second, you can go for free. The entrance is on the church side. Or you can use your metro card; 
  • Don't pay for a Lavra funicular unless you are old or with a child, I found climbing wasn't hard and it is more fun to take pictures of the yellow tram;
  • Don't reserve a table to listen Fado if you don't like traditional music. Plus, your dinner will turn into a 4 hour dining marathon;
  • Don't hang out at Russo at night. I found it a bit weird, because every single person came to us and tried to sell drugs;
  • Don't take pictures when it says "no photo";
  • Don't throw away your metro card. Don't be silly, like my husband. He tossed one of cards that we used in order to get to Belem Tower. We later discovered that we could have used the train ticket to ride on the ferry; 
  • Don't go to Belem Tower during the high season. Due to the narrow stairs, you might be stuck there all day. 


Santa Justa Elevator