You know what they say, right? It is very easy to come to Lisbon, but to leave this city is very hard. In the next few months, you will spend in this ‘cidade linda’, you will find out that this could not be more true. To get familiar with the place you can call home for your Erasmus semester, here are some of the highlights you can – and should – not miss. Ready? Here we go!
1. Coffee and a pastel de nata
You probably noticed them in your new neighbourhood: pastelarias! These small restaurants or local cafés can be found throughout the city. Start your day by ordering a strong ‘bica’ and a pastel de nata. You cannot leave Lisboa without trying this combination out and, chances are high it will even become your daily routine!
Besides supporting your local pastelaria, check out Manteigaria as well. There are two: one in Rua do Loreto and one in Lisboa’s Time Out Market. This food market is also great for getting a bite or a drink during the day or evening.
When you are done exploring the city and head out to Belém, the place not to miss for the best pastéis de nata (this is plural of ‘pastel de nata’ by the way, which is good to know in case you want to order more than one) is Pastéis de Belém. Easy to recognise because people line up in the street, but it’s worth the wait. Trust me!
2. Feira da Ladra
On a Tuesday or Saturday, take a stroll through Feira da Ladra. This secondhand market, up in the area between the Graça and Alfama neighbourhoods is a must see as well. It is a great place to go treasure hunting and find a truly special souvenir to bring home: uniquely illustrated postcards, plates with a seventies design but also vintage shoes or old leather bags. Enjoy a walk back to the city centre from here, and you will notice why they say Lisboa is built on seven hills right away.
One of the nicest views over the city must be from PARK. When you haven’t been there before, it can seem a bit strange to enter a random parking garage for a drink. But, just take the elevator all the way up and you are at the rooftop bar. It can be hard to get a table but try going during the day and enjoy the view on the Ponte 25 de Abril. This place is also highly recommended when the sun sets or for the parties at night.
4. Beach day
There is a lot to see and do in the city of course, but when the temperatures rise – and believe me, they will – check out the beaches nearby. Easy to reach by train are those of Carcavelos, Estoril and Cascais. Another great one is Costa da Caparica, on the other side of the Tejo river. Take the bus from Praça da Espanha and you can be in the ocean just forty minutes later. Perfect, right? And, since you are there, you might as well try a surf lesson.
5. Bairro Alto
A night out in Lisbon starts here. Meet your friends at the nearby Praça Luís de Camões and head into one of the small streets to buy a cheap drink at one of the bars. From here, you can easily walk down, towards the river, to the Cais do Sodré area later that night. Here, the bars and clubs can be found in Pink Street. Not the official name, but the asphalt is actually painted pink. Try some of the streets around it as well, just follow the crowd and enjoy your drink out on the streets!
6. LX Factory
Another thing not to miss is LX Factory. Try to go on a Saturday and have a look at the market at this former threads and fabrics factory, but any other day is nice as well to go here for a drink, lunch, brunch and do some shopping. Oh, and you should definitely check out Livraria Ler Devagar, an amazing bookstore there. Hundreds of books cover the walls – both, new and second-hand – which make the space not only nice to see in real life, but definitely Instagram-worthy as well.
Check out the concerts and other festivals that LX Factory organises, there’s always something going on. they organise at LX Factory too, there are some cool events going on.
Just follow these six tips and you will slowly become more of a local in your new home, Lisbon. In the next few months, you will undoubtedly have tons of tips to add to the list and understand even more why you can never really leave Lisbon.
Thanks for reading this post!
We hope you enjoy the city and specially these few places we have shared. If you know any other must-visit places in Lisbon, let us know.
And remember: if you need student accommodation, you’ll find the student home you’re looking for on Uniplaces.
Laura is finishing a master's degree in Political Science. She loves Lisbon and sharing the highlights of this beautiful city. Besides doing research for her thesis and working on freelance projects, she trains for her third half marathon and learns Portuguese