Lisbon is charming, serene and rich in unique culture, so it makes sense that the locals feel a deep sense of pride for their city. It can be a little overwhelming deciding which places to visit first, but these top spots are considered some of the best by the people who know best. Grab your sneakers (urban hiking may be involved) and check out some of these landmarks and places which are among the preferred spots by Lisboetas!
Terreiro do Paço
An obvious suggestion maybe, but one that needs to be mentioned nonetheless. Located in downtown, facing the river, Lisbon’s Terreiro do Paço (also known as Praça do Comércio) is one of the iconic squares in this city, known for the border of bright yellow, centuries-old buildings. Special events, including concerts, are often held there (especially during important holidays) and it’s also one of the most picture perfect architectural masterpieces in the city.
The LX Factory has become one of the trendiest spots around Lisbon, known as a workspace for digital nomads and entrepreneurs and as a shopping district for tourists and wanderers. The locals make stops in this urban cultural hub for a couple reasons in particular: Ler Devagar (one of the most beautiful bookstores in Portugal) and the LX Factory Market. The LX Factory also hosts holiday parties and concerts throughout the year.
One of the best things about Lisbon are the many miradouros, or lookout points, across the city and while a few standout, it’s hard to declare one favourite spot. Lisboetas commonly meet their friends to drink a coffee or an imperial (small draught beer) and catch up while enjoying a fantastic view. Some meet at the closest miradouro to their homes, since there are several throughout the city (at least one for each hill), or change spots every week. A few not to miss while in Lisbon include Portas do Sol and Miradouro da Santa Luzia, both in Alfama, and Miradouro da Santa Catarina in Bairro Alto.
Hindu Temple’s Canteen
Meat and seafood are staples in Portuguese gastronomy, but Lisbon has its fair share of exotic cuisines and vegetarian restaurants too, Hindu Temple Canteen being one of the best in the city. As if that’s not enough reason to visit, the restaurant is located in Lisbon’s Hindu Community Centre or Radha Krishna Temple and offers cooking workshops, community prayer, occasional music and dancing and Indian movie nights. The Canteen is another part entirely, serving buffet-style and authentic Indian dishes. Located outside the city centre, it’s a spot that’s usually missed by tourists but one that’s worth the venture.
Vibrant, loud, and eclectic, Pink Street (known in Lisbon as Rua Cor-de-Rosa) is the liveliest spot in Cais do Sodré and one of the hottest streets in all of Lisbon. Full of bars with personalities as colourful as the actual pink street (lined in blue and yellow buildings), this is a good place to go for a fun night out. Once an alley that was frequented by drunk sailors and prostitutes, it’s one of the trendiest roads in the city (although it hasn’t lost its ‘untamed’ appeal).
On the other hand, sometimes it’s nice to get away from the noise and Lisboetas prefer Monsanto Forest as one of their top escapes. This is Lisbon’s ‘Central Park’ even though it’s located west of the city, and it’s one of the greenest spots within a short distance. Walking and running paths also make this a perfect exercise location for athletes but everyone can appreciate the quiet solitude, forest feel and the designated picnic spots that are scattered throughout.
This is a neighborhood in Lisbon where many locals live, offering close proximity to the centre but far enough to be removed from the tourist frenzy. Filled with apartments, businesses, and gardens, there really isn’t much of a reason to leave if you live there with the occasional exception of shaking things up a bit. Convenient shopping, cute cafés, and plenty of nightlife options make this neighborhood once of the favorites among Lisbon’s locals.
Like the miradouros, another great reason for living in Lisbon is the nearby coast, but the river holds its own appeal. Lined with walking and running paths, from Parque das Nações to Belém, the Tagus River attracts locals and tourists alike, its many cafés and sitting areas making it an excellent spot.
Lisbon’s oldest neighbourhood holds a particular place in every Lisboeta’s heart, as the home of fado, traditional cuisine and old-fashioned buildings. It’s also home to the city’s oldest market and two of the most beautiful lookout points, as mentioned above. One of the most popular areas in the city, it’s also where some of the oldest locals have lived throughout their entire lives.
A few blocks north of Martim Moniz is Casa Independente, an original and creative location in a gentrified square. This venue hall is a restaurant, bar, working space and art gallery all in one. Locals visit during the day with their computers for a different place to work and study, or they head over late at night to enjoy the patio and night sky with their friends.