A Romantic Couple’s Guide to Lisbon

Two glasses of white wine on the roof of Lisbon.
Two glasses of white wine on the roof of Lisbon. | © s_t_v / Getty Images
Nina Santos

A recipe for an amorous environment includes equal parts beautiful weather and stunning sights, double parts relaxing surroundings, and a few dashes of hormone-stimulating drinks. Hold the stress and the recipe will strengthen. This concoction also describes what lovers will get when they visit Lisbon, Portugal’s soulful and romantic capital. Here are a few of the most idyllic activities to do in one of Europe’s more passionate cities.

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Take a sunset cruise on the Tagus River

River Tagus on sunset, Lisbon, Portugal

Most activities feel much more romantic when enjoyed by the water, but a sunset cruise on a sailboat tops the charts. The Tagus River (Rio Tejo) separates Lisbon from the city Almada, where a few of Lisbon’s most beautiful beaches are located. It’s also the longest river in both Portugal and Spain. Day and evening cruises run from Belém, but cuddling with your partner on the water while the sun is setting is the most romantic experience of them all. These trips, which last around two hours, also offer a view of Lisbon’s most popular landmarks from a different angle, including the bright Praça do Comércio square, the dome of the National Pantheon, the 25 de Abril bridge, and the Belém Tower.

Prepare a picnic for two and visit a miradouro

Lisbon sits on seven hills and each has at least one gorgeous miradouro, or scenic overlook, with views across different parts of the city. Why not pack a picnic and blanket and enjoy the sights with a special someone? A few of the miradouros are surrounded by grassy expanses of lawn. In particular, the Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara in Bairro Alto is a scenic spot where terraced gardens and fountains add an extra charming appeal.

Walk hand-in-hand through Alfama’s cozy streets

Fado band performing in Alfama, Lisbon

Alfama’s streets are so narrow that brushing up against a partner while walking together can’t be helped at times. Duck into one of the tiny bars for a glass of wine, port or Ginja liqueur. Eat dinner accompanied with the melodic and melancholic sounds of fado, which has a sound so haunting that it can tug at the heartstrings of even non-Portuguese speakers. Alfama also has many tiny shops where lovers can buy each other trinkets and keepsakes of their time in Lisbon. Although much of Alfama is level to the river, there are plenty of stone staircases that lead to tucked away spots where kisses can be stolen against breathtaking backdrops.

Book a day at the spa

Why not get pampered as a couple? Focusing on mental, physical and metaphysical health can alleviate stress and help couples focus on what’s more important. Lisbon has many gorgeous spa hotels, both in modern and antique settings, that offer a variety of services. The BSpa at the Altis Hotel in Belém is a Swiss Spa Center designed by the Karin Herzog company and offers a Thermo Garden complete with pool, sauna, hammam, and Turkish bath for a flat rate of €30 per day. Another experience is the Float in Spa near the Rato metro station, where specials for two let couples share romantic massages by each other’s side. The real treat at Float in Spa, however, are the floating tanks, which can help people relax on another level and even helps with sleeping problems, muscular or joint aches, and improve brain functions.

Go wine tasting

There is something about a great glass of wine that can completely change the course of an evening. It’s a relaxing and sophisticated addition to any meal and is perfect on its own too. Portugal’s wine may not be as popular as France or Italy’s, but they’re delicious and will be a perfect addition to a romantic evening. Exploring Portugal’s wines isn’t hard to do in Lisbon. For a simple experience, book a tasting of three or five wines in Lisbon. For a deeper understanding and appreciation of wine, it is possible to schedule a romantic and informative weeklong wine tour through the countryside, the cost of which includes room, board, travel and tastings for the week.

Dine like royalty under candle light in a palace

All around Lisbon – and surrounding areas, in fact – palaces have been renovated into grand hotels and restaurants. Why not make a reservation at the Casa do Alentejo (Alentejo House), a 17th century building in Baixa that once belonged to an elite family in the city. Also known as The Palácio Alverca (the Alverca Palace), the restaurant focuses on cuisine from Portugal’s Alentejo region – hence its official name – and diners can choose to eat in one of two halls, one decorated with influences from the 20th century and the other reflecting 17th century styles. Another is the Valle Flôr restaurant in the Pestana Palace Hotel Lisbon, where Portuguese cuisine meets delicate French inspiration.

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