The 14 Best Tours to Take in Lisbon

Explore the cobbled, winding streets of Lisbon
Explore the cobbled, winding streets of Lisbon | © PEC Photo / Getty Images
Matthew Hancock

Sometimes it takes a local’s guidance to help you get under the skin of a city. This list of Lisbon tours has something for every taste and budget, whether you’re after unusual culinary delights, a crash course in Portuguese culture or just some dreamy sunset views from the deck of a boat.

1. Tastes and Traditions of Lisbon Food Tour

Architectural Landmark

Pastel de nata is a Portuguese egg tart pastry dusted with cinnamon.
© Andrew Michael / Alamy Stock Photo

Make room in your stomach for this three-hour tasting tour of local dishes, with a gut-busting 10 stops. Discover local shops on foot, some of which have survived hundreds of years and are now considered the cream of Lisbon’s culinary crop, sampling cured meat, salt cod and other delicacies. Then balance your palate with something sweet – try a pastel de nata followed by a shot of ginja, a Portuguese cherry liqueur. One added benefit is that the tour groups are small, so they can customise the itinerary for most diets – except vegans (sorry).

2. Free Walking Tour of Bairro Alto and Chiado

Market, Architectural Landmark

Rua Garrett at night, elevated view
© Renaud Visage / Getty Images

You may know the Bairro Alto and Chiado as some of Lisbon’s most trendy neighbourhoods, filled with boutique shops, cafés and trendy bars. But did you know the Bairro Alto was once the epicentre of Lisbon’s journalism and the secret meeting place of the rebel army during the Carnation Revolution? On this tour, learn about these neighbourhoods’ storied pasts and enjoy the fruits of gentrification at local coffee shops, where you can sip a galão (coffee with milk), and nibble on fresh local pastries.

3. Palace of Sintra

Building

Aerial view of the city of Sintra, Lisbon area, Portugal
© Benoit Bacou / Getty Images

In Sintra, set aside one to two hours to visit the National Palace of Sintra, recognised as the best example of preserved medieval palaces in the country. Built in the 15th century, it was the royal residence of Portugal’s nobility for four centuries. Set aside time for a tour through this unique “museum”, filled with preserved furniture and ancient decorative styles. Regular entrance tickets cost €9 (£7.85) per person.

4. Sintra: a day to remember

Building

Quinta da Regaleira in Sintra, near Lisbon, Portugal.
© E55evu / iStock
Rolling hills, miles of coastline and micro-climates are just some of the defining characteristics of Lisbon’s neighbour Sintra, about 40 minutes to the north. This local-led tour of Sintra’s top destinations skips the often overcrowded Pena Palace in favour of a different, yet equally fascinating architectural oddity: the Quinta da Regaleira mansion. Rumour has it this Manueline-inspired palace is the inspiration for a new Dan Brown novel. Among its curious features are man-made caves, a large spiral staircase and hidden tunnels on the grounds, as well as many references to Knights of the Templar and the Free Masons placed throughout. Snap a selfie at the edge of the European continent at Cabo da Roca, then head to one of the nearby beaches where you can take a break on the sand. If the tide is low, explore the caves tucked into the bordering cliffs.

5. Lisbon Essential Tour: History, Stories and Lifestyle

Cafe, Coffee Shop, Portuguese

Portugal, Lisbon, district Chiado, restaurant bar Cafe A Brasileira street Garret
© Hemis / Alamy
If you’re only in town for a short time, but still want to see all of Lisbon’s greatest hits, let a local guide lead you around the winding, cobbled streets on this three-hour walking tour. Sample the local pastries, ride one of the vintage trams down the steep hills and take some selfies at the 25th of April Bridge, River Tagus and the Miradouro São Pedro de Alcântara (a local park with one of the best views of the city).

6. Lisbon: 2.5-Hour Hills Tour by Electric bikes

Park

ChopperAntiga_2
©GetYourGuide

If you think every good view must be hard-won, then you probably won’t enjoy this electric-bike tour, which invites visitors to cruise to the top of Lisbon’s seven hills with the freedom of a bicycle (but with none of the heavy peddling). Wind around the Alfama, Lisbon’s oldest neighbourhood and the birthplace Fado music, with vintage flair astride these retro-designed contraptions. Glide up through the cobblestone streets, past the St George Castle to catch the views from the Mouraria and Graça district. Stop for sardines or a pingo (espresso topped off with a dash of milk). Meeting point: Rua dos Douradores 16, Lisbon

7. Secret Food Tour of Mouraria, Lisbon

Architectural Landmark

Intendente neighborhood in Lisbon
© Andrea Pistolesi / Getty Images
While there’s so much to see and do in Lisbon, you can find almost all aspects of its rich culture in the Mouraria district, located just up the hill from the Alfama. On this tour you’ll stop by a tasca, a local tavern with standing room at the counter, to order a bifana sandwich piled high with pork on a papa seco (a round Portuguese roll). Sip a coffee or ginja shot at the bar before moving on to port tasting nearby. Take a (short) break from eating to enjoy the views from one of the many miradouros (lookout points), to take in the Tagus and old city rooftops.

8. Experience Lisbon Walk

Architectural Landmark

fresh percebes goose barnacles rare unusual seafood on display in Portugal
© Jack Malipan / iStock

Follow your guide (and stomach) to pure foodie bliss on this walking tour of Lisbon. Explore hidden culinary gems of the city, but prepare to stop for freshly grilled sardines from a street-side vendor. If you dare, try the local delicacy pecebres (goose barnacles), which need some muscle to crack open but are well worth the effort. Sip on a glass of vinho verde (green wine), a fresh-tasting Portuguese wine that is known for its effervescent taste. At the end of the tour, rest your feet on a boat ride across the Tagus River before being dropped off for a wine tasting in the nearby Almeda.

9. Lisbon: Street Art Tour

Architectural Landmark

Lisbon : Illustration
© Frédéric Soltan / Getty Images

A giant relief sculpture of a raccoon made out of corrugated metal, a spray-painted monster from the movie Alien (1979), and a 40-foot (12-metre) tall painting of a soldier from the Carnation Revolution are just some of the memorable murals that decorate Lisbon’s cityscape. Lisbon has embraced its graffiti artists as contributors to the texture and vibrancy of the city’s culture. Discover the visual feast of urban art on this walking tour, which will direct you to some of the most iconic pieces in Lisbon. The best part is that when it comes to street art, the city is an ever-changing museum – so no two tours will ever be the same.

10. Lisbon Surf Experience

Natural Feature

Friends running into the ocean with their surfboards
© Azmanl / iStock

Portugal, and specifically the western coast near Lisbon, is known for its world-class waves. Every year professional surfers and amateurs come from all over the world to try their luck on the enormous Atlantic swells. To get a taste of the action, take a shuttle on this tour down to the cliffs of Caparica in Almeda, where you will be shielded from the most intense waves coming from the west. It’s a perfect spot for beginners and amateur surfers not ready to go it on their own.

11. Lisbon: Alfama District 2.5-Hour Walking Tour

Building

Alfama Lisbon Cityscape
© Sean Pavone / Getty Images

To truly understand Lisbon you have to visit its oldest neighbourhood, the Alfama. The Alfama district was one of the only neighbourhoods to survive the 1755 earthquake with most of its buildings intact. As a result, it now contains some of the few remaining examples of the Roman architecture that the city was built on. It is also the birthplace of Fado, the iconic music of Lisbon that was first sung by sailors in the local bars near the docks. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes on this excellent walking tour, to help you navigate the uneven Portuguese sidewalks and cobblestone stairs.

12. Belém Neighbourhood Walking Tour

Cafe, Pastries

Pastel de belem or pasteis de nata custard tarts served with a cup of coffee at the historical Pasteis de Belem cafe in Belem, Lisbon, Portugal
© Stefano Politi Markovina / Alamy

Foodies will love this tour of Belém, which kicks off with a sampling of a pastel de Belém at the original shop that invented this delicious custard pastry. From here, allow the egg and sugar to fuel your walk along the Tagus River to visit nearby attractions, including the Monument of Discoveries: a tribute to Portugal’s seafaring history. During your visit to the 15th-century Jeronimos Monastery, try to find the secret symbols put there by the Knights of the Templars who had a hand in its 100-year-long construction.

13. Sunset Sailboat Tour on the Tagus

Memorial, Park

Lisbon Historical City view, Portugal
© iStock Editorial / Getty Images Plus
Be inspired by the breathtaking views of Lisbon’s sunset on this sailboat tour, offering rare perspectives of the Alcântara, Belém and the 25th of April Bridge right from the water. Take the chance to snap unobstructed photos of Lisbon’s most famous landmarks, including the Tower of Belém, the Monument of Discoveries and the Cristo Rei (or Christ the King) monument. If you’d rather just enjoy the moment, take it easy and sip on a complementary welcome drink while the sun slowly meanders down the sky. Don’t forget a jacket, as the wind picks up when the sun goes down.

14. Lisbon Half Day Sightseeing Tour by Electric Tuk-Tuk

Architectural Landmark

Half Day Sightseeing Tour on a Private Electric Tuk Tuk
Courtesy of Viator

If you’re not used to hills or cobblestones, Lisbon’s streets can be exhausting for new visitors to the city. Electric tuk-tuks are a great, eco-friendly alternative to walking (and a safer alternative to biking). Rest your weary feet on this tour as your guide recounts the history of the city as they drive you around its best neighbourhoods. Drive through the Alfama, past the Fado bars, through the Bairro Alto and Chiado where Carnation Revolution took place, and stop at the Miradoura Senhora do Monte in Mouraria – the highest lookout peak in the city.

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