© Rui Ricardo / Culture Trip

The Insider Guide to Lisbon

Portugal's capital is a truly diverse destination. From gothic enclaves and ancient ruins to modern cuisine and glamorous boulevards, the City of Seven Hills provides ample opportunities for curious travellers.

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Vamos! The Main Attractions

You'll better understand this vibrant, mercurial city by first getting a feel for Portuguese culture and history. Head to the Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology (MAAT) to see exhibitions by contemporary artists, architects and thinkers, then on to the Museum of Design and Fashion (MuDe), for examples of fashion and industrial design spanning the past 300 years. If these leave you hungry for art of a different sort, spend a few hours at the Belém Cultural Center, a complex of venues developed for conferences, exhibitions and performance, then on to the achingly hip LxFactory, an industrial labyrinth filled with street art, cafés and creative shops. Next, it's time for some history. Perched at the top of Lisbon's highest hill, São Jorge Castle towers over the city like a fairytale fortress, all battlements and ramparts (it's particularly splendid when lit up at night) – but the view from its highest point, over the old city and Tagus Estuary, is just as magical. While you're in a historical mood, check out Belém Tower, an elaborate 16th-century fortification which teeters on the very edge of Lisbon's coast, then make your way to the magnificent Ponte 25 de Abril, an enormous suspension bridge linking Lisbon and neighbouring Almada. It would be rude not to pay a visit to Europe's largest indoor aquarium, so make Oceanário de Lisboa your next stop, before heading for a meal at Mercado da Ribeira, Lisbon's main food market. As evening falls, stroll down Rua Augusta, Lisbon's main pedestrianised street. Lined with fabulous architecture and plenty of outdoor cafés, it's the perfect spot to sit and watch the world go by with a large chilled glass of vinho verde. Now you've hit off all the major players, it's time to get off the beaten track. Read on for our local insider tips.

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Neighborhoods in Lisbon

FAQs About Lisbon