Secret Spots in Lisbon the Locals Wish You Didn't Know About

Enjoy city views from the rooftop bar Limão Chill-Out Terrace in Lisbon
Enjoy city views from the rooftop bar Limão Chill-Out Terrace in Lisbon | Courtesy of H10 Duque de Loulé / Expedia
Photo of Nina Santos
13 September 2021

Lisbon is incredibly popular with tourists, and it can feel as if there is not much new to discover. A few locations, however, remain largely off the tourist radar. Here is a breakdown of some of the spots that are still secret.

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Once a city full of secret fado bars and traditional restaurants that only the locals knew about, Lisbon has now become one of the most-visited destinations in Europe. Social media make visiting even easier, providing tourists with lots of insider tips. So, now, many of the coolest spots in the city are out in the open. Read on to discover some of the remaining secret spots in the capital of Portugal.

Casa do Alentejo

Restaurant, Portuguese, European, Mediterranean, $$$
Map View
Portugal, Lisbon, 10.07.2018. Casa do Alentejo in Lisbon on 10.07.2018. The House of Alentejo was built in 1932 by rich landowners from the Alentejo region. [automated translation]
© Sueddeutsche Zeitung Photo / Alamy
This restaurant is located inside an amazing palace that dates back to the 17th century. The jaw-dropping dining rooms, lit by chandeliers and decorated in ornately gilded work, add to an already grand ambience, and azulejo tiles give it a touch of unique Portuguese tradition. In addition to the dining room, there is a relaxed tavern meant for casual parties, a courtyard and an elaborate waiting room. The menu reflects traditional recipes, many stemming from rural Alentejo, and the prices are very fair, especially considering the surroundings. Tucked away on a side street east of lower Avenida da Liberdade, it is an easy location to miss, but one well worth finding.

Limão Chill-Out Terrace

Bar, Portuguese, European, $$$
Map View
H10 Duque de Loulé_h_d32b8e55
Courtesy of H10 Duque de Loulé / Hotels.com
Rooftop bars are as much a symbol of Lisbon’s social scene as its cafes, and one just off the beaten tourist track is Limão Chill-Out Terrace at the top of the lovely H10 Duque de Loulé hotel. It’s a short walk north from the Marquês de Pombal statue, and anyone can go for a drink here (it’s an excellent spot to enjoy a cool cocktail while reading a book in the summer). The outdoor terrace on the 10th floor offers amazing views of the city. Bright and beautiful, it is characterised by a white bar and cool blue and white patio furniture.

Jardim do Torel

Botanical Garden, Park
Map View
LISBON, PORTUGAL - JULY 4, 2019: The Torel Garden (Jardim do Torel) at sunny day in the city of Lisbon, Portugal.
© Tetiana Vitsenko / Alamy
Lisbon is full of lovely gardens and viewpoints perfect for spring and summer days, but one that is much quieter than all the others is the Torel Garden. The entrance conveniently opens near the top of the Lavra lift, meaning you can take a unique and scenic ride up. This 19th-century garden offers benches and lounge chairs, so visitors can sit and relax while enjoying the view over Avenida da Liberdade, and, if you get hungry or thirsty, there is a cafe on the lower level of the garden. One extra unique feature is the swimming pool that opens on hot days.

Largo do Intendente

Architectural Landmark
Map View
Lisbon-08/11/2019 - Multifunction spaces. Independent House, in Largo do Intendente. (PAULO SPRANGER / Global Images/Sipa USA)
© Sipa US / Alamy

Young and trendy Largo do Intendente is a bright square surrounded by beautifully renovated homes with azulejo-covered façades and hip local bars and restaurants, like the Casa Independente. Once one of the seedier parts of town, it is now a cool hangout spot for the city’s artistic, freelance and entrepreneurial circles.

Pastelaria Aloma

Cafe, Pastries, $$$
Map View
felix-kolthoff-oTGyZevCqtY-unsplash
Photo by Felix Kolthoff on Unsplash

Open since 1943, the Pastelaria Aloma is a favourite pastry shop, where locals swear by the pastéis de nata (Portuguese custard tarts), even suggesting that they may be the best in Lisbon. If you’re up for a walk, you can find Pastelaria Aloma just past the Jardim da Estrela, near Campo de Ourique.

Miradouro da Nossa Senhora do Monte

Natural Feature
Map View
Lisbon
Marina Watson Peláez / | © Culture Trip
Most tourists beeline to the Miradouro das Portas do Sol or the Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara, where they will surely find iconic views, but, instead, go to Graça, and take photos from the highest peak in the city. Although it doesn’t particularly qualify as a secret, it still lacks the crowds that are attracted to most other viewpoints.

Último Porto

Fishmonger, Restaurant, Portuguese, European, Seafood, $$$
Map View

A true secret in Lisbon is this seafood restaurant, found at the end of the pier in Alcântara. It’s spacious and bright, and it’s easy to get a table because many people simply don’t know about it – including some locals. This isn’t a place for artistic presentation: the food is simple, honest, fresh and budget-friendly.

Mercado de Campo de Ourique

Market, Portuguese, European, Tapas, Street Food, $$$
Map View
LISBON, PORTUGAL - AUGUST 08, 2017: Tourists Having Lunch At Lisbon Market Restaurant Of Mercado de Campo de Ourique In Lisbon.
© Radu Bercan / Alamy
Mercado de Campo de Ourique is Lisbon’s cosier and local version of Time Out Market at the Mercado da Ribeira, and, although it is usually packed, like its riverside cousin, it is still a place that tourists usually miss unless someone specifically recommends it. Fish, meats and fruits and vegetables can be purchased from the stands around the market, and stalls also sell ready-prepped meals like pizza, sushi and traditional Portuguese petiscos.

Linha d'Água

Cafe, Pastelaria, Portuguese, European, $$$
Map View
Linha d'Agua bar restaurant, Jardim Amalia Rodrigues, garden, Lisboa, Lisbon, Portugal
© claude thibault / Alamy

Whether you’re looking for somewhere peaceful to drink coffee, have lunch or just sit and read, Linha d’Água is a great cafe to know. Located behind El Corte Inglés, it sits in the middle of a park and beside a small artificial pool with a fountain. Sit on the lovely terrace with friends to soak in Lisbon’s sun, or head inside, where there are many more tables beside the long counter.

Ajuda

Architectural Landmark
Map View
Ajuda botanical garden (Jardim Botanico d'Ajuda). Belem, Lisboa, Portugal
© Dmitriy Moroz / Alamy

Ajuda is a beautifully authentic neighbourhood near Lisbon, located northeast of Belém. Even some locals can’t resist playing tourist and walking past the grandiose and beautifully preserved 18th-century National Palace or strolling through the lovely botanical garden. Although it’s only a short 15- to 20-minute walk from the Jerónimos Monastery, tourists sometimes miss it while exploring Belém.

Cafe Esplanada do Miradouro do Monte Agudo

Cafe, Bar, Portuguese, European, $$$
Map View
One more miradouro (viewpoint) cafe that’s often missed is Cafe Esplanada do Miradouro do Monte Agudo. Laid-back and peaceful, the terrace offers more amazing views of the city, and the cafe serves budget-friendly drinks, cocktails and snacks. This is one of those locations, where you can watch a stunning sunset unhampered by an excess of tour groups. You’ll find the viewpoint and cafe in the Penha de França neighbourhood, at the top of one of the seven hills in the city.
These recommendations were updated on September 13, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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