Lisbon’s Best Kept Secrets – Travel Guide to Lisbon for those who seek magic
Whenever I think back to the days spent in Lisbon while we lived there for a year, a stream of memories and impressions rushes through my head.
Often I don’t know where to start when people ask me to describe this fascinating city.
Of course it’s magnificent.
It’s a city in permanent change but with a timeless soul.
Let me introduce you to Lisbon’s best kept secrets
Further this guide contains recommendations where to stay cheaply and special tips where to eat.
Where to stay?
Budget hostels in the center + breakfast
dorm: € 13
private: € 35
dorm: € 14
private: € 35
dorm: € 18
private: € 40
dorm: € 17
private: € 60
Where to eat?
Cafe Tati is a little café outside the Ribeira Market. It’s an inspiring place to drink a coffee and try one of the delicious selfmade cakes.
There is free wifi and free jazz sessions on Sunday afternoons. The interior shows a mix of furniture like in a livingroom and cosy corners with sofas and bookshelves.
Originally started as a flower-shop, the owner expanded it to a café and gave it the proper name Flower Power.
You’ll find it when you pass the famous Bica funicular. When you stroll around Bairro Alto during the day, visit this interesting place to take a fresh salad or even to buy some flowers.
Furthermore, you can buy some homemade products or herbs to take away to prepare your own dinner.
The most cosy café situated in Alfama is Pois Café.
Already when you enter, it feels like standing in your own living room. An island of sofas with different styles, shapes and sizes invite to take a seat. Plenty of books are arranged along the wall.
Apart from sofas, you’ll also find chairs and tables to sit and eat full meals.
Sometimes there are art exhibitions or little concerts.
Lost in Esplanada turns Lisbon into an oriental palace. Indian cuisine as well as Western meals are served.
The café is located in Principe Real where most of Lisbon’s trendy coffee and food places are located.
The café is connected to a shop where you can find oriental clothes, spiritual items and decoration inspired by 1001 nights.
The terrace is decorated with colorful umbrellas, tables and chairs. The view is just as enchanting as the café itself.
RDA stands for Rua das Anjos and is an alternative place in the area of Martim Moniz.
On the surface it is a bicycle repair shop but apart from that, it’s a cool place to eat, drink and meet interesting people.
Every Wednesday, there is a cheap self-service vegan dinner, mainly consisting of raw but fresh, healthy food.
You’ll surely meet the most alternative locals there but also real hippies, travelers and nice people who are always up for a good talk. Apart from vegan/vegetarian food, you can make your own pizza.
Consider that it’s self-service, that means: don’t forget to clean your plate.
Lisbon’s best kept secrets
Whenever friends and people I meet ask me which is my all-time travel destination in Europe, a smile is flitting on my face and I unconsciously have to squint my eyes at my boyfriend.
“This one place”, I answer, “I would always return, no matter how many times I hit there in the past.”
My eyes begin to sparkle and deep in my heart I feel this stitch that reminds me of an unforgettable summer.
An unforgettable summer in Lisbon, where magic happens day by day if you keep your eyes open and let your heart speak.
Here is our list of Lisbon’s best kept secrets
Breathtaking viewpoints scattered on the seven hills
Lisbon is built on seven hills, offering spectacular views from so-called miradouros.
There are countless of them, scattered all over the city. It requires quite some time to discover them all.
If you have no idea where to start exploring Lisbon, pick a miradouro and you won’t be disappointed. There is no better way to end a day than with a beer in anticipation of the sunset.
Miradouro de Santa Catarina
Miradouro de Santa Catarina is probably the most popular miradouro among locals and tourists.
Especially in the evenings it’s a crowded spot providing the best view of the famous bridge Ponte de 25 Abril as well as the Jesus statue of Alcântara.
Miradouro De São Pedro De Alcântara
Miradouro De São Pedro De Alcântara can be seen as the most beautiful and diverse miradouro, resembling a window into a fairy tale world.
Artists sell Lisbon-inspired water color paintings to tourists, street musicians hold performances, people gather to enjoy a beer and the sunset.
Recreational parks for lazy summer days
A city without parks is like a human without lungs. A park is the green lung of a city, especially in metropoles where concrete trumps greenness, parks are of high importance.
Parque Eduardo VII
Parque Eduardo VII is a park located next to the famous roundabout Marquês de Pombal.
Sitting on top of the hill, you can catch a distant view of the old town and the Tejo riverside.
If there is a law for Sunday afternoons, then it definitely includes a stroll through Estrela Park.
This enchanting park is home to redwood trees and cactus you rarely can find anywhere else in a city. In the middle of the park there is a charming pavilion that looks like a remnant from another time.
Sometimes they offer free Salsa classes there.
A lot of people come to the park for doing gymnastics, yoga or meditation.
Once a month, a handicraft market takes place there.
Fountains that suit your needs
You happen to be in Lisbon during the hottest time of the year?
For those who can’t make it to the beach, watch out for fountains for a little cool-down.
Oriente – Jardins d’Água
Oriente offers a diverse choice of activities. If you’re looking for a cooling alternative, check out the water park. For those who are brave enough and not afraid of getting wet, walk through the water wall fountain.
The Oceanário is also located in Oriente, Europe’s biggest underwater museum. Definitely a visit worth.
Fonte Luminosa is the absolute highlight among all fountains.
Get ready for an incredible water show. Torrents of water rushing down into the basins.
Colorful streets and cheerful decoration
What would be Alfama and Bairro Alto without the Portuguese affection for fancy decorations, no matter if there is an occasion that justifies it.
Colorful flags, lanterns and garlands transform Lisbon’s old town into a parade of visual delights.
A city composed of tiles
Azulejos are traditional Portuguese tiles used for decoration of walls, they can also be spotted in metro stations.
Very common are tiles with images of saints which are attached on house walls symbolizing house guardians.
Music that makes you feel happy and sad at the same time
Fado is traditional Portuguese music, expressing the deep meaning of saudade. A feeling of sadness and yearning for something that is locked up in your heart.
In the old days, women would yearn for their husbands embarking on a long journey in the far distance.
Immerse yourself in a world of bizarre items found on Feira da Ladra, Lisbon’s oldest flea market.
Tuesday 7am – 2pm
Saturday 7am – 6pm
Maneuver through one of the biggest street art jungles
Street art artists from all over the world have immortalized themselves in Lisbon’s streets.
One of the biggest criticism of society is tagged on three abandoned houses.
A haunting abandoned restaurant on the outskirts
Monsanto Panorâmico is an abandoned restaurant reminiscent of what used to be a getaway for the local citizens.
There are various abandoned places in Lisbon to spot, as a consequence of the steady increase of rents.
Are you interested in urban exploration?
Check out our article about abandoned places in Lisbon.
Lisbon is the most charming city in Europe.
It’s a place where many different cultures come together.
Bordering on the Atlantic ocean it’s a perfect beach getaway.
Lisbon combines tradition and modern lifestyle.
And most of all, magic is happening here day by day.
I met the love of my life in this city of splendid light, my personal magic city.