What to visit in Lisbon ? Top 10 places you should not miss

Lisbon tour : top 10 places, museums, monuments and must-see attractions

Have you already booked your plane tickets to Lisbon? Already organized your trip? Now you have to organize your visit in Lisbon. But what to visit in Lisbon exactly? I have selected for you in this article the 10 places not to be missed during your long weekend or trip to Lisbon : 10 places, museums and monuments not to be missed. Those who will give you an overview of the history, culture and ambience of the Portuguese capital :

  • Jeronimo’s Monastery

  • Belém Tower

  • National Museum of Ancient Art

  • King Christ (Cristo Rei) of Almada

  • April 25th Bridge

  • Azulejo Museum

  • São Jorge Castle

  • Colombo Shopping Center

  • Oceanarium of Lisbon

  • Lisbon Zoo


BOOK YOUR LISBOA CARD >>> HERE

Lisboa Card - Pass for transportation - attractions - monuments - Lisbon

FREE ACCESS TO PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION AND 23 MUSEUMS & ATTRACTIONS IN LISBON >>> HERE


1. MOSTEIRO DOS JERONIMOS – The stunning monument

 

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Jeronimos Monastery - Magnificient Monument in Lisbon

The Mosteiro dos Jerónimos (Jeronimos’ Monastery) is, in my opinion, the most beautiful and magnificient monument of Lisbon. The construction of this building began during the reign of Manuel I (1495-1521) and benefited from the abundance of wealth from the opening of new sea routes by the Portuguese in the 16th century, during the period of the Great Discoveries. The trade of spices and the riches brought back from these great journeys largely financed the construction of this monastery of Saint Jerinmo’s order. In the 19th century, two other buildings that copy the Manueline style were added, they now house the Museum of Archeology and the Museum of the Navy. In 1983, the monument was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Do not miss : the cloister on 2 levels (pictured bellow) which has been renovated is superb and it is an example of the style of architecture called Manueline art.

Anecdote : it is after the return of Vasco de Gama from India that Manuel 1st decided to begin works of this monument in 1502, construction which lasted 100 years in order to build the monastery, the two-storey cloister and the Church of Santa Marta. Church which houses among others the tombs of Vasco da Gama, the discoverer of the route of the Indies; and Luís de Camões, the author of “Lusíadas”, one of the most famous Portuguese literary works.

Jeronimos Cloister - Magnificient monument in Lisbon

Opening Hours :

  • Summer (May to September) : from 10 AM to 6:30 PM, last entry at 6:00 PM
  • Winter (October to May) : from 10:00 AM to 5:30 PM, last entry at 5:00 PM
  • Closed every Monday and January 1st, Easter Sunday, May 1st, June 13th and December 25th

Entrance fee : € 10 full price but various discounts for families, students and packs with other monuments around. All rates are available here >>> http://www.mosteirojeronimos.pt/en/index.php?s=white&pid=175&identificador=

Free entry on Sunday until 2 PM for residents in Portugal

Buy your skip the line tickets >>> HERE

Address : Praça do Império, Lisboa

 

BOOK YOUR FAST PASS FOR THE JERONIMO’S MONASTERY >>> HERE

Nearest transports :

  • Train : Belém station (Sintra line, departure possible from Cais do Sodré)
  • Tram : Belém station (line 15, possible departure from Praça do Comércio)
  • Bus : lines 727, 28, 729, 714 and 751

Website : http://www.mosteirojeronimos.pt/en/


2. TORRE DE BELEM – Lisbon symbol

 

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Belem Tower - Monument Symbol of Lisbon

Torre de Belém, Belém Tower, is today the emblematic monument of Lisbon. Richly decorated, this tower was built between 1515 and 1521 during the reign of Manuel I of Portugal, as for the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos. The Tower was built in order to keep the entrance to the port of Lisbon and make it an outpost. The construction, 35 meters high and 4 floors, combines the influences of Manueline art, Moorish art and African inspirations. Fortress, the Tower was then a prison, whose cells were regularly flooded, then a far. In the 1840s, the Tower was restored and some neo-Manueline decorative elements were added to the monument. In 1910, the Belém Tower was declared a national monument and in 1983 the monument was also declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, as was the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos.

Do not miss : the African inspiration of the construction with the sculpted representation of wild animals, including a rhinoceros, considered as the first sculpture of this animal in the art of Western Europe. It is certainly one of the rhinoceroses that Manuel I sent to the pope in 1515.

Anecdote : the Belém Tower was originally in the middle of the Tagus but after the terrible earthquake of 1755 that ravaged Lisbon, the monument was found at the edge of the Tagus after the diversion of water that caused the disaster .

Opening Hours :

  • Summer (May to September) : from 10:00 AM to 6:30 PM, last entry at 6:00 PM
  • Winter (October to May): from 10:00 AM to 5:30 PM, last entry at 5:00 PM
  • Closed every Monday and January 1st, Easter Sunday, May 1st, June 13th and December 25th

Entrance fee : € 6 full price but various discounts for families, students and packs with other monuments around. All rates are available here >>> http://www.torrebelem.pt/en/index.php?s=white&pid=193&identificador=

Buy your skip the line tickets >>> HERE

Free entry on Sunday until 2:00 PM for residents in Portugal

Address : Avenida Brasília, Lisboa

 

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Nearest transports :

  • Train : Belém station (Sintra line, departure possible from Cais do Sodré)
  • Tram : Belém station (line 15, possible departure from Praça do Comércio)
  • Bus : lines 727, 28, 729, 714 and 751

Website : http://www.torrebelem.pt/en/

Facebook page : https://www.facebook.com/TorredeBelem


3. MUSEU DA ARTE ANTIGA – The riches of Portugal

 

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Nacional Museum of Ancien Art - Museu Nacional da Arte Antiga - Lisbon

The Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga, National Museum of Ancient Art, is also named Museu das Janelas Verdes, Green Window Museum, by local people from the name of the street where it is located. Created in 1884, in the grounds of Palazzo Alvor-Pombal – property of the famous Marquis de Pombal, it is one of the main museums of Lisbon, both in its size and the diversity of works on display. A rich collection of works by Portuguese and European painters is presented : Dutch, Italian, primitive Flemish and primitive Portuguese paintings. The paintings range from the 14th century to the 20th century. It is also interesting to discover the superb collection of oriental arts, from Goa and Ceylon; and also the prolific collection of Chinese and Portuguese ceramics, ranging from the 10th to the 18th century. Collections of furniture from the 15th to the 19th century and Portuguese medieval and baroque goldsmiths are also worthy.

The Temptation of Saint Anthony - Jerome Bosch - National Museum of Ancien Art - Lisbon

Do not miss : The famous painting “The Temptation of Saint Anthony” by Jérôme Bosch (shown here)

Anecdote : A magnificent collection of Japanese screens portrays the Portuguese as moustached characters with long noses and dressed in baggy trousers.

Opening Hours :

  • Every day from 10h AM to 6h PM
  • Closed every Monday and January 1st, Easter Sunday, May 1st, June 13th and December 25th

Entrance fee : € 6 full price but various discounts for families, students and packs with other major museums of Lisbon. All rates are available here >>> http://www.museudearteantiga.pt/plan-your-visit/opening-time-price

Free entry on Sunday until 14h for residents in Portugal

Buy your Lisboa Card with free access to public transportation and museums >>> HERE

Address : rua das Janelas Verdes, Lisboa

 

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Nearest transports :

  • Bus – Rua das Janelas Verdes station: lines 713, 714 and 727
  • Tram – Largo de Santos station: line 25
  • Tram – Avenida 24 de Julho station: lines 15 and 18
  • Bus station – Avenida 24 de Julho station: lines 728, 732, 760

Website : http://www.museudearteantiga.pt/english/

Facebook page : http://www.facebook.com/mnaa.lisboa


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Lisboa Card - Pass for transportation - attractions - monuments - Lisbon

FREE ACCESS TO PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION AND 23 MUSEUMS & ATTRACTIONS IN LISBON >>> HERE


4. CRISTO REI – A bit of Rio de Janeiro

 

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King Christ - Cristo Rei - Almada - Lisbon

The Cristo Rei, King Christ in English, is not located in Lisbon but in Almada. The city located right in front of Lisbon, after the 25 April bridge and on the other side of the Tagus. It is a religious sanctuary representing the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Located on a 133 meters high cliff, the construction of 110 meters high overlooks the 25 April bridge. The monument consists of a 82 meters high portico built by the architect António Lino, completed by a 28-meter Christ statue, created by the sculptor Francisco Franco de Sousa. At the foot of the statue is a chapel dedicated to Nossa Senhora da Paz, Our Lady of Peace. The total weight of the monument is 40,000 tons, the head of Christ is 4,05 meters and the arms are 10 meters long. The total span of the statue is 28 meters. The construction took nearly 10 years, works started in December 1949 and the inauguration took place on March 17th, 1959, the day of Pentecost, in the presence of more than 300,000 people.

Do not miss : the wonderful view of Lisbon that this monument will give you

Anecdote : In 1934, the Patriarch of Lisbon had the idea to copy the statue of the Redeemer Christ of Rio de Janeiro, inaugurated in 1931. All the Portuguese clergy supported the project. The construction of the monument began as a result of a vow of Portuguese religious in April 1940, asking God to spare the country from the disasters of the Second World War. Portugal, under the dictatorship of Salazar, remained neutral while playing a double game with both sides.

Opening Hours :

  • Winter : daily, from 9:30 AM to 6:15 PM (last climb at 6:00 PM)
  • Summer : weekdays : from 9:30 AM to 6:15 PM (last climb at 6:00 PM) / weekends : from 9:30 AM to 7:00 PM (last climb at 6:45 PM)
  • Closes on December 24 at 1 PM and reopens on December 25 at 2:30 PM
  • Closes December 31 at 6:15 PM and reopens January 1 at 10:00 AM

Entrance fees : € 4 for the climb

Address : Alto do Pragal, Avenida Cristo Rei, Almada

 

BOOK YOUR VISIT OF CRISTO REI >>> HERE

How to get there from Lisbon ?

  • By train : get off at Pragal station and take the bus to Cacilhas. Arrived in Cacilhas, take bus 101 which will leave you in front of the Cristo Rei
  • By boat : go on the other side towards Cacilhas, then take bus 101 which will leave you in front of the Cristo Rei

Websitehttp://www.cristorei.pt/default.aspx?langid=2


5. PONTE 25 DE ABRIL – A bit of San Francisco

April 25th Bridge during sunset - Lisbon

The April 25th bridge, Ponte 25 de Abril, was the first bridge to be built over the Tagus. It is 3.2km long and 70 meters high. Its architecture is strongly inspired by the Bay Bridge in the United States, the bridge connecting San Francisco and Oakland California. It also looks like the San Francisco Golden Gate and the Edinburgh Forth Bridge. This strong American inspiration is explained by the fact that in 1960, the construction of the bridge was entrusted to the American company American Bridge. Even the steel was imported from the United States, purchased from the United States Steel Export Company. In 1962, works begin and less than 4 years later, the bridge is ready, 6 months earlier than planned, and inaugurated on August 6, 1966. Named « Salazar Bridge » during its inauguration, because of the dictatorship, the bridge is renamed April 25th bridge, the day of the Carnation Revolution, April 25, 1974. In 1996, bridge widening works were carried out as well as the first works of the railway tunnel. The bridge goes from 4 to 6 lanes. At the end of 1998, the first trains began to circulate under the motorway bridge. Currently, the bridge is still as saturated by traffic as in the 90s, nearly 57 million vehicles pass there every year. The opening of the Vasco da Gama bridge in 1998, did not decongest the 25 April bridge.

Do not miss : Once a year in March, you can cross the bridge on foot during Lisbon Half Marathon.

Anecdote : In 1966, the April 25th bridge was the longest suspension bridge in Europe. It also had the deepest foundations in the world, was the world’s 5th longest suspension bridge and the longest outside the United States. In 2016, it was still the 25th longest suspension bridge in the world.

As you might expect, you can’t visit the 25 April bridge, but you will still be able to pass on it if you rent a car in Lisbon, or if you take the train to cross the Tagus. From Cristo Rei, you will also have a great view of the bridge, as well as in Alcântara district of Lisbon.


6. MUSEU DO AZULEJO – The history of Portuguese ceramics

 

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Church of the Museum of Azulejos - Lisbon

The Museu do Azulejo in Lisbon is unique in the world and one of the most important museums in Portugal. It is about the history of these tiles and earthenware tiles called azulejos, very present in the artistic expression of Portuguese culture. In 1960, the museum was installed in the cloister of the former convent of Madre de Deus, founded in 1509 by the Queen of Portugal Eleanor of Viseu (1458-1525), sister of King D. Manuel I of Portugal and widow of King João II.

7,000 pieces are presented and will give you a great overview of the art of azulejo over the centuries, especially since the period of the Renaissance until the 20th century. Different forms of production are represented, as well as azulejos of modern and contemporary art style. Ceramics from all over the world are also part of the collection : from Europe and Flanders with Delft tiles; but especially many tiles from the Arab world, particularly from North Africa. Note that it is the Arabic word “al zulaydj” which gave the word “azulejo“.

Do not miss : a 23 meters long and 1300 tiles panel of azulejos representing Lisbon between the Belém district until the São Jorge Castle before the earthquake of 1755 that change the geography and architecture of the city

Anecdote : it is possible to buy antique azulejos in some shops in Lisbon, and so bring back a piece of history with you. Check out my article on the 10 best souvenirs to bring back from Lisbon for the addresses of azulejo shops.

Opening hours :

  • Tuesday to Sunday, 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM
  • Closed every Monday, Easter Sunday, December 25th, January 1st and May 1st

Entrance fee : € 5 full price but various discounts for families, students and packs with other major museums of Lisbon. All rates are available here >>> http://www.museudoazulejo.pt/en-GB/infos/ContentDetail.aspx

Free entry on Sunday until 2:00 PM for residents in Portugal

You can also book a day to discover the art of azulejos >>> HERE

Address : Rua da Madre de Deus 4, Lisboa

 

BOOK YOUR PASS FOR ALL LISBON MUSEUMS >>> HERE

Nearest transports :

  • Bus stopping in front of the museum : 718, 742, 794, 759
  • Bus 5 minutes walk from the museum : 728, 759 – Avenida Infante D. Henrique stop
  • Nearest metro : Santa Apolónia station (Blue line) – 20 minutes walk or take the bus
  • Nearest train : Santa Apolónia station (Blue line) – 20 minutes walk or take the bus

Website : http://www.museudoazulejo.pt/en-GB/default.aspx

Facebook page : https://www.facebook.com/Museu-Nacional-do-Azulejo-179906992042145/


BOOK YOUR LISBOA CARD >>> HERE

Lisboa Card - Pass for transportation - attractions - monuments - Lisbon

FREE ACCESS TO PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION AND 23 MUSEUMS & ATTRACTIONS IN LISBON >>> HERE


7. CASTELO SAO JORGE – The old history of Lisbon

 

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Sao Jorge Castle - Lisbon - Portugal

São Jorge Castle (Castelo de São Jorge in Portuguese) is on the highest hill in Lisbon. The castle was first built by the Romans and expanded by the Suevi, Visigoths and Moors. In 1147, King Afonso Henriques fixed Portugal’s current borders by taking over Lisbon and the castle from the Moors. In 1255, when Lisbon became the capital of Portugal, he decided to make it a royal palace that he named São Jorge. The place will also be at the same time palace bishops, place of accommodation for the nobility of the Court and a military barracks. Like the city, the castle is damaged by various earthquakes, more or less intense, in 1290, 1344, 1356, 1531, 1551, 1697 and 1699.

In the 16th century, the castle is no longer a royal palace when a new palace, the Paço da Ribeira, is built on the current site of Praça do Comércio. The walls will then house successively a barracks, a prison and a center for orphans and beggars. After the earthquake that destroyed almost all Lisbon in 1755, it lost its character and started to deteriorate itself. Lisboans have even been forbidden to enter the place until the 20th century. In 1910, the castle was classified as a historic monument and two waves of restoration in the 40s and in the late 90s have contributed to restore its medieval look.

Do not miss : the superb 360 degree view of all Lisbon and the Tagus from the castle walls

Anecdote : during the siege of Lisbon by D. Afonso Henriques against the Moors, a legend is about Martim Moniz, a man who have been really brave. Seeing one of the doors of the castle open, he sacrificed his own life intervening in the opening, preventing the closure and allowing the access and the victory for the Portuguese troops

Opening hours :

  • Winter : from November 1st to February 28th >>> 9 am to 6pm
  • Summer : from March 1st to October 31st >>> 9 am to 9 pm
  • Closed on May 1st, December 24th, December 25th, December 31st and January 1st

Entrance fee : € 8.5 full price but various discounts for families, children and students. All rates are available here >>> http://castelodesaojorge.pt/en/practical-information/

 

Address : Rua de Santa Cruz, Lisboa

Buy your Lisboa Card with free access to public transportation and museums >>> HERE

 

BOOK YOUR FAST TICKET FOR SAO JORGE CASTLE >>> HERE

Nearest transports :

  • Bus : Line 37 – Chão da Feira stop
  • Tram : lines 12 and 28 – stop Miradouro de Santa Luzia

Website : http://castelodesaojorge.pt/en/

Facebook page : https://www.facebook.com/CASTELO-DE-S-JORGE-127972983902935/


8. CENTRO COMERCIAL COLOMBO – Doing your shopping in an XXL mall

 

BOOK YOUR HALF-DAY SHOPPING TOUR IN LISBON >>> HERE

Colombo Shopping Center - Lisbon - One of the biggest mall in Europe

I already mentioned the Colombo Shopping Center in the article on the 10 best shopping centers in Lisbon. It is certain that it is not a monument or historical places that one visit but the spirit of this blog is to get off the beaten path of classical tourism and offer you a visit of Lisbon as if you were a local, a native of the Portuguese capital. This 120,000 m² complex with 430 shops, a leisure center, a sports complex, 10 cinemas and 65 restaurants is Portugal’s largest shopping center and one of the 10 largest in Europe. It opened in 1997 and has become an essential meeting place for Lisbon shopping. One comes here to buy food, to do shopping but also to hang out with friends and even have lunch and dinner.

Do not miss : the completely mind-blowing offer of fast-food restaurants and top-floor restaurants, there really is something for everyone. If you visit Lisbon, have at least one meal at this mall.

Anecdote : before and after the matches of Benfica Lisbon, the club stadium is close and the shopping center fills with fans who stroll in the alleys and have a meal

Opening hours : daily from 09:00 AM to midnight

Address : Avenida Lusíada, Lisboa

 

BOOK YOUR HALF-DAY SHOPPING TOUR IN LISBON >>> HERE

Nearest transports :

  • Metro : Colégio Militar / Luz station (Blue line)
  • Bus : lines 101, 117, 128, 132, 142, 163, 203, 205, 210, 222, 223, 228, 750, 767, 799 – Colégio Militar / Luz stop

Number of shops : 430 shops

Restaurants : Yes, 65 restaurants on top floor

Website : http://www.colombo.pt/en/

Facebook page : https://www.facebook.com/centrocolombo


9. LISBON OCEANARIUM – For young and old

 

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Oceanarium of Lisbon - Parque das Nacoes District

The unmissable outing for Lisbon families and for tourists is undoubtedly the magnificent Oceanarium inaugurated for the 1998 World Exhibition : “Oceans, the future of humanity”. Built on a closed water basin overlooking the Tagus, it is the largest oceanarium in Europe and the 3rd largest in the world. Divided into different zones, each one represents the different ecosystems of all the oceans of the planet. More than 17 million people have visited it since its opening.

Do not miss : the adorable sea otters “Maré” and “Micas“. Both are the daughters of the first pair of otters who occupied the Oceanarium : Amália and Eusébio, who were real stars and symbols of the oceanarium.

Anecdote : it is the most popular attraction in Lisbon with 1 million visitors a year

Opening Hours :

  • Summer : from 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM (last entry at 7:00 PM)
  • Winter : from 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM (last entry at 6:00 PM)

Entrance fee : € 15.30 full price but various discounts for families, groups and children. All rates are available here >>> https://www.oceanario.pt/en/visit/tickets/

Address : Esplanada Dom Carlos I, Lisboa

 

BOOK YOUR TICKET FOR LISBON OCEANORIUM >>> HERE

Nearest transports :

  • Metro : Oriente Station (Red Line)
  • Bus : lines 5, 25, 28, 44, 708, 750, 759, 782, 794 – Oriente Leste station

Website : http://www.oceanario.pt/en

Facebook page : https://www.facebook.com/Oceanario.de.Lisboa/

 


BOOK YOUR LISBOA CARD >>> HERE

Lisboa Card - Pass for transportation - attractions - monuments - Lisbon

FREE ACCESS TO PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION AND 23 MUSEUMS & ATTRACTIONS IN LISBON >>> HERE


10. JARDIM ZOOLOGICO – The largest Zoo in Europe

 

BOOK YOUR ENTRY TO LISBON ZOO >>> HERE

Entrance of Lisbon Zoo

In 1884, Lisbon opened the first zoo in Europe. Located at its current location since 1905 (Quinta das Laranjeiras) on almost 94,000m2, the Jardim Zoologico has nearly 2,000 animals of 330 different species : mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians. It is possible to go around from a small cable car. One can also attend the sea lion lunch or observe beautiful Blue Aras parrots, pygmy hippos or alligator turtles. The Zoo is still today the largest in Europe.

Do not miss : the dolphin show that takes place at 11am, 3pm and 5pm in summer, and at 11am and 3pm in winter.

Anecdote : some animals are sponsored by brands that pay for the care and food in exchange for the presence of their billboards

Opening Hours :

  • Summer (from March 21st to September 20th): from 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM, last entry at 7:15 PM
  • Winter (from September 21st to March 20th): from 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM, last admission at 5:45 PM

Entrance fee : € 19,50 full price but various discounts for families, groups and children. All rates are available here >>> https://www.zoo.pt/site/index_en.php?content=93

AddressPraça Marechal Humberto Delgado, Lisboa

 

BOOK YOUR ENTRY TO LISBON ZOO >>> HERE

Nearest transports :

  • Metro : Jardim Zoológico station (Blue Line)
  • Bus : lines 701, 716, 726, 731, 746, 754, 755, 758, 768, 770 – Sete Rios Station
  • Train : Sete Rios station (for lines of Sintra, Azambuja, Évora, Beja, Fertagus)

Website : http://www.zoo.pt/site/index_en.php

Facebook page : https://www.facebook.com/Zoo-Lisboa-Portugal-158981027460908/

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