Lisbon, Portugal’s treasured capital, is far from being overcrowded with tourists, which makes it rather easy to find interesting sights that are off the beaten path. We’ve chosen markets, bakeries, gardens and neighbourhoods for you to explore before you end the day with a little traditional tipple!
1. Shop for something unusual at the Thieves Market
Locals love this Feira da Ladra, held every Tuesday and Saturday near the Campo da Sta tram stop. If you’re a love of all things vintage, then there’s a good chance you’ll find yourself a new treasure to take home with you after your holiday in Lisbon. You could easily walk away with an entirely new vintage outfit for under €20.
2. Taste a bit of Tease
Lisbon is home to some amazing bakeries. While all the tourists flock to the famous Pastéis de Belém for the custard tarts, there are so many other bakeries also making lovely cakes and tarts to taste. In Barrio Alto, you’ll find Tease, an alternative bakery making “cakes with attitude.”
Ajuda is one of Lisbon’s oldest neighbourhoods and doesn’t get the attention it really deserves. Don’t miss the Jardim Botânico da Ajuda (Portugal’s oldest botanical garden), the Palácio Nacional da Ajuda (amazing neoclassical architecture with a museum) and the Tapada da Ajudo (100+ hectares of park).
4. Enjoy a glass of ginjinha
While Portugal has been famed for its wine for centuries, it’s really the port that put PORTugal on the map. If you’re after something a little different, you have to try another famous drink sipped by local Lisboners called ginjinha, a delicious cherry liqueur. Head to Bairo Alto after 10pm for a taste of their nightlife and enjoy a glass (or two) of this drink.
5. Stop by the Doll Hospital
Without a doubt one of the weirdest and strangest shops in Lisbon, the Doll Hospital (Hospital de Bonecas) is easy to miss along the Praça da Figueira but worth a visit, especially if you have a dear doll that needs repairing. This shop has been mending dolls and toys since 1830 and is part shop, part curiosity cabinet, part museum, mostly just because it’s been going for so long!
6. Explore the coast by bike
In summer, all the locals escape the city to hit the coast to cool down. Hop on a trail from Lisbon to Cascais and at the station you’ll find free cycle hires. Pick your ride for the day and explore the miles of flat bike trails going up and down the coast. A train ticket will set you back around €10 return.
7. Fronteira Palace
This is one of the most stunning little spots in the city (you can say that about a lot of places in Lisbon, but this one really takes the cake). The palace is located in the northwestern part of the city in Benfica, was built in 1640, and is still one of the most beautiful residences in Lisbon with 17th and 18th century decorative tiles, frescoed panels and oil paintings. This is one of those places that you hope to stumble upon while wandering the streets…
Want to experience more cities off the beaten path? Check out our secret and unusual guides to Rome, London, Berlin and other destinations around the world.