For so long Lisbon has been one Europe’s hidden gems. Now, the word is out and the city is even more equipped than ever to accommodate tourism of all kinds. Along with its historical sites and picturesque architecture, Lisbon is chock-full of Michelin-star dining, boutique hotels, and great art museums that celebrate the city’s best artisans. And while the place has truly evolved and grown over the past decade or so, its quaint, Portuguese charm still remains. Here we’re offering just a taste of some our expert Lisbon travel tips to whet your palate and get you excited about your first (or 10th!) visit to this magical city.

How to Get to Lisbon

tiles in Lisbon

One of the biggest draws to traveling to Lisbon is how easy it is to get there from the United States. TAP Portugal (a United Star Alliance partner) has direct flights to Lisbon from six U.S cities: New York City, Boston, Chicago, Miami, Washington D.C., and San Francisco. That means you can get to Portugal in 7-11 hours with zero layovers.

Once you arrive, you can easily take the subway into town. But we also recommend a quick taxi or private transfer to the city for the easiest Lisbon travel experience. Your driver will stealthily navigate the winding, steep streets and drop you off right in front of your hotel.

Where to Stay in Lisbon

Lisbon’s hotel scene is booming and only continues to grow. While there are Airbnb’s available, hotels will give you the full city experience and provide an extra layer of comfort. We have a number of trusted partners in the city, but these are some of our favorites:

H10 Duque de Loulé

H10 duque Loulé lisbon room

Set in a historic building in the city center, this four-star boutique hotel fuses traditional Portuguese décor with modern touches, like the hand-painted tiles made specially for the property. The bright and elegantly decorated rooms with touches of stunning blues and clean whites, are beyond comfortable, much like all our favorite H10 properties across Spain and Portugal. Some even feature cozy window reading corners and the rooftop bar is our favorite for a nightcap.

LX Boutique Hotel

lx boutique hotel

The LX Boutique is the only hotel in downtown Lisbon with views of both the river estuary and the city. And its blue-forward design is clearly inspired by the city’s tiles. Not only is the hotel bright and cozy but it’s perfectly located and within walking distance to so many of the best sights and neighborhoods, like Chiado, Mercado da Ribeira, and the Lisbon Cathedral.

The Lumiares

the luminaries hotel

This five-star hotel and spa was a collaboration of Portugal’s local brands, makers, and artists. Almost every item in their rooms have been designed and made in Portugal, and yet it still feels like a home away from home. They also offer two-bedroom suites, which are perfect for families or groups looking to relax after a long day of travel. Don’t miss the Lumi Rooftop bar, which looks over Lisbon’s skyline and the Tagus River.

Barrio Alto Hotel

barrio alto hotel BAHR

One of our favorite five-star properties in all of Lisbon, this boutique hotel is located in the heart of Barrio Alto with views of Chiado. It’s a perfect location for accessing the best of city’s sights. Rooms here are all luxe but unpretentious, and offer the exact peace and quiet you need to rest. Their popular rooftop bar, BAHR, also features exquisitely crafted cocktails and is worth visiting even if you aren’t a hotel guest.

What to Do in Lisbon

While Lisbon is a fairly small city, there’s so much to do and see. One of our favorite ways to experience the city is simply wandering around the various neighborhoods (be prepared for steep treks!), like Chiado, Alfama, and Barrio Alto. While wandering, you’ll happen upon various lookout points throughout the city, called miradouros, where you can snap gorgeous photos of those picturesque rooftops and the water below.

Be sure to pay a visit to Belém area where you can tour the historical tower, as well as various history and art museums, and the Jerónimo’s Monastery. Also plan some time to go to the Castelo de São Jorge, a Moorish castle dating back to the medieval period. The castle occupies a commanding hilltop overlooking Lisbon.

A day trip to Sintra is a total must when planning your Lisbon travel. Sintra is the first cultural landscape to be noted as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Here you can visit various palaces and gardens, and stroll the narrow streets of the historic center. Pena Palace, nested on the top of Sintra Mountain, is definitely one of the highlights.

Where to Eat in Lisbon

dish in Lisbon at Amago

With so many fantastic dining options, it’s almost impossible to have a bad meal in Lisbon. The biggest challenge is deciding which to choose. The famous Pastéis de Belém, which sells addicting custard tarts is a not only a must, but a total right of passage to experiencing Lisbon’s gastronomy. For traditional Portuguese dining, we love Casa dos Passarinhos, which is a classic lunchtime spot off the beaten path that’s filled with locals.

amago plating lisbon

Also check out the city’s man tascas, which are small, no-frills eateries serving affordable Portuguese cuisine. Places like Tasca Baldracca are reinventing the traditional tasca feel with their own funky menus using highly seasonal ingredients and house-made ferments. For a truly exquisite high-end tasting menu, check out one of the city’s many Michelin-starred restaurants like Alma or Belcanto. Or head to Amago‘s open kitchen, for an intimate tasting with a communal 10-seat dining table featuring some truly exquisite Portuguese-inspired cuisine.

To get even more tips on Lisbon travel, send us a message and we’ll make sure you have the most unforgettable, tailored experience of Lisbon imaginable.