Expert guide to Lisbon
An insider's guide to the best things to do and attractions in Lisbon, including visiting Tram 28 and Museu Gulbenkian, by Telegraph Travel's Lisbon experts.
Mosteiro dos Jerónimos
This imperious 15th-century Manueline monastery was built to commemorate Vasco da Gama’s “discovery” of India. The main attraction is the delicate Gothic chapel that opens up on to a grand monastery, in which some of Portugal’s greatest historical figures are entombed.
Address: Praça do Império
Contact: 00 351 21 362 0034
Opening times: Tue-Sun, 10am–5pm (until 6pm in summer). Closed Mon
Admission: €10. Free on the 1st Sunday of each month.
Castelo São Jorge
The winding medieval streets of Lisbon’s most ancient neighbourhood, Alfama, twist up to the city’s Moorish pinnacle. The dusk-orange walls of the ancient castle date back to the ninth-century and lord over the city, being visible from almost every street.
Contact: 00 351 21 880 0620
Opening times: Daily, 9am-9pm
The most charming way to tick off a few sights, the wooden tram 28 rumbles through Lisbon’s prettiest and most historic streets. Starting at the foot of Bairro Alto, the vintage carriage trundles through the shopping districts of Baixa and Chiado before lurching and labouring past the churches and castles on the cobbled hills of the Alfama and Graça neighbourhoods.
Departs from Praca Luis de Camões to Graça every 15 minutes
Torre de Belém
A symbol of maritime Lisbon, this Byzantine and Gothic tower stands out over the mouth of the Tejo, guarding the entrance to the city’s harbour. Reached via a walkway raised out of the water on timbers, the tower is filled with intricate stonework and has wide Atlantic views.
Address: Praça da Torre de São Vicente de Belém
Contact: 00 351 21 362 0034
Opening times: Tue-Sun, 10am-6pm (until 5pm in winter)
One of the 20th century’s great philanthropists, Armenian Calouste Gulbenkian, left much of his art and historic artefacts to his favoured city, Lisbon. The museum set up in his honour now houses one of Europe’s most epic collections. Look out for priceless Hellenic vases, ancient Chinese porcelain and paintings by Rembrandt, Monet and Van Dyck. There’s also an affiliated modern art museum opposite.
Address: Avenida de Berna 45A
Contact: 00 351 21 782 3461
Opening times: Daily 10am-6pm; closed Thursdays and Bank Holidays.
Admission: from €5 depending on exhibition.
The aristocratic hill town to the west of the city is a Neverland of fairytale palaces, manicured floral gardens and wild woodlands. The train to Sintra departs from Rossio station every 20 minutes, takes about 40 minutes and costs €2.15.
Cascais/Estoril and beyond
These neighbouring beach towns are the best of the city’s seaside suburbs. Both are destinations in themselves. Lovely coves of sand lick along the coast between the two towns, which are connected by an Atlantic-front promenade. The region’s best beaches (Adraga, Guincho and Grande) are found on the coastal road north, beyond Cascais. From Cais do Sodré station, the coastal train to Cascais and Estoril leaves every 20 minutes, takes about 40 minutes and costs €2.15.