Fun activities to do in Lisbon

things to do in Lisbon
Updated 2023-11-05 11:14

Lisbon is one of Europe's most historic capitals, offering a wealth of history, culture, entertainment and places to explore. It offers many things to see and do, no matter what your interests are. Here's an overview of things to do in Lisbon to assist expats who are relocating to the city.

Activities with kids in Lisbon

It is worth noticing that Lisbon is quite traditional when it comes to family, so there are plenty of kid-friendly activities.

The Lisbon Oceanarium is one such activity, attracting families from all over the world to one of the biggest aquariums in all of Europe. From sea to land, the Lisbon Zoo is also highly rated among the younger visitors as well. For something a bit more active, you can take your kids to one of the many beaches located 30 minutes away from the downtown area or go for a (literal) walk in the park at Park Eduardo VIII or Jardim da Estrela.

To combine keeping them busy with doing some sightseeing, ride one of Lisbon's historical trams or take the scenic Lisbon Cable Car over Parque das Nações, with great views of the Tagus River. Furthermore, and since Portugal is a nation that is absolutely obsessed with football, catching a local game at either Estádio da Luz or Estádio de Alvalade can also be a pretty cool thing to do with kids.

But what if it's rainy or particularly cold outside? Well, in that case, you can either take the kids to the theater (such as the National Theater of São Carlos, the Trindade Theater or the Tivoli BBVA) or just snuggle up, buy a bag of popcorn and hit the movies at one of the city's many cinemas (mostly located inside shopping malls). As an alternative, you can also discover one of the city's many museums, such as MAAT, the Museum of Puppetry, the National Tile Museum or the Museum of Fado.

Special events and tourist attractions in Lisbon

Luckily, Lisbon is quite the bustling city, as there are always different events throughout the year, including concerts, festivals and special exhibits. Out of all the music festivals that take place in Lisbon every year, none is more popular than the world-famous Rock in Rio, although you are also welcome to check out its smaller (yet incredibly cool) counterparts, such as NOS Alive, Super Bock Super Rock or MEO Kalorama.

Equally impressive are the Santo António festivities, which celebrate the city's patron saint every year in June. It's a juggernaut of a party, complete with impromptu bars and street marches, on what is considered to be the longest night of the year.

Be that as it may, and even on the rare instances when there isn't much going on in the city, Lisbon is still very much worth exploring for the typical “tourist experience”. Just take a walk, explore the backstreets, and hit all of the classics, such as the Belém Tower, the Jerónimos Monastery or the São Jorge Castle.

Sports in Lisbon

Football is by far the most popular sport in Lisbon, with the overwhelming majority of locals supporting either Sporting CP or SL Benfica. Needless to say, matches usually attract big crowds, with people who didn't make it to the stadium gathering to watch the games in pubs, restaurants or cafés. Even if you don't feel like catching a game, fans can simply take a tour of the city's largest and most modern stadiums: Estádio de Alvalade and Estádio da Luz. Other popular sports in Lisbon include rugby, cycling, futsal (a 5vs5, indoor variation of football), basketball, tennis, handball and roller hockey. Lately, it has also become quite common to meet people who play either padel or pickleball on a regular basis.

Joining a sports club or team can be a great way to meet new people and to stay fit. There are many recreational teams throughout the city for children and adults of all levels, as well as mobile apps that help you find other players interested in joining a game of padel, tennis or football.

Moreover, with many beaches within 30 minutes from Lisbon, surfing is another sport that some Portuguese natives are very passionate about. Most beaches like Carcavelos, Cascais and Estoril will have surfing boards for rent, and even surfing schools if you are new to the sport.

Dining and nightlife in Lisbon

There is a huge range of dining options in Lisbon, from traditional food in tascas and bakeries to Michelin-star, fine-dining restaurants run by famous chefs. Many restaurants are offering traditional Portuguese cuisine, which includes mostly salted cod, seasonal seafood, traditional stews, soups, local wines and lots of custard-based desserts. In addition to the everyday Portuguese options, Lisbon is an international city and offers cuisines from all over the world, especially Brazilian, Nepalese, Chinese and Middle Eastern.

Finally, if you want to party all night and have a great time, there is an insane plethora of discos, bars and nightclubs in Lisbon that will be happy to accommodate visitors! The quarters of Bairro Alto and Cais do Sodré are the quintessential nightlife hotspots in the Portuguese capital, with loads of places to choose from, but if you just want to hit one club and dance the night away, it's worth checking out Lux Frágil or K Urban Beach. For the LGBTQ community, Trumps is the go-to place for a night out in Lisbon!

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.