Ask an expert: Lisbon travel tips from Jurga Rubinovaite

The Lisbon travel tips you need to know before you go

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Jurga Rubinovaite

Jurga Rubinovaite is an avid traveler, photographer, and the chief adventure planner behind the Full Suitcase family travel blog. On her blog, you can find more information and all the details you need for planning a trip to Lisbon.

What are your top tips for someone traveling to Lisbon?

  1. Prepare to walk a lot, but use trams or taxis for longer distances.
  2. Book skip-the-line tickets in advance when possible, especially in peak visitor season.
  3. Stay in a central location near Rossio Square, with all the most popular attractions within easy reach. There are many restaurants, hotels for various budgets, and good public transportation connections here.
  4. Plan an extra few days to take some day trips outside the city.
  5. Avoid the iconic Tram 28 during rush hour as it can be too crowded to enjoy.

What should I do on my first trip to Lisbon?

The historic Alfama district, with its labyrinth of narrow streets, traditional architecture, and a very cozy vibe is a good place to start your Lisbon trip. You'll also find some of Lisbon's best views here, and many local restaurants where you can enjoy Fado performances in the evenings. Other must-sees include the area around Praça do Comércio, Elevador de Santa Justa, and the historic Belém district with the beautiful 16th-century Jerónimos Monastery.

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What are some hidden gems to see in Lisbon?

Lisbon is a hilly city, with countless viewpoints offering fantastic views. Some of the nicest lesser-known viewpoints include Miradouro São Pedro de Alcantara and Miradouro Santa Catarina. Another great area to visit is LX Factory, a former industrial complex that has become one of the coolest places in the city. Nowadays, it's a bustling place with street art galleries, restaurants, coffee shops, and regular events.

How much time should I spend in Lisbon?

While you can see some of the main landmarks of Lisbon in a day, ideally you should plan at least three days in the city. One day for the city center, another for the Belém area and to get off the beaten path, and a third to visit nearby Sintra, which is a must-see.

What food is Lisbon known for?

Every visit to Lisbon should include tasting Pastel de Nata, a traditional Portuguese custard tart. One of the best places to try this delicacy is Fabrica de Pastéis de Belém, baking traditional cakes since 1837. They use a secret recipe created by the monks of the Jerónimos Monastery right next door.

What is the best way to get around Lisbon?

The best way to explore Lisbon is by a mix of walking, trams (be sure to ride tram 28 for a few stops), and taxis, which are surprisingly affordable and very convenient when you have to cover more considerable distances in this hilly city.

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What are the best months to visit Lisbon?

For the most pleasant weather and not too many crowds, visit Lisbon April-May or September-October. Avoid the warmest summer months, when it's often much too hot to fully enjoy everything that this beautiful city has to offer.

What are the best neighborhoods for food?

One of Lisbon's best places for food is the Time Out Market. It's a food hall with over 20 restaurants, featuring global cuisines and the best traditional Portuguese dishes. There are also bars, shops, and a music venue here. LX Factory is another great place for food, with many unique restaurants, coffee shops, and bars.

What is the best family-friendly thing to do in Lisbon?

If you are visiting Lisbon with kids, don't miss the Lisbon Oceanarium. This is one of the biggest aquariums in the world, with hundreds of different species of sea creatures. Families also love cruises on the Tagus River. It's a pleasant and relaxing way to see more of the city without too much walking.

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