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7 Best Things to do in Lisbon in Summer

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In recent years, Lisbon has increased in popularity. Lisbon is busy year round, but Lisbon in summer is especially busy. Because of this there are always new restaurants, bars, and hot spots to discover; however, there are a few staples that we like to enjoy, no matter how many times we go.

Below are the 7 best things we love to do in Lisbon in summer and hope you enjoy!

#1: Listen to the Fado

Without a doubt, enjoying an evening listening to fado is our favourite thing to do in Lisbon. Fado is Portugal’s traditional folklore music that is sung by a Fadista and their guitar players. The music is traditionally melancholic and the lyrics speak of nostalgia, suffering, and longing. It’s theatrical and beautiful!

There are many places that serve dinner during performances, but you can also drop into small tavern-style places in the Alfama neighbourhood and enjoy a late night Ginja or Porto while enjoying an evening of this exquisite music.

TIP: Do not talk or use your phone during the shows.

Fado is similar to theatre and when the Fadistas sing and the musicians play, they require absolute silence. Many will not begin until it is completely quiet and people will shush you if you interrupt.

a fadista and musicians
There is typically one Fadista who dictates what songs the guitar players play and in what key.

a fado singer in alfama
A peek inside one of Alfama’s fado restaurants.

a fadista singing in alfama
Fadistas normally only sing three songs at at time, then break, then another one will sing three more songs.

#2: Explore Alfama

Alfama is Lisbon’s oldest neighbourhood and well worth wandering on foot, if possible. Filled with cobblestone, winding roads, Alfama is filled with nooks and crannies that always delight.

TIP: If visiting Alfama during the day, make sure it’s early in the morning or in the early evening.

This is to avoid the midday heat since Lisbon in summer is extremely hot and mixed in with Alfama’s hills, it’ll be uncomfortable.

Right at the entrance to Alfama: the Sé Cathedral, the Tram 28, and the Rio Tejo.

the tram 28 by a church in alfama
Igreja da Madalena near the entrance to the Alfama neighbourhood.

Isabel outside the Se Cathedral
Isabel sitting on the steps of the Sé Cathedral at the entrance to Alfama.

alfama neighborhood
A typical Alfama neighbourhood.

Tiled building in Lisbon
Blue tiled building in Alfama.

#3: Discover Chiado

In the heart of Lisbon’s downtown, you can find Chiado. Filled with restaurants, cafes, and shopping, Chiado is trendy and busy, and hard to miss when you’re in Lisbon in summer since it’s central to everything.

TIP: If you want to see magnificent views of Lisbon’s skyline, you can go to several spots within Chiado.

Try these spots for great views of Lisbon in summer: The Rooftop Bar of the Chiado Hotel, Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara, which offers a spectacular view, and the Santa Justa Elevator, which takes you to essentially the same spot as behind the Convento do Carmo (see below), so you may want to skip the elevator and its long lines, and walk to the Convento, grab a drink and enjoy the gorgeous skyline.

tram 28 in chiado lisbon
The Tram 28 whizzing by the streets in Chiado.

marilyn enjoying coffee in chiado lisbon
Marilyn enjoying coffee in Chiado.

elevator santa justa in lisbon during the day
The Santa Justa Elevator during the day.
elevator de santa justa at night
The Santa Justa elevator at night.

view of downtown lisbon
View of Lisbon in summer from the rooftop of the Chiado Hotel.

#4: Drop into Pink Street

If you’re looking for some nightlife in Lisbon in summer, then Pink Street is the place you’ll want to visit. There are tons of restaurants, bars, and nightclubs; however, most people spill out onto the street late at night. It’s also where this picture of Marilyn was taken.

TIP: Be extra careful in these crowds late at night and try to avoid the area south of here, Cais do Sodré, late at night as it has been known to be a little sketchy.

umbrellas on pink street
Umbrellas on Pink Street.

#5: Visit Bairro Alto

Bairro Alto used to be THE place for nightlife. Although Pink Street has taken over this title, there is still plenty to do and see in this neighbourhood.

TIP: Walk through the Bairro Alto during the afternoon for a calmer experience than during the evening.

Note that many places will be closed as they get ready for the evening. Also, we recommend not staying in or near this neighbourhood as it gets very loud. Residents have been known to complain.

a typical street in the bairro alto lisbon
A typical street in the Bairro Alto.

#6: Indulge in a Pastel de Nata

Much has been written about pastéis de nata. If you visit Lisbon, you must try this custard pastry. Pretty much every bakery (and sometimes restaurant or kiosk) serves these yummy treats, but some are better than others.

TIP: Manteigaria in Lisbon and Pastéis de Belém, a twenty minute tram ride out of Lisbon, are the best places for these desserts.

desserts in alfama lisbon
A typical bakery in Lisbon serving pastéis de nata amongst other things.

making fresh pasteis de nata
Pastéis de nata being made at Mantegaria in Chiado, Lisbon.

Rows of Pasteis de Nata Lisbon Portugal
A display of pastéis de nata.

#7: Visit o Convento do Carmo (Convent Carmo)

An understated place in Lisbon is the Convento do Carmo. Located in Chiado, this former Catholic convent is open to the public. The 1755 earthquake caused a lot of damage but it has survived. It is simple, but breathtaking.

TIP: If visiting Lisbon in summer, check out Lisbon Under the Stars.

This is an immersive experience which explains Portugal’s history, and takes place every year. It is a 45 minute show, and costs 15 Euros for adults, 12 Euros for Children, Students, Seniors, Lisbon Residents, and People with Reduced Mobility, and 10 Euros for a Family Ticket. Children up to 3 years old can enter for free. Get there early as there is a limited number of tickets sold! Also, bring a blanket or a fold up chair since there isn’t any seating provided.

convento do carmo
Inside the Convento do Carmo.

convento do carmo during the day
Looking up towards the sky inside the Convento do Carmo.

lisbon under the stars at night
Enjoying Lisbon Under the Stars.

Are you planning on visiting Lisbon this summer? Let us know what you’re most looking forward to on your trip!

-Isabel & Marilyn

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  1. Chloe says:

    Great tips! Wasn’t expecting a random elevator in the street but I love it! X

  2. Tess says:

    all of these activities sound like so much fun! and thanks for all these great insider tips 🙂

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