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The picturesque and historic city of Lisbon is a must-see and after our recent trip, it's easy to see why this hidden gem is quickly becoming one of the most popular European destinations. Here are three unique things to do in Lisbon, Portugal.

3 Unique Things to Do In Lisbon

by Jeremy B

The picturesque and historic city of Lisbon is a must-see and after our recent trip, it’s easy to see why this hidden gem is quickly becoming one of the most popular European destinations. Here are three unique things to do in Lisbon, Portugal.

Lisbon, or Lisboa, is the capital city of the small country of Portugal. Europe’s westernmost major city. It faces the Atlantic Ocean but boasts a Mediterranean vibe which more than 3 million people in the greater metropolitan area enjoy. As the second oldest capital city in Europe (after Athens) it is steeped in history and its oldest districts (like Alfama) feature narrow, windy cobblestone streets that are bustling with energy.

As a tourist destination, Lisbon is quickly becoming one of the more popular destinations along with much of the country including popular destinations like Albufeira or Porto. According to one report, nearly 2 million visitors flocked to the city that was dubbed “Best Tourism Destination In Europe.” Yet, compared to other bucket list European cities like London, Paris and Rome, Lisbon remains a 3rd or 4th choice for many travelers.

With a pleasant climate, affordable cost of living, friendly English-speaking residents, and just as many Instagram-photo-worthy spots as any other European city this picturesque destination won’t say a secret for long.

Unique Things to Do in Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon is replete with things to occupy your time, but for folks who want to mix it up a little, consider the following ideas for unique things to do in Lisbon.

Visit the Alfama District

Nestled in the heart of Lisbon, the Alfama District stands as a timeless gem, enchanting visitors with its rich history and undeniable charm. This ancient neighborhood, dating back centuries, boasts a labyrinth of narrow cobblestone streets, steep inclines, and a vibrant atmosphere that will capture your soul from the moment you arrive. Wander through the district’s bustling alleys, where every corner offers an Instagram-worthy backdrop and a plethora of local shops to explore. Indulge in delectable culinary delights and soak up the sights of historic landmarks that pepper the area. For a seamless exploration, consider hopping on a tuk-tuk to fully immerse yourself in Alfama’s allure while sparing your feet and knees from the hills and uneven terrain.

Day Trip to Sintra

Image of Pena Palace
Pena Palace in Sintra, a short drive from Lisbon

Sintra, Portugal, is a breathtaking town located just a short distance from Lisbon. Known for its enchanting landscapes and rich history, Sintra captivates visitors with its fairytale-like charm. At the heart of this picturesque town stands the iconic Pena Palace, a magnificent 19th-century architectural marvel. Perched atop a hill, the palace boasts vibrant colors, intricate detailing, and breathtaking views of the surrounding forests and coastline. Sintra, with its blend of natural beauty and historical treasures, offers a truly unforgettable experience for those seeking to immerse themselves in Portugal’s cultural heritage.

Book a Photoshoot with a Professional Photographer

Taking selfies gets old after a while and when you are visiting a city as picturesque and beautiful as Lisbon it’s worth memorializing the moment with professional photographers. My girlfriend and I decided to do exactly that this time and hired a local photographer to snap photos of us in various locations across Lisbon.

Using Airbnb’s Experiences we were able to identify and book a photographer for our experience. While there are several photographers working in the city, we selected Nanda and she delivered. Be sure to check out our Instagram for some posts of these photos.

Hiring a professional photographer in the cities we visit is not only a fun and unique thing to do, but it’s also now going to be a staple of every place we visit.

Additional Things to Do in Lisbon

Here are several additional things to do in Lisbon:

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  • Visit the National Tile Museum – You literally cannot go anywhere without seeing Portugal’s distinctive tiles on display and they never get old. Consider visiting the National Tile Museum to learn more about the importance tile plays in Portuguese culture.
  • Explore Belem – Witness the harmonious blend of history, culture, and stunning architecture, including iconic landmarks such as the Jerónimos Monastery and the Tower of Belem.
  • Ride on Tram 28 – The historic tram line that winds its way through the city, taking passengers on a scenic journey through narrow streets, steep hills, and iconic neighborhoods. Tram 28 is renowned for its nostalgic charm and offers a convenient and enjoyable way to explore Lisbon’s historic districts, including Graça, Alfama, Baixa, and Estrela
  • Learn How to Cook Portuguese Food – One of the most unique things you can do when you visit any place is taking a local cooking class. Using Airbnb Experiences you can easily find a local chef who will take you on a culinary journey that you will never forget. 10/10 highly recommend it!


Lisbon is a city that deserves a prominent spot on your bucket list. With its captivating blend of historic architecture, picturesque spots for photography, remarkable landmarks, delightful wine, and warm-hearted locals, the city offers a truly unique and unforgettable experience. Prepare to be enamored by Lisbon’s charm, and you might find yourself falling in love with it, just as we did!

Be sure to check out all the great destinations in our “Unique Things to Do” Series and take a step out of the ordinary on your next trip.

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