Unique things to do in Lisbon
Book unforgettable activities hosted by locals on Airbnb.
Travel like a local
Spanning seven hills, Lisbon has been compared to cities like San Francisco with its eclectic art scene, innovative dining options, and buzzing nightlife. However the minute you hear fado being sung quietly on the side streets of Alfama, you realize Lisbon is its own distinct place. Take discovery into your own hands on a pasteis de nata (pastry-making) class, bike tours to Belem Tower, sailing activities, and more things to do in Lisbon on Airbnb Experiences.
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Your guide to Lisbon
What do locals do in Lisbon?
Lisbon has a long maritime history, dating back to 1497 when Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama successfully sailed to India and back in one year. Today, locals love taking their sailboats out on the Tagus River, and many of them offer boat tours and sailing excursions.
Relax over fado music
Fado is a musical tradition that is still very alive on a walk along city streets. Revelers dip into small clubs and bars, or sometimes stop on the street, to enjoy this emotive music that is best characterized by powerful vocals often accompanied by a string quartet. Join local hosts (sometimes fado singers themselves) who can show you the very best of the genre on pub crawls and in venues such as Coliseu Lisbon.
Enjoy wine tastings
Portugal is known for its viticulture, especially Douro Valley, some 240 miles from Lisbon. Closer to home, locals enjoy a day of wine tastings in the Arrábida region, where beaches, a national park, and villages offer a relaxing escape from city life. Skip the hassle of driving and book a private or small-group tour to enjoy this region with a local expert.
What do locals eat and drink in Lisbon?
Portuguese gastronomy is as delicious as its history is rich. When in Lisbon, the diverse menu goes beyond Portuguese with Italian, Japanese, and other global fare, but no visit is complete until you’ve encountered what this country invented (and/or perfected) over the centuries.
Ask any Michelin-rated chef, or food connoisseur, and you know that tinned fish is having a moment in the culinary world. But that’s nothing the Portuguese haven’t known for centuries. What was once fast food is now an art form — decorative tins packed with everything from anchovies to caviar are in high demand in places such as the Time Out Market Lisboa.
Portuguese cod is a treasured dish, one that even has its own saying: “There are more than 365 ways to cook bacalhau, one for every day of the year.” Experience the customs and history of this dish, among others, on food tours that focus on the local community and sustainable practices.
Pasteis de nata
Picture this: a group of 17th-century monks making egg custards. The result? The quintessential Portuguese pastry known as pasteis de nata, invented in Lisbon’s Belém District. Try your hand at making this delectable treat in baking classes with local chefs.
Portugal is best known as the birthplace of port wine, but Lisbon has celebrated this as its own special drink for centuries. Stop at one of many small ginjinha bars around the city to taste this cherry liqueur.
This is the Portuguese answer to tapas, where plates overflow with cheeses, meats, olives, and fruits from local markets. Wash it all down with a crisp glass of vinho verde.
What are the best day trips from Lisbon?
Just a 30-minute drive from Lisbon, nestled in the foothills of the Sintra Mountains, lies a town that looks like it came straight from a storybook. Leafy streets shade cafe tables and quaint shops on your way to the colorful Palácio da Pena (Pena Palace). Here you can explore on your own, or with guided tours, to see where Portuguese kings and queens called home for hundreds of years.
Situated in the Algarve region, and about 2.5 hours south of Lisbon by car, Lagos is an ultimate beach getaway where you can kayak, go paragliding, and take relaxing boat cruises where you might even see dolphins. In the old town, enjoy historic architecture, wine tastings, and small bites.