Spending a weekend anywhere in the world is always a challenge, time constraints mean you have to be pretty sharp to be able to squeeze everything in without overdoing it. Here we present a guide to the eats, drinks and tourist hotpots in lovely Lisbon, where it’s so easy to lose yourself in its evocative streets.
Friday in Lisbon
4 out of 5 stars Bars and pubs Chiado/Cais do Sodré
Nothing better than a beautiful view of Lisbon to start your trip. With a cocktail in your hand, of course. Located on top of a parking lot, Park is one of the trendiest rooftops in the city. Popular with both locals and tourists, it’s a great spot from which to watch the sunset – but arrive early if you want an unobstructed view. There are DJ sets every night and no cover charge.
4 out of 5 stars Restaurants Avenida da Liberdade
Advance booking is required, as it’s very difficult to get a table on the day. The restaurant – a project by Catalan architect Lázaro Rosa-Violá – is one of the most beautiful in Lisbon. There’s even a dinosaur skeleton in the middle of the dining room. Try the gratinated codfish (bacalhau com broa, €26).
Midnight: Pensão Amor
4 out of 5 stars Nightlife Cais do Sodré
As a former brothel frequented by the marines that regularly docked at Cais do Sodré, Pensão Amor is inspired by the neighbourhood’s past life as Lisbon’s red light district. This can be felt in the decor and in the names of the great cocktails on the menu, such as Orgy. It closes at 4am on weekends.
Bars and pubs Cocktail bars Cais do Sodré
Located on the top floor of Time Out Market, Rive-Rouge is a club opened at the end of 2016 by Manuel Reis, who also owns the famous Lux. Entrance is free here, and there are daily DJ sets (5pm “matinées” on Sundays) and signature cocktails like Rive (with gin) and Rouge (with rum).
Saturday in Lisbon
10am: Feira da Ladra
Things to do Markets and fairs São Vicente
If your phone was pickpocketed on Tram 28, you’re likely to find it here. At the Feira da Ladra market, you can find a bit of everything, from rare antiques to stolen items, to handicraft clothes, shoes and furniture. This fair has been around since the 13th century, and moved around various locations until it found its permanent residence here.
11am: Miradouro de Nossa Senhora do Monte
It’s one of Lisbon’s most amazing views, which is evident judging from the number of tourists with smartphones in their hands, and the number of tuk-tuks parked near the lookout. It’s a good alternative to Miradouro da Graça, and here you have the city at your feet – and a kiosk where you can get refreshments to help you digest the view.
Restaurants São Vicente
This mini-restaurant has managed the feat of reaching the top of TripAdvisor’s list of best restaurants in Lisbon – at least until this magazine went to press. It only has eight seats and is managed by a Brazilian couple, Joyce and Luís, who also make the food. Give the mojitos a try.
3pm: Jardim da Cerca da Graça
Things to do São Vicente
It’s nice to avoid the chaos of Tram 28 and go down to Graça by foot, via Jardim da Cerca da Graça. This garden/viewpoint is still a rather well-kept secret, a popular spot for Graça residents (and their dogs). It links Graça to the multicultural neighbourhood of Mouraria.
Time to get down to the riverfront. Belém’s MAAT is one of the city’s most recent attractions, and amazing for pictures. The Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology is a project by British architect Amanda Levete, and an Instagram favourite.
6pm: Ribeira das Naus
4 out of 5 stars Bars and pubs Café bars Cais do Sodré
Rent a bike (preferably electronic), and go from Belém to Terreiro do Paço, with a mandatory pitstop at Ribeira das Naus. Some dip their feet in the river, but we don’t recommend it – and if you do, be careful not to slip. The best thing to do is to get a beer at the kiosk and watch the boats sail by.
Bars and pubs Martim Moniz
Sunset party? Let’s go, but first, you need to go up to the sixth floor of this commercial centre in Martim Moniz. Topo has one of the best views in the city (facing the castle) and a good menu with petiscos and cocktails.
9pm: A Cevicheria
4 out of 5 stars Restaurants Global Princípe Real
It’s become a Lisbon classic, with its giant octopus hanging from the ceiling getting as much photographic attention as the Oceanarium’s otters. This restaurant by Chef Kiko doesn’t accept reservations, so expect a long wait. Luckily, the pisco sours are available to drink on the street while you wait.
Midnight: Red Frog
In 2017, it won the title of Best Bar in the City at the Time Out Bar Awards – and it could win it every year. It’s in the list of 100 best bars in the world, with cocktails prepared by owner Paulo Gomes, using rather unusual ingredients. The decor is inspired from prohibition-era speakeasies.
5 out of 5 stars Nightlife São Vicente
Watching the sunrise from the veranda of Lux, a club open since 1998, is a mandatory pastime for any Lisboner or visitors. The Guardian recently named it as one of the 25 best clubs in Europe, but we at Time Out already knew that.
Sunday in Lisbon
11am: Heim Café
4 out of 5 stars Restaurants Cafés Santos
Heim Café gave life (and a brunch) to a neighbourhood which, until then, was in dire need of daytime buzz. The place has become so popular that weekend lines are unavoidable. Don’t give up, because all three of their brunch options are delicious.
12am: National Museum of Ancient Art
It’s the Portuguese museum that holds the largest concentration of national treasures and masterpieces. Between paintings, sculptures, drawings and goldsmithery, there are close to 40,000 items from the 13th to the 19th century, among which the famous São Vicente Panels.
1pm: Le Chat
4 out of 5 stars Bars and pubs Estrela/Lapa/Santos
Nothing better than lunch with a view of the river and a lemonade (or cocktail) in your hand. Le Chat, located next to the National Museum of Ancient Art, has one of the best views in the city – all covered, so it works whether it’s sunny or raining.
3pm: A Vida Portuguesa
5 out of 5 stars Shopping Home decor Intendente
It’s one of the most beautiful shops in town. Here you’ll find everything from tableware to canned goods, carpets to soaps, children’s games to posters with political slogans. It’s the perfect place to spend your spare cents on a souvenir of Lisbon to take back home.
5pm: Time Out Market
5 out of 5 stars Restaurants Cais do Sodré
This is Lisbon’s busiest attraction, with 3.6 million visitors in 2017 alone. The concept is simple: the market is home to the best of the city’s gastronomy, including artesanal gelati. It’s a great spot for lunch, dinner or just a snack. Or to have a drink and dance until daybreak.
7pm: Rio Maravilha
5 out of 5 stars Restaurants Fusion Alcântara
Located on the fourth floor of an Lx Factory building, this is one of the most Instagrammable spots in the city, with regular sunset parties from spring to autumn. The cocktail list is good, and there’s also a restaurant with a panoramic view from where you can watch the traffic on 25 de Abril bridge. Worth a visit.