Happily lacking monumental tourist traps, even the biggest tourist destinations in Lisbon hardly capture what the city is all about. For an authentic experience in Lisbon, start with the amazing "Miraduoros" (viewpoints). Peppering the tops of the city's seven hills, each one has its own unique character and diverse patrons; and most can be reached easily via tram or funicular. Next, explore antiquated Alfama. This is the birthplace of Fado music and home of the Fado Museum. To be sure, you will get lost in Alfama's narrow winding streets and uneven stairways, but that's kind of the point, isn't it? The "Fiera de Ladra" (Thieves' Market) on Tuesdays and Saturdays is a must-see, with a playful array of junk, crafts, and innumerable hidden treasures at very flexible prices. On the way to Lisbon's ever-popular beaches, stop in Belém's expansive park, and – whatever you do – don't miss the beloved national pastries at Pastéis de Belém – they're better than sex. Almost.
In Lisbon, June means all-day barbecues brimming with sardines, local fare, and cheap drinks accompanied by live music and lots of colour in nearly every public space. June, July, and August belong to big and small-name music and arts festivals that draw artists from every style and niche genre. Late autumn and winter just happen to be the best times to catch good surf on the Portuguese coast - and if you're land-locked, the smell of roasted chestnuts in the city's streets is soothing enough to give anyone a good case of the "warm-fuzzies."
Year-round, Lisbon's nightlife is comparable to any of the best in Europe. Bairro Alto, being the city's main bar district, is where young locals and visitors mingle over 1€ beers and low-priced cocktails. After 02h, head to any of the city's renowned nightclubs along the river, where the parties don't stop until morning. Hopefully you'll have enough energy to grab a tasty Portuguese "petisco" and mingle in one of Lisbon's local after-hours cafés before finding your way to bed.
This capital city of Europe tends not to feel or behave like one. Offering amazing value and incredible sights, sounds, and flavours as well as one of the biggest reputations for night-life in all of Europe, some thing is still understated. Unpretentious and casual with come-as-you-are tendencies toward pleasure seeking and relaxation, and simultaneously rich with history and filled with stories, the city has plenty to absorb, while offering a reprieve from the frenzied atmosphere of Europe's more tourist-heavy destinations.
Dining in Lisbon can be a downright heavenly experience. Appropriate for any budget, there are innumerable cafes, tascas, and restaurants offering simple traditional fare at shockingly low prices. Sweet pastries, succulent steaks, fresh seafood, and amazing combinations abound. Of course, the possibilities are endless, so explore some of these suggestions, ranging from the bottom-line local favourites to the high-end cuisine and chic bistros praised by international foodies and the Portuguese culinary aristocracy.
Bars in Lisbon vary from under-dressed and comfortable, to stylish and urban chic, all of them offering simple pleasures at great values. Designed to give locals a place to meet and mingle, the environment inside these hip, well-stocked watering holes, always provide visitors with an experience of Lisbon that captivates patrons of all backgrounds with great music and spirited energy.
Lisbon's thriving nocturnal party scene, with famous destinations like Lux and Kapital as well as smaller more intimate pubs and discos spread throughout the city, makes this European capital a playground for night owls. Keep in mind – drinks are cheap, music is everywhere, and many doors don't close until morning.
My heart aches, but I like it! The soft, moody melodies and longing in the words sung by one heart-wrenched individual define Lisbon's brand of fado from its counterpart from Coimbra. Truly belonging to Portugal's people, these songs of love and loss translate to all listeners in their viciously beautiful and sombre candour.
Live music blares in Lisbon's night-time districts and imparts an eccentric energy to the viewpoints as well. Bars in Bairro Alto tend to offer free concerts every night of the week, though you never know exactly what you're going to get; maybe world music, maybe reggae, fado, funk, indie, jazz or soul – there's no boundaries. No matter what you're looking for in terms of live music, it can be found in Lisbon, often for little or no money.
Get culture! The museums of Lisbon encompass centuries of history and span an array of niche interests. Portuguese culture at the fado and tile museums balances out with all the antiquities, the natural history and local as well as international modern / contemporary art exhibits showcased in well-coordinated expositions throughout this culturally rich city.
Drink like a Tuga! Of course, your guide book recommends a number of places to experience 'authentic' Portuguese style, but none compare to the small unnamed haunts you can find that, while aesthetically bare, offer unadulterated views into the daily lives of Lisbon dwellers. These are places where people go for snacks and drinks in between daily to-dos. Great for relaxing at low prices, these old school "tascas" (taverns), offer just what you need and don't bother dressing it up with touristy gimmicks and pandering.
Gay and lesbian - it's all queer. Lisbon considers itself a very gay-friendly city, but centuries of Catholic dominance still make public sentiment quite conservative. While public opinion is changing for the better, you still don't see many public displays of affection outside of a couple of neighborhoods. The most gay-friendly neighborhoods are the Chiado, Principe Real, Bairro Alto, and Santa Catarina.
Rebel, rebel. This information has been compiled for you rebellious ones out there. Below is a list of places where you can get clean and quality tattoo work done. Each one is different and the best option is to drop by a few and speak with artists and check out their work. And while we here at Oasis Hostels do not condone the use of drugs while visiting the Portuguese capital, we do know drugs exists, and believe a little information can go along way to having a safe visit.
The Grass is always greener in Lisbon. When the sun is out and the birds are singing, there is no better place than the Portuguese capital to spend a day outside. Here is a list of some of our favorite parks.
O árbitro está comprado. Even though Portugal is a small country, we have a tremendous love for all things football. From Cristiano Ronaldo to Jose Mourinho, Portugal holds its own among football's elite. Going to a game in Lisbon can be lots of fun, especially since two (Sporting Club de Portugal and Benfica) of the three "big teams" right here in the city.