Lisbon Off the Beaten Path: 10 Hidden Gems

Lisbon Off the Beaten Path: 10 Hidden Gems

Lisbon is definitely a city you must visit at least once in your life. The city itself has an obligatory to-do list, but we aren’t here for that. If you want to get lost within the narrow cobblestone streets, this Lisbon off the beaten path guide is for you.

This gorgeous Portuguese capital is filled to the brim with hidden gems that are just waiting to be explored by the right people. So if you have crowd fatigue or if you want to delve a little deeper into the bones of this city, here is a guide to the top Lisbon off the beaten path spots.

1. Palacio Marques de Fronteira

One of the most stunning Palaces in all of Lisbon is the Palacio Marques de Frontera which was constructed in 1675. It was originally the home of Don João Mascarenhas with the intention to be a hunting lodge.

Now, the palace still houses the Marques family to this day. Situated in the Benfica area of Lisbon, one can simply transport to an oasis of Arab and Moorish influence while admiring the sheer artistry of azulejos with an Italian renaissance-style garden.

Tours are made upon request to enter the palace, or you can simply pay to see the gardens.

Lisbon Off the Beaten Path: Palacio Marques de Fronteira

Location: Largo Sao Domingos de Benfica 01.
Hours: Monday to Friday: 10:00-17:00

2. Panorâmico De Monsanto

Nicknamed the “UFO of Lisbon,” the Panorâmico De Monsanto was once an abandoned high-end restaurant back in the 1960s. Some say the restaurant was too expensive for the locals, leading to its ultimate demise.

Originally, the restaurant was comprised of five floors, complete with a 360-degree panoramic view of the city. It was conceived by Chaves Costa. However, it only existed as a restaurant for two years and is now a municipal viewpoint. It also has become a cultural and artistic hub for the city, which hosts many festivals.

Although the building is now covered in graffiti, it is still one of the best places to enjoy a 360 view of Lisbon, particularly during sunset.

If you do make your way over to this viewpoint, take a moment to stop and see the famous Vhils piece of art by Marielle Franco. Vhils, the pseudonym of Portuguese street artist Alexandre Farto, has become synonymous with his signature approach to street portraiture. The mural pays tribute to Marielle Franco, who was elected as a Councillor for the city of Rio and stood out for denouncing human rights violations, especially against black youth, women, and LGBTI people. She was murdered in Rio de Janeiro on March 14th, 2018, and her case remains unsolved.

Lisbon Off the Beaten Path: Panorâmico De Monsanto

Location: Estr. De Bela Vista.

3. Anfiteatro Keil do Amaral

Located in the same park as the Panorâmico (Monsanto park), the Anfiteatro Keil do Amaral was designed by a Portuguese architect named Francisco Caetano Keil Coelho do Amaral.

The significance of this location is that you are able to see the famous 25th of April bridge as a silhouette in the background but at a closer angle than most viewpoints.

We would suggest bringing a picnic and a light jacket!

Location: Estr. De Montes Claros.

4. Museu Nacional do Azulejo

Quite possibly the most visually alluring museum in all of Lisbon, the Museu Nacional do Azulejo is a national treasure. The museum was established in 1965 and became a National Museum in 1980. It is located in the former Convent of Madre Deus, founded by Queen D. Leonor in 1509.

Yes, you can definitely find this spot listed in the tour guide books, but it is important to reiterate how historically and culturally important a visit to this museum could be. Azulejos (or tiles) have a significantly long history originating from the Moors who, at the time, were occupying the Iberian Peninsula. When King Manuel I visited Seville, he was so infatuated by the tiles that he brought them back to Portugal.

Some of the tiles featured in this museum date back to the 15th century, and each century has its own unique pattern and design.

The Museum is open from Tuesdays to Sundays from 10h00 to 13h00 and from 14h00 to 18h00. It is closed on Mondays. The tickets are 5 €.

Lisbon Off the Beaten Path: Museu Nacional do Azulejo

Location: Rua da Madre de Deus 4

5. Estufa Fria

What is better than a lush green oasis in Lisbon’s center? Estufa Fria, Portuguese for “Cold GreenHouse,” is one of Lisbon’s most beautiful botanical gardens.

Inaugurated in 1933, with around 1.5 hectares of space, today the space is separated into three specific areas: the Cold Greenhouse (Estufa Fria), the Hot Greenhouse (Estufa Quente), and the Sweet Greenhouse (Estufa Doce), the last two were inaugurated in 1975 and house diverse equatorial and tropical species. The entire greenhouse complex features small lakes, waterfalls, and sculptures. The perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of Lisbon.

The “cold greenhouse” can be found tucked away behind a larger and well-known green space in the city called Eduardo Park. You do have to pay to enter, but the atmosphere is amazing.

Lisbon Off the Beaten Path: Estufa Fria

Location: Parque Eduardo VII
Hours: Tuesday to Sunday: 10:00-19:00

6. Tapada das Necessidades / Jardim Olavo Bilac

Tapada das Necessidades Garden is one of the most beloved green spaces for leisure in the eyes of Lisbon residents. Next to the Tapada das Necessidades Garden is an 18th century palace, the Palácio das Necessidade. The grounds, which cover over 10 hectares, were originally devoted to hunting practices.

The entire space is walled, hence the name tapada (land surrounded by walls), and almost everywhere, you can see woods and trees. You will also find three lakes – Palmeira, Estrelícias, and Duque de Lafões – all surrounded by immense greenery and several statues, among which Virtudes and the bust of D. João V.

We suggest a meander around the park and checking out the “small forest” in the back. Also, there is a current discussion on whether or not the area will be renovated with a new restaurant, kiosk, and host cultural center.

Location: Calcada Necessidades
Hours: Monday to Friday 8:00-20:00. Saturday/Sunday: 10:00-19:00

7. Palacio Nacional e Jardins de Queluz

Nicknamed the “Palace of Versailles” of Portugal, the Palacio Nacional was built during the 18th century by King Pedro III and Queen D. Maria I. There’s a canal covered in tiles (Canal dos Azulejos), which apparently the royal family would fill with water and ride a small boat through on nice afternoons. I would 100% recommend checking out the Botanical Garden in the back, which houses exotic fruits.

You can easily catch an Uber/bus/metro here. If you have time, there’s a lovely public park nearby called the Parque Urbano Felicio Loureiro.

Lisbon off the beaten path: Palacio Nacional e Jardins de Queluz

Location: Largo Palacio de Queluz
Hours: 9:00-18:00

8. Rua Fernando Pedroso colorful homes

Ride a bike to Rua Fernando Pedroso/Rua Nunes Claro and admire the “Notting Hill” inspired homes located in the Areeiro district of Lisbon. Have a bite to eat at Mesa do Bairro and enjoy!

9. Parque de Bela Vista

Although technically a bit on the “outskirts” of Lisbon, the Parque de Bela Vista is a lovely green escape from the busy life in Lisbon. The park features a different type of sweeping view of Lisbon from the northeast section.

Also, there’s a lovely restaurant situated at the top (Casa de Pedra) and the park typically hosts outdoor music festivals during the summer (Rock in Rio, etc.)

Lisbon off the beaten path: Parque de Bela Vista
© Cultourista | Parque de Bela Vista

Location: Av. Alm. Gago Coutinho

10. Casa da Cerca

Last but certainly not least, a place we’ve tried to keep secret for a while but have decided to share with the world. The Casa da Cera is technically not in Lisbon, as it is located across the bridge in an area called Cacilhas, which is in Almada. This spot doubles as a cafe and art/cultural center.

The art is typically local modern art with a stunning garden. However, the cafe (called Coisas Degostar) has tables outside which overlook the Tejo river as you get the front view of Lisbon in all its glory.

Finally, make sure to have a coffee or glass of wine and take it all in.

**a little bonus tip, take a boat trip on the River Tejo, especially if you are not visiting Lisbon during winter. Take a sunset boat ride that includes wine or snacks or if you want something a little more unique, take a cruise on a vintage sailboat (which also includes wine and snacks).

The idea is pretty self-explanatory but bring a bottle and a light jacket and enjoy the view!

Location: Rua da Cerca, Almada

And there is our Lisbon off the beaten path guide. Did we miss anything? Also, if you are looking for the Ultimate Guide To Lisbon, we’ve got you covered.

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Yvonne Ivanescu
Yvonne Ivanescu

Yvonne Ivanescu is the founder of Now in Portugal and Now in Rio Swim, an ethical and sustainable swimwear company. She is a writer, editor and marketer with over 10 years of experience.

Storytelling is her second nature and she wants to share the magic of Portugal with the rest of the world.

Find me on: Web | Instagram

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