Lisbon is definitely a city that you need to 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 are looking to get lost within the narrow cobblestone streets, then this Lisbon off the beaten path guide 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
Location: Largo Sao Domingos de Benfica 01.
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.
2. Panorâmico De Monsanto
Location: Estr. De Bela Vista.
Nicknamed the “UFO of Lisbon,” the Panrâmico De Monsanto was once an abandoned high-end restaurant back in the 1960s. Apparently, some say that the restaurant was too expensive for the locals, which led 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 of 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.
3. Anfiteatro Keil do Amaral
Location: Estr. De Montes Claros.
Located in the same park as the Panoramico (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.
I would suggest bringing a picnic and a light jacket!
4. Museu Nacional do Azulejo
Location: Rua da Madre de Deus 4
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 Musem is open from Tuesdays to Sundays from 10h00 to 13h00 and from 14h00 to 18h00. It is closed on Mondays. Tickets are 5 €.
5. Estufa Fria
Location: Parque Eduardo VII
What is better than a lush green oasis located right in the center of Lisbon? Estufa Fria, which is Portuguese for “Cold GreenHouse” is one of the most beautiful Botanique gardens in Lisbon.
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.
6. Tapada das Necessidades / Jardim Olavo Bilac
Location: Calcada Necessidades
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.
I would suggest having a meander around the park and check 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 a cultural center.
7. Palacio Nacional e Jardins de Queluz
Location: Largo Palacio 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 do have time, there’s a lovely public park nearby called the Parque Urbano Felicio Loureiro.
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
Location: Av. Alm. Gago Coutinho
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.)
10. Casa da Cerca
Location: Rua da Cerca, Almada
Last but certainly not least, a place I’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.
In the end, 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 the wintertime. To avoid tourist traps, do not pay more than 25 euros per person and I would suggest this guy on Airbnb: Lisbon Sailboat tour on Tagus River – Airbnb.
The idea is pretty self-explanatory but bring a bottle and a light jacket and enjoy the view!
Also if you are looking for the Ultimate Guide To Lisbon, we’ve also got you covered.