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March 22, 2024

Top 10 Favorite Touring Highlights of Lisbon, Portugal

We love visiting Lisbon—the vibrant capital of Portugal—to enjoy its fascinating history, colorful neighborhoods, superb culinary scene, wonderful shops and cafes and the city’s stylish luxury hotels.

highlights of LisbonLocated along the Tagus River and spread across seven hills, Lisbon offers travelers a picturesque sun-washed setting and a mild Mediterranean climate tempered by cooling Atlantic breezes in the summer months.

Artisans of Leisure arranges private, expert-led insider tours of Lisbon. Some of our favorite touring highlights of Lisbon include:

1. Exploring Picturesque, Historic Neighborhoods

highlights of LisbonLisbon’s colorful neighborhoods, each with a distinctive character and charm, reflect the city’s rich layers of history and cultural traditions. It’s not unusual to find luxury designers boutiques next to traditional crafts shops or buildings adorned in historic azulejo tiles next to street murals.

We take travelers on our private Lisbon tours to explore favorite neighborhoods like Alfama, the oldest district in the city that was once occupied by the Romans, and the waterfront neighborhood of Belem.

The neighborhood is home to some of the city’s most iconic sites, including Jeronimos Monastery, the Belem Tower and the Monument to the Discoveries.

Beyond the iconic landmarks, we always enjoy strolling Belem’s atmospheric backstreets to observe daily life among the colorful buildings.

highlights of Lisbon

Other favorite neighborhoods in Lisbon include Baixa, an elegant district of expansive squares, neoclassical architecture, luxury boutiques and landmarks like the Santa Justa Lift…

highlights of Lisbon

…the fashionable Chiado district and the nearby Bairro Alto, known for its culinary scene, vibrant nightlife and historic shops.

2. Staying at Lisbon’s Top Luxury Hotels

Artisans of Leisure’s private Lisbon tours include accommodation at the city’s leading luxury hotels that offer a unique sense of place combined with luxurious facilities, superb cuisine and excellent hospitality. 

One of our favorite Lisbon hotels is the Bairro Alto Hotel, a stylish destination between Bairro Alto and Chiado with an excellent rooftop bar and acclaimed restaurant with panoramic views.

Another is the Four Seasons Hotel Ritz Lisbon, a midcentury landmark hotel with opulent interiors that feature an impressive collection of modern Portuguese fine and decorative art.   

We also recommend Palacio Santa Caterina, a boutique hotel in an exquisitely restored palace on a hilltop overlooking Chiado. We love the elegant interiors, well-preserved historic details and rooftop pool with a view. 

3. Touring Interiors of Palaces, Museums and Private Homes

Lisbon is an incredible destination for anyone interested in art, architecture, design and interiors.

We take our travelers to privately tour the spectacular interiors of palaces, museums, and private homes filled with fine and decorative arts, including the iconic azulejo tiles.

4. Visiting Historic Cafes and Pastry Shops

The historic bakeries and cafes around Lisbon are known just as much for their ornate interiors as they are for local specialties, such as the famous pastel ne nata, bola de Berlim (a Portuguese cream-filled donut), or a traditional bica, a strong shot of espresso.

highlights of Lisbon

One of our favorite places to take our travelers is A Brasileira, a legendary Lisbon cafe that has been open since 1905. Originally opened to sell Brazilian coffee (the term bica is believed to have been coined there), it’s a lively spot with preserved Art Deco interiors.

highlights of Lisbon

Also not to be missed is Pasteis de Belem, the blue-and-white tile-filled historic bakery where the pastel de nata (the city’s iconic custard tart) originated in the 19th century.

highlights of Lisbon

5. Exclusive Visits to Renowned Tile Studios and Decorative Arts Workshops

Lisbon’s distinctive azulejo tiles are an unforgettable part of the cityscape. We arrange private meetings with artisans and exclusive visits to renowned ceramics factories.

Belem Lisbon private tours

For interested travelers, we can arrange a behind-the-scenes VIP tour to see azulejos being made by hand, a private tile-making class or exclusive shopping experiences.

For travelers interested in interiors and decorative arts, we can arrange exclusive appointments at the Espirito Santo Silva Foundation workshops to see restoration and conservation specialists at work.

6. Savoring Lisbon’s Culinary Scene

Lisbon’s dynamic combination of long-running traditional restaurants, historic cafes, local markets, specialty wine shops and new, experimental foodie hotspots make the city a fantastic destination for gourmands and wine enthusiasts.
highlights of LisbonWe take travelers to experience the highlights of Lisbon’s culinary scene, including stopping in off-the-beaten-path local spots…
highlights of Lisbon
…tasting Portuguese wine…
highlights of Lisbon
…sampling local specialties at the Time Out Market and other local neighborhood markets…
highlights of Lisbon
……or enjoying elevated Portuguese cuisine at a Michelin-starred restaurant.

7. Browsing Historic and Specialty Shops

Lisbon has a wonderful variety of historic and specialty shops that preserve and showcase traditional Portuguese craftsmanship, including ceramics, linens and embroidery, and more.

highlights of Lisbon

Some of our favorite shops in the Bairro Alto and Chiado districts include a notable candle shop that has been owned by the same family since 1789; a renowned bookstore founded in 1732, reputed to be world’s oldest…

highlights of Lisbon

…an exquisite glove shop that has been open since the 1920s…

and shops that specialize in embroidered linens and high-end Portuguese ceramics.

8. Private Excursions to the Palaces and Gardens of Sintra

For travelers interested in architecture, interiors and gardens, we arrange private excursions to Sintra, an enchanting destination among the hills of the Serra de Sintra to the north of Lisbon.

Sintra and Lisbon

Once the summer retreat of the Portuguese royal family, Sintra is a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its fairy-tale castles, ornate palaces and lush gardens.

Highlights of touring palaces and gardens in the Lisbon-Sintra region include Fronteira Palace on the outskirts of Lisbon…

highlights of Lisbon

…the National Palace of Sintra, the fascinating house and botanical gardens of Quinta da Regaleira…

Sintra and Lisbon

…the iconic, whimsical National Palace of Pena and the National Palace and Gardens of Queluz, the 18th-century summer residence of the Portuguese royal family.

Sintra and Lisbon

9. Touring Fascinating Museums

We arrange private, expert-led tours of Lisbon’s top museums for our travelers according to their interests, including the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, an impressive fine art museum with a collection that includes works by Rembrandt, Monet and Rene Lalique…

…the National Museum of Ancient Art, which features a rich collection of Portuguese art from the Middle Ages to the 19th century; and the National Coach Museum, which displays historic carriages from the 16th to the 19th centuries.

Other museum highlights include the Royal Treasure Museum, which showcases the wealth of the House of Braganza, including the Portuguese crown jewels, and the Contemporary Art Museum in the Belem Cultural Center, which includes works by de Kooning, Basquiat, Jackson Pollock, Picasso, Bridget Riley, Marcel Duchamp and other modern and contemporary artists. 

One of our favorite museums in Lisbon is the National Tile Museum, which showcases five centuries of the development of Portuguese azulejo tiles

10. Visiting the Nearby Beach Town of Cascais

private Portugal tours

The exclusive seaside resort of Cascais near Lisbon offers beautiful beaches and swimming coves, a charming historic center with pastel-colored buildings, quaint cafes and boutique shops. Cascais makes a great stop en route to or from Sintra or as a standalone day excursion from Lisbon.

private Portugal tours

Time in Lisbon combines well with other favorite destinations in Portugal, such as the Douro Valley, Porto, the Algarve and the Alentejo. Lisbon is also great in combination with Andalusia, Spain.

Highlights of LisbonContact Artisans of Leisure to begin planning a private Lisbon tour featuring the best of the city.


Destinations:  Europe, Portugal

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