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Lisbon Solo Travel: Top 10 Things to Do in Lisbon Alone

I love Lisbon! It’s one of those cities that you can immediately fall in love with. It’s all about the beautiful mosaic sidewalks, gorgeous architecture, delicious food and friendly people. I always say “I can see myself living here” wherever I travel to, but honestly, I can really see myself living here!

As the capital city of Portugal, Lisbon is charismatic and stunning in every way. You can sense the rich history in the city with a hint of modernism. Gastronomy is one of the highlights and not to mention the nightlife. You cannot even tell that the city went through a devasting earthquake.

If you have never been to Portugal and planning a solo trip to Lisbon, then keep reading. Learn about all the logistics and things you should know before travelling to Lisbon. Plus, I included my top 10 favourite things to do alone in Lisbon.

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Solo Travel in Lisbon: What you need to know

Before you take a solo trip to Lisbon, take a look at my travel tips that you may find useful:

  • It is possible to get by with English only. But it would be nice to learn a few basic Portuguese phrases like hello (olá) and thank you (obrigada).
  • Portugal has 3 network providers for cell phones and data. SIM cards do not require registration and topping up your card is easy. But there is free wifi (almost) everywhere.
  • Plan your visit to Lisbon with the following festivals and events:
    • Lisbon Carnival (Shrove Tuesday, between mid-Feb to early March) – like Rio Carnival, the event is full of music, dance, costumes and traditional Portuguese food.
    • San Antonio Festival (June 12-13) – celebrate Portugal’s patron saint, Santo Antonio, with parades and street parties.
    • Festival Santa Casa Alfama (September 29-30) – listen to Portuguese Fado music at this 2-day annual event.

Is Lisbon safe for solo female travellers

If you are travelling to Lisbon for the first time, you must wonder if Lisbon is safe to travel alone. And generally speaking, Lisbon is safe for female solo travellers. The city’s crime rate is low, pickpocketing is not a major concern, and violent crime is pretty rare.

As for my perspective and experience, I’ve been to Lisbon twice and spent over two months in the city. I stayed in Alfama and other parts of the city and never had any issues. I walked around alone during the day and night and felt safe.

Tips for staying safe in Lisbon

Even though Lisbon is a pretty safe city, I still recommend practicing regular travel safety precautions. Here are some safety travel tips to keep in mind:

  • Be aware of your belongings (bags, mobile phone, etc), especially in a crowded area.
  • Leave your passport, (large sums of) money and other valuables at your hotel.
  • Avoid poorly lit alleys at night when you are walking home at night.

How to get to Lisbon, Portugal

Air

Humberto Delgado Airport or Lisbon Airport (LIS) is only 6km north of the city centre.

The easiest and best way to get to the Lisbon city centre is by taking the Lisbon Metro. The subway ride from Aeroporto Station to Baixa-Chiado Station takes about 30 minutes and costs €2.30 (0,50€ for the Navegante Card (formerly Viva Viagem) and €1.80 for the one-way ticket).

Train

Lisbon has several train stations throughout the city. But there are three main train stations in the city centre and each of them serve a different train line within Comboios de Portugal train network.

If you are taking a train to Lisbon from other parts of the country, you will arrive in one of these stations:

  • Santa Apolónia Station – train connecting to Central and Northern Portugal and the Algarve to Lisbon.
  • Rossio Station – train connecting Sintra to Lisbon
  • Cais do Sodre Station – train connecting Cascais to Lisbon

How to get around Lisbon on your own

Walking

Lisbon is a compact city and is best visited on foot. I’ve always loved to see a city on foot. Not only do I get an up-close and personal experience with the city but walking is also a sustainable way to travel. But some areas in Lisbon is quite hilly though, so wear your comfortable walking shoes.

Lisbon Metro

If you took Lisbon Metro from the airport to the city centre, you will already have the Navegante Card. Keep the card because you already paid €0.50 for it and you can top up individual rides for up to a year after purchase.

You can use the Navengante Card for the metro, bus, tram and suburban trains (for Cascais and Sintra).

Uber

Uber is also another transportation option. Remember to download the Uber app before you travel to Lisbon.

Top 10 Things to Do Alone in Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon is the biggest city in Portugal, and you can leisurely see the city in 3-4 days. Stroll through Chiado, Bairro Alto, Alfama (neighbourhoods in Lisbon) and everywhere in between to see the best historical attractions.

1. See many famous tourist attractions in Lisbon

If it is your first time travelling solo to Lisbon, then you’ll want to start with all the famous tourist sites in Lisbon. There are many so put on your walking shoes and explore these sites:

  • Praça do Comércio – the largest public square in Lisbon. See traditional buildings lining all three sides and the Tagus River.
  • Carmo Convent – see how the earthquake of 1755 destroyed parts of the church. The roof is non-existent and the interior is completely exposed.
  • Castelo de S. Jorge – see a castle complex from 2nd century BC.
  • National Pantheon – go up to the terrace level and see a panoramic view of Lisbon. Free with Lisboa Card.

2. Ride the famous transportation in Lisbon: Tram 28

One of the best way to see Lisbon as a first time visitor is to ride Tram 28, the most famous transportation in Lisbon. The actual tram is a vintage tram from the 1930s. And 7km tram route crosses many popular neighbourhoods between Martim Moniz Square and Campo de Ourique.

The ride on the vintage tram can be busy as many tourists want to tour through the city on this famous tram. It costs €3 to ride Tram 28, regardless of where you get on. It’s a bit expensive so I highly recommend taking it from end to end, which will take about an hour to complete. Or you can ride Tram 28 for free if you purchase the Lisboa Card.

3. Ride unique elevators and funiculars in Lisbon

Because of hilly terrain in Lisbon, the city has four elevators which three of them functions as a funicular, where a tram goes up and down a steep slope on a cable railway system, and one of them is an actual elevator.

When you are roaming around Lisbon, look for these one-of-a-kind elevators:

  • Ascensor da Bica – the most famous yellow funicular. Take a photo (the best view is from Largo do Calhariz) or ride the funicular up the hill in Barrio Alto. Free with Lisboa Card.
  • Ascensor Glória – walk up the steep cobblestone road and see all the colourful graffiti.
  • Ascensor do Lavra – built in 1884, this is the first funicular in the world.
  • Elevator Santa Justa – it’s an actual elevator within a 45m tall Neo-Gothic-style tower in Baixa. It is super touristy so prepare to queue especially during busy season. Free with Lisboa Card.

4. Visit many viewpoints around Lisbon

Because Lisbon is a very hilly city, the natural landscape created many panoramic viewpoints for people to enjoy. You can search for “miradoura” (means viewpoint) in Google Maps and many search results will show up. Or visit some of my favourite ones below:

  • Miradouro de Santa Catarina – listen to music and drink beer while watching the sunset at the small park in Bairro Alto.
  • Miradouro de Santa Luzia – see Alfama and the Tagus River at this popular observation deck in Alfama.
  • Miradouro da Graça – see all of Lisbon from Jardim da Cerca da Graça.
  • Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara – excellent day and night views of central Lisbon from Jardim dos Namorados.

5. Learn about Portuguese culture through unique museums in Lisbon

There is no shortage of museums in Lisbon. But there are a few special ones that are unique to the city. If you only have few days in Lisbon, learn about Portuguese culture through these museums:

  • Museu Nacional do Azulejo – the museum has several floors displaying traditional Portuguese tiles called azulejo, which are decorative blue and white glazed tiles. Free with Lisboa Card.
  • Fado Museum – learn everything you need to know about Fado (Portuguese music genre) through exhibits and audiovisual displays.
  • Museu Nacional de Arte Contemporânea – Museu do Chiado – see Portuguese art from the 19th century to the present day. 
  • Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga – there are four levels of Portuguese, European and other cultural painting and decorative art. I really enjoy the furniture, ceramics, and jewellery collection on the second floor. Free with Lisboa Card.

6. Admire Portuguese culture in Lisbon: Portuguese Pavement and Blue and White Tiles

Portugal is known for many things. But two of the most unique things that Portugal is known for are Portuguese pavement and Blue and White Tiles.

Calçada Portuguesa (Portuguese pavement) is a cobblestone pedestrian street where small, flat pieces of black and white stones are arranged in a pattern. These can be found throughout Portugal. And in Lisbon, places like Chiado, Rossio Square, Avenida de Liberdade, Rua Augusta and many other areas have this unique mosaic art.

There other is Azulejo, which are decorative blue and white glazed ceramic tiles and found on the interior and exterior of churches, regular houses, and many other buildings. When you roam around Lisbon, pay attention to the building exteriors and look inside places like Museu Nacional do Azulejo and Mosteiro de São Vicente de Fora.

7. Buy traditional Portuguese souvenirs

If you want to bring souvenirs from Portugal, there are many places in Lisbon where you can buy Portuguese blue and white tiles, items made with cork, and other cutesy knick knacks. And if you want to bring home some food souvenirs, check out Conserveira de Lisboa, a store that only sells canned sardines.

As for shops, there are many souvenir shops on Rua Augusta and surrounding area. Other souvenir shops are also found throughout Chiado, Alfama and other touristy neighbourhoods.

Moreover, there is a flea market every Tuesday and Saturday at Feira da Ladra. It’s quite a specular scene to see all the vendors displaying all their goods and the massive crowd enjoying the atmosphere. Plus, you can find something unique and special by rummaging through boxes of goods.

And if you are at the west end of the city, check out LX Market. Many vendors setting up stalls selling handicrafts and homemade goods.

8. Try traditional Portuguese food

The food in Lisbon is sooo good! No joke – I had some of the best food in Lisbon. And as a solo traveller, it didn’t feel intimidating eating on my own. Solo dining is fairly common especially at Timeout Market and local cafes and restaurants.

Below are some of my favourite places to eat.

  • Cervejaria Ramiro – this is the best seafood restaurant in Lisbon! Make sure to make a reservation before you go.
  • Pastéis de Belém – considered to be the best custard tarts in Lisbon. The takeout line-up is long and looks intimidating. But if you have a few moments, go to the back and sit in their lovely cafe and enjoy the egg tart and other treats.
  • Timeout Market – a popular modern marketplace for traditional and fusion Portuguese food.
  • As Bifanas do Afonso – queue for the cheap and delicious Bifana, pork sandwich
  • A Ginjinha – drink a shot of Ginjinha, a Portuguese liqueur made with Morello cherries at this popular shop

9. Get a Lisbon card and see many attractions for free

If you are only spending a few days in Lisbon, it might be worth getting a Lisbon Card so you can take some transportation and see some of the tourist attractions around the city for free. With the Lisbon Card, you can see many attractions in Lisbon, Belem, and Setubal.

There are three types of Lisboa Card. Choose from 24-hour, 48-hour and 72-hour. A Lisbon Card can save time and money if you can take advantage of seeing all the attractions that are part of the deal. I put together a post on how you can make the most out of the Lisbon Card if you are spending one, two or three days in Lisbon. They include day trips within Lisbon, Belem and Setubal.

10. Taking day trips from Lisbon

And speaking of day trips, Lisbon is an excellent home base for visiting other towns around the capital city.

If you are spending a few days in Lisbon, venture outside of the city and visit Belém, Sintra, Cascais and Setubal. These are just some of the best Lisbon day trips that you can take as a solo traveller. Here’s what you can see in each city:

  • Belém – Jeronimos Monastery, Torre de Belem, MAAT, and many museums. Try the famous custard tart at Pasteis de Belem.
  • Sintra – see Vila Sassetti, Pena Castle, Moorish Castle, and Quinta da Regaleira in one day.
  • Cascais – spend the day relaxes on one of several beaches in Cascais and visit Boca do Inferno and the Lighthouse Museum of Santa Marta.
  • Setubal – Fortress São Filipe, Mercado do Livramento and Setubal Museum, and try the choco frito (deep fried cuttlefish with fries)

Where to stay in Lisbon as a solo traveller

As a solo traveller, I prefer to stay in a central location so I can easily visit all the sites on foot. In Lisbon, the best places to stay for solo travellers are Chiado, Baixa, Alfama and Arroios.

Here are my top picks for hostels and hotels in Lisbon:

Are you ready to take a solo trip to Lisbon, Portugal?

I didn’t know much about Portugal before my solo trip but after I spent a few weeks in Lisbon and other parts of Portugal like Porto, Faro and Lagos on my first trip, I immediately feel in love with the country.

As a solo traveller, I thought Lisbon is an easy city to navigate as everything is in English. The city itself is interested and has many highlights. And most of all, I felt very safe while being on my own and it was budget-friendly.

I highly recommend Lisbon to anyone who has never been to Portugal. Get a taste of the Portuguese city and you will love it too. And you might just visit other parts of the country too.

I hope you found this post useful for planning your solo trip to Lisbon. Let me know in the comments what other questions you have about going to Lisbon alone.

Thank you for reading my solo Lisbon Portugal post

You might also like these other posts on solo travel in Portugal:

Lisbon region posts
Northern Portugal posts
Central Portugal posts
Algarve posts

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About Author

Hi, my name is Queenie, and I've been a solo traveller for 20+ years and currently based in Hong Kong. Follow me on my adventures through Instagram and my blog!

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