Well Traveled In Lisbon, Portugal: Hotels, Hot Spots & More
Perhaps one of the most beautiful cities I've ever visited, Lisbon has topped my personal list of recommended destinations. Portugal is known for its stunning coastline, fresh seafood and light bites, delicious wine, and impeccable architecture; its capital city, Lisbon, offers the best of all those highlights. And once you venture to the surrounding areas, you'll see how laid-back and nature-loving the locals are.
So, really, there's something for everyone. Here, our favorite spots.
Where to stay.
While touring historic Lisbon, you'll want a place to rest and recharge between it all. And we also recommend venturing outside city limits to experience more of what the country has to offer.
This five-star boutique hotel is located in one of the trendiest areas of Lisbon, making it a perfect home base if nothing but for the location. But of course, it makes our list for more than that: The light, airy, and brightly decorated rooms offer a resting place that feels joyful and fun (much like the city itself). The cafe serves local beers and bites (as well as delicious coffees in the morning to get you going). The rooftop restaurant Lumi offers impeccable views of the skyline, alongside a fresh menu. The spa offers massages, body work, and beauty treatments from the top professionals in the city.
- Price point: $$
- Area: Barrio Alto, Lisbon
- Accommodations: Cafe, restaurant, rooftop bar, spa, gym
- Book now: https://www.thelumiares.com/
Perched atop the surfing haven of Ericeira (a 45-minute drive from Lisbon), Immerso is the ideal wellness destination for those looking to explore just outside the city so they can enjoy the sand and surf and embrace a slowed-down pace. Not only does the hotel offer impeccable design and breathtaking views of the ocean and surrounding areas, but the amenities are for the world-class wellness enthusiast. The food is local and nutritious (they even have a garden on the grounds so they can easily source herbs and vegetables), the spa offers restorative treatments, and you have access to tailor-made excursions, like surfing lessons or yoga on the beach. Not to mention, the hotel was designed to be as sustainable as possible. They also have a very impressive sustainability protocol, which includes renewable energy sources and organic products.
- Price point: $$
- Area: Ericeira
- Accommodations: Spa, surfing, yoga, gym, natural and local sourced foods, natural wines and cocktails, pool, sustainable design
- Book now: https://immerso.pt/en/
Lisbon is one of the best places to visit for an active traveler: Its surrounding areas are perfect for water sports, hikes, and enjoying nature. And touring the city itself can provide quite the workout even if you're just sightseeing.
Marvel at Sintra's castles
North of the city, nestled in forests of the Serra de Sintra, is the small village of Sintra. I have no other way to describe it other than a fairy-tale village—with a collection of castles between majestic pinewood forests. Several of the castles are open to the public for tours, along with the village center's shops and restaurants. The most popular attraction is the National Palace of Pena and its surrounding parks, full of lush, exotic botanicals.
Portugal has world-class surfing, thanks to its prime real estate on the Atlantic coast. For serious enthusiasts, Ericeira is not to be missed. The seaside city is one of the most enchanting places to visit on the silver coast, largely due to the global surfing community it attracts (it's deemed the unofficial surfing capital of the country and suitable for both beginners and professionals). It's Europe's first and only World Surfing Reserve, which are areas designated to preserve and protect the environment. And for days when you're not catching the waves, the city has incredible beaches and seafood hot spots to enjoy.
Enjoy historical sightseeing
There is no shortage of architectural feasts in Lisbon—just walking throughout the city will provide ample opportunities to stop and marvel at the historic buildings, which include cathedrals and castles. If you're looking for more guidance on stops along the way, Belém Tower (a medieval defense tower on the coast), São Jorge Castle (a Moorish castle), and Jerónemous Monastery (a gothic monastery) are simply breathtaking. Not for nothing, but the hilly landscape means you'll be getting your steps in—I highly recommend wearing appropriate walking shoes.
Spend a day in Cascais
Hop on the train heading west all the way to the last stop, and you'll find yourself in Cascais. The stylish resort town has charming beaches, upscale shops, and delicious restaurants. It's a fairly walkable city, so you don't need to overly plan a visit—you might just be perfectly happy to stroll around and see what gems you find. But if you're looking for more guidance, I recommend visiting the beach Praia da Conceição (and neighboring beach cove Rainha) and the town square.
With scores of restaurants that prioritize fresh food and natural wines, you'll be well fed during your time here.
This spot earned itself two Michelin stars for 2023. Chef Henrique Sá Pessoa has crafted a culinary masterpiece by blending local ingredients and influences, global inspiration, and of course, Portuguese mainstays. To dine, there are three options: Alma (which is a roving selection of chef's favorites), Costa a Costa (a tribute to the country's amazing seafood selections), and a la carte.
- Cuisine: Portuguese dishes with global influences and a fine dining flare
- Price point: $$$
- Dietary consideration options: Sustainably caught seafood, local ingredients, natural wine
- Setting: Upscale
- Menu & info: https://www.almalisboa.pt/pt
For traditional Portuguese tapas, there are tabernas a plenty to pop into while in Lisbon. They're a perfect place to share bottles of natural wine, snack on olives, and sample local fare. This is a favorite taberna of mine, where the friendly, knowledgeable staff will guide you through their advanced wine selections and give you sightseeing tips. The restaurant is across the street from Praça de São Paulo, where you can sit outside, under the stars, and laugh your night away.
- Cuisine: Traditional Portuguese small plates
- Price point: $
- Dietary consideration options: Pescetarian, vegetarian, natural wine
- Setting: casual—try to sit outside if the weather allows
- Menu & info: http://tabernatosca.com/tosca/eng/#3
For snacks, groceries, and wine, stop by this market that sells produce from small farmers and wine from the various nearby regions. The bar in the shop also does sandwiches, small plates, and charcuterie boards.
- Cuisine: Wine, groceries, and small plates
- Price point: $$
- Dietary consideration options: All local—a wide variety of natural wines and produce
- Setting: Casual
- Menu & info: https://comidaindependente.pt/
Locals' attire is stylish yet laid back—with a strong focus on well-made basics. Here, some of my favorite Portuguese finds.
Benamôr Jacaranda Moisturizing Hand Cream
- Comes in 6 unique scents
- 2 sizes available
- Made with aloe vera and other natural ingredients grown in Portugal
This natural brand from Portugal was founded in the 1920s, and quickly became the favorite beauty brand of Lisbonites in the know (including, its rumored,Queen Amélie.) The brand has several delightful scents, but for something that captures the essence of Lisbon, opt for Jacaranda. Jacaranda is Lisboa's iconic tree that blankets the city in a vivid lilac bloom and serene scent every spring.
Claus Porto 8741 Pear Sandalwood Soap Bar
- Plant-based soaps enriched with botanical oils (like shea oil) for a hydrating lather
- Stunning paper packaging that doubles as a keepsake
You cannot leave Portugal without grabbing one of these soap bars from Claus Porto (or a candle, fragrance, or one of their other treasures). The soaps are wrapped in paper that rivals artwork—each meticulously designed to play homage to the brand’s past (it was founded in 1887), Portugal’s unique architecture, or vintage motifs.
ISTO Cotton Sweater
- Comes in 3 other colorways
- XS to XL
- Reasonably priced for the quality
This Portuguese brand believes in radical transparency—from how they price their products and supply chain. But we love them because they make high-quality basics that serve you well year round, like this GOTS Certified Organic Cotton knit sweater.
Plus 351 Clear Blue Leather Cardholder
- 8 vibrant colorways
- Slim fit for pockets — and bags of any size
This trendy brand is inspired by and based in Lisbon from designer and founder Ana Penha e Costa. The cool, simple aesthetic – with sophisticated bright pops of color — will help you fit in with the local fashion. I love this 100% leather card holder, which slips in bags and purses effortlessly.
Lisbon is a stunning European find that's finally getting its due as a must-see city, thanks to its thriving restaurant scene, historic architecture, and incredibly friendly locals. Plus, for those looking for a well-being reset, the city and its surrounding areas offer ample opportunities for exploring nature, movement, and relaxation.