A few of these 11 hidden gems in Lisbon are hidden in plain sight, but these places are not Lisbon’s main tourist attractions. They are not the reason you come to Lisbon, but once you discover them, you will say “That is one of the coolest things I did in Lisbon.”
Mosteiro de São Vicente de Fora
Lisbon has some really cool, old monasteries. Without a doubt, you should go inside the Jerónimos Monastery in the Belém neighborhood. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Built in 1501, it is probably the most amazing piece of architecture in Lisbon. For more information, read my article Is the Jerónimos Monastery worth visiting?
But the other monastery, the Monastery of São Vicente de Fora, is one that many people are unaware of and aren’t planning to visit.
Why should you visit this hidden gem?
It is one of the best places in Lisbon to see blue and white azulejo tile. There are two cloisters in this monastery. The larger of the two is covered in blue and white azulejo tile.
Upstairs, you will find still more azulejos – illustrating the fables of La Fontaine.
Underneath the sacristy, an archaeological project reveals what are thought to be tombs of the crusaders.
Above ground, you will see the tombs of most of the kings of the House of Braganza.
It is also believed that the Chapel of St. Anthony was built in the exact location where St. Anthony lived as a monk.
As the headquarters of the Catholic Church in Lisbon, the second floor holds an impressive collection of religious items and vestments.
Surprisingly, the upper floor has a large collection of seashells found on the Portuguese coast.
Finally, you can go out on the roof and take in views of the Alfama neighborhood and the Tejo River. There is no access for those with limited mobility.
Entry costs 5€. Students and senior citizens pay 2.50€. Children under 12 are free. Open Tuesday -Sunday 10 am -6 pm. The last admission is 5 pm. Closed Mondays.
90-minute group tours can be arranged in advance. Tours are offered in English, Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information on the Monastery of St. Vincent Outside of the Gates, read my Visit São Vicente de Fora in Lisbon: Everything you need to know
Igreja de São Roque Church
St. Roch (São Roque) was the patron saint of plague victims. This church was built in the middle of a cemetery for those who died of the plague. Construction occurred from 1506-1619.
The church stands in a quiet square, Largo Trindade Coelho, and has a humble facade. It is the first Jesuit Church in the Portuguese empire.
It was also the first Jesuit church built in the auditorium style.
Looking at the very basic exterior of the church, you would never guess the elaborate riches and artwork contained inside.
There are eight chapels trimmed in gold. Additionally, there are another five altars in the church. You will be humbled sitting in the pews of this church.
The most famous chapel is the 18th century golden Chapel of St. John the Baptist. At one point the most expensive chapel in the world, it was built in Rome and shipped to Lisbon in pieces.
The church also has a large museum of religious art and liturgical items that is worth checking out. Admission to the museum is 2.50€. Seniors and children do not pay.
The church itself is free to enter.
For more information, see my article, São Roque Church in Lisbon – What to know before visiting
Trams 12E and 24E
Everyone wants to ride the iconic Lisbon Tram 28E. The beautiful little tram is like a museum on wheels, and its tracks go through both the central and western parts of the city.
Tram12E stops at the best stops on the Tram 28E route, but does not continue on to the western side of the city.
The circular route begins and ends at Martim Moniz, the same station that Tram 28E takes off from, but the line for Tram 12E will be much shorter.
Just like with Tram 28E, you will pass by St. Anthony Church and the Lisbon Cathedral. You will also have the option to get off at the beautiful scenic viewpoints of Santa Luzia or Portas do Sol.
From there, you could walk uphill to the castle, or uphill to the Graça neighborhood and the beautiful Miradouro da Graça viewpoint, or you could wander downhill through the Alfama neighborhood.
(If you are looking for the quickest, easiest way to get to the castle, take bus 737 from Praça da Figueira to the castle doors.)
Or, ride the Tram 12E down to Praça da Figueira or Martim Moniz.
Tram 24E starts at Praça Luís de Camões in the Chiado neighborhood and then runs uphill. You will pass by the Ascensor da Gloria and the Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara viewpoint.
You will pass by the boutique shopping center Embaixada, across the street from the beautiful Jardim do Príncipe Real garden.
From there it is on to the modern neighborhoods of Rato, the 18th-century aqueduct, and the Amoreiras Shopping Center. After shopping for a bit, you can go up to the mall’s observation deck for panoramic views of the city.
Then reboard the tram to ride back in the opposite direction.
Either tram ride takes about 25 minutes to complete (plus traffic). Both cost 3€ and you can zap your Viva Viagem card or you can ride any of Lisbon’s trams, buses or metro for free with a Lisboa Card.
National Tile Museum
Portugal is famous for its blue and white azulejo tile mosaics. And this fantastic museum chronicles how the tiles have looked from the15th to 21st centuries.
The museum is located in the old Convento da Madre de Deus building (1509). With your admission, you will also get to visit one of the most beautiful churches in Lisbon – the 18th-century Baroque Chapel of St. Anthony.
Rua Madre de Deus, 4
The museum is closed on Mondays.
Admission is 5€. Senior citizens pay 2.50€
Bus 749 starts at Restauradores Square and reaches Rua Madre de Deus in roughly 20 minutes.
On the way to the museum, keep your eyes peeled for local plastic artist Bordalo II’s private workshop. It is set back from the road a bit, but you will know it when you see the monkey on the building.
You can get a much closer look at his work at the LX Factory and on the back side of the Elevador da Santa Justa.
Kiosk at Ribeira das Naus
Sangria, sangria. Could this be the best spot in all of Lisbon to enjoy a glass of sangria or a glass of wine on a hot summer day? Or a beer or coffee if you prefer.
This kiosk has tables and deck chairs right on the Tejo River. It is located on the Ribeira das Naus Riverside walkway between Praça do Comércio (go west) and Cais do Sodré Ferry Terminal.
Miradouro da Graça
I suspect that many first-time visitors to Lisbon never see this beautiful miradouro or scenic viewpoint. Graça is not a tourists’ neighborhood, and the neighborhood is a steep half a kilometer uphill past the Portas do Sol viewpoint.
Once you make it to the top of the hill though, everything flattens out, and there are lots of good options for dining nearby.
Go through the park with the fountain in front of the convent, and the Miradouro da Graca sits in the little church courtyard. The courtyard is filled with pine trees, tables, and a kiosk selling refreshments.
In my opinion, this is the best place in Lisbon to watch the sunset.
The Miradouro da Graça is also known as the Miradouro de Sophia de Mello de Breyner Andresen, as the poet enjoyed and spent a lot of time at this miradouro.
For more information on this beautiful gem, see my article A guide to the beautiful Miradouro de Graça viewpoint
The Miradouro da Nossa Senhora do Monte is another great viewpoint very close by.
Costa da Caparica Beaches
South of Lisbon, across the Ponte 25 de Abril Bridge, you will find miles and miles of blue flag beaches. You can find surfing schools, oceanfront restaurants, kitesurfing schools, campgrounds, a nude beach, heiroglyphs, and even a gay beach.
Even if you don’t have a car, you can access these beaches by bus or bus and ferry. To learn more, read my article Explore Lisbon’s beaches on the Costa da Caparica
In August, there is the Caparica Sol Music Festival.
Fábrica do Braço de Prata
Not accessible by public transportation, it is maybe a 10€ cab ride from the central Baixa neighborhood.
Located in a mixed-use neighborhood behind a white fence with murals on it, at first it seems as if you have stumbled into an RV-Park. Indeed, there are a lot of caravans and RVs.
Walk through and you eventually make it to an outdoor stage and a terrace surrounded by murals. This looks like the kind of place hippies would hang out, but it is a bit more than that.
Part community center, part performing arts space, part library, part bar, and restaurant – you never know what you will get at this former arms-manufacturing plant.
Miradouro do Monte Agudo
This miradouro or scenic viewpoint is not listed in all of the guidebooks. It is hidden behind a school at the top of a very steep hill in a residential neighborhood.
A gathering spot for young Lisboetas, you will likely be the only foreigner there. Maybe someone is sitting on the wall playing the guitar, not to make money, but to entertain their friends.
There will be dogs, but there won’t be a lot of people at this spot. There is a kiosk selling snacks and beverages. it seems like many bring their own to watch the sunset here.
From the Anjos metro station (green line), go to the Rua de Angola on the corner and look uphill. You can’t exactly see the miradouro, but it is there at the top.
Proceed up the steep hill. If on foot, you can go to either the right or the left once you come to the park. Steep stairs to the left, a long steep inclining road to the right. Continue to the top.
If you went to the left, now go right on to Rua da Penha da Franca. Pass the school and find the gate that allows you to go behind the school.
If you went to the left, choose right this time. Rua Heliadoro Salgado will merge into Rua Penha da Franca. Before this, on your left, find the gate that goes behind the school.
Jardim do Torel
The Jardim do Torel is a miradouro on the east side of Avenida da Liberdade near Praca dos Restauradores and the Hard Rock Cafe. One block east of Avenida da Liberdade you will find the Ascensor do Lavra – Lisbon’s oldest funicular.
For 3€ you can do a round trip (up and down the hill) on this funicular if you complete the return trip within an hour. You can pay cash, use the Viva Viagem card with its declining balance. use a CARRIS 24-hour pass, or use the Lisboa Card to ride for free.
Once at the top of the hill, turn left, and then left again. Turn right and follow the fence until you arrive at the entrance to the Torel Garden. Entrance to the garden is free, but it closes at 8 pm.
This is a quieter miradouro. There won’t be much of a crowd here. You might decide to picnic here, overlooking downtown Lisbon.
The top of the Rua Augusta Arch
The Rua Augusta Arch is a gateway from the Tejo River and Praça do Comércio into the city of Lisbon. It is an impressive piece of sculpture and architecture.
Not all visitors are aware that you can go inside and up to the viewing deck for fantastic views of the Baixa, Alfama, the Castle, Praça do Comércio, and the Tejo River.
Enter ar Rua Augusta, 2. An elevator goes most of the way up, but then you have to navigate a very tight spiral staircase of about 40 stairs.
Thank you for reading! I am confident that at least one of these 11 hidden gems in Lisbon will make it onto your list of “The Best Things I did in Lisbon.” I hope you enjoy!
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