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By Josie Hough - 4 min read

Available in: Français Português

Hidden gems to explore Lisbon like a local

As a European capital with extensive history, vibrant culture and beautiful architecture, there’s no end of things to do in Lisbon.

If you’re the type of traveler who loves to find secret spots on your trips to enjoy unique travel experiences, you’ll be happy to know there’s plenty of hidden gems in Lisbon too!

Join us in heading off the beaten tourist track and exploring Lisbon like a local for an authentic experience of the Portuguese capital! 🇵🇹

Find the secret bar with one of the best views in Lisbon

The best way to discover a city like a local is to stroll around the streets of its less-touristy neighborhoods. The labyrinth of hilly, narrow streets around Sao Jorge Castle in Lisbon is the ideal place to do this! You’ll discover pretty colorful doors, striking street art and hidden miradouros, or viewpoints.

One such viewpoint – potentially the best view in Lisbon – is located a steep 20-minute walk away from the castle. OK, so you might not be the only ones admiring the panoramic vistas from Miradouro da Nossa Senhora do Monte, but the extra effort it takes to walk up here will definitely deter the majority of tourists! Go there for sunset and you’ll get to enjoy the real hidden gem: a hip little bar, urban oasis and music venue called Secret Garden LX. Cocktails and sunset views of Lisbon, it really doesn’t get much better than that.

Visit the world’s smallest bookstore

Well, we don’t think you could get any smaller. Livraria Simão only has room for one person at a time – that is, either the owner OR the customer. Any extra space is filled with books – thousands of them in fact. You’ll find secondhand books of every genre imaginable here, and the friendly owner will happily help you find what you’re looking for. If you can’t wait to read your purchase, Nicolau Lisboa is located just down the street. Grab a seat in this contemporary, plant-filled café and you can read in peace while enjoying their delicious food.

Look out for incredible artwork on the streets

The city of Lisbon is a work of art in itself, packed full of artistic hidden gems. From historic buildings covered in beautiful traditional azulejo tiles to eye-catching street art telling its unique stories around every corner. Take the time to check out one of the relief portraits carved into the city by artist Vhils. You’ll find one of his first, dedicated to fado singer Amália Rodrigues, hidden behind the cathedral not far from the Memmo Alfama Hotel.

Get your culture fix in a former factory

As hidden gems often are, this unique space is located outside of the city center – just under the 25th April Bridge, in fact – but it’s definitely worth the journey there. The massive former factory has been converted into a cultural center with hip boutiques, more amazing art installations and tons of great places to eat and drink. Shared tables, odd chairs and quirky décor characterize the restaurants at LX Factory. Grab a refreshing natural juice or coffee at Café Na Fábrica to enjoy as you peruse the market stalls, and then head to 1300 Taberna for delicious fresh seafood when it’s time for lunch.

Eat where all the locals eat

… because those are always the best places! Treat your tastebuds to the delights of Portuguese cuisine at the cafés, adegas and restaurants that Lisbon’s residents have been eating at for decades. Our favorite? Parreirinha de São Vincente. In spite of its spectacular azulejo-covered façade, it’s a completely no fuss, no frills spot. Big platters piled high with grilled fish, meats and other local delicacies will give you all the energy you need to keep exploring Lisbon.

Indulge your tile obsession

If you’re not obsessed with tiles, you will be after visiting these enchanting hidden gems. There’s an entire museum dedicated to azulejos, ideal if you love them as much as we do! And if you’re just medium in love with them, you can head straight to the Restaurante Museu Azulejo instead to eat hearty dishes in a beautifully tiled and plant-filled setting.

Another spectacularly tiled hidden gem in Lisbon is the Hospital de Bonecas, or Doll Hospital. This unique family-run shop has been repairing dolls since 1800! Whether or not you’ve got a poorly doll who needs some TLC, it’s worth a stop by just for the experience.

Get lost in lush greenery

Though it may not seem it when you gaze over the huddled terracotta rooftops from the miradouros, Lisbon is home to a number of beautiful gardens offering a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle. An indoor botanical garden in the north of the city, Estufa Fria is the perfect place of a breath of fresh air surrounded by exotic plants. Plus, it’s free to enter on Sundays and public holidays!

Finally, continuing our hunt for tiles, there’s Quinta dos Azulejos. Way up to the north of the city near the airport, this spectacular garden is a leafy oasis filled with those iconic tiles. Make sure to grab some typical pastéis de nata from Manteigaria in the city before going in search of the park!

Travel like a local on your next trip

We hope this article has inspired you to plan your next trip to Lisbon! You’ll be exploring the Portuguese capital like a local in no time 😉

Find more hidden gems around the world to travel like a local on your next trip with personal and positive recommendations on TWISPER.

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About the author

Josie is a content creator at TWISPER. She loves traveling and writing about her experiences. Check out her top recommendations for places to eat, sleep and drink around the world on TWISPER!