Centuries of reinvention and restoration pile on top of one another in Portugal’s dazzling, sun-blessed capital.


Here, time-worn trams trundle through medieval streets and the scent of freshly baked custard tarts permeates the air. Modern Portugal has emerged in this historic city, too, offering nightlife, shopping and business to rival Europe’s major capitals.

Essential sights

Mosteiro dos Jerónimos

This palatial monastery in Belém, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is one of the finest buildings in all Lisbon. An architectural masterpiece with a rich history of world explorers and devoted monks, it’s best visited for its ornate stonework and lovely surrounding gardens.

National Ancient Art Museum

One of the highlights of this extensive gallery is the collection of 16th-century Japanese screens depicting the arrival of the Portuguese in Japan. The consistently intriguing and enlightening historical and artistic exhibits also include a dazzling display of 18th-century silverware.

Lisbon Cathedral

The Sé of Lisboa is the oldest major church in the city, with its origins in the 12th century. Stop by this medieval marvel when wandering around Alfama to discover its Gothic cloisters and glistening treasure. And if your appetite for religious architecture hasn’t been sated, don’t miss the eye-catching Estrela Basilica.

Castle of Lisbon

São Jorge Castle is almost impossible to miss, standing proud above the historic centre. Its simple crenellated design has become emblematic of Lisbon and its medieval skyline. Roam the fortifications and take in views of the city from the cannon emplacements.

Tower of Belém

Belém’s other majestic medieval monument, this 16th-century guard tower stands watch at the scenic entrance to the Tagus River. Visit to see stunning, elaborate stonework that has weathered the years marvellously.