Hidden gardens, historic palaces, forgotten museums, and cozy cafes—Lisbon isn’t just home to the big and flashy. It’s also got plenty of quiet stops and spots for travelers who want to take a trip off the beaten path. Regardless of whether you are here as a first-time visitor or a seasoned wanderer, drop your things in one of the many furnished apartments in Lisbon and prepare for a unique experience.
Jardim das Amoreiras
The Amoreiras Garden is a small park located near Rato. It is a special place and a hidden gem because of the Águas Livres Aqueduct, which functions as one of the park’s boundaries.
It also has some stunning azulejos tile art alongside the exterior, by the aqueduct. If you are traveling with kids, this is a great opportunity to spend some time with family under the sun. The garden has a playground for your children so they are entertained while you relax with some coffee.
Feira da Ladra
This is the best place to find a special part of Lisbon you can take home with you. The Feira da Ladra, or the Thieves’ Market, is the largest flea market in the city. But don’t worry—the traders that set up shop here are perfectly legal. They also offer an exciting variety of knick-knacks, handmade goods, and other unexpected treasures.
The market is operational every Tuesday and Saturday, starting from dawn and stretching on until the early afternoon. While there are some small stalls, most traders opt to display their wares on a stretched-out blanket.
Cemitério do Alto de São João
Have you ever heard of a Halloween tourist destination? This cemetery is a local hidden gem and is bound to give you an unconventional experience. It is filled with small family crypts, known locally as jazigos. Many of these crypts feature interesting and intricately-designed doors. Architecture buffs will love all the different styles that have been used to construct the crypts around the area.
Parque Florestal de Monsanto
The Monsanto Forest Park is the largest green patch in Lisbon. It is a sprawling forest that goes over fifty hectares and it’s a great way to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the urban space. This is a large park filled with plenty of walking trails, picnic areas, and wildlife.
For nature buffs, it also offers a diversified tree-covered area. The forest went through an extensive reforesting period that saw the reintroduction of many species throughout the Monsanto Hills.
Aquario Vasco da Gama
Interested in knowing more about the world’s maritime species? The Vasco da Gama Aquarium is home to over 4,000 specimens of marine fauna and flora from the world’s various ecosystems. It has been operating since 1898 and is known as one of the oldest aquariums in the world.
Palácio de Belém
This is a museum dedicated to the past leadership of Portugal. If you are interested in finding out more about the politics of the country, this place has portraits of past presidents and a collection of gifts that were given to Portugal’s leaders throughout the years. Make sure you call ahead to find out when the English tours occur, since most of them are conducted in the local language.
Mosteiro dos Jerónimos
The Jerónimos Monastery, otherwise known as the Hieronymites Monastery, is the embodiment of the highest point in Manueline architecture. It was erected at the start of the 26th century under King Manuel I’s direction. This monastery is widely considered to be the most remarkable Portuguese monastic ensemble of its time and is now classified by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
Padrão dos Descobrimentos
Known as the Monument of the Discoveries in English, this structure is found on the northern bank of the Tagus river estuary. This is the same river where ships would depart to explore and trade with India and the Orient during the 15th and 16th centuries.
The original monument was constructed as a wood and plaster structure fo the 1940 World Fair. However, it had to be dismantled and remade in limestone, concrete and steel so it could stand the test of time. The current structure was made in the 1960s.
Campo Pequeno started out as a bullfighting ring and is widely considered tobe the first of its kind in the entire country. The building goes back as far as 1889. It is still used for bullfights on some occasions. However, on a day-to-day basis most people visit for the food court and shopping mall inside, with several bars and restaurants on the outside.
Santo Amaro Chapel
The Santo Amaro Chapel has some breathtaking views of the giant statue of Jesus across the Tagus River, as well as the Ponte 25 de Abril Bridge. If you head indoors, you’ll be treated to some richly colored azulejos, or tile-work. Make sure you visit on a bright and sunny day; this way, you increase your chances of getting a good picture of the bridge with some elegant shadows cast by the wrought iron gates.