Are there still places to be discovered in the city of the seven hills? We believe so. That´s why we have decided to share Lisbon off the beaten path with you, revealing our favourite Lisbon hidden gems as well as some Lisbon secrets.
If you are planning to visit the amazing city of Lisbon, you shouldn´t miss at any cost this incredible itinerary (all modesty aside) we wrote for you.
#1 Does it look like a charming French castle? Maybe. But it´s Lisbon´s prison
I don´t know if there is a list of the most beautiful prisons in the world. But, if such list exists, this establishment should be placed on the top. Those who pass by and see its exterior appearance might have a hard time believing this building is actually a prison.
Location: Rua Marquês de Fronteira nº54, Lisboa (Click here to find it on Google Maps)
#2 Does it look like we’re in Thailand? Maybe. But this Thai pavilion is located in one of Belém parks
This pavilion was a gift from the Thailand Government to celebrate 500 years of bilateral relations between Thailand and Portugal.
Location: You can easily find this pavilion while visiting Belém. It´s not far from Pastéis de Belém. Click here to find it on Google Maps.
#3 Does it look like the iconic Burj Al Arab hotel in Dubai? Maybe. But this is the Myriad Hotel in Lisbon
These two buildings have more in common than its exterior appearance. Both are hotels.
The Burj Al Arab is worldly known as one of the most luxurious hotels in the whole world. Myriad By SANA Hotels is certainly less known than its counterpart, but it has suites with a privileged view to the Tagus River and promises not to disappoint the fans of luxury hotels planning a visit to the Portuguese capital.
Location: Cais das Naus, lote 2 .21.01, Parque das Nações, Lisboa (Click here to find it on Google Maps)
#4 Does it look like an imposing Moorish palace? Maybe. But it’s the Campo Pequeno Bullring
This building has a peculiar neo-Arab architecture. It´s different from all the other buildings of Lisbon. Nowadays, this magnificent edifice besides being a bullring, it´s also a shopping center with several restaurants and cinemas. Lots of concerts also take place here.
Location: Take the metro and leave at “Campo Pequeno” station. Click here to find it on Google Maps
#5 Does it look like the sumptuous Versailles Palace? Maybe. But it´s Ajuda Palace
The Palace of Versailles is widely known as one of the largest and most opulent palaces in the world. Ajuda Palace is way lesser known than its brother, but its majestic interiors still make a visit to this place worth it.
If you want to see more photos and read more about this Lisbon hidden gem, click here.
Localização: Largo Ajuda, Lisboa. Click here to find it on Google Maps
#6 Does it look like a Soviet-style building? Maybe. But it’s Lisbon´s Palace of Justice
Although the architects who designed Lisbon´s Palace of Justice are Portuguese, everything in this building seems perfect to fit in any Eastern European city.
Location: Rua Marquês de Fronteira. It´s close to Lisbon´s prison. Click here to find it on Google Maps
#7 Does it look like Morocco? Maybe. But it’s Casa do Alentejo
The courtyard of Casa do Alentejo has undeniably a strong Arab influence. As the name suggests, Casa do Alentejo serves as the Embassy of Alentejo Region in Lisbon. But here you will also find a restaurant and a tavern
Location: Rua das Portas de Santo Antão,nº 58, Lisboa. Click here to find it on Google Maps
#8 Does it look like a charming Italian garden? Maybe. But it’s the garden of Fronteira Palace
Lisbon has another Palace waiting for you to discover it.
It´s quite normal that this garden resembles an Italian one, because it was built for that purpose. Fronteira Palace and its gardens are one of the best kept secrets of Lisbon.
Location: Largo São Domingos de Benfica nº 1, Lisboa. Click here to find it on Google Maps
#9 Does it look like a Jesuit college? Years ago it was. Today, this is one of the departments of Universidade Nova de Lisboa
Location: Campus de Campolide, Lisboa. Click here to find it on Google Maps
#10 Does it look like a palace? Well, it is one, but it´s a special kind of palace. A palace where you can go to have lunch or even dinner
Palácio Chiado is an old palace that was restored and nowadays is one of the gastronomic hotspots of Lisbon. If you choose this place to have a meal, you can admire the beautiful frescoes while trying different delicacies. Palácio Chiado hosts 6 different restaurants
Location: Rua do Alecrim nº 70, Lisboa. Click here to find it on Google Maps
#11 Does it look like the facade of a contemporary art gallery? Maybe. But it’s the McDonald’s of Campo Grande
Location: Jardim do Edifício Caleidoscópio, Lisboa. Click here to find it on Google Maps
#12 Does it look like a village in the countryside of Portugal? Maybe. But this is the neighborhood of Alfama, right in the heart of Lisbon
Alfama is one of the most genuine places in Lisbon. It is the 2nd oldest district in Europe. Here, its inhabitants continue to lead their lives just as they always did.
Location: Click here to find it on Google Maps
#13 Does it look like an urban art gallery in a parking lot? Well, it is.
Chão do Loureiro Parking lot (Parque de Estacionamento do Chão do Loureiro) is an authentic urban art gallery. On these walls, you will find works by 5 renowned national artists.
Location: Calçada do Marquês de Tancos, Lisboa. Click here to see it on Google Maps
#14 Does it looks like the apartment of your dreams perfectly located in downtown Lisbon? This is Casa Balthazar, our all-time favourite boutique hotel in Lisbon
Regarding accommodations in Lisbon, Casa Balthazar is in our humble opinion a diamond in the rough, It´s not part of a big chain of hotels, but rather a small family owned hotel.
There are currently 17 rooms. 3 rooms with jacuzzi and breathtaking views to the Castle of St Jorge.
#15 Does it looks like a hipster co-working space? Well, that´s precisely what Village Underground is.
Village Undergroundt has “14 maritime containers and two old buses and now serve as an office for 35 entrepreneurs, who develop 19 different projects there.”
Location: Museu da Carris, Rua 1º de Maio, nº 103, Alcântara, Lisboa
#16 Does it look like a green paradise somewhere in a tropical destination? Maybe. But it is the Convento de São Saturnino Hotel
It is not located in Lisbon, but within a short distance. More precisely, at a distance of 39 km from Lisbon and 16 km from Sintra.
The Convento de São Saturnino is a charming accommodation that enjoys a privileged position. Overlooking the Atlantic, situated in a green valley in the natural reserve of Serra de Sintra – Cascais.
For more information and photos about this location, click here.
#17 Does it look like a decaying old factory converted into a creative hotspot? That´s precisely what LX Factory is
For years, Alcântara was just another Lisbon district, it didn´t get as much attention as the other trendier neighborhoods like Bairro Alto or Princípe Real, but ever since LX Factory, a former fabric factory , was successfully transformed into a creative hub, there´s a good reason to stop by.
At LX Factory you´ll find unique bookstores like Ler Devagar, some out of this world urban art adorning the walls, and also a loooooot of really cool restaurants, bars. Some of them even have an insane view to Tagus river. Oh, I almost forgot to tell you that there´s also a hostel inside the LX Factory, it´s called The Dorm.
Location: Rua Rodrigues de Faria 103, Lisboa
#18 Does it look like an underground museum? It kinda is. This is Alcântara-Mar train station
When the train stopped at Alcântara-Mar station I wasn´t expecting anything. The exterior appearance didn´t give away what I was about to find a few seconds later. Only when I climbed down the stairs I started noticing the colourful and vibrant walls. A masterpiece of urban artwork. It´s a shame that some of the painting had already visible signs of vandalism.
Location: Underground passage of Alcântara-Mar train station
#19 Does it look like a museum or antique shop turned into a bar? That´s Pavilhão Chinês our favourite bar in Lisbon.
When the sun is already set and you step inside Pavilhão Chinês, you´re teleported to another dimension. The walls are filled with a thousand and more pieces from the eighteenth to the twentieth centuries and just like your first day at school, deciding where you´re going to sit is not planned to be an easy task. There are 5 different rooms at Pavilhão Chinês, each more extraordinary than the other.
Pavilhão Chinês only opens at the end of the afternoon, more precisely at 6 p.m.
Location: Rua D. Pedro V, 89-91, Príncipe Real, Lisbon
#20 Does it look like a palace straight out a fairy tale from Disney? It could definitely be, but it´s Pena Palace in Sintra
If you opt for the wise choice of visiting Sintra, you´ll soon realize that Sintra is itself a fairytale town, having the chance to visit a palace worthy of being featured in a children storybook is just a big bonus.
Sintra is close from Lisbon and it´s easily accessible by train.
I truly hope you enjoyed the way I decided to present you Lisbon off the beaten path and Lisbon hidden gems. Do you agree with the comparisons? Would you like to add something else to this list?
If you´re planning a longer stay in Portugal, we strongly recommend you to read: Portugal Off the Beaten Track: Hidden Gems To Discover & Portugal Itinerary: A Really Quite Good Guide to Road Trip Portugal