Lisbon is Europe’s second oldest capital (after Athens), and was once home to the world’s greatest explorers like Vasco da Gama, Prince Henry the Navigator and of course our favourite explorer Magellan! Becoming the first true world city, Lisbon was the capital of an empire spreading over all seven continents from South America (Brazil) to Asia (Macao). The former launch pad for many of the world’s greatest voyages is now where modern travellers come to explore.
Top 3 Excursions
Lisbon is always full of amazing adventures and beautiful highlights. Before you embark on your cruise, you will need to plan ahead and do some research to make sure you prioritise what you want to see as there is never enough time to fit in all of the highlights that Lisbon has to offer.
If you would prefer to join an organised tour rather than explore independently, Cruise & Maritime Voyages offer an extensive Shore Excursion Programme taking in the main highlights of Lisbon, so you can relax while we do all the hard work!
Lisbon’s Highlights and Estoril
Our ‘Lisbon’s Highlights and Estoril’ tour provides guests with a panoramic drive of Portugal’s capital, taking you through the Baixa district where you will see famous squares such as Comercio and Rossio. A drive along Liberty Avenue lined with stores belonging to all the top designers is also included. A stop is made at King Edward VII Park for views across the city. The tour then takes you out to Estoril where you get some free time to enjoy a stroll along the promenade or through the gardens of the Casino, famous for being a gathering point for spies, dispossessed royals and wartime adventurers! Returning to the city via the River Tagus coast line and through the Belem district, a stop is made for you to take photos at the Monument to the Discoveries.
Lisbon’s Famous Sights
This tour provides our guests with a panoramic drive through Lisbon with stops at a few of the major tourist attractions. A visit is made to the Church of the St Jeronimos Monastery which has the tomb of Portugal’s greatest Discoverer, Admiral Vasco de Gama. A photo stop is made for our guests at the Belem Tower where there are also views of the Monument to the Discoveries. Your tour continues with a drive across the 25th April Bridge where a stop is made at the foot of the ‘Christ the King’ monument. Back across and into the city, the panoramic tour again passes through the Baixa district with its mix of architectural styles of buildings and beautiful squares with a stop overlooking the city at King Edward VII Park.
Sintra, Guincho & Cascais
Our ‘Sintra, Guincho & Cascais’ tour takes guests away from Lisbon, along the coast and into the hills. A stop is made in Cascais, a coastal town, where you have some free time to explore independently. Continuing along the coast a stop is made at Praia do Guincho where there are views of Cabo da Roca, the most westerly point of mainland Europe. The final stop is made up in the tree-clad hills to the north of Lisbon at a town called Sintra, hailed by Lord Byron as a ‘Glorious Eden’. Sintra is a beautiful town surrounded by dense and sub-tropical vegetation with an impressive ‘Royal Palace’ in the centre.
Top 3 Restaurants
Tágide Wine and Tapas Bar
Tágide Wine and Tapas Bar - Located in upmarket Chiado, below the famous restaurant of the same name. This casual, slick, modern tapas bar has pretty views to the river and wine dished out via self-dispensing enoteca machines. Small sharing platters are imaginative with two course lunch specials starting from just €9.50, which include a glass of wine and coffee too.
Click here to view the menu.
Time Out Mercado da Ribeira
Opening in 2014 the food court at the Mercado da Ribeira – Lisbon’s biggest fresh food market, has become a firm favourite amongst many Lisboans, with the Market hosting a total of 35 kiosks selling regional specialities from Azeitão sheep's cheese to plates of ham from the Alentejo. Five top chefs have restaurants here offering clever dishes from just €5 (marinated mackerel with gazpacho at Alexandre Silva). Enjoy a few hours here on one of the high wooden benches working your way around Portugal’s culinary highlights.
One of Lisbon’s four restaurants with a Michelin star, Feitoria offers you rich textures and bright flavours that dominate throughout the tasting menu. Overlooking the river front, discover Portugal’s rich and vibrant bounties such as Egg-yolk, cheese and spinach ravioli with mushrooms and truffles or Iberian pork neck with smoked eel. Those opting for the tasting menu also receive a wax sealed menu of the evening signed by the chef – a nice touch.
Click here to view the menus.
Top 3 Etiquette Tips
When greeting females or mixed company, an air kiss on both cheeks is common courtesy. Men give each other a handshake.
It is considered disrespectful to visit churches as a tourist during Mass. Taking photos at such a time is definitely inappropriate.
Whatever you eat, you must pay for, whether or not you ordered it. It's common practice for restaurants to bring bread, butter, cheese and other goodies to the table, but these are never free and will be added to your bill at the end. If you don't want them, a polite 'no thank you' will see them returned to the kitchen.
Top 3 Souvenirs
Portuguese soaps are renowned worldwide as luxury products, especially those of Claus Porto and Castelbel. Antiga Barbearia de Bairro is, inspired by the green spaces of Lisbon’s Principe Real neighbourhood and by the memories of old shaving rituals. Available at various gift shops around Lisbon, it is also handmade and includes regular soap, shaving soap and a classic wooden shaving brush.
It’s no surprise that Portugal is a seafaring nation and as such the people of Portugal are big fans of a sea food dinner. Fish has come to symbolise Portuguese cuisine, canned fish is often a charming souvenir for friends, especially with the retro designs and packaging. Add it to a gourmet basket for your friends and family including award winning olives, oils, cheeses and the only tea produced in Europe, the green tea from the Azores.
Tile painting is Portugal’s national art. You’ll find a variety of designs in Lisbon, from classic baroque reproductions to contemporary pieces and centuries old antiques. Lisbon is also home to the world’s largest tile art gallery and you’ll want to look for special pieces like Solar, Fábrica Sant’Anna, or Loja dos Descobrimentos, some of which accept custom orders for special personalised gifts.
Top 3 Free Things to Do
ViniPortugal is the trade body that promotes Portugese wines, and they also offer visitors a chance to sample some of the country’s finest wines for absolutely nothing. From Tuesday to Saturday 11am to 7pm, ViniPortugal's Sala Ogival de Lisboa offers free wine tasting sessions every hour with the choice of wine changing every month. ViniPortugal staff are on hand to explain the history behind each label, and the variety of grapes used. If you find something you like, some wines available for tasting can also be purchased.
Igreja de São Roque
The non-descript façade of this Church belies a dazzling interior. Founded towards the end of the 16th century by the Jesuit Order, the riot of carved, gilded and painted woodwork is extraordinary, as is the marble sculpture and Florentine azulejos (tiles) that embellish the design. But it is one particular chapel that steals the show – the 18th-century Capela de São João Baptista. Constructed in Rome by craftsman who used amethyst, alabaster, lapis lazuli, gold, silver and precious marbles, the sanctuary is absolutely breath-taking in its intricacy: the mosaics depicting St John the Baptist's life remain as illuminating as the day they were set. The neighbouring museum, Museum of San Roque exhibits a wealth of religious artefacts.
Jardim do Príncipe Real
Jardim do Principe Real has been one of the favourite spots among locals for more than 100 years. Many Lisboans like to come to the Garden to play cards, families come with their kids to play in the playground, and couples sit in the shade of the old cypress which is more than 100 years old. What’s more, Saturday is the day to buy fresh fruit and vegetables at the Biological Products Market, it really is a must for anyone looking to unwind and relax like the locals.