Yes, Lisbon is walkable. While it has a reputation for being hilly, Lisbon’s historic streets are indeed walkable. There is no need to rent a car, just remember to pack some good walking shoes! Lisbon is becoming a popular tourist destination due to not only its accessibility by foot, but also its friendly locals, fado music, and mosaic-lined architecture.
Is Lisbon Walkable? Navigating Lisbon:
If you are looking for a walkable, mid-sized city- Lisbon is a great choice! Many of the major visitor sights in Lisbon are within walking distance of Old Town Alfama, Chiado, and Bairro Alto, the historic neighborhoods in Lisbon.
For optimal walkability and minimal reliance on public transportation, I’d recommend staying in these neighborhoods. Not only will you be able to experience the history of Lisbon, but you’ll also be able to walk to popular sites such as the Castle of Sao Jorge, Carmo Convent, or the Santa Justa Elevator.
Walkable Sites in Lisbon
Exploring the Old Town Alfama Neighborhood:
Get lost in the streets of Alfama, and discover the Moorish and Roman influence of the city that dates back to the sixth century. You will encounter winding cobblestone streets lined with modern graffiti art mixed alongside Portugal’s classic blue and white tiles.
While you are walking around the neighborhood, be sure to stop by Sao Jorge Castle. This must-see historical monument transports you back to the 1100s and offers gorgeous views of the River Tagus as well as up close archaeological excavations on-site from the Bronze age.
Bring your ID to Sao Jorge Castle because if you are under 25 tickets will be discounted.
Walking Around Chiado:
Make your way down from Sao Jorge Castle towards Carmo Square. If you are tired of climbing Alfama’s hilly streets, you can rest in one of Chiado’s popular restaurants and grab a refreshing glass of Vinho Verde (which translates to “green wine”). Chiado offers notable street art as well as Carmo Convent, one of Lisbon’s last remaining reminders of the 1755 Earthquake that devasted the city.
Walkable Sites in Baixa (Downtown):
Take a stroll to the downtown area and head to the Praca de Comercio, a large plaza overlooking the waterfront. Grab food at some of the restaurants overlooking the water, or simply go for a walk or jog alongside the Tagus River.
Is Lisbon Safe?
Portugal is rated as one of the safest countries in Europe by the Global Peace Index and walking around Lisbon poses no extraordinary risk. I was pleasantly surprised that I didn’t even experience any catcalling or street harassment. Like most major cities in Europe, normal caution should be taken especially in tourist locations or at night.
Non-walkable spots in Lisbon: Public Transport
While most of the major Lisbon attractions are walkable, you may want to branch out to Belem, a municipality on the outskirts of Lisbon, or take a day trip to Sintra, or Cascais to see the coast.
Lisbon has historic yellow trams built in the early 1900s throughout the city that offer a practical way to get around as well as a charming experience for visitors. Be sure to check out Tram 28 which winds its way through the historic parts of town.
Historic Tram 28 is a popular tourist activity. I’d recommend lining up for the tram first thing in the morning to avoid the crowds.
Getting Out of Lisbon
Transport out of town to Sintra or to sea towns such as Cascais can be done easily by train. A quick walk to the Rossio train station can get you out of Lisbon for an easy day trip to the coast.
Belem, an area on the outskirts of Lisbon, is accessible by bus or train. Once you get to Belem you are able to easily walk to the Jeronimos Ministery, and Belem Tower. Be sure to get out of the sun by taking a break at Pasteis de Belem, the original location of Portugal’s iconic (and delicious) pastry.
Visiting Lisbon 101
Flights to Lisbon are very affordable- from the east coast of the U.S. I was able to fly direct on TAP (The Portuguese National Airline) for under $400 USD roundtrip!
When Should I Visit Lisbon?
I’d avoid the crowded hot summer months and aim to go in the spring or fall. I went in September and it was still warm but the crowds had dissipated.
How long should I go?
I’d recommend at least 3 days in Lisbon to experience all of the city sites. If you are interested in exploring coastal cities or Sintra, I’d add another day or two to your itinerary.
What should I bring to Lisbon?
Due to its cobblestoned lined hilly streets, I’d bring good walking shoes and light clothing. Make sure to pack sunscreen and hydrate frequently.
How affordable is Lisbon?
Once you arrive in Lisbon you can walk to most tourist sites, or rely on the affordable tram, train, and bus system to get yourself outside the city.
The average meal in Lisbon costs between 10 and 15 euros, with a glass of wine averaging 5 euros (such a steal for the quality of food and drink). Most tourist sites- churches, castles- cost under 10 euros for entry. Check to see if the tourist locations have student (under 25) or senior discounts- many do.
Tips for dining are not expected in Lisbon (or in other parts of Portugal), but a small tip is always appreciated.
In Conclusion: Is Lisbon Walkable?
Lisbon is absolutely walkable and is a great affordable option for your next trip. Be sure to wander the cobblestone streets, listen to some live fado music, and immerse yourself in the history of one of Europe’s oldest cities.