5 Hidden Gems to Visit in Lisbon in 2023: Off-The-Beaten-Path Locations to Explore
Lisbon is a vibrant and exciting city that attracts millions of visitors each year.
In 2022, Portugal brought home three dozen awards from the World Travel Awards, and Lisbon won four awards: Best Metropolitan Destination by the Sea, Best City Break Destination and Best Cruise Destination, to which the Port of Lisbon was awarded the prize for Best Cruise Port in Europe.
From historic neighborhoods like Alfama and Belém to popular attractions like the Jerónimos Monastery and the Castelo de São Jorge, there is no shortage of things to see and do in Lisbon. However, there are also some hidden gems in the city that many tourists might not know about. Here are five off-the-beaten-path locations to explore on your next trip to Lisbon in 2023:
1. LX Factory
This former industrial complex in the Alcântara neighborhood from the 19th century has been transformed into a creative hub filled with trendy cafes, restaurants, shops, and art galleries. It’s a great place to spend a lazy afternoon browsing local artisanal products, having a glass of wine or enjoying live music at the outdoor amphitheater.
You can check out the events happening at LX Factory here.
2. Campo de Ourique
The least touristy neighborhood in central Lisbon is the last stop of trams 25 and 28. Its grid of streets was laid out in 1879, and today it’s mostly a suburban-like middle-class district that also has a growing number of foreign residents, particularly French. There are a few attractive late-19th-century buildings (many with interesting Art Nouveau features), but most are much more recent, from the last half of the 20th century. The main attraction is the covered market (Mercado de Campo de Ourique), which opened in 1934 to sell fresh fish and produce, but since 2013 it’s also a major dining destination, thanks to a number of food stalls.
Nearby is Casa Fernando Pessoa, the house where poet Fernando Pessoa lived for the last 15 years of his life, which has been turned into a museum and cultural center (more details below). The main highlight for tourists, however, is actually the cemetery, which has the peculiar name of Prazeres (“Pleasures”).
Insider tip: If you have time, visit the Aqueduto das Águas Livres, one of the most remarkable hydraulic and engineering constructions in the world, so much so that its 109 arches escaped the destruction of the devastating 1755 earthquake.
3. Casa-Museu Medeiros e Almeida
If you enjoy private residences that were turned into museums (such as New York’s Frick Collection or London’s Wallace Collection), you’ll want to visit Lisbon’s Medeiros e Almeida Museum. Not usually included on any of the tourist maps, it’s housed in a late-1800s mansion where António de Medeiros e Almeida (a renowned businessman) lived and collected works of art. Highlights of the 25 rooms include a Rembrandt portrait, paintings by Rubens, François Boucher and Tiepolo, sophisticated English and Swiss clocks which make up one of the world’s most notable private collections of such objects, French furnishings, some of the first Chinese porcelain to arrive in Europe, and a silver tea set used by Napoleon engraved with his symbolic “N”.
4. Miradouro da Senhora do Monte
While Lisbon is known for its many viewpoints or “miradouros,” this one located in the Graça neighborhood offers some of the most stunning views of the city. From here, you can see the red-tiled roofs of the city’s historic center, the Tagus River, and even the Cristo Rei statue across the river.
Insider tip: If you like walking and discovering cities by their (some more quiet than others) viewpoints, we recommend doing this trail by Rui Reino Baptista which includes the Miradouro da Senhora do Monte.
5. Calouste Gulbenkian Museum
Northeast of Eduardo VII Park is the Gulbenkian Museum, one of the world’s great museums and one of Europe’s unsung treasures. Part of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, it houses a magnificent collection of Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Islamic, Asian, and European art. It was substantially renovated and modernized in 2001 (many of its masterpieces were on display in New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art during renovation), and can’t be missed during a visit to Lisbon. This is one of the world’s finest private art collections, amassed over a period of 40 years by oil magnate Calouste Gulbenkian, who was one of the 20th century’s wealthiest men. In his later years he adopted Portugal as his home, and donated all of his stupendous art treasures to the country when he died in 1955 at the age of 86.
Of the many highlights is a haunting gold Egyptian mummy mask, an exquisite 2700-year-old alabaster bowl, a series of bronze cats and other priceless treasures in the Egyptian section, a stunning collection of Hellenic coins and a 2400-year-old Attic vase in the Greek and Roman section, rare pieces of Chinese porcelain, Japanese prints, and rich 16th- and 17th-century Persian tapestries.
If you’re a music fan, the Foundation also hosts a number of classical concerts all year round. We advise you to book in advance because it usually sells out quickly.
Insider tip: The Gulbenkian Museum has free admission every Sunday after 2 p.m.
Last but not least, the best (not so hidden) gem is to complement your stay in Lisbon with one of our day tours departing from downtown: Sintra, Fátima, Évora or our Templars tour.
Check out our website and book online right now!