Forget Paris. If you’re looking for a destination for your next romantic getaway then look no further than Lisbon. What could be more romantic than strolling through narrow cobbled streets, stopping in at little cafés to drink bicas (espressos) and pasteis de nata (custard tarts), and spending your evenings drinking wine and listening to Fado music?
These days, it’s possible to get to fly to Lisbon from most major European cities. London to Lisbon takes just 2 and 1/2 hours, for example, making it suitable for a long weekend break, ideal if an anniversary or Valentine’s Day is around the corner. If you’re planning on staying longer, don’t worry: you won’t run out of things to see and do.
Below, you’ll find some of the most romantic things to do in Lisbon. Emphasis on the word romantic: there are plenty of other things to do in Lisbon (I’ve not mentioned visiting the castle, for example), but this guide specifically focuses on the most romantic things you can do in Lisbon.
Romantic Hotels, B&Bs, & Apartments in Lisbon
There are a lot of beautiful hotels and apartments in Lisbon, and it was tough deciding which ones to include on this list. Here’s a few suggestions, though.
Casa do Principe Bed & Breakfast (Principe Real)
A charming bed and breakfast in the centre of Lisbon, Casa do Principe Bed & Breakfast is located in Principe Real, one of the city’s best neighbourhoods, and just seven minute’s walk from Avenida de Liberdade. The Bairro Alto is just a five minute walk away, and there are countless fantastic bars, restaurants, and cafés on the bed and breakfast’s doorstep.
- Price: ~ €99 – €180
- Reservations: Booking.com/Casa-do-Principe
Pestana Palace (Alcântara)
What could be more romantic than staying in a palace? Now a 5-star hotel, Pestana Palaca features two swimming pools, private grounds, and breathtaking views over the Tagus river.
- Price: ~ €200 per night
- Reservations: Booking.com/Pestana-Palace
Casas da Baixa (Baixa)
If you’d rather stay in an apartment than in a hotel, Casas da Baixa is ideally situated in the centre of Lisbon. Although most parts of Lisbon are accessible on foot, Baixa is probably the most central location to have a base from which to explore the rest of the city.
- Price: ~ €110 per night
- Reservations: Booking.com/Casas-da-Baixa
Romantic Restaurants in Lisbon
This definitely isn’t an exhaustive list of romantic restaurants in Lisbon. There are many more, but here are some favourites.
When it comes to food, seafood tops the tables for being one of the most romantic things to eat and one thing Portugal does exceptionally well is seafood.
The most popular place to go is probably Cervejaria Ramiro. Once a fairly local joint, this has been featured in magazines as well as on TV shows with chefs like Anthony Bourdain and Rick Stein. It’s very popular, and reservations are definitely recommended. They don’t always take them in which case you should aim to get there between 7 and 7:30 pm in order to get a table.
- Address: Av. Almirante Reis nº1 – H, 1150-007 Lisboa, Portugal
Sea Me Stall at the Time Out Market
Another great place for seafood is the Sea Me stall in the Lisbon Time Out Market. The great thing about this place is that you can just sit down and try a few things – a couple of oysters and a glass of espumante (Portuguese sparkling wine), for example – on the go.
- Address: Mercado da Ribeira Time Out, Av. 24 de Julho 49, 1200-109 Lisboa, Portugal
Frade dos Mares
One other place that’s worth a visit, particularly if you like octopus, is Frade dos Mares. Here, you’ll get to eat an entire octopus and when I say an entire octopus that’s actually what I mean.
- Address: Av. Dom Carlos i 55A, 1200-647 Lisboa, Portugal
- Online reservations possible via TheFork.com
With access to some of the best fish in the world, it’s no surprise that Lisbon is home to some fantastic sushi restaurants. Confraria Lx, located in the bar of the Lisbon Boutique Hotel, is one of the most popular. It’s a little pricey, especially by Lisbon standards, but the setting is cozy and romantic and the sushi is excellent. I couldn’t resist trying the salmon and Camembert sushi, for novelty value alone, and ended up really enjoying it.
- Address: R. do Alecrim 12A, 1200-161 Lisboa, Portugal
Restaurante As Salgadeiras
Located in a former bakery on the edge of the Bairro Alto, this cozy Portuguese restaurant scores top marks both on food and on its romantic atmosphere. Bonus points for being affordable as well. Dishes worth trying include Lombelo de Porco Preto c/Migada de Batata e Alheira (black pig with smashed potatoes and a traditional Portuguese sausage), Cabrito à Moda de Monção (kid goat in Monção style), and Trilogia de Bacalhau (three types of Bacalhau), a dish for two people.
- Address: Rua das Salgadeiras 18, 1200-396 Lisboa, Portugal
- Online reservations possible via TheFork.com
Solar Dos Nunes
Situated in Alcântara, outside of the city centre, this is a restaurant that very few tourists stumble upon. Even outside, it’s easy to miss this unassuming Michelin-recommended restaurant. It’s worth the effort though: this small little restaurant features some of the best Portuguese cooking that Lisbon has to offer – a combination of traditional Portuguese food with the chef’s own unique twists.
- Address: Rua dos Lusiadas 68, 1300 Lisboa, Portugal
- Online reservations possible via TheFork.com
Romantic things to do in Lisbon
Take a romantic stroll along the river front
There’s nothing more romantic than a walk beside the river. In Lisbon, a city set on the river Tagus, there are obviously plenty of spots for riverside walks but the best is probably between Alcântara and Belém.
Alcântara is an up-and-coming part of town that’s worth a visit if only to see the LX Factory, Lisbon’s main creative hub. This is right next to where the buses and trams stop, so it’s worth taking a peak at some of the boutique shops and cafés. Two of the most romantic spots are Ler Devagar Bookstore and Landeau Chocolate, which makes an incredibly decadent chocolate cake. On Sundays, there’s a flea market which can be fun to explore.
From here, take the footbridge over the motorway to the green riverside walkway. The Docas de Santa Amaro (docks), a five minute walk to your left, is primarily made up of restaurants. All of these have fantastic views across the waterfront and are a great place to whittle away a few hours.
If you turn right instead, you’ll be walking in the direction of Belém. You should be able to see the Padrão dos Descobrimentos (Discoveries Monument) in the distance. This, along with Torre de Belém (Belém Tower) and Mosteiro dos Jeronimos (Jerónimos Monastery) are three of Lisbon’s most popular attractions. Entry is free to these attractions on a Sunday, but go early as it can get very busy.
Visit a Miradouro (or two)
Dotted across Lisbon’s seven hills are miradouros, or viewing points, which offer fantastic (and incredibly romantic) views over the city. Most of these have benches to sit in, and take in the view, and some have kiosks to buy coffee from. The most famous, and most popular, is the Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcantara which looks out towards Castelo de São Jorge (St. George’s Castle) and over the rooftops of Alfama.
Take a day trip to Sintra
Situated around 33km from Lisbon’s city centre, Sintra is a fairytale paradise and an excellent location for a romantic day out.
The attractions in Sintra are spread out and you will need some form of transportation to get between them, either a car hire or an organised tour. Tour options include group tours and private tours. A cheaper option is to get a ticket for a hop-on hop-off bus, although I would recommend against this option on foggy days as the buses tend to steam up and it’s hard to see what’s outside.
If the weather is good, you could also hire bikes and explore Sintra that way. Bikes can be taken on the train to Sintra (although try to avoid rush hour) or hired from Cycling Rentals in Sintra itself.
Of course, you don’t have to come back to Lisbon that evening. There are plenty of restaurants and hotels in Sintra if you want to extend the trip there a little longer.
Spend an evening listening to Fado
No trip to Portugal is complete without listening to fado, Portugal’s traditional soulful music. There are two ways to see Fado performed: one you can go and see a paid show, or you could go see it performed in a bar in Alfama. The paid-for shows, which usually include a meal as well, are very touristy which is to say they’re expensive and the food often isn’t very good. Personally, I would recommend the second option as it means you get to choose a good restaurant for dinner and you get a more ‘authentic’ experience as well.
Drinks on a rooftop bar at sunset
There are a number of rooftop bars dotted around the city, but the most popular is probably Park Bar.
This unique bar is located on the rooftop of a multi-storey car park in the centre of the city. Getting to the bar involves going into the carpark itself and then climbing up a very unappealing concrete car park staircase where there are few signs or indications that you’re heading in the right direction. That’s all part of the experience, of course, which is one of the reasons this bar has become so popular.
Other rooftop bars worth checking out include Skybar on the rooftop of the Tivoli hotel, Silk in Chiado, and Terraço BA on the rooftop of the Hotel Bairro Alto.
Got any tips for a romantic trip to Lisbon? Share them with other readers in the comments below.