8 Things to Do in Lisbon in August

The eighth month of the year always attracts the biggest number of visitors to Lisbon. While many spend their days at the beach, there is a lot to do if you want to enjoy the city and its attractions. And if you enjoy art and culture you’re in luck, as there are some interesting exhibitions to allow you to escape the heat and take a break from the sun. Best of all, some of them are free, and if you still want to work on your tan, you may do so at a couple of new outdoor spots:

Berardo Museum

“THE COLLECTOR’S EYE”
It’s one of the city’s best exhibitions this year, and best of all it’s free. Collector Joe Berardo has selected his favorites works from his world-class collection of modern art, some of which had never been on display. There’s a total of 35 works by artists like Roy Lichtenstein and Marc Chagall, which can be seen together with the permanent display of works by Andy Warhol and Picasso among others. See more about the museum: Berardo Museum

CHRISTIAN LECROIX AT THE DESIGN AND FASHION MUSEUM
Another free exhibition is found at MuDe, the design and fashion museum. In addition to the permanent collection, it’s currently showing (until August 30th) sixteen haute couture pieces by the famous French designer, created between 1989 and 2000. Three of them had never been publicly shown before, and there are descriptions about each piece written by the designer, allowing you to understand his creative process.

“THE LIGHT OF LISBON”
2015 is the International Year of Light, and since Lisbon is known as one of the world’s most luminous cities, there’s an exhibition about its mythical light. It’s organized by the Lisbon Museum, and is being shown in the western turret of Comercio Square. It offers a scientific explanation for the city’s reflecting light and shows how it has inspired artists over time.

THE NEW NATIONAL MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART
The National Museum of Contemporary Art in Chiado (often simply referred to as the Chiado Museum) has finally expanded in July and has a new wing with plenty of space to show some of the best contemporary Portuguese art. The current exhibition shows works by the major Portuguese artists from 1960 to 1990.

Royal carriages museum

THE NEW COACHES MUSEUM
A controversial new building has opened to be able to display more vehicles than the previous 110-year-old Coaches Museum. The controversy comes not just for the multimillion-euro cost of the construction but also for the modern architecture now housing such a classic fairy tale collection. Go judge for yourself and see why this museum is one of Lisbon’s most visited attractions.

Terraços do Carmo

A NEW TERRACE
It still doesn’t have the planned cafe, but the terrace next to Carmo Church by the Santa Justa Elevator has already opened for the first time. It’s now a calm spot for you to relax and enjoy a view of the castle and of the elevator.

Jardim da Cerca da Graça

A NEW PARK
Also open for the first time is the park down the hill from Graça Church and its famous viewpoint. It’s been there for centuries, but was not open to the public. It’s now a public park faced by the castle, with a children’s playground, a cafe and lots of space to spread your towel and have a pic nic.

MULTIMEDIA SHOW
A multimedia show based on the legend of Lisbon’s foundation by Ulysses is being projected onto Comercio Square every night from August 7th to the 16th, at 9:30PM, 10:30PM and 11:30PM. It will feature 3D effects and DJ music, and the show lasts 15 minutes.

10 Great Summer Hotels in Lisbon

You could stay at the beachfront hotels of Cascais, but in order to be closer to all that Lisbon has to offer, it’s a better idea to look for accommodation in the center of the city. So where can you stay to enjoy the Portuguese capital’s urban pleasures and still get a tan? Consider these ten hotels:

Altis Belém Hotel, Lisbon

ALTIS BELÉM HOTEL
Here you’re literally between two of Lisbon’s most iconic landmarks — the Belem Tower and the Discoveries Monument. You’re also right on the water’s edge, with two restaurants (one of them distinguished with a Michelin star) and a bar with outdoor seating, plus a wonderful spa and rooftop pool.
See more details and booking info ›

Lapa Palace Hotel, Lisbon

LAPA PALACE HOTEL
This 5-star hotel is located in one of the city’s calmest and most upscale neighborhoods. The rooms offer city views, and it has one of the largest and most pleasant hotel gardens in town. And then there’s the pool for a swim after a day of sightseeing.
See more details and booking info ›

Pestana Palace Hotel, Lisbon

PESTANA PALACE HOTEL
The choice of international celebrities such as Madonna and Prince, this hotel up on a hill halfway between downtown and monumental Belém is itself a monument. And in addition to the beautiful building, it has a wonderful garden and pool for you to enjoy a day in the sun away from it all.
See more details and booking info ›

Memmo Alfama Hotel, Lisbon

MEMMO ALFAMA HOTEL
This design hotel has the most beautiful view of the old town, and a huge terrace where you may catch some sun during the day and sip a cocktail on the warm nights. It’s found within walking distance of downtown and charming old Alfama, meaning you never have to go very far in the heat to find a place to visit or to eat and drink.
See more details and booking info ›

Torel Palace Hotel, Lisbon

TOREL PALACE HOTEL
This recent hotel remains a well-kept secret. It’s a mansion from the 1800s up on a hill from Avenida da Liberdade, with a beautiful interior and wonderful terrace which offers city views and a pool.
See more details and booking info ›

Tivoli Jardim Hotel, Lisbon

TIVOLI JARDIM HOTEL
If you’re looking for some isolation but still want to be in the center of everything, consider this hotel. It’s right by the central Avenida da Liberdade, but with a garden in the back with a circular pool where you may stay working on your tan.
See more details and booking info ›

VIP Grand Hotel, Lisbon

VIP GRAND HOTEL
It’s mostly a business hotel in a business district, but its pool attracts all kinds of tourists in the summer. The spa and gym are other bonuses, and the must-see Gulbenkian Museum (with its very pleasant gardens) is nearby.
See more details and booking info ›

HF Fenix Music Hotel, Lisbon

HF FENIX MUSIC HOTEL
This new hotel is found right at the top of the city’s main boulevard, Avenida da Liberdade, and at the top of the building is a very inviting pool. Here you may enjoy a swim or a drink looking over the city towards the castle.
See more details and booking info ›

Mercure Lisboa Hotel, Lisbon

MERCURE LISBOA
Lisbon’s hotel of the French chain is found uptown, close to the Gulbenkian Museum. The tourist center is just a short Metro ride away, but you may see one of the city’s greatest historic landmarks from your room — the old aqueduct. That monument can also be admired from the pool on any warm sunny day.
See more details and booking info ›

Sunset Destination Hostel, Lisbon

SUNSET DESTINATION HOSTEL
If you’re on a budget and prefer a hostel, consider this one. Not only does it share the building of the train station that takes you to the beaches of Cascais, it also has a resort atmosphere on its pool terrace. Catch some sun as you watch the ships go by during the day, then head to the multitude of bars in the neighborhood at night.
See more details and booking info ›

10 New Hotels in Lisbon

Valverde Hotel, Lisbon

VALVERDE HOTEL
This luxury boutique hotel is right on the city’s main central boulevard, Avenida da Liberdade. It only has 25 rooms, so it’s perfect for those looking for a more intimate atmosphere. It features an elegant decor, and a patio with a small pool.
See more details and booking info ›

Porto Bay Liberdade, Lisbon

PORTO BAY LIBERDADE
This luxurious hotel says it’s an “urban resort” right in the center of the city, around the corner from Avenida da Liberdade. It has an indoor pool, outdoor lounge with jacuzzi on the rooftop, a spa, gym, and a refined restaurant.
See more details and booking info ›

H10 Duque de Loulé, Lisbon

H10 DUQUE DE LOULÉ
A beautifully restored building has been turned into this beautifully decorated hotel. It’s inspired by classic Portuguese traditions such as the blue and white tilework, but added contemporary touches. It offers a library bar and a meeting room, making it a good choice whether you’re in town for business or leisure.
See more details and booking info ›

Evolution Hotel, Lisbon

EVOLUTION HOTEL
Located uptown, facing a busy square, this hotel offers you a completely independent experience. It uses the latest technology to allow you to self check-in, select your room, and adapt the lighting and temperature to your taste using your smartphone. Everything from the gym to the indoor pool is available 24/7.
See more details and booking info ›

My Story Hotel - Rossio, Lisbon

MY STORY HOTEL – ROSSIO
With rooms opening out to Rossio Square, staying here is being right in the heart of the city. It has a modern minimalist decor, and a restaurant inspired by a historic cafe that existed on the site until the 1970s.
See more details and booking info ›

HF Fenix Music Hotel, Lisbon

HF FENIX MUSIC
Facing Edward VII Park, this hotel draws inspiration from music, and the rooms have different color patterns. On the rooftop is a swimming pool and lounge bar.
See more details and booking info ›

BessaHotel Liberdade, Lisbon

BESSA HOTEL LIBERDADE
Behind a classic tile-covered façade on Avenida da Liberdade is this modern 4-star hotel. There’s a swimming pool, meeting rooms, sauna and gym, as well as a stylish restaurant.
See more details and booking info ›

Brown's Central Hotel, Lisbon

BROWN’S CENTRAL HOTEL
A building from the 1700s has been completely renovated and turned into this modern-design hotel. Some rooms have a kitchenette and all have marble bathrooms.
See more details and booking info ›

Hotel Lis Baixa, Lisbon

HOTEL LIS – BAIXA
The building is originally from the 1800s, and it maintained the old staircase and limestone arches, but everything else is completely new. It’s found downtown but on a quiet street, and has a restaurant serving traditional Portuguese cuisine.
See more details and booking info ›

The Late Birds Guesthouse, Lisbon

THE LATE BIRDS GUESTHOUSE
This hotel targets gay male travelers, with a location in Bairro Alto, within walking distance of many gay bars. It has a small outdoor swimming pool, sun deck and lounge bar, and every room has a computer and free wi-fi.
See more details and booking info ›

Survey Says: Tourists Love Lisbon

Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon had a record year in tourism in 2014, and it seems that almost everyone left satisfied and wanting more. When visitors were asked how much they liked the city on a scale of 1 to 10, the average score was a 9.28, and 99.3% said they wish to return. Over half of those surveyed (62%) said Lisbon exceeded their expectations, and around the same number (60.8%) said they rank the Portuguese capital among their top 5 favorite destinations.

Lisbon was the European capital with the highest growth in hotel stays, and in 2015 there will be close to two dozen hotel openings. But this doesn’t mean that it will become more expensive and overrun with tourists like most other European cities. It remains an undiscovered (overlooked) destination for most tourists from outside Europe, and prices are still well below those of most other Western European capitals, especially when it comes to hotels and apartments.

There are many reasons why Lisbon is suddenly becoming a favorite in Europe, and one of them seems to be word of mouth, which reminds many of one of the most authentic European capitals. Lisbon is now more attractive than ever, especially after its renovated waterfront, new museum openings and a rejuvenated food scene. Tourists sharing all the scenic views they captured on camera in Lisbon on social media, and trip reports on blogs and websites have convinced many to visit the city and see for themselves.

If you haven’t been to Lisbon or it’s been some time since you were last in town, it’s time to discover a whole new destination. So start planning your sightseeing now!

The Most Romantic 24 Hours in Lisbon

Lisbon sunrise

PORTAS DO SOL

SUNRISE
Wake up before sunrise, and head to Portas do Sol (literally “The Sun Gate”). This terrace in the Alfama district is where you may sit and watch the sun rising, and admire the early morning glow over the city’s most postcard-perfect view. It’s a good idea to stay at one of the hotels nearby, and if you choose Palácio Belmonte, you may even have the Portas do Sol view from your room. Other choices are Memmo Alfama, Solar dos Mouros and Solar do Castelo. After the sun has risen, go for a stroll around the neighboring maze of picturesque streets until 9AM, the castle’s opening time.
Castle view, Lisbon

VIEW FROM THE CASTLE

MORNING
Get a bird’s-eye view over the city from its oldest monument. Feel like the king and queen of the castle as you walk around the ramparts in the company of peacocks. You’ll want to spend some time here, but there’s still plenty to see, so hop on an official tram tour, which goes around the old city.
You may then look for a place for lunch that best appeals to you, although you probably should head back up by the castle for a meal with a view over the city, at Chapitô à Mesa.

Chapitô à Mesa

CHAPITÔ À MESA

Coaches Museum, Lisbon

COACHES MUSEUM

AFTERNOON
You may want to wait a few minutes for dessert. Try the city’s famous custard tarts on the opposite side of town, the Belém district. Lisbon’s most famous and iconic landmarks are all found there on the waterfront, where the Tagus river becomes the Atlantic. This was from where explorers like Vasco da Gama departed for their voyages around the world during the Age of Discovery, and now you may see the magnificent architecture from that time. Start with the cloisters of the Jeronimos Monastery, take a photo by the Discoveries Monument, and relax by the beautiful Belém Tower. Be sure to also see the Cinderella-like carriages of the Coaches Museum, and if you’ve still got the energy, head up the hill to the royal palace of Ajuda, known for its romantic collection of decorative art.

Belem Tower, Lisbon
BELEM TOWER

Ribeira das Naus, Lisbon

RIBEIRA DAS NAUS

SUNSET
Head back to the center of town, but stay by the waterfront. Head to the top of the triumphal arch for the beautiful view, and late in the afternoon there’s no better spot to be than Ribeira das Naus, the promenade next to Comercio Square. This is where many choose to stay for the sunset, either at the Cais das Colunas wharf, or sitting on the steps of the promenade.
Lisbon sunset

RIBEIRA DAS NAUS

Moon over Lisbon
MIRADOURO DE SÃO PEDRO DE ALCÂNTARA

NIGHT
After the sun disappears in the horizon, but before nightfall, head up to Bairro Alto for the city’s most romantic viewpoint, Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara. It’s the perfect backdrop for a selfie of the two of you, and you may sit for a while, as the moon shines above the castle.

Comercio Square, Lisbon

VIEW FROM THE TRIUMPHAL ARCH

Embaixada

EMBAIXADA

Continue heading up the hill and you’re now in the romantic district of Principe Real. Get yourselves a gift at the monumental Embaixada shopping gallery, and sit relaxing under the gigantic umbrella-like cedar tree at the garden across from it. It’s now dinner time, so choose one of the many restaurants in the popular nightlife district Bairro Alto nearby. Consider As Salgadeiras, a former bakery (the stone vaulted ceiling and old brick oven have been maintained) that serves excellent Portuguese cuisine, or try Lisboa à Noite. It’s a former stable for horses that has kept the ring chains and beautiful tile panels from the 1700s, serving some classic Portuguese dishes. A third option is Pap’Açorda, a chandeliered restaurant known for both its contemporary and traditional Portuguese cuisine, and yet another choice is The Insólito, found on a rooftop looking out to the castle.
The Insolito

THE INSOLITO

It’s now time to head back to your hotel, but you may also choose an apartment instead.
But why should you only have 24 romantic hours in Lisbon? Make this a 48-hour experience, and head to Sintra on the following day. This fairy tale town less than 40 minutes from the capital city was Europe’s first center of Romantic architecture, and is now a World Heritage Site. Of the many palaces and castles in town, the one you can’t miss is Pena Palace, but we also recommend the Regaleira Palace and the Moorish Castle, and Monserrate Palace. You can easily spend an entire day hopping around palaces and castles, and you may then relax in the oldest hotel in the Iberian Peninsula, Lawrence’s Hotel, or have the royal experience at Seteais Palace Hotel.

Pena Palace

PENA PALACE