Lisbon Self-Guided Walking Tour

Last updated on 06-Oct-2023

A great and easy way to see some of the most beautiful historic buildings and sights in Lisbon at your own pace is to WALK!

Despite its hilly terrain, Lisbon is still very walkable and most of the attractions can be reached on foot from the central area or are within a short walk from transit stops. Public transportation in the city is practical, efficient, and inexpensive – a great way to get around and/or cover longer distances. The metropolitan transit system includes subway (metro), trams, buses, funiculars (elevators), trains, and ferries.

This post will mention transit stops for guidance. For more information on the transit system, maps, fares, etc., visit the Metro Lisboa website.

While there are some advantages to finding a local guide for a tour (such as getting more information on the history and more details/highlights on the attractions), I’m sharing one of my favourite walking itineraries below and it’s a great one to try without a guide – we’ve walked it several times already, during different seasons, day or evening, and I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of these views and interesting places!

Ready to enjoy Lisbon at street level? Let’s go!

Marquês de Pombal to Praça do Comércio

The starting point is the Marquês de Pombal Square (there’s a subway stop under the square – for the yellow and blue lines – or paid parking is available nearby). From there, take a leisure stroll from the square down to Praça do Comércio (Commerce Square). It’s about 2.4 km (1.5 miles) of easy walking terrain, mostly flat or downhill, with plenty of attractions, sweet temptations, and shops along the way (click for map). A total feast for the senses!

TIP: During the Holiday Season, this itinerary is a great way to see the city lights and decorations, and to enjoy the Christmas Markets at Rossio Square and Figueira Square nearby.

These are some of the places of interest that can be seen and enjoyed along the way:

  • Marquês de Pombal Square and Monument – The beautiful starting point, check out the namesake statue in the centre of the square above the subway (Metro) station. 
  • Eduardo VII Park – Enjoy the views of the manicured park right behind the square, an attraction by itself. The park also includes a botanical garden in a large greenhouse. If you’d like to see more of the park, you may want to start at the Parque station (adds 600m or 0.35 miles).
  • Avenida da Liberdade – Walk down this pedestrian-friendly mosaic paved boulevard, the Portuguese version of the Champs-Élysées, and you’ll come across several ornate building façades, home to luxury-brand stores (such as Dior, Rolex, Cartier, Armani, Versace, Prada, Michael Kors, Louis Vuitton, etc), a collection of upscale hotels, plus restaurants, cafés/pastry shops, picturesque informal kiosks perfect for a mid-stroll pick-me-up, and much more.
  • Tivoli Theatre – A gorgeous building houses this classic 1920s theatre with a broad arts and culture programme.
  • Tivoli Forum – Small shopping centre with a number of upscale stores and a food court on the lower level.
  • Monument Heroes of the Great War (Monumento aos Heróis da Grande Guerra) – Beautiful monument in honour of fallen Portuguese soldiers in WWI.
  • Lavra Funicular (Ascensor da Lavra) – Opened in 1884, the railway is the oldest funicular in the city. If able to explore the area near the top, visit the Jardim do Torel park, which offers an amazing viewpoint (miradouro) over the city, plenty of trees, ponds and a fountain/swimming pool.
    **Funicular rides are FREE with Lisbon transit passes (e.g. day or monthly pass), available at subway (Metro) stations, and Lisboa Card.
  • Gloria Funicular (Ascensor da Glória) – Connects the Restauradores Square with Bairro Alto.  If able to explore the area around the top stop, turn right from the funicular to visit the square and Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara (terrace and viewpoint), one of the most visited in the city, offering great views of the historic centre, river and St. George Castle (Castelo de São Jorge). 
    From there, there’s an option to walk the busy streets of Bairro Alto to visit the impressive Carmo Convent (Convento do Carmo), go on to the top deck of the Santa Justa Lift, then make your way down on the lift or use the elevators in the neighbouring Armazens do Chiado mall (for free) to reach Augusta Street (Rua Augusta) and proceed with the Itinerary.
    **Funicular rides are FREE with Lisbon transit passes (e.g. day or monthly pass), available at subway (Metro) stations, and Lisboa Card.
  • Hard Rock Cafe Lisbon – Housed in a charming theatre space from 1888, the building later became the Condes Cinema from the 1950s to the 90s, then left unused for years until it was converted, the façade restored, and reopened as a Hard Rock Cafe in 2003.
  • Restauradores (Restorers) Square and Monument – Beautiful square in Portuguese mosaic, with an obelisk-shaped monument in the centre.
  • Foz Palace (Palácio Foz) – Magnificently decorated interiors, guided tours available. **Check for Covid-19 restrictions
  • Eden Theatre – Art Deco building first opened in 1931, currently used as a boutique hotel.
  • Fábrica da Nata – Pastry shop with a charming interior, serving great coffee and delicious freshly baked Portuguese custard tarts (usually available still warm from the oven). Watch the traditional tart-making process inside the glass enclosure.
  • Rossio railway station (Estação do Rossio) – Beautiful and imponent central train station with ornate façade.
  • D. Maria II National Theatre (Teatro Nacional D. Maria II) – One of the most prestigious Portuguese venues.
  • Rossio Square or King Pedro IV Square (Praça de D. Pedro IV) – One of Lisbon’s main squares since the Middle Ages, with a fountain and monument, plus several traditional shops, restaurants and cafes surrounding it.
  • Augusta Street (Rua Augusta) – Lisbon’s main pedestrian street, paved with traditional Portuguese cobblestone mosaics, offering a mix of beautifully restored buildings, restaurants and cafés, traditional shops, souvenir stores, street performers, tourists and locals.
  • Santa Justa Lift (Elevador de Santa Justa) – Built in 1902 and inspired by the techniques used in the Eiffel Tower, the upper platform offers great views of the city and river. You can take the elevator up to Largo do Carmo and visit the medieval Convento do Carmo.
  • Manteigaria – Pastry shop specializing in Portuguese custard tarts, with 7 locations in Lisbon including a shop at Rua Augusta.
  • Casa Portuguesa do Pastel de Bacalhau – Cute shop with classic decor serving cod cakes filled with creamy Serra da Estrela cheese. Try them with some Port wine. These are not the traditional Portuguese cod cakes (the original recipe doesn’t include cheese), they are more of a pricey novelty for tourists, but delicious anyhow.
  • Rua Augusta Arch (Arco da Rua Augusta) – Triumphal Arch and historical building with a viewing platform on the top (tickets available to visit), built to commemorate the city’s reconstruction after the 1755 earthquake.  Admission to the observation deck on the top is included with the Lisboa Card.
  • Praça do Comércio (Commerce Square) – Also known as Terreiro do Paço (Palace Yard),  this large, rectangular square surrounded by buildings in the shape of a “U”, sits across from the Augusta Arch and opens towards the Tagus river. Around the square, two of the most prominent spots are Baia do Peixe (seafood restaurant) and Museu da Cerveja (beer museum and restaurant).
  • Cais das Colunas (Columns Wharf) viewpoint, marked by the two white columns from the late 18th century, located at the water’s edge, stunning and expansive views over the Tagus river to the Almada side, the Cristo Rei (Christ the King) monument and the 25 de Abril bridge, and a small sandy beach where we often find children playing and artists making sand sculptures.

Then, right at the Praça do Comércio, the Terreiro do Paço station is a great point to get back into the subway (Metro) system. 

Or, if ready to keep going, here’s an easy “add-on”.

Praça do Comércio to Time Out Market (Lisbon Cathedral option)

It’s pretty much a straight line of flat terrain from Praça do Comércio (Terreiro do Paço subway station) to the Time Out Market (Cais do Sodré subway station), in the Mercado da Ribeira Nova building (also known as Mercado 24 de Julho). The eastern (right) side of the market structure hosts the traditional market hall with stalls selling fresh produce, meats, fish and seafood, flowers, etc., operating since 1822. The western side (left), which was restored and modernized before reopening in 2014, now has a busy food court with an industrial look, offering rows of stalls from top local chefs and restaurants, and different local food brands. The lively Dom Luis I square to the west of the market hall houses a Time Out Kiosk and cheerful outdoor seating.

There are two equally short routes to take, both 950 m or 0.6 miles (as shown on the map): one follows the boulevard by the riverside and the other follows Rua do Arsenal.

Walking by the river (click for map) to the Time Out Market, these are the points of interest along the way:

  • Museu de Lisboa (Museum of Lisbon) – The downtown location of the network of museums dedicated to the city’s history is located in the south-western tower of the U-shaped building complex surrounding the square (Praça do Comércio). Usually, open during the high season only.
  • Ribeira das Naus – Waterfront promenade with sun decks and grassy areas for tanning and relaxing, chairs and benches, a kiosk with a terrace for drinks and snacks, great views and beautiful sunsets!
  • Cais do Sodré – Train and Subway station, plus Ferry Terminal, surrounded by a vibrant neighbourhood full of restaurants, bars, cafes, shops, hotels, and more!


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Walking inland (click for map) to the Time Out Market following Rua do Arsenal instead, these are some points of interest along the way:

  • Paços do Conselho (Lisbon City Hall) – An elegant neoclassical building originally from the late 18th century, although it has been rebuilt and updated for different reasons over the years.
  • Praça do Município (City Square) – Small mosaic-paved square in front of the City Hall building, with a central obelisk, a spiral column built of a single block in the 18th century, with a metal sphere on top.
  • Museu do Dinheiro (Money Museum) – Located to the left of the City Hall, it showcases currency history and artifacts.
  • Local shops along Rua do Arsenal, including the interesting Loja das Conservas (canned fish, preserves, souvenirs, and more) and its restaurant next door.
  • Pink Street (Rua Nova do Carvalho) – An iconic pedestrian street with pink-painted pavement boasting bars and clubs set side-by-side in historic buildings forming a busy nightlife hub. Requires a quick right-turn detour at the Duque de Terceira statue onto Rua do Alecrim to reach it.

It would be a good idea to take one route going to Time Out Market and a different one to return to Praça do Comércio, and see both paths that way.

Across the street from the Time Out Market, the Cais do Sodré building is a transit hub with access to the subway (Metro), train, buses, trams and ferries. 

Option: If a short 500m (0.3 miles) and slightly uphill walk from Praça do Comércio is not a barrier, the Lisbon Cathedral (also known as “Sé de Lisboa“) is a top destination nearby. In this case, the itinerary from the square would go north/east first, then head back towards the river through the narrow Arco (Arch) Portas do Mar to find the fascinating Casa dos Bicos (House of the Beaks/Spikes) landmark building, current home of an archeological museum and the Jose Saramago Foundation. From there, it’s easy to proceed west to Cais da Ribeira and Time Out, either by the river or inland. This option would add about 1.1 km (0.7 miles) to the route to the market.

Here we have it: two walking itineraries to do in sequence if you’d like + a few optional suggestions. These would give anyone a taste of central Lisbon and we hope it inspires you to explore more of this wonderful city. 

Want more itineraries or have favourites to share? Let us know in the comments or connect with @vivahappyblog on Facebook and Instagram. 🙂

4 thoughts on “Lisbon Self-Guided Walking Tour

  1. Thank you for this walking guide! My husband and I are flying to Lisbon at the end of the month. We will have a bit over a week to explore. Any other tips on cafes or walking guides you have to share would be very appreciated!

    1. Hi Kimberly, I have another guide for Lisbon here and if you are visiting other locations in Portugal, I have a driving itinerary and guides for other cities linked here

      Besides this walking guide for the city centre, there are two other locations in Lisbon that are great and easy to walk around as well (I’ll probably write separate guides for these soon), and both offer great views of the Tagus river:
      1. The Belém area: walk around and visit the Belém Tower, Padrão dos Descobrimentos Monument, Jeronimos’ Monastery, the original Pastéis de Belem (custard tarts) factory and café, museums, gardens, and more.
      2. The Parque das Nações or Expo area: walk around and visit the Aquarium, casino, Portuguese pavilion, Oriente train station, the walking path along the river, Vasco da Gama Tower and the Myriad hotel, the scenic cable car, and much more.

      Besides the pastry shops already mentioned in the posts, you probably can’t walk a block in most areas in Lisbon without finding a café. If you come across the “A Padaria Portuguesa” (literally, “Portuguese bakery”) chain, they are a good choice and have many locations around the city. They serve pastries and coffee as well as quick meals and snacks. I especially recommend their cheese tarts (queijada de requeijão) and “God’s bread” (pão de Deus), both are divine! Another Lisbon institution is the beautiful and historic Versailles café, on Av. da Republica, near the Saldanha subway station. Besides a huge selection of pastries and coffee, they also serve meals and snacks.
      Thanks for visiting the blog and enjoy your time in Lisbon! 🙂

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