Spring is an ideal time of year to enjoy Portugal’s beautiful capital. The weather is warm, but not too hot, and with the days getting longer, you have more daylight hours to explore the city’s nooks and crannies. Here’s a list of my top 6 things to do in Lisbon in the spring:
1. Take in the Tagus. Put on your sunglasses and stroll along the Tagus River in Belém, one of Lisbon’s most scenic areas. Aside from the spectacular views of the bridge and the Cristo Rei (Christ the King) monument, you actually walk right past some of Lisbon’s most iconic monuments and even some UNESCO World Heritage Sites (such as the Jerónimos Monastery and the Tower of Belém). Other worthwhile sites include the Padrão dos Descobrimentos monument, the new Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology (MAAT), the Centro Cultural de Belém Museum, the Combatentes do Ultramar Monument and the Champalimaud Foundation. Don’t worry: if all that sight-seeing makes you hungry, there are plenty of good restaurants in the area.
2. Views from above. One of my favorite things to do on a spring day is to sip on a freshly squeezed orange juice (I can’t stress enough how delicious our oranges are) or a bica (Portuguese espresso) at a belvedere and take in the stunning sights of the city. A few of my favorite spots are: Miradouro da Graça, Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara and Miradouro da Nossa Senhora do Monte.
3. Listen to the sound of music. One of the biggest rock and pop festivals, Rock in Rio, takes place in Lisbon each spring and it’s a great opportunity to see international and Portuguese artists. If you prefer a more intimate setting (or a more traditional music experience), drop in on a live fado show in Alfama and immerse yourself in a uniquely Portuguese sound. If dance music is more your scene, DJs play well into the early hours at Lisbon’s clubs (Lux and Ministerium often host international DJs).
4. Eat al fresco at a quiosque or a esplanada (an outdoor seating area). Two key aspects of Portuguese life are food and sunshine. Embrace this lifestyle by grabbing a quick bite at a typical quiosque or a meal at a restaurant with a esplanada. The summer sun can get too strong, so spring is absolutely perfect for outdoor eating.
5. Get your art on. Lisbon is full of museums – you’ll probably walk right past some without even realizing! It’s a real privilege to find so much world-class art and artifacts at the prices you find in Lisbon (many museums cost €6 or less to get in). Some of my favorites are the National Tile Museum, the Museum of the Orient and the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum.
6. Embrace the season. It wouldn’t be spring without flowers, so why not stop to smell the roses? Immerse yourself in the flora of the city by heading either to the Estufa Fria in the Parque Eduardo VII or the Botanical Gardens in Ajuda. Though each is different in its own way, both of these provide a peaceful oasis from the hustle and bustle of the city. Perfect for those “zen” moments you just don’t get enough of.
Though there is never a wrong time of year to enjoy Lisbon, spring certainly has its perks. And as you start ticking off these activities, you’ll really come to appreciate this.