7 Unique Reasons to Visit Lisbon

We’ve selected for you 7 unique reasons to visit Lisbon. They’re all unique gems that can only be experienced and/or seen here!
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We’ve selected for you 7 unique reasons to visit Lisbon. They’re all unique gems that can only be experienced and/or seen here!

With a quick search online, we find monuments such as Belém Tower or Jerónimos Monastery as unmissable, as well as the countless viewpoints, trams and funiculars and lifts, the unavoidable tiles and the Portuguese pavement or even the tasty pastéis de nata (egg custard tarts)…

In fact, these are undoubtedly representative icons of our fabulous city of the seven hills that every visitor seeks.

But getLISBON brings you other attractions that you cannot miss and that deserve to be discovered.

Unique Reasons to Visit Lisbon

A reminder: three of the unique reasons to visit Lisbon that we bring you are events that only take place on a certain day or month or that have more restrictive opening hours, so your visit requires prior planning. But we assure you it’s worth the effort. 😉

1 | Let’s Be Practical

The first reason to visit Lisbon is a set of important variables that make this city very attractive.

Safety: Lisbon is the capital of the fourth safest country in the world, according to the Global Peace Index 2021 report by the Institute for Economics & Peace. And it was considered, in 2021, the 28th safest city by the Economist Intelligence Unit.

Climate: Winter is temperate and sunny; the temperature rarely drops below 10ºC. The months of June to August are the driest and with the highest temperatures, with the maximum average between 26ºC and 28ºC.

Accessibility: You can visit the historic centre on foot. The transport network is efficient. The main locations are accessible by metro, bus, taxi or e-taxi. The airport is located in the northern part of the city and is just 15-20 minutes from the centre.

Accommodation, restaurants and bars: Lisbon has a wide offer at all levels. Get the best accommodation here.

Beach: Lisbon is half an hour away from wonderful beaches, both on the Cascais line and on the south bank of the Tagus River. Surfing is also possible;

Surroundings: You can take the opportunity to visit places like Cascais or Sintra. The latter was classified as Cultural Heritage by UNESCO in 1995. Check out the various offers from GetYourGuide.

2 | Lisbon Light

The light of this city is unique, everyone says it! Do you know what makes it so special?

Sunset at the Viewpoint of São Pedro de Alcântara Garden
Sunset at the Viewpoint of São Pedro de Alcântara Garden

The reasons are that Lisbon is the third sunniest city in Europe, with more than 2500 hours of sunshine a year; Lisbon often has a clear sky; and has geographical features of steep slopes and its building materials are favourable to light reflection.

The intense light that reaches this city of hills is reflected by the wide Tagus river, the Portuguese pavement and the façades of the buildings covered with shiny tiles or painted in light colours, a combination of reflections that produce a magical and unique effect.

Our favourite place to observe Lisbon’s light is the viewpoint of São Pedro de Alcântara Garden. In summer, the strong luminosity and the often clear sky provide us with a view that covers the south bank and in autumn and winter, at the end of the day, the warm light bathes the monuments and buildings in golden tones.

Come and experience, at first-hand, this wonderful result of the combination of nature with human intervention!

3 | Lisbon Festivities

You cannot miss these unique festivities of Portugal and of the world! For an entire month, the city offers a festive atmosphere, with an intense and diverse cultural agenda.

Popular marches of Lisbon, 2018
Popular marches of Lisbon, 2018

June is the time for Lisbon to celebrate popular saints, especially Saint Anthony, its patron. Mainly in the historic neighbourhoods, streets and windows are decorated with loads of colour and popular festivals enliven the city with music, shows, food and drinks.

But the highest point of the Lisbon Festivities takes place on the 12th and 13th.

On the first day, the Weddings of Saint Anthony take place, a tradition that had its first edition in 1958. Between the religious ceremonies in the Cathedral of Lisbon and the civil ones in the City Hall, dozens of engaged couples attract the attention of the people, of the media and also of the tourists.

At night, the Parade of Marches fills Liberdade Avenue with colour. The participants, of all ages, united in groups represent different neighbourhoods of Lisbon, working hard for months to carry out this exhibition. Songs, poems, scenography, costumes and choreographies are created and rehearsed to exhaustion so that everything comes out perfectly on this day of the parade.

At the same time, you can’t miss the festivals that go on all night with lots of sardines, grilled pork steak and chorizo, snails, and…, of course, lots of beer.

The following day, the Procession of Saint Anthony takes place, a very peculiar religious and popular ceremony that goes through the narrow streets of the typical Alfama neighbourhood. This procession begins with one float and ends with six as other saints join the procession along the way. That is why it is said that Saint Anthony leaves alone but arrives accompanied.

During your stay in Lisbon, you can experience living in a historic Lisbon neighbourhood; find the best accommodation in Alfama here.

4 | Changing of the Guard in Lisbon

In Lisbon you can watch the one-of-a-kind performance of the Mounted Brass Band, the only one in the world that can perform while in canter.

One of the seven unique reasons to visit Lisbon: performance of the Mounted Brass Band, the only band in the world that performs musical excerpts while in canter, mounted on decorated Lusitano horses.
Mounted Brass Band

Everyone talks about the Changing of the Guard in London, but after watching Lisbon’s Changing of the Guard you will be surprised to realise that this one is truly spectacular.

It’s one of the most extraordinary and grand military ceremonies, accompanied by several symbolic moments, one of the most important parts being the ceremonial of music and movement executed by the Martial Band and Fanfare.

At the end, you can watch the performance of the Mounted Brass Band, the only band in the world that performs musical excerpts while in canter, mounted on decorated Lusitano horses.

Plan your visit ahead of time because the Changing of the Guard in Lisbon takes place on the third Sunday of each month, punctually at 11 am, outside the Belém Palace.

5 | The National Coach Museum

Visit the world’s unique collection of coaches and berlins.

Triumphal car of the National Coach Museum
Triumphal car of the National Coach Museum

It was in 1905 that the first coach museum in the world was inaugurated in Lisbon. Its very rich collection includes state and promenade vehicles, from the 19th to the 20th century.

This collection shows the technical and artistic evolution of the animal-drawn means of transport, used by European courts, until the appearance of the car.

One of the most emblematic pieces of this museum is a triumphal car, of Italian design, which was part of the set of five thematic coaches that was included in the procession of the Embassy sent to Rome, in 1716, by King João V. The evocation of the passage of the Cape of Good Hope is at the rear. It’s symbolised by the representations of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans who are holding hands and are at the feet of the god Apollo, who is flanked by the allegories of Spring and Summer.

Today the National Coach Museum is housed in a modern building that has been in operation since 2015 which, together with the former Royal Riding School, houses a unique collection in the world.

Its specificity and rarity make it the most visited museum in the country.

6 | Chapel of Saint John the Baptist in the Church of São Roque

Admire this Italian Baroque masterpiece, unparalleled in Italy

One of the seven unique reasons to visit Lisbon: the Chapel of Saint John the Baptist in the Church of São Roque
Chapel of Saint John the Baptist in the Church of São Roque

The Church of São Roque, where the Chapel of Saint John the Baptist is located, known as the “prodigious commission” of King D. Afonso V, is a must for the richness of its artistic heritage.

It is an Italian Baroque work of art, unparalleled in Italy, where it was designed, between 1742 and 1747, by the architects Luigi Vanvitelli and Nicola Salvi.

You’ll be surprised by the materials used, both in the architecture of the chapel and in the Italian micromosaic that simulates paintings. Here you will find a variety of valuable and rare ornamental stones, such as: lapis lazuli, agate, ancient green, alabaster, Carrara marble, amethyst, purple porphyry, French marble black and white, ancient breccia, diaspore and jade, among others.

The beautiful works in gilded bronze are also unavoidable, as are the gold and silver implements and the rich vestments that are preserved in the São Roque Museum, located in the annex building.

You cannot miss this unique chapel in the world, a gem that miraculously survived the devastating earthquake of 1755.

7 | Dermatology Collection of the Capuchos Hospital

Are you ready for a chilling visit? This rare collection of wax models is not unique in the world, but is impressive enough to cause unparalleled emotions.

Wax model of the Dermatology Collection of the Capuchos Hospital
Wax model of the Dermatology Collection of the Capuchos Hospital

But what wax models are these?

They’re representations of skin lesions caused by diseases such as syphilis or cutaneous tuberculosis, among other pathologies, directly cast from patients, destined for the teaching of medicine.

Of the 254 masks in this Dermatology Collection, 162 were made between the mid-thirties and forties of the 20th century.

This collection also includes diverse documentation, scientific literature and equipment, which are extremely valuable for research in the field of history of science, health and even art and heritage.

If you decide to test your emotions, be aware of the timetable, as this museum is only open on Wednesdays from 2 pm to 5 pm, at the Santo António dos Capuchos Hospital, located in Alameda de Santo António dos Capuchos.

After these 7 suggestions of unique reasons to visit Lisbon, we’re sure that you’ll want even more to (re)visit and (re)discover our magnificent city. 😉

The project getLISBON has been very rewarding and we want to continue revealing the singularities of fascinating Lisbon.

Help us keep this project alive!

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