Imagine walking across the colorful hills off the beaten path in Lisbon, a scent of fresh Pastel de Nata dancing up your nose. The pursuit to find some hidden gems in Lisbon brings you across local markets, hidden alleys full of pop up stores, yummy cafes, and eventually you’re surprised by the most amazing viewpoint. Sounds just right? Look no further!

Even though Lisbon has become an international hub for travelers, expats, and digital nomads, it still welcomes its visitors with a charming, open vibe.
And besides its popular sights, there are many unusual things to do in Lisbon and hidden gems that are worth exploring. Getting off the beaten path in a city like Lisbon is so much more fun than sticking to the usual list of things to do every tourist seems to tick off their list.

What is more, it makes you dive deeper into the true Lisbon – the city which its inhabitants experience and love.  And just as much, it’s a way to support the movement against mass tourism that is destroying more and more lovely places across the globe.
So now that I’ve tickled your curiosity, let’s start exploring my favorite unusual things to do in Lisbon.

LX Factory, one of the best hidden gems in Lisbon

1 | Visit the Aqueduto das Águas Livres

When you see the impressive size of the aqueduct, it’s hard to imagine that many travelers miss visiting it during a trip to Lisbon.
While already stunning from the outside (with up to 65 meters in height), you can even enter. And when you’re on top, you realize that it’s an amazing viewpoint as well, as you have a beautiful view across Lisbon’s north.

What actually makes it a hidden gem or unusual thing to do in Lisbon is its location a bit outside of the center. But you can easily take a short bus ride and get off at the bus stop Calçada dos Mestreso in order to enter.

Aqueduto das Águas Livres, Lisbon

2 | Walk up to Lisbon’s alternative viewpoints

Well, you just can’t leave Lisbon without visiting a viewpoint. Because of the many hills and the location right by the sea, the view of the colorful city is just too marvelous to be missed from the top.
While most viewpoints are well-known and not really hidden gems in Lisbon, here are a few alternatives where you can enjoy the view (or sunset) without squeezing around hundreds of other tourists.

Check out these lesser-known viewpoints that offer an incredible panorama just as well:
  • Miradouro da Graça – On a small plaza you have a stunning view across the whole center up to the sea and Lisbon’s iconic red bridge (Ponte 25 de Abril)
  • Monte Agudo – A bit further outside of the center, this viewpoint and its small bar on top is a perfect hidden gem in Lisbon off the beaten path. The closest metro station is Arroios, but you can also take a longer walk.
  • Miradouro da Penha de França – Even a bit further outside, this Miradouro is the perfect location for sunset. There’s also a watch tower full of artistic murals.
  • Jardim do Torel – A little oasis loved by locals and probably an unusual thing to do in Lisbon for most tourists as it doesn’t directly point to one of the city’s major sights.

Addresses: See map below

View across Lisbon from Miradouro da Graça

Aqueduto das Águas Livres | Miradouro da Graça

3 | Explore local markets

Fleamarket Feira de Ladra

With its large number of stalls, Feira da Ladra is the place to go in order to literally find a hidden gem in Lisbon, such as handmade jewelry or vintage clothes. Besides, there are many stalls with household goods, azulejos, books, and even handmade natural cosmetics.

As the name suggests (“Market of the Thieve”), it used to be a more dodgy place where you might take a look in case something got stolen from you.
But nowadays it’s dominated by vintage stalls and handicrafts.
Aaaand don’t miss entering the market hall on the square Campo de Santa Clara, as you find really delicious food (and more handicraft stalls) inside.
I had a yummy vegan wrap, vegan Pastel de Nata, and a freshly pressed fruit juice in there. Just perfect!

The market takes place on Tuesdays and Saturdays and to find the best stuff, you should visit in the morning.
Be aware that haggling is not very common over here, so at most stalls prices are fixed.

Mercado Campo Ourique

While everyone seems to flock to Time Out Market, this Mercado is a great alternative for those looking for a more unusual thing to do in Lisbon.
And Mercado Campo Ourique truly is one, even though it has existed for over 90 years and the concept is similar. The outer stalls offer fresh produce such as vegetables, fish, or Portuguese wine, and in the market’s center, there are numerous food stalls with freshly prepared dishes.

I haven’t tried it but apparently, you can even buy products at the outer stalls and give them to one of the inner stalls to get your meal freshly prepared.

Address: R. Coelho da Rocha 104, 1350-075 Lisboa, Portugal

Stalls at Feira da Ladra

4 | Get surprised by amazing Street Art

Among fans of street art, Lisbon is something like a well-known hub for street art. Especially the Bordalo II murals are a popular photo motive, such as the Raposa (fox) close to Time Out Market, the giant Bumblebee at LX Factory, or the Big Raccoon in Belem. And there are many more, just look for “Bordalo II” on Google Maps to find some of the locations.
Those colorful animal murals depict many kinds of endangered species. As they are actually made from trash and are designed to warn people about pollution and its harm to our environment.
A beautiful way of reminding us about being less wasteful, as the artist’s quote “One person’s rubbish is another’s person’s treasure” implies.

But even if you’re not familiar with the street art scene, you can’t miss some huge artworks on Lisbon’s walls that you stumble across all over the city.
Most of the ones I photographed were random surprises that I came across while strolling through Lisbon off the beaten path.
Another favorite of mine is the Fado graffiti mural at a staircase in the Mouraria neighborhood.

Interested in learning more about the city’s street art history, and some background about the artists and their artworks? Then don’t miss joining a Street Art Tour – an unusual thing to do in Lisbon for those who like to dig deeper.

Poseidon by PichiAvo | Fado mural

5 | Take a stroll through local neighborhoods

Mouraria neighborhood

Although charming Mouraria (“Moorish Quarter”) is centrally located – right next to famous Baixa – this neighborhood is still more of a hidden gem in Lisbon. With its maze of winding alleys where locals hang their laundry to dry above the alleys, there’s a completely different vibe. It’s multicultural, colorful, and supposedly the home of many famous Fado singers.

Check out the alley Beco das Farinhas with a photography artwork of elderlies living in the neighborhood and Rua do Capelão with an artwork dedicated to the Fado singers of the area.

São Vicente

This local neighborhood becomes very lively twice a week when the quirky flea market Feira de Ladra takes place.
On the other days, it’s much calmer but worth a visit just as well. Grab a snack and relax in Jardim Botto Machado for a nice view of the Tejo River and the harbor. Or simply stroll through the, sometimes really steep alleys. But well, you’re in Lisbon, so you should be used to that by now.
São Vicente is the perfect area to get a feeling for the local life in the Portuguese capital.


When visiting LX Factory, many make the mistake of simply hopping on a bus and missing the lovely stroll through the Alcântara neighborhood.
But it’s a lovely part of the city. And even though it’s rather off the beaten path in Lisbon, it’s right by the river. You can spend a relaxed afternoon at Docas de Santo Amaro – a dock full of nice restaurants and bars. In between sipping Amarguinha with lemon (my favorite Portuguese drink), make sure to stroll around Rua Poiais de São Bento. Here you can find several small boutique shops.
Besides, Lisbon’s narrowest building is located here. On one side it looks like it’s just around two or three meters wide. I guess seeing this building is an unusual thing to do in Lisbon you won’t find in any guidebooks.

Mouraria | São Vicente | Alcântara (with the narrowest building in Lisbon)

6 | Recharge in a beautiful park

Jardim da Estrela

This beautiful park is literally a bit off the beaten path in Lisbon, so for many travelers, it remains an unusual thing to do in Lisbon.
But it’s the perfect place to take a rest and get a break from the busy city. Local families love coming here during the weekends and there’s always something going on, such as concerts, markets or even an open-air cinema for a few days during summer.

Estufa Fria

Oh, what a lush, tropical place right inside the city! The botanical greenhouse is an unusual thing to do in Lisbon that any botanical fan shouldn’t miss.
Marvel at the Tropical and local plants that are actually spread across these greenhouses: Estufa Doce (full of cactuses), Estufa Quente (Tropical plants), and Estufa Fria (local plants).
It’s located in Parque Eduardo II in Avenidas Novas.

Tapada das Necessidades

Arguably one of the nicest green spaces in the city is Tapada das Necessidades. It’s lively in there, as it’s not just a city escape for people. You will be surprised by how many animals live inside the park: From peacocks to ducks and even cats.
The park’s lakes are truly small oases. And there’s a true hidden gem in Lisbon inside the park: an old circular glasshouse.

Cemitério dos Prazeres

You may wonder why I’d suggest visiting a cemetery, as it sounds rather morbid.
Strolling through Cemitério dos Prazeres is indeed quite an unusual thing to do in Lisbon, but once you’re there you understand why it’s worth seeing.
On the one hand, the pompous graves and sculptures and mausoleums are arranged along avenues full of old, wise trees. Some say they’ve shot their best photos of Lisbon up here.
And the true hidden gem in Lisbon’s cemetery is the view from the wall: You can see the impressive river winding through the city and, on a clear day, even all the way to the Statue Cristo Rei.

7 | Support locals at alternative places for shopping

While bustling Baixa has been overtaken by fast fashion stores and chains, you can easily find some alternative shops and local concept stores that are actual hidden gems in Lisbon off the beaten path. Here you can find authentic souvenirs, sustainable brands, and local handicrafts.

Check out these unusual things to do in Lisbon when it comes to shopping:
  • Embaixada (concept stores in a beautiful Arab building) – It’s not only fun shopping in these pop-up stores and unique boutiques but also worth strolling through this stunning building with its spectacular inner courtyard
  • Livraria Simão (the tiniest bookshop in Lisbon) – Some say it’s even one of the world’s smallest bookstores, with its 4 m². But what all book lovers agree on is the high quality of the selection of these 4000 books that fit in there.
  • Ás de Espadas vintage store and Retro City (a dream for vintage lovers) – With a great selection of second-hand clothing, those two are the places to go if you like finding hidden gems in vintage stores
  • Rua Poiais de São Bento – a street with many small concept stores and boutiques, such as Imago or Mustique
  • And of course: Mercado Feira da Ladra on Tuesdays and Saturdays and LX Factory with its many original stores

Besides, don’t miss shopping at the Lojas com Historia. Those are traditional shops right in the heart of Lisbon that are still specialized in traditional craft or small trade. You may have already come across one selling only classic hats, candles, or gloves. But also some cafés and chocolate shops ate part of Lojas Com Historia.
Isn’t it fascinating to purchase something right where it’s made? Such a refreshing experience in comparison to all the chains and mass production.
Let’s support them to keep their handicrafts alive.

Embaixada | LX Factory stores

8 | Pay a visit to LX Factory

No matter if you’re searching for some alternative, local shops, art galleries to stroll through, or places to eat and have a drink in cool surroundings – LX Factory combines exactly that.
As the name suggests, it’s located in the buildings of a former textile factory where artists, shop owners, and start-ups have settled to form a creative, cooperative workspace.

You can easily spend a few hours here (at least I did, as I fell in love with the vintage stores and sat down for a drink just to observe the quirky hustle and bustle).
Stores offer sustainable clothing, handmade jewelry, typical Portuguese products, arts, and homeware.

On Sundays, there’s also a lively market with some farmer stalls, flea market stalls, and of course handicrafts.
A little west of the center, a visit to this hidden gem in Lisbon is worth the long walk (or short bus ride).

LX Factory

Map of these hidden gems in Lisbon

As you can see, a lot of spectacular experiences are just waiting to be explored. So try to spend more days in the city in order to explore these hidden gems in Lisbon off the beaten path.
Below you can find a map of all the unusual things to do in Lisbon.

Map of unusual things to do in Lisbon off the beaten path

Map of hidden gems in Lisbon (click for interactive map with all details)

Accommodation hidden gems in Lisbon

If you’re not only looking for hidden gems in Lisbon when it comes to sights but also want to stay in a unique hotel, apartment, or hostel, you’re in the right place.
There are many gorgeous places to stay in Lisbon and here are my favorites:

Hotel recommendations:

  • Casa C’Alma – Located in a lively, but untouristy park close to EmbaiXada, this lovely small hotel is the perfect starting point to mingle among locals. The rooms are super beautifully decorated with attention to detail.
  • TocTocToc – A perfect oasis where you can relax in its sweet garden and lovingly furnished rooms close to Jardim de La Estrela.

Apartment recommendations:

  • Patio São Vicente – You won’t believe how beautiful these studios and their lovely sunny patio are. Located in a central yet quiet area in Alfama, you’re super close to Miradouro da Graça and Feira da Ladra flea market.
  • Hermitage Castelo – Offers a fantastic view of the Tejo River from its rooms. It’s a quiet location in Alfama and yet you can explore all of Lisbon on foot from there.

Hostel recommendations:

  • Destination Hostel – Centrally located close to many highlights and hidden gems in Lisbon. I loved their family dinners and hanging out in their lush, green patio in the evenings.
  • We Hate F Tourist – They get their statement across: you haven’t really seen a city if you only check out the main sights. They want you to get to know Lisbon authentically. It’s also an incredibly beautiful hostel with a wooden terrace.

Lisbon – a wrap-up

Lisbon in three words: Steep trams | Azulejos | Fado

Did you know? The original recipe of the beloved Pasteis de Nata is kept secret and has never been written down. Allegedly, only three bakers know the centuries-old recipe.

Favorite photo spot: The many pieces of street art sprinkled across the city.

Favorite food: Pastel de Nata. Period.

Can’t miss: A visit to LX Factory.

How did you enjoy these unusual things to do in Lisbon? Do you have more tips to add?
Just let me know in the comments. I’m always excited about getting more recommendations as well.

More inspiration for Portugal

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