Portugal’s capital is a great city to visit all year round. However, when the sun is shining and the temperatures rise, there are so many amazing ways to enjoy your days even more. Sometimes, what is harder is to choose what to do. But don’t worry: we know what are Lisbon Top Summer attractions and can fill you in.
By the waterfront
The Tagus is the biggest river in the Iberian Peninsula. It starts in the middle of Spain and meets the Atlantic in Lisbon. But, before reaching the Ocean, it spreads out in front of the city, creating one of the largest estuaries in the World. So, no wonder we have a huge waterfront to enjoy: more or less 20 kilometers (13 miles) where you can walk, run, exercise, bike or go aboard a river cruise. You can also visit museums, take in the view, discover landmarks, have a meal or a drink. Or just sit and let the flowing waters relax you, enjoying the breeze. During our private walking tours, we pinpoint what are, in our opinion, the best spots of the waterfront.
The Golden Hour
In the Summer, the thermometer will go crazy in the city. During the hottest days, the temperatures can easily reach more than 35ºC (95ºF). That can make being outdoors a challenge. However, around 5’oclock in the evening, the heat normally gives way to a gentle breeze and the scorching sun rays are replaced, slowly, by what we call “The Golden Hour”. As the name says, everything starts to glow and seeing this from a viewpoint or a rooftop is one of Lisbon Top Summer Attractions.
Some of the best viewpoints to witness the Golden Hour are the Miradouro da Senhora do Monte, the Miradouro da Graça, both on the right side of the center valley of Lisbon, when you are facing the river. On the opposite side, you have the Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara ou the top of the Elevador de Santa Justa as two great spots. However, all of these options can become crowded while dusk approaches. But don’t worry: we know several other places where, with a bit of luck, you can enjoy the Golden Hour just by yourself.
The South Bank
Want to see Lisbon from a different perspetive, while enjoying a great meal outdoors? Search no more: Cacilhas, on the other side of the river, is the place to go. This spot is a hit on our tours, mainly because is off the beaten track. Just as we like it. To get to the South Bank, you just need to go aboard one of the small white and orange ferries. In less than 20 minutes, you are docking and facing several restaurants, where the fish and seafood dishes are a must.
Again, if you love to watch an amazing Summer Sunset, when the sky almost catches fire in tones of red and orange, Cacilhas is the perfect spot. Just make sure you are sitting in one of the many terraces facing the water, with your favorite drink in hand.
Let’s hit the beach!
Located next to the Atlantic, Lisbon is blessed with some of the best urban beach areas in the World. The main choices are Cascais and Costa da Caparica. The first one has easy access from the city center: you just have to hop on a train and choose one of the more than 20 beaches. From the family friendly ones, to the surf spots and the wild dunes, there are options for everyone. And if you want to feel somewhat sophisticated, know that the axis Estoril-Cascais – where European royals still have homes – is often referred to as the Portuguese Riviera.
To reach Costa da Caparica you have to cross the Tagus. Either by ferry or using the 25th of April bridge – yes, the one that looks just like the Golden Gate of San Francisco – you reach a stretch of more than 40Km (25 miles) of mostly unspoiled beach landscape. There are several public transportation lines in the area. Nevertheless, it is much more convenient to have a car, if you really want to escape the crowds.
At the beach, some of the most popular Lisbon Top Summer attractions are the sport schools. If you want to know how to surf or scuba dive or play beach football or volleyball, it’s easy to find good instructors. However, if your goal is to do the bare minimum, either in Cascais or Costa da Caparica, there are dozens of beach clubs and bars where you can find a sun lounge and enjoy some food and drinks.
With its 1000 hectares (around 2400 acres), the Monsanto Forest Park covers around 20% of Lisbon’s area and is the real “green lung” of the city. Very popular all year round, it is in the Summer that people enjoy it more. You can go camping, ride horses, play minigolf or tennis, do a picnic or an afternoon of birdwatching.
There are many others parks and gardens that allow a great Summer of green living in Lisbon. Some of our favorites are the Edward VII Park – next to Avenida da Liberdade and the place where you can visit a man made little tropical forest -, the Gulbenkian Garden, the Botanical Garden or the Tropical Botanical Garden, where centuries ago some exotic plants and trees from South America, Africa and Asia were planted for the first time in Europe.
Even without visiting the major gardens or parks, while discovering Lisbon it’s easy to be pleasantly surprised by small and green flowery spots like, for example, the Santa Luzia Garden, in Alfama, with its bougainvillea bursting in pink.
If you enjoy going out at night, our city is definitely for you. In the last months, due to the pandemic situation, things have changed a lot, but there is always a way for you to have a good time. Just think about the streets as one of Lisbon Top Summer Attractions. After a long and hot day, there is nothing better than to enjoy the lower temperatures, while the sun is going down, roaming the neighborhoods of Bairro Alto, Alfama, Castelo or Mouraria.
The City Council has multiplied not only the pedestrian streets, but also the number of business that are allowed terraces. So, it is easier to find a spot for you to have a few drinks or a meal. Just be sure to follow the health rules, and you will be fine.
By constrast, be aware that many indoor venues are either closed, with reduced capacity or opening hours. Besides that, laws and regulations can change fast. So, our advice for you is to be on top of things. If you have any doubts about what to do, reach out. At Your Friend in Lisbon, we can create unique and private experiences, catered just for you.