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Hidden Gems & Secret Spots in Lisbon, Portugal

Last Updated on 17th February 2023 by Sophie Nadeau

One of the best ways to get to know a new city is by going in search of its more off the beaten path attractions and locations so that you can get to know the place just like a local. Luckily, Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, has no shortage of wonderful hidden gems and there are plenty of secrets to be unravelled. Here’s your ultimate guide to the best secret spots in Lisbon

For more inspiration, be sure to check out our guides to the best kept-secrets of Portugal, the best things to do in Lisbon, and how to spend one perfect day in Lisbon.

Hidden Gems & Secret Spots in Lisbon, Portugal

O Cauteleiro

Thanks to its status as such an old and historic city, Lisbon has no shortage of busts, bronzes, and statues depicting various people, animals, and even monuments.

One of the more unusual statues in Lisbon depicts a lottery ticket seller and is close to the Sao Roque church. The statue is of a full sized-man who is selling tickets. Local legend suggests that, if you rub the ticket, then you will be rewarded with good luck.

The statue is meant to be a nod to the common, everyday person and is meant to be a little tribute to the ordinary man or woman, considering that most statues that exist are dedicated to the overprivileged.

O Cauteleiro

Top of the Triumphal Arch

Much like Paris, Bucharest, Marseille, and many other cities all across Europe, Lisbon too has its own iconic triumphal arch by the name of Arco da Rua Augusta. But what a lot of visitors to the city don’t realise is that you can actually go to the top of the arch for the sum of a few euros.

If you already have the Lisboa Card, then going up the arch is included in the price of the card. Please note that this isn’t exactly the best view of Lisbon, but it’s still a pretty cool view and there is hardly ever a queue to go up the arch!

For more miradouros, be sure to check out our guide to the best views in Lisbon. After visiting the Rua Augusta arch, you can head back into the Baixa neighbourhood where you can find Fábrica da Nata, one of the best spots for finding a pastel de nata in Lisbon.

The Triumphal Arc of Rua Augusta

Crypt of St Anthony’s Church

If you’re in the Alfama neighbourhood, then no doubt you’ll come across the Sé of Lisbon, which is the city’s cathedral and main ecclesiastical building. Nearby, there’s a smaller church dedicated to the patron saint of Lisbon, which is known as the Igreja de Santo António de Lisboa.

According to local tradition, the church is located on the site where Saint Anthony of Lisbon was meant to have been born. Today, the church largely dates back to the 18th-century and is built in the Rococo and Baroque styles.

Free to visit, it’s a beautiful spot and is the perfect way to escape the rain or heat during a stroll around Alfama. What many visitors don’t realise is that you can also go down into the crypt of the church for free and see the spot (now an altar behind a wrought iron grill) where Saint Anthony is alleged to have been born. In 1982, Pope John Paul II prayed to Saint Anthony in the little chapel.

Belem Lighthouse

Though it’s undoubtedly not worth going out of your way to see, the Belem Lighthouse is a neat little piece of history that can be seen on the 15 minute walk between the Padrão dos Descobrimentos and the Belem Tower. This stone and brick building is a lighthouse that is no longer in use but dates back to a time when it was needed to guide ships along the river Tagus.

Fernando Pessoa house

Those who are visiting Lisbon will no doubt wish to visit the Carmo Monastery, the beautiful ecclesiastical in the Chiado district which lost its roof during the great earthquake of the 18th-century.

But what many visitors to the area won’t know is that a little nondescript building on the other side of the square holds its own important history.

After all, the pink building boasts a single solitary plaque announcing that it was here where Fernando Pessoa, one of the most significant literary figures of the 20th century in Portugal, lived.

Fernando Pessoa house

Cristo Rei Statue

A little way out of Lisbon and across the Ponte 25 de Abril, there’s one statue that is quite complicated to get to, meaning that few venture out that far. The giant statue of Cristo Rei depicts Christ with his arms outstretched and can be found on the south side of the River Tagus.

The statue can be spied from various viewpoints across the city, including from next to the Belem Tower. If you’re flying into Lisbon, then the chances are pretty high of you also spying it from your plane window provided that you sit on the right-hand side of the plane when facing the front.

Cristo Rei Statue

Livraria Simao 

While everyone knows about the Livraria Bertrand, the oldest bookshop in the world, it’s worth noting that Lisbon has a fair share of other bookshops worth visiting that are a little more off the beaten path.

One of the more interesting spots to check out (even if you can’t read Portuguese) is Livraria Simao. This bookshop is a single room selling around 4000 books and only one person can fit in the store at any given time, meaning that the owner themselves have to step out to let in even a single client.

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