Portugal is Go: 5 of the most picturesque, stress-free things to do in Lisbon this summer

From sun-soaked beaches to beautiful natural parks and UNESCO heritage sites – and of course, pastel de natas – there’s something for all tastes in Lisbon. It’s made even better by the fact that Portugal has made the UK government’s Green List, effectively becoming the go to destination for travel starved Brits.

That said, we think many vacationers will still be looking for a crowd-free escape. If you’re hoping for a long-overdue summer getaway, here are the most relaxing things to do in the Lisbon region right now…

Get close to nature at the Arrábida Natural Park 

Not only is the Arrábida Natural Park one of the most picturesque places to visit on a trip to Lisbon, but being 30 minutes south of the city by car, it’s also off the beaten track and away from any crowds in the capital. With its deep blue seas, idyllic beaches and vibrant green hills, it offers an array of natural gems to discover, including hundreds of species of butterfly, birds and mammals. Keen hikers will also enjoy its many trails – but be warned, the steepest is reserved for only the fittest and most adventurous travellers. 

Torre Belem, Lisbon – Credit: Visit Lisboa

Soak up the stunning views from a miradouro 

Spread across seven hills, Lisbon is dotted with miradouros (viewpoints) that offer unforgettable vistas. Usually located at the highest points of each hill, the miradouros are a great place to sit back and take in the city below. Views from the Miradouro Das Portas Do Sol of Alfama’s picturesque rooftops, towers and domes are some of the most memorable in the city. The Miradouro Da Nossa Senhora Do Monte is another popular spot, famed as one of the city’s more romantic viewpoints and perfect for admiring the sun as it sets behind the striking Castelo de São Jorge.

Surfing in Cascais – Credit: Visit Lisboa

Secluded sun and surf

Surf’s up: The Lisbon region offers an ideal combination of city excitement and beach retreat: its gorgeous golden beaches are just 20 minutes from the city, with some of its most popular found along the Costa da Caparica and Linha de Cascais. But thankfully, for those wanting to soak up the sun without the crowds, there are also quieter options to discover, too. Try the secluded coves along Arrábida’s coast, such as Galapinhos, Galapos, Coelhos and Creiro, offer crystal-clear waters and tranquil surroundings. 

Portugal’s famous pastel de nata

Indulge in the famous flavours of Lisbon 

No visit to Lisbon is complete without sampling a pastel de nata, the delicious sweet egg custard tarts sold in pastelaria on virtually every street in the city. The region’s seafood is also not to be missed. Bacalhau (salted codfish) is the king of seafood in the region, while grilled sardines are a Lisbon icon and fried cuttlefish is also popular – enjoy alfresco with a glass of local wine and there is nothing better. 

Credit: Visit Lisboa

Head to the river for stunning views and stylish bars 

For a different perspective on the city, the Tagus River offers unusual – and Instagram-ready – must-see views.  A riverboat trip is the perfect way to take in the stunning 25 de Abril bridge and the Cristo Rei monument, which towers above the south bank, while for a romantic date, choose a sunset cruise while exploring the city by river.  Along the banks there are also many great areas to discover, such as the Parque das Nações district with its futuristic architecture, urban art and green spaces ideal for soaking up the sun.  Riverside bars and restaurants are great places to enjoy Lisbon’s food and drink; the Alcântara district is the place to find the trendy Santo Amaro Docks and the LX Factory, which houses more than 50 shops, restaurants and bars inside a renovated factory building.

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Bex April May is an experienced entertainment, travel and lifestyle journalist based in London, writing for The Guardian, Metro, Cosmopolitan, MTV, Shortlist and more. Follow her adventures on Twitter @bexlectric and on Instagram @bexaprilmay

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