Lisbon Solo Travel, Dining & Female Safety Guide (2023)

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lisbon solo travel header image with pastel de nata, the yellow tram and pastel buildings in alfama

Looking for a thorough guide to keep you safe and eating well during Lisbon solo travel? Good news: You’ve come to the right place!

I spent an amazing couple of weeks in Lisbon as part of a larger solo trip to Portugal, and I loved the city so much, I’ve been back multiple times, and will probably return a couple more. There really is that much to do in Lisbon!

If you’re planning your solo or single adventures, you’re probably wondering how safe Lisbon is for solo female travelers or anyone backpacking on their own. Or maybe you’re a huge foodie (like me!) and you want to know where to go, what to eat, and what to expect when you’re dining alone.

After a couple stress-free visits, I can promise that solo travel to Lisbon is a remarkably safe experience. It’s easy to enjoy Lisbon’s nightlife, sightseeing, museums, hiking, social hotels, and amazing cuisine all on your own.

In this post, I’ll fill you in on the best way to experience Lisbon, with tons of tips that will help anyone whether you’re traveling alone, with friends, family, or as a couple. Keep reading for safety tips, what to do, where to stay, and the best solo dining in Portugal’s capital.

What to Know About Solo Travel to Lisbon

Traveling to Lisbon on your own will allow you to fully immerse yourself in the city’s culture and explore at your own pace. From wandering the narrow streets of Alfama to savoring local cuisine like the creamy pastel de nata, there’s no shortage of things to do when you visit Lisbon.

Here’s everything you need to know about solo travel in Lisbon:

Is Lisbon good for solo travelers?

Yes, Lisbon is a good place for solo travelers to visit! The city is incredibly safe, full of friendly people, and filled with activities that are easy to enjoy on your own.

It’s normal to wonder whether Lisbon is safe to travel alone, but my recent experience as a solo female in Lisbon was worry-free.

cod, pastel de nata and wine on lisbon food tour

BEST LISBON FOOD TOUR

One of the best things you can do as a solo traveler is to book a Lisbon food tour! Not only do you get to taste the best products curated by knowledgeable locals, it’s also a fun way to learn about Lisbon’s history and meet fellow travelers.

After all, could there be a better way to bond than over wine or mouthwatering petiscos?!

This is my favorite food tour, because you get to try everything from traditional Portuguese cuisine to inventive modern dishes. I highly recommend the drinks upgrade if you want to try the country’s famous port wine!

Solo female traveler taking a selfie from one of Lisbon's famous miradouros. Construction, rooftops and Taugus River in background.

Is Lisbon safe for solo female travelers?

Lisbon is definitely safe for solo female travelers. With its friendly locals and inviting, social atmosphere, Lisbon is a city that welcomes solo female travelers with open arms.

In fact, Portugal is one of Europe’s safest countries, making it one of the best destinations for solo female travel! You’ll be totally at ease enjoying good company, vibrant nightlife, and all that Portuguese culture has to offer without fearing for your safety.

Honestly, the most you’ll have to worry about in Lisbon is pickpocketing. Try to leave valuables in your room (or better yet, at home) and make sure to carry your purse or bag in front of you where you can keep an eye on it. Stay aware of your surroundings and you’ll be just fine!

All of the neighborhoods in Lisbon’s city center are safe for tourists and solo travelers. The only areas you’ll want to avoid are ones without any tourist attractions such as Chelas, Alto do Lumiar, Carnide, and Martim Moniz.

What makes Lisbon a good place for solo travel?

From the moment I arrived in Lisbon, I was struck by the city’s warm and welcoming vibe. I like to think that the Portuguese concept of saudade is what makes traveling to Lisbon alone so easy. This term describes the mix of joy, grief, and nostalgia that accompanies beautiful memories of something now lost to us. 

Saudade is said to be deeply embedded in the Portuguese psyche since the days of Portugal’s maritime exploration when families were separated by oceans. The profundity of life and its vast web of complex emotions is quite evident in Portuguese art, especially their tradition of fado. 

In Lisbon, this sad, sweet sense of nostalgia translates into a desire to enjoy each small moment to its fullest. You’ll see this appreciation for life shine through in the way that people interact with one another. The Portuguese are filled with kindness, warmth, and a genuine interest in making everyone feel welcome- especially those who’ve embarked on a solo trip to Lisbon!

Exterior of Chiado Cafe in Lisbon. Teal exterior.

How many days do you need to enjoy Lisbon?

Based on my experience, 4 days in Lisbon is ideal to experience the best of the city’s attractions and local culture. However, if you have less time, even one day in Lisbon is better than nothing! If your trip is short. prioritize the historic district of Alfama, a fado show, and a sampling of Portuguese cuisine.

If you have time for a day trip, check out all the incredible things to do in Obidos. This charming medieval city has quickly become one of my absolute favorite Portuguese villages!

Should you be so lucky, you’ll definitely want to make sure you plan time to explore more of Portugal next. Solo travel Porto is an exciting adventure that belongs on every traveler’s Portugal bucket list! If the sun and sand are calling your name, then solo travel Madeira or Azores solo travel may be the perfect next spot for you.

Plus, you’ll want time to explore outside of the major cities and islands. You may be wondering Is Aveiro worth visiting? Or maybe you’re ready for an epic excursion to the best Douro Valley wineries. Either way, it’s pretty clear: this small country has a lot to offer!

When’s the best time to visit Lisbon?

Lisbon is lovely year-round. The best weather is in the summer from May-September when temperatures are warm and there’s less rain. Personally, I think the best time to visit Portugal is the end of September.

I took a solo trip to Lisbon in September and it was perfect! It was warm, but not too hot. It was lively, but not too crowded. If you’re looking for the perfect time to visit, ladies and gentlemen, this is it.

The spring and fall also offer great prices and plenty of outdoor time. Lisbon’s outdoor cafes, parks, and gardens are particularly pleasant, and great for people-watching.

For a special celebration, head to Lisbon in June, particularly during the week of June 13th. This is when Lisbon’s Alfama district comes alive with parties and parades for the feast of Saint Anthony.

READ NEXT: A Guide to Lisbon, Portugal in Winter

lisbon hills

Is it easy to get around Lisbon without a car?

It’s very easy to navigate Lisbon without a car! I don’t recommend renting one unless you’re road-tripping through Portugal. I was able to get around for two weeks without any problems. Jump to this section for more tips on how to navigate Lisbon’s public transportation.

Do they speak English in Lisbon?

Many people in Lisbon speak English, especially in the tourism industry. However, it’s always helpful to learn a bit of basic Portuguese to show respect and courtesy to the local culture.

Here are a couple of basic Portuguese phrases to learn before visiting:

  • Olá: Hello
  • Adeus: Goodbye
  • Por favor: Please
  • Obrigado (males)/Obrigada (female): Thank you
  • Sim: Yes
  • Não: No
  • Desculpe: Sorry
  • Fala inglês? – Do you speak English?
  • Eu não falo português: I don’t speak Portuguese
  • Quanto custa: How much does it cost?
  • Onde fica: Where is…?
  • Banheiro: Bathroom
Rooftop view of Lisbon at sunset. The sky is turning pink and the white buildings have an orange glow.

Lisbon Solo Travel Tips

Traveling alone can be such a rewarding experience, but it can still feel daunting when you first arrive in a new city. Here are some tips to help you start your solo journey on the right foot:

  1. Choose a hostel or hotel close to your top activities: If you’re short on time, try to stay within walking distance to the attractions you most want to visit. Navigating Lisbon isn’t difficult, but traffic can be unpredictable.
  2. Research your hotel location before you arrive: If you take an Uber or taxi from the airport or train station to your accommodation, look up exactly where the entrance is before you arrive. Lisbon’s narrow alleys can be quite confusing and there are plenty of one-way streets. Your driver may have to drop you off in a hurry if there’s oncoming traffic.
  3. Use solo travel Facebook Groups to meet others: Solo female travelers who want to meet others should check out the local Gone Girl International Facebook groups.
  4. Make new friends with MeetUp: I’ve found that Meetup is used a lot more frequently in European cities than it is in the U.S. If you want to connect with others, you can browse their list of activities for something to join. Language exchanges have worked well for me, and many Europeans are eager to practice their English with native speakers.
  5. Join hostel tours to connect with other solo travelers: Even if you don’t stay at a hostel, try booking a tour through one (like Lisbon Destination Hostel) where you’ll be more likely to meet other solo travelers.
  6. Make reservations at your must-visit restaurants: If there are restaurants you really want to eat at, make sure to reserve in advance. It may feel weird doing that if you’re dining alone, but it’s better than missing out.
  7. Pack comfortable walking shoes: They don’t call Lisbon the city of 7 hills for nothing. The longer your trip to Lisbon, the more important it is to protect your feet so the steep inclines don’t slow you down.
  8. Bring euros and change for public transportation: If you plan on taking public transportation from the airport or train station, make sure to arrive with a good mix of bills and change. Some ticket machines and buses require exact change.
Aerial view of Lisbon from the Santa Luzia miradouro.

Discovering Lisbon’s Past and Present

Lisbon is one of the oldest cities in Western Europe. There’s tons of art and culture to discover here, all influenced by the city’s fascinating history.

Early History of Lisbon

Originally, this region was settled by the Celts and later founded by the Phoenicians. Then, it changed hands from the Greeks to Carthaginians to Romans to Moors. In the 2nd century BC, the Romans established a trading port, and Lisbon became an important center of commerce and culture.

During the Reconquista, Lisbon was reconquered from the Moors by the Portuguese King Afonso Henriques. It was then named the capital of Portugal. Moorish influence is not as heavy here as in Spanish cities like Seville and Cordoba, but you can still get a taste of its decadence at Casa do Alentejo, a restaurant and cultural site in a former 17th-century Moorish palace. The inner courtyard is enchanting!

You can also visit the Castle of The Moors on a day trip to nearby Sintra. A significant strategic location during the Reconquista, it’s now a UNESCO World Heritage Site where visitors can walk its battlements and enjoy a panoramic view from the Sintra Mountains.

Lisbon During the Age of Discovery

During the Age of Discovery, Lisbon was one of the most important and wealthy port cities in the world. This period of technological advancement in shipbuilding, navigation, and cartography led to global seafaring expeditions and new trade routes.

Famous Portuguese explorers like Vasco da Gama and Ferdinand Magellan made significant discoveries, including a sea route to India, and the first sea voyage around the world. Today, you can explore their port of disembarkation in the neighborhood of Belém. (More on that below!)

Lisbon’s History Through Art and Architecture

The best way to discover Lisbon is through its captivating, colorful architecture. The city, adorned with traditional Portuguese tiles and remnants of its thrilling heyday, is a living work of art waiting to tell you its story.

Read on for the best ways to explore Lisbon’s enchanting history!

The Tower of Belem stands tall against the Lisbon skyline. Water surrounds the tower.
Belem Tower is a stunning historical monument constructed in the Manueline style.

Manueline Style Details Portugal’s Prosperity

Manueline architecture, a style that emerged during the Age of Discovery, is grand and lavish in nature. This unique style, named for King Manueline, showcases intricate details and ornate elements inspired by Portugal’s maritime history.

The decadence of Manueline monuments like the Belem Tower and Jeronimos Monastery remind us of the vast wealth and power the Age of Discovery brought to Lisbon.

Lisbon’s Rebirth Through Pombaline Architecture

Born in the 18th century, Pombaline architecture features neoclassical buildings laid out in a nice, neat grid. (And who doesn’t love a grid?) The gorgeous city structure we see today is all thanks to the first Marques of Pombal who redesigned the city after it was destroyed in a devastating earthquake.

This 1755 earthquake had a profound impact on Lisbon’s identity and culture. The effects of this event are still evident. The following period of rebuilding and modernization reshaped the city with a new architectural focus on functionality and rationality, a departure from the decorative, ornate styles of its past.

The rebuilding efforts also created opportunities for social mobility. Many were able to acquire new skills and take on novel roles in the city’s rapidly changing economy. The disaster also led to a renewed interest in science and rationality, as many people sought to understand the causes of the earthquake and prevent future disasters.

Today, the impact of Lisbon’s history can be seen in the buildings that line its charming streets, and in the gentle perseverance of its warm, friendly people. The best place to find the orderly, Pombaline streets is in Baixa.

Traditional Portuguese azulejo tiles. Blue and white ceramics on the wall in a church.
Traditional Portuguese azulejos

Azulejos Connect Lisbon’s Past and Future

Another way Lisbon’s history is detailed through architecture is through Portugal’s traditional blue and white ceramic tiles. These tiles, or azulejos, adorn streets, buildings, monuments, houses, and more.

Azulejos played a crucial role in Lisbon’s post-earthquake revival. Applied to building facades, these tiles provided an affordable solution for reconstructing the city.

They originally portrayed narratives from the most prosperous time in Portuguese history when explorers and trade thrived in Lisbon. With azulejos, the city was transformed into a living work of art, instilling a sense of hope and optimism during a time of recovery.

Azulejos not only add beauty to the Portuguese landscape but also captured the essence of the country’s heritage and resilience. Today, you can still catch a glimpse of the beauty and history of traditional azulejos in Alfama as well as churches, public squares, and more.

Discover how the art form continues evolving with contemporary designs depicting diverse subjects. Explore metro stations like Rossio, to see the work of 20th-century artist Maria Keil. Visit the National Azulejo Museum or wander Bairro Alto see modern street art inspired by azulejos. 

Keep reading for more ways to explore Lisbon’s cultural heritage through art and azulejos!

Tall Rua Augusta Arch with surrounding yellow buildings, crowd and square.

Present Day Lisbon

Lisbon faced significant reshaping at the hands of immigration, economic troubles, and population growth. During World War II, Lisbon, a neutral party, became a refuge for a massive number of people fleeing conflict.

The 20th century saw significant political and social upheaval, including the 1974 Carnation Revolution, a peaceful coup that overthrew the country’s dictatorship and led to the establishment of a democratic government. Named for the carnations placed in the barrels of soldiers’ guns during a peaceful demonstration, this regime overthrow paved the way for a democratic government.

Today, Lisbon is a vibrant, multicultural city that celebrates its rich history while embracing diversity, civil liberties, and innovation. Along with exploring its history, there are so many incredible experiences to have on a solo trip to Lisbon. Below, we’ll explore everything this city has to offer.

fado singers in lisbon

TOP LISBON EXPERIENCE: FADO SHOW

The top can’t-miss activity in Lisbon (aside from a food tour, of course!) is a Fado & Food Experience. This tour is perfect for anyone who wants to make the most of their time in Lisbon since it combines a delicious dinner (I highly recommend trying bacalhau a bras) and one of Lisbon’s most famous traditions: fado music.

While you may pay a bit more compared to going to a fado show on your own, I found that this tour was better for me as a solo traveler, since you get to enjoy a staple cultural activity without having to worry about dining alone.

Passengers climb on board a Lisbon tram.

What to Do Alone in Lisbon

With so many options, you may be wondering exactly what to do in Lisbon. This city is the perfect destination for anyone seeking a mix of culture, history, and adventure. 

Stroll through the dreamy pastel streets of Lisbon’s historic districts, fall in love with the city’s signature pastry, pastel de nata, and walk in the footsteps of explorers from Portugal’s Age of Discovery. You’re in for an unforgettable solo adventure in one of Europe’s most charming cities!

PS: Want even more ideas? Check out the list of 35+ things to do alone in Lisbon next!

jeronimos monastery
Jeronimos Monastery is truly mesmerizing.

Sightsee in Lisbon

The sightseeing opportunities in Lisbon are endless, making this one of the best things to do in Lisbon alone.

While you’re in the area, be sure to stop by Jeronimos Monastery and Pasteis de Belém where the line for Portugal’s pastel de nata can stretch out the door.

One of the top things to do is explore the historic neighborhood of Alfama, where you can wander through narrow cobblestone streets and take in stunning views of the city from the hilltop Castelo de São Jorge.

Also, be sure to check out Alfama’s Feira da Ladra, the “Thieves’ Market,” where you can find some incredible and unique secondhand treasures. This flea market takes place every Tuesday and Saturday.

No Lisbon itinerary is complete without a trip to the historic and cultural center of Baixa-Chiado for shopping and food. Plus, this neighborhood is filled with some of the most Instagrammable spots in Lisbon! With its impressive plazas and elegant streets lined with shops and restaurants, you may never want to leave. (But eventually, you should, because there’s a lot more to see in Lisbon!)

Another must-see is the iconic Belém Tower, a symbol of Portugal’s maritime history and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Climb to the top for breathtaking views of the Tagus River.

For a more off-the-beaten-path experience, head to the LX Factory, a creative hub of design shops, cafes, and street art. This is a great place to get a feel for a different culture and an interesting side to this European capital.

If thrift shopping and vintage goods are your thing, you’ll definitely want to check out vintage shops like Retro City and Madame Surtô. Príncipe Real and Avenida da Liberdade are also great places to shop!

Castle of Sao Jorge
Sao Jorge Castle

Explore Lisbon’s Museums & Attractions

If you’re ready to explore Lisbon’s history, culture, and art, you’re in for a treat. This city is filled with fascinating museums and stunning attractions that are easy things to do by yourself in Lisbon.

Rua Augusta Arch: The ornate Rua Augusta Arch towers over the main waterfront square in Baixa. Head here to admire the neat cityscape Pombal designed. Though tragic, the 1755 hurricane that gave birth to Pombaline architecture led Lisbon to become one of the first European cities to be master planned and earthquake-proofed.

Jerónimos Monastery: This impressive monastery is a UNESCO World Heritage site showcasing the splendor of Manueline architecture. Also the final resting place of Vasco da Gama and poet Luís de Camões, look for images of coral, seaweed, ships, and anchors sculpted into the columns and arches, paying homage to the Age of Discovery.

The Belém Tower: Another UNESCO World Heritage site, this 16th-century tower was once used to protect Lisbon from invaders and was the very place where Portugal’s intrepid explorers set sail to venture around the world. Be sure to climb to the top for breathtaking views of the city and the Tagus River.

Castle of São Jorge: Built by the Moors in the 11th century, the Castle of São Jorge served as a royal palace and military fortress until the 16th century. Today, you can explore the well-preserved castle walls, towers, and exhibitions that showcase its rich history along with stunning views of the city from its battlements.

National Azulejo Museum: Head to the National Azulejo Museum to learn about the history of the blue and white Portuguese tiles.

PRO TIP: Did you know you can save up to 23% on tickets by buying them in advance? I like to purchase everything through Get Your Guide so I have everything saved in one place. No more digging through my inbox or carting around paper tickets was a huge win!

READ NEXT: A Magical Guide to Solo Travel in Madeira

The Cabo da Roca lighthouse on the cliff's of Portugal.
The Cabo da Roca lighthouse

Enjoy an outdoor excursion around Lisbon

Lisbon offers a wide range of outdoor activities that are perfect for active travelers looking to explore the city’s surrounding areas.

Carcavelos Beach: A relaxing day at one of the best beaches in Cascais may be just what a jetlagged solo traveler needs. Luckily, Praia de Carcavelos, one of the most popular beaches near Lisbon is just a short train ride away and is perfect for a day of sunbathing, swimming, and surfing.

Praia da Adraga: Another great beach to check out is Praia da Adraga, located in the stunning Sintra-Cascais Natural Park. The dramatic cliffs and crystal-clear waters make this spot an easy favorite.

Sintra-Cascais Natural Park: Outdoor enthusiasts will want to visit this stunningly beautiful coastal park on a Lisbon solo travel adventure. A popular destination for hiking, cycling, and water sports, you’ll also want to explore the historic Cabo da Roca, the westernmost point of mainland Europe.

Arrábida Natural Park: About an hour south of Lisbon, you’ll find this gorgeous spot known for its natural landscape with hiking trails that offer breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean. Whether you’re hiking through its scenic trails, snorkeling in its crystal-clear waters bursting with marine life, or exploring the medieval Arrábida Convent tucked in the hills, your visit promises a delightful mix of adventure and culture. For a real adventure, kayak to hidden sea caves at Praia do Portinho da Arrábida. Check availability now.

Hiking in Lisbon

If solo hiking is your thing, you’re in luck. Lisbon is surrounded by gorgeous coastal trails that are perfect for every level. Don’t want to hike alone? No problem! There are plenty of tours that offer hotel pick-up and a local guide. Here are the best hiking trail near Lisbon:

Monsanto Blue Trail: The Monsanto Blue Trail in Lisbon’s Florestal de Monsanto Park offers a unique urban hiking experience, blending city and natural views. Despite being considered moderately difficult due to several ascents and descents, the panoramic vistas of the city and adjacent river from the 748-foot Monsanto Hill make the effort worthwhile.

Ribeira das Vinhas: The Ribeira das Vinhas trail, located in Portugal’s Arrábida Natural Park, offers a tranquil hiking experience through pristine Mediterranean forests, cascading waterfalls, and crystal-clear streams. This secluded, scenic route provides a serene escape from urban areas, serving as a haven for birdwatchers and botany enthusiasts with its diverse array of flora and fauna.

Cabo da Roca – Azenhas do Mar: Sintra-Cascais Natural Park’s Cabo da Roca to Azenhas do Mar trail, showcases Portugal’s striking coastline, starting from the westernmost point of mainland Europe, through picturesque beaches and fishing villages, to the cliffside village of Azenhas do Mar. The trail features photogenic spots like Cabo da Roca’s lighthouse, Praia da Ursa’s unique rock formations, and the charming white houses of Azenhas do Mar.

view of lisbon from miradouro

Best Guided Tours in Lisbon

Organized tours are often the highlight of my trips and solo travel in Lisbon is no exception! From food tours to day-long excursions outside of the city, these tours are a great way to discover the city and meet fellow travelers.

Walking Tour: A walking tour is a great way to explore the city’s historic neighborhoods and learn about the culture and history of the city from a knowledgeable guide. Some popular walking tours include exploring the Alfama district or a tour of Lisbon street art. (If you’re looking for a free walking tour, check here.)

Cozido a Portuguese with meat and vegetables.
Typical Portuguese stew that I had on a food tour in Lisbon.

Food Tour: A food tour is an excellent way for solo travelers to immerse themselves in the local cuisine of Lisbon while meeting other travelers. These tours often include stops at local markets, cafes, and restaurants, where you can sample traditional Portuguese dishes like pastéis de nata, bacalhau, and caldo verde. I went on this tour and loved every minute of it!

Fado Tour: A Fado tour is a can’t-miss Lisbon solo travel experience, and it’s a great way to meet other travelers interested in Portugal’s music and culture. These tours typically include a visit to a Fado house, where you can enjoy live music while savoring a delicious meal and wine. I recommend this evening experience.

Day Trips: There are plenty of day trips you can take from Lisbon, including a trip to Sintra, Cascais, or charming medieval towns like Óbidos. For something laidback, check out all the relaxing things to do in Ericeira, a charming coastal town with plenty of great surfing! These trips allow solo travelers to explore the beauty of Portugal’s countryside while making new friends.

While it’s a bit too far for a day trip, a few days of Algarve solo travel is the perfect way to unwind after a busy visit to Lisbon. Make sure you check out all the best Faro day trips if you want to see the entire coast.

Plate of pastel de nata with powdered sugar on top.
Pastel de nata is not something I’d typically go for, but I ended up really growing on me. By the time I left Lisbon, I was obsessed.

Discover Portuguese Cuisine

Uncover the rich flavors of Portuguese cuisine with culinary traditions rooted in history.

Try bacalhau, or salted cod, a Portuguese staple prepared in hundreds of ways since the days of Portugal’s maritime exploration. You also won’t want to miss Portugal’s famous flaky custard pastry, pastel de nata, from the famous bakery that keeps its recipe under lock and key.

In Lisbon, dinner takes place between 9 PM and 10 PM while lunch is between 12 PM and 2 PM. For upscale or popular restaurants, you’ll definitely want to make a reservation.

Read on to learn which national and local specials you have to try, along with the best restaurants in Lisbon!

Bacalhau a bras served at a Fado show.
I have to admit, bacalhau a bras didn’t look appetizing at first, but it turned out to be incredible!

What to Eat in Lisbon

Every traveler should try these unique Portuguese dishes to discover the diverse range of flavors and textures that showcase Portugal’s rich gastronomic heritage and deep connection to the sea.

Bacalhau a bras: Most agree that is the best codfish dish to try in Portugal. It combines shredded, tender fish with eggs, onions, and crispy potatoes, for a savory harmonious blend.

Pastel de nata: With origins in the ancient monasteries of Lisbon, these delicious treats consist of a flaky pastry crust filled with creamy egg custard and topped with a caramelized surface.

Bifana: a traditional pork sandwich with thinly sliced, marinated pork served on a soft roll delivers a satisfying balance of savory flavors. Originating in Lisbon, Portuguese McDonald’s even offer McBifanas!

Sardinhas Assadas: Grilled sardines are a summertime favorite in Portugal. A must-try for travelers seeking an authentic taste of Portuguese coastal cuisine!

An outdoor terrace in Lisbon.

Where to Eat Alone in Lisbon

Lisbon’s restaurant scene is great for solo travelers because there are plenty of cozy tascas with counter service where dining alone feels more natural. However, you shouldn’t worry, because Portuguese servers are very friendly and it isn’t seen as strange to eat alone.

Galeto: At this table-free restaurant in Lisbon, diners are seated in rows where you can enjoy fast counter service and easily chat with those around you. Eating at Galeto is a time-honored tradition since this restaurant has been around since the 60s!

Taberna da Rua das Flores: In the heart of Chiado, you’ll find this charming local gem where traditional Portuguese cuisine is infused with a modern twist. With a simple chalkboard menu, André Magalhães, the renowned chef of this authentic tavern serves delicious dishes representing various regions of Portugal. The cozy, compact nature of this spot may make it easier to strike up a conversation with diners nearby.

Nicolau: A popular brunch spot with cut decor. If the line gets too long, you may have more luck with the affiliate restaurant, Basilio.

Timeout Market: The original Timeout Market is perfect for anyone who may be a little uncomfortable with solo dining in Lisbon since it’s common for diners to eat alone here. You can choose between dozens of traditional Portuguese meals prepared at affordable prices by Michelin-starred chefs, including Jose Avillez and Henrique Sá Pessoa.

Wines of Portugal: Located in Commercio Square, near the Rua Augusta Arch, this spot offers a wide variety of wine-tasting options along with small plates and occasional live entertainment. And let’s be real, you’ll likely be surrounded by other tourists here, eager to socialize after a glass (or more, no judgment here!) of yummy Portuguese wine.

Bairro Alto: Many locals and Reddit reviews recommend strolling through Bairro Alto and finding a counter service bar where you can enjoy a meal surrounded by others.

PS: Speaking of Portuguese wine, do you know where you’re headed after Lisbon? I highly recommend heading up North and checking out the best port wineries in Porto, Portugal!

Best Bars for Solo Travelers

For any singles out there who are ready to enjoy the best of Lisbon’s nightlife and bar scene, Bairro Alto is the place to be. While you won’t find any major nightclubs here like in Barcelona or Madrid, there are plenty of rooftop bars, social spaces, and intimate lounges.

Rua Barroca and Rua Diario de Noticias: Head to any of the spots on these streets and you’ll have a great night out!

Topo: Rooftop lounge with stunning views of the city.

Incógnito: Dance the night away at this nightclub featuring cool, indie music.

Foxtrot: For something a little different, head to this cellar art nouveau-themed cocktail bar with a great late-night food menu.

lisbon facades

The Best Lisbon Hostels and Hotels for Solo Travelers

There are so many great solo traveler hotels and hostels in Lisbon. These unique accommodations are perfect for connecting with like-minded travelers through organized tours and social events.

solo travellers cooking food together at good morning lisbon hostel

Good Morning Lisbon Hostel

BEST FOR: Budget travelers, solo travelers who want to meet others

The Good Morning hostel is a great choice if you’re looking to make new friends since it was designed for this very purpose!

Good Morning Lisbon has tons of activities that make it easy to meet fellow travelers, some of which include a complimentary happy hour each evening, pub crawls, themed group dinners at the hostel, and free walking tours. They even host a Sintra day trip so you can see the stunning Pena Palace in person! 

The best hostel for solo travelers, Good Morning Lisbon is centrally located in the heart of the historic center, meaning you’re just steps away from all the city has to offer. You can choose between a dorm or private room, starting at $50 per night.

cute room at lisbon rossio hostel

Lisbon Destination Hostel (Rossio)

BIGGEST PROS: Social hostel, unique locations

If you want to stay in a totally unique spot, this is the place for you! Lisbon Destination Hostel is tucked away inside one of the world’s most beautiful train stations. 

The indoor garden-like common area is the perfect spot to meet other travelers. Light pours in from the skylights, creating an inviting, tranquil atmosphere that makes it feel perfectly natural to say hello to the person next to you.

This location also offers some impressive tours like a fun evening visit to a wine cellar, an excursion to a remote beach, “Brave Foodies” which introduces you to unique Portuguese dishes, and a Fado & Dinner show. Dorms start at $30 per night.

colorful entryway of lisbon's independente

The Independente

BEST FOR: Chic, affordable, private hostel rooms

An excellent choice for anyone who wants a combination of luxury and comfort, The Independente has a social atmosphere and offers a variety of private rooms and shared dorms with comfortable bedding and stylish decor. (Seriously, it’s so cute!)

The rooftop terrace and bar offer panoramic views of the city and a great space to connect with fellow travelers. Afterward, grab dinner at the acclaimed on-site restaurant with your new besties. 

The Independente’s location in the trendy and vibrant Bairro Alto neighborhood means you’re surrounded by excellent dining options, nightlife, and cultural attractions. Plus, you’re only steps away from one of the city’s most incredible miradouros! Prices start at $125 per night for a private room and $25 for a dorm.

BEST NEIGHBORHOODS IN LISBON

Wondering which neighborhood is right for you? Here’s a quick guide to help you decide where to stay:

  • Baixa-Chiado: Close to tourist hotspots and easy to get around.
  • Principe Real: Upscale, slightly more expensive accommodations.
  • Bairro Alto: Great for party-goers, but can be pretty noisy at night.
  • Alcantara: Lisbon’s hipster capital, home to LX Factory.
  • Belem: Fun seaside neighborhood with historic sights to explore, but a bit far from the center to stay.

How to Get Around Lisbon

It’s generally pretty easy to get around Lisbon on your own. You shouldn’t have any trouble navigating the city, but as always, be cautious at night and watch out for petty theft when walking around tourist hotspots.

Use Lisbon’s Public Transportation

Portugal offers a myriad of public transportation options that will make your time in Lisbon a breeze. (Some of which are particularly adorable: hello yellow historic tram, you’ve captured my heart!) Get familiar with your choices before you touch down in Portugal:

Walk the hills of Lisbon on foot: The easiest way to get around Lisbon is on foot, but it’s important to remember that neighborhoods like Alfama sit at the top of a steep hill. Luckily you’ll get a break when visiting the flat Baixa, Cais do Sodré, and Belém.

Take funiculars & elevators up steep hills: If you’re looking to dodge a steep uphill climb, there are 3 funiculars and 1 historic elevator that’ll get you there, but be warned: these also double as historic attractions, and the wait to use can be quite long.

The four funiculars are: Bica (Cais do Sodre), Santa Justa Lift (Baixa), Lavra (Baixa), and Gloria (Bairro Alto)

The Lisbon tram stops to pick up passengers.

Tips for navigating the trams on your own:

  • Lisbon has two types of trams. The ones you’ve seen on Instagram are the Remodelado trams while line 15E uses the newer Articulado style. 
  • All tram lines are designated by numbered routes with an ‘E’ in front of them. The Romodelado trams are still running because they’re all that can handle the narrow streets and steep hills. 
  • These are popular with tourists so watch out for pickpockets. 
  • The most popular scenic route is E28 while lines E15 and E18 will get you from the city center to Belem. 
  • The Carris site shows you the tram timetables.
  • Citymapper is a great tool for planning your route.
  • Articulado tram tickets require exact change.
Yellow tram passes through street in front of blue building.

How to Get to Lisbon

There are a number of ways to reach this historic city with options that fit every solo traveler’s budget. For me, the trickiest part of travel is getting from the airport or train station to my accommodation. Here are some tips to make your arrival as smooth as possible:

Arriving by bus

  • From other cities in Portugal, and even Spain, the most affordable option for solo travel to Lisbon is via Flixbus. A one-way trip from Lagos to Lisbon is 3h50m, costing only $15. 
  • A train will get you there in the same amount of time, but with a change and for 3x the cost. I don’t know about you, but I’ll do almost anything to avoid the hassle of a connection!

Arriving by plane

  • You can expect a Taxi or Uber from the Lisbon airport to the city center to cost about $15-$20.
  • There is also a metro (subway) station at the airport with a direct line to the city center. The Aeroporto – Saldanha line will take you to downtown Lisbon in just 20 minutes. The metro station is located in Terminal 1 which can be reached by airport shuttle.

Arriving by train

  • Oriente is the main train station in Lisbon. From there, you can reach the city center via additional trams, rideshare or taxi.
Lisbon tram passes through a busy street.

Tips for getting around Lisbon alone

When I visited Lisbon, I wanted to be extra prepared before navigating a new city. These tips will help you get off on the right foot:

  1. Budget extra time when you use public transportation: Solo travel in Lisbon will be easier when you’re on time since you’re bound to take plenty of tours that run on a schedule. If you need to be somewhere at a certain time, make sure to give yourself plenty of leeway. Public transportation in Lisbon doesn’t run like clockwork. Things can get a bit unpredictable in Lisbon’s narrow, crowded streets. Your ride will show up eventually… you just can’t be sure exactly when!
  2. Have change for purchasing tickets: Purchasing public transportation tickets in European cities can sometimes be unexpectedly complicated. In the spirit of being fully prepared for your Lisbon solo travel adventure, you should know that Articulado (tram) ticket machines require exact change. (Ugh!)
  3. Get a Viva Viagem card: The easiest approach is to purchase a reusable Viva Viagem card (~50 cents) and 24-hour pass for each day you plan to use public transport. (~$7/day) These electronic smart cards have an easy tap-to-pay feature and can only be purchased at a metro station.

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Sydney

Sydney is a solo travel expert who’s extensively explored Spain, Portugal, Morocco, California, and more! She creates travel guides and itineraries to share everything she's learned about the Iberian peninsula through personal experience and exploration.

3 thoughts on “Lisbon Solo Travel, Dining & Female Safety Guide (2023)”

  1. I love Lisbon! I took a trip here back in 2016. I’ve seen a few posts now saying it was safe, it’s good to see that it has improved, we had a bit of a bad experience when we went (just one day though). Did you manage to go to Sintra when you went? I could’ve moved there it was amazing!

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