Visit Lisbon like a Local - Our Secret Places & Off the Beaten Track Tips

We, the Secretplaces team, are based in Lisbon. As a guide to some of the most beautiful and authentic places to stay, we thought it is about time to share our local knowledge and favourite spots in Lisbon with you. True secret places that have not been set-up to cater for the masses of tourists arriving every day but that still have the original Portuguese charm.

Walk around the city

The best thing you can do to get an authentic feel of Lisbon is to walk around its streets and get to know the neighbourhoods. Besides the city centre and Alfama, there is many beautiful and more authentic districts like Príncipe Real, Santos, Estrela or Campo de Ourique.

Authentic Secret Places in Lisbon

We highly recommend checking out these authentic and Portuguese-owned places that are not touristy & ‘hip’ but will show you how the city was before it was discovered as a top ten travel destination.

  • Doce Real - best empanadas and super friendly owners
  • Pastelaria 1800 - Local, cheap and very fast
  • Taberna da Esperança - Altentejano food to share
  • Pastelaria Versailles – old style coffee and pastry shop near Saldanha
  • Da Noi - modern food, cool ambiance, hidden
  • A Obra - modern food, nice to sit outside, green street
  • Café da Garagem - beautiful view and cool vibe
  • Pavilhao Chinês - hidden gem, decadent in a good way, quirky and fun, going back two centuries
  • Merendinha do Arco – great typical Portuguese cuisine in the city centre
  • Cantinho Lusitano
  • A Baiuca – a beautiful Fado restaurant with a lot of charm
  • Marisqueira Nunes – great seafood restaurant near the Jerónimos monastery
  • Tasquinha do Lagarto – local Traverna
  • Ze dos Cornos – a favourite of the locals for a reason
  • Ze da Mouraria – fado restaurant with traditional food and famous for its great cotfish

Expensive & high quality

  • Cervejaria Ramiro
  • 100 Maneiras
  • Belcanto – Michelin star restaurant
  • Mercado Campo de Ourique
  • Mezze in the Mercado de Arroios – authentic Syrian restaurant, run by former refugees
  • Ponto Final - famous for its view and fresh fish, on the other side of the river, always fully booked so try to reserve in advance or get there early and get in line to get a table with no reservation
  • Atira-te ao Rio - beautiful sunset view, very nice staff & food quality, great fresh fish, you also need a reservation or get there a bit before the opening hour and you will get a table

Fun Bars

Lisbon is well known for its great nightlife, though it can be very overrun and a tourist trap if you stick to the main party streets. Hence why we collected this guide of some places we recommend if you are looking for a night out with a good atmosphere.

  • Di Marzano - Best Cocktails and nice atmosphere
  • Vaga - Hipster chic but good vibes and cocktails
  • Vino Vero - cool, young and great tapas
  • Café Janis - expensive but fun Cocktails
  • Procópio
  • Café Klandestino
  • Casa Independente
  • Pensão Amor - also loved by local Portuguese people
  • O Bom o mau e o vilão - also locals come here
  • Machimbombom - fun place, good ambience

Delicious Bakeries

We know that France makes great pastries and Scandinavia the best cinnamon rolls. But did you know that you can find pastries from all around the world: french pain au chocolat, croissants or cinnamon buns, but of course also the big variety of Portuguese pastries and baked good the country has to offer. Because Portuguese love their pastries just as much as the French or Scandinavian people.

Portugal is known for Pasteis de Nata and it is simply impossible to find “the best” because everyone you ask has a different opinion. But the writer of this article is in charge of telling you theirs: Manteigaria.

You can get the most famous Pastéis de Nata at Pastéis de Belém. The place is super touristy and overcrowded – but it is possible to avoid the long waiting line if you just get them to-go. They are indeed very delicious, but Manteigaria are just as fresh and better in my opinion.

  • Manteigaria Fábrica de Pastéis de Nata – possibly the best but hard to tell
  • A Carioca Vegan Nata - vegan pastéis de nata and actually so good!
  • Simpli Coffee - not a bakery but their pastries they sell are so good
  • Barü.Ba Pastry - amazing little pastry artworks
  • Scoop’ n Dough - amazing Donuts & Ice Cream, very well rated on Tripadvisor and has won many awards

Fauna & Flora

Heim Café

Fancy Brunch

Brunch in Lisbon is amazing. Might remind you of Australia or California, if you’ve ever been, but so much cheaper! Lisbon is known for its amazing brunch cafés: less local, more hipster-fancy but with very good food, coffee and pastries. You can get an amazing big brunch and coffee for less than ~18€

  • Heim Café - very beautiful food, amazing creative dishes, great waffles, nice location and you can sit outside
  • Flora & Fauna - great big brunch menu with many different options, big venue with many indoor and outdoor seating
  • Marquise - nice backyard to sit outside and amazing pastries, very pretty interior and great breakfast and lunch with a more selected menu
  • Hello, Kristof – magazines, coffee, pasties and brunch, small but has great vibe, the menu is selected but the food and drinks are of great quality
  • Dear Breakfast – they have three locations and you can find all the brunch classics on their menu, well prepared and the staff is super nice
  • Comoba - nice ambiance and food, it is possible to work with a laptop here so there are many digital nomads
  • Miolo, Belém - very pretty interior and the food looks stunning and tastes great
  • Fábrica Coffee Roasters - best coffee, roasted in Lisbon and amazing banana bread as well as a small breakfast menu

Great Restaurants to try

  • Valdo Gatti Bio Pizza - great pizza, big menu with a lot of variety, super friendly staff
  • O Botanista - high quality food, a bit more expensive but made with special ingredients and a more creative cuisine
  • Shiso Burger – Burger but Asian, a very fun cuisine to try
  • Lupita – a small shop with a few seats with great fresh pizza and a nice vibe
  • The Green Affair – amazing vegan dishes and desserts for a pretty cheap price, menu is changed seasonally
  • Organi Chiado - daily changing menu with a great variety of freshly made dishes
  • La Sharada - possibly the best pizza in town
  • Sushi (Rua das Trinas 22) - amazing Sushi all you can eat for 15€ with great quality, the venue is simple but nice
  • Farès - middle eastern cuisine with amazing quality, great cocktails and a wonderful ambience
  • Café Manhã - middle eastern cuisine, a big menue to choose from dishes from many different countries
  • ODAAN - a hidden Indian place, not pretty but the food is exceptionally great and it’s cheap

Museums to check out

If you come to Lisbon, you will realize that there is a museum around every corner. From a national coach museum in Belém, to a national tile museum, to Museum de Marinha, Museum de Oriente, about Design and Fashion, Pharmacy, Money or Contemporary art. There is many many museums to stroll around in Lisbon on a bad weather day.

  • Museu de Arte
  • Contemporary art museum
  • MAAT
  • MUDE

view from Atira-te ao Rio Restaurant & Bar

Miradouro da Senhora do Monte

Sunset Spots & Rooftops

  • Atira-te ao Rio Restaurant & Bar – if there is no table available, it is possible to only get drinks and watch the sunset
  • Park Rooftop
  • Java Rooftop – fancy cocktails and a great sunset view
  • Lumi Restaurant & Rooftop
  • Camo Rooftop – the restaurant is not great but the bar is nice and there is a lot of seating space
  • Miradouro de Santa Luzia
  • Miradouro das Portas do Sol
  • Miradouro da Senhora do Monte – the highest viewpoint with the best view

Other recommendations

  • LX Factory – an old factory venue with cool local stores, food and overall an amazing vibe
  • Feira da Ladra - flea market on Tuesdays and Saturdays in Alfama
  • Jardim do Principe Real market on the weekend
  • The Botanical Garden – here you can see many trees and fauna from all around the world, great to escape the city and get into nature
  • Parque Eduardo VII – you get a great view from the top over the city

Where to Stay in Lisbon


  • The Hotel AlmaLusa Baixa/Chiado, with its 28 rooms and suites, is more than a hotel - it is a place where Lusitanian culture is celebrated.  The hotel uses various local and national brands throughout the hotel to provide you with a unique and memorable experience. In addition to extensive high quality amenities, the warm and motivated staff will be happy to help you have the most pleasant stay as possible. Just like the breakfast buffet, which leaves no wishes open, no matter what dietary requirements you have. The rustic elegant charme of AlmaLusa will make you feel calm and well kept in the middle of the bustling streets of Lisbon.The hotel is centrally located, in the historic "Praça do Município" district, close to Lisbon’s stunning attractions such as unique historical monuments, extraordinary museums, exclusive local and worldwide shopping brands, a world-class nightlife with trendy restaurants, bars & tascas. Ideal to explore the city by foot or local transport. Trams, Busses and Metro, as well as cabs and city bikes are very quick and easy to reach. A 2-minute walk takes you to the Tagus River, whose banks invite you for a morning run, a bike ride or a stroll. Devastated by earthquakes, tsunamis and fire, Baixa/Chiado reborn with amazing squares, palaces, churches and chapels, stores, restaurants & bars within the famous “Pombalino” atmosphere.All rooms are equipped with:Colmol beds and mattresses, Sanindusa Power Shower, Renova paper, Castelbel toiletries, Wi-Fi, Samsung 4G smartphone, Delta tea and coffee maker, and other amenities and service clients request. These include extra beds (only in suites), rooms suitable for disabled, cribs, dry cleaning, kettle and more.Parking is available nearby, without reservation required.

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  • Atmospheric Lisbon hotel with great views of Portugal's capitalThe As Janelas Verdes (translated as the Green Windows) is a small 18th century palace located in the typically pretty street of the same name in Lisbon. It is also next to the Museum of Ancient Art – a world-class museum and, along with the Gulbenkian, Lisbon’s finest. This Lisbon hotel certainly has a strong cultural and literary tradition. Eça de Queiros, the great 19th century Portuguese novelist is said to have lived there and based the magical home “O Ramalhete”, in his novel "the Maias", on the As Janelas Verdes.The old wing of the Janelas Verdes, with its small objects d’art, paintings and mementos takes us back to a period when life seemed to be less rushed and more refined. The new wing, though it has a more contemporary decoration and feel, still blends in flawlessly with the existing atmosphere. All 17 rooms have a light airy feel, are very tastefully decorated and provide for some delightful personal touches. The do not disturb sign, for example, is simply a cushion with the word “schhh…”.The upper terrace on the new wing further provides some great views of Lisbon and the river Tagus, whilst the small garden of hotel is an excellent place to breath in the calm of old Lisbon and enjoy breakfast.

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  • If you want to visit central Lisbon and stay in a lovely apartment rather than a hotel (for example, if you have a family) then the Baixa House, a group of apartments located in the heart of Lisbon’s historical Baixa quarter (Downtown), could be the perfect place for you. It is just a 5 min. walk away from some of Lisbon's finest landmarks, including the Praça do Comercio, Figueira and Rossio, 10 minutes from the Chiado, right on the route of the electric tram No. 28.Now, a little bit of info on the Baixa House: It's an old building, having been built immediately after Lisbon's 1755 earthquake, but a complete refurbishing process has given it a modern sleek feel to it. It also has a homely atmosphere with a delicate interior design which includes numerous Portuguese handicrafts. Each apartment is named after a Lisbon garden which inspires its design. Baixa House provides a new and singular type of accommodation: serviced apartments including daily cleaning, breakfast and permanent support to satisfy any further need of the travellers.The apartments can be rented per day, since they are cleaned on a daily basis and fresh products for breakfast are also replaced every day. During long stays bed linen and bath towels are replaced once a week. They all come with fully equipped kitchen. See rooms for further details.Please note:- Minimum stay is for 3 nights. Daily rate decreases for longer stays.- A breakages deposit is payable on check-in equivalent to the price of 1 night. This is fully refundable if nothing has been broken.- The Baixa House provides the raw materials for having breakfast in the apartments. These are delivered every day while cleaning of the apartment is done, and includes fresh fruit, yoghurt, cereals, butter & jams, coffee, tea, milk, cocoa, sugar, and some pastries. A bag with fresh bread will be delivered at your door every morning at 08h00. If you have any requests, preferences or allergies then you can let the Baixa House know at booking and it will try to accommodate your request.- Every day from noon to 16:00 the Baixa House cleans the apartments (this service doesn’t include linen or towel changes). If you need additional cleaning services please inform at the time of booking. Extra cleaning services will be charged apart from the booking rate, and its price will vary depending on the apartment and number of guests.   

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  • Not easy to find, but not easy to forget either.What we mean by the first part of our statement is that although the boutique Casa das Janelas com Vista is located in Bairro Alto, one of Lisbon’s most emblematic, central and liveliest areas (especially at night), you can easily miss it, tucked away as it is in a quiet little side street just wide enough to let a car past.For many people this is the real Lisbon, a sort of sexy concoction of “shabby chic” buildings all huddled together in a warren of single car wide streets and steep hills. Picturesque it certainly is, but if you’re not careful you can easily pass the Casa das Janelas com Vista without a second glance as it is pretty discreet on the outside. But once inside it’s a different story with the trendy boutique nature of the Casa das Janelas com Vista immediately hitting you in the face.The common areas combine no end of contemporary and classic elements to perfection, for example, with modern designer chairs, sofas and lamps competing with an old yellow iron table a velvet chaise longue and old armchair for our attention. That’s just the entrance and check-in area. Rooms (12 double rooms, 6 of which can be combined to make 3 family suites) are just as imaginative and made up of many small details that all together add up to a great experience.Now, the name of this accommodation also gives the game away as to one of its other plus points: Casa das Janelas com Vista means “the House of Windows with Views”. In short, some of the rooms have stupendous vistas over Bairro Alto itself with its orange coloured rooftops and the Tagus River itself, which puts most of Europe’s capital rivers to shame in terms of size and breadth.And so we come to the second part of our initial phrase. Given the location, the lovely decoration, wonderful city views and, we almost forgot, the gracious and considerate staff, some will want to stay on a few days longer. In other words: it will be an unforgettable experience.

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  • A stay at Dare Lisbon House will transport you back in time whilst simultaneously springing you forward into modern day life in Lisbon. The 200 year old building, built after the earthquake of 1755 and now part of Lisbon Pombalina’s Public Interest Group, has been refurbished and reinvented with family at its heart. You can still see the 18th century details throughout the building, for example the visible arches, stone walls, characteristics of Pombaline construction, original wall paintings with decorative frescoes, and tiles. Dare Lisbon is grounded in both energy sustainability, visible through its chosen materials and highly efficient equipment, and social sustainability, with the use of local suppliers and artists. Traditional and local woodworkers, carpenters, painters, and sculptors have poured every bit of Portuguese soul into the refurbishment of this historical building. Choose from one of the elegant and welcoming 23 apartments, composed of a bedroom, bathroom, and living room with kitchenette. Enjoy the contemporary decor that combines modernity with the small details of the history and tradition of the building and the work of the artists, who made the rooms so special. You’ll feel comfortable and at home surrounded by the wood and marble noble coatings and warm colours. Located in the heart of Baixa Pombalina, close to Praça do Rossio, Dare Lisbon is in the ideal place to explore Lisbon from. So do you dare to make your stay unforgettable and extraordinary?

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  • Do you love mingling with the locals? Then, The Dear Lisbon Gallery House is just the right place for you! Located in the very centre of Lisbon, only 200 metres from Bairro Alto, the newly renovated Dear Lisbon Gallery House welcomes you in its wonderful interiors with a delicious drink! With all the famous attractions within a walking distance, nice restaurants and bars all around the property and a nice terrace to enjoy the beautiful view, the Dear Lisbon Gallery house offers the perfect setting for you to enjoy your Lisbon city break to the fullest. All the large and tidy rooms are equipped with a flat-screen TV, an air-conditioning system, a wardrobe as well as a private bathroom including a rain shower and free toiletries. Certain units even include a nice city view and a terrace. But the true highlight of the place is for sure the beautiful modern interior design. There, you will appreciate the elegance of luxury accommodation while enjoying the cosy atmosphere of your home. In the morning, head to the ground floor to enjoy a fresh and tasty breakfast buffet that offers all you can ask for. What a perfect start to the day! Do you want to explore the city at its best? The friendly and attentive staff will be more than happy to give you some very secret tips about the city. Are you looking for a charming accommodation with a friendly and cosy atmosphere? Stay at the fantastic Dear Lisbon Gallery House - you won't be disappointed!

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  • Located in the heart of Lisbon, Dear Lisbon is set on the historical neighbourhood of Santa Catarina next to Bairro Alto, one of Lisbon's city centre hills. Dear Lisbon - Charming House offers a unique experience in its 19 themed rooms and views over the city, with two renovated buildings with an outside terrace with swimming pool. The rooms offer a decoration regarding discovery, travel, literature and memories using various elements of art known in our cultural heritage.Each room has its own modern bathroom and is equipped with air-conditioning, heating and flat-screen cable TV. Free Wi-Fi is available in all areas and rooms. Featuring a modern living room, a library and a typical Lisbon kitchen, guests can enjoy a small exquisite breakfast with fresh fruit, several types of bread, homemade jams, various types of tea or coffee and recently cooked cakes. Guests can take advantage of the fully furnished private terrace and garden where they can rest, relax by the pool, read a book or enjoy a beverage. Dear Lisbon - Charming house is situated 850 metres from the Cais do Sodré Transport Hub and the metro station Baixa-Chiado. From here guests can explore the whole city by metro, take a tour on tram 28 or visit Cascais or Sintra via train. The commercial area of Chiado is a 12-minute walking distance and the lively Bairro Alto is 500 metres away. Lisbon International Airport is 9 km away. A hidden gem in the historical Lisbon city.

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  • Dear Lisbon Palace is located in the heart of Lisbon, 200 metres from Chiado. It is a totally renewed Palace from the 19th century with its nine beautiful Suites, which is distinguished by its charm, grandeur and uniqueness. Some of them face one of the most beautiful views over Lisbon, just a few steps away from trendy and cosmopolitan Chiado, Terreiro do Paço, Rossio and Bairro Alto Boulevard. At the ground floor, you will find the reception, and the rooms are on the first floor. But pay attention, they don't have an elevator.This little jewel does not have a restaurant, but you can find plenty of places to eat only a few steps from it, and breakfast is served directly in your room, where you can enjoy your flat TV screen, minibar and your Nespresso coffee machine (capsules are free).Even if some rooms might be slightly noisy because of the lively surrounding area, we think this place is an ideal romantic price worthy accommodation for couples and for those who want to enjoy Lisbon by foot, as well as its sister accommodation, Dear Lisbon in Santa Catarina.See our review here: https://blog.secretplaces.com/review-dear-lisbon-palace/

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  • Lisbon finally has a top notch hotel in the cosmopolitan and trendy theatre district of Bairro Alto, the location from which the hotel gets its name. It really is fresh from the press and it is already becoming renowned as one of the best addresses in town, but then the Bairro Alto was done up by Grace Leo Andrieu - also famous for the Lancaster in Paris, for example.The design of the 55 rooms and suites have a contemporary approach of classic Portuguese style with the latest hi-tech features (Wi-Fi Internet access, etc). Facilities include a street access restaurant with esplanade, a Trendy bar, a mezzanine lounge, a private boardroom, a panoramic terrace overlooking the Tagus River for special events and fitness centre with massage. An underground car park, the famous 28 tram (provides a scenic and romantic way of getting to know Lisbon) plus the metro facing the hotel door, means guests are also very well served transport wise.

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  • The recently opened Montebelo Apartments offer 13 modern and fully equipped 1 and 2 bedroom apartments, located in the fascinating city of Lisbon.The apartments are each beautifully designed with modern decoration and art, inspired by the elegant district of Baixa Pombalina, also known as Lisbon Downtown.  Including the creative influence of the famous artist Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro, who invented the  “pombalino” style and Lisbon tiles, the apartments have everything your heart desires and will welcome you with its typical Portuguese charm.The bright 1 bedroom apartments can accommodate up to 4 people, and come with a fully equipped kitchen and a bathroom with a large walk-in shower.The 2 bedroom apartments, on the other hand, can accommodate up to 6 people and are perfectly suitable for a stay with children, who for sure will love sleeping in the cosy bunk beds. Lisbon, the capital city of Portugal, is definitely worth a visit and provides interesting leisure activities for the whole family. Hop on the famous tram Number 28, eat the delicious Pastéis de Nata, educate yourself in plenty of museums, which teach you about Portugal's rich history and experience Portugal’s turbulent nightlife. Did you know that Lisbon is actually one of Europe’s sunniest cities with an average of 2.799 hours of sunshine each year?

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  • This Apartment Lisbon Center is the ideal secret place to explore the wonderful historic center of Lisbon. It is located right in the heart of the city and in walking distance to the hot spots of Portugal`s capital. With bright light, high ceilings and a charmeful wooden floor on over 180 sqm, it welcomes up to 8 guests with panoramic views on Lisbon`s famous roof tops. It has 4 bedrooms, two double bedrooms feature comfortable double beds and two bedrooms have two single beds each. There is a modern bathroom with shower and toilet. Along the hall, you find an extra toilet and next to the kitchen you find an additional single shower. The spacious kitchen is fully equipped and offers an extra dining table with beautiful panoramic view. The apartment has a spacious living area which opens up to the dining area and a separate cozy TV lounge. It is on the 1st floor of a historic building, and perfect for families and groups of friends travelling together. 

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