I guess I always knew I would fall in love with Lisbon at first sight. It was a city I was only familiar with through the many books by Portuguese writers who set their novels in Lisbon. Because Portuguese literature has a unique voice of its own, this resulted in me romanticizing it before ever seeing it. In fact, I got a certain image of it that I was afraid might be unrealistic, bound in the many fictional stories. I need not have been afraid because the city easily stole my heart away. During those four days in Lisbon, I fell for this historical city. The number of magical places in Lisbon took me by surprise, even with my high expectations! The endless hills hide many beautiful secrets and I’m here to share them with you. So without further ado, here are the most magical places in Lisbon that swept me off my feet!

magical places in lisbon, a brasileira cafe

A Brasileira

One of the oldest cafés in Lisbon, A Brasileira is also one of the most magical places in the city. The prominent facade invites you to an exquisite Art Deco interior. I felt like I had stepped back in time as I walked through the door. However, it was more than dazzling interiors that drew me to A Brasileira. Back in the day, this used to be Fernando Pessoa’s favorite café. The author of one of my favorite books ever, I simply had to sit down here for drinks as well. We dropped by early in the morning, in order to avoid the crowds. There is a bronze statue of Pessoa in the place where his usual table used to be. Considering it’s normally a tourist spot, their hot chocolate was probably the best one I had in Lisbon and the pasteis de nata were delicious too!

Livraria Bertrand

If you’re looking for the oldest bookstore in the world, look no further than Lisbon. Livraria Bertrand was founded in 1732 and its original branch is still going strong. The bookstore is enormous, with arches leading you into separate sections of the library. There is a decent selection of books in English and that’s where I found one of Pessoa’s books to take home with me! Most notably, the bookshelves in the first room are an absolute dream. You’ll also find a little café in the back of the library. Overall, it’s obvious that you should visit the oldest bookstore in the world!

Jeronimos Monastery

One of Lisbon’s most popular landmarks, Jeronimos Monastery deserves a mention on this list. This beautiful example of Manueline architecture is utterly dreamy! This late Gothic architectural style was short-lived but highly influential. Sumptuous and decorative, it’s recognizable for complex ornamentation and intricate carvings. In my opinion, those elements are exactly what makes the monastery look dreamy.

Notably, the cloister is quite reminiscent of Hogwarts and its hallways. So it’s no wonder I’m including it on the list of the most magical places in Lisbon! The cloister arches a wonder to look at on both levels. In addition to the monastery, don’t miss the Church of Santa Maria de Belem right next to it. No matter the day, there will be long lines for both locations but trust me, it’ll be worth the wait!

Landeau, the best chocolate cake in Lisbon

Prior to my trip to Lisbon, I had heard of Landeau and the best chocolate cake in Lisbon. Such praise came from many distinguished newspapers from all over the world, so naturally, I had to try it for myself. I have to point out that I don’t remember the last time I had chocolate cake. It’s a recipe that often disappoints but such acclaim piqued my interest. When the only thing on the menu is chocolate cake, you know you’re in for something unique. And let me tell you, this chocolate cake was perfect. It feels equally indulgent and light. I have no idea how they do it but I know I savored every bite of that cake and wanted to immediately pass on the word!

Pavilhao Chines

My favorite hidden gem in Lisbon, Pavilhao Chines is a unique and peculiar place. A cocktail bar inside a former grocery shop, it’s filled with the most random assortment of objects. The building dates back to 1901 and it seems that everything in the bar just accumulated there over time. It felt like we were having drinks in a curiosity shop and I absolutely loved it! Pavilhao Chines consists of five rooms packed with so many different pieces that one could spend a whole day studying them all. It’s a veritable cabinet of curiosities that’ll make you feel like you traveled back in time!

magical places in lisbon, pavilhao chines

Ler Devagar bookstore

One of the most unique bookstores in the world, Ler Devagar is a must when visiting Lisbon. It’s situated inside LX Factory, a trendy district full of shops, restaurants, and bars. The entire area used to be an industrial complex and that’s also visible at Ler Devagar. Formerly an old printing shop, it still features some of the machinery on the second floor. There you’ll find a little café and bookshelves reaching the high ceiling. It’s a quirky bookstore with a great selection of books in many languages, including English!

Cinemateca Portuguesa

One of my favorite magical places in Lisbon, Cinemateca Portuguesa is a lovely film museum. One of the city’s hidden gems, it’s situated right next to the cinema. In fact, two adjacent buildings comprise the cinema and its museum. This arthouse cinema has been showing movies since 1948 and is still going strong! While I loved the cinema lobby imitating a night sky full of stars, I fell in love with the unique architecture leading to the library. Influences of Moorish architecture always get to me and this place was no exception. It’s the perfect place for film buffs and architecture lovers!

Riding in the famous Tram 28

On our last full day in Lisbon, we did what is probably the most touristic thing in Lisbon. The yellow tram became famous simply because it passes by many of the city’s landmarks. So tourists used to hop and off, boarding the next tram. Personally, we chose to board it on the outskirts and ride through twenty or so stops. It was a lovely conclusion to our stay in Lisbon, seeing all the places we had explored on foot. Not to mention how charming the tram’s interior is. It’s the perfect way to travel back in time while in Lisbon!

magical places in lisbon; yellow tram 28

Casa do Alentejo

A little slice of Morocco in the center of Lisbon, Casa do Alentejo is a true hidden gem. With an unassuming entrance, it’s easy to miss this place. Once you climb the stairs, you’re greeted with a stunning Moorish palace and inner courtyard. Originally a private residence, it was a casino and then a social club before becoming a center for preserving the Alentejo culture. Today there is also a restaurant inside its walls where we had a delicious dinner! The entrance is free so you can pop in for a quick visit.

Miradouro de Santa Luzia

Possibly the most popular viewpoint in Lisbon, Miradouro de Santa Luzia is worth all the hype. I knew we were visiting too early to see it in all its floral glory but it was still beautiful. We woke up in time for sunrise and marveled at picture-perfect Lisbon. Miradouro de Santa Luzia is a lovely place, even without mentioning the view. The mini pergola decorated with azulejo tiles makes for a scenic spot to visit anytime during the day!

National Pantheon of Lisbon

Tucked away in the Alfama neighborhood, you’ll find the National Pantheon of Lisbon. Initially the Church of Santa Engracia, it was converted into a Pantheon in 1916. Here is where some of the most important Portuguese people are buried. In essence, it’s a tribute to everyone who ever put Portugal on the map, including writers, football players, explorers, and fado singers. Aside from all that, it’s an example of exceptional architecture. And I have never gotten to climb so close to any dome which was fascinating. Overall, I feel like it’s a place people might skip when in Lisbon and you really shouldn’t!

Casa Sao Miguel

One afternoon, while wandering through the neighborhood of Alfama, we stumbled upon a hidden gem. This little café has got to be one of the most magical places in Lisbon! With two tiny tables up front, Casa Sao Miguel is effortlessly charming. Somehow, I was transported from a March day to the middle of summer. It was easily one of my favorite hidden spots in Lisbon! Moreover, the entire Alfama neighborhood is unique with its narrow streets on multiple levels connected with stairs. It might be a bit tiring but it’s definitely enchanting!

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