Things to Know Before You Go to Lisbon, Portugal: Trams and Fado Music

From charming trams to captivating Fado music, get the lowdown on Portugal’s spirited capital.

A musician performing live in a cozy Lisbon bar
A musician performing live in a cozy Lisbon bar

Did you know that Lisbon’s iconic trams are lovingly referred to by locals as “Americanos” because they were inspired by trolleys in the USA

If that fun fact piques your interest, this insightful travel guide on things to know before you go to Lisbon, Portugal, offers plenty more. 

Learn how to navigate its iconic trams and appreciate the soul-stirring tunes of Fado music as ThisCityKnows leads you through the captivating spirit of Portugal’s capital.

Perfect Timing and Getting Around

Need we say that timing is everything if you’re planning a trip to Lisbon? With that, consider spring and early fall as prime seasons when the weather is pleasant, and the crowds aren’t peaking. You can still bask in Portugal’s sun during these months without sweating in line for some pastéis de nata.

Since we all know that Lisbon’s charm is matched by its hills, do note that walking can be somewhat a challenge. One of the basic things to know before you go to Lisbon, Portugal, is how you should often wear comfortable shoes and be prepared for some light to heavy cardio. 

However, for longer distances that your own two legs can’t reach, the city’s buses and metro are efficient ways aside from the city’s trams without the hike. 

Pro-tip: Get yourself a Viva Viagem card pronto. It’s your best friend for all public transit across Lisbon.

Trams to Treasures—Riding the Lisbon Rails

One of the key things to know before you go to Lisbon, Portugal is its trams. Tram 28 rumbles through popular districts like Baixa and Graça, showcasing a street-level view of the city that no bus tour could match.

That kinda makes navigating Lisbon’s trams an artform in itself. These historic vehicles serve as windows to the city’s soul, so it won’t be any surprise how they can sometimes get crowded. With that, try to hop on in the mornings or late afternoons to avoid the rush and enjoy the views without the crowds. Keep in mind to grab a spot by the window if you can for the best views and breezes. 

Fado, The Soul of Portugal

Of course, no visit to Lisbon is complete without experiencing Fado. Originating in the 1820s, Fado is deeply rooted in melancholy, nostalgia, and the rhythm of the Portuguese spirit. It is best enjoyed in the old taverns of Alfama or the cultural clubs of Bairro Alto.

For those eager to delve deeper, visit the Fado Museum or enjoy it live in select restaurants. 

Lisbon Unlocked—Top Things To Do

Lisbon is an absolute goldmine of experiences. 

Here’s a quick list of things to know before you go to Lisbon, Portugal, for a unique taste of the city:


  • Belém Tower: This UNESCO World Heritage site stands as a testament to the Age of Discoveries.
  • Jeronimos Monastery: A marvel of architecture and home to the final resting place of Vasco da Gama.


  • Alfama District: Wander the winding alleys of one of Lisbon’s oldest quarters, where Fado tunes echo through the night.
  • Castelo de São Jorge: Commanding views and rich Moorish history await you atop this ancient fortress.
An array of delicious pastries at a Lisbon market
An array of delicious pastries at a Lisbon market


  • Calouste Gulbenkian Museum: Dive into a diverse art collection, from classical sculptures to cutting-edge contemporary works.
  • National Azulejo Museum: Explore the colorful world of Portuguese tile art.


  • LX Factory: This former industrial complex has reinvented itself into a lively hub of art, food, and shopping.
  • Time Out Market: Sample Lisbon’s best cuisine in one place, surrounded by the city’s brightest culinary minds. Make sure to treat yourself with some francesinha or fresh seafood.

Sweet Dreams in Lisbon—Where To Stay

Picking the right accommodation is undoubtedly one of the most important things to know before you go to Lisbon, Portugal. 

Here are three top stays we can vouch for:

Discover the Delights Before You Depart, with ThisCityKnows

From the clattering trams to the melancholic tunes of Fado, Lisbon is a city that never stops giving. Enjoy exploring this dreamy destination, and don’t forget, wherever you roam, ThisCityKnows has all the essential things to know before you go to Lisbon, Portugal, and beyond.

Ready to begin your Lisbon journey? Let The Heart of Portugal amaze you at every turn with ThisCityKnows! Also, don’t hesitate to share your stories in the comments below. Your tips might be just what future travelers need to jumpstart their Lisbon lark!

Author: Lei

Armed with curiosity and a knack for planning, Lei loves finding cool stuff to do and places to see that aren't packed with tourists. This City Knows becomes her platform to guide you through the world's wonders, sharing easy tips for making your trip awesome and packed with memories.

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