Lisbon city is a hidden gem on Europe’s west coast, that’s becoming less and less hidden by the day. The locals know it as the city of seven hills. However, the rest of the world is flagging it as one of Europe’s trendiest foodie cities. Needless to say, a tour to Lisbon is not complete without sampling the local cuisine.
Picture this. How about starting your day with the famous Pasteis De Nata (creamy custard tart) dotting the local bakeries? Then, head to Belém Tower, the former political prison that is now the must-see viewpoint for the city’s harbor, where you’ll be able to look out on myriad seafood restaurants.
Do you have Pena Palace, the ‘castle of many colors’ on your itinerary? If so, we know just the place to grab lunch. The restaurant’s 365 dishes feature traditional Bacalhau à Bras, a potato dish with famed Portuguese salt cod. It’s perfect to be washed down with a cold Sagres beer, Lisbon’s oldest crafted beer.
Now, how do you incorporate this food tour into your already packed itinerary? We got you covered. In this guide, we give you reasons why a Lisbon culinary tour is a must for your next visit to Lisbon. Then, we’ll sample six of the best Lisbon food tours that you can customize to your schedule. Finally, we’ll give you tips to make sure your whole experience is as memorable as can be. Are you ready for the adventure? Vamos lá!
Why Must You Plan For a Lisbon Food Tour?
- This is your chance to experience authentic Portuguese cuisine in one of the world’s most beautiful cities. Make the most of it.
- Try cheap, local cafeteria-style hotels and restaurants. Here, you’ll have access to a menu like that of high-end restaurants, for a fraction of the price.
- Find spots that allow you to eat and drink with locals, in spots few tourists visit, far from the tourist map.
- A Lisbon Food Tour offers a rare chance to attend one of the Fado dinner shows. Here, you’ll enjoy a musical extravaganza as you take part in food, wine, and beer tastings.
- All delicacies can be customized to your tastes, by local foodie experts.
- Have the chance to book private food tours for you and your host only.
1. Lisbon Gourmet Walking Tour and Tastings
This colorful culinary tour will take you through the cobbled backstreets of Lisbon, sampling the very best of its offerings with a knowledgeable guide. Guests on this 3-hour tour will get to try fresh local seafood, artisanal coffee, and unique treats while they explore Lisbon’s quaint neighborhoods. You visit some of Lisbon’s most iconic cafes and hear about the wild bohemian stories that put them on the map, including Martinho da Arcada and Pastelaria São Roque, before heading for a Rissol de Camarão (shrimp party).
And, what better way to follow a food party than with a party-party. Your guide will take you around the local ‘tascas’ for a couple of local wines or beers, where you will be able to rub shoulders with locals over some tasty canned seafood – not only the perfect bar-snack, but also an excellent souvenir.
- Meet at central meeting point
- Try some of Lisbon’s best food with an expert guide
- Enjoy some drinks with fellow diners in some of Lisbon’s coolest neighborhoods
2. Dinner with Fado and a Walking Food Tour
A Fado dinner show is one of Lisbon’s iconic musical shows over a traditional dinner. Here, you’ll sample Portuguese cuisine as you enjoy Fado, Lisbon’s legendary music genre. In fact, Fado is a listed UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage. This tour is ideal for anyone who wants to experience the nightlife of Lisbon whilst sampling traditional food and culture.
A typical Lisbon By Night itinerary, including dinner, with Fado is as follows:
- Pick up from your hotel
- A tour of Lisbon’s enlightened monuments, including the picturesque Belem Tower, Rossio Squares, and Liberty Avenue
- Traditional dinner with Fado show at Sr. Fado, a rustic restaurant owned by one of Portugal’s most famous Fado singers. Other Fado restaurants include A Viela do Fado, Café Luso – Fado & Food Group, and O Faia
- Drop off at your hotel
3. Lisbon: Food and Tapas Neighborhood Tour
This special food tour will take you around the various neighborhoods of Lisbon, stopping at all of the most important foodie sights along the way. Guests will get insider knowledge of the very best spots in town, that aren’t on the conventional tourist map. Try quintessential Lisbon wine, food, petiscos and fado – the traditional music of Portugal. The only thing you will need to bring is your appetite – and maybe your dancing shoes.
Your guide will also take you to some of Lisbon’s most important literary and cultural sites, including the 18th-century Café Nicola, where the city’s greats have gathered over an espresso for over 200 years. Coffee aside, revelers will love the city’s trademark codfish cakes, to be washed down with a refreshing glass of green wine (Vinho Verde), a light and fresh wine grown in the north of the country.
Afterwards, join locals in the city center to enjoy some of the city’s buzzing nightlife. As well as stopping at a few bars for some drinks and small plates of meats, cheeses, fish and other delicious Portuguese tapas, you will get the chance to see one of the city’s best gourmet shops, stuffed to the rafters with traditional products, including Bacalhau, a dish of dried, salted codfish.
- Meet your guide at a central meeting point
- Explore the rich history of Lisbon, and hear tales of the city’s bohemian past
- Try local wines and decide which ‘Petisco’ is your favorite
4. Take Part in a Food and Cultural Walking Tour
In under four hours, you can visit most of the historical monuments that you read about in Lisbon. As you do so, sample the cuisine on at least 16 stops you make. As it’s a walking tour, all you need to bring is a hungry stomach, and maybe a bottle of water for hot days. Robust walking shoes are recommended for the cobblestone pathways and steps.
A typical walking tour is about 1.2 miles (2 km) long. It includes a knowledgeable guide and typically departs in the late afternoon. You may customize your food tour to include a visit to the food market. For example, when you visit the Time Out Mercado da Ribeira, you’ll get a rare chance to:
- Try out traditional specialties like Portuguese tapas, Bolinho de bacalhau, and Fino
- Grab authentic Portuguese recipes
- Mingle with the country’s best-known chefs, such as Miguel Castro e Silva
- Attend a cooking workshop with some of Lisbon’s best chefs
- Take part in live shows and events
Being a famous food market, Time Out Mercado da Ribeira can get quite crowded. Hence, it is best to visit it at least an hour or two before the rush hour. Other food markets include the less crowded Mercado de Campo de Ourique. Or, head to Martim Moniz, and witness many food festivals from diverse cultures on display.
5. Craft Some Sagres Beer or Super Bock Beer at Cervejaria Trinidade
Do you enjoy a gulp or two of local craft beer every now and again? Then hit the streets for a craft beer tasting and exciting bar-hopping experience. It is almost impossible to find Lisbon’s two main craft beers in one pub. At Cervejaria Trinidade, you’ll eat and drink like (and with) the locals. Here, and in the surrounding areas, you’ll find many pubs that brew Lisbon’s craft beers.
Not that, Lisbon’s craft beer industry is somewhat new. And, until recently, the beer industry in Lisbon was under tight regulations. Only two local companies dominated the industry, locking out any foreign investors. Later, in 1974, when the industry was open for all, the locals preferred these two foremost brands.
And, if you have the time, head to Porto, Portugal’s second city, just a few hour’s bus ride from Lisbon. Porto’s downtown has food, wine, and beer that make it worth the trip. Sagres Beer, for example, is a light pale lager that’s well worth trying for beer lovers. This beer is synonymous the Portuguese culture, and amazing with sardines, one of the most popular bar snacks in Portugal. A typical tour of this famous street includes:
- Tour to many microbreweries
- Attending a live brewing workshop
- Farm-made beer tasting
Head to Lupum Wild Beer and have a chat with Luis, a beer crafter, and his brewery buddies. Here, you’ll have a private tour of the microbrewery that includes a beer tasting accompanied by Porto tapas.
6. Food Walking Tour with Market Visit
Do you want to sample the best street food in Lisbon? Then, you’ll be spoilt for choice with this Food Walking Tour with Market Visit tour. Typical street food featured in the tour includes chorizo bread, a sandwich-style bread is infused with a unique Lisboa flavor. Treat your taste buds to handmade chorizo sausage, garlic, and spices atop homemade bread. To sample the Chorizo meat bread, visit the Merendeira restaurant, which serves exclusive Lisboa street food every day between 10:00 a.m. and 7:00 a.m.
You’ll start at Largo do Camões, before getting an informative tour around Lisbon’s classic cafes. As well as chorizo bread, ‘bica’, a local espresso, and plenty of Pastel De Nata will be available. Of course, the visit to the local fish market is one of the highlights of this tour. Lisbon is famed for nothing if not its seafood, and here foodies will get to see where the magic truly starts.
A tour is capped at 12 people, so be sure to book ahead. This tour is not suitable for pregnant women, those with mobility issues, and very young children.
Other must-sees for a culinary tour of Lisbon
Maria Limão is at the Senhora do Monte viewpoint. Here, you’ll sample unique, homemade lemonades and crepes. It’s a cozy café where you can sit and enjoy what this exclusive viewpoint has to offer.
Hamburgueria da Parada
If you love burgers, then make sure you visit the Hamburgueria da Parada food truck. It is an outdoor kiosk that is super popular with locals and tourists alike for its knockout burgers.
Extra Tips to Make Your Lisbon Tour Safe and Memorable
- Pick a food tour with a local. That way, you’ll get to sample rare recipes and visit local eateries. Also, you’ll get recommendations that are not always listed at the tourist help desk.
- Beware of pickpockets and scammers in crowded eateries. Yes, like any other famous city, Lisbon is not immune to such incidents.
- Travel in groups when going for a Lisbon by night tour.
- Use your debit or credit card for most of your purchases. Have few coins for tipping. That way, you’ll not attract unnecessary attention when flashing lots of cash.
- Keep an eye on your valuables when using the tram. In particular, tram 28 is quite notorious with pickpockets.
- Opt to travel using a reliable travel agent. Public transport in Lisbon experiences periodic protests and strikes.