We spoke to Francisco Lopes a Lisbon native working for BimBimBikes, one of the first online platforms for bike rental companies. Today they have over 1400 rental points in 65 countries!
Francisco knows all the best sites in Lisbon and wanted to give us an idea of a bicycle tour in the city.
Let’s give him the word!
Heading over to Lisbon city?
Lisbon is a wonderful city in Portugal and has something to offer for every visitor. Culture, gastronomy, architecture, sports, nightlife – you name it, Lisbon has it all! One of the best ways to explore the city is travelling by bike. However Lisbon is the city of 7 hills so renting an electric bicycle or an e-bike is a recommended options unless you’re in for a hell of a workout!
Lisbon, with so many hills, is all about the views. The 25th of April bridge (Ponte 25 de Abril), a bridge that easily rivals with the Golden Gate, and the famous Cristo Rei statue are examples of excellent viewpoints in the city. I recommend to make the most of all the rooftop bars and viewpoints the city has to offer.
Biking through Lisbon city
As a Lisbon native I have a picturesque suggestion of a (downhill!) trail through the city, allowing for various stops at viewpoints and typical Portuguese restaurants along the way.
The trip starts at the top of Parque Eduardo VII, by the biggest Portuguese flag in Portugal. Take your time to enjoy the fresh air and the breathtaking view of downtown Lisbon and the Tejo river just beyond the garden before setting off. While strolling down the Avenida da Liberdade be sure to stop at one of the lively esplanades. They play anything from smooth jazz to hip tunes to disco oldies. Eventually you will then arrive in downtown Lisbon (Baixa). This area has been completely rebuilt after a devastating earthquake in 1755, leaving an interesting architectural mix of old and new. At Restauradores Square (Praça dos Restauradores) you can grab the Glória tram (Ascensor da Glória) all the way up to Bairro Alto, a bohemian district in central Lisbon. Using the tram is the traditional way of transportation in Lisbon and a great way to explore the city. So I recommend a short ride just to try, you can take the bike with you onboard.
When arriving at the end of Baixa, you will find yourself at Praça do Comércio square, where all sorts of activities can be undertaken.
- Are you hungry? Grab a bite to eat at one of the many restaurants on the square.
- Are you thirsty? Grab a beer at Museu da Cerveja (the Beer Museum).
- Want a 360° panoramic view of the city? Climb to the top of the Rua Augusta Arch, where you can see breathtaking views of the square with the river Tejo as a backdrop.
As a fitting end to your trail, ride your bike west until you reach our Golden Gate lookalike; Ponte 25 de Abril. Under the bridge, you can enjoy the breathtaking view of the Cristo Rei statue (Christ the King) on the south margin of the river. On the opposite side of the road you’ll find Lisbon’s greatest hub of creativity; Lx Factory. This was once an old industrial complex but has now been given a new life as a creative space for everything from art, fashion, music and food.
Now, keep going west until you reach Belém. Here you’ll find a mix of cultural activities to visit and admire, including the Tower of Belém, the Jerónimos Monastery, and the Monument to the Discoveries. If you’re into sweets, the best culinary treat in town can be found right here, in the shape of the Pastel de Belém; a custard filled, freshly baked, cinnamon covered snack. If you’re into jazz, every weekend the OutJazz festival is located on the Tower of Belém lawn, starting at around 17h and ending after sunset. It’s free and extremely hip and fashionable.
Nightlife and gastronomy
Lisbon is very much alive at night. The average time for dinner in the city is around 21h, which makes for a very lively nightlife. Try some of the very typical Portuguese dishes available around the city, whether they be surf – Bacalhau as the most famous – or turf – try Cabaças, a restaurant in Bairro Alto, where you prepare your steak on a hot stone brought to your table. In Lisbon, you’ll want to follow this up with some drinks, my personal suggestion is to start at the “Park”, a rooftop bar on top of a car parking building with river views over the bridge and the Cristo Rei statue.
If in the mood, you can later make your way down to Bairro Alto or Cais do Sodré, two superb places to start your night with a few drinks among the locals. My suggestion is to go in the beginning of June, during the Santo António (Santos) holiday. During these days it seems like the entire city of Lisbon gathers in the streets of Bairro Alto/Bica.
Lastly, if you’re up for it, you can end the night at one of Lisbon’s several clubs, my personal favorite being LUX, a club partly owned by Hollywood actor and fellow Lisbon lover John Malkovich. You may start to notice a pattern, but LUX also has an unbelievable rooftop, perfect for the summer nights. I hope you enjoy your stay!