When you think of Lisbon as a Muslim traveller, you probably don’t consider it to be a Muslim-friendly destination.
The beautiful capital of the Portuguese nation not only offers excellent tourist attractions full of history but also caters to Muslims looking for halal food and of course places to pray.
Lisbon has been overlooked by many travellers visiting Europe. It’s still considered an underrated city despite being tagged as one of the World’s Leading City Destinations in 2018.
Once you visit, it is hard not to be drawn to the city over and over again as it still holds an old and classy vibe.
Home to modern art museums, lively entertainment venues, sleepy storefronts and historic monuments, your trip to Lisbon will be the most memorable travel experience ever.
In general Portugal and Lisbon are a tolerant Muslim friendly destination that caters to a great extent to the needs of Muslim travellers looking for a relaxing vacation.
Why you should visit
There are so many reasons why you should consider visiting Lisbon for your next vacation. Lisbon is home to some of the most sought after monuments in the world today including Mosteiro dos Jerónimos and Torre de Belém, both proclaimed World Heritage Sites by UNESCO.
The city is filled with modern art museums such as Museu Gulbenkian, making the city an incredible cultural hub.
Take a trip around the city on an ancient tram which passes through narrow cobbled streets and has been in use since 1873. Make sure you also visit the secret garden of Edward VII.
For Muslim tourists, there are many halal restaurants in the city that you will be spoiled for choice of picking your next halal restaurants in Lisbon.
The Islamic history rooted over the years in Lisbon is worth taking note of as the Muslims Moors conquered the city in 711, and there are several historical and architectural monuments.
When to visit Lisbon as a Muslim Traveller?
Being in the South of Europe, Portugal offers great weather all year around.
The best time to visit Lisbon will be around March to May and September to October as the weather is still lovely and warm, but hotel prices are lower, and there are fewer tourists.
The peak travel time for Portugal is the summer months of June to August, which also translates into higher prices and more tourists.
Places and Things to do in Lisbon
#1 Castel de Sao Jorge
One of the most popular and iconic landmarks of the city the Saint George castle has Islamic roots. It was built under the Muslim Moorish rule in the 11th century.
The Muslims had an essential role in the economic development of Lisbon from ancient times. Some years ago archaeologists found traces of a mosque inside the castle.
The castle is an iconic landmark where all travellers who visit Lisbon made sure that they won’t miss it by any chance and special for Muslims who can see the resemblance of the architecture.
Saint George’s Castle is located in the centre of the city and is the home of many historical keeps. The entire family would indeed enjoy its impressive battlements and its fascinating archaeological site. Visit Castelo de Sao Jorge.
#2 Lisbon Cathedral
The cathedral was built in the 12th century, and it looks on the outside more of a fort than a religious building. However, it was built on top of a ruined mosque and symbolically confirmed the catholic conquest of Portugal.
#3 Oceanario de Lisboa (Lisbon Aquarium)
Lisbon Aquarium is considered to be the largest aquarium in the world. This tourist spot is the most family-oriented tourist spot among places you can visit in Lisbon. Sea otters, penguins, stingrays, jellyfish, and most of the best underwater creatures are here.
You can even have a night date with a shark and worth visiting for a family looking for fun.
#4 Central Mosque of Lisbon
The central mosque of Lisbon is the main and most prominent mosque in the city for the Portuguese Islamic community. The mosque opened for public access in 1985, Muslim tourists in Lisbon can meet locals and also have the chance to use the facilities of the mosque as well.
The Central Mosque has a beautiful design and architecture with a minaret and a dome on its exterior.
The designers António Maria Braga and João Paulo Conceição definitely put great thought while making this building.
#5 Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga (The National Museum of Ancient Art)
The National Museum of Ancient Art is one of the most significant cultural attractions in Lisbon and a must-visit for all tourists. Home to the largest Portuguese paintings dating back to the 15th century, the National Museum of Ancient Art also features a colourful display of artworks from Europe and Africa.
Your trip to Lisbon will be considered incomplete without having to visit this fascinating attraction, especially for culture lovers and history buffs. Visit the site here.
#6 Comercio Square
The most important square of Lisbon, it was for decades the open gate to Europe of maritime commerce coming from the Atlantic Ocean.
#7 Torre de Belém
Torre de Belem is a top-rated attraction in Lisbon and renowned for being one of the most popular historical monuments. The Belem Tower, which dates back to 1521, is the high point of decorative Manueline architecture.
A UNESCO World Heritage site is a must-visit if you’re spending a week or days in Lisbon. It is a majestic tower with a fantastic architectural design that is breathtaking.
Climb its spiral staircase, and you will find a scenery worth remembering of the waterfront esplanade and the river.
#8 Museu Calouste Gulbenkian
Home to the priceless collection of western and eastern art. This place is the most celebrated museum in Europe.
It is named after Calouste Sarkis Gulbenkian, an Armenian oil magnate who after his death in 1955, left his private collection in Portugal. For those who appreciate the art they will like it, it offers great history and artefact over 4000 years old.
#9 National Palace of Pena
The Pena Palace is a Romanticist in the municipality of Sintra, around 40min away from Lisbon city centre. On a clear day, you can actually see the castle from Lisbon as well.
It is also a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the Seven Wonders of Portugal. The colourful palace has a fascinating history and also beautifully decorated terraces and interiors. Millions of tourists visit the Palace but also the forested area and gardens.
This makes a great day trip from Lisbon, and you can take the train from Lisbon city centre to Sintra for free with the Lisbon card (more on this below)
#10 Join a free walking tour
I love walking tours, and they are so much fun, plus they are free.
You get to explore the city, talk to a local guide, meet new people and have fun for a few hours. You also get to learn insider stories about the destination as well. It’s a win-win.
The best free walking tour is here.
Halal Tour in Lisbon
There is also a Halal travel tour of Lisbon showing you around the mosques and areas with Islamic heritage in the city. This is great if you want to learn history and prefer to travel with your family for a tour.
It is pricey but definitely something to consider at $150 per person. You can book and read more here.
Also, Airbnb experiences have several great tours if you are looking for something different to do on your holiday. You can have a look at them here.
Tip: Lisbon card
The Lisbon Card is a city card like many other offers providing free entrances, discounts for extra activities and free public transport for the duration of the card.
You can buy the card for 24hrs, 48hrs or 72 hrs. And then use the card to avail the discount associated.
You can find more about the card here.
For many, the card is worth it as it covers the public transport as well as many of the attractions we include above so even if you buy it for two days you can use it for the most expensive places you want to visit.
Halal Food in Lisbon
There are many halal restaurants in Lisbon that Muslim travellers can visit after a long day touring the city. Here are the options you can consider:
1001 Nights Iranian Restaurant
This is one of Lisbon’s best restaurants that offers a wide range of Halal food in Portugal. What most travellers love about them is that they not only serve meat on the table, but also they are vegetarian and vegan friendly. They offer an authentic and delicate blend of featured dishes from Persian cuisine that will make you come back.
Address: R. Joao Villaret 11, Lisbon 1000-182 Portugal.
Offers Morrocan and Indian cuisines and is a regular spot for many Muslim locals in Lisbon. They also serve vegetarian and vegan friendly.
Address: Avenida Conde de Valbom 53 Perto De metro de san sebastien linha vermelha, Lisbon 1050-067 Portugal.
This Lebanese fast food is bringing street food from Beirut to Lisbon. They focus on Falafel, chicken & beef shawarma, hummus, Middle-Eastern salads. It is one of the more popular Halal restaurants in Lisbon that serves delicious food and visited by locals.
Address: Praca dos Restauradores 7 Ground floor, Lisbon 1250-187 Portugal.
This restaurant offers Indian cuisine to its clients. If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, then you will surely love this place. You can drop by for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Address: Travessa Benformoso 2, Lisbon 1100-089 Portugal.
Turkish Kebab House
No city in the world doesn’t have a halal Turkish restaurant in its vicinity. This restaurant also has a butcher shop, so you know that the meat is fresh and if you are in an apartment and want to save of your meals, then you know where to find halal meat in Lisbon.
Address: 40A Avenida Almirante Reis, Lisboa, Lisboa 1150-019
Mosques in Lisbon
Lisbon has several mosques that cater to the thousands of Muslins in the city; it also what makes the city so Muslim-friendly. From the 2019 census, the approximate population of Muslims in Portugal was 65,000, so you will definitely not feel alone.
Apart from the Central mosque of Lisbon, you can also find:
- Aicha Siddika Odivelas Mosque: A beautiful looking mosque in Odivelas, a suburb of Lisbon established in 1983.
- Address: Av. Prof. Dr Augusto Abreu Lopes, 2675-301 Odivelas
- Mesquita Baitul Mukarram:
- Address: Calçada Agostinho de Carvalho 13, 1100-012
- Martim Moniz Masjid:
- Address: Rua do Terreirinho 82, 1100-394 ( this is a small mosque close to the city centre. However, there is no space for women to pray)
Accommodation in Lisbon
There are many hotels and Airbnb options in Lisbon that you will have a hard time deciding, and depending on your budget, you can find plenty of options.
Sadly there is no dedicated halal hotel in Lisbon, but these are pretty Muslim-friendly, and for me personally, Airbnb can be the most halal-friendly option when it comes to families.
Airbnb offers excellent accommodation options for families or those looking to save money by cooking their meals and have more space for the children to enjoy a more homey atmosphere.
There are many very places close to the city centre that offer good value.
Lisbon offers excellent travel options for Muslims looking for halal-friendly experiences. The weather is nice all year round; there is halal food, activities, history, and so much that this fascinating city can offer.
Plus with cheap flights from the UK and the rest of Europe, there are no excuses why you can’t visit even for a weekend away.
As always with the current climate, please visit the government website for the latest update on travel.