Taking a Lisbon boat tour will open your eyes to a different perspective of Lisbon. As well as the cool breeze, which is more than welcome on hot days, being on the water allows you to escape from the noise and irritations of busy streets.
The wide waters of the Tagus River are an integral part of Lisbon’s identity and history. As well as reflecting the kind of light that inspires poetry, the river brings the city boats of all sizes carrying fish, workers, tourists and shipping containers from distant shores.
Intrepid navigators once set sail for unknown lands from the Tower of Belém and the nearby electric power station later relied upon the river to generate the city’s electricity supply.
The different perspective of Lisbon’s sights and architecture is another bonus, especially for the views of the Discoveries Monument, one of many iconic monuments in Belém, the underside of the April 25th bridge and Praça do Comércio.
And wait until you try a sunset cruise. A truly memorable experience.
Here are some of the many different types of Lisbon boat tours available, guaranteed to suit most tastes.
Tip: Bear in mind the meeting points for these boat tours will be dependent upon the type of boat so please check the location carefully before booking.
Lisbon by boat
You can choose a sailing time to fit around your sightseeing itinerary on this small group 2-hour tour with a welcome-aboard drink. You’ll see all of the historical highlights along the riverbank.
For something more unique and traditional, take a peaceful sightseeing cruise on a rare 1947 hand-painted boat. The live commentary tells you about the major Lisbon landmarks along the route.
View Lisbon from the comfort of a 15-meter fully-equipped sailing yacht on this 2-hour sailing tour with champagne. As the captain tells you about the history of the monuments you pass, you can take a turn on the wheel or simply relax. Boarding for this small group (max 12) experience is at the marina directly under the 25th of April suspension bridge.
If speed is more of your thing, then see Lisbon from the water on this speedboat tour. You’ll still see all of the landmarks!
Sunset cruises in Lisbon
Sunset over the Tejo river transforms everything. There really is no better way to see the city than on one of these lovely Lisbon boat tours while enjoying a serene sunset.
Enjoy a sunset sailing tour on a luxury yacht. You’ll be part of a small group on a 15-metre yacht so there’s plenty of room to stretch out and relax, watching the beautiful sunset. The captain and crew are friendly and informative.
Take this 2-hour sunset and wine sailing tour and enjoy stories and history from the crew as well as refreshing vino verde wine.
You can enjoy the sunset over one of Europe’s most beautiful cities with these cruises. You can choose a private group up to 4 people on this private cruise or this one just for couples. Lasting 2 hours you’ll see all of the landmark sights along the Tejo and a hotel pick up can be arranged (for an extra fee).
Yellow boat tour
When my dad and I spent a couple of days in Lisbon it was too hot for walking around so we decided to try the Yellow Boat Tour, which is bigger than the sailing boats but still offers great views of the city and river.
If you want to actually learn something about Lisbon on your boat tour, use the supplied headphones as the commentary is hard to hear otherwise.
A really good way to break up your sightseeing experience with a different form of transport over a 72-hour period is with this All-in-One Hop-On Hop-Off Bus and Tram Tour with River Cruise. You have unlimited access to multiple open-top bus routes, public tram rides, and entrance to the Santa Just Lift and Lisbon funiculars, as well as discounts to monuments, museums, and other activities.
Family fun with Hippotrip
While a sailing or speedboat experience could be fun with children, Hippotrip is definitely a family-oriented experience. That said, Mike and I were one of several couples taking the tour so don’t let a lack of children stop you from joining in the fun.
The colourful vehicle is both a bus and a boat so the tour, enlivened by enthusiastic guides, takes you through Lisbon’s streets before plunging into the river. You’ll discover Lisbon legends and curiosities and join in the Hippo Hippo cry.
See my separate article for more information about Hippotrips tours.
As a side bonus, our journey to the meeting point at Doca de Santo Amaro allowed us to see more of Lisbon’s great urban art, including a mural by Vhils.
Looking for more Lisbon day trips? Check out this article with 18 suggestions.