Skip to Content

Celebrating Canada's 2SLGBTQI+ Communities

Olá Lisbon! A 2SLGBTQI+ Travel Guide Of Portugal’s Capital City

Above photo by Julian Dik on Unsplash

Olá Lisbon! A 2SLGBTQI+ Travel Guide Of Portugal’s Capital City

Portugal has a ton of charm and an array of activities for travellers to enjoy…

By Stephan Petar

A picturesque destination, Portugal is known for its architecture, food and natural beauty. Whether it’s the epic sunset and sunrise views from various viewpoints (miradouros), the cafés displaying the deliciously golden pastéis de nata or the ceramic tile-clad buildings bringing pops of colour to the winding streets, it’s hard not to fall in love. 

Portugal is also one of the most LGBTQ+-friendly destinations, according to the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association, and one that has been making progressive strides for LGBTQ+ rights. 

Most people start their journey in Lisbon, a city full of history and cultural sites like Carmo Convent, LxFactory, Feira da Ladra, the Alfama district and more. For 2SLGBTQ+ travellers, online searches will suggest Beach 19, one of Europe’s largest gay beaches, along with bars, clubs and bathhouses in the Bairro Alto and Príncipe Real neighbourhoods. 

For those planning a trip to Lisbon, add these LGBTQ+-owned or -friendly businesses and experiences to your list. Whether you want to stay active, dance in a former palace or have a mystical dining experience, there is something for everyone. And here’s a small tip: have WhatsApp, Meetup, Eventbrite and Shotgun downloaded, as many places use these apps to share information and tickets.

Alex’s Queer Lisbon
Praça do Príncipe Real 18

Passionate about LGBTQ+ history, Alex hosts a half-day and treasure hunt tour exploring the Príncipe Real and Bairro Alto areas. Learn about LGBTQ+ life in a historical and modern context by visiting a 17th-century cruising site, lost venues and current nightlife hotspots. Hear stories about queer life under the Inquisition, the “altar of the spilled seed” (oh my!), spies and more. For the treasure hunt tour, get ready to be quizzed on what you’ve learned. Those who book also receive Alex’s Long List – LGBTQ Guide with helpful information on navigating Lisbon.

A taste of Belgium in Lisbon (courtesy of Avó Yvonne)

Avó Yvonne
Avenida Ressano Garcia 43A 
There is nothing more nostalgic and homey than a grandmother’s cooking, which is why you should visit Belgian coffee and pastry shop Avó Yvonne. Its owner serves recipes by his grandmother, Yvonne, who amalgamated her delicacies into a cookbook for her family to enjoy and share. Try one of the cakes, pies, sweets and waffles – made on site and by hand – and pair it with Belgian beer for a lovely and unexpected surprise.

Drama Bar
Rua Damasceno Monteiro 75B

Located in the Graça-Arroios area (an up-and-coming spot for queer businesses), Drama Bar is a cultural hub. It hosts an array of programming including dance workshops, basement parties, drag and burlesque performances, markets and Drag Race viewing parties (where the host may pull you up for a lip sync battle).

Gala Cricri
Calçada do Duque de Lafões 1

This immersive, eccentric, futuristic and queer experience is held at Palácio do Grilo, an 18th-century palace that belonged to the Duke of Lafões. Gala Cricri is curated by Brazilian duo Venga Venga, who host themed nights with performances and DJ sets that will have you dancing among historic frescos and contemporary art. The venue has a large garden in the back with a secret grotto, and gives off major Saltburn vibes.

The Late Birds Backyard (Courtesy of The Late Birds)

The Late Birds
Travessa André Valente 21

This 15-room gay urban resort concept is in the heart of Bairro Alto. The restored 18th-century building feels like a home with custom furniture and two cats, as well as pieces related to Lisbon’s history and art from LGBTQ+ artists. Its backyard is an oasis, repelling the city noise for a relaxing environment where guests can swim and sunbathe. The Bird’s Lounge and Lobby is where you’ll make international friends of all ages, some of whom will become long-lasting, according to the staff. If the rooms are booked, don’t fret, as they also host events for the community.

LGBTQ Hiking Portugal
Various meetup points

This Meetup will help you get in your daily step count and make friends! Describing itself as a “social group that hikes,” it has events for all levels that take you around Lisbon and beyond.

Mystic Dinner with Lady Irina (courtesy of Lady Irina Ganache)

Mystical Drag Dinner with Lady Irina
Addressed revealed after booking

This Airbnb Experience dinner party is hosted by drag queen Lady Irina Ganache, who invites travellers from all over the world into her home for a magical and unforgettable night. Guests are invited to her boudoir to undergo a quick drag transformation, where they’re dressed in colourful wigs and vintage style accessories. For dinner, enjoy a homemade four-course tasting menu and custom cocktails, and have your tarot cards read.

Queer Lisbon Day Tour (courtesy of Queer Lisbon Tour, credit to Victoria Rayu)

Queer Lisbon Tour
Night tour: Miradouro do Barros // Day tour: Praça do Príncipe Real by the Juniper Tree

Attracting a younger crowd, this tour has two options. Its night tour immerses you in Lisbon’s queer nightlife, visiting queer-owned or -friendly restaurants and bars in the Graça-Arroios neighbourhood. Its day tour is a five-kilometre trek from Príncipe Real to Graça – wear comfortable shoes – that uncovers the city’s history with stops at The Memorial to the Victims of Homophobic and Transphobic Violence. You’ll also discuss topics related to trans rights and the impacts of colonization on Indigenous cultures. Also check out its free Queer Lisbon Guide.

SailTagus Sunset Tour (courtesy of SailTagus)

Doca da Marinha

Category is…nautical realness. Set sail down the Tagus River on the Xalabar, a restored 1938 sailboat. Guests can choose from a 45-minute (Express Ride) excursion or one up to 2.5 hours (Afternoon or Sunset Ride). The longer option sails past Ponte 25 de Abril to give passengers a different perspective of famed Belém area landmarks, and includes wine, beer, water or soft drinks. 

Side Bar
Rua da Barroca 33

This pretty in pink Bairro Alto bar is super camp, with a ceiling full of disco balls and other knick-knacks. Grab a drink and spill out onto the streets to people-watch and bask in the pink glow. Locals say it’s situated on “the corner of the world,” because you’re bound to make international friendships.

Rua Angelina Vidal 13-25

This venue is a queer-friendly space, delivering memorable performances, DJ sets, art…and delicious pizza. It’s considered a laboratory for creators, who are invited to experiment with new formats, meaning you’ll never know what to expect.

STEPHAN PETAR is a born and raised Torontonian, known for developing lifestyle, entertainment, travel, historical and 2SLGBTQI+ content. He enjoys wandering the streets of any destination he visits, where he’s guaranteed to discover something new or meet someone who will inspire his next story.

Related Articles

April 11, 2024 / Latest Life Travel

Travel Your Way To Better Health

Take your love of travel and combine it with a wellness goal – these five types of personal improvement getaways will have you coming home a better you

March 27, 2024 / Latest Travel

Tranquility In Mont-Tremblant

The beating heart of the Laurentian Mountains offers diverse skiing, irresistible charm and a mountain of great food

February 21, 2024 / Latest Travel

Florida Is Still Fun

Orlando has all the feels, including a surprising few days in a suburban bubble and a Pride Day to definitely add to your fall calendar


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *