The Ultimate Guide to Studying Abroad in Lisbon

Programs for this blog post

Language + Culture

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College Study Abroad

As the capital of Portugal, Lisbon is an incredible city. Known for its history, stunning natural landscapes, and unique, modern culture, visiting Lisbon is an experience like no other.  

Let’s dive in as we provide the ultimate guide to studying abroad in Lisbon!  

Why Study Abroad in Lisbon? 

Lisbon is the perfect study abroad opportunity because it’s a great choice for just about anyone! No, really – no matter what your academic interests are, you can pursue it with our wide variety of Lisbon study abroad programs and course offerings, spanning disciplines from liberal arts to STEM-focused and everything in between.  

Lisbon is also a diverse city that appeals to people with all sorts of different interests and hobbies. From museums and history to fantastic restaurants, stunning coastlines, and outdoor adventure, you’ll never run out of things to do.   

Read More: Why Study Abroad in Portugal: 4 Key Reasons 

Let's dig into some of the top reasons to study abroad in Lisbon.   

Reason #1: Take in Lisbon’s stunning architecture with your very own eyes. 

Older than Paris and even Rome, Lisbon is a historic city with a complex past and much to explore.  

The city is home to some of the coolest historic monuments and sites, including beautiful and striking architecture. Featuring Romanesque, Gothic, and Baroque styles, the city is made up of a stunning mix of designs.  

A few architectural wonders we consider must-sees during your Lisbon study abroad program:  

  • Jerónimos Monastery 
  • Lisbon Cathedral  
  • Carmo Convent  
  • Belém Tower 
  • Museum of Art, Architecture, and Technology (MAAT)  
  • National Pantheon  

And those are just a few of many! Seriously, get your camera ready to take photos at every turn of this postcard-perfect city.  

Photo for blog post 8 Affordable Must-Do Activities in Lisbon

Reason #2: Lisbon boasts historic and unique neighborhoods.  

Lisbon is made up of many different neighborhoods, all with interesting pasts. These neighborhoods are like personalities of the capital, boasting their own character and charm. Make sure to visit some of them during your Lisbon study abroad trip: 

  • Alfama: The oldest neighborhood in Lisbon, you’ll be able to explore plenty of cafés, bars, and restaurants here 
  • Bairro Alto: With a bohemian vibe, this is the place to go for lively nightlife and music  
  • Belém: Featuring some of Portugal’s most iconic monuments and sites 
  • Chiado: Home to beautiful architecture, museums, and theaters    
  • Príncipe Real: Where you’ll never run out of stores and gardens to check out 

Reason #3: Lisbon is a well-connected travel destination.  

Although we know you’ll be plenty busy exploring Lisbon alone, the city is also an ideal location for additional travel throughout the country. With a sophisticated transportation system right in the capital, you can easily visit other amazing Portuguese cities like: 

  • Porto: Famed for its wines and good food 
  • Sintra: A historian’s dream, packed with estates, villas, royal palaces, castles, and more 
  • Coimbra: Home to one of the oldest running universities in the country and a noteworthy place of Fado music – a Portuguese cultural staple 
  • Aveiro: A gorgeous and colorful coastline town 
  • Óbidos: A town right out of a fairytale, complete with cobblestone streets, medieval castles, and rolling hills 

Plus, Portugal shares a border with Spain and is near Morocco, so you can explore even more areas of Europe and Africa as part of your Lisbon study abroad adventure. 

Top Study Abroad Programs in Lisbon  

Now that we’ve convinced you to study abroad in Lisbon, it’s time to pick a CIEE study abroad program! Take note of our top four programs and keep in mind the program details to find one that speaks to your personal and academic goals.  

Read More: Study Abroad in Portugal: FAQs 

Program #1: Language + Culture 

If you’re passionate about learning new languages and exploring new cultures in an immersive and authentic way, our Language + Culture program in Lisbon is the perfect opportunity for you.  

Program details:  

  • Length: 15 weeks 
  • Credit: 15-18 semester hours/22.5-27 quarter hours  
  • Eligibility: 2.5 Overall GPA  
  • Featured Course: Lisbon: City and Architecture  
  • Excursion Highlight: Visit Setúbal, a town south of Lisbon, known for its beautiful coast and delicious cuisine  


business and culture lisbon portugal students

Program #2: Summer in Lisbon  

What better way to spend your summer than in beautiful, coastal Lisbon? With our Summer in Lisbon program, you’ll take interesting courses related to your discipline all while exploring this enchanting city.  

Program details:  

  • Length: Four weeks 
  • Credit: 3-4 per session semester hours/4.5-6 per session quarter hours  
  • Eligibility: 2.5 Overall GPA  
  • Featured Course: Portuguese Gastronomy and Culture  
  • Excursion Highlight: Visit the world’s largest saltwater oceanarium  

Program #3: Summer Global Internship  

Different from a traditional study abroad program, our Summer Global Internship program in Lisbon will allow you to work side by side with professionals in an industry you’re passionate about! Not only will you get to immerse yourself in Portuguese culture, but you’ll also get to build your professional skills in one of Europe’s oldest cities!  

Program details:  

  • Length: Eight weeks 
  • Credit: 6 semester hours  
  • Eligibility: 2.5 Overall GPA  
  • Excursion Highlight: Visit the Tile Museum and take part in a painting workshop  

Program #4: Business + Culture 

With our Business + Culture program, you’ll get to take courses on all-things-business or all-things-culture and explore the beautiful city of Lisbon. This fun and immersive Lisbon study abroad program will have you walking cobblestoned streets, indulging in delicious Portuguese cuisine, and tons more.  

Program details:  

  • Length: 15 weeks 
  • Credit: 15-18 semester hours/22.5-27 quarter hours 
  • Eligibility: 2.5 Overall GPA  
  • Featured Course: International Marketing  
  • Excursion Highlight: Travel to Porto, the second-largest city in the country  


lisbon portugal cultural excursion

Lisbon Study Abroad Packing List  

After you’ve chosen your Lisbon study abroad program, it’s time to apply and start planning your travels. First up: Packing! We’ve listed a few basics to include in your suitcase on your way to this intriguing city. 

Your essential documents:  

  • Passport and photocopy (just in case) 
  • Visa and photocopy (just in case)  
  • A second form of valid ID (i.e. driver’s license or government-issued ID) 
  • Plane tickets 
  • Proof of health insurance 
  • Proof of CIEE enrollment 
  • Cash (Lisbon uses the Euro)  

Other items:  

  • Comfortable walking shoes  
  • Swimwear  
  • Sunscreen and sunglasses  
  • Adapters to charge your tech in Lisbon’s electrical outlets 
  • Camera to capture all of Portugal’s beauty  
  • Prescription medications covering the length of your trip 
  • Preferred over-the-counter medications  

Read More: What to Pack When Studying Abroad in Europe 

Lisbon is Calling 

And you’re on your way! Studying abroad in Lisbon means experiencing the adventure of a lifetime. Get inspired to start yours today!