Cosy bars, majestic castles and timeless architecture make Lisbon a cool an entrancing city. Our 3-day Lisbon itinerary puts it all together, so you have time to savour it all.

Breaking. Lisbon is cool.

As a city unrestrained by convention, Lisbon is bursting with personality. Beside majestic architecture housing Portugal’s famous blue tiles, flea markets selling pictures of someone else’s nanna hum to the murmur of curious browsers. Re-purposed industrial areas give it an edge for artistic expression, while timeless monasteries captivate with beguiling designs.   

Lisbon is a city that’s more than the sum of its parts; a collection of sublime experiences.

Windy lanes climbing up and down narrow streets hide tiny bars serving simple tapas and local wines. Live music spills from open windows; the wistful warbling of fado filling squares with an inexplicable yearning, the hex of which is broken by the rumbling of rickety trams.

Our 3-day Lisbon itinerary captures everything we love about this alluring city. From the best local areas to the top tourist spots; from exquisite galleries to the coolest street art. From glorious castles to quirky shops. And of course, pastel de nata.

Here’s how to experience Lisbon in 3 days and if you have can squeeze in a fourth day, take a day trip to Sintra.

SUMMARY OF OUR 3-DAY LISBON ITINERARY


DAY 1 / ALFAMA & OLD LISBON

Alfama’s rambling streets

São Jorge Castle

Church of São Vicente de Fora

Lisbon Cathedral

Fado at Tasca Do Chico

DAY 2 / BELÉM & WEST LISBON

Antiga Confeitara de Belém

Jerónimo’s Church & Monastery

Museu Coleção Berardo

Padrão dos Descobrimentos

LX Factory

DAY 3 / BAIRRO ALTO, BAIXA & CHIADO

Number 28 Tram

Praça de Principe Real

Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcãntara

Igreja de São Domingos

Convento do Carmo


DAY 1 / ALFAMA & OLD LISBON

Alfama, perched up on the hill, is a maze of alleyways winding between grand historic buildings. Through gaps in the architecture, views sweep over the city and the sea. Reminiscent of the wonderful things to do in Porto, it’s a great place to simply amble while collecting the sights below.


SÃO JORGE CASTLE

Start your 3 days in Lisbon at São Jorge Castle, high on the hill in Alfama. One of the fun facts about Portugal is that it’s one of the oldest countries in Europe, as demonstrated by São Jorge Castle. It was once a Moorish castle, but little remains and most has been rebuilt over the years. The small museum needs a bit of work, but the views over the city from the rambling walls are excellent.

CHURCH OF SÃO VICENTE DE FORA

Grab a quality coffee at Copenhagen Coffee Lab and Bakery, before entering the Church of São Vicente de Fora. The church itself is decent, but the monastery and cloisters next door is thoroughly impressive. Blue tiles, protected by vaulted ceilings, shimmer on the white walls. The atmospheric side chapels have tombs adorned with skulls with a cloaked statue standing guard.

GRACA’S CAMPO DE SANTA CLARA

Next head to Graca’s Campo de Santa Clara, where at the weekend, a massive flea market covers the streets. It sells everything you will never need: old rotary phones, broken mannequins and pre-loved vinyl. Grab lunch at one of the tables overlooking the market (or on a weekday one tucked into the side streets).

For more lunch options, there is a great selection of innovative vegan food in Lisbon.

NATIONAL PALACE

In the afternoon, enter the striking baroque National Palace. Originally built as a church it now houses monuments to the great and the good of Portuguese history. The entrance ticket allows access to the roof with excellent views of the city. From the upper terraces take in a birdseye view of the marble hall.

LISBON CATHEDRAL

Next stroll the tightly packed twisty streets of Alfama. Head passed cute stores and tiny bars to Miradouro das Portas do Sol observation deck for more views. Drop down the hill to the castellated fortress that is Lisbon Cathedral. Finally, leave Alfama for Praça Comércio. The arcades and statues of this grand square are the iconic image of Lisbon.

FADO AT TASCA DO CHICO

In the evening head to Bairro Alto. Grab a drink on the steps at Meson Andaluz. Choose from the daily changing menu of local dishes at tiny but charming Taberna da Rua das Flores. And then set out to discover the music that often spills into these tiny streets.

Tasca Do Chico offers an intimate great value fado experience. One block north, cool jazz drifts out of Páginas Tanta. At Portas Largas a mixed young crowd can be found enjoying live pop music. If you can’t decide, just go to all three. There’s no entrance charge and the drinks are cheap.


Castelo de São Jorge  / 9:00 – 18:00 Nov – Feb; 9:00 – 21:00 Mar – Oct | Price: €10 per person

Igreja de Sao Vicente de Fora  / Tue – Sun 10.00 – 17:00 Nov – Mar; 10:00 – 18:00 Apr – Oct | Price: €5 per person

Panteão Nacional  / Tue – Sun 10.00 – 17:00 Nov – Mar; 10:00 – 18:00 Apr – Oct | Price: €4 per person

Lisbon Cathedral  / 7:00 – 19:00 main church; 10:00 – 17:00 apse & treasury (closed Sundays). Cloisters were being renovated at time of writing | Price: Church free but apse and treasury is €1.50 per person

DAY 2 / BELÉM & WEST LISBON

The seafront area of Belém lies to the west of Lisbon city centre. Come here for engrossing architecture, the epicentre of modern art in the city, and the best pastel de nata in Lisbon.


ANTIGA CONFEITARA DE BELÉM

Take tram 15 to Belém and begin the second day of your 3 day Lisbon itinerary with coffee and pastel de nata (Portuguese custard tart) at Antiga Confeitara de Belém. Yes it has become a large tourist institution, but the pastel de nata is still the best in town.

JERÓNIMO’S CHURCH AND MONASTERY

After breakfast head to Jerónimo’s Church and Monastery. The remarkable vaulted ceiling of the church is held aloft by intricately carved stone pillars, illuminated by beams of light cascading through colourful stain glass windows. The tomb of Vasco de Gama – the first person to sail around the Cape of Good Hope and therefore enable Portugal to build an empire – takes pride of place. The church is free but pay the fee to go in the monastery. The cloisters are magnificent and the view of the church from the upper choir is not to be missed.

MUSEU COLEÇÃO BERARDO

End the morning at Museu Coleção Berardo, Lisbon’s best modern art offering. The permanent collection is well labelled and offers a history lesson in the development of modern art. The temporary exhibitions have an excellent reputation, and it remains one of our top moments in Lisbon.

PADRÃO DOS DESCOBRIMENTOS

Cross the street and peer up at the tower of Belém. Skip the queue to climb to the top and stroll along the seafront to find a spot for lunch. After recharging, pass by Padrão dos Descobrimentos, the photogenic monument to Portugal’s navigational prowess.  

LX FACTORY

Head toward the city on tram 15, but before you get there, jump off at LX Factory, an old textile factory that has been converted into a modern and creative space under the railway line. There’s some excellent street art on old factory walls, indie shops, a very cool bookstore and some of the best coffee in town. It’s a great place to hang out and relax.

SANTA CATARINA

Hopping back on tram 15, spend the evening in the quaint neighbourhood of Santa Catarina which sits atop a hill. A drink at Noobai Café offers views over the water; fuelling the rivalry between Lisbon vs Porto when it comes to amazing views.. Pharmacy combines tasty sharing plates with a cool atmosphere. To get here it’s a steep walk up the hill so take the fun way and ride up on Elevador da Bica.


Jerónimo’s Monastery  / 10.00 – 17:00 Oct-May; 10:00 – 18:00 May-Sep | Price: €10 per person. Tickets are purchased from machines at the entrance to the archaeological museum next door.

Museu Coleção Berardo / 10.00 – 19:00 | Price: €5 per person covering both permanent and temporary exhibitions (free on Saturday)

LX Factory / Hours vary for each store | Location: R. Rodrigues de Faria 103

DAY 3 / BAIRRO ALTO, BAIXA & CHIADO

The central area of Lisbon is an eclectic mix. Narrow alleyways criss-cross grand shopping streets, dilapidated ruins sit next to striking hotels, and music wafts through open doors and windows.


TRAM 28

The last day of this 3-day Lisbon itinerary explores the central neighbourhoods. Get an early start (to avoid the queues) and head to Praça Martim Moniz to board Tram 28. This tram twists and turns up the hilliest, narrowest and most-scenic lanes in Lisbon. It loops around Alfama, across the centre of town and back up into Chiado.

PRAÇA DE PRINCIPE REAL

Jump off the tram in Chiadom explore the shops around Praça Luis de Camōes and then head north into the tightly packed narrow lanes of Bairro Alto. Check out the various new concept stores around Praça de Principe Real before lunch at A Cevicheria. Sit at the counter under a giant octopus, and admire the chef preparing mouth-watering fish dishes.

MIRADOURO DE SÃO PEDRO DE ALCÃNTARA

After lunch checkout the view at Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcãntara, probably the finest in the city, before making your way down to Rossio and Baixa. Either take the Elevador da Gloria train or walk down the path alongside the tram tracks to inspect some of the coolest street art in Lisbon.

IGREJA DE SÃO DOMINGOS

You now find yourself in Rossio and Baixa. Newer areas built after the earthquake of 1755. Explore the squares and statues making sure you call in at Igreja de São Domingos. This atmospheric church suffered damage during the earthquake and was burnt down in 1959. The roof was destroyed and has been rebuilt but the walls bear the scars of both events.

CONVENTO DO CARMO

Skip the long queues and only average views of Elevador de Santa Justa and take the free supermarket lift to Rua Garrett. Stroll the shops before visiting Convento do Carmo. This convent was damaged in the earthquake, and now towering arches reach elegantly up into blue skies. The chapel at the back contains a strange mix of fascinating artefacts: tombs of the famous, a 2nd-century Egyptian sarcophagus and most interestingly, two mummies of Peruvian children.

BAIRRO ALTO

For the final evening of your 3-day Lisbon itinerary, grab dinner at Artis Bar in Bairro Alto. It has a great local wine bar atmosphere and tasty dishes at decent prices. It’s also perfectly positioned for people spilling into the streets as music wafts in the air.


Convento do Carmo  / Mon – Sat; 10.00 – 18:00 Jun – Sep; 10:00 – 19:00 Jun – Sep |  Price: €4 per person

WHERE TO STAY IN LISBON

Unfortunately, Airbnb has priced many locals out of Lisbon, so we’d recommend booking a hotel if possible.

Lisbon is a relatively compact city, but it’s still a good idea to stay as centrally as possible. We recommend staying in Baixa/Chiado, Bairro Alto or Alfama. All these areas ooze the charm you’re looking for in Lisbon and they’re centrally located. This will allow you to get an early start in the morning, fuelled by a grab-and-go pastel de nata, before sneaking home after a late-night listening to live music.

BUDGET
CASCA C’ALMA

Beautifully decorated B&B in a lovely neighbourhood about 1 mile from the city centre.

MID-MARKET
CASA BALTHAZAR

Stylish spacious apartments which although bang in the centre of the city, exude a peaceful calm.

UPMARKET
MEMMO ALFAMA – DESIGN HOTEL

A cool, modern hotel in the heart of Alfama, with possibly the best roof terrace views in Lisbon.

HOW TO GET TO LISBON

Most international flights arrive at Lisbon Portela Airport, located just 7 kilometres from the city centre. There are a few ways to get into Lisbon from the airport.

AEROBÚS / The Aerobús departs every 20 minutes and operates two routes into the city – most tourists will need the city centre route (final stop:  Cais do Sodré). A one-way ticket is €4 (£3.60 / $4.90)

METRO / Lisbon’s excellent metro is a fast and cheap way to get into the city with services running regularly. A single ticket costs €1.45 (£1.33 / $1.75) which can be added to the Viva Viagem card (see below)

TAXI / A taxi from the airport to the city generally costs around €20 (£18.30 / $24.20) to get to the city centre, however you can purchase a pre-paid taxi voucher from the taxi rank to remove any surprises.

TRANSFERS / Pre-book a transfer from the airport for maximum peace of mind and comfort to start your Lisbon weekend.

If you’re collecting Lisbon as part of a road trip, this Lisbon to Porto road trip has some great ideas.

HOW TO GET AROUND LISBON

Lisbon has a comprehensive public transport network including trams, funiculars, buses and a metro. A Viva Viagem card is a quick and easy way to pay for all your travel. The card costs €.50 and can be charged with individual tickets, a day pass (€6.40 / £5.95 / $7.90), or with a balance of up to €40 to use as pay as you go.

Cards can be purchased and charged at metro stations or small stores displaying the Viagem sign. You can find the metro map here and the funicular map here.

However, the best way to get around the city is to walk. This Lisbon itinerary puts all the sights and experiences in the right order, so you don’t have to spend too much time between places.

BEST TIME TO GO TO LISBON

The best time to visit Lisbon is during the shoulder seasons of March to May and September to October. This is the best time to explore the city on foot when the temperatures are generally comfortable and there are less visitors. You might also snap up a bargain with accommodation places slightly cheaper over this period.

As with most European destinations, summer is the peak season when both the temperature and visitor numbers are high. In winter it can be wet and windy, although in Lisbon it’s rarely uncomfortably cold.

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO VISIT LISBON

As far as beautiful European destinations go, Lisbon is not particularly expensive. A regular dish at an inexpensive restaurant will cost around €8, with a mid-range restaurant costing somewhere between €25 – €50 for a three-course meal.

Public transport is inexpensive at €1.50 for an individual ticket and a taxi from the airport will be around €20.

A bottle of house wine in a local restaurant will be around €10. A beer (.5lt) costs €2.

WHAT TO BOOK BEFORE A TRIP TO LISBON

Most attractions in Lisbon don’t require pre-booking. But, if you’re visiting during peak times, you may want to book ahead to beat the queue. Here are a couple of suggestions for attractions to book in advance.

LISBON CARD / With access to 23 museums and free tram passes, the Lisbon Card is a very cost-effective way to see the main sights in the city.

FADO / Nothing takes you into the soul of Lisbon more than a Fado show. The 50-minute performance features 2 singers and 2 guitarists who will serenade you into the wee hours. Book tickets here.

NUMBER 28 TRAM / The number 28 tram can be busy and difficult to get on to. If you want to take the stress away, book this tram and walking tour experience to learn more about Lisbon’s different neighbourhoods.

MUSEU COLEÇÃO BERARDO / Queues at Lisbon’s best modern art offering can be long, so pre-book skip the queue tickets before you go.

HOW MANY DAYS IN LISBON?  

Most of the main sights in Lisbon could be seen in 2 days. It’s a relatively compact city with good local transport so getting between all the main attractions is efficient.  

We have provided a 3 day Lisbon itinerary because this allows you to see all the impressive historical sights and enjoy some local experiences. It also leaves a little time to wander the streets and soak up the atmosphere.  

Lisbon is one of our favourite cities in Europe. It’s charming and easy; beautiful and interesting. Yet the nightlife is pumping, the wine free-flowing and the locals friendly. So, you could easily spend up to 4 or 5 days visiting Lisbon, especially if you added a day trip to Sintra.  

TIPS FOR VISITING LISBON

Read our curated list of the best things to do in Lisbon.

Getting on board Tram 28 at Praça Martim Moniz can be painful as queues are often long. Get their early or walk to the next stop at Rue Palme and hop on there. Tram 28 is a wonderful Lisbon experience but a pick-pocketers delight, so keep an eye on your stuff.

The whispers of “Hashish? Cocaine?” on the streets of Santa Maria Maior is part of a well-known fake drug annoyance embraced by Lisbon. Simply say “no thanks” and move on, in most cases you’re just rejecting flour or crushed up bay leaves.

Fado is a moving experience in Lisbon, but the best never gets advertised or promoted to tourists. If you hear it wafting from a packed bar, but there are no signs, this is the place to check out.

Every day should start with a pastel de nata.

Lisbon has grasped the concept of the tourist restaurant. If you want a local dining experience, gravitate towards places without English menus, and avoid at all costs, places with people handing you a menu out the front.

To get your bearings, join a free walking tour.

Always take the opportunity to collect the views at a miradouro; they’re a great place to hang out and Lisbon’s array of rooftiles is stunning. Some of the best are Miradouro das Portas do Sol, Miradouro da Graça, Miradouro de Santa Catarina, Miradouro de Senhora do Monte, and Miradouro de Monte Agudo.

WHERE NEXT?

First, if you found this useful, please follow us on Instagram to stay up to date with our travels.

For more urban ideas, visit our City Breaks page.

THINGS TO DO IN LISBON
THINGS TO DO IN ANTWERP
ONE DAY IN SINTRA