Lisbon (Lisboa), the capital of Portugal, is all things sunny, vibrant, and seafood-y.
If you like any of those things, you’re going to really enjoy Lisbon. It’s laidback and lively at the same time and is renowned for its many hills, world-class museums, historical monuments, restaurants, rooftop bars, and a host of other exciting things to do.
Because the city is so compact, you’ll find that you can easily experience a lot in just a few days. If you’re planning a trip to Lisbon, continue reading to discover exactly what you should do on a 3-day itinerary for Lisbon.
This 3-day Lisbon itinerary not only contains some of our favorite things to do in Lisbon, but it’s also planned out in a way where all the neighboring attractions are grouped together, so you won’t be wasting any time backtracking where you don’t need to.
You better be ready, because you’re sure to have a jam-packed few days of fun and culture!
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HOW MANY DAYS TO SPEND IN LISBON, PORTUGAL
There is so much to do in Lisbon that you could easily spend a week (or more) just exploring all the historical attractions, shops, restaurants, and bars.
And we haven’t even considered the fact that there are so many great day trips you could take from Lisbon including visiting Sintra, Cascais, as well as the many nearby beaches and beach towns!
If you are limited on time, I would recommend dedicating at least 3 days to Lisbon itself, allowing you enough time to see the major highlights of the city.
Should you have 2-3 additional days to spare, don’t hesitate to spend more time in this region–you won’t be bored! You can even add on day trips to Sintra or Cascais before moving on to Porto, to other European cities, or flying home.
HOW TO GET AROUND LISBON, PORTUGAL
For the majority of the time, you’ll either find yourself walking around Lisbon on foot or taking the Metro.
Central Lisbon is relatively compact, making it easy to explore on foot. In fact, it’s the only way to see some quintessential neighborhoods like the Alfama.
But, there are pretty hilly parts of the city too. In fact, Lisbon is a city of seven hills and no matter what you have planned for the day, you’ll likely find yourself walking upwards at some point. Because the city is so hilly, you’ll find that walking everywhere isn’t exactly feasible.
For cases where you just don’t have the energy to take on another hill or you want to venture farther out to places like Belém, Lisbon’s got your back with their public transportation system that includes trains, buses, and trams. In order to determine which option is best for you, simply pop in your starting point and destination into Google Maps to explore your options.
When I was last in Lisbon, I utilized the metro, the train, as well as the tram once, just for the heck of it. Otherwise, I definitely aimed to tire my feet out by walking to every corner of Lisbon possible!
Lisbon’s buses and trams are among the cheapest in Europe, making them affordable ways to help you explore the city. To use any means of public transportation, you’ll need to buy a Viva Viagem card. The Viva Viagem card is a quick and easy way to pay for rides on public transportation in Lisbon.
Alternatively, if you purchased a Lisboa Card, you can take advantage of free, unlimited travel by all public transportation, including the metro.
Here are a few more details about each of the transportation methods available:
Lisbon has six tram lines operated by Carris, as well as a few elevators that will allow you to skip the need to manually walk up the city’s steep hills. If you’re not in a rush to get anywhere fast, taking these can be a fun way to discover the city and get those photo ops.
A tram ticket will set you back €2.90 (about $3.50 USD). Costs to ride the elevators vary.
Do note though, Tram 28 is now a tourist attraction, making it the most famous tram line. It’s no wonder it’s the most popular because It runs through some of Lisbon’s most iconic neighborhoods including the Alfama, Graça, and Chiado.
And because Tram 28 and the Santa Justa Elevator double as attractions, expect crowds during the majority of the day.
The metro is the quickest and most practical way to travel around the city. The metro network has a total of 4 lines that serve 55 stations, each denoted by a different color: green, blue, yellow, and red. One of the reasons why it’s so convenient (and our preferred method of traveling around Lisbon) is that the metro operates every single day from 6:30am to 1am with trains running every 6 to 9 minutes.
If you’re a germophobe that tends to stay away from subways, don’t worry because they are very clean and well-maintained! Lisbon’s Metro stations are designated by large M signs. A single ticket costs €1.45 (less than $2 USD). A day pass, which includes the use of buses, trains, and trams, costs €6.30 (less than $8 USD).
You’ll need to swipe your Viva Viagem card (or Lisboa Card) both when you enter and exit the metro, so keep it within arms reach for a speedy entrance and exit.
Lisbon’s bright yellow buses are cheap, quick, and efficient. Similar to the trams and elevators, the buses are operated by Carris. With a total of 170+ routes, buses can take you to a wide variety of destinations, including those you can get to by metro or tram. Bus rides do usually take longer than the metro, so if you had the option to choose between bus or metro, I’d recommend going with the metro.
Buses in Lisbon run from around 5am-1am. A single ticket purchased on board for a bus is €1.85 (about $2.25 USD). You can either pay the driver as you enter the bus or swipe your VIVA Viagem travel card or Lisboa Card.
If you are waiting for the bus at a bus stop, it’s completely normal to wave at the driver of the bus so that it doesn’t drive past you. Hop on via the front door, get off via the back door.
If you plan on visiting Sintra and Cascais, the commuter train (or comboios) will be the best option for you. In total, there are 67 stations within the four lines: Sintra, Cascais, Azambuja and Sado. If you’re a tourist, you’ll mostly be interested in the Sintra and Cascais lines.
Train services to Sintra depart from Rossio Station. Sintra is served by regular trains that run every 15-20 minutes and the entire trip takes about 45 minutes.
Train services to Cascais depart from Cais do Sodré Station. Trains run every 10-30 minutes and the journey takes about 40 minutes.
Remember to validate your ticket at the station before actually boarding the train. Your ticket will most likely be inspected once on board, so you don’t want to be on there without having paid for your trip!
If you’re not interested in public transportation, your other options include taking a tuk-tuk, taxi or Uber.
These modes of transportation are relatively inexpensive compared to other parts of Europe and tend to be the most convenient method of getting around.
If you’re traveling with a larger group and plan to split the costs of taxiing or Uber-ing, this may be a viable method of transportation. Also if you’re going to be out late into the night, this will probably be the best option for you.
Do note that during rush hour, you’ll be sitting in your cab/Uber for a while thanks to all that traffic in the city!
DAY 1 IN LISBON
Good morning, explorers! Today is your first day in Lisbon, so you’ll want to do two things to be smart with your time here: visit the most popular attractions first thing in the morning, and then get your bearings to better understand the city with a pay-what-you-wish walking tour.
1. SEE THE CASTELO DE SAO JORGE
Castelo de São Jorge, or St. George’s Castle, sits atop a hill near the Alfama neighborhood with a commanding presence overlooking the city. This is definitely one of Lisbon’s most popular tourist destinations.
Originally built as a place for military troops to protect the city from invaders, the castle was restored in the 1940’s and is now open to the public to explore.
You can walk along the ramparts, enjoy sweeping views of the city from the watchtowers, stroll among the tranquil gardens, as well as learn about the fascinating early history of Lisbon and Portugal. From there, check out the castle museum that showcases artifacts excavated from the hilltop, such as Iron-Age cooking pots and centuries-old tiles.
The entrance fee is €10 for adults and €5 for young adults between the ages of 13 and 25. Tickets can be purchased here, but I recommend opting for the skip-the-line option that comes with a 15-minute guided introduction to the castle and its history.
On your way in or out, enjoy the surrounding streets! Around the Castle of St. George, you will find several small shops selling a variety of really cool gifts and souvenirs.
2. TAKE A FREE WALKING TOUR OF LISBON
As with any major city, I always recommend people to start their trip off with a free walking tour of the city to get their bearings. With a pay-what-you-wish walking tour, not only will you get a better understanding of the city’s layout, but you’ll be able to learn some history and appreciate the local culture more.
Each guide has his or her own unique route, but typically they’ll take you through the areas of Bairro Alto, Chiado, Baixa, Alfama and Graça. Once you have a better understanding of these neighborhoods, feel free to come back later and explore them in more depth.
Another benefit that we love to take advantage of? Being able to ask the local tour guide for food recommendations! Some of our best meals abroad were a result of tour guide recommendations.
While there are many more tour companies out there, Lisbon Chill Out and Take Lisboa are great options that offer a variety of different tours with specific focuses (Downtown, Belem, Alfama, and even Sintra or Cascais). Reservations are usually required so be sure to make one before you show up at the meeting spot.
3. VISIT THE BAIXA NEIGHBORHOOD / LUNCH
At this point, it should be time for lunch. I’d recommend finding a joint that calls to you in the Baixa neighborhood.
Located between Barrio Alto and Alfama the neighborhood of Baixa is considered one of Lisbon’s more lively, upscale neighborhoods.
Here on the beautiful tree-lined avenues, you’ll find plenty of shops, boutiques, cafés, and restaurants to enjoy and watch the time pass you by. Because of how central this area is, you’ll always find it buzzing with people during the day!
4. VISIT THE CARMO CONVENT
One of the best things to see in Lisbon is the Carmo Convent and Archaeological Museum, an elaborate set of ruins that used to be the Church of Santa Maria do Carmo. The gothic-style church was built in 1389 but sadly was damaged during the great Lisbon earthquake in 1755, destroying almost all of its religious-artistic contents.
Today, it stands as an open-air structure with large arches supported by tall pillars. Despite it being called ‘ruins’, it’s actually quite beautiful.
Walk through the center of the church to reach the museum section of the ruins. Here, you’ll find some tombs on display, elaborate tiling on the walls, and two mummified bodies encased in glass.
While it does cost a small fee to see the museum portion of the church, the museum does offer free audioguides to its visitors (upon purchasing a ticket). Even if you don’t want to pay to enter, the Carmo Archaeological Museum is well worth a visit, if even just to witness the old church ruins with your own eyes!
5. ELEVADOR DE SANTA JUSTA
While you’re here in Baixa still, you can opt to ride the Elevador de Santa Justa, a wrought-iron lift that connects Chiado and Baixia. This is Lisbon’s only vertical street lift and was built at the turn of the 20th century.
6. ROSSIO SQUARE AND COMMERCE SQUARE
Don’t miss a quick visit to Rossio Square, the liveliest square in Lisbon, where locals and visitors like to meet up. From there, make your way down Rua Augusta that leads down to Commerce Square (Praça do Comércio), the largest and most famous square in Lisbon.
Rua Augusta is one of the most well-known shopping streets in Lisbon, so be sure to window shop and take in the atmosphere! Once you get to Commerce Square, you will find plenty of great photo opportunities here. Strike a pose with the triumphal arch and the towering statue of King José I on horseback.
If you are up for an oh-so-slight detour, we’ll take you back in time with two wonderful options. History lovers should not miss the Livraria Bertrand (the oldest continuously running bookshop in the world, originally opened in 1732!) and the Café A Brasileira, a beautiful Art Deco-style café running since 1905.
Once you get your fill of the atmosphere in Baixa, head to Alfama!
7. VISIT THE ALFAMA NEIGHBORHOOD
Lisbon’s oldest and arguably the most picturesque neighborhood is one not to be missed. As my walking tour guide once told me, getting lost in Alfama is no time lost at all. It’s a wonderful area to walk around and get lost in thanks to its medieval alleyways and views.
When you’ve finally made it there (expect a hilly walk to get there), stop everything you’re doing and just listen to the sounds of locals living their everyday lives through their cracked open windows/doors.
The neighborhood is also home to souvenir shops where you can purchase products made of cork, azulejo tiles, clay dishes, and other traditional items.
If you’ve come hungry, don’t fret, there are lots of restaurants there that serve traditional Portuguese cuisine, often paired with fado music performances.
8. DINNER AND FADO
While you’re in Alfama, do enjoy a meal here! And don’t just eat a plain meal, pair it with some Fado music!
When in Portugal, you’ll hear that you have to make time to listen to Fado music. But what is Fado and what’s it all about? Fado music is a traditional style of Portuguese singing that originated in the 1820s, usually described as Portugal’s version of the blues. It is traditionally associated with pubs and cafés, renowned for its expressive and melancholic character, often reflecting on the difficulties of daily life.
As it’s the heart and soul of Portuguese music and culture, you’ll see Fado advertisements all over the city. The best way to experience it is through dinner and a show!
Not interested in the dinner part? Consider this ticketed event for after-dinner entertainment – Live Fado Show Ticket in Lisbon: ‘Fado in Chiado’
DAY 2 IN LISBON
Day 2 of your 3-day itinerary in Lisbon is all about exploring the Belem area.
Belém is an important historic district of Lisbon, as many famous Portuguese explorers set off on their voyages around the world from this location. Trust me, there’s a lot to see here–enough to keep you busy for the majority of your day! Let’s get into it.
1. BELEM TOWER
One of the most popular things to see in Belém is the Belém Tower (Torre de Belém). The fortress was built between 1514 and 1520 and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1983.
This tower was originally used to defend the city (which is why you’ll find several cannons at the bottom of the tower) and was later transformed into a lighthouse. Visitors today can actually climb the tower and explore each of the floors along the way to the top.
You’ll need to climb several floors on a narrow spiral staircase in order to reach the lookout at the top. To control traffic congestion within the tower, there are only 120 people allowed in the tower at a time. To avoid long waits, you can either arrive as soon as the tower opens or purchase your tickets in advance to skip the line.
This must-see Lisbon attraction is located about a 7-minute train or 15-minute tram ride from downtown. To get to Belem, take the train or tram 15, which departs from Praça do Comércio.
After you’ve seen the Belém Tower and enjoyed its Manueline (late Gothic-style) architecture, check out the nearby Padrão dos Descobrimentos. While soaking in the details of these monuments, you’ll find that both symbolize Portugal’s significance during the Age of Discoveries.
2. PADRAO DOS DESCOBRIMENTOS
As you walk from the Belém Tower to the Jeronimos Monastery, take a quick pitstop along the way at the 170-foot tall Monument to the Discoveries (Padrão dos Descobrimentos).
This regal-looking monument was designed to commemorate the Age of Discoveries in Portugal. Portugal was once one of the world’s greatest seafaring nations and its explorers mapped out much of the New World.
This unique sculpture depicts Henry the Navigator in the front, followed by 33 others who were pivotal to Portugal’s Age of Discovery, including members of royalty, explorers, cartographers, scientists, and artists.
For a small fee, you can even enter the monument and climb to the observation deck at the top. Personally speaking, the monument from the outside was pleasant enough of a sight (no need to spend money climbing to the observation deck unless you absolutely love observation deck views).
3. EXPLORE THE JERONIMOS MONASTERY
Along with the Belém Tower, the Jeronimos Monastery (Mosteiro dos Jerónimos) are the two most visited sites in Lisbon.
The monastery, originally populated by monks whose job was to give guidance to sailors and pray for the king’s soul, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983 and should definitely not be missed during your trip to Lisbon.
This landmark is a true symbol of Portugal’s power and wealth during the Age of Discovery. Famous explorers such as Vasco da Gama and his crew stayed here before voyages, several prominent figures are buried here, and even the famous recipe for the original pastéis de nata was developed here!
As soon as you step in, you’ll find that you’ve entered a world of intricate design and architecture. Slow down and pay attention to each and every cloister, each column carved with different coils of rope, sea monsters, and other sea motifs.
From there, wander down the hallways, admiring the views of the massive courtyard from every angle and every floor. Really, don’t forget your camera for this one!
Pro Tip: Due to its popularity, the Jeronimos Monastery gets very crowded. Expect a long line to purchase tickets and a ton of people walking around the monastery once you get in. We recommend going early when they open or towards the end of the day to avoid the throngs of tourists.
If you decide to purchase a Lisboa Card, you can enter this attraction and even skip the ticket line!
4. PASTEIS DE BELEM
If you’re wondering what foods you absolutely need to try while in Lisbon, then this one is for you.
Seriously, I tell this to all my friends–you really need to make it your mission to eat as many pastel de nata (pastéis de nata in Portuguese) as your stomach can take. It’s the number one thing I dream about when I think about Portugal!
The pastéis de nata is the most popular dessert in all of Lisbon. It’s a small, warm egg custard pastry that’s surrounded by a flaky yet crispy crust. You’ll find them topped with just the right amount of cinnamon and powdered sugar, making them so darn irresistible!
Even though they are made all over the country and sold at many pastry shops, only three establishments in the world know the original recipe–including Pasteis de Belém in Belem.
So naturally, the absolute best spot to try a pastel de nata or two is at the original Pastéis de Belém, a short five-minute walk from the monastery. Be sure to pair your sweet treat with a cup of coffee or espresso–the combination is heavenly.
Another really great option is Manteigaria, closer to the city center. Really, don’t be afraid to buy in bulk (you won’t regret it), and make sure you eat them while they’re hot!
5. NATIONAL COACH MUSEUM
If you love off-the-beaten-path types of museums (or just imagining that you live in the 17th to 19th centuries), the National Coach Museum is for you. This wonderful museum features one of the finest and largest collections of ornate coaches, carriages, and ceremonial vehicles in the world!
You can expect to see a range of horse-drawn royal carriages made in countries like Portugal, France, Spain, and Austria. The oldest of the collection include a few that belonged to Philip II of Spain (1581 – 1598). Other noteworthy carriages include three Baroque Italian-style carts that belonged to Pope Clement XI.
The National Coach Museum is a small but mighty museum and is certainly worth a visit if this piques your interest at all! It is located very close to the Jerónimos Monastery and adult admission costs €8 (and free with the Lisboa Card).
6. MUSEUM OF ART, ARCHITECTURE, AND TECHNOLOGY
The Museum of Art, Architecture, and Technology (MAAT) is another fun attraction located near the Belém Tower. It opened in 2016 to help revitalize the Belém waterfront, bringing together visual arts, technology, and science. MAAT’s goal is to showcase both national and international exhibitions by contemporary artists, architects, and philosophers.
If you’re into architecture, you’ll want to check this spot out. There are various temporary exhibitions housed in the two buildings that make up MAAT (one being the old industrial building and the second being the more modern wave-shaped building). Both buildings are fun to explore, even if you’re limited on time.
You won’t need too much time to wander through the temporary exhibitions. Admission for adults is €5.
7. LX FACTORY
Phew, that was a lot of monuments and museums. Now let’s move on to some shopping and dining!
Situated near the Belem area, the LX Factory is an artsy, trendy, up-and-coming area that once was an old industrial area of Lisbon. The once-dusty old buildings have now been repurposed to house fashion boutiques, art galleries, bookstores, home decor shops, and hip restaurants.
LX Factory is fairly popular among locals all throughout the week, but Sunday is by far the most popular day to visit.
On Sundays, you can’t miss LX Market, where farmers and artisans alike come from all over the country to see fruits and produce as well as handmade, design, and vintage items. It’s a great place to shop if you’re looking for unique items to bring home as souvenirs.
Because there is no entry fee to explore LX Factory, this is one of our favorite free things to do in Lisbon! LX Factory is open seven days a week, from early morning until late at night.
Do note that businesses here have their own schedule, so for the best chances of exploring all the shops, head there during business hours. If you’re interested in learning more about what businesses are there, check out their map here.
8. TAKE A LISBON FOOD AND WINE TOUR
As the late afternoon sets in, it’s time for your belly to get to know Portuguese culture a little bit better — on a best-selling food and wine tour!
This small-group food and wine tour of Lisbon will grant you the chance to taste cheese, cod fish cake, sausage, pastries, tapas, and Port wine. Along the way, you’ll learn all about Portuguese culture and even learn why this region produces some of the world’s best wines.
Plus, your guide will give you secret tips on the city’s best eats so you can allow your tastebuds to continue the adventure long after the tour is over.
Here are our top picks in terms of food tours in Lisbon:
- Lisbon Small-Group Portuguese Food and Wine Tour – 3 hours of tastings across multiple districts
- Treasures of Lisboa Food Tours – 18 tastings centered around the Alfama district; 3.5 hours long
9. DRINKS AND A SUNSET AT PARK ROOFTOP
Park Rooftop is a trendy and urban rooftop bar located on the 6th floor of a parking garage in Lisbon’s Barrio Altio area. Upon finding your way up to the bar, you will enter a rooftop terrace boasting one of Lisbon’s best views of the city. Come during the sunset hour and the views become even that much more breathtaking.
Do note that this is a pretty popular place that doesn’t take reservations, so be sure to arrive a bit before sunset to have the best chance at getting the seats you want. Also, no need to dress up! It’s a pretty casual, laid-back spot.
All in all, Park is a perfect place to spend an hour or two enjoying drinks and sunset views before proceeding to dinner.
10. TIME OUT MARKET
By now, hopefully your appetite is back. It’s time to refuel with some good eatin’ at the Time Out Market!
The Time Out Market (previously known as Mercado da Ribeira) is a busy indoor food hall where you can enjoy a variety of meals and cuisines, including some of the best seafood in all of Lisbon!
This market houses a lot of cool stuff, including 24 restaurants, 8 bars, a dozen shops, a cooking school and even a high-end music venue.
It’s a super casual spot to grab a bite to eat, especially if you’re traveling with a group where everyone wants to eat something different. There are a lot of options so be sure to wander around the whole market before settling on your top choice! From there, simply order your food and grab a seat at one of the many free-for-all cafeteria-style tables.
11. NIGHTLIFE: PINK STREET / BARRIO ALTO
After dinner and a couple of hours of relaxing in your hotel room, it’s time to mentally prepare for a night out with drinks and good music! The best spot in the city for nightlife is in the Barrio Alto neighborhood.
Centuries ago, the Barrio Alto neighborhood housed many bohemian artists and writers. Today, you’ll find many patrons visiting the various restaurants, late-night bars, and dance clubs late into the night. And while the Barrio Alto neighborhood is a quiet residential neighborhood by day (uniquely decorated with graffiti and alternative shops), the district really comes alive once the sun descends.
Be sure to stop by Rua Cor-de-Rosa (or Pink Street) for some of the most lively bars/clubs. Pink Street, more officially known as Rua Nova do Carvalho, has become one of Lisbon’s trendiest destinations for nightlife and is also often used as an open-air art gallery. Take a walk and stop by any bar in the area, you’re sure to have a fantastic time!
Pro Tip: If you’re looking for the lively nightlife described above, don’t show up until after 10 pm, when the party really gets started.
DAY 3 IN LISBON
Congrats on getting it all the way to Day 3 of your 3-day Lisbon itinerary! Today you’ll be able to take it slow since you’ve hit so many of the must-see landmarks on the previous two days.
If you didn’t have enough time to enjoy the activities listed above, you can fit them in on Day 3.
1. TAKE TRAM 28
Kickstart your final day by taking an early morning ride on the iconic tram 28, one of the most popular things to do in Lisbon. Tram 28 is arguably the most popular tram in all of Lisbon thanks to all the landmarks and sites you can see along the way.
Not only does it pass through some of the city’s most walkable neighborhoods including Alfama, Graça, Baixa, and Bairro Alto, but it also passes by popular landmarks including São Jorge Castle, Basilica da Estrela, and Miradouro da Graça.
Wondering where to get off? We recommend taking Tram 28 up to the Alfama District (because who wants to walk that steep hill on foot) and then walking back down while exploring the picturesque neighborhood.
The tram costs €3 (less than $4) one way and tickets can be purchased either on board or at kiosks dotted around the city. If you purchased a 24-hour public transport ticket or a Lisboa Card, your tram fare is included.
Pro Tip: Due to the tram’s popularity, the cars tend to get crowded quickly, so be sure to arrive super early or much later in the day to avoid long lines. We’ve heard horror stories of Tram 28 lines taking one whole hour to board.
Alternatively, you can take the tram going in the opposite direction–instead of starting where everyone starts (Martim Moniz), start your ride at its final destination at Campo Ourique. You are much more likely to get a seat this way!
2. EXPLORE THE CHIADO NEIGHBORHOOD
Chiado is another upscale neighborhood located close to Barrio Alto, Baixa, and Alfama. Chiado is as elegant as it is artistic, with various cafes, art galleries, museums, and restaurants dotting the streets. It is even frequently compared to Paris’ Montmartre district.
If you’re looking for pointers on what to see here, the most famous streets are Rua Garrett, in the center of Chiado as well as Rua do Carmo, which houses the beautiful, timeless ruins of a medieval church that was destroyed in the earthquake of 1755.
From the Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcántara (vista point), you’ll enjoy postcard-perfect views of Baixa, the Tagus River, and the São Jorge Castle on a hill.
3. EAT MORE PASTEL DE NATA
If you’re done exploring the Chiado area and it’s still too early for lunch, grab a pastel de nata! As stated above, Manteigaria is another really great option for well-made pastel de natas.
Manteigaria is way more central than Pastéis de Belém, meaning you can get this multiple times throughout the day if you so choose!
4. NATIONAL TILE MUSEUM
For something a little more off-the-beaten-path, let’s now head to the National Tile Museum to experience something that is so uniquely Portuguese!
The Museu Nacional do Azulejo (National Tile Museum) is one of the most unique museums in Lisbon due to the subject of its collection, azulejo (tile), an artistic expression that differentiates Portuguese culture. Its collections will take you on a journey through the history of tile, from the 15th century till present day.
The impressive tiles range from simple to ornate and showcase the cultural influences from the North African (Moorish) to Italian to Spanish. This is a must-see for people interested in tilework and history!
5. SHOP FOR SOUVENIRS
You’ve been doing a lot of sightseeing over the past 2.5 days, so if you plan on bringing something home to remember Portugal by, now is the time to shop! The best shopping areas include Avenida da Liberdade, Rua Agusta, Rua Garrett, and Alfama. It’ll be hard to miss all the shops dotted along these streets/neighborhoods.
For more of an open-air market experience, head to Feira da Ladra (Thieves’ Market, held every Tuesday and Saturday) or Feira do Relogio (Market of Clocks, open on Sundays). These markets sell anything from antiques, vintage records, hardware, clothing, fruits, produce, and more.
For something quintessentially Lisbon, head to Conserveira de Lisboa, the most iconic shop in Lisbon specializing in tinned fish since the 1930s. These premium sardines, tuna, mackerel, and even eel are packed in colorful tins and displayed proudly in the gift shop.
6. CATCH THE SUNSET
While exploring Lisbon, you’ll eventually find your way atop a hill or two. When you’re there, don’t forget to stop and admire the views at a miradouro! Miradouros are viewpoints on top of the many hills around Lisbon. These are great photo-op spots, giving you an almost aerial view of the city below.
The Miradouro da Senhora do Monte is hands-down the best place in Lisbon to catch a sunset. During sunset, it gets pretty lively as other locals and tourists gather to enjoy the views. You can even expect drink vendors and live music on occasions.
Pro Tip: While you’re walking to the viewpoints, be sure to keep an eye out for the various murals made out of blue tiles. They are located all over Lisbon, covering old buildings and adorning walls with simple and artistic aesthetics.
OTHER ACTIVITIES TO ADD TO YOUR 3-DAY LISBON ITINERARY
- Take a Pastel de Nata baking workshop
- Lisbon Farmer’s Market (in the Príncipe Real garden on Saturday mornings)
- Thieve’s Market (Feira da Ladra)
- Lisbon Oceanarium (Oceanario de Lisboa)
- Sao Roque Church (Barrio Alto area)
- Berardo Collection Museum (Belem area)
- Museu do Oriente (Alcantara area)
- Grab drinks at a rooftop bar (TOPO and Park are popular)
- Christ the King statue
- Colombo Mall
DAY TRIPS FROM LISBON, PORTUGAL
- Sintra (Pena Palace and Quinta da Regaleira)
- Cabo da Roca
- Fátima, Batalha, Nazaré & Óbidos Full-Day Tour
- Setubal Wine Region
- Constância and Tomar (Knights Templar Historical Tour)
IS THE LISBOA CARD WORTH IT FOR 3 DAYS?
We highly recommend getting the Lisboa Card for the 3 days you plan to visit. If you plan on visiting a bunch of sites, landmarks, and tourist attractions and you plan on taking a lot of public transportation in and around Lisbon, you should be getting the Lisboa Card.
With the Lisboa Card, you can choose between a 24, 48, or 72-hour card that will give you free admission to 37+ museums and historic buildings, various discounts around the city, and unlimited free access to the public transportation system. Not only will you save on admission costs and precious time waiting in ticketing lines, but you’ll also save a bunch on transportation costs.
Ultimately, if you plan on visiting popular Lisbon attractions like the Jerónimos Monastery, Belém Tower, National Tile Museum, and the Santa Justa Elevator, you should definitely opt for a Lisboa Card. You’ll save money and avoid the hassle of standing in lines for tickets!
The price of the Lisboa Card ranges from €20 to €42 (approximately $23 to $50 USD) depending on the duration of the card you select. The card for 3 days costs €42.
ARE 3 DAYS IN LISBON ENOUGH?
Although 3 days in Lisbon is a good amount of time to get acquainted with the city, I would recommend extending your trip by 1-2 days in order to explore more of its neighboring towns.
Lisbon is a great jumping-off point for exploring some beautiful nearby towns, including the regal town of Sintra, the coastal town of Cascais, and the medieval town of Evora.
WHERE TO STAY IN LISBON, PORTUGAL
If you’re new to Lisbon, we recommend basing yourself out of the Baixa district or the Chiado district. These are the flattest parts of Lisbon, with lots of shopping, restaurants, and easy access to the rest of the city. You’ll be in the heart of Lisbon with no attraction or site being too far out of reach.
Check out a few of our favorite hotels in the Baixa and Chiado neighborhoods below:
For a mid-range boutique hotel stay: $$
Alecrim ao Chiado – Located in the center of Lisbon, Alecrim ao Chiado features air-conditioned rooms, a bar, free WiFi and a shared lounge. Continental breakfast is included in the price.
Vincci Baixa – Surrounded by trendy bars, shops, and restaurants, this 4-star hotel is 500 feet from Praça do Comércio’s bus, tram and metro links. It has modern rooms, an elegant restaurant, and an onsite bar.
For budget travelers: $ – $$
Esqina Cosmopolitan Lodge – One of the most stylish and affordable options in Lisbon! Esqina Cosmopolitan Lodge provides modern and air-conditioned rooms, a restaurant, free WiFi and a bar.
For a budget-friendly hostel stay: $
Goodnight Hostel – Hands-down the best hostel in Lisbon! Comes with super spacious rooms and free breakfast as well!
ESSENTIAL TRAVEL TIPS FOR LISBON, PORTUGAL
- The currency of Portugal is the Euro (€). While most establishments take credit cards, it’s best to carry along with you a little cash for those smaller vendors who don’t take card.
- Portuguese is the official language of Portugal but you should have no problem getting by with just English. You’ll find that most people speak at least a little English.
- With all the walking that you’ll be doing, make sure to wear a good pair of walking shoes. My all-time favorite travel shoes these days are the tried and true Ecco Soft 7 (they’re stylish, comfortable, and have been raved about for decades since they were first created)! The best part is that they have them for both men and women.
- Tram #28 is especially popular with tourists, so it can be quite crowded, sometimes with wait times to board at over an hour. If you want to try out the tram, aim to hop on board on one of the earlier trams of the day. The early bird gets the worm!
- Portugal has a fairly low crime rate but as with any big city, take precautions to protect yourself and your belongings. Pickpocketing can be common in trams, particularly on Tram 28.
- Many tourist sites are closed on Mondays so do plan for that when you’re mapping out your itinerary.
- At restaurants, don’t eat the little plates of appetizers brought out unless you want to pay for them! It’s common for waiters to bring out couvert at the beginning of the meal (olives, bread, cheese, tuna or sardine paste, etc.) but do note that these are not free. While it’s not free, it’s usually not too expensive either. To avoid being charged, be sure to leave them untouched or politely send them back.
- Consider getting the flexible Lisboa Card if you plan to do a lot of sightseeing. You’ll get to enjoy free unlimited travel on city transport, as well as free admission to 37 museums and historic buildings and get additional discounts throughout town!
- Wandering around on foot is the best way to see creative works of art in public spaces all over Lisbon. You’ll find artwork all over the place, so be sure to stop and enjoy these free sights!
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS: LISBON TRAVEL
IS LISBON SAFE?
The short answer is yes; Lisbon is considered to be an exceptionally safe city, especially when compared to other popular European destinations.
The crime rate in Lisbon is low compared to other major cities and most visitors report feeling safe while they are there. I’ve been to Lisbon twice and I’ve never encountered anything sketchy, other than the peddlers who try to sell you friendship bracelets by trying to tie them on your wrist as you pass them by!
Having said that, you should still take standard travel safety precautions such as being aware of your surroundings, not walking alone at night, and avoiding secluded areas.
And as with any major metropolitan city, pickpocketing can occur in tourist hotspots like on public transportation or near monuments. To avoid this potential issue, it’s best to keep your belongings in an anti-theft travel bag, keep them close by, and always remain vigilant when out exploring the city.
With that in mind, you should have an enjoyable and safe experience while visiting Lisbon!
IS LISBON EXPENSIVE?
When compared with other major cities in Europe, Lisbon is definitely not expensive. I’d say Lisbon is cheaper than cities like Paris, Milan, and Rome, but more expensive than cities like Prague, Budapest, and Krakow.
A cup of coffee rarely costs more than 1 euro, and wine/beer is not too much more expensive. And on the food side, local Portuguese food is very high quality and inexpensive.
While you can certainly rack up some hefty expenses in Lisbon, such as accommodation costs and dining out at higher-end restaurants, there are also plenty of ways to explore this vibrant city without breaking the bank.
In fact, many activities can be done for free or very low cost – walking around the streets of Alfama, taking free walking tours around the city, exploring Parque das Nações, or enjoying free admission to paid attractions with a Lisboa Card!
If you’re trying to do Lisbon on a budget, shopping at local markets, staying at hostels, and eating at cafés or casual counter-service restaurants can also help keep your costs down.
IS LISBON HILLY?
The answer is both yes and no, depending on where in Lisbon you are.
Lisbon does contain several hills, including many steep cobbled streets in its old quarter. However, for the most part, the streets are quite flat. This makes it easy to explore on foot or by bike without having to worry about tiring yourself out too quickly with all the inclines!
In some parts of Lisbon, you may come across quite hilly climbs, but this isn’t true for every area as there are plenty of parks and waterfront districts which offer great views without too much effort.
If you plan on taking public transport then don’t worry either; many buses and trams can make their way up steep hills with ease!