Haven’t experienced Portugal’s hilly capital that is Lisbon? Sit back as I walk your through my 3 days in Lisbon itinerary that will have you exploring this beautiful city, from one end to the other. Checking out Unesco world heritage sites, São Jorge Castle, Jeronimos Monastery, Santa Justa Lift, Rua Augusta Arch and many more of Lisbon sights in this 3-day travel guide to Lisbon, Portugal. You will take in the best views from Lisbon Miradors (viewpoints), and check out Lisbon’s cool neighbourhoods the likes of Bairro Alto, Alfama, and Belem with its many tourist sights on the Tagus River.
If visiting Lisbon hasn’t been on your radar, now is the time to go, but don’t forget to factor in some time for Sintra and Porto. To start you off I recently introduced you to Lisbon’s Belem district with a travel guide of the area covering the best sights in Belem, including details of entry prices and how to get to them in addition to a couple of watering holes to give you a break from the exploring.
In this post, I showcase things to see in Lisbon in 3 days with a sample itinerary for 3 days in Lisbon which can easily be combined with many of the Lisbon Tours in the city and beyond, from the pastel-colored buildings to the Tagus Estuary and Ponte 25 de Abril suspension bridge, viewed from the gorgeous MAAT viewpoint. If you only have 2 days in Lisbon enough of that time can be used to cover off some of the popular places in the city.
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3 Days In Lisbon Itinerary
To get the most of your 3 days in Lisbon, I would highly recommend staying central in the city to make exploring a lot easier. During our visit as we were arriving at different times, I chose to stay in Bairro Alto, while my friends were in Old Town and Alfama. Both of these places are great with plenty to see and do nearby. We shall be checking these places out along the way in the 3 day Lisbon itinerary but for more details on where to stay in Lisbon check out my post on where to Stay in Lisbon here and my guide to the best hotels in Lisbon here, covering budget mid-range and luxury.
Day 1 Lisbon Suggested Itinerary
There are plenty of flights to Lisbon, I recommend a flight that arrives in the early evening so you can settle in and starts exploring the next morning. Failing that get in early to maximise time in the capital. Below are what to see in Lisbon in 3 days but if you only have 2 days in Lisbon. You can skip the day trip and still be able to the below. The first part of this itinerary covers what to do in Lisbon for 2 days with an option for a day trip to Sintra on day 3.
10am Breakfast and Rua da Bica
Grab a quick breakfast and head out on tram 28 to Rua da Bica 1. This is your first top on Lisbon’s cool and Instgrammable spots in Lisbon. I would recommend walking down and then taking the tram back up to the top.
11.30 Barrio Alto
Walk back to Barrio Alto’s Mirador. Here you will have some of the best views this side of the city. From here to get a partial view of Alfama’s beautiful monastery, River Tagus, the castle and if you are lucky there is someone play some Fado music as you check out the views. I also forgot to mention the beautiful tiered gardens you can find here.
From here just a few meters from the Mirador you have an elevador(tram) going down to Rossio or you can walk down. You really only need 30 minutes here unless. Barrio Alto is better to check out in the evenings as its a lot quieter in the day.
12pm Rossio Square, Santa Justa Lift, Carmo Convent
Head to Rossio Square also known as Pedro IV Square (Portuguese: Praça de D. Pedro IV). This beautifully tiled square is a meeting point for both locals and tourist and has been for centuries. Some of the cafés shops surrounding the square date back from the 18th century, like the Café Nicola, where poet Manuel Maria Barbosa du Bocage used to meet friends. Other traditional shops include the Pastelaria Suíça and the Ginjinha, where the typical Lisbon spirit (Ginjinha) can be tasted.
Grab a couple of shots and check out a couple of the shops before walking to Santa Justa Lift aka Elevador de Santa Justa. Take in the views from the viewing deck for a few minutes but don’t head to far as another hidden gem is a walk across the bride of Santa Justa viewpoint to Carmo Convent church ruins. I also share shots of this beautiful church in my recent post. If you have a Lisboa Card you can get free access to many of Lisbon’s tourist sights apart from a couple where you get a discount. With the Lisboa card you get 30% off entrance to Carmo Convent.
From Carmo Convent take the lif back down to the street level and walk through the street to Augustus Arch. Augustus Arch also has a viewing deck but having just come back form Santa Justa I would recommend coming back to Ausgustus viewpoint next day if you must otherwise the views aren’t too different from Santa Justa other than being right by River Tagus.
Tip: Grab a quick snack at any cafe on Rossio Square(very small snack because lunch is at 2pm!)
You may also have noticed Rossio Station nearby as this is where trains to Sintra leave from.
2pm Augustus Arch and Lunch At Time Out Market
By now its probably 2 or after 2 and you are most likely hungry. Resist the urge to grab food here unless you are super hungry. Instead, take a tram and head to Time Out Market in Mercado da Ribeira. Time Out Market Lisboa is a food hall located in the Mercado da Ribeira at Cais do Sodre in Lisbon, Portugal. Whether you are vegetarian, vegan, pescatarian, there is something for everyone! The Lisbon market has 35 kiosks selling regional specialties, such as Azeitão sheep’s cheese, Alentejo ham, custard tarts from cafe Aloma, sardines, wines and chocolates. You can also find five top chefs restaurants here. The original fish, fruit and vegetable market stalls occupy the other half of the landmark building.
4 pm Free Roaming
Explore the Cais do Sodré area as there are markets, shops and you also have riverside views from here.
6pm Pink Street and Nightlife
Head out to Pink Street another Instagram gem which also doubles as a cool spot for nightlife in Lison. My favorite was Pensão Amor which is featured in my post on Pink Street on the blog. Here you will find bars, cafes and nightclubs. If you want to experience the nightlife in the Portuguese capital, this is a great place to start. For those with an interest to its history, this was where Sailors used to head to for a little “joy ride” after months away at sea with no female company.
You now have the evening free to roam Lisbon at your leisure.
Day 2 Lisbon – 2 Days In Lisbon
10am Alfama District
Alfama is one of Lisbon’s oldest neighborhoods and was founded by the Arabs who gave it the name “Al-hama” meaning ‘source of hot water, good water’. A visit to Lisbon is not complete without exploring Alfama District.
I have deliberately not set out a timed agenda for Alfama in this part of your Lisbon Itinerary. Day 2 in Lisbon’s Alfama is all about getting lost in the little alley’s and hidden paths to discover the charms of the neighborhood that are considered the heart of the city. Exploring Alfama feels like you have totally left Lisbon miles avail as it feels like you are exploring small villages but like much of Lisbon, here you also have plenty of little Miradurors to take in views of Lisbon. Listen to Fado music echoing through the alley from cafes or viewpoints.
Tourist sights to check out in Alfama include: São Vicente de Fora Church, the National Pantheon, and the d’elRei Fountain – the first public fountain in Lisbon.
3 pm – Belem District, MAAT, Belem Tower, 25 Abril Bridge
Using public transport in Lisbon is fairly easy. From around 2.30pm take a tram from the city center to Belem. Belem has plenty to see and do that it could easily take up a whole day but we will only explore for half of the day.
For a more detailed view of places to see in Belem check out my post on Belem district here. Places to see in Belem include Belem Tour, Monument of Discoveries, 25 Abril Bridge, MAAT, Palaces and Gardens and Jerónimos Monastery.
Suggest route to explore Belem. Start with the Jeronimos Monastery, pick between Palace and Belem to save time. I suggest the palace and then head to Belem after as you can see it from the outside. From Belem Tower walk to the monument of Discoveries and continue on to MAAT. Walking is right by the river as most of the sights are within walking distance to each other so no need to get on a tram or bus. MAAT is absolutely beautiful just before sunset and then catch the twinkle of 25 Abril Bridge at night.
Tip: If you have the Lisboa Card majority of the sights in Belem are free.
7 pm Food and Nightlife
The evening is all yours but my suggests are grab a bit at the nearby marina next to 25 Abril Bridge or take the tram back to Lisbon Central and experience the nightlife in Barrio Alto. There is music, clubs and lively restaurants in this area.
Day 3 In Lisbon: Options
If you have a full day available to you I would highly recommend a day trip to Sintra. You can catch the train to Sintra from Lisbon from Rossio station which you may have spotted on day one in Lisbon.
If you don’t have a full day then either re-trace your steps back to any of the places above that you didn’t get much time to see or head over to explore Principe Real
If you opt for a day trip to Sintra from Lisbon, I would recommend starting with Pena Palace as it is right at the top. We actually took a taxi from the train station as we arrived super early in Sintra. Note that its a bit of a distance to the sights and now walking distance. There is a bus stop right outside Sintra station but as we weren’t sure of bus times and the taxis are not that expensive. We took one to drop us off outside Pena Palace. We waited a couple of minutes for it to open. Also, note that your Lisboa card doesn’t allow you free entry to Pena Palace but you do get a discount. If you haven’t already bought your ticket I would suggest you get to the ticket booth as the lines here form from nowhere!
From Pena Palace, you can then walk to Quinta de la Regaleira. And then pick a place between Moors castle and the other castle as a Day in Sintra is simply not enough but seeing Pena Palace and Quinta de la Regaleira are a start. I would suggest 2 days if you can stay overnight in Sintra otherwise bear in mind train times back to Lisbon.
I will be sharing more pictorials of Pena Palace and Quinta de la Regaleira shortly.
Staying Longer? 4 or 5 days in Lisbon
If you are staying longer in Lisbon say doing a Lisbon itinerary of 5 days then I would recommend a couple of options. You can use the do 2 days for Lisbon, day 3 and 4 in Sintra or one day in Sintra then day 4 to explore Principe Real district of Lisbon if not retrace some of the places you enjoyed from above. You can also do 2 days in Lisbon, one in Sintra and one day in Caison to get a taste of Lisbon’s Atlantic beaches.
If you have more time then doing a Lisbon itinerary of 7 days means that you can really pace your visit the cool districts of the Portuguese capital. Lisbon is so beautiful with plenty to see that you may actually opt to revisit one or two of the miradors or tourist sights and just chill to some Fado music and a drink on the side.
For more on Lisbon’s hidden gems and a map consider taking with you a guide book. There are plenty of Lisbon guidebooks on Amazon.
Where To Stay In Lisbon
Lisbon is simply stunning with amazing views to boot. For a guide to the best areas to stay in Lisbon then my guide on where to stay in Lisbon is right up your alley. It features an area guide to help you choose the best location to stay whether you want to experience the nightlife, culture or the best luxury the city has to offer it includes tips on budget accommodation too if you are on a frugal budget. If you can’t find what you are looking for there then I highly recommend booking.com for some of the best hotel deals in Lisbon.
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