Got only a few days to see Lisbon? Do this.
Museums and monuments, palaces and parks, castles and clubs, sandy beaches
and sleek bars: Lisbon and surroundings offer a variety of attractions, as it grows as one of the top cities to visit in Europe.
Ideally you'd have more than one week to experience it all, but chances are you'll have much less than that. The Belem district alone deserves an entire day or more, with so many glorious monuments and fascinating museums, but Alfama should also be explored unhurriedly, with its number of picturesque lanes, viewpoints, and churches. To help you manage your time, we have created a few itineraries.
We suggest you start with the must-sees and squeeze in your personal interests, whether it's specialist museums or lying on the beach.
For more comprehensive details on what to see, take a look at our main sightseeing page and our Best of Lisbon guide.
Get FREE or reduced admission to most of Lisbon's attractions and ride the city's metro, buses, and trams for FREE with the Lisboa Card.
SEE ALSO THE MUST-DO LISBON ITINERARY: A Step-by-Step Guide to the Best of Lisbon»
3 DAYS - THE BEST OF LISBON
Day 1: Start your day downtown, down Avenida
da Liberdade to Rossio Square
before strolling through the pedestrianised Rua Augusta
Square, where you can hop on tram 15 to Belem.
Go inside the cloisters of Jeronimos
Monastery and take a break at Antiga Confeitaria de
Belem to have one of its legendary custard tarts.
Then take the
underpass from the monastery's gardens to cross the road to the Discoveries
Monument. Walk along the waterfront from there to Belem
Return down the same road and choose among the several museums
nearby - the Coaches
Museum and the Berardo
Museum are two favorites, while the Maritime
Museum is a good choice if you become curious about Portugal's maritime
For lunch you may want to consider one of the international
restaurants in Docas (take the
train from Belem station to Alcantara-Mar, and walk in the direction of 25 de Abril
Bridge), or if you decide to stay in Belem to explore
one more museum or perhaps to visit Ajuda
Palace, there are good-value traditional Portuguese restaurants in the
pretty row of buildings along Rua Vieira Portuense facing the park between
the monastery and Belem
Back downtown, walk up Chiado and have some coffee or a refreshing drink at Brasileira Cafe or Cafe Benard. Walk up to São Roque Church for its splendid baroque chapels (and if you didn't decide to stay in Belem for the afternoon, there is still time to visit the gothic ruins and eclectic museum of Carmo Church), followed by a stop at Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcantara for the sunset over the city. It is now dinnertime, so step into the cobbled Bairro Alto streets and choose among the various restaurants. After a long, relaxed dinner, join the locals bar-hopping through the neighborhood. If it is a Friday or Saturday night, you will stumble across what has to be Europe's biggest bar crawl.
Day 2: Take the metro to Parque das Naçõs and visit the Oceanarium. Walk along the waterfront to admire the impressive modern architecture of the surroundings (including the seemingly-endless Vasco da Gama Bridge), before heading to Alfama. Wander around the maze of narrow streets, stopping at the miradouros before walking up to the castle. You may want to choose to visit the Tile Museum (take a taxi) or São Vicente de Fora Church, or go straight to the castle if it is now late afternoon - you don't want to miss the sunset as you stand above the city. If you did not have lunch at the popular docas when you visited Belem, it is perhaps a good idea to head there for dinner today. Stay for some drinks and dancing at the neighboring bars and clubs, or burn off your remaining energy in style, at Club Lux.
Day 3: The third day could be one of art and culture. Start at the Gulbenkian Museum where you can spend half a day admiring its treasures, relaxing in its pleasant gardens, and ending at its Modern Art Center. After lunch, you may want to continue admiring art, this time at the Ancient Art Museum. Take a tram back downtown, where you can decide where to go for dinner (see our restaurant recommendations, although we'd go for one with a view on this last day - perhaps "Chapitô" or "Bica do Sapato").
To end your Lisbon visit, go back to Alfama for some late-night Fado, although we'd also strongly recommend taking a taxi to the "Senhor Vinho" Fado House in the Lapa quarter.
Note: if you follow this 3-day itinerary for a long weekend, and the third day is therefore a Monday, invert the second and third day recommendations above, since the museums are closed on Mondays. You can also easily spend an entire day or more in Belem, depending on your interest in seeing its museums. A visit to the Coaches Museum and Berardo Museum takes about one hour each, while the Maritime Museum should be given about 2 hours and Ajuda Palace about 90 minutes.
4 DAYS OR MOREFour days in Lisbon allows to go outside the city and visit Sintra. Follow the 3-day itinerary above and on the last day take the train to Sintra, where you should remain for the entire day. If you are staying even longer, daytrips to Cascais and Estoril or Obidos are also recommended, or if you enjoy palaces and architecture, head to Mafra for its palace, a baroque masterpiece.
2 DAYSDay 1: With only two days in Lisbon, you obviously don't have time to visit a large number of monuments and museums. Concentrate on the main highlights, starting in the Belem district, reached by tram 15. It departs from downtown, where you can also take time to admire the city's main squares (Rossio and Comercio Square) and pedestrian streets (Rua Augusta). Once in Belem, head straight to the Jeronimos Monastery, then take the underpass to the Discoveries Monument, and walk to Belem Tower. Take tram 15 once again, this time in the opposite direction, and once back downtown, walk up to Alfama. Rest at one of its miradouros and end up at the castle. At the end of the day take a taxi or the train from Cais do Sodre station to Alcantara-Mar's Docas. Stay for drinks at one of its bars or clubs, or if you want to listen to Fado, go back to Alfama and check out one of its Fado Houses, or head to Lapa's "Senhor Vinho," considered by many to be the city's best Fado venue.
Day 2: On the second day take the metro to Parque das Naçõs and visit the Oceanarium. Stop to admire the futuristic architecture of the district, and head back to the metro, getting off at the São Sebastião stop for the Gulbenkian Museum.
End your Lisbon visit with a night out in Bairro Alto, first for dinner, then for some drinks as you bar-hop through this old quarter.
An alternative to the Oceanarium or Gulbenkian Museum is a quick, half-day trip to Sintra (to visit Pena Palace), about a 40-minute train ride away.
1 DAYLisbon has become increasingly popular as a cruise destination, and many visitors arriving by sea only have one day to explore the city. If that's your case, head straight to the Belem district and go inside the Jeronimos Monastery's church and cloisters, and admire the Discoveries Monument and Belem Tower from the outside. Take tram 15 to Baixa (downtown), walk from Comercio Square through Rua Augusta to Rossio Square before heading to Alfama and St. George's Castle for the late-afternoon glow over the city. If it is not yet time to return to the ship, walk through Chiado to Bairro Alto for a light meal or dinner, before heading to Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcantara and bidding farewell to the city from above.
A ROMANTIC HOLIDAYCouples on honeymoon or on a romantic holiday will find plenty of charming and memorable spots in Lisbon, from the miradouros and the castle (always popular with local lovers), to the narrow alleys of Alfama and a dinner to the sounds of Fado. The fairytale coaches of the Coaches Museum and the spirit of the Age of Discovery in Jeronimos Monastery and Belem Tower can also be enchanting, as is the entire town of Sintra. An overnight stay in Sintra is strongly recommended for couples, while the castle pousada in Obidos is also worth checking out. Villages don't come any more romantic than Obidos, while those looking for some seaside romance, Cascais is within very easy access from the capital.