Over the past few months, Lisbon’s popularity seems to have boomed for tourists and expats alike, and it isn’t difficult to see why. From its beautiful hand-painted tiles to its relaxed, surfer-dude culture, Lisbon is pretty high up on everybody’s list. The permanent sunshine helps just a little, too.
While Lisbon isn’t the biggest city ever, the things to see and do are never-ending – and a little overwhelming if you’re only here for a few days. We’ve sketched out an inclusive 3-day itinerary for Lisbon with something for everyone – especially for anyone on a budget. So what are you waiting for? Book your flights, already!
Lisbon 3-Day Itinerary Overview
Accommodation In Lisbon
The most daunting thing about booking a city break is always finding somewhere to stay, making sure you are as close as possible to all the sights, but not paying an arm and a leg. Lisbon is teeming with hotels and hostels in all areas of the city, but for a truly unique, affordable experience, we’d recommend trawling through the endless Airbnb that are on offer.
For your three-day trip, you want to be pretty close to the city centre (although almost everywhere in Lisbon is walkable!). When you’re searching I’d recommend looking at these areas first:
While they can sometimes be the more expensive areas, they’re the best places in Lisbon for a quick break!
If you’re willing to splash the cash a little and pamper yourself, then the LX Boutique Hotel is in possibly the best location in the city. Not only is it right in the centre, surrounded by bars and restaurants, but it directly overlooks the river.
The rooms themselves are modern but cosy, each one uniquely decorated. Prices during the summer months can range upwards of roughly 170EUR per night.
For anyone on slightly more of a budget, try the Hans Brinker Lisbon. Located near Marques de Pombal, this hostel is known for its sociable nature, cheap bar and friendly staff. Prices for a dorm start from 10EUR per night, while a private room will only set you back 21EUR. Not bad.
Our Top Places To Stay in Lisbon, Portugal
Getting To Lisbon And Getting Around
Flights to Lisbon are fairly similar in price to many other major European cities, and can – of course – be reached by trusty old Ryanair. Lisbon has one airport only, but with two terminals.
To make things slightly more complicated, all flights arrive at Terminal 1 – but most low-cost airlines depart from Terminal 2. Make sure you check before hopping on a flight back home (wherever home may be!). Terminal 2 can actually only be reached by shuttle bus from Terminal 1 – so it’s actually less complicated than it sounds. Phew.
From the airport, getting to the city centre is pretty easy. The airport is the final stop of the Metro’s red line, meaning that, with one change, you can find yourself right in the city centre within roughly 45 minutes.
One of the first things you do upon arriving in Lisbon should be buying a Metro card. These cost only 0,50EUR from the machines in all metro stations, and, once loaded up with tickets, can be used on any of the city’s buses, trams or metro systems. You will get a lot of use out of your Metro card during your 3 days in Lisbon, plus you don’t need to rely on taxis or Ubers. Just scan and go!
Lisbon 3-Day Itinerary: Day One
Try A Pastel De Nata
If you’re staying anywhere near the centre, make sure you head straight for Chiado’s famous bakery, Manteigaria. While these little custard tarts can be found fresh from the oven in any bakery – or ‘pastelaria’ – around the city, this is said to be one of the oldest, best spots in Lisbon to try the world-famous pastry.
Wander Down To The Praca Do Comercio
Probably the most well-known square in the city, the Praça do Comércio is situated right on the water, overlooking the south part of Lisbon. On sunny days, grab a drink and sit down on the steps which lead down into the water. If you look over to your right, you get a pretty amazing view of the Ponte 25 Abril: Lisbon’s answer to the Golden Gate Bridge.
Take A Stroll Around Alfama
With its bright, white houses, quirky street art, and terracotta roofs, the Alfama neighbourhood of Lisbon is probably the prettiest. On a sunny day, the view from the Miradouro das Portas do Sol has one of the best views in the city, so make sure to bring your camera!
Have A Typical Portuguese Dinner
After a long day of exploring, there’s nothing better than a hearty Portuguese dinner to round off your first day in Lisbon at Chiado’s 1º de Maio. Located at the foot of the Bairro Alto, this basement restaurant is perfect for anyone wanting to sample Portuguese cuisine. If you like fresh fish, you’re in for a treat!
If you’re wanting to walk off all that food after dinner is finished, take a stroll up to the Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara. Whether you manage to catch the sunset or the city is in darkness, the view from this platform is spectacular, stretching out across Alfama and over to the Castelo de São Jorge.
Lisbon 3-Day Itinerary: Day Two
Go For Brunch Near The Avenida
The Avenida da Liberdade, often shortened by locals to simply ‘Avenida’, is the city’s main street, connecting two of the biggest squares: Rossio and Marques de Pombal.
Nestled somewhere just off the middle of this avenue, in a little side-street, is Zenith, home to the city’s best brunch. If you’re there at the weekend, make sure to get in early, or you could be queuing! Their homemade Oreo pancakes with fresh banana sauce are worth the wait, though.
Have A Coffee On A Lake
Just a stone’s throw from Marques de Pombal is the Jardim Amália Rodrigues. Not only does this pretty, well-kept garden boast amazing views down the Avenida, but is also home to a lakefront bar named Linha d’Água. Sitting on their deck, which is built out into the lake, is the perfect way to cool down on a hot day.
Looking to get some work done while in Lisbon? Then be sure to read our article on the 8 Best Coworking Cafes in Lisbon!
Visit Europe’s Biggest Aquarium
Hop on the metro and head up to the city’s east coastline, and you’ll find yourself in front of Europe’s biggest aquarium, the Oceanário de Lisboa. Although the entrance fee is 16EUR per person, it’s worth every penny and is one of the best ways to spend an afternoon in the city.
Go For A Bairro Alto Bar Crawl
The Bairro Alto is famous for its teeny-tiny bars, which only reveal themselves at night. Do like a local, and grab a takeaway beer from any bar to wander around with. The atmosphere in the streets is just as good as in any bar! If you get a little peckish, a short 5-minute walk up to the Principe Real will drop you at ZeroZero, Lisbon’s best pizza place.
For another impressive view, wander over to the Jardim do Principe Real, and peek through the quirky townhouses for a view of the bridge. If a boogie is what you’re after, then try ODD Trindade, a tiny club with a lot of character.
Lisbon 3-Day Itinerary: Day Three
Have Breakfast On Pink Street
This street is unique for one reason: the floor is completely pink! While after dark, this is one of the city’s nightlife hotspots, during the day it’s a nice place to sit outside with a coffee and a pastry.
My favourite bar on Pink Street is Menina e Moça, which opens at 12 every day except Sunday and Monday. Not only is this place a bar and café, but doubles also as a bookstore, with quotes adorning the walls and ceilings.
Scoot Down To Belem
While the train connections in Lisbon are frequent and inexpensive, the most fun way to get along the coastline is on a Lime electric scooter. With a nice flat, smooth cycle path (something that’s almost impossible to find in Lisbon) connecting Cais do Sodré to Belém, the view is pretty incredible.
Once you get to Belém, make sure you take a look at the Torre Belém and the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos – two of the most impressive buildings in the whole city. This is also the birthplace of the Pastel de Nata, so if you fancy another one (or two), it’s almost illegal not to.
For more information, read our 10 Must-See Places in Belem, Lisbon article!
Spend The Afternoon At The LX Factory
Once an old, abandoned industrial estate, the LX Factory is now one of the hippest places in Lisbon. Teeming with little boutiques, art studios, bars and restaurants, you could spend an entire day here and never get bored.
If you’re lucky enough to pop in on a Sunday, there is a craft market open until 8pm, with some of the prettiest jewelry you’ve ever seen. If a view is what you’re looking for, then make sure to go to Rio Maravilha, a rooftop bar with a view right over the bridge.
Jump On An Old-Fashioned Tram
The Alcântara area of Lisbon, where the LX Factory sits, is almost-but-not-quite-walking-distance from Cais do Sodré – meaning you have the perfect excuse to jump on one of Lisbon’s infamous yellow trams back into the centre! From the Largo Calvário, Tram Number 15 goes all the way back to Rossio. And you can even use your Metro card!
Have Dinner In Chinatown
While Lisbon doesn’t technically have a Chinatown, the Martim Moniz area is largely recognised as being the hub of the city’s Asian community; and no trip to Lisbon is complete without a trip to the Illegal Chinese restaurant. Don’t worry, it isn’t actually illegal – just very well-hidden!
Look out for the red lanterns hanging from the window to find this sign-less, authentic Chinese restaurant, and pig out on their delicious, freshly-cooked dishes, washed down with a beer.
What To Know For Visiting Portugal
Portugal is part of the European Schengen zone, which typically provides 90 days of free entry every 180 days to visitors from many countries. This means you can enter Portugal and travel between other European countries for up to 90 days per stay.
Be sure to check the EU Schengen website for the latest information for your specific country.
The currency used in Portugal is the Euro (EUR). The current exchange rate is approximately 1 EUR to 1.10 USD. You can check the latest EUR exchange rate on Google.
While traveling, our number one tip is to use a free Charles Schwab Debit Card which gives unlimited worldwide ATM Fee Refunds and the true exchange rate.
Best Tours In Lisbon
Some of the best tours and things to do in Lisbon are:
- Best of Lisbon Walk – Private 3-Hour Tour
- Historic Lisbon 25-Minute Helicopter Flight
- Lisbon Private Food Tour
Where To Stay In Lisbon
We recommend booking your hotels on Booking.com to get the best rate and many hotels offer free cancellation in case your plans change.
Some of our favorite hotels in Lisbon are:
- LX Boutique Hotel: Located in the best location in the city overlooking the river and luxurious rooms.
- TURIM Boulevard Hotel: Very nice hotel with on site restaurant in a great location.
- EPIC SANA Lisboa Hotel: Upscale hotel with a rooftop infinity pool overlooking the city.
AirBnB is also a great option in Lisbon and you can save $55 using our link to sign up!
Best Time To Visit Portugal
The best time to visit Portugal is during the dry season between April and October. July and August can be very crowded, so we prefer the shoulder months of April, May, September, and October.
Best Books About Portugal
Read more about Portugal before you go! Some of the best books about Portugal are:
What Power Adapters Do You Need
You can buy a universal adapter that will work in any country and has extra ports for USB cables to charge your phone and other devices.
We also always travel with a portable battery pack which is great to keep your phone charged on long journies.
Transportation In Portugal
- Public Transportation: Portugal has extensive public transportation by both buses and trains. The trains are particularly good, but make sure to book your tickets in advance to get the best price.
- Rental Cars: If you want flexibility, we recommend renting a car at the airport. This provides the easiest way to see certain landmarks.
- Uber: Uber is sometimes available in Portugal, though it depends on the area (mostly in major cities like Lisbon and Porto). However, the rules are constantly changing about Uber in Portugal due to the strict permits that are required for drivers to offer rides. An a similar rideshare alternative is Bolt, and you can use code BC222 for a free ride when you first sign up! Metered taxis are readily available is Portugal.
Our top recommended travel insurance companies for Portugal are:
- World Nomads: Comprehensive coverage for medical, travel delays, and electronics.
- SafetyWing: Cheaper monthly coverage primarily for medical, starting at $37 for 4 weeks of coverage.
For more information, read our article on why you need to book travel insurance for your next trip!
More Articles About Portugal
Lisbon is one of my favorite cities in the world and I hope this 3 day itinerary helps you make the most of your visit to this amazing city!
We hope that this article has inspired you to visit Lisbon with this itinerary. If you have any questions about the destination or have your own travel tips to share please leave these in the comments below.
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