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.
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 here 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 quote 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.
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 jewellery 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.
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!
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Our Top Places To Stay in Lisbon, Portugal
- LX Boutique Hotel
- TURIM Boulevard Hotel
- EPIC SANA Lisboa Hotel
- Find the best price on hotels in Lisbon, Portugal
- Sign up to AirBnB with this link and receive a US $35 off your first booking
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