Planning a trip to Lisbon? Get some inspiration on what to do while you’re there with our idea of a perfect three-day itinerary. History, culture, entertainment, restaurants… Pack it all in at a comfortable pace and don’t miss a thing!
bold;Start your stay in the west part of the city. Head to the Belém district as early as possible in the morning to enjoy the first sun rays hitting Belém Tower. The view from this defence tower, strategically positioned at the mouth of the Tagus River, will transport you back through the centuries. What a wonderful way to start your first day!
Now it’s time to head for the Hieronymites monastery. A monumental testament to the vast number of Portuguese discoveries made across the world, this religious building was built in memory of Vasco da Gama’s return, following his voyage to India. Its splendour will make you realise the sheer power Portugal exerted during that era of exploration and discoveries, and you can’t fail to be impressed by the architectural details and the craftsmanship that went into constructing this beautiful building.
A stone’s throw away, the Padrão dos Descobrimentos (Monument of the Discoveries) is a spectacular spot, erected in tribute to Portuguese explorers from the 15th and 16th centuries. A medieval map on the marble floor shows the global explorations carried out by this country over the centuries.
Next, make the most of your trip to Lisbon by succumbing to the delicious temptations of Pastéis de Belém, the perfect opportunity to have a little break and recharge your batteries before exploring more of the city.
Then, continue your visit by going to the MAAT, the Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology. The most recent addition to Lisbon’s cultural scene, it holds international exhibitions and has an absolutely breathtaking exterior. The glass window panes reflect the sunlight and the terrace extends naturally from the path running along the Tagus.
For the first evening of your stay in Lisbon, head to the Cais do Sodré district and Rua do Alecrim, a famous pink street which is home to many of Lisbon’s most vibrant nightspots. Afterwards, head to Largo de Camões, a pretty square where you can immerse yourself in a crowd of locals and discover a new side of the capital.
The following day, continue exploring the wonderful city of Lisbon by visiting Eduardo VII Park. In this green part of Lisbon, discover the impressive water mirror across from café Linha d’Água’s outdoor terrace, before observing the city and river below from its exceptional viewpoint. This is a great way to contemplate the myriad of possibilities that this fantastic city offers you. Afterwards, explore the Estufa Fria tropical garden and its impressive greenhouse full of plants and exotic trees, interspersed with waterfalls and small charming ponds.
Next, walk towards the centre, Baixa, via Avenida da Liberdade, the city’s most stylish avenue. This is the perfect chance to go on a mini shopping spree during your stay in Lisbon, as it’s home to the world’s biggest fashion brands. Enjoy tapas in Taberna Ibérica, a stone’s throw away from the tranquil green space of Praça da Alegria. Alternatively, at the end of Avenida da Liberdade, Fábrica da Nata serves coffee and delicious pastries.
After having a bite to eat, head to Rossio, the historical name for Don Pedro IV Square, the spiritual heart of the city. All of Lisbon’s major cultural and social events take place here, and it’s a favourite meeting spot for the locals. Students, workers and visitors all cross paths here. Sit down and enjoy a coffee in the outside seating area and get a true sense of daily Lisbon life.
After a break, take to the heights during your stay in Lisbon and go up the Santa Justa lift. This impressive forged iron structure was built in 1902 to connect the two neighbourhoods: Chiado and Baixa. A symbol of the industrial age, at the top is a viewing platform that offers a unique view of the city.
Next, make your way down towards the Tagus River and the Ribeira das Naus district, which was once a naval construction and where the ships that discovered so much of the world were built. Now modernised, this beautiful waterfront area is the perfect place for a night-time stroll along the river. When you find a spot you like, settle down, enjoy the view and have the perfect peaceful evening. If you’re lucky, you might even catch an open-air concert for the ideal end to your second day in Lisbon.
Start the last day of your trip to Lisbon in Baixa. Its orderly streets and magnificent buildings, such as the Rua Augusta Arch and Augusta Street, demonstrate the major influence the Pombaline architectural style had on this area. This style is named after the work of the first Marquis of Pombal who, after the earthquake of 1755 destroyed Lisbon, personally supervised the reconstruction. Most importantly, he decided to divide the area into squares to create a balanced city plan, with durable and resilient infrastructure that could survive future earthquakes. Admire precise geometry of the seven streets aligned behind Praça do Comércio and the two other main squares which border this neighbourhood, which are arranged by size and distance.
Now, keep heading towards Lisbon’s Santa Maria Maior Cathedral, built after the city was reconquered from the Moors in 1147. Almost a thousand years later, and having survived multiple catastrophes, Sé Patriacal (as the cathedral is generally known is another splendid landmark on the Alfama neighbourhood’s landscape. Continue your stay in Lisbon by exploring Alfama, the oldest area of the city and a real labyrinth of narrow cobbled streets. Here, you get a real feel for the old Lisbon, with winding streets that have barely changed in hundreds of years. In this neighbourhood, which withstood the earthquake, you can experience the daily lives and community spirit of the locals. Laundry hangs from the windows and barbecues sizzle on the doorsteps, beautiful vignettes of everyday Lisbon life.
Now have a break and discover one of the most beautiful views of your stay in Lisbon from the mirador das Portas do Sol viewpoint. Relax in the bar of the same name for the perfect of the neighbourhood’s rooftops and the river below.
Finally, head to São Jorge Castle, an ancient edifice perched on the highest hill in the city. This unique viewpoint has been used for strategic positioning over the centuries. Getting here is an experience in and of itself. Climb aboard the famous Tram 28, the city’s oldest form of transport, and enjoy the leisurely ride up Lisbon’s famous hills. A tram ride also guarantees the ideal panoramic view for your last evening: the perfect way to finish off your stay in Lisbon.
This wonderful city can be discovered both by wandering on foot and ascending its hills and lifts to get to terraces and viewpoints. Perched high above the city, you get a unique view and a chance to sit and contemplate what has, for centuries, made Lisbon such a splendid city and what continues to entrance visitors.