The Perfect 3 to 4 Days in Lisbon Itinerary

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by Audrey Webster


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Lisbon is a city that has been attracting visitors for many years. It’s a blend of rich history and vibrant culture that has transformed the city into a popular destination. When building your Lisbon itinerary, you’re going to come across countless things to do and see. Don’t get overwhelmed. If you have 3 to 4 days in Lisbon, you have plenty of time to explore the city’s highlights as well as wander off the beaten path. 

This itinerary is chock-full of places to explore, eat, and learn. It includes tips for seeing Lisbon itself as well as getting away from the city to check out the surrounding area.

How Many Days in Lisbon?

If you’re wondering how many days to spend in Lisbon, consider everything you want to see while staying there. Lisbon is the capital of Portugal, but has a slower, more laid-back feel compared to many European cities.

There are a lot of things to do in Lisbon and it’s rich with architecture, history, and culture that could keep you busy for several days. However, in most cases, 3 days in Lisbon is the sweet spot to experience the best parts of the city without burning out.

If you have an additional day to spare, 4 days gives you the opportunity to take more than one day trip or spend another day exploring more of Lisbon. 

Beautiful Lisbon skyline
Beautiful Lisbon

Getting To & Around Lisbon

Lisbon boasts a well-established public transit system that makes navigating the city a breeze. If you’re flying, you’ll arrive in Lisbon through the Humberto Delgado Airport, which is less than a ten-minute cab ride from the city center.

You can get between the airport and Lisbon by metro, bus, cabs, or rideshare. The buses and metro will usually take somewhere between 20 and 30 minutes, but are by far the cheapest option. Rideshare services or taxis are the most convenient and fastest, but also more expensive. 

The city is also well-connected by both bus and rail to other cities like Porto and further afield in Portugal. You can view schedules here.

While visiting Lisbon you can use buses, metros, and trams to get around. It’s relatively easy to navigate public transit. You can even use it to reach nearby Belem or Sintra for a day trip out of Lisbon.

A ticket for Lisbon’s public transport network costs €1.80 for one ride or €6.80 for daily tickets. You can purchase the Viva Viagem card from streetside kiosks and preload it with funds to save time and money.

If you are planning to use a lot of public transport, you can buy a Lisbon Card which gives you unlimited transport as well as free admission to many attractions.

Lisbon is a very walkable city. In fact, taking on the city by foot is a great way to explore all its unique neighborhoods and stumble upon parts of the city you won’t find in a guidebook. When walking around Lisbon, you’ll quickly notice how many steep hills the city has.

Because Lisbon is built along a hillside, it’s full of stairs and hills, so take this into consideration when navigating if you have mobility issues.

Iconic Tram 28 in Lisbon
Iconic Tram 28 in Lisbon

3 to 4-Day Lisbon Itinerary

Start your time in Lisbon by exploring city highlights. Eat local cuisine, check out historic museums, and marvel at the architecture.

Over the next two days, venture out of Lisbon to nearby Belem and Sintra to see more of what this splendid country has to offer. 

Day 1 – Explore Lisbon’s Top Sites

Praça do Comércio

Many of the photos you see of Lisbon likely include images of Praça do Comércio.

Located on the edge of the Tagus River in the central area of Lisbon, this square is one of the most famous in Lisbon. At the end, you’ll see the Arco da Rua Augusta–the gateway to Rua Augusta.

Here you’ll find Lisbon’s main shopping street, filled with bakeries, bars, shops, and restaurants. If you have some time to spare, climb to the top of the arch for great views of the city.

Make sure to walk Rua Augusta and stop at Rossio Square–a place of historic significance as it’s been the site of protests and other major events throughout history. 

You are also close to the Lisbon Cathedral (Sé de Lisboa) which is a historical cathedral and one of the most important religious sites in the city.

Another great way to get to know the city on your first day is with a walking tour. A great option is the free walking tour with Lisbon Chill Out Tours which provides excellent insight into the city and its history.

If the schedule doesn’t suit you or you prefer a different tour, there are also paid options like this historical walking tour, this food and wine tour or this street art tour.

Rossio Square
Rossio Square

Santa Justa Lift

Aforementioned, Lisbon is full of hills. To relieve the strain on those trying to get around the city, you can find elevators and lifts to assist in getting between neighborhoods.

The Santa Justa Lift connects the Baixa neighborhood, where you can find Praça do Comércio and Rua Augusta, to the Largo do Carmo neighborhood.

Most elevators in Lisbon were constructed in the early 20th century, but the Santa Justa Lift is the last remaining vertical elevator.

Santa Justa Lift
Santa Justa Lift

Igreja de Sao Roque

While wandering the streets of Lisbon, the Igreja de Sao Roque blends in with the white walls and terracotta roofs of surrounding buildings. However, upon stepping inside, you’re transported back in time by an intricately painted interior and pieces of sacred art.

The church was originally constructed as a shrine to Sao Roque, also known as Saint Rocco or Saint Roch. During the years of the Black Death, the shrine became a symbol of protection for the residents of Lisbon, although the shrine did little to curb the impacts of the plague on the city.

Today, the church is open every day except Monday and welcomes visitors. 

Praça da Alegria viewpoint

If you’re looking for a place to get a bird’s eye view of Lisbon, pay a visit to the Praça da Alegria viewpoint. It’s located just west of Lisbon’s city center and provides views of the Baixa neighborhood looking toward the Tagus River.

At the viewpoint, you’ll find little pockets of gardens and Banyan trees to provide some shade. It’s one of the best places to view the sunset in the city and is wonderful for a post-dinner evening walk after your day of exploring Lisbon. 

There are many viewpoints in Lisbon so depending on where you are staying you might also want to visit others in the evening such as the Miradouro da Graça or the Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara.

Day 2 – Castelo de Sao Jorge, Museo de Azulejos & Alfama

Castelo de Sao Jorge

Kick off your second day of your Lisbon itinerary by spending one more day exploring the city.

Begin your day with a visit to the Castelo de Sao Jorge. This is one of the most important castles in Lisbon’s history. It has five towers, each with a unique purpose. Some towers stored royal treasure while others were responsible for defending the castle.

One tower contained the residential quarters and connected to the “house of the lions” where two lions were kept. A ticket to the castle allows you to explore all five towers and visiting is one of the best things to do in the city!

Castelo de Sao Jorge
Castelo de Sao Jorge

Museo de Azulejos

While visiting various attractions and walking around Lisbon, you might have noticed lavishly decorated blue and white tiled artwork throughout the city. What you’re looking at is the azulejo, a traditional tilework of Portugal.

The National Tile Museum is overflowing with beautiful examples of this art form. The museum guides its visitors through the history of the famed tilework of Portugal from the 15th century to present.

A visit here is a good opportunity to learn about a unique part of Portugal’s history while briefly stepping away from the crowds. 

Portas do Sol viewpoint

One of the best parts about Lisbon being built on a hillside are the many opportunities it creates for excellent viewpoints, and the Portas do Sol is one of the greatest.

It’s a large patio that looks out over the ancient Alfama neighborhood. There is a cafe at the patio, so you can stop for a drink or snack during your visit and admire the view. And if you’re looking for a great spot to watch the sunrise or sunset, this is the place to be. 

Alfama District

The Alfama district is the oldest and most colorful neighborhood in Lisbon and spending a good amount of time here is absolutely one of the best things to do in the city. Set out on foot to wander through the lovely maze of narrow cobblestone streets and traditional homes built along a steep hill.

Here, you’ll find several iconic sites in Portugal like the Igreja de Santo Antônio and the Castelo de São Jorge. In its heyday, Alfama was home to Lisbon’s poorer residents, but today it’s considered an artistic and historic neighborhood that charms its visitors.

As you wander these streets, keep an eye out for cool street art and local shops. This is the best part of Lisbon to get lost in. Make sure to walk all the way to Miradouro de Santa Luzia for fantastic views of the city.

If you want to learn more about the history of the neighbourhood, you can also go on a guided tour which also includes a Fado concert.

Alfama district
Alfama district

Day 3 – Belem Day Trip

Day 3 in Lisbon takes you on a day trip nearby Belem. It takes about 30 minutes by bus to reach Belem from Lisbon and it is easily one of the top places to visit in Portugal. It is also possible to go on a bike tour from Lisbon.

Mosteiro dos Jeronimos

Your first stop should be the Mosteiro dos Jeronimos. Construction on the monastery began in 1501 and went on for one hundred years before finally being completed. It’s considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site and well worth your time during a visit to Lisbon.

Admire the tall arching halls, intricate stained glass windows, and historic cloisters. You should try to visit early in the morning as Mosteiro dos Jeronimos is a very popular tourist attraction that often has a long line later in the day. It’s also wise to purchase a ticket online in advance. 

Torre de Belem

Located on the banks of the Tagus River is the Belem Tower, one of the most iconic structures in Lisbon. It was built in the 16th century as a place for ships to dock while coming into Lisbon. Visitors can climb into its four-storey tower to get a view of the river and Belem.

Since 1983, the Belem Tower has been considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a hallmark of Lisbon. Like the monastery, the Belem Tower is popular among tourists.

Depending on the time of day you visit, expect to wait in line to enter the tower. It’s also a relatively small building, so only a certain number of people can be inside at once. You can pre-book tickets here.

Torre de Belem
Torre de Belem

Pastéis de Belem

While visiting Belem, you’ll notice a small bakery with a huge line leading out the front door. This is Pastéis de Belem, home to little flaky pastries that have become iconic.

The bakery follows an ancient recipe found in Jeronimos Monastery in 1837. Those making the pastries use traditional methods that foster their unique flavor. The line to get the pastries might be long, but it moves quickly and is worth the wait.

The Belem pastries are creamy inside, flaky and warm outside, and all-around delicious.  

Day 4 – Sintra Day Trip

If you are fortunate enough to have 4 days in Lisbon, consider heading out to another city – this time a day trip to Sintra. You can get there independently by train or you can go on a guided day tour which will also visit nearby Cascais.

Palacio da Pena

You might be familiar with Sintra because of the Palacio da Pena. This bright yellow and red palace located in the hills of Sintra is eye-catching, to say the least. The site dates back to the 12th century and has a long history of royal families maintaining the grounds.

Guests visit the palace based on the time slots of their tickets that are purchased in advance. Try to reserve your ticket as far in advance as possible then enjoy exploring this historic palace that will leave you in awe.  

Palacio da Pena
Palacio da Pena

Palacio Nacional de Sintra

If you’re a fan of exploring historic palaces, you’ll find yourself right at home in Sintra. The Sintra National Palace, also known as Town Palace, is located in the Sintra town center.

It’s the best-preserved medieval palace in Portugal. The building captures the white-washed walls and orange roofs that are iconic throughout Portugal.

Visitors should take their time wandering the palace to take in the intricate artwork and architecture that captures the time in history when the palace was built. 

Castelo de los Mouros

Situated near the Palacio da Pena are the ruins of Castelo de los Mouros. From the 8th to the 12th century, this castle was tasked with defending the entire region. It was built along a rocky cliffside, giving it an optimal position to see approaching enemies.

This also means that visitors today can get incredible views of Sintra from its walls. As a guest, you can explore the old battlements, climb the lookout towers, and walk along the wall to take in the expansive views.

The busiest time at the castle is in the afternoon, so if you want to avoid the crowds, try to go in the morning.

Castelo de los Mouros
Castelo de los Mouros

Where to Stay in Lisbon

Alegria A Lisbon Boutique Hotel – This lovely boutique hotel is an excellent place for mid-range visitors to Lisbon. Centrally located close to all the Portuguese capital has to offer, they have a range of wonderful rooms available and plenty of great amenities for guests to enjoy.

Lisboa Carmo Hotel – Those looking for luxury in the Portuguese capital will love this 4-star hotel. They have plush and chic rooms on offer, classical decor, a perfect location for exploring the best of Lisbon and countless amenities to ensure guests want for nothing.

Home Lisbon Hostel – If you’re looking for a great social atmosphere or are visiting Portugal on a budget, this hostel is an excellent choice. As one of the top-rated in the city, they have a range of both dorm beds and private rooms on offer, great common areas, and there are social events organised daily.

Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Lisbon hotels!

Your itinerary for Lisbon is full of quaint historic neighborhoods, monumental castles and cathedrals, and decadent local pastries. By spending 4 days in Lisbon, you will get to see several parts of what makes this city unique and brings visitors back again and again. 

Are you planning a trip to Lisbon? Have any questions about this itinerary? Let us know in the comments!

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Audrey Webster is a writer for The World Was Here First. She is an Oregon native who has visited countries across the globe and currently spends her weekends exploring the Pacific Northwest and surrounding states. Her approach to traveling combines exploring famous tourist sites and wandering off the beaten path to discover new destinations.

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