Portugal is easily one of my favorite countries in the world. If there is anywhere overseas I would love to live, it would be Lisbon in a heart beat. From the amazing food, to the accessibility, to how kind the locals are, it is truly a hidden gem. And to top if off, it’s very affordable for a major European city. Here is jam packed but incredible Lisbon 3 day itinerary for how to explore every nook and cranny of Lisbon. Trust me, you will love it!
KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
Best Time to Visit: April to May or September to October. Weather is in the low 70’s, so it’s extremely comfortable, and it won’t be too crowded yet. These times would be considered “shoulder season.” The warmest months are June to August during standard summer season, but expect major crowds!
Weather: Even Portugal winters are considerably warm for Europe with coldest temps in the 40’s at night. But even during the day, it doesn’t drop below 50. Rainy months are typically October to April.
Getting Around & Transportation: Ubers are extremely affordable, but it’s also a great city to explore by foot. Bring your comfiest shoes though because there are plenty of stairs and inclines. For that reason, it won’t necessarily be good for elderly or pregnant women though. There is also metro lines & trams everywhere!
Currency: Euros; major credit cards accepted (not AMEX)
Languages: Primarily Portuguese; English widely spoken
Bom dia/Boa tarde/Boa noite — Good morning/afternoon/night
Olá — Hello
Tudo Bem? — How are you?
Por Favor — Please
Obrigado/a — Thank you (masculine / feminine)
Airports: LIS — an uber into the city shouldn’t be more than 15 euros!
Now that we know all of the details, let’s get started with this Lisbon 3 day itinerary!
WHERE TO STAY
There are so many amazing neighborhoods all over Lisbon, that it can be a little overwhelming to decide where to stay. The best part is that everything is close to one another, and you can easily access one neighborhood to the next via tram and uber. Also, airbnbs are insanely affordable for beautiful homes! I narrowed down my favorite neighborhoods in Lisbon for you!
Alfama Area: To cover most of the 3 day itinerary, I would recommend staying in Alfama. It’s the historical soul of Lisbon filled with medieval alleyways and breathtaking views. With the cobblestone streets, balconies filled with flower pots, and tile walls, you’ll immediately feel transported in time. Alfama is my favorite neighborhood in all of Lisbon, and I can walk around for hours here!
Baixa: Baixa is equivalent to the Downtown of Lisbon. It’s where the banking district, city center, and biggest shopping area is. It was rebuilt in the 1700’s due to a massive earthquake, and has the uniform, neoclassical matching buildings.
Barrio Alto & Chiado: The bohemian area filled with artists & writers– mostly known for its vibrant nightlife. It can be quiet by day and you’ll find plenty of cafes and bookshops around this area as well!
I know Airbnb’s are not for everyone, so there are also some very beautiful hotels in Lisbon too! Here are my top picks below!
WHAT TO EAT
From the freshest seafood to the most delicious pastries and cafes, the food scene in Lisbon is UNREAL. You can also find incredibly affordable every food on the same street as some of the world’s best Michelin star restaurants.
MUST TRY DISHES
Freshly Grilled Sardines – a MUST try if you visit June to October (sardine season!)
Ameijòas à Bulhão Pato – clams in a white wine and garlic sauce
Peri Peri Chicken – chili pepper flavored chicken, commonly served with potatoes
Caldo Verde – potato, chorizo, and kale soup (traditionally served at weddings!)
Pastel de Nata – egg custard tarts
Portuguese Croquettes – often filled with pork and beef
Prego & Bufana Meat Sandwiches – traditional Portuguese sandwiches with piri piri sauce
Really any SEAFOOD dish as well!
MUST TRY RESTAURANTS
Time Out Market – has a little of everything, an open space market with many stalls and options for everyone!
Pinoquio Restaurant – one of the BEST meals of my life, definitely try the seafood soup & seafood pasta
A Cevicheria – delicious & one of a kind ceviche
Frangasqueira Nacional – known for one of the best places for peri peri chicken (super small mom & pop, make reservations!)
Fabrica de Nata – for pastel de nata
Day ONE OF THE 3 DAY LISBON ITINERARY
ARRIVE IN LISBON
Welcome to Lisbon!! This 3 day Lisbon itinerary is set up in a way that assumes you have 3 full days to explore!! Most U.S. flights coming into Europe typically land early in the morning, so chances are, if you’re coming from the states, you will have the entire 3 days. Once you land, check into your hotel (or drop off your bags), and let’s hit the ground running!
GRAB A BITE TO EAT
Assuming that you’ll be tired from the red eye flight, first stop is definitely coffee. Head to the Baixa / Chiado area and swing by Fabrica Coffee Roasters. Coffee culture in Lisbon is quite amazing, and we definitely went to Fabrica multiple times for their oat milk lattes. And while you’re in the area, right around the corner is a brunch spot called Cortidiano. They have delicious fluffy pancakes and a wide variety of vegan options (meat options too.) If you go before noon, there typically isn’t much of a line, but any time after, there’s always lines out the door! Other popular brunch options include Dear Breakfast, Nicolau, O’Ninho.
PRACA DO COMERICO
Praca do Comercio is an iconic grand plaza in Lisbon, surrounded with three sides of bright yellow and white painted buildings, with the fourth side being the Tagus River. Because the plaza faces the harbor, it was originally the place where kings, queens, and royalties would embark and disembark while visiting Lisbon. Take the elevator up the Arco de Rua Augusta in the plaza as well, to get a panoramic view of the city. The entrance is just 3 euros, and free for children. From here, you can walk Rua Augusta (a main street) and wander around town!
EXPLORE ALFAMA AREA
From here, hop over to the next neighborhood of Alfama. As I had mentioned earlier, it is the quintessential charming Lisbon neighborhood and you can truly spend hours here. Explore every nook and cranny, wander through all the winding alleyways, and allow yourself to be completely lost.
While in Alfama, the MUST-DO is visit Miraduoros which are essentially view points or look outs over the city. The two most famous ones are Miradouro de Santa Luzia and Miraduoro das Portas do Sol. If you visit around sunset, you’ll find vendors and local artists selling drinks and artwork, as well as musicians and singers. The atmosphere and energy is beautiful. Sit with both locals and tourists, and enjoy the sun set behind the iconic orange roof tops of the ancient city. You can also stop by Castelo de Sao Jorge, which is a medieval castle/fortress.
End the night early by enjoying dinner at Pinoquio. Make sure you get both the seafood soup and seafood paella– incredibly delicious!! One of the best meals of my life! Get a good night’s rest for a second jam packed day!
DAY 2 of the THREE DAY LISBON ITINERARY
BELEM TOWER & JERONIMOS MONASTERY
Sunrise at Belem Tower is easily my favorite thing to do in Lisbon. The Tower was built in the 16th century and served as a point of embarkation and disembarkation for Portuguese explorers. It sits on the Tagus River, and was also used to defend the city. Now it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can purchase a ticket to enter Belem Tower for 6 euros.
The Jeronimos Monastery is only a 5 minute drive from Belem, and is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Monastery was constructed throughout the 15th and 17th century, and right next door is the Church of Santa Maria.
From this area, grab some famous pastel de nata from Pasteis de Belem. You can also grab a cup of coffee and other traditional Portuguese pastries there as well!
Swing by LX Factory and get a taste of the artsy life of Lisbon. Here you’ll find book stores, flea markets, shops, bars and restaurants. The most famous spot in LX is the Ler Devagar Bookstore, which has the flying bicycle in it. You’ve probably seen it on Instagram. If you love book stores, I highly recommend exploring this area.
TIME OUT MARKET
This place is for all of my foodies! Time Out Market is one of the most famous food halls in the world. Housed under one roof, you’ll find over 25 restaurants, bars, and shops. Go with some friends and grab a little bit of everything to eat!! There’s also a Pinoquio restaurant there, and right outside is the Manteigaria for the best Pastel de Nata!
Riding the Yellow Tram in Lisbon is a MUST– but Tram 28 is something special. It’s one of the most iconic little trollies in the world, with no graffiti or advertisements on it, making it perfect for photo opportunities. It also runs down some extremely narrow alleyways in Lisbon, while covering iconic historic districts like Alfama. The best way to get a nice window seat on the Tram is to enter through Martim Monitz or Campo Ourique, and the cost is 3 euros.
The area we love to take photos of the Yellow Tram is in front of the restaurant, Santa Bica. (Address: Tv. do Cabral 39, 1200-057 Lisboa, Portugal).
MUSEU NACIONAL DO AZULEJO
Housed in an old Convent, the National Tile Museum is a must-visit. Tile in Portugal is an artistic expression that differentiates Portuguese culture from any other. I personally haven’t been to the museum but it’s always been on my list to explore!
DAY 3 of the THREE DAY LISBON ITINERARY
DAY TRIP TO SINTRA
Sintra is the best day trip you can take from Lisbon, and it really isn’t all that far. Filled with castles straight out of a fairytale book, with enchanting gardens, there is no Lisbon Itinerary without a stop at Sintra. It’s roughly a 30 minute drive, or a 1 hour train ride. Depending on the time of day, you might be better off taking public transit rather than hiring an uber or renting a car, due to the potential buildup of traffic. Sintra is nestled in the hills, and so a decent portion of the drive is one lane only.
If your only goal for this day is to see Pena Palace, I recommend just the train. But if you are keen on exploring the general region, I’d recommend a car rental! It’ll definitely be a little harder to get around without one. Without a car and taking the train to Sintra, skip Azenhas do Mar and Praia da Ursa. Take the train straight to Pena Palace and then visit Monserrate via uber.
AZENHAS DO MAR
Hands down, the most underrated place near Lisbon. If you can muster waking up for sunrise, watching the sun rise here has got to be one of the most magical places in the world. With red roofs lining the cliffside, it reminds me a little bit of Croatia, Portugal, and Italy all in one. But the light reflecting on the water and the cliffside is just seriously something else. It’s a fairly small parking lot and town, but navigate to the Azenhas do Mar Restaurant. Once you’re parked, follow the stairs down to the beach!
For the most optimal chances at getting photographs, you have to visit Pena Palace right when it opens and go straight to the main castle. The park hours are 10AM to 60PM. Pena is the iconic yellow and red castle that I’m sure you’ve seen in photos. There’s also famous yellow arches that have the luscious green gardens in the background as well. The entrance fee is 14 euros and you can easily spend hours in Pena, exploring all of the rooms of the castles and the gardens. We stayed for about an hour, took some photos, and moved on to the next castle since there is so much to see!
Monserrate Palace is just right outside of Sintra. It has a magical Arabian design with gorgeous Islamic Architecture. It’s actually one of the least visited locations in all of Sintra because of the distance from Pena, so you’ll definitely have a more relaxed time taking beautiful photos here. The entrance fee is 8 euros, and under an hour is plenty of time.
PRAIA DA URSA & CABO DA ROCA
From Monserrate Palace, head to Cabo da Roca. You can park your car at the Cabo da Roca Lighthouse and hike down to Praia da Ursa, which is about 1km. The hike is about intermediate and can take up to an hour. We accidentally took the GPS straight to Praia da Ursa and had to hike an extremely challenging and steep hike down the sides of the cliffs, but with Cabo da Roca, it should be a much easier hike. I also advise not starting the hike too late into the afternoon / early evening, as it can be dangerous and remote!
Hopefully after this 3 Day Lisbon Itinerary, you can see why it is one of my favorite cities in Europe! Please let me know if you have any questions below, or if this blog post inspired you to visit!