The Best One Day Lisbon Itinerary + Map & Tips

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What To Do in Lisbon in One Day

Lisbon is one of the most picturesque cities in all of Europe. With stunning architecture from numerous periods, lively cobbled streets, and a setting right on the Rio Tejo, Lisbon is a dream destination and the star of Portugal.

Packed with remarkable attractions, we’ll show you Lisbon’s charming tapestry of grand squares full of elegant and historic buildings, and narrow streets lined with independent shops and cafés all linked by its famous elevators and trams.

In this Lisbon travel guide, you’ll find a complete one day itinerary of all the most important must-see Lisbon attractions, with an interactive map, organized to make the best use of your time. We also share recommendations for central places to stay, ideas about where to eat local food, and tips about how to make the most of your perfect day in Lisbon.

one day Lisbon Portugal

Are you planning your trip to Lisbon last minute?

Be sure to book your accommodation and tours in Lisbon ahead of time to ensure availability! Here are our top picks!

  • Top Hotels in Lisbon:
  1. Luxury: The One Palacio da Anunciada (close to Rossio and 5* in every way)
  2. Mid-Range: Altis Avenida Hotel (historic with amazing views, our fave!)
  3. Budget: Browns Boutique Hotel (boutique feel with eclectic decor)
  4. Hostel: Central House Lisbon Baixa (centrally located at a great price)
  • Top Activities & Tours in Lisbon:
  1. For all the best things to see in Lisbon, grab this excellent guided walking tour
  2. Get your 24 Hour Lisbon Card for free public transport and access to 39 attractions
  3. If you’re a first-time visitor, jump on Lisbon’s hop-on hop-off bus tour for all the main attractions
  4. For a lot of fun and a cool ride, book a Lisbon tuk tuk tour!
  5. Listen to the haunting sound of Fado music live with a glass of Port

Things to See & Do in Lisbon

Interactive Map

ROUTE: Praça Dom Pedro IV – Elevador de Santa Justa – Convento do Carmo – Livraria Bertrand – Rua Augusta Arch – Praça do Comércio – Lisbon Cathedral – Elevador Castelo – São Jorge Castle – Sunset Mirador – Tram 28

How to use this map – Use your fingers (or computer mouse) to zoom in and out. Click or touch the icons to get more info about a place, and click the arrow in the box top left to open the index. To add to your own Google Maps account, click the star next to the title of the map.

Itinerary Notes

  • Although Lisbon is the largest city in Portugal, seeing the best of Lisbon in a day is very achievable on foot. This is thanks to the walkable nature of the city, and its well-placed lifts, elevators, and trams to help with longer distances and hills. If you do plan to use public transport, the Viva Viagem Card is rechargeable and saves having to buy tickets.
  • Our Lisbon itinerary will take you on an easy stroll through this wonderful city, but if you prefer to have your day organized or take a walking tour, we recommend this history, stories, and lifestyle guided tour. Your English-speaking local guide will take you on a tour of Lisbon’s highlights, including a tram ride, and you’ll also get to try the famous Pastéis de Nata, Portugal’s famous custard tart.
  • If you don’t fancy walking this Lisbon tuk tuk tour is great fun! You’ll traverse the city’s oldest neighborhoods, take in some of the best views (without having to tackle the hills on foot!), and soak up the ambiance of the Portuguese capital.
  • Is this your first time visiting Portugal? Get all the information you need in our Portugal Travel Guide, including what to pack, the best time of year to go, getting there and practical tips to help you have the best trip!

Morning

Grab a Coffe at Praça Dom Pedro IV

The beating heart of Lisbon, the elegant plaza of Praça Dom Pedro IV makes a perfect place for people-watching with an espresso and should be your first stop on this Lisbon itinerary. 

Also known as Rossio Square or just Rossio, it’s a hive of activity and one of the most popular places for Lisboetas to meet.  

Elegant paved square with a central statue surrounded by large white buildings with teraccotta tiled roofs

Ride the Elevador de Santa Justa

The Santa Justa lift, a 19th century wrought-iron elevator, was once a practical mode of transportation, but these days it’s more of a tourist attraction and one of the top things to do in Lisbon in one day.

The panoramic views from the viewing platform at the top are gorgeous, making it one of the best photo spots in Lisbon. In order to avoid the inevitable queues and long lines, make sure to visit before 10am or after 3pm.

Take a one way trip on the elevator, and follow the 25 meter walkway for an easy journey to your next destination!

TOP TIP: If you have a 24 hour public transport pass or Lisbon Card, this ride will be included in that.

Tall wrought iron structure housing an elevator, surrounded by creamy stone buildings

Admire the Convento do Carmo

The medieval Carmo Convent and Gothic church ruins are an atmospheric spot, and a reminder of the devastation left by the 1755 earthquake, which affected so much of Lisbon.

The earthquake caused significant damage to the convent and completely destroyed the library. In 1864 the site was donated to the Association of Portuguese Archaeologists, which turned the ruined building into a museum.

In February 1969, another earthquake caused damage to the church nave, leaving it open to the skies as you see it today.

Inside of a ruined church with arches open to a blue sky

Pop to Livraria Bertrand

In the Chiado neighborhood, you’ll find Livraria Bertrand Chiado, the oldest bookshop in the world. The 18th century bookshop opened its doors in 1732 and is still running today.

Not only is Livraria Bertrand old, it is also deceptively large, with rooms named after authors. There is a long corridor through the bookstore, up to writer Fernando Pessoa’s room, where you’ll also find the Livraria Bertrand Cafe. Spend some time browsing the books, or reading in one of the little nooks.

Brown wooden bookcases holding books

Enter Through the Rua Augusta Arch

Wander down Rua Augusta and enter the enormous Praca do Comercio plaza through the Arco da Rua Augusta, that was built in 1875 to commemorate the reconstruction of Lisbon after the devastating Great Earthquake of 1755.

The imposing arch has six columns and is quite ornate. If you have time, head up to the top of the arch for an awesome viewpoint.

large ornate white stone arch next to yellow building with many upper floor windows and ground floor arches

Visit Praça do Comércio

Continuing along the gorgeous calcada Portuguesa or Portuguese pavement, with its pretty mosaics, you’ll pass through the arch and enter the Commerce Square. Wander around the plaza while taking in the amazing architecture and the statue of King Joseph I. 

Portuguese square by the sea

Afternoon

Admire Lisbon Cathedral

The 800-year-old Sé de Lisboa is the most important and oldest church in Lisbon. Dating back to the 12th century, the cathedral is predominantly in the Romanesque style, which is notable in the austere exterior of creamy stone with a central rose window.

It’s worth a look inside too, for the fountain in which Saint Anthony of Padua was baptized, some 14th century sarcophagi, and the impressive Gothic chapel.

creamly block built athedral with large rose window and crenellated towers

Ride the Elevador Castelo

From Lisbon Cathedral, make your way to the Elevador Castelo, that is a somewhat hidden elevator that helps you avoid walking up the steep hills of Lisbon’s Alfama district.

These are actually two vertical lifts that together make the Elevador Castelo. The first lift departs from a fairly inconspicuous building at 170-178 Rua dos Fanqueiros and drops people off in Rua da Madalena. Just 100 meters further there is another lift, that transports passengers to Costa do Castelo.

The first building itself is a blue and white tiled attraction, and the views from the elevators are great as well.

We skipped the elevator and walked the hilly streets of Alfama to the Castelo de Sao Jorge. There are lots of cute shops and stalls along the route selling drinks and cold fruit, to help keep your stamina up! But, it will take a good 30 minutes, and if you only have limited time the elevator will be a better option.

Tiled building in Lisbon with a sign on top

Explore the São Jorge Castle

Once you get off the elevator, you can take a short walk and grab the second one which brings you even higher up the steep hill before arriving at the historic Moorish Castelo de São Jorge. This is one of Lisbon’s most popular monuments, for good reason.

Some of the remains found here date all the way back to the 6th century BC. These days, the fort has been restored and is a great place to wander around, while taking in the museum and the stunning views of the Tagus River and the charming city of Lisbon below.

Dominating the city and Lisbon skyline, and at just €10 to enter, the Castelo is well worth a visit.

Castle of St George on a Lisbon hilltop

Take in a Sunset View

Because Lisbon is such a hilly city, there are numerous miradors offering fantastic views. For the best views, the early evening promises spectacular sunsets, balmy temperatures, and best of all, a great atmosphere.

Many people bring drinks to the viewpoints (grab your favorite bottle of wine or a beer), some speakers for music, or even an acoustic guitar for a jam session.

Some of the best places in Lisbon to watch the sunset are Miradouro de Santa Luzia, Miradouro das Portas do Sol, Miradouro da Graça, and Miradouro da Senhora (usually the quietest as it’s a little further from downtown Lisbon) – just take your pick and enjoy.

Another great way to enjoy the Lisbon sunset is with a boat party cruise along the River Tagus, enjoying an open bar with music from a live DJ.

View across the city of Lisbon skyline at sunset

Other Portuguese Travel Ideas

Evening

Ride the Trams

Riding the elevator is one thing, but Lisbon is known for its cute trams that clamber up and down the hilly streets. Tram 28 is the most popular one for tourists and connects Martim Moniz with Campo Ourique, passing through the popular Graca, Baixa, Estrela, and Alfama districts.

TOP TIP: If you just want to experience a quick tram journey, have a look at the Bica Tram, otherwise known as the Elevador da Bica (yep, the same word for lifts) which connects Largo do Calharizon, on the southern edge of the Bairro Alto, to Rua de São Paulo, via a few hundred beautifully photogenic meters.

lisbon yellow tram

Listen to Fado

The traditional music of Portugal, Fado’s roots can be traced back to 1820’s Lisbon, when Portugal was in the midst of the Liberal Revolution. The Portuguese word saudade, meaning longing, is used to describe the melancholy and mournful lyrics and tunes.

Fado music has been on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List since 2011 and is an experience not to be missed when you have just one evening in Lisbon.

We recommend this intimate live Fado show with Port wine where you’ll discover the music that expresses the soul of Lisbon, performed by professional singers and accompanied by classical and Portuguese guitar.

Explore Lisbon’s Nightlife

Start your night in Chiado, full of restaurants and bars to tempt your taste buds.

From there, head to the lively streets of Bairro Alto for the bar-lined streets of Rua da Atalaia, Rua do Norte, and Rua do Diário de Notícias. This is also a great place to see some of Lisbon’s best street art, including the Calçada da Glória Outdoor Art Gallery, the official street art gallery of Lisbon.

If you’ve still got energy, end the night on Rua Nova do Carvalho, better known as Pink Street, an old sailor’s haunt that is now home to a row of cool bars and a street literally painted pink!

a pink street lined with colorful houses

Where to Eat in Lisbon

Manteigaria

Inside the Time Out food market, Manteigaria is the best place to try Pastéis de Nata in the city of Lisbon, and only a few minutes walk from Livraria Bertrand. Pastel de Nata are the traditional egg custard tarts of Portugal and are a must-have any time of the day, you have to try one if this is your first day in Lisbon! 

But wait! There’s a debate about whether Pastéis de Nata is the best custard tart or whether Pastéis de Belém is better. The latter is made to a recipe developed by the monks of Jerónimos Monastery in 1837, the ingredients of which remain a secret today. Why not try both to see if you can tell the difference?

TOP TIP: Pastéis de Nata are best eaten warm from the oven, when the pastry is crisp and the custard is heavy with caramelization. Ask for it warm when you order.

portuguese custard tarts on display

Time Out Market

The Time Out Market is a bit of an institution on the Lisbon map. Basically, this is a huge food hall with numerous restaurants and bars all under one roof. You’ll find restaurants by famous chefs as well.

This food hall is a good place to visit for a pre-dinner snack or a full-on meal. Often, you’ll even find events being held here.

large covered market hall with tables of people eating

Taberna Portuguesa

This is a small restaurant serving up traditional Portuguese food. With strong ties to the ocean, it’s no surprise that fishing in Portugal is quite popular, and with that, much of the delicious local cuisine is fish and seafood-based.

At Taberna Portuguesa, you can find tasty bacalao (salted and dried cod, a specialty in Portugal) and sardine meals as well as other traditional dishes.

With just a few tables, you’ll want to make a reservation here. The staff are excellent at suggesting dishes for you to try, and which food goes best with which wine.

the outside of a small portuguese taberna painted tellow and green

Top Five Lisbon Travel Tips

  1. Consider buying the Lisboa Card. If you follow our itinerary many of our Lisbon sightseeing suggestions are free, but you may wish to use the public transport element or switch up the itinerary a little and visit some of the attractions covered by the Lisbon Card.
  1. Don’t eat the ‘free’ food. Many people sit down to enjoy a meal and are impressed to see complimentary bread, cheese, and olives arrive just moments after. These are not free, and if you don’t want them, just tell the waiter right away. Otherwise, you’ll find the extra cost on your bill at the end of the meal. 
  1. It’s a good idea to watch your pockets. Lisbon in general is a very safe city. But at the popular tourist sites and on crowded trams, pickpockets have been known to roam.
  1. Dine away from the tourist areas. Food and drinks are much more expensive around the main plaza than other places in Lisbon. Avoid eating in that area to save on food costs. 
  1. Wear good shoes. One of the best things about Lisbon is that while it’s a trendy, hip place, it’s ok to dress casually (unlike other cities in Europe). Wearing sneakers with your dress is common here ladies! Don’t try to wear heels on Lisbon’s hilly streets.
tow large drinks with ice and orange sliced in a table with a castle in the background

More Than One Day in Lisbon?

Do you have just half a day more in Lisbon, or perhaps you can extend your trip and see Lisbon in one weekend? Add these attractions and day trips from Lisbon to your itinerary if you have enough time:

Visit Belém Tower

Take a stroll west along the river to the Torre de Belem, officially the Tower of Saint Vincent. A 16th century fortification, Portuguese explorers once embarked on their adventures to discover new lands from here.

Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the tower is a symbol of Portugal’s great Age of Discovery and stands proud in the Targus River. It’s worth a visit inside to tour the small museum which chronicles the tower’s eclectic history and visit the open roof terrace.

From the terrace, you’ll have stunning views of the sculpture Padrão dos Descobrimentos, the Monument to the Discoveries. The 52 meter testament was built in 1960 to commemorate the ‘Exposition of the Portuguese World’, and to celebrate the eighth and third centenaries of the founding and restoration of the Portuguese nation in 1140 and 1640.

These Belem Tower fast-track entry tickets also include entry to nearby Jeronimos Monastery, a late Gothic Manueline-style monastery housing archaeology, and a maritime museum.

Around the Belém district, you’ll also find lush parks, tree-lined plazas, the Lisbon Earthquake Museum, and the old royal palace, now the Palácio Nacional da Ajuda, making it a great spot to escape the frantic nature of the city.

large square stone tower next to the sea

Climb the Sanctuary of Christ the King

Cross the river on the Ponte 25 de Abril, the bridge that closely resembles the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, and see the 20th century statue of The Sanctuary of Christ the King, or Cristo Rei.

Modeled on Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro Brazil, the huge monument stands 28 meters high from its plinth over the river and provides spectacular views of Lisbon from the top. To get there, you’ll need to take an elevator before climbing 270 steps to reach the lookout point at the top!

statue of Christ with a large city by the sea in the background

Chill at the Lisbon Greenhouses 

Visit the often overlooked Estufa Fria, or cold house, a haven of lush tropical and exotic plants and water features. The plants are housed in three magical greenhouses with slatted bamboo roofs, in the northwestern corner of Parque Eduardo VII.

tropical and leafy plants in a greenhouse

Visit the Oceanarium of Lisbon

The Lisbon Oceanarium is located in the Parque das Nacoes, which was the exhibition ground for the Expo ’98. It is one of the largest indoor aquariums in Europe, boasting a large main aquarium holding 5 million liters of seawater, alongside four marine habitats that are home to the terrestrial and marine ecosystems of the Earth’s oceans.

We recommend booking skip the line tickets for the Oceanário de Lisboa, one of Lisbon’s most popular indoor attractions.

Be Amazed by Sintra

Take a day trip to one of Portugal’s favorite national parks and UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the city of Sintra, once the home of Portuguese royalty. Home to rich history, the colorful Pena Palace, and Quinta Da Regaleira, where the mysterious Initiation Well is a top Instagram draw, Sintra is like nowhere else in Europe.

On our recommended and very well-reviewed Sintra day trip you’ll also see Capo de Roca, mainland Europe’s most westerly point, some of the best beaches in Portugal, and the lively town of Cascais, one of Portugal’s top coastal resorts.

RELATED POST: The Perfect Sintra Day Trip from Lisbon: Complete Guide, Itinerary & Insider Tips

colourful castle painted red and yellow on top of a hill

Visit Porto

Take a high-speed train from Lisbon to Porto, which will get you there in around three hours. Trains start around 8am and the last Porto to Lisbon train leaves at around 8pm, so you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy the city and visit all the Porto must-see attractions

Tickets cost around €25 each way. Organized day trips from Lisbon to Porto are another great way to see the city, with the added bonus of a guide to show you all the best things to do in Porto. Check out these private Porto tours for the best option.

Or, hire a car and take the incredible drive from Lisbon to Porto. Stopping at many of Portugal’s top destinations along the way, like Fatima, Coimbra, and Nazare, this coastal and historic itinerary is a must if you want to see more of Portugal.

Porto in one day

Sintra, Cascais and Cabo da Roca Coast Day Tour

If you take one day trip from Lisbon, take this highly rated and well organized day trip.

Visit the UNESCO city of Sintra, home to colourful Pena Palace and Quinta Da Regaleira, to see the mysterious Initiation Well. You’ll also see Capo de Roca, mainland Europe’s most westerly point, and the lively town of Cascais, one of Portugal’s top coastal resorts.

With a professional guide to offer insights, an organized tour is the perfect opportunity to see more of Portugal in less time!

Sintra Castle perched in a hill

Lisbon Practicalities

When to Visit Lisbon Portugal

Lisbon is a beautiful city that can be visited year-round, however, some months are better than others. 

Winter

Unlike other northern hemisphere destinations, Lisbon doesn’t see freezing cold temperatures in the winter. While it may be sunny, but chilly, for your day out in Lisbon, there are equal amounts of cloudy, wet days as well. I

In the winter months of November to February, you can expect the weather to be damp and cool, which makes it the least desirable time to visit Lisbon, although this is offset by discounted prices and fewer tourists.

Spring

The months of March, April, and May are one of two ideal times to visit Lisbon. During the spring, the weather is warm but not unbearably hot.

The tourist season hasn’t fully picked up during the spring, and there are many festivals and events taking place but the weather can still be unpredictable during these months with downpours possible. 

Summer

The summer months between June to August are the peak Lisbon tourism season. The weather is great, there’s a buzz in the air, and dining outside is enjoyable.

There are lots of events and things going on, warm weather and long days, and you can visit the nearby beaches or lounge by your hotel pool. This can be marred by the number of tourists and higher prices. You’ll need to book ahead of time or accommodation options won’t be available. 

Fall

Another great time to visit this amazing city is during the two autumn months of September and October. The sky is blue, the weather is great and the tourists have thinned out meaning prices start to reduce.

a view across terracotta rooftops to a hill and a castle in the distance

Getting to Lisbon

When flying to Lisbon you will land at Humberto Delgado Airport, only 20 minutes from the city centre.

The quickest and most cost-effective way to get from Lisbon Airport to the city center is on the metro. Trains run every 7 to 10 minutes to São Sebastião metro station, and from there you can take an onward train to your preferred destination.

You can pre-purchase a Lisbon Card, which as well as providing free transportation also offers free admission to many of the city’s attractions. You can get cards for 24, 48, or 72 hours and they are easy to pick up at the airport when you arrive and help save money in Lisbon.

Two Aerobus lines leave the airport into the city center. Tickets can be purchased on board the bus or at Turismo de Lisboa desks in the arrivals halls.

  • Aerobus Line 1 runs every 20 minutes from 7.30am to 7pm and every 25 minutes from 7pm to 11pm.The bus stops close to major hotels around the historical center of the city and the Marques de Pombal area. It also stops at Cais do Sodre station where you can take trains to the coastal areas of Cascais, Estoril, and Oeiras.
  • Aerobus Line 2 runs every 20 minutes from 7.40am to 7pm and every 25 minutes from 7pm to 10.45pm. This line serves the main locations around the Marques de Pombal area of Lisbon. For onward connections, it stops at Sete Rios bus terminus and rail station.

You can take a bus run by the city’s public transportation operator Carris, from the airport into central Lisbon, however, there are luggage size restrictions to be aware of with the maximum size allowed being 50x40x20cm. The buses take about 45 mins and cost €1.70 when paid on board the bus.

For a great way to start your Lisbon trip book a private transfer from the airport with Intui directly to your accommodation in the city center – it’s more cost-effective than you think! Intui works with many local operators to bring the best options and prices for your transfer.

Are you visiting Lisbon as part of a longer trip? A Portuguese road trip is the best way see this gorgeous country, and our guide to road tripping in Portugal has all you need, including maps, routes, highlights and tips, to help you plan the perfect trip.

Where to Stay in Lisbon

Luxury: The One Palacio da AnunciadaBooking.com | Agoda

Centrally located but on a quiet street, the simple exterior of The One Palacio da Anunciada belies the beautiful interior of this stylish hotel. We loved the green and leafy garden area and the choice of two pools for a refreshing dip after a day of sightseeing.

Mid-Range: Altis Avenida Hotel – Booking.com | Agoda

With spectacular views across Lisbon from the roof terrace, the Altis Avenida Hotel is one of our favorites. Located in a historical building with a mix of traditional Portuguese architecture and Art Deco design, the whole feel is one of comfortable elegance. Breakfast on the 7th floor is one of the best ways to start your day in Lisbon!

Budget: Browns Boutique Hotel – Booking.com | Agoda

A five minute walk from the Bairro Alto, Browns is a quirky boutique hotel with apartments. With wonderfully eclectic decor in the rooms and public spaces, this cool sport is a great choice for a stay in Lisbon.

Hostel: The Central House Lisbon Baixa – Booking.com | Agoda

Centrally located, this hostel offers a wide range of shared and private rooms, with plenty of public space too. Clean, light, and airy, this is one of the best spots to stay if you’re visiting Lisbon on a budget.

Make sure you have travel insurance you can trust when visiting Portugal. We recommend True Traveller for their 5-star TrustPilot reviews, variety of cover options, best activities cover as standard, great prices, and excellent service.

Written for The Gap Decaders by Goats on the Road

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