3 days in Lisbon Itinerary: Guide to Lisbon 3 day ItineraryDisclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you click one of them, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Lisbon is the capital city of Portugal. A southern European country, Portugal’s sea discoveries are what we study in our history classes. Vasco da Gama’s sea route to India and opening up of the sub-continent is actually one of the first lessons in modern world history. So much had happened in India and Portugal since then. But somehow after the glorious sea discoveries, Portugal was almost muted throughout the major world wars or United Nations formation. Luckily, Cristiano Rolando and beaches still had Portugal collecting the limelight. But let me tell you, this little nugget of a country is BEAUTIFUL and so very resilient. And Lisbon’s proud history just melted my heart. We will be visiting Portugal again. Soon.
Is 3 days in Lisbon enough
Most cities in Europe are doable in 2- 3 days and exploring Lisbon’s highlights is possible in 3 days, quite comfortably. The best way to do this is to explore Lisbon by area, use a mix of guided walking tours and sightseeing buses – so that you don’t have to do all the driving or finding directions. Plus you get to experience the trams in Lisbon.
Remember to book attraction tickets ahead of time to avoid waiting in the queue. This 3 days in Lisbon itinerary includes the following
- Day 1 – City highlights like Chiado, Baxio, Alfama district and other neighborhoods by a guided walking tour and more
- Day 2 – Explore the neighborhood of Belem and attractions in the area like Belem Tower, Mosteiro dos Jeronimos or Jeronimos Monastery to name a few. The second half of the day is set aside for newer areas of Lisbon like the Oceanarium and the Vasco da Gama center and bridge.
- Day 3 is taking a day trip to Sintra (or Sintra and Cascais in a day tour)
- Short on time? Here is a 2 day Lisbon Itinerary
Preparing for 3 days in Lisbon Itinerary
Lisbon International AirportLisbon is served by Humberto Delgado Airport (also called Lisbon Airport or Portela Airport.) Lisbon international airport is located about 7 kilometers northeast of the city centre. We flew from Barcelona to Lisbon via TAPPortugal airlines and had a good experience. Lisbon airport is very welcoming and has all the tourist amenities like luggage storage, aero-buses, and metro connecting to the city. From the airport, it is a 20-25 minute metro ride to the city centre.
Lisbon Bus Stations – Sete Rios and Gare do Oriente (Lisbon Oriente Station)There are 2 major bus stations in Lisbon. Sete Rios is located close to the old historic town and offers bus connections to other cities in Portugal as well as to Spain. Gare do Oriente or Lisbon Oriente Station is a stunning bus station located in the Parque das Nações municipality of Lisbon. They have a shopping complex (Vasco da Gama Centre) and basically the bus station design is a unique creation – it is symbolic of connecting Portugal to the world – something that Portuguese heritage is proud of. And I believe they are good at it! We visited Lisbon Oriente during our hop on and hop off tour, and also departed from Lisbon to Seville via bus from this station at night. So yea, very safe and the shopping centre was open too.
For commuting within Lisbon – Lisbon CardFor commuting purposes, we highly recommend using the Lisbon Card. It comes in 24, 48, or 72-hour duration, offering unlimited public transport and museum and other attraction entries. Using public transportation (buses, trams, and metros) is super easy and convenient. A single ticket is 1.50 euros and .50 when you get your first ticket or viva Viagem card at the station. Lisbon viva Viagem card is nothing, but a transit pass where you add tickets or rides. You pay .50 cents when you get a card. Lisbon card can be purchased online. You will find the Lisbon card useful for communing within the city or getting entry into attraction sites. GET YOUR LISBON CARD HERE
Accommodation and hotels in Lisbon PortugalLisbon is a popular destination in Europe during the summer. Peak seasons are from June to August, where there are tons of activities in the city. And getting a hotel during this hotel might be difficult – so book accommodation in Lisbon ahead of time. Summers will also be very hot during the day, but slightly cooler in the evenings (more on weather and packing tips below). We visited Lisbon in September and LOVED the city in that weather. We were able to score a good hotel, closer to the city centre as well as the Lisbon Airport. We stayed at the easyHotel Lisbon. We stayed in a few easyHotel in Europe and this one was no different. Comfy and clean room, easy access to the bus and metro stations. Tons of restaurants nearby as well. The only thing to keep in mind is that – you have to pay for use for wifi and luggage storage. But if you are looking for an inexpensive, yet clean place to stay easyHotel Lisbon is for you. Another great plus is that the hotel is very close to Marquis de Pombal Square and most of the tours can be redeemed here – aka tour starting point. BOOK YOUR STAY HERE Other Lisbon hotel recommendations Here are a few hotel recommendations for your 3 days in Lisbon itinerary.
- Marques De Pombal Hotel (3 star) – Marques De Pombal Hotel is another good option near the popular square
- Awesome location for metro, sightseeing tours and more
- Overlooks the street and Pombal Square (has soundproof rooms)
- Free breakfast and wifi.
- BOOK YOUR STAY HERE
- Hotel Sofitel Lisbon Liberdade (5 stars) – Sofitel hotels are a popular name in the luxury hotel category.
- This hotel is located in the city centre
- It is located close to the Praça do Comércio and the Tagus river – epic location
- Is pet-friendly and offers free wi-fi
- BOOK YOUR STAY HERE
- Santiago de Alfama (5 stars) – Santiago de Alfama is located in the historic Alfama neighborhood
- Located in elegant quarters and housed in a 15th-century boutique hotel
- Onsite amenities include a restaurant, a bar & a spa
- This hotel is perfect for those looking for a boutique and one-of-a-kind experience
- Easy access to major sightseeing areas like the Alfama and the city centre
- BOOK YOUR STAY HERE
Day 1 of 3 days in Lisbon Itinerary: Chiado, Santa Junta Lift, Baxia, Alfama, Praça do Comércio, Rossio SquareBefore we start, here is something important to remember about Lisbon – the 1755 earthquake. A lot of the city is the outcome of that massive earthquake that destroyed many neighborhoods including imperial palaces and killed over 60,000+ residents. But Lisbon was resilient and they re-built the city and some of the civil and architectural urban planning were ahead of the time – thanks to Marquis of Pombal (Sebastião José de Carvalho e Melo), who was the Prime Minister of Portugal during the earthquake and was the enlightened one. Start your first day of Lisbon itinerary by having breakfast at a historic cafe, followed up by a walking history tour to learn about Lisbon and Portugal’s past. This tour will guide you through the historic neighborhoods of Chiado and Baxio, then Alfama via tram. It also takes you to São Pedro de Alcântara for some stunning views of the Baixa and the south bank of the Tagus River. This essentials history tour is for 3 hours only, we took this walking tour and highly recommend it. BOOK LISBON ESSENTIALS HISTORY TOUR Spend the afternoon further exploring the highlights of Alfama. And then head to Praça do Comércio followed by a walk by the Cais das Colunas. Dinner and night entertainment in the city centre or near Rossio Square. So let’s start the day.
Breakfast at Cafe A BrasileiraHead to Cafe A Brasileira for breakfast. Café A Brasileira or The Brazilian Lady Cafe is located just outside of the Baixa-Chiado metro stop. Recognized as a hang out place for intellectuals, artists, and writers of the century, this cafe is over 100 years old and definitely deserves a coffee stop. There are other restaurants located near the metro station as well including a Mcdonald’s if interested. The essentials history tour also commences from here.
Wander the lanes of the Chiado neighborhoodChiado is the artistic neighborhood of Lisbon. This area is filled with restaurants and is an important cultural site, with museums and theatres. Known as the artists and creative people’s neighborhood, you will find statues of poets and writers sprinkled all across this neighborhood. There is a statue of poet António Ribeiro at the Chiado Square – this is a good spot to people-watch or capture the famous Lisbon tram going through the quarters. Chiado is located between the neighborhoods of Bairro Alto and Baixa Pombalina. Rua Garrett – it’s the main street runs from the Baixa to Bairro Alto and is known for big brand shopping! Bairro Alto is great for nightlife and during the day you can capture their beautiful lanes (tiles and doors).
Carmo Convent RuinsCarmo Convent was the Convent of Our Lady of Mount Carmel – a Catholic convent. After the 1755 earthquake, it was left as it. Today this site of gothic ruins is home to an archaeological museum called Museu Arqueológico do Carmo. It is a beautiful spot for photos as it overlooks the Rossio square, facing the Lisbon Castle hill. The square around the ruins is Carmo Square. This site is of historical importance as the Carnation Revolution (of 1974) began here putting an end to 5 decades of dictatorship in Portugal.
Santa Justa LiftThe Santa Justa elevator is a stunning lift built to connect the lower level Baixa neighborhood with Carmo Square. This lift is also known as Carmo Lift. The lift is still in use and provides amazing views of the city. You can take the lift for around 5 euros. They are open every day from 7:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. and until 9 p.m. in the winter. Keep in mind, there is a long line up to get to the lift.
Afternoon: Take tram 28 to Alfama neighborhoodAlfama is the oldest neighborhood in Lisbon. It is filled with historical sites including a Thieves Fair. As Alfama is located at a height – a higher level than Baixa, you will need to ride the iconic tram 28 to reach atop.
For lunch and amazing views over the city of Lisbon, head to Miradouro das Portas do Sol (Alfama)Miradouro das Portas do Sol is an amazing viewpoint from where you can see the red roofs of Lisbon and the Tagus river. This is where I fell in LOVE with the city – just right there! There are restaurants in and around Miradouro das Portas do Sol, so stop by for food before heading to the National Pantheon and the Sao Jorge castle. (Note: There is another viewpoint – Miradouro de Santa Luzia, which is located above the Sé Cathedral and below the São Jorge Castle. It is located closer to Church Santa Luzia and has beautiful terraces). It will be evening time – almost, after you have explored Alfama, so it’s a good time to take the tram and come back to the city centre. Alfama to your next stop Praça do Comércio is a 10-minute taxi ride and 15-minute tram ride.
Walk the Praça do ComércioPraça do Comércio or the Comércio Square is a huge waterfront plaza, lined with restaurants and offices. The plaza was originally the site of the imperial palace – Paços da Ribeira, which was destroyed in the 1755 earthquake. Local’s still lovingly call it the “palace square”. The plaza was created to connect business and was essentially a commerce square. The Lisbon museum is also located near Comércio Square. The restaurants by the plaza are housed in bright yellow arches and in the evening look super stunning. There is a statue at the plaza centre, of King José I, looking at the Tagus river. At the southern end of the plaza, there are steps leading to the river, this is a perfect stop to relax and watch the sun go down. On the northern side of the Comércio Square, is the triumphal arch. The Arco da Rua Augusta triumphal arch – was to signify the victory over the earthquake devastation to re-building a new city. When you walk through the arch, you are at Augusta street – which is lined with shops and street vendors selling hats, souvenirs, and hand fans. A lot of street performers here too – so watch out!
Dinner at Rossio SquareFrom Augusta Street, you will find tons of restaurants and street cafes to eat and drink. After dinner, head to the Rossio Square – sit and enjoy. Rossio Square is the trendiest square in Lisbon. It is named after the King of Portugal, King Pedro IV. Hence the square is also called the King Pedro IV Square or Praça de D. Pedro IV. This square has been important since the 13-14th centuries and today it is a popular hangout place for locals and tourists. After dinner, we sat at the Rossio Square with a Portuguese traditional sweet or custard tart, pastel de nata.
DON’T FORGET Buy Lisbon Card for 24, 48 or 72 hours here
Day 2 of 3 day Lisbon Itinerary: Belem, Port of Lisbon, Hop on and Hop off, Pink Street, Fado ShowOn day 2 of your 3 day Lisbon itinerary, head to the Belem district and explore the port of Lisbon, Belem Tower, and the many remnants of the sea discoveries. In the evening, head to the central area to watch a Fado show and eat at the Pink Street.
Marquis of Pombal Square – Breakfast and Hop on and hop offAs always breakfast first. One of the benefits of staying near the Marquis of Pombal square is access to restaurants, tours, and all transport means. Marquis of Pombal Square is dedicated to their powerful Prime Minister – Sebastião José de Carvalho e Melo. He helped rebuild the city of Lisbon after the 1755 earthquake. The square is marked by a huge statue of the Marques. Pombal Square is an important roundabout in the city, located between the Avenida da Liberdade and the Eduardo VII Park. You can walk uphill from the square to Eduardo VII Park for some scintillating views of the city. You will see Pombal looking at the river. We had breakfast at Padaria Portuguesa – a bakery and coffee shop. You will find its branches/outlets in a few other places in the city. After breakfast, we took a hop on and hop off tour of Lisbon. This recommended hop on and hop off sightseeing tour is for 24 hours and they have 2 routes. We started with the Red route to explore Belem and the port of Lisbon. BOOK LISBON HOP ON AND HOP OFF TOUR HERE While traveling from Pombal Square to the Belém area, you will see some of the stunning sites in Lisbon like the Amorerias, Jardim da Estrela, Pont 25 de April, and sea views. When you get down at the Torre de Belém, you will be able to soak in all those sea views.
Belém – A look at the Torre de BelémYour 3 days in Lisbon itinerary should include Belém and the port area. The Belem Tower is the most iconic structure in the area. It was built in the 16th century as a fortified fortress as well as a ceremonial gate to Lisbon. You can take amazing shots of the Belém tower from outside or from either side of the structure. If you wish to explore the inside, there is an entry fee of 5 euros and a long line up to beat.
Monument of Discoveries – Padrão dos DescobrimentosAway from the Belem tower, you will the Monument of Discoveries. This was built in the mid 20th century to commemorate Portuguese sea discoveries of the 15 and 16th centuries. The monument is dedicated to sailors, mathematicians, navigators, and all those who worked to make sea discoveries a reality. I grew up reading about sea discoveries and this view was amazing.
Port of Lisbon and 25 de Abril BridgeWhile you are in Belem, you will see the beautiful cruise port of Lisbon. From a distance, the long 25 de Abril Bridge is also visible. The date April 25 is to commemorate the date of the Portuguese revolution against dictatorship (Carnation Revolution). 25 de Abril Bridge looks like the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco and is often compared to it. On the other end of the bridge, you will see the Sanctuary of Christ the King monument. The Christ the King (Almada) is dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ. It was built, as Portugal was spared from the World War II atrocities. After all those views, it will be past noon. So a good time for lunch. We recommend eating in Belem to save time (and take more views in). We had lunch at the port restaurant, while we waited for our Hop on and hop off tour (they pick up every 30 minutes).
Jerónimos MonasteryFrom the Belem Tower pick up, there are 2 important sites that are worth a stop – Jerónimos Monastery and the Belém Cultural Center. We recommend getting down at the Jerónimos Monastery. The Jerónimos Monastery along with the Belem Tower is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Jerónimos Monastery or Hieronymites Monastery was a former monastery of the Order of Saint Jerome. Today it houses a Maritime Museum – Museu da Marinha dedicated to the sea discoveries including tales of Vasco da Gama to India. The monastery is very popular and you will see a huge line-up to get in. The gardens in front of the monastery are beautiful. Allot 1-2 hours here. Pro tip: Hop on and hop off to Belem – start at 09:30 am. Spend 2- 2.50 hours there, before heading to Jerónimos Monastery and museum for another 2 hours. You should be done by 2:30 pm. So take the bus back to Pombal Square to start the Blue route of the tour. For photos at Jerónimos Monastery, start early or after 05:00 pm, the lines are next to nothing at that hour. We took the red route again to see it, yea crazy right? The Red route of the recommended hop on and hop off sightseeing tour will take you to the central and modern areas of Lisbon. You will drive by Chiado, Bairro Alto and many other places that you walked by yesterday. But there is more. Remember the bus tour doesn’t go into the narrow lanes, it’s just on the outer roads. Now you will see some of the modern quarters of Lisbon like Lisbon Oceanarium, Vasco da Gama tower, the airport, and the important bus stations like Cais do Sodré, Oriente and many artsy lanes. So here are some of the things to do in the second half of the day.
Oceanario de LisbonOceanário de Lisboa is the largest indoor oceanarium in Europe. Built on the site of 1998 Expo in Parque das Nações area, Oceanário de Lisboa is home to 8000 sea creatures. This is one of the most visited places in Lisbon. We recommend visiting it after completing one round of the bus tour so that you can see the modern side of Lisbon. And it is easy to get back to the city centre from the Oceanario de Lisbon using the metro or taxi. BOOK 1 DAY ENTRANCE TICKET TO OCEANARIO This ticket is valid for one day. They are open from 10:00 am to 06:00 pm every day.
Vasco da Gama TowerThe tallest skyscraper of Lisbon is dedicated to the old sailors and history book hero, Vasco da Gama. Torre Vasco da Gama is a 145-metre tower located in the same Parque das Nações municipality of Lisbon as the Oceanario. It is built on the north bank of the Tagus river. It was built for the 1998 Expo. You can take the elevators here for some amazing views of the city.
Estação do Oriente and Centre Vasco da GamaEstação do Oriente is an international bus and train station (we took a bus from here to Seville Spain). It was also built for the World Fair 1998 Expo as the main terminal to welcome passengers from across the globe. The Centre Vasco da Gama is a shopping center located near the station.
Evening Ideas – Day 2 of 3 days in Lisbon ItineraryIf you are taking the hop on and hop off tour in this route, your last stop is the Parque Eduardo VII. You can get down here and walk downhill to the Marquis of Pombal Square. If you are not in the mood for a downhill walk (or hike), get down in Chiado (one of the stops of the tour. You will have to start the hop on and off tour again). The reason we are heading to Chiado is to see Pink Street and a Fado show.
Fado in Chiado – 50 Minute Fado ShowIf you missed the Fado museum yesterday, no problem. Watch a live 50-minute Fado show today in the city centre. Fado is a form of musical art and dance, recognized today as a UNESCO Cultural Experience of Humanity. Fado combines and portrays Portuguese cultural nostalgia, pride, and hope in a unique colorful way. BOOK THIS 50 MINUTE LIVE FADO SHOW. The show is at the Rua da Misericórdia in the city center. Or try FADO AND FOOD WALKING TOUR Rua da Misericórdia to Pink Street is a 3-minute walk. You can take pictures while there is daylight and then after the show, you can come back for dinner.
The Pink StreetI am sure you must have seen pictures of Pink Street on Instagram. The Pink Street is located on Rua Nova do Carvalho – in the Cais do Sodré neighborhood. This area was the meeting place of sailors and prostitutes, hence why it was once the “Red Light District”. Today there is a strip of street/lanes painted in pink and there are tons of restaurants and street cafes nearby. The famed Time Out Market is also located nearby and is perfect for your dinner tonight.
Day 3 of Lisbon 3 day Itinerary: Day trip to Sintra and Cascais – Palaces and BeachesOne way to enrich the experience of a new city is to take day trips. And to tour Lisbon in 3 days, allot the last day to exploring Sintra and other nearby areas. Sintra is known for the popular Moorish castle and Pena Palace. But Sintra is just one of the options. Here are some Lisbon day trip ideas for your 3rd day, with distance
- Lisbon to Sintra – Visit for exploring castles and the countryside
- Drive is 30 minutes one way.
- The train ride is 1 hour 10 minutes one way.
- READ: One Day in Sintra Itinerary
- Lisbon to Cascais – Beautiful coastal resort town
- Drive is 30 minutes one way.
- The train ride is 1 hour 10 minutes one way.
- Lisbon to Fátima – Visit Fátima monastery
- Drive is 1 hour 50 minutes one way.
- No trains
- Lisbon to Óbidos – Obidos is a charming medieval town with cobbled lanes and a medieval castle
- Drive is 1 hour 10 minutes one way.
- The train ride is 2 hours 30 minutes one way.
- Lisbon to Porto – Porto is a coastal city known for stately bridges and port wine production
- Drive is 3 hour one way.
- The train ride is 2 hours 50 minutes one way (not part of the Lisbon card public transport).
- “Palace and Park Ticket” – Allows entry to the Parque de Pena grounds, the terraces surrounding the palace and the staterooms. BUY TICKET HERE
- “Park Ticket” – Allow entry to the Parque de Pena and the terraces only.
Lisbon Attractions Map
Travel Tips Lisbon Itinerary for 3 daysHere are some quick travel tips for your three days in Lisbon Itinerary.
Travel Documents and Schengen VisaPortugal is located in southern Europe and is part of the Schengen agreement. If you require a visa to travel to Europe’s 28 Schengen countries, then you will need to apply for a Schengen travel visa before arrival. Learn more about the Schengen Visa process. If you have a European Union passport, you won’t require a visa for France. All the visa-exempt countries like the USA and Canada can travel to Portugal and stay for 90 days without a visa, right now. From 2022, all the Schengen nations require visa-exempt countries to apply for an ETIAS – European Travel Information and Authorization System, which although not a visa, requires the US and Canadian passport holders to apply for an ETIAS (electronic travel authorization).
Insurance for Lisbon 3 day ItineraryInsure your trip for unforeseen situations – like trip cancellation, lost and damaged bags, medical emergency, etc. Get your travel insurance quotes here
Best time to visit Lisbon Lisbon weatherThe best time to visit Lisbon is during shoulder seasons like when it’s spring or fall elsewhere. The weather from March to May and September to October is nice with warm weather and less crowded squares. Hotel rates are cheaper than the summer months.
What to pack for Lisbon? Packing for outfits and essentialsFor your trip to Lisbon, wear pretty dresses, pants/jeans, blouses and of course the usual travel essentials. If you are traveling on a long haul flight, here is a list of items for in-flight and arrival.
- Carry your passport, documents in an RFID protected passport holder
- An anti-theft backpack or a stylish daypack when you are out and about in Lisbon
- Universal adapter and multi-port charging cables
- Get your medications (no jet-lag tablets) and cosmetics (sunscreen, light make up)
- MUST PACK – Comfortable walking shoes are a MUST in Lisbon. Here is what I wore in Lisbon. BUY IT HERE
- For all seasons, cardigan or a light jacket – for evenings and night
- Clothes to pack
- Pack pants, skirts
- Tops and blouses
- Pretty dresses – long and short
- Scarf (in-flight and for evenings)
- Warm jacket or coat (during cooler months)
What to wear in Lisbon?Lisbon is very laid back and has a relaxed atmosphere. So feel free to dress according to your personal style.
- Spring (March to May) – Good idea to carry a light (waterproof or water repellent) trench coat or jacket
- Summer (June to August) – Carry cotton and breezy clothing as it can get very hot and humid
- Fall (September to November) – Carry 1 warm peacoat or light coat. Cardigan and scarf is always handy
- Winter (December to February) – Long sleeve shirts, sweater, wool coat, scarf
Budget for LisbonTo be honest, we found Lisbon to be very affordable. Public transportation fares are cheaper than most of the other European countries. The day tours are also relatively cheaper. So as the budget goes,
- for public transit, sightseeing and tours for 3 days is $250-300 USD per person (as per the tours suggested here including a day tour to Sintra)
- For food, $40-60 USD per day per person
Food in LisbonWe left the yummiest part for the last. Lisbon is a foodie paradise too, especially if you love baked goodies. We tried and had the yummiest custard, fluffy ham and cheese patties, cheap beer, omelets, and more. So here it goes BOOK FOOD TOURS IN LISBON
- Pastel di Nata/ Pastéis de Nata – Invented in Belém centuries ago, Pastéis de Nata is the yummiest custard sprinkled with cinnamon powder. We had it in different baked shops and they taste BEST when it’s slightly warm. Try it at Pastelaria Batalha – Camoes.
- Azeitão Cheese – This is like the CREAMIEST cheese that you can just eat with a spoon. Eat it with toast or on its own.
- Ham and cheese puffs – We LOVED the Ham and Cheese puffs at the Pena Palace cafe. May be pricey, but sooo worth.
- Bifana – Bifana is an iconic Portuguese sandwich made of marinated pork inside a crispy roll.
- Sardines – Sardines are popular in the whole of Portugal. Locals eat it all year long, both grilled and canned Sardines are popular. I tried it with tomatoes and rice – so amazing. Try it at the Cafe Terminal Santa Apolonia (outside the terminal station).
- Sagres Beer – 1 euro beer. Chilled and refreshing, try it with your meal.
Read other Portugal and Europe Posts to prepare for your trip
- Planning your first trip to Europe? Read Europe Planning 101
- Lisbon pictures & photo spots: 15 Best Photography Spots in Lisbon and where to find them
- Lisbon Airbnbs: Best Airbnbs in Lisbon
- Lisbon Accommodation Guide: Where to stay in Lisbon for first time visitors
- Spain and Portugal Trip: 10 to 14-day Itinerary ideas
- Europe in winter: Best Europe Winter Destinations
- Europe trip samples: One Week in Europe Itinerary Samples
- European packing list: Ultimate Packing List for Europe