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How many days in Lisbon is enough? (Tips!)

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Lisbon is one of my favorite cities! The capital city of Portugal is known for its stunning architecture, vibrant nightlife, and delicious food. Situated on the River Tagus, Lisbon is a popular destination for tourists from all over the world. Whether you’re looking to explore the city’s history and culture, or just enjoy a good meal and a glass of wine, in this guide we will share how many days in Lisbon is enough for the first-time visitor. 

We have been to Lisbon 5+ times and counting, have done a ton of permutations and combinations of sightseeing sites, and have crafted the perfect formula of attractions and experiences for you to enjoy! 

How many days in Lisbon is enough – How to plan a trip to Lisbon Portugal?

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Lisbon, Portugal‘s hilly, coastal capital, is known for its urban beaches, tiled buildings, and quaint alleys. 

From the lively Chiado district to the stately Barrio Alto, Lisbon’s neighborhoods offer a wealth of cultural experiences. 

Girl at the Lisbon Cathedral
Lisbon Cathedral

The São Jorge Castle looms over the Moorish Alfama district, while the Belem Tower commemorates Portugal’s Age of Discovery. Modern art museums like the Gulbenkian showcase contemporary works, while ancient sites like the Jerónimos Monastery pay tribute to Lisbon’s rich history. 

Whether you’re strolling through the city’s gardens or exploring its vibrant nightlife, Lisbon is a captivating destination.

The city has a lot to offer, but how many days you need to spend there depends on your interests. 

Trams in Lisbon

If you want to explore the city and its attractions thoroughly, three or four days is a good amount of time. 

However, if you’re more interested in relaxing and taking in 2-3 sights at a slower pace, two days may be sufficient. 

Gorgeous sunsets in Lisbon

Ultimately, the decision of how many days to spend in Lisbon is up to you. And our travel guide to Lisbon will assist you in designing an itinerary depending on your travel goals. 

Allow us to share our recommendation and we are sure it will help you!

Is one day enough for Lisbon, Portugal?

You can explore the major districts of Lisbon in one day. Hope this was good news for you 🙂 But you have to be ready for a jam-packed day, traveling from one historic center to another. 

Cafe and terrace near Santa Justa Lift and Carmo Convent
Cafe and terrace near Santa Justa Lift and Carmo Convent

If you wish to take it slow, you can do that as well, and of course, one day in Lisbon will be enough for that too. 

To make the most of your visit, you have to narrow it down to 2-3 MUST-see attractions as per your taste and travel style and take hop-on and hop-off sightseeing tours to skim through the neighborhoods for your visit.

So here is what your one day in Lisbon itinerary would look like, with 2 different sightseeing suggestions. These suggestions assume that you have a full day in the city.

Best of City Highlights: This is the ideal Lisbon one day itinerary that covers the must-do attractions in the city. 

You will start at the historic centre, and then in the afternoon make your way to Belem to visit the iconic UNESCO World Heritage Site and more.

*** A guided walking tour or a Tuk Tuk tour will cover various Lisbon attractions such as Lisbon Cathedral, Sao Jorge Castle, Carmo Convent, Santa Justa Lift, Alfama district, various miradouros, etc. 

The Tuk Tuk tour can be customized with ample photo stops in between. With the walking tour, a ride on Tram 28 is included along with a coffee and pastel de nata break!

Take it easy: Perfect combination of landmarks and relaxation, this Lisbon 24-hour itinerary takes it slow. On this trip, you will be based in the centre without a ride to Belem. 

  • Start with breakfast in Chiado – A Brasileira do Chiado
  • Walk to the Praça do Comércio via Rua Augusta
  • Walking tour of Lisbon (or TukTuk Tour)
  • Ride the Santa Justa Lift for views
  • Visit Sao Jorge Castle 
  • Break for lunch at the Cais do Sodre neighborhood
  • TimeOut Market
  • Miradouro de Santa Luzia
  • Sunset cruise
  • Rossio Square or Bairro Alto for dinner and drinks

Read: 2 week Portugal itinerary

Are 2 days in Lisbon enough – How many days in Lisbon for first-time visitors?

Lisbon is a perfect weekend destination – it is affordable, has a lot of cultural and historical sites, good food and weather! 

Belem Tower

In 2 full days you can combine the prime tourist attractions in Belem as well as Chiado-Baixa and Alfama districts. Plus have a relaxed dinner, go shopping, or hang out at the miradouros! 

Day 1 in Lisbon:

  • Start at the Chiado square. You can go for breakfast at one of the cute cafes and fuel up for the day. I personally loved my time at the A Brasileira do Chiado, it is one of the oldest cafes in Lisbon, and is sooooo stunning inside. 
  • Next enjoy a lovely walk on the black and white geometric lanes and make your way to the Praça do Comércio via Rua Augusta. Praça do Comércio faces the harbor (River Tagus) and it is a large square – perfect for a wander, photos and to soak in the sun!
Lisbon Tuk Tuk tour
  • We recommend a walking tour of Lisbon (or TukTuk Tour) to learn about the history of the city. These tours last 2-3 hours.
  • Then visit the Sao Jorge Castle, one of the iconic landmarks of Lisbon. This attraction is usually very busy, and we recommend booking tickets ahead of time. In 2 days in Lisbon, you can set aside 1-2 hours (including wait time) here 
At the Pink Street
  • Break for lunch at the TimeOut Market. 
  • Take it easy for the rest of the day, walk to the Pink Street, hang out at a viewpoint such as the Miradouro de Santa Luzia
  • In the evening enjoy a sunset cruise
  • Then head to Bairro Alto for dinner and drinks

Day 2 in Lisbon itinerary

Set aside day 2 for Belem. 

  • Start at the Jeronimos Monastery, and Maritime Museum in the morning. The monastery and the museum get very busy so try to arrive as soon as the doors open
  • Next visit the Belem Tower. There are shops, and cafes in this complex, so perfect for a break, maybe rest your legs and enjoy the views of the River with a nice meal and drink. I loved watching hippo tour boats go up and down the port, hahah, it was fun!
  • Do check out the beautiful Padrão dos Descobrimentos or the Age of Discoveries Monument (free)
LX Factory
  • Then take a taxi ride to the LX Factory. This quirky old converted warehouse is a unique attraction to explore in Lisbon (very very different from the historic neighbourhoods). LX Factory has restaurants, shops and galleries and you can easily spend a few hours here
  • After Belem, get back to the city centre, preferably in Chiado for a fado show

So there you go, with 2 days in Lisbon, you can combine the MUST visits, plus more.  

Read: 10 days in Portugal road trip itinerary 

Are 3 days in Lisbon enough? 

3 days in Lisbon is amazing. With 3 days you can definitely cover more attractions and add experiences and excursions! 

The key here is to make the most of your visit. 

Lisbon viewpoints

For 3 days, you can keep a day each for city highlights – centre + Belem (as listed above) then use the final day for exploring another district, some shopping (as most visitors prefer to do this), and add a food or cooking workshop!

Further, if interested you can also squeeze in a day trip on your final day. (Like a Lisbon to Sintra day trip)

Sintra day trip from Lisbon

Follow the day 1-2 of the Lisbon itinerary as outlined above. For day 3 we have the following options, 

Day 3 in Lisbon:

Exploring more of Lisbon (Option 1)

Spend some time visiting the city’s museums and galleries such as Lisbon City Museum, Fado Museum (all located at the center). 

Lisbon Fado Museum
Lisbon Fado Museum

If you love to shop, head over to Avenida da Liberdade and hang out! This is perfect for afternoon and evenings. You will find nice dining options in the neighborhood as well. 

Another option is to visit the Príncipe Real district, home to boutique shops and cool bars!

In the afternoon, add a food tour, or join a cooking class (2-3 hours each). You can do both on day 3. 

Cooking class in Lisbon

Start with the cooking class and then participate in a walking food tour (dinner!)

Alternatively, you can enjoy a lovely stroll through one of Lisbon’s largest parks, the Parque Eduardo VII

Opt to do this in the evening for sunset views, or once the temperatures in the city cool down a bit (otherwise it will be TOO hot, climbing up to the viewpoint). 

From here, you’ll have great views of the city as well as the chance to watch people.

Day trips from Lisbon (Option 2):

To explore more of Portugal, Lisbon is the perfect base city. You can easily hop on a train, bus or join a guided tour to enjoy some of the cities and little towns close to the Portuguese capital city. 

Quaint lanes of Obidos

Here are a few of our favorites, 

  • Sintra: This is an easy and a popular day trip from Lisbon, where you will visit the Disney inspired Pena Palace, Quinta da Regaleira and the Town of Sintra. You can also book a combined tour of Sintra and Cascais here
  • Obidos: One of my favorite small cities in Portugal, Obidos oozes a lot of charm in its narrow lanes and gorgeous views. You can explore almost everything that the city has to offer on a day trip. Obidos is easily connected to Lisbon by bus (1 hour, one way). Here is an one day in Obidos itinerary
  • Fatima: The religious site of Fatima can be explored from Lisbon on a day trip. You can choose from a half day or a full day tour combined with the nearby Batalha Monastery and Nazare. More details here
  • Nazare: Want to go surfing? Nazare is perfect for that. This is a 4-5 hour surfing excursion worth exploring 
  • Evora: This is another beautiful city accessible on a day trip from Lisbon. Evora is known for its ancient Roman Temple of Évora (also called the Temple of Diana). You can get there by public transportation or on a guided tour

Pro tip: We often get questions from readers on our top picks for Lisbon day trips. My personal choice is Obidos – it’s beautiful, compact, and is accessible with tours or buses. But if this is your first visit to Lisbon, we recommend exploring Sintra instead so that the iconic Pena Palace is checked off your Portugal bucket list. 

Are 4 days in Lisbon enough? 

For a first time visitor looking to check out primary attractions in Lisbon 3 days are enough. Unless you are crazily in LOVE with the city and wish to explore it often (aka us). 

We are slowly making our way through the hidden gems of Lisbon and more!

Girl in Bairro Alto, exploring Lisbon in a day
Lisbon is my absolute favorite

I have to admit Lisbon is one destination where I have repeated my visits to the same attractions (same viewpoints, same cafe, same museums) over and over again in the last few years. 

Now you don’t have to do that, unless you want to. 

Pena Palace and Park
Pena Palace Sintra

We will outline all the 4 day Lisbon itinerary options below, 

  • Day trips are always a nice option. This way you can explore a little bit more of Portugal. An easy itinerary is to take a day trip to Sintra to visit the Pena Palace, Moorish Castle and Quinta da Regaleira. More Lisbon day trips ideas here
  • If you prefer to stay in Lisbon, then exploring the newer parts of the Portuguese capital city are worth considering. This includes attractions such as the Vasco da Gama bridge, Oceanário de Lisboa and Pavilhão do Conhecimento (Pavilhão do Conhecimento – Ciência Viva) or the Science Museum in the Parque das Nações area and more.

For this itinerary it definitely makes sense to buy a hop on and hop off ticket to reach the new parts of Lisbon, away from the city centre. 

There are lots of museums in the city centre area as well that are worth checking out (like the Lisbon City Museum, Fado Museum or a walking street art tour).  

Lisbon City Musuem is lcoated at the Commerce Square

You can also hang out at a beach near Lisbon for a few hours and relax!

Our recommendation – How many days in Lisbon is enough

Our recommendation for Lisbon is 3 to 4 days. 

3 full days are enough to explore the MAIN attractions in Lisbon as well as enjoy a day tour or special experiences without being rushed. 

Bairro Alto

Of course the more time, the better. 

On our first visit, we stayed in Lisbon for three days, and it was perfect! We explored the city centre attractions (covered Baixa, Chiado, Alfama, rode the historic Tram, joined a history tour), traveled to Belem, and also took a day trip to Sintra and Cascais. 

Get the best guide to Lisbon photography spots. Use these best photo spots in Lisbon to complete your itinerary. Also includes a FREE Lisbon photo spots map
(This was from the very first trip in 2019)

It was a jam packed trip, and we loved it! 

You can always customize the itinerary by not visiting all the museums or using tours to navigate the city with ease without a lot of walking. 

Staying at the centre will be so beneficial, as you can easily enjoy a nice dinner, sunset cruise or a fado show in the evenings after an active day of sightseeing. 

Sightseeing to cover in 3 days in Lisbon: Snapshot

Here are the sightseeing spots for 3 days in Lisbon and tours that we took and recommend!

Lisbon Day 1

  • Start with breakfast in Chiado – A Brasileira do Chiado
  • Walk to the Praça do Comércio via Rua Augusta
  • Walking tour of Lisbon (or TukTuk Tour)
  • Visit Sao Jorge Castle 
  • Break for lunch at the Cais do Sodre neighbourhood
  • TimeOut Market
  • Miradouro de Santa Luzia
  • Watch a Fado show in Chiado
  • Rossio Square for dinner and drinks

Lisbon Day 2

Lisbon Day 3

Budget for 3 days in Lisbon – How much cash should I take to Lisbon for a 3-day trip? 

Your flights to Lisbon will account for most of your budget. Know that Lisbon is one of the affordable European capital cities.

Trams and transport in Lisbon

 And you will find everything from 5-star hotels, Airbnbs, hostels, and everything in between for a perfect stay close to major sightseeing attractions.

We will cover accommodation a little later, let’s discuss flights first. 

Depending on your departure city, you might have to spend a little extra to fly to Portugal. TAP Portugal is the national carrier but they do not have a ton of direct flight options from all over the world. 

Lisbon Airport

Take Canada for example. TAP Portugal services majorly from Toronto only (which means you have to make connections to Toronto if you are in a different city or province). 

The US is not far away. We have heard from our readers that flights from Chicago and many other cities to Lisbon will not be operating from 2020, and New York/JFK seems to be a good ‘available’ option.

On our very first trip, we actually flew to Spain and then to Lisbon as it was a feasible option. 

Read: Spain and Portugal itinerary

So just be open to the flight options and combinations if you are unable to find direct routes. 

Also keep in mind that TAP Portugal is part of the Star Alliance Network, which also includes Air Canada, Lufthansa, and United Airlines. 

Oriente Train Station

More details, 

  • The largest airport in Lisbon is the Humberto Delgado Airport (or Lisbon Airport)
  • Connectivity from the airport to the city centre is easy. Tons of transport options from taxis, Uber, and underground metro to Express buses. Travel time is around 20 to 40 minutes depending on your mode of transport. 
  • If you are connecting from Lisbon Airport to another Portuguese city like Porto and the Douro Valley by train, choose Oriente as the departure station (as it is located closest to the airport)

For accommodation, you can either stay in the city center – Chiado, Alfama, Bairro Alto, Rossio area or in the neighborhoods of Avenida da Liberdade and Graca (slightly offbeat). 

Views from my apartment in Bairro Alto

Avenida da Liberdade is perfect for shopping, Rossio area is great for trains to Sintra and other sightseeing spots in the city. When you are in Chiado you are at the heart of everything! 

We recommend setting aside a budget of $85-90 USD per person. This includes a mid-range hotel on a double occupancy basis, food, tours, and transportation. 

You can lower the daily costs by staying in a hostel, and not doing any guided tours (roughly $60 USD per person).

Read: Where to stay in Lisbon Portugal?

Lisbon Hotels Recommendation 

As mentioned above, we recommend the city centre area for your accommodation for a short 3 day trip to Lisbon. 

2 days in Lisbon at Chiado Square
Chiado Square

Most of the finest and most popular hotels are in Chiado or Avenida da Liberdade. These areas are great for sightseeing, shopping, and transport. 

You can expect to pay a premium at the hotels here, but they are worth it for a wide variety of options and luxury (new) buildings (with elevators). 

Read: Lisbon hotels with rooftop pools

The next option is Baixa and Bairro Alto. The latter is great for apartment living and many buildings are located on narrow streets and colorful lanes filled with bars and restaurants. 

You will also find many Airbnbs here, but many are old buildings without a lift; so it is important to travel light. 

Lisbon, Portugal cityscape overlooking Baixa downtown area

Baixa is the historic downtown, and you will find most of the sightseeing spots within a fair walking distance. 

Just to the north is Rossio, from where you can take the train to Sintra. Rossio is also great for shopping, coffee shops & restaurants and of course, there is a wide range of accommodations, from luxury hotels to guesthouses and fine hostels. 

Luxury hotel options in Lisbon:

  • Hotel do Chiado: This luxurious 5 star property is located in Chiado. You can choose a suite with views that overlooks the Tagus River and nearby areas. By staying here you are at the heart of everything. The hotel is a 5-minute walk from the bustling Rossio Square and Castelo de São Jorge. Book your stay here
  •  Verride Palácio de Santa Catarina: This is a posh 5 star hotel housed in a 1700’s building, offering a rooftop bar and a pool with views! Check out room availability here

Mid range hotels in Lisbon: 

  • Lisbon Core Apartments: I stayed at the Lisbon Core Apartment, and thoroughly enjoyed my stay in the neighbourhood of Bairro Alto. The building was close to so many cafes and bars. Plus the rooms were clean, and it came with all the essential amenities and more. There was a big bedroom, living space, kitchen and a small balcony where I chilled out. Check rooms and availability here
  • LX Boutique Hotel: This guesthouse is located in the Cais do Sodre neighborhood and offers affordable room rates.  It is near the TimeOut Market, and you can enjoy the river views, nightlife, and Fado music. You will find a restaurant on-site, and can also grab loaner bikes from here. Book your stay here

Note that all hotels in Lisbon and others in Portugal charge a tourist tax or fee, that is usually collected in cash once you check out. It is levied per person per day.

Is Lisbon worth visiting? 

Yes, Lisbon is definitely worth visiting! It is our absolute favorite in Europe. 

This charming city has a lot to offer, from its stunning architecture and vibrant nightlife to its delicious food and friendly people. 

2 days in Lisbon
Lisbon Views from Alfama Miradouro das Portas do sol

If you’re looking for a fun and relaxing vacation, Lisbon is the perfect destination. 

It is known for its mild climate, so it’s a great choice for a spring or fall getaway. Keep in mind that summer is the busiest time of year, so be sure to book your hotel and flight well in advance. 

Lisbon is home to many museums, historic landmarks, and more – it is perfect for every history and culture lover. 

Lisbon has beautiful viewpoints, stunning buildings, and a lively atmosphere that makes it one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe.

It is also an affordable city break where you can find a variety of accommodation options, free things to do, and amazing food making it perfect for a girl’s trip, couples getaway or a family vacation.  

If you’re looking for a city break that has it all, Lisbon is definitely worth visiting. We hope you found our itinerary guide to Lisbon useful! 

Start planning your trip today, and you’re sure to have an unforgettable experience.

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