One Day in Lisbon, Your Travel Guide to the Perfect Day 2023
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So you’ve only got one day in Lisbon? You’re probably wondering what to do in order to make the most of your time in this incredible city!
Lisbon, Portugal’s capital city, is a vibrant and picturesque destination that perfectly blends history, culture, and modernity. If you’re short on time but want to make the most of your visit, don’t worry I’m here to help.
In this blog post, I’ll take you on a journey through Lisbon, showcasing the best sights, sounds, and flavours of the city in just one day. So whether you’re a history buff, a foodie, or simply looking to explore a new destination, this guide has something for everyone. Let’s get started!
Why spend one day in Lisbon?
Before you go ahead and say Lisbon is just another city, is it really worth visiting? The answer is yes it is. Lisbon has such a cool vibe about it, something that is tricky to describe until you’ve experienced it for yourself.
It’s a city with a rich and fascinating history that’s waiting to be explored. From its picturesque cobblestone streets and historic buildings to its vibrant food and nightlife scene, Lisbon offers visitors an unforgettable experience.
In addition to its historical significance, Lisbon is also a modern and trendy city, with countless shops, cafes, and restaurants to explore.
Overall I loved my time in Lisbon and I would encourage you to try to spend 2 or even 3 days here if you can but if you’ve only got 1 day to spare, don’t worry, you’ll just have to make sure you see the best bits!
One Day in Lisbon: Your Travel Guide
As soon as you arrive in Lisbon, you’ll immediately notice the city’s vibrant and colourful character. The charming narrow streets, stunning architecture, and friendly locals make it a delightful place to visit.
Lisbon is a city that is easy to navigate on foot, and it’s perfect for travellers who love to explore the city’s hidden gems. Get ready for a big day ahead because there’s a ton to see!
Start your day with a traditional Portuguese breakfast
There’s no better way to start your day in Lisbon than with a traditional Portuguese breakfast. Head to a local café and try a Pastel de Nata, a delicious custard-filled pastry that is famous throughout Portugal. You won’t have to travel far to find one that’s for sure!
If that’s too sweet for you first thing in the morning then stick with something simple like a croissant with some ham and cheese or head out to a popular breakfast spot such as Seventh Brunch Chiado, Augusto Lisboa or Zenith.
Take a stroll through Alfama
Alfama is one of Lisbon’s oldest and most charming neighbourhoods. It’s a maze of narrow streets, colourful houses, and traditional Portuguese architecture. Taking a stroll through Alfama is like taking a step back in time to old Lisbon.
As you wander through Alfama’s streets, you’ll come across a plethora of sights and sounds. You can admire the traditional Portuguese architecture, with its wrought-iron balconies and colourful tiles.
Be sure to take a walk up to the Miradouro de Santa Luzia, a stunning viewpoint overlooking the Tagus River. From here, you can take in the breathtaking views of the river, the Alfama district, and the famous red rooftops of Lisbon.
Along the way, you’ll also come across charming little shops and cafes. Take a break from your stroll and pop into one of these local establishments to grab a coffee or sweet treat.
Visit the historic São Jorge Castle
In the district of Alfama is where you’ll find the São Jorge Castle, one of Lisbon’s most famous landmarks, dating back to the 11th century. The castle offers incredible views of the city and is a must-visit for history buffs.
As you make your way up to the castle, you’ll be treated to stunning views of the city and the Tagus River. Once you reach the top, you’ll be able to explore the castle’s attractions.
One of the most impressive parts of the São Jorge Castle is the Archeological Site, where you can see remnants of the castle’s ancient history. You’ll be transported back in time as you wander through the castle’s ruins and imagine what life was like in medieval Lisbon.
Take in the views at Miradouro das Portas do Sol
Walk 4 minutes from São Jorge Castle to Miradouro das Portas do Sol. A lookout point that offers one of the most breathtaking viewpoints in the city.
As you step onto the terrace, you’ll be greeted by a panoramic view of the Tagus River and the historic red rooftops of Lisbon. It’s the perfect place to capture some amazing photos and enjoy a peaceful moment away from the city’s bustling streets.
One of the highlights of Miradouro das Portas do Sol is the statue of São Vicente, the patron saint of Lisbon, which stands in the centre of the terrace. This stunning piece of artwork is a popular spot for visitors to take photos and admire the intricate details of the statue.
The viewpoint is easily accessible by foot and is located just a short stroll away from the Lisbon Cathedral. It’s the perfect spot to include in your one-day itinerary, whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveller to Lisbon.
Visit Lisbon’s iconic Cathedral
The Lisbon Cathedral, also known as Sé de Lisboa, is one of the city’s most iconic landmarks. The cathedral dates back to the 12th century and has been a witness to Lisbon’s rich history.
As you approach the cathedral, you’ll be awed by its grandeur and intricate details. The façade is adorned with stunning architecture, and the interior is filled with impressive altars, sculptures, and stained-glass windows.
One of the most notable features of the Sé de Lisboa is its rose window, a magnificent piece of art that has been carefully preserved for centuries. It’s an impressive sight to behold, and a testament to the skill and craftsmanship of the artisans who built the cathedral.
Grab a bite to eat in Martim Moniz Square
By now you’ve probably worked up a bit of an appetite! Martim Moniz Square is a bustling square in Lisbon’s historic centre. It’s the perfect spot to grab some lunch.
Martim Moniz Square, located in the heart of Lisbon, is the perfect place to grab a bite to eat during your day of exploring. This vibrant square is known for its diverse food options and bustling atmosphere. From traditional Portuguese cuisine to international flavours, you are sure to find something to satisfy your taste buds.
For a taste of local cuisine, try the popular dish of bifana, a sandwich made with marinated pork and served on a soft roll. Or, if you’re feeling adventurous, sample the traditional seafood dish of bacalhau, made with salt cod. There are also plenty of vegetarian and vegan options available, including delicious falafel and fresh salads.
In addition to its food scene, Martim Moniz Square is also known for its cultural diversity and lively street performers. Take a break from your sightseeing and enjoy the energetic atmosphere while you indulge in some of the best food that Lisbon has to offer.
Get here by taking a 12-minute stroll from Lisbon Cathedral or jump in a taxi if you want to rest your legs.
Catch a ride on Tram 28
Martim Moniz is a great spot to catch the iconic Tram 28 from as you’re more likely to get a seat. However, since it’s such a popular tourist attraction these days it will depend on the time of year you visit. Prepared for it to be very busy in the summer!
Don’t worry if you can’t get a seat though, the route is known for being very scenic so you’ll probably get a better view anyway.
This historic yellow tram takes you on a journey through some of the city’s most charming neighbourhoods. Tram 28 is a fun way to experience Lisbon’s unique culture and atmosphere. The tram is operated by the city’s public transport company and runs from early in the morning until late at night.
Due to its popularity, you don’t want to be using it as a hop-on, hop-off mode of transport so the best way to experience Tram 28 is to sit back and enjoy the ride. You’ll enjoy stunning views of the city’s colourful buildings and narrow streets. It’s a fun and memorable way to experience the city and see some of its most iconic sights.
Either ride the train the whole way along the line or get off at the bustling Baixa district to continue exploring.
Explore the historic district of Baixa
If you’re looking to explore the heart of Lisbon, the historic district of Baixa is the perfect place to start. Known as the “downtown” of the city, Baixa is a bustling hub of activity, with winding streets and colourful buildings dating back to the 18th century.
Take a leisurely walk through the district and soak up its lively atmosphere.
One of the main attractions of Baixa is the Rua Augusta, a pedestrian street that leads to the famous Praca do Comercio, a grand plaza facing the Tagus River. Along the way, you’ll find plenty of shops, cafes, and restaurants to explore.
Another must-see attraction in Baixa is the Elevador de Santa Justa, a stunning wrought-iron elevator that offers panoramic views of the city from the top. And for those interested in history, the Museu do Chiado and the Museu Nacional do Azulejo are both located in Baixa and offer a fascinating look into the art and culture of Lisbon.
Whether you’re strolling down the streets, enjoying a coffee at a sidewalk cafe, or admiring the intricate tilework on the buildings, Baixa is a vibrant and exciting neighbourhood that should not be missed during your time in Lisbon.
Marvel at the intricate design of Rossio Train Station
Just a 5-minute walk away you’ll find Rossio Train Station is a stunning example of Neo-Manueline architecture, with its intricate façade and decorative tiles. It’s worth your while to take a moment to admire the station’s beautiful design before heading on to your next stop.
Built in the late 19th century, the station was designed by architect José Luis Monteiro and features a stunning façade adorned with ornate stonework and intricate carvings. The interior of the station is just as impressive, with its large central hall, decorated with marble columns, and a stunning stained-glass ceiling that creates a breathtaking play of light and colour.
The station is also an important transportation hub, connecting Lisbon to the neighbouring city of Sintra. Visitors to the Rossio Train Station can marvel at its design and admire the beautiful architecture, both inside and out. Don’t forget to snap a few pictures to remember your visit to this stunning landmark in Lisbon.
Experience the vibrant culture of Chiado
If you’re looking for a lively cultural experience in Lisbon, the neighbourhood of Chiado should be at the top of your list. Chiado is known for its trendy shops, vibrant nightlife, and cultural attractions.
One of the main draws of Chiado is its lively cafe scene, where you can relax and people-watch while sipping on a cup of coffee which may serve as a good afternoon pick-me-up to make it through the rest of the day.
The neighbourhood is also home to several museums and art galleries.
But Chiado isn’t just for art lovers – there’s something for everyone here. Fashionistas will love browsing the high-end shops along Rua Garrett, while history buffs can explore the beautiful architecture of the neighbourhood’s historic buildings.
Enjoy the bohemian vibes of Bairro Alto
Bairro Alto is a neighbourhood famous for its bohemian atmosphere and lively nightlife. With its winding cobblestone streets, colourful buildings adorned with street art, and a plethora of restaurants and bars.
It’s a popular destination for locals and tourists alike and a great place to grab some dinner. Why not try some traditional Portuguese tapas while you’re at it?
Bairro Alto is also known for its traditional fado music, a melancholic and emotional genre that originated in Portugal. Many of the bars and restaurants in the area feature live fado performances, providing an authentic cultural experience for visitors.
During the day, visitors can wander the narrow streets and soak up the artistic ambience, popping into trendy boutiques and art galleries along the way. Then as the afternoon turns to evening, the neighbourhood comes to life with a vibrant nightlife scene, where visitors can enjoy live music, sip on cocktails, and mingle with locals and travellers alike.
Visit the São Pedro de Alcântara viewpoint
If you’re looking for an unforgettable panoramic view of Lisbon, then the São Pedro de Alcântara viewpoint is a must-visit. Located in the trendy neighbourhood of Bairro Alto, this viewpoint offers stunning views of the city, including the historic castle of São Jorge, the Tagus River, and the colourful rooftops of Lisbon.
The São Pedro de Alcântara viewpoint is situated in a picturesque garden and is surrounded by beautiful fountains, trees, and flowers. It’s an ideal place to relax and take in the breathtaking views of the city while enjoying the peaceful atmosphere.
It’s an ideal spot to watch the sunset, as the colours of the sky blend with the colourful buildings of Lisbon so head here after dinner and enjoy the view.
That marks the end of this one day in Lisbon guide and no doubt you’ll probably be exhausted! I’ve packed a lot into this itinerary so feel free to pick and choose what you do and move at a slower pace if that’s what you prefer.
You can always come back another time!
Getting around Lisbon
With so much to see and do, it can be overwhelming to plan your itinerary, especially if you only have one day to explore.
The good news is that Lisbon is a compact city, and many of its major attractions (and all the stops included in this itinerary) are within walking distance of each other. However, if you prefer to save your energy or want to cover more ground, the city has an efficient public transportation system, including trams, buses, and a metro.
Be aware though that you may waste a bit of time figuring out how to use the transport system and waiting around for it to turn up.
The public transport system is great and very efficient but you won’t be on your merry way as fast as walking so when you’re limited to one day of sightseeing I think you’re better off grabbing a comfy pair of shoes and getting your steps in.
Best time to visit Lisbon
Lisbon is a city that can be visited year-round, but some seasons offer better conditions for exploring than others. The best time of year to visit Lisbon is between March and May and from September to November. During these periods, the weather is milder, with less heat and fewer crowds than in the peak summer season.
In March and April, the city is alive with cultural events, from music festivals to film screenings, and the streets are dotted with colourful flowers. May is an excellent time to visit Lisbon if you want to enjoy the city’s outdoor spaces, such as parks and gardens, with longer days and more sunshine.
In September and October, the city’s cultural scene picks up again, with the return of the academic year and the start of several cultural festivals, including the Lisbon Book Fair. The temperatures are still warm enough to enjoy the beaches and the sea, and the city’s main tourist attractions are less crowded.
During the summer months, Lisbon can be very hot and crowded, with long queues at popular tourist sites. However, if you are looking for beach days and outdoor activities, the summer season might be the best time for you. Just make sure to stay hydrated and take breaks in the shade.
No matter when you decide to visit Lisbon, there is always something to discover in this vibrant and historic city.
Where to stay in Lisbon
When you’ve only got one day here, location is going to be super important! You’ll want to stay somewhere central so you can start the day off with a bang and squeeze in as much as possible.
It’ll also make it easier in terms of getting back to your room later when you’re tired. When you’ve had a big day exploring the city the last thing you’ll want to do is have a big journey back to your accommodation.
So where should you stay?
Luckily, there are plenty of options for accommodations in the city that are both central and close to attractions.
One of the best areas to stay in Lisbon is the Baixa neighbourhood, which is the heart of the city and home to many of its major attractions. This area is known for its elegant architecture, charming streets, and bustling squares, making it an ideal location for exploring the city on foot.
The Chiado and Bairro Alto neighbourhoods are also great options, both of which are known for their lively nightlife, trendy boutiques, and delicious restaurants.
Another popular choice is the Alfama neighbourhood, which is the oldest district in Lisbon and is known for its winding streets and colourful houses. While this area is more residential, it’s still close to many attractions, including the São Jorge Castle and the National Pantheon.
Where you choose to stay will probably dictate what order you do this one day in Lisbon itinerary in, so bear that in mind as well.
No matter where you choose to stay, be sure to book your accommodations in advance, especially during peak tourist season. With so many great options available, you’re sure to find the perfect place to stay in Lisbon.
Best places to stay in Baixa/Chiado
Best places to stay in Bairro Alto
Best places to stay in Alfama
FAQ: One Day in Lisbon
Do you still have more questions? Here are some answers to some of the most commonly asked ones.
Is one day in Lisbon enough?
Lisbon is a city full of history, culture, and incredible sights, so the question of how many days one needs to explore it fully is a valid one. While one day in Lisbon is definitely not enough to see everything, it is still possible to get a taste of the city’s charm in a short amount of time.
Ideally, you would want to spend at least three to four days in Lisbon to truly appreciate everything the city has to offer. This would give you enough time to do a day trip to Sintra as well, another highlight!
In one day, you can see a lot due to the city being compact but to really immerse yourself in the culture and history you’re going to want more than one day. It’ll also give you more time to explore the historic neighbourhoods and not feel so rushed. With narrow windy streets, there are plenty of nooks and crannies waiting to be stumbled upon.
Ultimately, the number of days you need in Lisbon depends on what you want to see and do.
What to pack for one day in Lisbon?
Planning what to pack for a one day trip to Lisbon can be a bit challenging, but with a little bit of preparation, you can ensure that you have everything you need to enjoy your day.
Start with comfortable shoes as you’ll likely be walking a lot, and Lisbon has plenty of hills to climb. Then you’ll want to make sure you’ve got clothes you’re comfortable walking around in all day. It’s also a good idea to bring a small backpack to carry your essentials, like a water bottle, sunscreen, and any souvenirs you buy along the way.
The weather in Lisbon can be quite unpredictable, so it’s essential to check the forecast before packing. If you’re visiting in the summer, bring lightweight and breathable clothing as the temperature can reach up to 30°C (86°F).
During the winter, temperatures can drop to 10°C (50°F), so it’s important to bring warm layers and a rain jacket as well.
Don’t forget your camera as Lisbon is full of colourful and picturesque streets and buildings that are perfect for capturing memories. With the right essentials, you can make the most of your day and experience all that this beautiful city has to offer.
Can you visit Lisbon and Sintra in one day?
While it’s technically possible to visit both Lisbon and Sintra in one day, it’s certainly not the ideal way to experience these two beautiful destinations.
Lisbon alone offers so much to see and do, from exploring the historic Alfama district to wandering the vibrant streets of the Chiado neighbourhood. A day in Lisbon could easily be filled with visits to iconic landmarks as well as tasting traditional pastries like the famous Pastel de Nata.
Adding a visit to Sintra on the same day would mean sacrificing the chance to fully appreciate this magical UNESCO World Heritage site. Sintra is famous for its lush forests, stunning palaces, and colourful gardens. Visitors can explore the whimsical Pena Palace, the romantic Quinta da Regaleira, or the medieval Castle of the Moors.
It’s recommended to dedicate at least one full day to each destination, so you can take your time and fully immerse yourself in the culture, history, and beauty of Lisbon and Sintra.
Can you use Uber in Lisbon?
If you’re planning a trip to Lisbon, you may be wondering about the transportation options available to you. One option that’s become increasingly popular in recent years is Uber. The good news is that yes, you can use Uber in Lisbon!
Uber is a convenient and affordable way to get around the city, especially if you’re not familiar with the local public transportation system. The app is easy to use and you can quickly request a ride from anywhere in the city.
One thing to keep in mind is that Uber is not allowed to pick up passengers at certain locations in Lisbon, such as the airport and certain train stations. However, you can still use Uber to get dropped off at these locations.
Using Uber in Lisbon is generally safe and reliable, but it’s always a good idea to exercise caution when using any ride-hailing service in a foreign city. Make sure to double-check the driver and the vehicle before getting in, and be aware of your surroundings at all times.
Overall, using Uber in Lisbon can be a great option for getting around the city quickly and easily.
Conclusion: One Day in Lisbon
So there you have it, my recommendations on how to spend one day in Lisbon!
I hope you found this itinerary helpful in planning your visit to this vibrant city. With its stunning architecture, rich history, and delicious cuisine, Lisbon is a must-visit destination in Europe and Portugal is certainly one of my favourite destinations.
Are you planning on travelling solo? Check out my guide on solo travel in Lisbon here.
Whether you’re a history buff, foodie, or simply looking to soak up the culture, this itinerary offers a great introduction to Lisbon. From exploring the narrow streets of Alfama to enjoying the views from the São Jorge Castle, there is something for everyone in this charming city.
Don’t forget to indulge in some of Lisbon’s famous seafood dishes and pastries, and to take a stroll along the iconic Tram 28. And if you have some extra time, consider extending your stay to visit other nearby attractions such as Sintra or Cascais.
Thank you for taking the time to read this itinerary. I hope it helps make your visit to Lisbon a memorable one.