Want to see Lisbon in a day? Let us help you! Lisbon is Portugal‘s hilly, coastal capital city. From commanding views of the city to exploring charming neighborhoods and indulging in delicious pastries, here is the perfect one day in Lisbon itinerary and guide!
Whether you’re interested in history, culture, or just want to enjoy some good food and wine, Lisbon has something for everyone.
One day in Lisbon itinerary: See the best of Lisbon in a day
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you click one of them, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.
There is a lot to cover in Lisbon. We have been there 4 times (and counting) and still discover new things on our visits. We have selected the top attractions in this European city that are a must-see for your one day Lisbon itinerary.
We have also structured this post in such a way that will allow you to hit all the prime sites in the historic city centre and beyond (to Belem).
Here’s a brief guide to what you can see and do in Lisbon in one day,
One day in Lisbon Itinerary: See Lisbon in a day
Planning your trip to Lisbon Portugal
When planning your trip to Lisbon, Portugal, the best way to get there is by flying into Lisbon Airport (LIS). Lisbon Airport is served by many major airlines, so you should have no trouble finding a flight that works for you, from North America.
Lisbon Airport is officially known as the Humberto Delgado Airport, and it is located about 7 km (4.3 miles) northeast of the city centre of Lisbon.
You can get to the historic centre using the metro (located at the airport), shuttle buses to Marquis de Pombal Square (and make connections) or take a taxi or Uber. You can also pick up a car for your Portuguese road trip from the Lisbon airport.
In order to save money while using public transportation in Lisbon for 24 hours, we recommend one of the following options
- Lisbon Card: This card allows you unlimited free transit rides, along with discounts at various attractions. It includes Skip the line tickets to enter Jerónimos Monastery, the Belem Tower, and Santa Justa Elevator, which are mentioned in this guide. (Lisbon Card is great for bus/tram rides and can be useful to get to the airport, nearby areas, and the hotel. Plus you get entry tickets)
- Hop on and Hop-off Bus tour: This is also a nice way to connect from the old town to Belem and see everything in between in a short time. (This is great for sightseeing and checking off primary attractions from the city centre to Belem and the newer parts of Lisbon such as the Oceanaria. But it doesn’t include public transportation rides.)
As for accommodation, there are plenty of great places to stay in Lisbon. If you want to be in the heart of the action, stay in the Chiado district. This central neighborhood is home to many of Lisbon’s best shops, restaurants, and cafes.
For a more relaxed atmosphere, consider staying in the Bairro Alto neighborhood. This charming area is full of narrow streets and traditional Portuguese architecture.
Here are the top 3 places to stay in Lisbon to be close to the city’s action!
- Hotel do Chiado: Located in the city center, this luxury hotel overlooks the Tagus River and is a 5-minute walk from the bustling Rossio Square and Castelo de São Jorge, which can be seen from its terrace. Book your stay here
- Lisbon Core Apartments: I stayed at the Lisbon Core Apartment, and loved it. I had a big bedroom, living space, kitchen, and a small balcony where I chilled out. It was located in Bairro Alto, and I easily found a lot of restaurants and cafes for food! Tramlines and prime attractions were within walkable distance. Check rooms and availability here
- LX Boutique Hotel: This guesthouse is located in the Cais do Sodre neighborhood and offers affordable rates. There is a restaurant on-site, and you can also grab loaner bikes from here. It is near the TimeOut Market, and you can enjoy the river views, nightlife, and Fado music. Book your stay here
Start with a nice breakfast in Chiado (A Brasileira Do Chiado)
Staying in the heart of the city of Lisbon will allow you to get to a nice breakfast spot in the morning.
Café A Brasileira is one of the oldest cafes in the city centre and is conveniently located near the Baixa-Chiado metro stop.
The cafe’s interiors are absolutely stunning, and it is steeped in the literary, architectural, and cultural history of Lisbon.
The menu of A Brasileira do Chiado includes Portuguese delights such as Pastel de Nata, codfish, grilled Iberian Pork, and tons of sweet treats, fruits, and drinks!
Their coffee menu is delicious, and this is where the culture of ‘having a cup of coffee’ in Portuguese was born.
The founders of Brasileira do Chiado believed in fine coffee culture, and in fact, their coffee beans are still imported from Brazil.
A Brasileira do Chiado’s makes its own batch of aromatic cuppa, resulting from a careful selection and blend of coffee bean varieties.
Pro tip: If you don’t like the Brasileira do Chiado, no problem. We still recommend the Baixa-Chiado area to start your day in Lisbon, as you can grab a coffee and pastry at one of the many cafes, located near Brasileira do Chiado.
Walk to the Praça do Comércio via Rua Augusta
The Praça do Comércio is one of Lisbon’s most iconic squares.
To get to the Praça do Comércio, you can take the metro to the Baixa-Chiado station.
Alternatively, you can just walk from Brasileira do Chiado, passing through Arco da Rua Augusta. This lane is bordered by shops, restaurants, and cafes.
Rua Augusta is one of the busiest streets in Lisbon. It’s a pedestrian-only street lined with shops and restaurants, and it’s a great place to people-watch or do some shopping.
Rua Augusta is also home to the iconic Arco da Rua Augusta, a triumphal arch that was built to celebrate the city’s reconstruction after the 1755 earthquake.
When spending a day in Lisbon, you cannot miss the Rua Augusta.
Passing the Rua Augusta Arch, you will arrive at a big square with colorful buildings on two sides (including the Lisbon City Museum), with views of the river Tagus to the South.
This is the Praça do Comércio (square).
Opposite the Tagus is the Arch, and tram lines connect to various places in Lisbon, from the square.
Mornings are great to wander and take photos at the Praça do Comércio when it is not crowded and the temperatures are cooler for a walk.
Make your way to the Tagus banks and see where the Cais das Colunas stands. These are the two 18th century columns that flank the marble steps of the square to the Tagus.
As you walk the area, you will find the views of the April 25 Bridge at a distance (this is will be on your right with the Tagus right in front of you!)
This is my favorite spot in Lisbon to soak in the city vibes – day or night. There is history, sun (and little sand), river Tagus views, bridge, and ships plus sunrise or sunset views!
Pro Tip: If you’re interested in history, you can also visit the Lisbon City Museum, which is located in the square.
Walking tour of Lisbon (or TukTuk Tour)
After breakfast and visit to the Praça do Comércio, it is now time to explore various neighborhoods in Lisbon on foot or via TukTuk and learn about its history.
We enjoyed both as it gave us a nice introduction to the city, and also covered a few viewpoints and districts in 2-3 hours with a local expert.
I personally liked the walking tour as the guide was amazing and the tour also included a break at a coffee shop, riding Tram 28 and more.
Essentials History Tour starts in Chiado (meeting place) and it is one of the affordable ways to learn about Lisbon. The guide takes you through the following areas
- Bairro Alto: This is the nightlife district of Lisbon
- Alfama and views: Lisbon’s Alfama district is one of the city’s most charming neighborhoods.
- Miradouro São Pedro de Alcântara (viewpoint): Perfect views of Lisbon’s cityscape and river Tagus
- Tram 28 ride: This is the historic tram, and the ride is one of the most popular ones, as it allows you to experience Lisbon’s different neighborhoods in a fun way!
- Carmo convent and church: Although you won’t enter the ruins of the Carmo Convent, but you will be able to check it out from outside, and check in the views from Terraços do Carmo
- Santa Justa elevator: The Santa Justa Lift is located near the Carmo Convent, and connects the lower and upper levels of Lisbon! You can ride the lift for free when you purchase the Lisboa Card, or just admire the views from the nearby terrace. This neo-gothic elevator is not to be missed!
- Miradouro das Portas do Sol: This viewpoint provides the picture-perfect view of Lisbon!
- Lisbon Cathedral: Lisbon Cathedral is the last stop in the walking tour. As the tour concluded here, it allowed us to explore this iconic landmark after the walk was complete (entry is free).
Our guide shared the history of Lisbon from the age of discoveries to the 1775 earthquake, Pombaline architecture, dictatorship, Carnation Revolution and beyond.
History of Lisbon: Lisbon’s earthquake of 1755 was one of the most destructive and deadly earthquakes in history. The earthquake, which had a magnitude of between 8.5 and 9.0, that struck Lisbon, and then it was followed by a series of devastating fires that ravaged the city for days.
The earthquake caused widespread damage throughout Lisbon and the surrounding region. Many buildings were destroyed or severely damaged, including churches, palaces, and government buildings. The earthquake also triggered a tsunami that inundated the city’s harbor and waterfront areas.
In the aftermath of the disaster, Lisbon was rebuilt using new earthquake-resistant construction techniques called Pombaline architecture, named after Marquis de Pombal.
He was a Portuguese statesman who served as the Prime Minister of Portugal from 1750 to 1777. He is best known for his leading role in the reconstruction of Lisbon following the devastating earthquake of 1755.
Pombal’s reforms made him popular with the people, and there is a square and statue, named after him in the centre of Lisbon!
A walking history tour will allow you to learn all of that, as well as soak in the views from various vantage points in Lisbon. This 3 hour history tour is amazing, and we highly recommend it!
The morning tour starts at 9:30 am from Chiado. And it ends at the Lisbon Cathedral (at about 12:30 pm), and from here you can walk to the next stop Castelo de Sao Jorge.
Lisbon is hilly, and if you are not wanting to walk, then a Tuk Tuk tour is the way to go. I have taken a private tour and it was a great experience as well.
However, when you are on a TukTuk you won’t be able to ride the Tram as it is not a part of the tour.
A TukTuk guide tour is for 1.50 to 2 hours, and it will provide ample stops for photos and sightseeing.
I stopped at Miradouro da Senhora do Monte (not included in the previous walking tour), visited a Fado Museum, tried Gingha (cherry liquor), and also visited Castelo de São Jorge (paid extra for Skip the line tickets).
Most TukTuk tours also offer hotel pick and drop-off, and can be tailored to your schedule. I requested to be dropped off at the next attraction on my Lisbon one day itinerary, and it was included in the fare ride.
Pro Tip: When taking the TukTuk, ensure you visit the Lisbon Cathedral, Castelo de Sao Jorge, and 1-2 viewpoints as part of the tour (10-20 minutes stop in each). You can request to be dropped off in Belem for the afternoon, but there is an extra charge as it is outside the historic city limits.
Castelo de Sao Jorge
After the walking tour of Lisbon, make your way to Castelo de São Jorge.
Castelo de Sao Jorge is one of Lisbon’s most iconic landmarks. The site has been occupied since the 8th century BC.
The castle can be seen from various parts of the city, and since the 12th century, it has served as a barrack, royal palace, tower and a national museum.
The Castelo de São Jorge is dedicated to Saint George, the patron Saint of England.
Today, you can explore the castle’s grounds, take a tour of the interior, and learn about its history. The views from the castle walls are stunning!
Note that the Lisbon Card doesn’t include an entry here and it is usually crowded and requires some amount of walking to enjoy the gardens and views.
We did skip this on our first trip, and had to include it on our recent visit to Lisbon Portugal.
Break for lunch, travel to Belem
Spend the remainder of the afternoon in Belem exploring highlights such as the Tower of Belem, Jeronimos Monastery to name a few.
Belem lies 5 km (3 miles) to the west of central Lisbon and the Baixa district.
- The easiest way to travel to Belem is by taking the number 15 tram, which departs from the Praça da Figueira and passes through the Praça do Comércio. (takes 15 minutes and a ride is included in your Lisbon Card. A single ticket purchased on the tram costs €3).
- Hop on and Hop-off Bus tour: Another option is to ride the Hop on and Hop-off bus. We recommend doing 1 full loop to see everything that Lisbon has to offer, and then get down at the Belem Tower (our next stop in the one day in Lisbon itinerary)
- TukTuk: If you are using the TukTuk in the morning you can request to be dropped off at the Belem tower for an extra charge.
In Belem, there are 2 main attractions that you must visit (and both are part of the Lisbon Card, so when you have the pass use it to check it off your list).
Tower of Belem or Torre de Belém
The Belém Tower, formally the Tower of Saint Vincent, was the entry gate to Lisbon. This is a 16th-century fortification in Lisbon that served as a terminal and embarkation point for ships, and also prevented the city from possible raids.
The tower is visible when you arrive at the port area of Lisbon, and from where the nearby landmarks such as Padrao dos Descobrimentos can be seen.
There are line-ups at the Tower usually, but they do move fast as there is nothing much to see inside, except for the views of Tagus and photos!
If you are pressed for time, you can see the tower from outside and then make your way to Jeronimos Monastery.
This is the last stop for the day, and a landmark that will leave you spellbound!
Let us warn you that this spot is very busy, but visiting in late hours of the day will allow you to take your time inside and discover everything at ease, without being rushed.
If you arrive at the site early (or are done early), you can also visit the nearby Maritime Museum (my favorite) or just hang out at the gardens of the monastery.
The Jeronimos Monastery is a 16th-century monastery, known for its beautiful Manueline architecture and is one of the city’s most iconic landmarks.
With your entry ticket, you can tour the monastery, which includes a church, cloisters, and other buildings, and admire the intricate details of the architecture.
The monastery is also home to a museum, which houses a collection of religious art and artifacts.
Without buying the Lisbon Card, you can pay for Skip the Line tickets here
Padrão dos Descobrimentos
Make your way to Padrão dos Descobrimentos or the Age of Discoveries monument. This is open for visit 24/7 (and from where you will get to the next activity on your 1 day Lisbon itinerary).
The stunning monument celebrates the Age of Discoveries of Portugal from the 15th and 16th centuries.
It was established in 1940, and was designed by Cottinelli Telmo. It showcases all the important figures from explorers, authors to historical figures who contributed to the Sea Discoveries.
Sunset cruise (departing from Belem)
Lisbon is a city that comes alive at night, and there’s no better way to see the sights than on a sunset cruise over the River Tagus.
As the sun sets over the city, you’ll get sweeping views of Lisbon’s skyline and its many iconic landmarks.
And you’ll also have the chance to enjoy some delicious Portuguese wine and food as you cruise down the river.
To get to this Lisbon experience, it is only a short walk away from the previous attraction.
We recommend this cruise that includes drinks and snacks. This cruise lasts 2 hours, and starts late in the evening (06:45 pm for sunset, or 09:15 pm for the nighttime cruise). You can book the cruise here
So if you’re looking for a unique and romantic way to experience Lisbon, a sunset cruise is definitely the way to go.
Pro Tip: You can also take a sunset cruise from the city centre like this one. This cruise leaves at 7:45 pm, and lasts an hour and half. It is perfect if you wish to return to Lisbon city centre (after sightseeing in Belem), and wish to stay closer to your hotel!
Bairro Alto for dinner and drinks
After a stunning sunset cruise, proceed to the Bairro Alto area for dinner and drinks.
Bairro Alto is one of Lisbon’s most charming and vibrant neighborhoods.
Known as the nightlife district of Lisbon, this area is home to many lively bars and restaurants, quaint shops selling everything from vintage clothes to handmade ceramics.
Bairro Alto is also the perfect place to end your sightseeing in your one day Lisbon itinerary.
Most of the bars and restaurants here are open until 1:00 am. This area is safe for a walk at night, but avoid it after the bars and shops close.
I was staying in the Bairro Alto district, and was home between 10:00 t0 11:00 pm.
The vibes at this area are contagious – it was like a party every day – with great food, music and ambiance!
In the summers the daylight was out until 09:30 pm or so, and people only came in after the sun got down as the temperatures become cooler!
Customizing this one day Lisbon itinerary
When you have just a day in Lisbon we get it, some may not want to travel to Belem. This Lisbon itinerary for one day can be customized easily without visiting any of Belem’s attractions.
So instead you can pick a few more attractions at the historic centre.
Continue the itinerary up until Castelo de Sao Jorge, and then make your way to the Cais do Sodre neighborhood. The area is home to a number of bars and clubs, as well as the Cais do Sodre train station.
You can also enjoy views of Tagus river from the Cais do Sodre waterfront promenade. But first, go for lunch at the famous TimeOut Market.
The Food Court at the Time Out Market in Lisbon is in the Ribeira Mercado of Cais do Sodré. This indoor market is home to over 40 different restaurants, all of which serve up delicious Portuguese cuisine.
After lunch, walk to check out the Pink Street, which is one of the prettiest photo spots in Lisbon.
This was the red light district of Lisbon in the past. Today it is filled with cool cafes and it is a nice walk through enjoying the vibes of this historic area.
Now head over to Miradouro de Santa Luzia to soak in the stunning views of the river, and maybe relax over a cup of coffee or a glass of wine.
Next, embark on a sunset cruise that takes off at 7:45 pm. This cruise will take you to Belem and back.
You can take in views of the April 25 Bridge, Belem Tower, and many others in and around Belem, comfortably from the water. You can reserve a seat here
Sign off for the day with dinner and drinks in Bairro Alto, or in and around Rossio Square (which is amazing in the evening for a breezy walk)!
Planning for Lisbon for 2, 3 or 4 days
If you have 2 days in Lisbon, you can surely cover a lot. For instance, you can combine all the attractions listed in the above itinerary and explore it over 2 days,
- For your first day in Lisbon, spend time at the city centre area, from the walking tour, Castelo do Sao Jorge, TimeOut Market, Pink Street, Miradouro de Santa Luzia, and sunset cruise
- Set aside day 2 for Belem. Explore the Belem Tower, monastery, Maritime Museum, LX Factory Lisbon, and in the evening see a Fado show.
With 3 days in Lisbon, you can experience some of the delightful things in the city like a cooking class, or go shopping!
- Spend some time visiting city’s museums and galleries such as Lisbon City Museum, Fado Museum (all located at the center)
- Add time for a food tour, or join a cooking class (2-3 hours each)
- If you love to shop, head over to Avenida da Liberdade and hang out!
- In the evening, take a stroll through one of Lisbon’s largest parks, the Parque Eduardo VII. From here, you’ll have great views of the city as well as the chance to people-watch.
If you have 4 days in Lisbon, an easy itinerary is to take a day trip to Sintra to visit the Pena Palace, Moorish Castle and Quinta de Regaleira.
Need more Lisbon day trip ideas? Read our guide on best day trips from Lisbon Portugal here
Lisbon is also the perfect starting point for road trips in Portugal. Here is our 2 weeks in Portugal itinerary, with or without a car.
1 day in Lisbon itinerary: Sightseeing Map
Lisbon 1 day itinerary: Travel Tips
Lisbon is a beautiful city with plenty to see and do. And with its convenient location on the coast, it’s the perfect place to add to any European itinerary.
Here are a few tips to help you plan your trip to Portugal,
Lisbon is the capital city of Portugal and it truly is one of the historic cities with tons of things to do and see. Do not try and cram too much sightseeing into your one day itinerary for Lisbon – enjoy the city, and its experiences with ease.
Carry cash along with a credit card to pay for food and other things in Lisbon. Most places will accept credit cards, but it’s always good to have cash on hand just in case. Lisbon uses euros as their official currency.
Portugal is a European Union member and if you need a tourist visa you have to apply for the Schengen Visa from your home country.
Visitors with US and Canadian passports do not require a visa to enter the country and stay for 90 days; however from 2023, an online authorization – ETIAS – is required prior to travel.
When packing for your trip to Lisbon, be sure to pack comfortable walking shoes. You’ll want to be able to wander the city’s cobbled streets and hills easily.
And if you’re visiting during the summer months, don’t forget to pack sunscreen and a hat – the sun can be quite strong in Portugal!
When it comes to food, there are plenty of delicious options available in Lisbon. Be sure to try the fresh seafood, as well as the pastel de nata (custard tart), a Portuguese specialty.
If you’re interested in history and culture, there are plenty of museums and landmarks to visit in Lisbon.
Some of the most popular attractions include the Jeronimos Monastery, the Tower of Belem, and the Chiado district.
Lisbon is a convenient city to get around, with plenty of public transportation options available. If you’re staying in the city center, you can easily walk to most of the major attractions.
If not, there are buses, trams, and trains that can take you where you need to go.
When it comes to accommodation, there are plenty of options available to suit all budgets. Whether you’re looking for a luxurious hotel or a budget-friendly hostel, you’ll be able to find something to suit your needs in Lisbon.
Is Lisbon one day enough?
Lisbon is an amazing city in Portugal with a lot to offer. We have been there four times and still have a few things on our bucket list. If you’re careful with your time and plan ahead keeping in mind what you wish to explore, you can easily fit in a visit to all of the city’s major landmarks and attractions.
So it really depends on what you’re looking for and how you want to spend your time. If you’re looking to tick off all the major sights and attractions, especially in the historic centre, then one day may be enough.
But if you’re looking to really experience everything Lisbon has to offer from food tours, cooking classes, fado shows, etc. you might want to consider spending a few days in the city.
Here is a private tour that explores Lisbon in half a day. Check it out here
A subway station serves the terminal at Lisbon Airport; it is located underground and has a direct link to downtown Lisbon. The Aeroporto – Saldanha line takes you to downtown Lisbon in about 20 minutes. You may easily travel throughout the city using the Metro system.
Getting to the city center costs around € 20 ( US$ 20.90) by taxi. You may buy a pre-paid ticket in the airport taxi queue, ensuring that you are aware of the cost before getting into the vehicle and avoiding unpleasant surprises.
The best months to see Lisbon are from March to May or September to October when the weather is still pleasant, hotel rates are lower, and there aren’t as many people. Summer is the most crowded season because of the heat, and Saint Antonio celebrations throughout June.
Now that you know a few things about planning a trip to Lisbon, Portugal, it’s time to start packing your bags! This charming city is sure to make for an unforgettable vacation.