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The Ideal 3 Days in Lisbon Itinerary [2024]

Heading to Lisbon? Don’t go without reading first this 3 days in Lisbon itinerary, the only one you’ll need to have an amazing and very delicious stay in Portugal’s capital city!

Lisbon is the stuff of postcard-perfect charm that travelers always dream of. With its ancient cobblestone streets and colorful architecture, this city has captivated many for centuries. As the capital of the country, Lisbon is the best starting point to explore Portugal.

A girl looking at the terracota rooftops of Lisbon from a viewpoint, with the river and a cruise in the background. Image inserted in a post about the best 3 days in Lisbon itinerary

Lisbon is charismatic and vibrant, with a rich heritage that beautifully contrasts with the city’s progressive thinking and modern outlook. And it doesn’t hurt that it has more than 300 days of sun a year, which makes it a great destination in almost any season.

I put together this 3 days in Lisbon itinerary so you can experience the best of Lisbon and get to know the city from within. This guide can also be useful if you’re planning a weekend trip to Lisbon, you’ll just have to cut out a few activities according to your taste and priorities.

How to Save Money in Lisbon

▶️ If you’re going to spend three days in Lisbon, I highly recommend you get the Lisboa Card to make the most of every attraction the city has to offer. This card offers all-inclusive access to all the public transport systems (metro, buses, trains, trams, even the elevator) and discounts for 80 attractions.

A card for 72 hours in Lisbon costs €44. If you want to know if it’s worth it, pick first the attractions you want to see and check how much they would cost individually. If you’re planning on visiting 3 or 4 attractions, I can assure you you’ll save money. ➥ BUY IT HERE

▶️ Another way to save money is this 72-Hour Hop-On Hop-Off Bus, Tram, and Boat Ticket. This combined ticket allows you to explore Lisbon at your own pace, giving you access to 4 different hop-on and hop-off bus, tram, and boat tours that you would otherwise have to pay separately for (and cost more, of course). ➥ BUY IT HERE

The Ideal 3 Days in Lisbon Itinerary

Day 1: Alfama & Chiado

Welcome to Lisbon! Are you ready to get started? I’m sure you’ll have a great time in this charming city.

If you’d like to make the most of your first morning, join the Lisbon Essential Tour: History, Stories & Lifestyle. In this tour (the highest-rated tour on GetYourGuide for Lisbon), a knowledgeable guide takes you to explore Lisbon’s most interesting neighborhoods. Plus you’ll visit a miradouro and ride the iconic Tram 28. Coffee and cake break included! ➥ BOOK IT HERE

Morning: Tram 28, Alfama & St. George’s Castle

Start your Lisbon 3-day itinerary by getting up early and heading to Praça Mortim Moniz, a public square at the heart of Lisbon. There are some great ethnic restaurants around the square if you want to come back later, but this is not the time to try them out.

From here, take the historic Tram 28. This route on the vintage tram is popular because one, well, vintage tram!, and two, it’ll take you up and down the hills of Lisbon to the Alfama neighborhood. This route is super popular with tourists so make sure you start your day early to avoid the crowds.

Tram 28 will start heading uphill to the most Lisbonesque part of Lisbon: Alfama. This quaint neighborhood is the oldest and most emblematic part of the city, a maze of steep and winding cobblestone alleys that seem to be always photo-ready. There’s more than one thing to do in Alfama.

An absolute must is to stop at Santa Luzia Viewpoint, a romantic terrace on the hilltop of Alfama (Tram 28 has a stop right across the street).

The scenic views of Alfama, the Tagus River, and the red roofs and white-painted houses offer a charming scene that is distinctive to Portugal. There is a café with front-row-center seats to take in the unbeatable views, drink in hand.

Once you’re done here, don’t forget to check out another incredible viewpoint that is just around the corner: Miradouro das Portas do Sol.

Some of the main attractions in Lisbon are in Alfama too. Pay a visit to the Lisbon Cathedral (it’s free!), the oldest church in Lisbon, dating back all the way to the 12th century.

St. George’s Castle is also definitely worth a visit. Standing on top of the tallest hill in the city, it offers breathtaking views. What’s more, its eleven towers, the lookouts, and the gardens will make you feel like you’ve been transported back in time.

➤ If you’d like to visit the castle, this Sao Jorge Castle Skip-the-Line Ticket provides direct entrance (no lines) and a quick guided tour plus time to roam around freely and enjoy the spectacular views from the hilltop. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

St. George’s Castle Opening Hours: Daily from 9 AM to 7 PM.
St. George’s Castle Entrance Fee: €10.

Alfama is also the birthplace of Fado, the traditional Portuguese music characterized for its melancholic and raw sounds, named one of the World’s Intangible Heritage by UNESCO. Alfama is the perfect place to catch a Fado show, or to visit the Fado Museum and immerse yourself in the history of this music.

Fado Museum Opening Hours: Tuesday to Sunday from 10 am to 6 pm. Closed on Mondays.
Fado Museum Entrance Fee: €5.

But really, Alfama is one of those places where the best thing to do is simply wander around at your own pace. So put away that map and get lost in the alleyways and narrow, hilly streets of Alfama. You’ll lose track of time.

Afternoon: Chiado & Food Tour

After lunch, head to Elevador de Santa Justa (also known as Santa Justa Lift) at the civil parish of Santa Justa within the city of Lisbon. This is one of the most unique attractions in the city, and one that’s generally flocked by first-time visitors.

This lift was built of wrought iron during the industrial age of the 19th century and it can take passengers 45 meters up. The exterior structure of the lift showcases geometric patterns and neo-Gothic arches. It’s definitely a great way to be transported in style and is an experience that you shouldn’t miss.

The Carmo Convent (also known as Convento do Carmo) is a Romantic Gothic ruin of a church that was destroyed during a 1755 earthquake in Lisbon. This was known as the largest church in Lisbon before the devastation.

Today, only the roofless nave and the arches remain of the original structure. The main altar also features a small archaeological museum with a collection of mosaics, ceramics, statuary, and tombs.

Carmo Convent Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday from 9 AM to 7 PM.
Carmo Convent Entrance Fee: €5.

Once you are done exploring the church and museum, you can make your way to Praça da Figueira.

This large square is in the city center of Lisbon and serves as a major transport hub with many bus routes passing through the square. It’s packed with open-air cafes and has the bronze statue of King John as the central feature.

A short walking distance away from the square you’ll find the Manteigaria – Fabrica de Pasteis de Nata. If you have more time to spare, you should pay it a visit, especially if you want to sample authentic and traditional Portuguese pastries! Some say they are the very best in Lisbon.

The moment you walk into this pastry shop, you can feel the irresistible aroma of freshly baked pastry wafting through the air. One of the best-sellers in the shop is the appetizing pastel de nata (Portuguese egg tart).

Manteigaria – Fabrica de Pasteis de Nata Opening Hours: Daily from 8 AM to 12 AM

If, instead, you’re looking for great specialty coffee, check out The Folks: coffee brewers and soul cooks. It’s one of my favorite cafes in Lisbon!

➤ You can spend your first afternoon touring Lisbon with your taste buds. Portugal has great culinary traditions and its wine is famous worldwide. This Lisbon Food and Wine Walking Tour takes you around town to taste some of the best and most traditional Portuguese dishes and wine in the company of a culinary guide. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

👉For other great options, check out my post about the best food tours in Lisbon.

Before the sun goes down, check out the Praça do Comercio (Commerce Square), the biggest square in Lisbon, always buzzing with people.

Night: Sunset Cruise

If you’d like to see the city from a different perspective, check out this Sailboat Tour with Drinks that you can take at sunset or at night.

Lisbon is beautiful from the water and seeing the twinkling city lights cut out against the hills in the distance is a lovely experience. You’ll also pass by many of the attractions you’ll probably visit from another point of view. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

Day 2: Belem & Bairro Alto

For your second day in Lisbon, you can head to Belem to see many of Portugal’s must-see tourist attractions.

➤ Belem is a very nice neighborhood to roam around, and there’s so much history that it’s cool to discover it with the help of a local.
In this 3-Hour Tour of Historic Belém by Electric Bike you’ll get to explore the area as you cycle along the waterfront, feeling the delicious river breeze on your face. You’ll also visit a traditional market and see the main monuments. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

➤ Belem has a long and beautiful waterfront, so another option is to admire it from the water. This Belém Boat Tour will take you on a cruise down the Tagus River all the way from Praça do Comercio to the historic Belem district. You’ll get spectacular views along the way, with a visit to the Belem Tower and Jerónimos Monastery. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

Morning: Belem Tower & Jeronimos’ Monastery

You can start off your morning at Torre de Belem, or Belem Tower. This 16th-century fortification was once used as a point of boarding and disembarkation by Portuguese explorers.

A woman looking at the Belem Tower, a must in any 3 days in Lisbon itinerary

The tower was built on the northern bank of the Tagus River between 1514 and 1520, and later used as a lighthouse and customs house.

Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it’s an icon of Lisbon and presents a very picturesque sight. What’s most stunning is the views you can enjoy from the top of the tower! Inside there are also several halls, a chapel, and you’ll even get to visit the pits where prisoners were held.

You can get to the Belem Tower via Tram 15 toward Algés, which departs from Figueira Square every 15 minutes or so. You’ll get off at Largo da Princesa, only a 5-minute walk from the Tower.

➤ The Belem Tower Tickets grant you access to the attraction and all its sections. You can also upgrade it to include an audio guide of the site. BOOK IT HERE

Belem Tower Opening Hours: Tuesday to Sunday from 10 AM to 5.30 PM. Closed on Mondays.
Belem Tower Entrance Fee: FREE with the Lisboa card.

A short walking distance (less than a kilometer away) from Torre de Belém is Padrao dos Descobrimentos, also known as the Monument to the Discoveries.

On the northern bank of the Tagus River, this is a bold and imposing monument that celebrates the explorers and visionaries from the 15th and 16th centuries, who were vital in establishing Portugal as one of the top seafaring nations during that time.

The monument is 52 meters high and you can get on the viewing platform where you can enjoy the finest panoramic views of the estuary. There is also a museum that you can check out along with the views.

Padrao dos Descobrimentos Opening Hours: 10 AM to 6:30 PM in the summer; 10 AM to 6 PM in the winter (closed on Mondays).
Padrao dos Descobrimentos Entrance Fee: €6.00 (or €3.00 for children).

Also within close proximity to the monument is another must-see attraction to visit and explore when in Belem: Jeronimos Monastery. This monastery is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and it’s been recognized as one of the best examples of European Gothic style. Make sure to check out the beautiful cloisters.

➤ You can get the Jerónimos Monastery Tickets here. With this ticket, you can skip the line and get access to the 16th-century cloister, the former monks’ refectory, and the former library ➥ BUY IT HERE

Jerónimos Monastery Opening Hours: Tuesdays to Sundays from 10 AM to 5.30 PM (or up to 6.30 PM from May to September). It’s closed on Mondays.
Jerónimos Monastery Entrance Fee: It’s free with the Lisboa Card.

If you want to take a break from all of the sightseeing, you can head to Pasteis de Belem. This is a large and airy bakery café that offers traditional Portuguese baked goods.

Aside from the egg tarts, the bakery is also famous for its cream cakes. It’s believed that their “secret recipe” for some of the bakery’s most famous dishes hasn’t changed since 1837.

The lines can be long, but don’t let them discourage you – they tend to go pretty fast!

Afternoon: MAAT & Gloria Funicular

After lunch (I recommend a stop at one of the many good restaurants at LX Factory!), the next stop on your tour of Lisbon is the new cultural center of the cityMAAT or the Museum of Art, Architecture, and Technology. This museum is famous not just for its art but also for its spectacular architectural design.

It was established in October 2016 and was designed by Architect Amanda Levete. It exhibits contemporary culture in the form of arts, architecture, and new media.

MAAT Opening Hours: Wednesdays to Mondays from 11 AM to 7 PM.
MAAT Entrance Fee: €9 for adults, €6 for children and seniors.

In the afternoon, you can continue your exploration by making your way back to Lisbon center. There you’ll take a ride on the Ascensor de Gloria. The Gloria Funicular is a railway line that connects the Restauradores Square (Praça dos Restauradores) to Bairro Alto.

It’s a unique experience to step inside and ride a well-preserved vintage tram, which has been recognized as a national monument. Although the steep ride only lasts a couple of minutes it’s a fun experience well worth the try.

From the tram, make your way to the Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara. Save your breath for one of the most compelling views of Lisbon. This iconic observation point is right next to the top of the Gloria Funicular where you can also enjoy the view of Avenida de Liberdade, Castelo de Sao Jorge, and Baixa.

Night: Bairro Alto & Fado Show

When the sun goes down, you can head back to Bairro Alto, a district that makes you feel like you have stepped back in time. It features steep cobbled streets lined by centuries-old houses and vivid street art.

At night, this district comes alive with hip and quirky bars. You’ll be enchanted by the sound of Fado music blasting from the restaurants in the area.

A Fado show should be a must during your 3 days in Lisbon. Portugal’s traditional music will enchant you and give you a more immersive cultural experience.

➤ This Fado in Chiado Show brings the best of the music and performance that expresses the soul of Lisbon. This 50-minute performance includes 2 singers and 2 guitarists so you can witness art that celebrates Portuguese culture and heritage. BOOK IT HERE

DAY 3: CASTLES IN SINTRA OR MODERN LISBON

For the last day of your 3-day trip to Lisbon, you’ve got 2 great options. You can either head to Sintra, a town known for its unique and gorgeous castles, or you can stay in Lisbon and explore the most modern area of the city: your choice!

Take a Day Trip to Sintra…

Sintra is a picturesque town located 25km from Lisbon, making it an easy destination for a day trip.

The town is known for its extravagant castles and palaces, along with its stunning natural scenery. Naturally, there are many popular day trip routes that you can follow to see the highlights of Sintra if you only have one day to spend here.

Getting to Sintra from Lisbon is very easy.

The most effective way is to take the train at Lisbon’s Rossio station, in downtown Lisbon. The train runs multiple times every hour between 5:40 AM and 1 AM. You can find the Lisbon to Sintra train schedule here. It’s a 40-minute ride and a single ticket costs €2.25. BUY YOUR TICKETS HERE

➤ If you’d like to see some of the most gorgeous sights around Lisbon without doing the planning, check out Sintra, Cabo da Roca and Cascais Day Trip. It takes you to Pena Palace on a guided tour, followed by a visit to wild Cabo da Roca, and cap the day at the lovely beach town of Cascais. You’ll also enjoy some free time to explore Sintra. BOOK IT HERE

Among the must-see attractions in Sintra, you’ll find the Palacio Nacional de Sintra, Castelo de Muoros (Moorish Castle), and Palacio da Pena and its terraces, pictured here above.

The Castelo dos Mouros, with its fortified walls and turrets, is one of Portugal’s oldest preserved fortresses and was built to protect Sintra from invasions.

Palacio da Pena, Sintra’s most colorful building, is hands down one of the most unique and splendid buildings in Sintra and the whole of Portugal. For starters, it’s the best example of Romantic architecture from the 19th century, and it boasts a décor inspired by that period.

Surrounded by lush vegetation, the palace stands out for its vividly painted terraces, mythological sculptures, lavish staterooms, and photo ops.

Palacio da Pena Opening Hours: Daily from 9 AM to 6 PM
Palacio da Pena Entrance Fee: €14.

Palacio Nacional is right at the heart of town and it served as residence for noble families for 4 centuries. Don’t be fooled by the minimalist exteriors, it’s stunning inside!

I’d also recommend that you spend some time during your day trip to Sintra in the town’s historic center. This is one of the most charming parts of the town because you get to marvel at the traditional painted buildings, cobbled streets, and the flamboyant town hall.

pasteis da cruz alta in piriquita, sintra

There are also many restaurants and cafes at the historic center, which makes it an ideal stop for lunch or snacks. Don’t miss Casa Piriquita or Queijadas da Sapa, both super traditional Portuguese cafes with mouth-watering pastries.

For lunch or a snack, check out Tascantiga, a typical Sintra snack bar (excellent tapas and wine!), or Cafe Saudade.

… or Visit Paque das Nacoes + 25 de Abril Bridge

If you don’t feel like visiting Sintra, another option for the day is visiting the Parque das Nacoes. This one is near the Tagus River and is a redeveloped area that now features the Oceanarium and Pavilhao do Conocimiento (Science Museum).

Parque das Nações is both an emblematic attraction that links public art with contemporary buildings, and an ideal option for families. There are many kid-friendly exhibits at the park, ideal for those traveling with young children.

While there, don’t forget to hop on a ride on the Telecabine Lisboa cable car to enjoy sweeping views of the buildings and the nearby Tagus River.

The Lisboa Oceanarium is the largest indoor aquarium in Europe and it’s home to more than 100 species. It consists of five giant tanks, which represent the world’s oceans, plus 25 thematic aquariums. Each tank has its own different habitat, and native flora and fauna.

This is one of the few aquariums in the world that have sunfish. A rare find, because of the species’ unique and demanding requirements for care.

➤ If you’d like to visit the aquarium, these Oceanário de Lisboa Tickets will allow you to walk right in past the (usually very long) line. It also gives you access to permanent and temporary exhibitions ➥ BUY IT HERE

Oceanário de Lisboa Opening Hours: Daily from 10 AM to 7 PM.
Oceanário de Lisboa Entrance Fee: €22.

riding a suspended bike at Pavilhao do Conocimento

The Pavilhao do Conhecimiento is an outstanding interactive science and technology museum. It aims to promote scientific knowledge and culture, offering many exhibitions and activities. It’s a fantastic attraction for kids, as it allows visitors to learn and have fun at the same time.

Pavilhao do Conhecimiento Opening Hours: Tuesday to Sunday from 10 AM to 6 PM.
Pavilhao do Conhecimiento Entrance Fee: €9.

In the afternoon, you can check out the Ponte 25 do Abril (25 de Abril Bridge), a suspension bridge that connects the city of Lisbon to the municipality of Almada.

It crosses the Tagus River and was opened to the public in August 1966. This massive bridge is one of the most iconic landmarks in the city of Lisbon, with a design that closely resembles that of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. It’s definitely a must-see!

➤ The 25 de Abril bridge is cool enough from the outside, but now you can also go inside. Yes, inside the bridge. The Pilar 7 Bridge Experience is an interactive experience that walks you through the history of the bridge and its construction. You get to access one of the bridge’s pillars and go up about 70 meters on an elevator with glass floors. No need to say the views are spectacular. ➥ BUY TICKETS HERE

Night: Your Last Night in Lisbon

For your last night in Lisbon, there are several things you could do. If you haven’t seen a Fado show yet or taken a boat trip on the Tagus River, I highly recommend you check one of those off your list. Either will be the cherry on the cake of your 3 perfect days in Lisbon.

Otherwise, head to one of the many rooftop bars in the city. Lisbon loooves rooftop bars, and you will too! One of the advantages of being such a hilly city is that it creates amazing views.

Some options are the rooftop bar at Hotel Mundial (in Martim Moniz, super central), Topo Chiado (somewhat of a hidden gem behind the Carmo Convent), or Limao Rooftop Bar (intimate, cozy, and stylish).

Or you can always grab a snack to go and a bottle of wine, head to one of the many miradouros in town, and say goodbye to Lisbon like a local!

As you can see, there are tons of things to do in Lisbon in 3 days, and your trip might be packed with activities and excursions!

In the end, Lisbon is a city best experienced at leisure, roaming the streets and stopping to admire the views from one of its many viewpoints. But I hope this guide on how to spend 3 days in Lisbon helps you get a better idea of how to go about it. Enjoy!

3 Days in Lisbon FAQ

Are three days in Lisbon, Portugal, enough?

3 days is enough to visit Lisbon’s main attractions and get a feel of the city. If you want to really get to know Lisbon, though, think 5-7 days, so you can also do a few day trips, which are really worth it.

How many days in Lisbon do we need?

2 or 3 days is the bare minimum to see the main sights, but it will be a very packed itinerary. Stay longer if you can. 5 days is a good number.

What’s the best time to visit Lisbon?

Lisbon has great sunny weather almost all year, but I would recommend avoiding the winter, since it can get rainy and cold. Summer is ideal to enjoy the beaches, which abound in the area and are gorgeous.

  • Stefania Guglielmi

    Stefania Guglielmi is the founder of Every Steph. Originally from Bologna, Italy, she's been traveling full-time since 2016 and has visited over 50 countries across 6 continents. She believes sustainable travel and luxury travel can go hand in hand and has been advocating for responsible tourism since 2014. Stefania's advice and travel experiences have been featured in important publications such as Business Insider, Refinery29, and Yahoo Money.