Thinking about spending one day in Lisbon? This artsy and often underrated city has a lot to offer. Check out this Lisbon one-day itinerary to make the best of your time there!
A vibrant mix of modern and traditional, the colorful Portuguese capital may not be as internationally famous as other big European cities, but make no mistake, leaving will be hard to do once you walk its cobbled streets, ride its quaint yellow trams, taste the food, and watch the sunset from one of the many miradouros (viewpoints).
You’ll realize as soon as you set foot in this city that 24 hours in Lisbon isn’t enough time – there are countless things to see and do in Lisbon: history, art, nature, culture, cuisine… this city has it all! But if you’re pressed for time, it’s possible to experience the very best this city can offer in a single day.
If you’re wondering what to see and do in just one day in Lisbon, follow this itinerary to make the most of your short time there.
How to get from Lisbon Airport to City Center
The airport in Lisbon is only about 5 miles away from the city center. You have quite a few transportation options to suit your preference for both budget and convenience. Even if you only have a 12-hour layover in Lisbon, the short distance from the airport to the city means that it’s possible to visit Lisbon with little time.
➤ Book an affordable Private Transfer to/from Lisbon Airport
➤ Book the AeroBus Lisbon Airport Shuttle, which runs daily from 7.30 am to 11 pm and makes multiple stops around the city. This is the most affordable option to get from the airport to the city and vice-versa. (This option is currently not available due to the pandemic).
➤ You can otherwise take the metro. There’s a station within the airport, and the line Aeroporto – Saldanha will take you into downtown Lisbon. The journey only takes around 20 minutes!
➤ Local buses are also an option. A one-way ticket costs around €2 and there are multiple routes that take you into the city. Depending on where you’re staying, one will work better than the other.
How to Get Around Lisbon
Transportation is great if you’re aiming to see Lisbon in one day. You’ll find that it’s an extremely walkable city and that roaming on foot is a great way to see and discover the different sights and attractions. But when you need to move further, these are your options:
➤ The Lisbon Metro is clean, modern, and highly efficient which is everything we can ask for. It’s also known for its punctuality, which is ideal if you’re short on time. The Lisbon Metro operates from 6:30 AM to 1:00 AM and they have several stations in various parts of the city so you can easily find one near you.
The Lisbon Metro stations are also an attraction worth seeing when exploring the city. You’ll be gladly surprised by their beautiful decor with contemporary art.
➤ The Metro network in Lisbon doesn’t cover the whole city, so the bus is another go-to transportation system in the city. There’s a fleet of up to 600 buses that cover 146 different routes within Lisbon.
Make sure to check the individual timetable for your route to know when and where to catch the bus. In general, buses run from 5 AM to 9-10 PM but there are a few bus lines that operate until midnight.
➤ When in Lisbon, you must try riding the tram at least once. Not only is this an efficient mode of transportation but I swear it’s also among the city’s best tourist attractions. Some of them are vintage trams!
The vintage Tram nº 28 and Tram nº 15 are two routes that are highly recommended – you’ll probably use these 2 trams to go to the Alfama and to Belem.
You can get a transport card called Viva Viagem for €0.50 from the ticket machines at the metro stations, and add money to it. With this card (valid for trams, buses, and metro), a single ticket costs €1,50.
You can also buy the tickets on board buses and trams, but it’s more expensive – buses € 2, trams € 3. There’s also a one-day ticket valid for 24h that costs € 6,40 and gives you unlimited journeys on the metro, buses, and trams.
➤ You can also easily get a taxi or order an Uber when you need to.
➤ Another very practical option for seeing the best sights in Lisbon is this Hop-On Hop-Off Bus, Tram and Boat Ticket. It gives you access to 2 double-decker bus tours.
There are a number of routes available to choose from so you can hop off on your preferred tourist destinations along the way, and then hop back on. You can do as many stops as you desire along the route over a designated duration of hours.
On top of the buses, it includes a boat ride, public transportation (buses, metro, trams), and you can even get on the funiculars and the Santa Just Lift! This is an all-inclusive, transport version. ➥ BUY IT HERE
➤ Otherwise, see below how you can get a card that includes unlimited public transport + access to attractions.
How To Save Money in Lisbon
You also need the Lisboa Card when planning your day trip in Lisbon. This is how you can make the most of every attraction that the city has to offer.
This card offers all-inclusive access to all public transport systems. With this card, you get not only free and unlimited transport around the city but also discounts for 80 attractions within Lisbon.
There are different prices for this card based on how many days you’re going to spend in Lisbon. A one-day card at the time of writing costs €22, a 2-day card costs €37, and a 3-day card is worth €46.
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. Then add the cost of transportation and compare the results with the cost of the one-day card. I did this for you with the attractions recommended in this itinerary!
- Jeronimos Monastery (Mosteiro dos Jerônimos) €10
- Belem Tower (Torre de Belém) €8.5
- Lisboa story centre €6.8
- 24-hour unlimited transport ticket €6.40
- Pilar 7 Bridge Experience (Experiência Pilar 7) €5.3
TOTAL COST FOR 1 DAY: € 37
COST OF THE LISBON CARD FOR 1 DAY: € 22
TOTAL SAVED: € 15
➤ As you see, the Lisbon card is a good option to save some money, especially if you’re planning on visiting several paid attractions. ➥ BUY IT HERE
These prices and calculations are correct at the time of publishing, but they might change in the future.
Best Quick Tours fOR First-Time Visitors
If it’s your first time in the city, you might want to consider joining a tour. This will give you the chance to explore all the highlights in Lisbon, have transfers arranged for you, and get to know about its history and culture from a local.
It can be the perfect introduction to beautiful Lisbon, while you’re also making the most of your limited time.
➤ This History, Stories & Lifestyle Walking Tour takes 3 hours and includes a visit to the most charming and sought-after neighborhoods in Lisbon. You’ll enjoy stunning views, learn about the history of the city, and ride the iconic tram. ➥ BOOK IT HERE
➤ The Lisbon Sightseeing Tour by Tuk-Tuk offers a very original way to discover the city. You’ll ride across historic neighborhoods, visit the most important landmarks, and immerse in the culture of Lisbon. ➥ BOOK IT HERE
➤ A Food and Wine Walking Tour is the activity for foodies in Lisbon. You’ll spend 3 hours sampling bites of Portuguese cuisine and drinking wine, as you learn about the city’s gastronomy and fall in love with its food. ➥ BOOK IT HERE
One Day in Lisbon Itinerary
There are so many things to do in Lisbon that I’ll be honest: it wasn’t easy to pick just a few to create this one-day itinerary, so I made it as packed as possible.
For some of you, it might be too packed, and that’s ok – this is just to help you figure out the best itinerary for you, at your own pace.
You don’t have to visit all the monuments, and you can surely skip some attractions. But if you want to make the most of your day and don’t mind the hecticness of it, this is my ideal itinerary for one day in Lisbon.
Take Tram 28 from Mortim Moniz Square
Wake up bright and early. One of the best places to start your day is Martim Moniz Square (Praca Martim Moniz), a public square at the heart of Lisbon. It’s an interesting place as it’s a real melting pot of cultures. There are some great ethnic restaurants within the square, but that’s not why you’re here.
From Martim Moniz Square, you can take the historic Tram 28. This tram route is popular because it’ll take you up and down the hills of Lisbon to the Alfama neighborhood. Along the way, you’ll see quite a few historic attractions!
This route is super popular with tourists and notorious for its long queues, so make sure you head to the starting point early!
➤ A very good idea (especially if you have limited time) would be to take a Lisbon walking tour which includes a ride on Tram 28. This Lisbon Tram No. 28 Ride & Walking Tour is a great option to start the day and get to know the historic heart of the city. It’ll take the whole morning, but you will see and learn a lot. Highly recommended! ➥ BOOK IT HERE
Make a Stop at Castelo de Sao Jorge (St. George Castle)
One of the noteworthy stops along the Tram 28 route is St. George Castle (Castelo de Sao Jorge). This historic building is a medieval castle known for its millennium-old walls.
Right on top of a hill, this castle can be seen from almost any part of the city. Its oldest parts were built as early as the 6th century, which was also the same time it was fortified.
The castle served as a royal Moorish residence before it was captured by the European crusaders and dedicated to St. George (England’s patron saint).
Today, this castle serves as an oasis of peace and is one of the most coveted tourist attractions in Lisbon. You’ll find how its historical importance is never lost when you see the statue of King Afonso Henriques the moment you enter this castle, along with a line of cannons.
Apart from the medieval walls, there is also a small archaeological museum within the castle, along with a restaurant in the stone building where the kings once lived.
➤ St. George’s Castle is probably the most famous attraction in Lisbon, and the queues can be very long, especially in the summer (1+ hour long). Consider purchasing in advance a skip-the-line ticket so you can enter the castle without any waiting time.
The ticket also includes an escort, who will give you an introduction of the building and its history before you start exploring it. ➥ BOOK IT HERE
St. George Castle Opening Hours: open from 9 AM to 7 PM from November to February, or 9 AM to 9 PM from March to October.
Santa Luzia Viewpoint
Up for some great views? Great! An absolute must in your one-day Lisbon itinerary is to stop at a miradouro. A miraduoro is a lookout point, and there are quite a few of them in Lisbon – but probably you can’t find views as stunning as the ones from Miradouro de Santa Luzia (Santa Luzia Viewpoint).
This romantic terrace is on the hilltop of Lisbon’s old downtown area. From here, you can enjoy the scenic views of the Alfama and Tagus River, along with the nearby houses and churches. Also, the red roof and white-painted houses offer a charming scene that is distinctive to Portugal.
The garden area is the most popular spot at the Santa Luzia viewpoint. There is also a café where you can stop by to get a drink, while having the best seat for the best views. It’s also another famous stop along the Tram 28 line.
👉 Don’t miss another viewpoint that’s just around the corner! It’s called Miradouro das Portas do Sol and it also offers incredible views!
Admire the Lisbon Cathedral
The Lisbon Cathedral (Sé de Lisboa) is a short walk from the Miradouro de Santa Luzia. Tram 28 also has a stop right at the door.
The Cathedral is not only one of the most important religious buildings in the city, it’s also the oldest. This is an imposing structure with two bell towers and a gorgeous rose window.
Upon first look, the architecture of this cathedral looks more like a medieval fortress than a church. It was built in the 12th century for the first king of Portugal on the site of an old mosque.
Its sheer size and magnificent vaulted ceiling are what will strike you the most as soon as you enter. While the entrance is free, it’s worth paying the €2.5 fee to access the cloister, which is considered a Gothic masterpiece.
It will also give you access to ruins that were excavated in recent years, including Roman remains and part of the mosque wall. Sé de Lisboa is one of the main places to visit in Lisbon in one day, as it’s a symbol of the city.
Lisbon Cathedral Opening Hours: From 9:30 AM to 7 PM on Monday & Tuesday and Thursday & Friday. On Wednesday and Saturday it opens from 10 AM to 6 PM.
➤ You can buy your Lisbon Cathedral Tickets online. They grant you access to the upper choir, the exhibit, the baptistery, and even the Patriarch’s dressing room. ➥ BUY YOUR TICKET HERE
Stop at Praça do Comercio
You can get to Praça do Comercio by walking from the previous point, or by using the metro; get off at the Terreiro do Paco station.
Comercio Square (Praça do Comercio) is a monumental square in Lisbon located right by the river. This waterfront square is quite big, so there is plenty for you to see. It’s more commonly referred to as the palace’s square because its location was the site of the royal palace.
There are many attractions within this square, which has a triumphal arch on the northern side. This is also where you can find the legendary Café Martinho de Arcada.
At the heart of this square is the statue of King Jose I who is riding horseback. You can also find the main tourism office and a few government offices here. A visit to an interactive museum called Lisboa Story Centre is a must if you’re looking to learn about the city’s history.
Explore Chiado and Have Lunch
Chiado is a pedestrian area in Lisbon filled with many attractions, shops, and sights to see. It’s known as a traditional shopping area with old and modern commercial establishments. You can head to Carmo and Garrett streets for a concentration of these shops.
When exploring Chiado, some of the attractions you should stop by include the São Carlos National Theatre, the Carmo Convent (Convento do Carmo), and São Roque Church (Igreja de São Roque), one of the many churches in Chiado.
You can also head to Adamastor, one of the greatest viewing points in the area (officially Santa Catarina viewpoint, but informally called Adamastor because of the huge statue that sits there).
While in Chiado, you can also use this opportunity to grab a sandwich or a quick lunch.
➤ If you prefer to sit down for lunch, I can recommend the Taberna da Rua das Flores (address). Make sure to ask for the petiscos (small portions, the Portuguese version of tapas). I assure you this is one of the best restaurants to go to!
If you can spot the meia-desfeita (codfish salad), make sure to order it too. This restaurant only accepts cash and they do not take reservations, but it’s worth the effort to get here.
Other great restaurants to try in Chiado are Sacramento do Chiado, Cantinho do Avillez, and Alma (a Michelin-starred restaurant).
Head to Belem
Make Belem your next stop in this one-day itinerary in Lisbon.
➤ Take Tram 15 from Praça do Comercio and ride the tram headed for Jeronimos Monastery (Mosteiro dos Jeronimos). Another option is to find the nearby train station and ride the metro from Cais do Sodre to Belem.
When in Belem, the Monument to the Discoveries (Padrão dos Descobrimentos) is one of the most famous attractions to visit. This monument built along the northern bank of the Tagus River is worth visiting, especially because it’s close to many other attractions in the area.
If you are up for more riverside walks, you can also check out the Old Belem Lighthouse, an old brick lighthouse that is an imposing structure along the riverside.
➤ If you’d like to see this monument and experience Lisbon from a whole different angle, this City Cruise by Sailboat will make your day in Lisbon a memorable one. Sail on the Tagus River and get stunning views of the city and its famous landmarks with a drink in hand ➥ BOOK IT HERE
Visit the Jeronimos Monastery
From Belem, the Jeronimos Monastery (Mosteiro dos Jeronimos) is one of the must-see attractions. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site, so it’s a highly recommended spot for those seeking cultural landmarks.
It’s also known as the resting place of Vasco da Gama, and it’s referred to as the best symbol of the wealth and power of Portugal during the Age of Discovery. It boasts architectural beauty, with magnificent cloisters, spectacularly reticulated vaults, and iconic tile decorations.
➤ You can get your skip-the-line tickets online and save some precious time on your only day in Lisbon! ➥ BUY YOUR TICKETS HERE
But again, entrance is free if you have the Lisbon card!
Jeronimos Monastery Opening Hours: It’s open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10 AM to 5 PM (October to April) May to September it opens from 10 AM to 6 PM. It’s closed on Mondays.
Climb the Belem Tower
Torre de Belem is another UNESCO World Heritage Site in Lisbon, Portugal, and it stands on the waterfront near the mouth of the Tagus River. It’s an iconic symbol of Lisbon and it used to be a defensive fortress (although it was originally built as a lighthouse).
Inside, marvel at the emblems of the bravest navigators in Portugal’s history. Then go up the tower and enjoy the incredible view over the Tagus River, the April 25 Bridge (you’ll head there later), and the statue of Christ the Redeemer.
The entrance ticket costs €6, but it’s free with the Lisbon Card!
Belem Tower Opening Hours: Tuesday to Sunday from 10 AM to 5.30 PM
Pasteis de Belem
A day in Lisbon is not complete without sampling the most popular Portuguese pastry – pastel de nata. Make it a point to taste the now world-famous Portuguese custard tart from where it was originally made.
The Pasteis de Belem bakery, born in 1837, was once a humble pastry shop that served the delicious baked tarts. It then became the global sensation it is today.
Yes, you’ll probably find a queue to get in, but I found it usually goes fast, and it’s 100% worth it. Right across the street from Jeronimos Monastery!
You can head to the park in front of the bakery and enjoy your pastries on a bench.
Pasteis de Belem Opening Hours: The bakery is open daily from 8 AM to 9 PM.
25 de Abril Bridge
When you’ve had your fill of the Portuguese dessert, you can make your way to Ponte 25 De Abril. This is a suspension bridge that connects Lisbon to Almada municipality. Construction started in 1962 and the bridge was inaugurated in 1966, stretching over 2,200 meters in length.
The aesthetic design of this bridge is similar to the famous Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, and since it was opened, it has become one of the most distinctive landmarks in the city.
➤ Not every day do you get to go inside a bridge. The Pilar 7 Bridge Experience is an interactive and immersive experience that will walk you through the history of the bridge and its construction.
You’ll get to access one of the bridge’s pillars (hence the name) and go up about 70 meters on an elevator with glass floors. No need to say the views are spectacular. ➥ BOOK IT HERE
Once more, entrance is free with the Lisbon Card.
👉 As an alternative, why not go on a sunset cruise? Here you can find a list of the best boat tours in Lisbon.
Head to Barrio Alto for the Night
Bairro Alto is the city’s nightlife mecca, so if you only have one night in Lisbon, there’s no better place to end your day. Especially if you want to have a slow night of drinking and good food!
Barrio Alto is a picturesque district that dates as far back as the 1500s. It’s made up of a grid of streets that are quiet during the daytime. At night, however, it’s transformed into a vibrant and festive atmosphere. It’s generally packed with tourists, along with international restaurants, shops, and bars.
Enjoy a Fado Show
This is a great way to finish your day tour of Lisbon. Fado is a traditional form of Portuguese singing dating back to the early 1800s or even earlier. It’s characterized by mournful tunes and lyrics, and very expressive and melancholic nature.
Listening to fado is a profound and emotional experience, even if you can’t understand the words.
The Portuguese take Fado (translated as “fate”) very seriously, and you will do well to try and see a show! It usually consists of only one singer and a guitar. It’s an experience you won’t forget easily. Fado has been declared an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO for a reason!
Here are a couple of options to include Fado in your itinerary.
➤ This Live Fado & Alfama Tour will get you acquainted with the oldest neighborhood in town, the place where Fado was born, and a charming place to walk at night, and then take you to a Fado house, for an intimate and unforgettable experience. ➥ BOOK IT HERE
➤ Experience Fado in Chiado, a 50-minute show that will take you to the musical core of Portugal, featuring 2 singers and 2 guitarists, accompanied by images of the best places in Lisbon. ➥ BOOK IT HERE
Where to Stay in Lisbon
You’ll probably be spending one night in Lisbon, and choosing the right hotel location makes a huge difference, especially when you have little time. These are my 4 suggestions for different budgets.
LUXURY: Santiago de Alfama – Boutique Hotel is located in the middle of the Alfama neighborhood, and boasts incredible views. The stylish, bright 13 rooms and 6 suites all come with different designs and layouts.
SUSTAINABLE BOUTIQUE: Inspira Santa Marta Hotel & Spa is a boutique hotel and a leader among sustainable hotels – “Doing the right thing” is its slogan. Book also for its Feng-shui-inspired modern design and the Spa.
BOUTIQUE B&B: Casa do Mercado Lisboa is a charming boutique bed & breakfast. Simple, yet elegant decor with wooden floor. Its location, steps from the Bairro Alto, makes it ideal as a base to visit the city.
MID-RANGE: easyHotel Lisbon features air-conditioned rooms, a 24-hour front desk, and it’s accessible for wheelchair users. It’s well located and offers great quality/price ratio.
ON A BUDGET: Live Lisboa Hostel is a very nice accommodation, and perfectly located. Dorms are spacious and each bed has its own curtain for privacy. Towels are provided, and there are also lockers, and a shared kitchen.
What to Pack for Lisbon
Whether you’re spending only one day in Lisbon, Portugal, or a whole week, packing the right clothes is crucial to enjoy comfortably and, more importantly, avoid being too cold or too hot. Nothing worse than being overdressed on a warm, sunny day strolling by the riverfront! So, what should you pack for Lisbon?
- Comfortable Walking Shoes – If you’re only going to spend 1 day in Lisbon, you’ll do a looot of walking. Make sure you are ready for endless hours of walking with a comfortable pair of walking shoes and prevent some painful blisters.
- Warm clothing -While Lisbon is famous for its good weather, there is a misconception that it stays warm all year round. But don’t forget the city is right by the Atlantic, so at the very least a cool breeze is guaranteed. Even if you go in the summer, take a light jacket for the night.
- Sunglasses – Lisbon gets more than 300 days of sun per year… need I say more?
- Sunscreen – We love sunny days, but the sun can be relentless here, especially in the warmer months, and even more so if you’re gonna be outside all day.
- Nice clothes for the night – No need to bring anything fancy, but after a full day of walking, it feels good to wear some nice clothes and enjoy a Fado show in style.
- Umbrella / Rain jacket for the winter – Even though the temperature never gets too low in Lisbon, the winter months tend to be rainy. Sometimes it also has cold winds from the ocean! If you’re going in the colder months, take a small umbrella or rain jacket just in case. Lisbon is beautiful in the rain too!
As I mentioned at the beginning, this city is full of charms. This makes it really hard to pick what to do in Lisbon for a day. It’s such a short time! But if you follow this Lisbon 1 day itinerary, you should be able to see the main sights and landmarks. And if you can stay longer, do not hesitate. I promise you won’t regret it!
Lisbon in One Day FAQ
Yes, it’s possible to see the main sights if you’re organized and keep moving. But this city has a lot to offer, and it would be better to stay for at least 2 or 3 days at least to enjoy it more fully.
Lisbon enjoys more than 300 days of sun a year! The summers are hot, and the mid-seasons are very pleasant. In winter, even though the temperatures don’t drop too low, it can get rainy, with cold winds from the Atlantic. Don’t forget a good jacket and umbrella just in case!
Absolutely! It’s a very short time, so don’t expect to see all of Lisbon. The airport, though, is close to the city, so I’d recommend you take advantage of this. Explore the city center and Belem, stopping at a miradouro somewhere in between.
Try to get on a walking tour to make the most of it. You can see Alfama, the city center, and enjoy views of the city and the river from the Santa Luzia Viewpoint (take Tram 28!).
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