Lisbon, the vibrant capital of Portugal, is known for its unique charm and stunning landscapes. With only one day to explore, careful planning becomes essential. Lisbon offers a mix of historical landmarks, vibrant culture, and delectable cuisine.

Prioritising your interests and creating an itinerary allows you to make the most of your limited time. From visiting UNESCO World Heritage sites such as Belém Tower to savouring traditional Portuguese dishes and experiencing the soulful Fado music, planning ensures you don’t miss out on the highlights.

With its cobblestone streets and colourful buildings, Lisbon’s allure awaits, ready to captivate you in just one day.

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One Day in Lisbon: Full Itinerary

Where to Stay in Lisbon

Quick Tips to Maximise Your Day in Lisbon

When you have just one day to explore Lisbon, it’s crucial to make the most of every moment. Here are some quick tips to help you maximise your experience and create a memorable day.

  1. Plan Ahead: Before your trip, research the top attractions and create an itinerary. Prioritize the must-see sights and activities, allowing for flexibility.

  2. Use Public Transportation: Lisbon has an efficient and affordable public transportation system. Consider using the metro, trams, and buses to save time and cover more ground. Purchase a day pass for unlimited travel.

  3. Start Early: Begin your day as early as possible to beat the crowds. Many attractions, such as Belém Tower, open early, allowing you to enjoy them before it gets too busy.

  4. Time Management: Allocate timeframes for each activity based on their importance and proximity. Be realistic and factor in travel time between locations.

  5. Take Advantage of Free Walking Tours: Joining a free walking tour is a great way to get an overview of the city’s history and main sights. These tours are usually led by knowledgeable local guides and last around 2-3 hours.

  6. Grab a Quick Meal: Opt for quick bites or street food to save time. Try the iconic pastéis de nata, a delicious custard tart, as a convenient and tasty snack.

  7. Focus on Neighbourhoods: Instead of trying to see all of Lisbon, concentrate on exploring specific neighbourhoods like Belém, Chiado, and Alfama. This allows for a more in-depth experience of each area.

  8. Be Flexible: While it’s important to have a plan, be open to spontaneous discoveries along the way. Lisbon is filled with hidden gems, charming cafes, and picturesque viewpoints that may not be on your original itinerary.

By following these tips, you can navigate the city efficiently, make the most of your limited time, and create a memorable day exploring Lisbon’s vibrant streets and iconic attractions.

Morning Exploration: Belém

One of the must-see areas of Lisbon is Belém, located just a short distance from the city center. Start your morning exploration with a visit to the iconic Belém Tower, a UNESCO World Heritage site that served as a critical defensive structure during Portugal’s Golden Age of exploration.

Next up, head over to the nearby Monument to the Discoveries, a towering tribute to the pioneers and explorers who shaped Portuguese history. After taking in the fascinating history lessons on display, make your way to the grand Jerónimos Monastery, known for its stunning architecture and tranquil courtyards.

Finally, no trip to Belém would be complete without savouring the world-famous pastéis de nata, a delicious custard tart that has become a symbol of Portuguese cuisine. Make sure to stop by one of the local bakeries, such as Pastéis de Belém or Antiga Confeitaria de Belém, to indulge in this sweet treat before continuing your Lisbon adventure.

Afternoon Adventure: Chiado

After a satisfying morning in Belém, venture to the vibrant district of Chiado for an exciting afternoon adventure. Begin by taking a leisurely stroll through the charming streets of Chiado, filled with historical buildings, elegant squares, and a lively atmosphere.

As you wander, immerse yourself in the rich cultural heritage of the area. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the famous Elevador de Santa Justa, an impressive wrought-iron elevator that offers panoramic views of the city from its viewing platform.

Marvel at the intricate architectural details and snap some memorable photos. Afterward, explore the trendy shops and boutiques that line the streets of Chiado. From fashion boutiques to stylish concept stores, this district is a haven for shopping enthusiasts.

Whether you’re looking for unique souvenirs, designer labels, or local handicrafts, you’ll find something to suit your taste. Take your time to browse the stores, and perhaps treat yourself to a little indulgence. The combination of historical charm and modern elegance makes Chiado a delightful destination for an afternoon adventure.

Evening Delights: Alfama

As the sun starts to set, immerse yourself in the enchanting ambiance of the Alfama district for an evening filled with delights. Alfama is known for its narrow winding streets, colourful houses, and steep hills that exude a captivating Old World charm. Take your time to stroll through this historic neighbourhood and soak in its vibrant atmosphere. As you wander, you may stumble upon hidden viewpoints that offer breathtaking panoramas of the cityscape.

To truly experience the essence of Alfama, find a local tavern where you can enjoy a mesmerising performance of traditional Fado music. Fado, a heartfelt genre of Portuguese music, tells stories of love, longing, and melancholy. Let the soul-stirring melodies and passionate vocals captivate your senses as you savour the rich cultural heritage of Portugal.

After the Fado experience, treat your taste buds to an authentic Portuguese culinary journey at a traditional restaurant in Alfama. Indulge in flavourful dishes like grilled sardines, codfish, or hearty meat stews. Pair your meal with a glass of fine Portuguese wine or a refreshing sangria to complement the flavours.

As the night winds down, feel free to continue exploring Alfama’s charming streets or find a cozy spot in a local bar to relax and reflect on the day’s adventures. The mix of captivating history, cultural performances, and mouth-watering cuisine makes Alfama the perfect place to have an unforgettable evening in Lisbon.

Additional Suggestions for Your Day in Lisbon

If you’re looking for alternative attractions and activities in Lisbon based on your specific interests or preferences, here are some recommendations to consider:

1. Art and Culture Enthusiasts: Visit the Lisbon Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology (MAAT) or the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, both offering a diverse range of art exhibitions and cultural events. Alternatively, explore LX Factory, a creative hub occupying an old industrial complex with art galleries, shops, and trendy eateries.

2. Nature Lovers: Take a trip to the beautiful coastal town of Cascais, located just a short train ride away from Lisbon. Enjoy the stunning beaches, go hiking in the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park, or visit the picturesque Boca do Inferno cliff formation.

3. History Buffs: Explore the medieval town of Sintra, a UNESCO World Heritage site known for its fairytale-like castles and palaces. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit Pena Palace, Quinta da Regaleira, and the Castle of the Moors for a truly immersive historical experience.

4. Foodies: Embark on a culinary tour through Lisbon’s vibrant neighbourhoods, such as Baixa and Bairro Alto, tasting local specialties like bacalhau (salted cod), grilled sardines, and bifana (pork sandwich). Consider joining a food and wine tour to indulge in the city’s gastronomic delights.

5. Music and Nightlife: Experience the lively nightlife scene in the Bairro Alto district, known for its numerous bars and live music venues. Enjoy a night of dancing to various music genres or join a Fado pub crawl to explore traditional Fado houses in different neighbourhoods.

Remember, these are just a few suggestions based on different interests and preferences. Lisbon offers a wide range of attractions and activities that cater to every taste, ensuring an exciting and memorable experience for all visitors. 

Check out all of the best activities to do in Lisbon over on Get Your Guide.

Before You Leave for Lisbon

Before you set off on your way to Lisbon, there are a number of things you will need to get organised to ensure a smooth and enjoyable journey. These include what to pack, where to stay and what is the best insurance for your trip to Portugal. All of this is discussed in detail below.

How to Get to Lisbon

When you arrive in Lisbon, you will likely arrive at one of the main arrival points such as the train stations, bus terminals, or the airport. If your plan is to explore the city centre then the Rossio Station or Cais do Sodré Station are the best options for you. These stations offer convenient access to the city’s main sights and are located in the heart of Lisbon.

The Lisbon Bus Terminal is another arrival point and is well-connected to the city center. It provides easy access to attractions such as Alfama, the historic neighborhood known for its narrow streets and Fado music. You can also conveniently reach other parts of the city from here.

While Lisbon Airport is slightly further from the city center, there are efficient transportation options available. The metro system provides a direct link to the city center, and it takes around 20 minutes to reach key areas such as Baixa-Chiado or Rossio. Buses and taxis are also readily available outside the airport for a convenient and quick journey to your destination.

For this itinerary, any of these arrival options will take you into the heart of the city. However, if you plan to explore the city centre and its iconic landmarks, Rossio Station, Cais do Sodré Station, or the Lisbon Bus Terminal would be the most convenient choices, bringing you closer to the historical and cultural highlights Lisbon has to offer.

Where to Stay in Lisbon


What to Pack for Your Trip to Lisbon

Given the beautiful sights and scenery that you are no doubt going to see around Lisbon, we highly recommend packing a good camera for your trip. If you want to read more about the cameras we use and why we love them, check out the link below.

You can read what else we keep in our camera bag over here.

What is the Best Travel Insurance for Lisbon

I know travel insurance is the least enjoyable thing to purchase and look at when you’re planning a trip, however, you wouldn’t want to be without it in the event that something happened. Accidents can happen anywhere and the extortionate medical bills will ruin your trip if you are not covered.

To ensure you have a stress-free trip with no worries about potential medical bills, make sure you cover yourself when you travel. We can recommend using SafetyWing, a backpacker-friendly and cheap insurance company that provides good coverage and support. It is also nomad-friendly, unlike most other insurance companies, meaning you do not need to worry about being out of your home country for too long.

Get a quote for your travel insurance right here and get covered!

So there you have it, your one day itinerary to Lisbon. If you are visiting this incredible city and have any other questions on what to expect, leave us a comment down below. We love to chat about this stuff! If you have already been, let us know how it was! Did you get visit the castle? Did you manage the trip without getting caught in the rain? Let us know in the comments below!

Also, remember to share this with your friends and family that you are going to share this amazing experience with. Sharing is caring and we want to ensure that everyone is fully prepared to maximise their experience completing this stunning walk.

If you are planning a Portugal trip soon then check out our other Portugal content right here. Come and find us on social media to see where we are currently exploring. Tag us in your photos from your stay and we will share them with the rest of our community of explorers and backpackers.

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