Lisbon is Portugal’s vibrant and captivating capital city!
Curious about how to spend one day in Lisbon? I’ve got you covered!
With its picturesque neighbourhoods, historic landmarks, and delicious cuisine, there’s no shortage of things to see and do in this amazing city. Whether you’re here for a quick layover or a short vacation, spending just one day in Lisbon can be an adventure of a lifetime! You won’t be able to cover everything, but a day in Lisbon is better than none.
I’ve been to Portugal twice, with both times spending time in Lisbon. I’ve been able to experience the city by spending quality time in some of the best neighbourhoods.
I’ll share some tips based on my recent trips to Lisbon on how to make the most out of your 1-day in Lisbon while experiencing the best that the city has to offer. So grab your walking shoes and let’s explore this charming city together!
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One Day in Lisbon – Is it Worth it?
Absolutely! Even if you only have one day Lisbon, it’s definitely worth it to explore this vibrant and historic city. Lisbon is a city full of charm, culture, and great food. With its narrow streets and stunning architecture, the city is a photographer’s dream.
In just one day, you can visit some of Lisbon’s most iconic landmarks, such as the Belem Tower, the Jeronimos Monastery, and the Alfama neighbourhood. You can also take a ride on the famous Tram 28 and experience the city’s lively atmosphere.
Lisbon’s culinary scene is also not to be missed, with delicious seafood dishes, pastel de nata (Portuguese custard tarts), and local wines. So, Lisbon in one day is enough to get a taste of the city’s unique culture and history, leaving you with a desire to come back for more.
What to Do in Lisbon for a Day
#1 Breakfast at Dear Breakfast Lisbon (Alfama Neighbourhood)
Looking for a delicious breakfast spot in Lisbon? Look no further than Dear Breakfast, one of the city’s most popular breakfast destinations. With multiple locations across the city, they offer a variety of classic breakfast options, from yummy avocado toast to fruit bowls and smoothies or their decadent sweet or savoury French toast.
If you prefer to grab breakfast on the go, there are plenty of nearby cafes where you can enjoy a quick cup of coffee and the famous pastel de nata. This egg custard pastry is a beloved staple in Portugal and can be found in bakeries and cafes all over the city. Be sure to try it dusted with cinnamon for an extra touch of sweetness! Either option is a perfect start to your morning in Lisbon.
Address: Largo de Santo Antonio da Sé, 16 (Alfama location) – Opens at 9 am, reservations are recommended
#2 Explore the Historic Alfama Neighbourhood
Exploring the Alfama district is a must-do experience for anyone visiting Lisbon. As the oldest district of the city, it offers a glimpse into the city’s rich history and culture. Its narrow and winding streets, colourful houses, and traditional shops and restaurants make it a charming and authentic neighbourhood to wander around. You’ll likely get lost in the maze of streets, and if you do, just use your navigation app on your phone to get you back on track.
The medieval St George Castle (Castelo de Sao Jorge) is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Lisbon, mostly because of its stunning panoramic views from the Miradouro De Sao Jorge Castle.
1-day Lisbon Tip: If you’re a traveller who loves history and castles then include this in your Lisbon itinerary (it’s best to get the skip-the-line tickets in advance). If not, I recommend saving it for when you have more time in Lisbon.
Grab your skip-the-line entrance ticket with a guided tour of St George Castle, check prices and book your dates
#3 Miradouro das Portas do Sol and Miradouro Sta. Luzia (Alfama Neighbourhood)
If you only have one day i n Lisbon, make sure to visit the Miradouro Sta. Luzia and Miradouro das Portas do Sol for the best views in the city. These two nearby viewpoints offer stunning vistas of the Tagus River and the colourful buildings of Alfama.
After taking in the breathtaking scenery, head to a true oasis in the heart of the city – a lookout point with beautiful azulejo-tiled walls, fountains, and lush gardens. Take a moment to relax on one of the benches, soak up the charming neighbourhood’s atmosphere, and recharge before continuing your Lisbon adventure.
#4 No. 28 Tram
For a classic Lisbon experience, take the No. 28 tram from Miradouro Sta. Luzia and Miradouro das Portas do Sol to Praça do Comércio.
This vintage tram line has been operating since the 1930s and takes you on a scenic journey through the winding streets and hills of the city. Along the way, you’ll pass by Se Cathedral, a stunning Romanesque church with Gothic influences (it will be on your left). Hop off at Praça do Comércio, in the heart of the Baixa District.
If you’d rather walk (or if you think the Tram is just too touristy), follow the tram tracks downhill, about a 15-minute walk.
#5 Praça do Comércio (Baixa Neighbourhood)
Praça do Comércio is the city’s main commerce square, and features the iconic Rua Augusta Arch (Arco da Rua Augusta).
The square was originally the location of the Paço da Ribeira, the royal palace of Portugal until it was destroyed in the Great Lisbon Earthquake of 1755. After its reconstruction, the square became a hub of trade and commerce, serving as the gateway to Lisbon’s port. Today, the Praça do Comércio remains a popular destination for tourists and locals alike, with its grandeur and elegance still commanding attention.
Take a moment to soak in the stunning views of the Tagus River and the Ponte 25 de Abril bridge, and snap a photo in front of the statue of King Jose I in the center of the square. This site is definitely one of the top things to see in Lisbon in 1 day.
#6 Rua Augusta to Rossio Square
Soak up the vibrant atmosphere of the Baixa neighbourhood by walking along Rua Augusta pedestrian street to end at Rossio Square. Perhaps do a little shopping at the local stores or grab lunch in one of the many restaurants along the way.
Just before you arrive at Rossio Square, at the intersection of Rua Augusta and Rua Santa Justa, look to your left and see the Santa Justa Lift, also known as the Carmo Lift. This popular tourist attraction in Lisbon provides stunning views of the city from its upper platform.
Lisbon 1 day Tip: Santa Justa Lift entrance costs include access to the observation deck is €1.50, while the ticket to ride up and down the elevator is €5.30 (or free with Lisboa Card). I recommend you admire it from the street level and skip the ride up/down (due to the long lines).
Grab a bite to eat:
- For Pastel de Nata there are 3 good ones along Rua Augusta, try: Manteigaria – Fábrica de Pastéis de Nata (no. 195-197 Rua Augusta) or Casa Portuguesa do Pastel de Bacalhau (106 Rua Augusta) or Fábrica da Nata (275 Rua Augusta)
- One of the most famous coffee shops in Lisbon, Cafe Nicola, has views of Rossio Square and offers a lunch menu
#7 Jerónimos Monastery (Belém Neighbourhood)
Take the tram to the Belém district, where you’ll find some of Lisbon’s most famous landmarks.
First, visit the Jerónimos Monastery. It’s an absolutely awe-inspiring monument and a masterpiece of Portuguese Gothic architecture. No wonder it’s been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site!
Once you’re inside, take your time to explore the ornate chapels, cloisters, and other architectural wonders. I highly recommend not missing the grand entrance hall, which is decorated with intricate carvings and statues. Another highlight of the monastery is the stunning Igreja Santa Maria de Belém (St. Mary’s Church), which features a soaring nave and intricate vaulted ceilings that will take your breath away.
- Opening hours: From October to April open Tuesday to Sunday from 10 am to 5:30 pm, closed Mondays and from May to September open Tuesday to Sunday from 10 am to 6:30 pm
- Cost: €10 (+ Belém Tower €12, Belém Tower + The National Archaeological Museum €16), Entrance fee to St Mary Church is free
Grab your skip-the-line entrance ticket – check prices and book your dates!
#8 Tower of Belém (Belém Neighbourhood)
Then, head to the nearby Tower of Belém, a 16th-century fortress and another UNESCO site. Because you’re short on time and can only view the Belem Tower from the outside, don’t worry! You can still appreciate this beautiful landmark and take some great photos as one of the most Instagrammable places in Portugal. The tower has a fascinating history as it played a crucial role in protecting Lisbon from invaders in the past.
While the inside of the tower features a small museum that tells its story, you can still climb up the narrow spiral staircase to the top for some breathtaking views of the city and the river. So, even if you can’t tour the inside, make sure to stop by and see the Belem Tower in person during your visit to Lisbon!
#9 Monument to the Discoveries (Belém Neighbourhood)
Walk along the waterfront and visit the Discoveries Monument (Padrão dos Descobrimentos), which pays tribute to Portugal’s explorers and their achievements. This impressive monument stands tall at 52 metres.
You can climb to the top which offers stunning panoramic views of the Tagus River and the surrounding area. If the lines aren’t long, this would be worth doing for the €6.
#10 Time Out Market (Cais do Sodre Neighbourhood)
Take the train back to the city center and stop at the Cais do Sodre train station. A short walk is the iconic Time Out Market, a great spot to enjoy a late afternoon aperitif and a small bite to eat to keep you fueled until dinner.
This lively food hall is a food lover’s paradise, and it’s not hard to see why! The atmosphere is vibrant, and the selection of food stalls is incredible, offering everything from traditional Portuguese cuisine to international delicacies. Whether you’re craving fresh seafood, savoury sandwiches, or sweet treats, you’ll find it all here. You can take your pick from a range of wines, beers, cocktails, ginjinha liqueur or even non-alcoholic beverages to enjoy with your late afternoon aperitif.
#11 Explore Chiado Neighbourhood
Begin your exploration of the Chiado neighbourhood at the picturesque Largo Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro, lined with colourful buildings and charming cafés.
Take a stroll down Rua Garrett, home to upscale boutiques, restaurants, and Livraria Bertrand – the oldest continuously running bookstore in the world. According to the plaque posted at the storefront, the Bertrand bookshop dates all the way back to the first half of the 18th century, placing it in the Guinness Book of World Records as the ‘Oldest Operating Bookshop’.
#12 Dinner (Chiado Neighbourhood)
Finish the day with dinner at a typical Lisbon restaurant. Try some petiscos, small plates of Portuguese delicacies, and sip on a glass of local wine or port. Here are the ones I’ve tried, and recommend that are in or close to the Chiado neighbourhood. Note that reservations are required at these restaurants and anytime after 8 pm is the usual dinner hour in Portugal.
- BuoNapoletano (Chiado)
- Boa-Bao (Chiado)
- Oitto – Chiado)
- Cantinho do Avillez (Chiado)
- Prado (Baixa)
- O Português Chiado (Cais do Sodre)
#13 Fado Performance
End the day with a nightcap at one of Lisbon’s rooftop bars, where you can admire the city skyline and reflect on your day of discovery in the heart of Lisbon. Try the nearby Park Bar for a casual atmosphere with amazing views or a more upscale restaurant and bar called Terraço BA.
Or adding a Fado performance is a wonderful way to experience the country’s rich cultural heritage. Be sure to book your tickets in advance, as Fado performances can be very popular and often sell out quickly.
What to Do with More than 24 Hours in Lisbon
Even though this Lisbon 1-day itinerary was packed with so many incredible sights in some of the best neighbourhoods in Lisbon, I did have to leave out some great ones, like MAAT, or Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology, Carmo Convent, Elevador da Bica, Se Cathedral to name a few. No need to worry, use my comprehensive guide to spending 2, 3 or 4 days in Lisbon to see everything this great city has to offer!
Lisbon is not only a stunning city to explore but also an excellent starting point for day trips to some of Portugal’s most beautiful destinations that are just a short distance away.
- Lisbon to Cascais – make the most of your one day visit to this beachy town
- From Lisbon to Sintra to visit the colourful fairytale Pena Palace and Park and the magical palace of Quinta da Regaleira
- Take a day trip to Coimbra – Is Coimbra Worth Visiting and an ideal 1-Day Itinerary in Coimbra
- Head to the region of Alentejo to the historic city of Evora
Where to Stay in Lisbon
Stay at Baixa House, a charming boutique apartment hotel located in the heart of Lisbon’s Baixa neighbourhood. Each of the 13 apartments is uniquely decorated with vintage furniture and modern amenities, providing a comfortable and stylish home away from home.
The hotel’s central location allows guests to easily explore all of the city’s sights included in this Lisbon in a day itinerary. I’ve written about my review where you can read why it’s my go-to place to stay when in Lisbon.
Lisbon 24 Hours Tip: breakfast is delivered to your room, and if you stay at Baixa House, you can skip your morning breakfast.
Is 1 day enough in Lisbon?
One day in Lisbon is better than none, but it’s not enough to see everything. Plan carefully and prioritize your must-see attractions and use
How do I spend a few hours in Lisbon?
If you only have a few hours in Lisbon, explore the historic neighbourhood of Alfama, go to a viewpoint and try some pastel de nata or ginjinha liqueur.
Is the Lisbon Card worth it for 1 day in Lisbon?
No, the Lisbon Card is not worth it for 1 day as it’s expensive and may not cover all the attractions you plan to visit. It’s better to pay as you go.
Portugal Travel Information
If your Portugal travels have you going to Porto, Douro Valley, or Coimbra be sure to check out these articles:
- Is Porto Worth Visiting? 17 reasons why I say YES it is! And if you are curious about what is Porto famous for, I share 40 fascinating facts that will really help you plan how to spend 3 days in Porto with the ultimate itinerary.
- An absolute must is a day trip to Douro Valley Wine Tour from Porto
- A day trip to Coimbra from Porto (or Lisbon) be sure to check out – Is Coimbra Worth Visiting and an ideal 1-Day Itinerary in Coimbra
For more Portugal content check out my Europe Travel page and you’ll have access to my full bank of articles. Plus, it’s where you’ll find travel resources – everything from accommodations to train travel and more.
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As a Holidaymaker
Lisbon is a city full of surprises that can be explored in just one day. From the stunning views from the Castelo de São Jorge to the delicious pastries at Pastéis de Belém, there is something for everyone in this bustling metropolis.
Whether you’re interested in history, and culture, or simply taking in the sights and sounds of a new place, Lisbon has it all. So why not book your ticket and come see for yourself what makes this city so special? You won’t regret it!