Lisbon is the capital city of Portugal and one of the most visited cities in Europe. With its ideal location on the Atlantic Coast and Tagus River, Lisbon houses over 25% of Portugal’s population. Known for its historic neighbourhoods, colourful tiles and buildings, and high-quality food, Lisbon is irresistibly charming. Take a stroll down one of the many cobblestone streets or look out over the city from one of its many scenic viewpoints, and you may just fall in love.
Lisbon has such a unique vibe to it that visiting it is unforgettable. For years, I have heard amazing things about the city of Lisbon and they really are true! A city with history, vibrant culture, delicious food, and beautiful lookout points, Lisbon is not to be missed when planning a trip to Portugal. This 3-Day Lisbon itinerary will show you some of the best things to do in Lisbon.
Are 3 Days in Lisbon Enough?
Honestly, three days in Lisbon was not enough for me, but it did provide a good taste of what this incredible city has to offer. Three days in Lisbon is a great introduction, but I recommend spending more time in this city if your Portugal itinerary can allow it. Having 4-5 days in Lisbon will allow you time to see more of Lisbon and not feel like you are rushing.
If you only have three days in Lisbon, this is the Lisbon itinerary for you.
3-Day Lisbon Itinerary
So you are trying to figure out how to spend 3 days in Lisbon? This Lisbon itinerary focuses on three areas of Lisbon: Old Lisbon, Belém, and Modern Lisbon, in addition to a day trip from Lisbon to Sintra. Plan to start your days early if you can to maximize your time to explore.
While it is easy to be overly ambitious and try to squeeze everything there is to do in Lisbon into only 3 days, remember to leave time for eating, getting around the city, souvenir shopping, and sleeping in (if you desire). During my visit, I tried to see and do everything, and it just didn’t work, so I constantly had to adjust my Lisbon itinerary as I went along. This guide includes the 3-Day Lisbon itinerary I created for my trip, along with suggestions of things to do if you finish each day early.
Three Days in Lisbon: Day 1 – Belém & Modern Lisbon
Today will take you through the Belém and Modern areas of Lisbon.
You’ve arrived in Lisbon and are ready to hit the ground running. Time to explore this massive city, so let’s get started. Start your day by heading to Belém.
Pastéis de Belém
Pastéis de Belém is a cafe and bakery in Belém serving Portuguese custard tarts and pastries. Since 1837, they have made their famous pastries using an ancient recipe from Jerónimos Monastery and are the original creator of the Pastel de Nata. People travel across the globe to taste their delicious custard tarts and other treats.
You can’t go to Lisbon and not make a stop here in Belém, so if you only try one Pastel de Nata in Lisbon, try this one. Another thing I highly recommend trying is Portuguese orange juice; it’s the most delicious orange juice I’ve ever had.
Tip: The line to dine in or the takeaway area is often shorter than the line for the takeaway window. During my visit to Pastéis de Belém, only a few people were waiting to dine inside versus the 20+ people waiting in line at their takeaway window.
Pastéis de Belém
Hours of Operation: Daily 8 am – 9 pm
Address: R. de Belém 84 92, 1300-085 Lisboa, Portugal
When finished eating at Pastéis de Belém, head to Jerónimos Monastery, the next stop for today.
Jerónimos Monastery is a former monastery from the 16th century in Belém, Portugal. Along with Belém Tower, the monastery is one of the most prominent examples of Portuguese Gothic Manueline architecture and took over 100 years to complete. Since 1983, it has been considered a UNESCO world heritage site and is visited by millions annually. The monastery’s intricate details are incredible and a highlight of visiting this beautiful piece of Portuguese history.
Hours of Operation: Tues-Sun 10 am – 5 pm, closed Monday
Address: Praça do Império 1400-206 Lisboa, Portugal
From Jerónimos Monastery, walk over to Belém Tower.
Belém Tower is a 30m tall 16th-century fortification in the Belém district of Lisbon. When you think of Lisbon, you probably think of this iconic landmark. Built during the Portuguese Renaissance on a small island along the shore of the Tagus River, the tower acted as a gateway to Lisbon. Belém Tower is one of the most visited attractions in Portugal, so make sure you add it to your Lisbon itinerary.
Hours of Operation: Tues-Sun 10 am – 5:30 pm, closed Monday
Address: Av. Brasília, 1400-038 Lisboa, Portugal
Running ahead of schedule and still have lots of time today?
More Things to Do in Belem
- Museu Coleção Berardo – a museum of modern and contemporary art
- National Coach Museum – a museum for 16th-19th century carriages
- Museu de Marinha – a navy museum dedicated to the history of navigation in Portugal
Once done in Belém, start making your way to Modern Lisbon.
The Telecabine Lisboa is a gondola-style lift in modern Lisbon. Located on the Tagus river, riding the Telecabine Lisboa is a great way to see Lisbon’s waterfront from a different perspective. After all of the running around to sightsee, it’s nice to sit back, relax, and enjoy the panoramic views of the river.
To learn more about the Telecabine Lisboa, including visiting tips, how to get there, and pricing, read my guide on the Telecabine Lisboa.
Hours of Operation: Daily 11 am – 7 pm
Address: Estação Norte, Passeio das Tágides, 1990-280 Lisboa, Portugal
Ride the Telecabine Lisboa then next to the Oceanário de Lisboa.
Oceanário de Lisboa
The Oceanário de Lisboa is an ethical aquarium in Lisbon’s modern waterfront area. Focused on ocean conservation and sustainability, the Lisbon Aquarium is a great way to see marine animals from around the world in one place. Housed in their massive aquarium tanks are over 450 species of marine life. The Lisbon Oceanarium is a good rainy day activity or a place to go for those who enjoy seeing marine life up close and learning about them.
To learn more about the Lisbon Aquarium, including how to get there, pricing, and how much time you need to visit, read my guide on the Oceanário de Lisboa.
Oceanário de Lisboa
Hours of Operation: Daily 10 am – 7 pm
Address: Esplanada Dom Carlos I s/nº, 1990-005 Lisboa, Portugal
Three Days in Lisbon: Day 2 – A Day Trip to Sintra
Today is your day trip from Lisbon to Sintra. It’s time for some castles! Only an hour outside of the city by train, Sintra is a great day trip from Lisbon. Rise early and catch the train to Sintra from Rossio station.
Castelo dos Mouros
Castelo dos Mouros, also known as the Castle of the Moors, is a castle in Sintra, Portugal. Built in the 8th and 9th centuries by the Moors, the castle was built to protect the town’s agricultural-based population. Located up in the Sintra mountain, Castelo dos Mouros offers scenic views of the town below, except on a foggy day. A National monument and UNESCO World Heritage Site, this castle is a must-visit on your day trip to Sintra from Lisbon.
During my visit, we enjoyed walking through the forest and climbing all the castle’s stairs to see all the different lookout points. You can even see Pena Palace from Castelo dos Mouros.
Tip: I recommend visiting Castelo dos Mouros before Pena Palace. The bus in Sintra connecting the two attractions only goes in one direction, so if you visit Pena Palace first, you have to walk to Castelo dos Mouros. The roads in Sintra are narrow, so traffic flows in a single direction, up the mountain and Pena Palace is at the top.
Castelo dos Mouros
Hours of Operation: Daily 9:30 am – 6:30 pm
Address: 2710-405 Sintra, Portugal
From Castelo dos Mouros, bus or walk to the Park and National Palace of Pena.
Park and National Palace of Pena
Park and National Palace of Pena is a beautiful castle in the Sintra mountains. A National Monument and one of the Seven Wonders of Portugal, Pena Palace is a must-visit. This charming 19th-century castle is known for its iconic red and yellow colours. The park surrounding the Palace spans 200 hectares, containing a variety of trees from around the world. With its location on a hilltop, be prepared to walk uphill, but it is so worth it for the view from the top.
Park and National Palace of Pena
Hours of Operation: Daily 9 am – 7 pm
Address: Estrada da Pena, 2710-609 Sintra, Portugal
Running ahead of schedule and still have lots of time today?
More Things to Do in Sintra
- Sintra National Palace – a preserved Moorish castle with a tile collection
- Quinta da Regaleira – a UNESCO World Heritage site featuring a palace and garden
- Initiation Well – a ceremonial staircase and tunnel that is part of Quinta da Regaleira
Once done in Sintra, start making your way to downtown Lisbon.
Pink Street is one of the most famous streets in Lisbon, made famous for its pink colour. In 2013, the city painted Rua Nova do Carvalho pink to revitalize the area, creating Lisbon’s pink street. If you are looking for nightlife in Lisbon, check out Pink Street, where you will find plenty of restaurants, bars, and clubs. Even if you aren’t looking for nightlife, Pink Street is a fun place to visit anytime for photos.
Hours of Operation: Daily 24 hours
Address: R. Nova do Carvalho, 1200-370 Lisboa, Portugal
After visiting Pink Street, it’s time to eat at Time Out Market.
Time Out Market
Time Out Market is a place for foodies. What started in Lisbon has now expanded worldwide to a handful of cities, including Miami, New York, Boston, Montreal, Chicago, and Dubai, with more on the way. Since 2014, Time Out Market and food hall has been serving the best food vendors from all food categories, showing the best food Lisbon has to offer under one roof.
Whether you are looking for something to eat for lunch or dinner or are looking for only a beverage or dessert, with over 40 vendors to choose from, you will find it here. During my visit, I enjoyed a delicious burger and gelato. Time Out Market is a must-eat place for anyone who loves food.
Time Out Market
Hours of Operation: Sun-Thurs 10 am-midnight, Fri-Sat 10 am – 1 am
Address: Av. 24 de Julho 49, 1200-479 Lisboa, Portugal
Three Days in Lisbon: Day 3 – Alfama & Old Lisbon
Today is your final day of this Lisbon itinerary, and you will be exploring Alfama and the areas of Old Lisbon.
The Lisbon Cathedral is a 12th-century church in Lisbon’s Alfama neighbourhood. The city’s oldest church, the Lisbon Cathedral, has survived natural disasters, including an earthquake in 1755. Throughout the centuries, it has been renovated and repaired to appear how it does today. A beautiful example of mixed architecture styles, the Lisbon Cathedral is worth visiting when in Old Lisbon.
To learn more about the Lisbon Cathedral, including pricing, visiting tips, and how to get there, read my guide on the Lisbon Cathedral.
Hours of Operation: Mon, Tues, Thurs, Fri 9:30 am – 7 pm, Wed, Sat 10 am – 6 pm, closed Sunday
Address: Largo da Sé, 1100-585 Lisboa, Portugal
From the Lisbon Cathedral, head to Castelo de S Jorge, the next stop for today.
Castelo de São Jorge
Castelo de São Jorge is a 10th-century castle in Old Lisbon. Sitting on a hilltop in Lisbon’s Alfama neighbourhood, the Castle offers scenic views over the city below. You can visit Castelo de São Jorge with or without a guided tour. The only castle in Old Lisbon, a visit to Castelo de S Jorge is not to be missed.
During my visit, I didn’t realize how large the castle was and had planned my timeline too tightly so I ran out of time to see it all. Enjoy an afternoon roaming the grounds of this massive castle.
To learn more about the Castelo de S Jorge, including visiting tips and pricing, read my guide on Castelo de São Jorge.
Castelo de São Jorge
Hours of Operation: Daily 9 am – 9 pm
Address: R. de Santa Cruz do Castelo, 1100-129 Lisboa, Portugal
Finished this 3-day Lisbon itinerary early? Here are more ideas of things to do in Lisbon:
More Things to Do in Lisbon
- Museu Nacional do Azulejo – an art museum showcasing traditional Portuguese tiles
- Santa Justa Lift – elevator linking the city levels built in 1902
- Carmo Convent – medieval ruins and an archaeological museum
- National Pantheon – a 17th-century church housing celebrity tombs
Is Lisbon Safe?
Not only is Lisbon a safe city to explore, but it is considered one of the safest European capital cities to visit. A relaxed country, Portugal experiences low crime rates and rare violent crimes. The locals are friendly, open and welcoming people. As a tourist in any major city, be aware of pickpockets, especially in high tourism areas.
During my visit to Lisbon, I never felt unsafe, even at night when I would wander the streets searching for food and nightlife. Lisbon felt like one of the safest places I’ve visited, where I felt comfortable at night, and I would gladly return.
Is Lisbon Expensive?
While the most expensive city to visit in Portugal, compared to other European countries and major cities, Lisbon is considered one of the more affordable capital cities to visit. With luxury and budget-friendly options, Lisbon can be expensive, but it can also be affordable. Prices are higher in summer, during the peak tourism season.
Where to Store Luggage in Lisbon?
Storing luggage in Lisbon was actually way easier than I anticipated. Luggage storage is widely available, including at train stations and designated shops. At train stations, there are a limited number of lockers available to store your bags for a few hours or even overnight. With the lockers, you pay a different rate depending on the locker size, with larger ones costing more. At designated shops that store luggage, you pay per bag.
Having luggage storage in Lisbon and across Portugal made travelling between destinations easier. I would arrive at one destination, store my luggage for a few hours while exploring, and then check into my accommodation or head to the airport.
How to Get Around Lisbon
There are many ways to get around Lisbon, including by bus, tram, metro, train, taxi, tuk-tuk, driving and walking. Lisbon has a well-connected transit system, making it easy to get around the city and its surrounding towns.
There are two major transportation companies in Portugal: Carris and Metro. Carris runs the buses, trams and funiculars, and the Metro runs the subway/metro. On-board transit tickets cost €2-3, with the bus and metro being the most affordable options. Tickets are reduced to €1.50 for bus and metro when pre-loaded onto a reusable transit card that costs a one-time fee of €0.50. In addition to single-ride tickets, there are daily transit passes or combination transit+attraction passes called a Lisboa card.
What is a Lisboa Card and Is it Worth it?
In short, a Lisboa card is a transit+attraction pass to for the city of Lisbon, and whether it is worth it depends. I’ve written a detailed guide to the Lisboa Card to help you determine if a 1-Day, 2-Day, or 3-Day Lisboa card is worth it for you and your visit. Check out my Lisboa Card guide: A Lisboa Card Review: Is it Worth it and What Attractions are Included?
How to Get to Lisbon, Portugal
To get to Lisbon, you can take a plane, train, bus or a cruise. If coming from nearby in Europe, you also have the option of driving. Flights arrive in Lisbon daily from worldwide destinations, including North America, South America, Europe, Africa, Asia and the Caribbean. A direct flight to Lisbon, from Toronto or New York, takes approximately 7 hours.
How to Get Downtown Lisbon from Lisbon Airport
Humberto Delgado Airport (LIS) is the main airport in Lisbon and the main entry point into Portugal. The best ways to get from the Lisbon Airport to downtown Lisbon by public transit are by bus or metro. The bus or metro ride takes approximately 30 minutes and costs €1.50-2 for each direction. You can pay your fare on board with coins or pre-load the money on a reusable transit card at a metro station. A ticket is valid for 60 minutes for you to transfer buses/trains as needed to reach your destination.
Another way to get from the Lisbon airport to downtown is by taxi. It takes approximately 20 minutes to reach downtown and costs around $10-15, depending on what the taxi meter reads. Additional fees apply for large luggage kept in the taxi’s trunk during the cab ride.
What Language Do They Speak in Portugal?
Portuguese is the official language of Portugal. Other languages spoken across Portugal include English, French, and Spanish. 25% of the population in Portugal speaks English, and you will find some level of English spoken in the tourist areas. Aim to learn basic Portuguese phrases before your travels and download an offline translator to assist you in translation as needed.
Helpful Phrases in Portuguese To Learn Before You Go to Portugal
- Olá — Hello
- Tudo bem? — How are you?
- Por favor — Please
- Obrigado/Obrigada — Thank you**
- De nada — You’re welcome
- Perdão — Forgive me/pardon me
- Desculpa/Desculpe — I’m sorry
- Quanto custa? — How much does this cost?
- Onde fica a casa de banho? — Where is the bathroom?
- Sim — Yes
- Não — No
Tip: While it is beneficial to learn all these Portuguese phrases before you go, if you only have time to teach yourself one of them, choose this one: Obrigado/Obrigada — Thank you. Good manners are essential and can go far while travelling, so please be polite.
Helpful Tips for Visiting Lisbon
- The best time to visit is either spring (March-May) or fall (September-October) for nice weather and fewer crowds.
- The currency of Portugal is the Euro, as used in a variety of European countries.
- Tap water is safe to drink in Lisbon, although due to its taste, people drink bottled water.
I hope this information helped you plan your itinerary for 3-days in Lisbon, Portugal.
Related Posts: Planning a Trip to Portugal?
Check out these other Portugal travel guides that we have created to help you plan your trip to Lisbon and the Algarve region:
- Visiting the Lisbon Cathedral – Sé de Lisboa, Portugal
- Lisbon Castle of St. George (Castelo de S Jorge): How to Get There & Visiting Tips
- Lisbon Aquarium: Tips for Visiting the Oceanário de Lisboa
- Is the Lisboa Card Worth It? Review and What is Included
- Telecabine Lisboa, Portugal: Cable Car & Gondola Lift
- Pestana Lisboa Vintage Hotel Review in Lisbon, Portugal
- Getting Around the Algarve from Lagos: Sidecar32 Scooter Review
- Dream Wave Algarve Parasailing Review