Tourism

One Day in Lisbon: How to Spend the Perfect 24 Hours in Lisbon

Reema Bharti

Reema Bharti

· 9 min read

Here's a one day Lisbon itinerary for you:

  1. Early morning start at Praça do Comércio for an introductory view of Lisbon.

  2. Walk through Baixa Pombalina to witness the heart of downtown Lisbon.

  3. Visit Santa Justa Lift for an exceptional view of the city.

  4. Head towards Chiado for shopping and exploring trendy boutiques.

  5. Visit the Livraria Bertrand, the oldest bookstore in the world.

  6. Short walk to Bairro Alto for vibrant street art and traditional Fado music venues.

  7. Enjoy a lunch of local Portuguese cuisine in a traditional Tasca in Bairro Alto.

  8. Take tram 28 to Alfama, Lisbon's oldest neighborhood.

  9. Visit the Sé Cathedral and St. George's Castle for a glimpse into Lisbon's history.

  10. Head down to Miradouro da Senhora do Monte for a panoramic city view.

  11. Take a short trip to Belém by bus or tram.

  12. Visit the Belém Tower and Jerónimos Monastery, both UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

  13. Enjoy a sweet treat at Pastéis de Belém, famous for its traditional Portuguese egg tarts.

  14. Late afternoon visit to MAAT (Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology) to explore contemporary culture.

  15. Return to central Lisbon for dinner at a restaurant in the Cais do Sodré district, known for its seafood and night scene.

  16. End the day with a riverfront walk along the Tagus River at sunset.

When it comes to city breaks, Lisbon, with its unique blend of historical charm and modern vibrancy, is hard to beat.

Having spent an eventful day exploring this enchanting city, I discovered that a one day in Lisbon itinerary could offer a taste of everything that makes Lisbon so appealing - stunning architecture, vibrant neighborhoods, delectable cuisine, and a rich history that's omnipresent.

From sunrise at Praça do Comércio to a sunset walk along the Tagus River, there's much you can fit into a day.

Allow me to share my carefully curated itinerary to help you experience the essence of Portugal's capital city in just 24 hours.

A detailed 1 day Lisbon itinerary:

  1. Start the day at Praça do Comércio, enjoying the sunrise and the tranquil morning atmosphere.

My 1-day Lisbon itinerary kicked off with a visit to the iconic Praça do Comércio.

As the sun began to rise, I found myself captivated by the soft light reflecting off the grand, yellow arches of the square.

As the day started, I reveled in the tranquil morning atmosphere, which was a real treat to enjoy before the city fully awakened.

With the Tagus River at one end, this historical square is a picturesque spot to start your day in Lisbon.

  1. Stroll through Baixa Pombalina and take in the architecture.

After enjoying the serenity at Praça do Comércio, I took a leisurely stroll through Baixa Pombalina.

This downtown district, rebuilt after the catastrophic 1755 earthquake, showcases Pombaline-style architecture.

Characterized by symmetrical facades, decorative elements, and wrought-iron balconies, the structures here are a delight for the eyes.

Don't miss the Arco da Rua Augusta, a pedestrianized street lined with mosaic pavements and ornate buildings - it's a must-visit on any 1-day Lisbon itinerary.

  1. Visit Santa Justa Lift for panoramic city views.

Next on my journey was the Santa Justa Lift, an architectural marvel that took me up to some panoramic views of Lisbon. The lift, standing at 45 meters tall, is an astonishing sight in itself.

Riding to the top feels like traveling back in time, with its vintage wooden interiors. And once you reach the top, the view is unmatched!

You can see the entire Rossio Square, the rest of Baixa, and even the castle on the hill. Make sure to get this experience etched in your 1-day Lisbon itinerary.

window, travel, lisbon

  1. Enjoy a mid-morning coffee break at a local café in Chiado.

Chiado, Lisbon's charming neighborhood, is just the right spot for a mid-morning coffee break. It's full of quaint local cafés, where I enjoyed a freshly brewed 'bica', a strong Portuguese espresso.

The smell of the beans, the hum of the city slowly waking up, and the taste of the rich, dark coffee was a real treat!

Plus, I got to try 'Pastel de Nata', a delicious local egg tart, perfect with coffee.

Adding this coffee break to your 1-day Lisbon itinerary not only energizes you for the day but also lets you experience Lisbon like a local.

  1. Visit Livraria Bertrand, the world's oldest bookstore.

Before ending the morning part of my 1-day Lisbon itinerary, I stopped by the Livraria Bertrand, recognized by the Guinness World Records as the world's oldest bookstore still in operation.

Founded in 1732, stepping inside felt like stepping into another era. I was surrounded by wooden shelves filled with books of all genres and languages, old and new.

With its warm, inviting atmosphere, Livraria Bertrand is a haven for book lovers. Even if you aren't a bookworm, it's worth a visit just for its historical value.

  1. Short break for lunch at a local Tasca in Chiado.

Post the coffee break, I took a short lunch break at one of the local 'Tascas' in Chiado. These small, traditional restaurants serve some of the most authentic Portuguese cuisine.

I opted for a dish called 'Bacalhau à Brás', a popular codfish preparation, paired with a glass of refreshing 'Vinho Verde'. The portions were generous, and the flavors, absolutely divine.

Including a meal at a local Tasca in your 1-day Lisbon itinerary is a great way to delve into the culinary culture of Portugal.

  1. Take a leisurely stroll to Bairro Alto, exploring its vibrant street art and traditional Fado music venues.

After a satisfying lunch, it was time for a leisurely stroll to Bairro Alto. This neighborhood is known for its vibrant street art and traditional Fado music venues.

I was intrigued by the colors, patterns, and messages portrayed in the murals adorning the walls here.

Amidst the bustling evening, the sounds of Fado music streaming from local bars added a unique charm.

Bairro Alto's artistic and musical aura is an essential part of a 1-day Lisbon itinerary for culture enthusiasts.

  1. Take the iconic tram 28 to Alfama, Lisbon's oldest neighborhood.

One of the most memorable experiences of my 1-day Lisbon itinerary was the ride on the iconic Tram 28 to Alfama, the city's oldest neighborhood.

The tram ride, winding through Lisbon's narrow, hilly streets, felt like a journey back in time.

Once in Alfama District, I was greeted by a maze of narrow alleyways, ancient houses, and the scent of grilled sardines in the air. This quarter, oozing old-world charm, is a must-visit on a Lisbon trip.

  1. Visit Sé Cathedral for a glimpse into Lisbon's history.

While in Alfama, I made sure to visit the Sé Cathedral, a significant landmark offering a glimpse into Lisbon's history. Known as the city's oldest church, its majestic façade and solemn interiors narrate stories from the past.

I was awed by its Romanesque architectural style, the stunning rose window, and the tranquil cloister.

Exploring Sé Cathedral is a rewarding experience, giving insights into the city's historical and religious past. You can even visit the Castelo de São Jorge at the same time.

  1. Relax at Miradouro da Senhora do Monte with a panoramic view of the city.

To end my afternoon in Alfama, I headed to Miradouro da Senhora do Monte. This lookout point offers some of the best panoramic views of Lisbon.

The sight of the cityscape, bathed in the golden glow of the setting sun, was a sight to behold. I could spot landmarks like the Sé Cathedral, the Tagus River, and the iconic suspension bridge from up there.

I recommend adding this relaxing stop to your 1-day Lisbon itinerary. It's a perfect place to pause, relax, and take in the beauty of the city.

  1. Take a bus or tram to Belém for a late afternoon visit.

As the day moved into late afternoon, I took a bus to Belém, another charming district of Lisbon. The journey was pretty straightforward and allowed me to enjoy the changing urban landscapes.

It was amazing to see how the cityscape transitioned from the old-world charm of Alfama to the grandeur of Belém.

Remember to add this delightful journey in your 1-day Lisbon itinerary for a seamless exploration of the city's different facets.

  1. Explore Belém Tower and Jerónimos Monastery at a relaxed pace.

Once in Belém, I set out to explore two of Lisbon's most famous landmarks – the Belém Tower and the Jerónimos Monastery. If you want to visit a UNESCO World Heritage Site that embodies Portugal's Age of Discovery, go to either of these.

I took my time to marvel at the intricacies of Manueline architecture, the historical significance, and the stories they told.

Don't rush these visits; exploring these gems at a relaxed pace is the best way to appreciate their beauty and historical value.

  1. Take a short break at Pastéis de Belém to enjoy the famous Portuguese egg tarts.

During my visit to Belém, I couldn't resist stopping at Pastéis de Belém for their famous Portuguese egg tarts, also known as 'Pastéis de Nata'.

With a flaky crust and a creamy custard filling, these tarts are heavenly! There's usually a queue, but the wait is worth it.

Trust me, your 1-day Lisbon itinerary would be incomplete without tasting these delicious treats at their birthplace.

  1. Return to central Lisbon for an early dinner at a restaurant in the Cais do Sodré district.

As the day started winding down, I returned to Lisbon's city center for an early dinner. I chose a restaurant in the Cais do Sodré district, known for the buzzing Lisbon nightlife and diverse and delicious food scene.

From traditional Portuguese dishes to international cuisine, there's something for every palate here. Enjoying dinner with the locals gave me a taste of Lisbon's vibrant social culture.

  1. Finish the day with a leisurely walk along the Tagus River enjoying the sunset.

To conclude my 1-day Lisbon itinerary, I went for a leisurely walk along the Tagus River. The atmosphere at sunset was serene, with soft hues of pink and orange reflecting off the water.

The view of the 25 de Abril Bridge against the sunset was breathtaking. This tranquil walk was the perfect ending to an eventful day, and I recommend you include this in your itinerary too, for a truly Lisboan experience.

How to get around Lisbon in one day?

Navigating through Lisbon in one day can seem overwhelming. However, based on my personal experience, I can assure you it's feasible and fun.

Here's how you can get around Lisbon in one day:

  1. On foot: Many of Lisbon's attractions are within walking distance from each other. I started my day at Praça do Comércio and strolled through the neighboring district of Baixa Pombalina. A walking tour allowed me to take in the architecture, culture, and atmosphere at my own pace. From Baixa, it was an uphill but manageable walk to the neighborhoods of Chiado and Bairro Alto.

  2. Elevators and funiculars: Given Lisbon's hilly terrain, I used some of its historical elevators and funiculars. For instance, the Santa Justa Lift or Elevador de Santa Justa was a convenient and enjoyable way to get from Baixa to Chiado. And it's not just a means of transport; it's an attraction in itself, offering panoramic city views!

  3. Tram: The iconic Tram 28 was my choice for reaching Alfama from Bairro Alto. This tram route is famous for its scenic journey through some of the city's oldest and most picturesque neighborhoods. Plus, it's an experience steeped in history - the trams have been in operation since the 1930s!

  4. Bus: To get to the district of Belém from Alfama, I hopped on a bus. Lisbon's bus network is extensive and efficient, and with Google Maps or any other navigation app on hand, it's easy to find your way.

  5. Train: To return to central Lisbon from Belém, I took a train from Belém Station to Cais do Sodré Station. The journey is quick, and trains run regularly.

Here are a few more tips to help you get around Lisbon smoothly:

  1. Buy a 24-hour public transport ticket: This ticket covers buses, trams, funiculars, metro, and even trains within Lisbon. It's economical and eliminates the hassle of buying a ticket for each ride. I got mine from a metro station.

  2. Wear comfortable shoes: Lisbon's streets can be hilly and cobblestoned. As someone who explored a lot on foot, I'd recommend wearing comfortable shoes to make walking easier.

  3. Take a map: While navigation apps are handy, having a physical map can be a lifesaver if your phone battery dies. Most tourist information centers in Lisbon provide free city maps.

  4. Be aware of pickpockets: Like in many other popular tourist destinations, be cautious about your belongings, especially in crowded trams or touristy areas.

In conclusion, getting around Lisbon in one day involves a mix of walking and using the city's public transport.

From my experience, it was an efficient and enjoyable way to explore this beautiful city. And remember, sometimes, getting a little lost leads to the most memorable travel experiences!

vasco de gama, bridge vasco de gama, lisbon

Is the Lisbon Card worth it for one day?

In my experience of exploring Lisbon, the answer to whether the Lisbon Card is worth it for one day largely depends on what you plan to do.

This card offers free or discounted admission to many attractions and free use of public transport, which can be a significant cost saver if used strategically.

During my 1-day Lisbon itinerary, I found the card beneficial for several reasons:

  1. Free Public Transportation: The card covered my journeys on buses, trams, and even trains within the city. Considering I took several trips using public transport, this alone saved me quite a few Euros.

  2. Free Entry to Monuments: With the Lisbon Card, I got free entry into some key attractions like the Belém Tower and the Jerónimos Monastery. If you're a fan of history and architecture like me, this is a real boon!

  3. Discounts: The card also provided discounts at several other attractions and even some restaurants and shops. Every little saving counts!

But the card might not be the best investment for everyone. If your plan is to leisurely stroll through Lisbon's streets, basking in the city's vibe without visiting many paid attractions, the card might not offer as much value.

So, whether the Lisbon Card is worth it for a 1-day trip to Lisbon depends on your personal itinerary. If you plan to use public transport frequently and visit several of the paid attractions included in the card, then it's definitely a cost-effective choice.

On the other hand, if your day involves more walking and exploring free sights, you might want to skip it. Make sure to plan your day ahead and compare costs to make an informed decision.

Conclusion

In retrospect, the 1-day Lisbon itinerary I followed was a perfect blend of historical exploration, culinary indulgence, and delightful wanderings.

Lisbon is a city that seamlessly merges the past and the present, and a day spent here promises a rich tapestry of experiences that'll stay with you long after you leave.

My day in Lisbon was the epitome of this blend, offering snapshots of history, culture, cuisine, and most importantly, the spirit of the city.

Whether you're a history buff, a foodie, or someone who loves to wander, Lisbon has something to charm you. So get ready, pack your bags, and set out to explore this stunning city - all in a day's time!

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What are the must-visit places in Lisbon in one day?

In one day, you can explore several landmarks in Lisbon, including Praça do Comércio, Baixa Pombalina, Santa Justa Lift, Livraria Bertrand, Bairro Alto, Alfama, Lisbon Cathedral (or Sé cathedral), Belém Tower, and Jerónimos Monastery. If possible, also make time for the Miradouro de Santa Luzia as it offers a beautiful view.

You can also enjoy local cuisine at a Tasca in Chiado and the famous Portuguese egg tarts at Pastéis de Belém.

  1. What is the best way to get around Lisbon in one day?

Lisbon's public transportation system is extensive and reliable.

For a one-day visit, consider getting a 24-hour public transport ticket that covers buses, trams, funiculars, and trains.

Walking is also a great way to explore the city, especially the historic districts like Baixa and Alfama.

  1. Is the Lisbon Card worth it for a one-day visit?

Whether the Lisbon Card is worth it for a one-day visit depends on your itinerary.

If you plan to visit several paid attractions and use public transport frequently, the Lisbon Card can be a cost-effective choice.

It offers free public transportation and free or discounted admission to several attractions.

  1. Where should I eat in Lisbon?

Lisbon has a rich culinary scene. For a local experience, consider dining at a Tasca in Chiado. Don't forget to try the famous Portuguese egg tarts at Pastéis de Belém in the Belém district.

For dinner, you can find a variety of restaurants in the Cais do Sodré district.

  1. Is one day enough to explore Lisbon?

While Lisbon has a lot to offer and you could easily spend several days exploring, it's possible to get a good taste of the city's history, culture, and cuisine in one day.

Planning your day in advance and prioritizing what you want to see and do can help you make the most of your time. If you can spend more than a day here, do make sure to take a trip to Sintra and see any royal palace, or any of the other day trips like Cascais and Evora. If you do have the extra time, here's a 5-day Lisbon itinerary for you.

  1. What is the best time to visit Lisbon?

Lisbon is a year-round destination. However, spring (March to May) and fall (September to November) offer pleasant weather and fewer crowds, making these seasons ideal for exploring the city.

Reema Bharti

Reema Bharti

I am a globe-trotter with a passion for exploration. From the sun-kissed coasts of Portugal to the snow-capped peaks of Switzerland, my travels are as diverse as they are inspiring. My journeys through Spain, Finland, Austria, and Germany have fueled my soul and shaped my writing.