Lisbon, Portugal is one of the coolest places to visit in Europe. With fabulous food, eye-catching artwork, and rich history, what more could you ask for? This 3-day Lisbon itinerary showcases a bit of all three groups, so you can be sure that you’ll see the best that this wonderful city has to offer.
It’s important to note that this guide is just a structured suggestion of what you can do during your time in Lisbon. It is by no means the only acceptable 3-day Lisbon itinerary. So feel free to adjust this guide to fit your preferences, whether that means taking activities out, putting some in, or mixing up the order.
*Pro Tip: If you’d like to save some time during your three days in Lisbon, you can purchase tickets for many attractions in advance.
Day 1: Explore the Old City
The Old City, also known as Alfama, is the heart of Lisbon. With historic buildings, tasty eateries, and gorgeous viewpoints, you can easily spend a full day just exploring this small part of Portugal’s capital city.
Admire the Views from Miradouro de Santa Luzia
Miradouros are viewpoints dotted around Lisbon. Our favorite miradouro is Miradouro de Santa Luzia, and it’s the perfect place to watch the sunrise. With the beautifully tiled walls, red-roofed buildings, sparkling river, and golden sky, you couldn’t ask for a more perfect view to start your day.
Wander Around the Cobblestone Streets
One of the best ways to experience Alfama is by simply strolling on the cobblestone streets and seeing what you might come across! And it won’t take you long to see something that catches your eye.
Castelo Sao Jorge, Santa Engracia National Pantheon, and the Lisbon Cathedral are just a few of the highlights in Alfama. You might even find a few other Miradouros to visit, including Miradouro da Graça, Miradouro das Portas do Sol, and Miradouro da Rocha Conde de Obido.
Eat Lunch at Time Out Market
One of the coolest places to grab lunch in Lisbon is Time Out Market. This high-end food court of sorts showcases more affordable dishes created by the city’s top chefs. There are over 40 eateries within this market, and Miguel Castro e SIlva, Croqueteria, and Conserveira de Lisboa are just a few crowd favorites.
Don’t forget to grab pasteis de nata before you leave! This custard dessert is Portugal’s most famous pastry.
Hitch a Ride on the Elevador da Bica
After finishing your lunch at the Timeout Market, you simply have to walk around the corner to find your next stop: the Elevador da Bica. This iconic pair of yellow funiculars was originally built in 1892 to help locals navigate some of the steepest streets in town. So hop on and catch a ride on this adorable tram!
Explore the National Tile Museum
In addition to pasteis de nata and the Elevador da Bica, Portugal is also known for azulejos, beautiful Portuguese tiles. While you’ll likely see some of these tiles scattered through the city, the National Tile Museum is the best place to see a whole collection of them!
Dine at a Michelin Star Restaurant
Lisbon has become a foodie hub in recent years. As a matter of fact, as of 2019, the city boasts nine Michelin-starred restaurants! Why not dine at one of them for a fantastic culinary experience? Just remember to make reservations in advance!
Day 2: Hang Out Around Belem
You might have noticed that one major Lisbon site was missing from day 1 of this 3-day Lisbon itinerary, Belem Tower. But don’t worry! Day 2 is dedicated to Belem and West Lisbon.
Visit Belem Tower
You don’t have to wait any longer to see the iconic Belem Tower. This historic tower is officially known as the Tower of Saint Vincent and was built in the early 16th century. Over the past 500 years, it served as a fortress, a customs house, a lighthouse, and more. That said, it’s most famous for being a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a fantastic example of Manueline-style architecture.
During your visit, you can simply admire the architecture from the outside or explore the many artifacts housed inside.
Explore Jeronimos Monastery
But the Belem Tower isn’t the only UNESCO World Heritage Site in Lisbon. Jeronimos Monastery holds that special title as well!
Jeronimos Monastery served as a monastery from 1502 to 1833. And while its religious past is noteworthy, this attraction is most well-known as the final resting place of the famous Portuguese explorer, Vasco da Gama.
While at Jeronimos Monastery, you can learn the history of the monastery, admire the architecture, and pay your respects to historic Portuguese figures who have passed away.
Stroll Along the Waterfront
So far on this 3-day Lisbon itinerary, we’ve hung out near the waterfront, but we haven’t actually taken a lot of time to appreciate it. Well, that’ll change in the morning on day 2 of this Lisbon itinerary.
As you make your way from Jeronimos Monastery to your next stop, the LX Factory, you can walk along the river. You can watch the boats, cool down with the breeze, and maybe even grab a snack from a cute cafe along the way.
The walk from Jeronimos Monastery to the Lx Factory is about 3 kilometers. While you can walk all of it, you can also walk part of it and take an Uber or public transportation for the rest.
Lx Factory is undoubtedly one of the most unique stops on this 3-day Lisbon itinerary. Once upon a time, it was just an abandoned industrial site. Now it’s a sort of hipster art and foodie hub. While there, you can grab a coffee at an amazing cafe, pop into a bright art studio, or dine on delicious dishes at a trendy restaurant.
Day 3: Take a Day Trip to Sintra
While you could easily spend the third day exploring the beauty of Lisbon, you absolutely don’t want to miss out on the gorgeous town of Sintra. With brightly colored palaces and castles, there’s nowhere else quite like Sintra in all of Portugal.
Get to Sintra
There are a few different ways to get to Sintra, including by train, hired driver, rental car, or Uber. When we did this day trip, we opted for the last option, since Ubers are fairly inexpensive in Portugal, especially when splitting the cost between multiple people.
Pop by Pena Palace
Pena Palace is by far the most popular attraction in Sintra – and for good reason. As a matter of fact, Pena Palace is the main reason Sintra made it onto this 3-day Lisbon itinerary!
Named on the Seven Wonders of Portugal, Pena Palace is absolutely spectacular. With brightly colored walls, stunning arches, and breathtaking views, Pena Palace looks like it was plucked right out of a storybook! While there, you can take in the beautiful architecture, learn the history of the palace, and take loads of pictures.
It is important to note that Pena Palace is an extremely popular tourist destination. The earlier you get there, the better, as that’s the only way to avoid the crowds. If possible, you should get there before 9 a.m. when the doors open.
Visit the Castle of the Moors
Next door to Pena Palace lies the Castle of the Moors, another gem of Sintra. It is important to note that this attraction goes by quite a few names, including Moors Castle, Moorish Castle, and Castelo dos Mouros, but all of these names simply refer to one striking castle.
Once upon a time, Castle of the Moors actually functioned as a fortress of sorts during the Reconquista, a war-filled period of time for the Iberian peninsula. But for hundreds of years after that, this castle was mostly forgotten. As a matter of fact, it wasn’t until the 19th century that Castle of the Moors started to get noticed again.
Today, you can visit this amazing, historic castle. While there, you can walk along the towering stone walls and take in the stunning views of Pena Palace and the Atlantic Ocean.
Stop by Monserrate Palace
The final stop on this 3-day Lisbon itinerary is Sintra National Palace. Many people opt to miss Sintra National Palace in favor of other fantastic stops in town, including Sintra National Palace and Quinta de Regaleira, but we think it’s worth a stop.
Monserrate Palace has had quite the storied past. It was built in 1601, but then it suffered through earthquakes, fires, and tsunamis. Honestly, it’s a miracle it’s still standing! Of course, time and natural events still took their toll on Monserrate Palace, so it was lovingly restored just a couple of decades back.
While Monserrate Palace isn’t as well-known as Pena Palace, it’s just as stunning. Admire the stone walls, tall archways, and carved pillars. And you certainly don’t want to miss out on the lush gardens! It’s the perfect place for a lovely stroll or a cute picnic.
And that rounds out our 3-day Lisbon itinerary. If you have any questions, let us know in the comments! Enjoy!