With an interesting history, mouthwatering food, and gorgeous art, Lisbon is one of the best places to visit in Europe. There’s simply so much to do and see in Portugal’s capital city, especially with only one day in Lisbon!
If you only have one day in Lisbon, it’s important to maximize your time. We’ll be honest. This itinerary is a little ambitious. So if something in this guide doesn’t catch your eye or you don’t think you’ll have enough energy to see everything, feel free to make the edits you need to make this Lisbon itinerary fit you and your group. Remember, this guide is meant to give you a solid, structured idea of what you can do during your Lisbon getaway, not what you have to do.
So, without further ado, here’s our one day in Lisbon itinerary!
Take in the Views from Miradouro de Santa Luzia
Miradouros means “viewpoints” in Portuguese, so it’s no surprise that all of the miradouros in town boast fantastic views. While there are quite a few noteworthy miradouros in Lisbon, Miradouro de Santa Luzia is our favorite for a few reasons.
First, Miradouro de Santa Luzia is decorated with beautiful, traditional Portuguese tiles. Then, there’s the gorgeous views of Lisbon’s red-roofed buildings and the Tagus River. And last but certainly not least, Miradouro de Santa Luzia is one of the least crowded miradouros in town. This means that you might get this breathtaking location all to yourself! With all of these three factors put together, you couldn’t ask for a better miradouro.
If you happen to be an extra early riser (or if you’re jetlagged), you can catch a beautiful sunrise from Miradouro de Santa Luzia. As a matter of fact, it’s one of the best places to see the sunrise in all of Lisbon!
Regardless of when you get started, taking in the views from Miradouro de Santa Luzia is a great way to begin your one day in Lisbon.
Wander Around the Old City
Once you get your fill of the amazing views from Miradouro de Santa Luzia, you can then wander around the nearby area. Miradouro de Santa Luzia is situated in the center of the old city, also known as Alfama.
It’s no surprise to find out that the old city is filled with history. As you walk down the cobblestone streets, you’ll come across loads of sites that are worth a visit. You can pay a visit to the Castelo Sao Jorge, admire the architecture of the Santa Engracia National Pantheon, and pop by the Lisbon Cathedral.
As an added bonus, you may even find a few other miradouros as you wander around Alfama. A few of our favorites in the area include Miradouro da Graça, Miradouro das Portas do Sol, and Miradouro da Rocha Conde de Obido.
Explore the National Tile Museum
In addition to some rich history, Lisbon also boasts some amazing artwork, specifically in the form of tiles. While you can see some breathtaking tiles as you walk around the city of Lisbon (for example, at your earlier stop of Miradouro de Santa Luzia), the best place to see loads of artfully crafted Portuguese tiles is at the National Tile Museum.
Also known as The Museu Nacional do Azulejo, the National Tile Museum showcases thousands of Portuguese tiles – or azulejos. These tiles decorate chapels, rooms, courtyards, and more. It’s all absolutely magnificent!
*Pro Tip: If you’d like to save some time during your one day in Lisbon, you can buy tickets for the Tile Museum in advance!
Grab Lunch at Time Out Market
By the time noon rolls around, you’ll have already seen so much of Lisbon. But before you can continue exploring, you’ll need some more energy, so it’s time for lunch!
Time Out Market is one of the coolest food spots in town. Run by TIme Out Entertainment Company, Time Out Market is an upscale food court that serves up delicious food from some of the best chefs in Lisbon – without the bank-breaking price tag that often comes with dishes of this caliber.
There are over 40 eateries within the TIme Out Market, so you’re sure to find something that catches your eye. Some crowd favorite restaurants include Miguel Castro e SIlva, Croqueteria, L’Éclair, and Conserveira de Lisboa.
And don’t forget to grab pasteis de nata for dessert! This Portuguese staple is a warm, custard treat. At Time Out Market, you can find quite a few vendors who’ve just made them, which means they’ll still be warm! If you’re looking for a specific recommendation, most people will guide you to Manteigaria for the best pasteis de nata in the market.
Hitch a Ride on the Elevador da Bica
Right around the corner from the Time Out Market is the Elevador da Bica. First, let’s clear something up. The Elevador da Bica, the Ascensor da Bica, and the Bica Funicular are all the same thing. We know, the multiple names can be a little confusing.
Now, let’s move on to the history of 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. It was originally powered using an intriguing water counterbalance system. Essentially, the top tram was filled with extra water weight, which allowed it to move downhill while simultaneously dragging the bottom trap upwards.
But, alas, the Elevador da Bica no longer uses this creative, gravity-focused system. Rather, it has advanced with the times, as it was later converted to run on steam power and then on electricity.
Today, the Elevador da Bica is primarily a tourist attraction. While a few locals still use it as a mode of transportation, most do not. But you can hitch a ride on this unique form of transportation during your one day in Lisbon. And don’t forget to snap a picture!
Stroll on the Riverfront
One of the most beautiful parts of Lisbon is the riverfront. Situated on the Tagus River, most of Lisbon overlooks this gorgeous waterway, but few visitors take the time to simply enjoy this laidback area. Take your time to watch the boats sail by, soak up the Lisbon sunshine, and enjoy a tasty snack from an adorable cafe along the way.
Since it’s about a 6.5-kilometre walk from the Elevador da Bica to your next stop, Belem Tower, you certainly don’t have to walk the entire distance. (As a matter of fact, we recommend that you don’t walk the whole thing.) Instead, you can walk a small part of it and take an Uber or public transportation the rest of the way.
Pay a Visit to Belem Tower
Belem Tower is arguably Lisbon’s most iconic attraction. This historic tower is officially known as the Tower of Saint Vincent and was built in the early 16th century. It was originally constructed to serve as a fortress, but it has served many jobs over the years, including as a lighthouse, a customs house, and a ceremonial getaway into Portugal’s capital city.
In 1983, Belem Tower was awarded the title of UNESCO World Heritage Site, due to the fact that it is a prominent reminder of Portugal’s culture, history, and art.
Today, you can visit Belem Tower. While you can certainly admire the Manueline architecture from the outside, you can also explore the interior of this famous monument. Explore the Governor’s Hall, the King’s Hall, the Roof terrace, and everything in between!
Dine at a Michelin Star Restaurant
Lisbon has quietly become a fantastic foodie hub in Europe. As of 2021, Lisbon is home to nine Michelin-star restaurants. We highly recommend dining at one of these restaurants during your one day in Lisbon. But be sure to make reservations in advance, because the tables at these restaurants fill up quickly!
One of the best Michelin star restaurants in Lisbon is Belcanto. As one of just two two-starred Michelin restaurants in the city, Belcanto certainly has a reputation to live up to. We highly recommend the Belcanto tasting menu, as it showcases the finest parts of Portuguese food and culture.
Loco is another cool Michelin-starred restaurant in Lisbon. With a 16-course tasting menu and seating for just 20 guests, there’s no other eatery in the city that’s quite like it.
And last but certainly not least, we recommend dining at Alma. As the other two-starred Michelin restaurant in town, it has quite a reputation to live up to – and it does not disappoint! With innovative dishes, perfect technique, and fresh ingredients, it’s clear that Alma’s two Michelin stars are well-deserved.
If a Michelin star restaurant is a little too far out of your budget, don’t worry! Here are a few of our favorite restaurants in Lisbon that aren’t quite as expensive.
And there you have it! Your guide to spending one day in Lisbon. Let us know if you have any questions in the comments. We hope you use this guide to customize your own fantastic one day Lisbon itinerary. Enjoy!