How to Tour Lisbon in One Day
Portugal’s alluring capital is filled with steep hills, winding cobblestone backstreets, and one large Moorish castle. It’s no doubt that all of Lisbon’s wonders will take you more than one day to explore, but sometimes that’s all you’re handed.
So, instead of getting overwhelmed by all of the things you should see and do, follow this easy one day itinerary that will allow you to cover all of the highlights as you tour Lisbon.
Start your morning off by grabbing a quick breakfast and coffee while walking through Rossio Square. Rossio Square has been one of Lisbon’s main squares since the middle ages and now hosts plenty of restaurants and shops. Continue down the street to take some photos at Comercio Square, one of the most photographed spots in Lisbon (rightfully so).
Head a couple of blocks up the hill towards Se Cathedral and St. George’s Castle. The walk itself has some great scenery and only takes about 15 minutes. Make sure to stop at one of Lisbon’s best view points, Miraduro das Portas do Sol. Street venders and musicians set up here and it offers great views of Alfama to Sao Vincente de For a, the National Pantheon and Santo Estevao.
Continue up this hill to reach St. George’s Castle. Once you arrive, you’ll need an admission ticket, but the 360 degree views from the castle are worth the price alone. Not to mention, climbing around the castle ruins will take you back to medieval times.
After roaming around the castle grounds, walk back down to Comercio Square, where you can catch tram 15 to Belem. Stroll through the gardens and fountains near Jeronimos Monastery and stop in Antiga Confeitaria de Belem for one of Lisbon’s best known pastries.
Down the street from the Monastery, you will meet the Torre de Belem. The goal here is to visit the Torre during sunset for breathtakingly spectacular pictures. If I could add a couple more adjectives in there, I would.
Just in time for dinner, head to the charming Bairro Alto district, a neighborhood full of maze-like cobblestone streets and colorful stucco buildings. Live music floods the air and tables line the streets, barely allowing cars to pass by.
Choose to eat outside here amongst the crowds or to visit one of Lisbon’s famous Fado restaurants. Fado is a traditional Portuguese song that expresses the lightness and darkness of life. I went to A Severa, and although it was expensive, I had an unforgettable meal by candlelight and the best squid I’ve tasted in my life. Vinho Restaurante Tipico is another highly recommended restaurant for Fado. If you are into trying out local cuisines, the food to eat in Portugal is sardines.
After dinner, it’s probably in your best interest to join the locals for bar hopping around Bairro Alto. If you’re lucky enough to visit on a weekend, you will stumble upon one of Europe’s biggest unplanned bar crawls. Feel free to grab a mojito in any bar, walk outside on the street and chat or listen to one of the many guitar players.
If you’re a night owl, you will notice that the bars in Bairro Alto close around 12pm, to make time for the clubs to open. Just follow the crowd!
What do you recommend if you only have one day to tour Lisbon?