3 DAYS IN LISBON: WHAT TO DO & SEE
We've put together a recommended 3 day Lisbon itinerary that will help you see the city's highlights. Your 72 hours in Lisbon start here.
Lisbon is a relatively small city when compared to other European capitals. Born more than 2.000 years ago as Allis Ubbo, Lisbon is a multi-layered and multi-ethnic city bursting with life and energy and it’s quite easy to be sipping your drink in a contemporary rooftop while admiring centuries old buildings. Do you want to make the most this city in just 72 hours? The team of local guides at Take Lisboa got together and prepared you a special route of what the city has to offer. You are of course welcomed to do one of the many tours we run across the city and also check out our Instagram page #takelisboa where we post our own photos of Lisbon daily.
12 p.m. Summer is here and this means warm and longer days since sunset is around 9 p.m. Lisbon as seven hills so prepare yourself for some hiking although we will suggest other less demanding alternatives. Start by walking down Avenida da Liberdade where you will find most of the best shops in the city. Near Praça dos Restauradores turn left and head into one of Lisbon’s hidden gems Casa do Alentejo. The beautiful Arabic building has a small esplanade inside where you can taste a handful of petiscos (our local name for tapas).
3 p.m. Walk down to Plaza Dom Pedro IV (the Portuguese king that proclaimed the independence of Brazil) and step inside the Church of São Domingos. Step inside and be astonished be a scenery that reminds us of a Tim Burton film. Urban legend tells us it has been doomed since the Jewish massacre of 1506. Head into the Lisbon Baixa (downtown), a masterful plan engineered by the Marquis of Pombal after the great earthquake of 1755. If you see the beautiful elevator of Santa Justa do not join the crowd. On Day Three you will find out why as most of the guests that join one of our tours. Right in the middle of Baixa there’s a store call Pollux. Go inside and go to the sixth floor. There take the stairs and find yourself in an esplanade where you will enjoy one of the city’s most outstanding views.
After a well-deserved break walk to Praça do Comércio and step into the historical Martinho da Arcada. Inside there is an empty table where Lisbon’s most famous poet Fernando Pessoa used to spend his afternoons surrounded by his pictures. Walk around the plaza and admire the Arco do Triunfo where Viriatus, Vasco da Gama, Nuno Álvares Pereira and the Marquis of Pombal stand side by side in a celebration of the liberal values of Value and Genius crowned by Glory.
Approach the Pier of Columns near the river Tagus and take a moment to contemplate the city behind you. Start walking with the river by your left to open up your appetite.
6 p.m. After around 1 mile, you will find the Time Out Mercado da Ribeira where dozens of small restaurants will give you the chance to taste a bit of Portuguese gastronomy.
10 p.m. Yes, Alfacinhas (the nickname for the inhabitants of Lisbon) love the nightlife and you are right next to one of the capital’s busiest streets in Cais do Sodré. There is plenty to choose from and we would suggest going into Pensão Amor one of the capital’s trendiest spots.
8 a.m. The 28 tram is a must. Moreover, the 28 is usually full so we would suggest taking the tram early in the morning and head towards Graça. Graça holds two of the most beautiful viewpoints in Lisbon. One is right next to the tram stop near the church and convent of Graça. There is also another one a few hundred meters above called the Senhora do Monte viewpoint. Both be missed.
10 a.m. Hopefully this is Tuesday or Saturday so it’s time to walk towards the Feira da Ladra flea market where dozens of local merchants sell everything from comic books and old vinyl records to furniture. The garden around it has a beautiful street art mural not to be missed. While you are here, go inside the National Pantheon and go up to the terrace to admire yet another amazing view of the city.
12 p.m. Walk towards Alfama and lose yourself in Portugal’s oldest district where there is Fado in every corner. At Largo de São Miguel next to the church there’s a pink building with a restaurant called Santo António de Alfama. Stop there and enjoy the petiscos. Relax as much as you can. There is still much to do.3 p.m. Head towards the Sé de Lisboa originally built in the 12th century over an Arab mosque. Step inside and to your left you will find a small red cloth. Touch it. It is supposed to bring you good fortune in love. Go to Largo do Correio Mor and admire the street art of Nuno Saraiva. Just a century ago, horses delivered postal service. Climb around it until you reach yet another viewpoint of Lisbon at Mercado do Chão do Loureiro. Pick one of the esplanades to sip a glass of wine.
6 p.m. Descend to Mouraria, the place where many claim Fado was born and where we start our private tour of Fado. The streets are narrow but try to find Beco das Farinhas where there is an open-air gallery filled with portraits of locals. British photographer Camilla Watson as a celebration of the Mouraria soul created the project. Then go to Largo dos Trigueiros and step inside a restaurant called O Trigueirinho where you will experience genuine local food.
9 p.m. Go down Mouraria into Martim Moniz where there is no better place to witness Lisbon’s multi-ethnicity. Ask for a rooftop bar called Topo that sits atop a commercial shopping centre. Its ultra-cool chic indoors and the terrace outside are breath taking. Outside enjoy Lisbon’s skyline and excellent cocktails.
8 a.m. Time to discover how the Portuguese built the first global economy. Eat a light meal and catch the Tram 15 towards Belém. First thing enter Pastéis de Belém and taste the local custard pies that are now worldwide famous. Monks of the nearby monastery created the recipe centuries ago and one will not be enough.
10 a.m. Belém has two world heritage sites, the Jerónimos’ Monastery and the Tower of Belém. Between both stands the Cultural Center of Belém where you can visit an extensive collection of modern and contemporary art at the Museu Berardo for just 5€.
12 a.m. After the Tower of Belém walk half a mile to Fundação Champalimaud to a restaurant called Darwin’s Café. There are only 56 places at the terrace so make sure to book.
3 p.m. Time is ticking so take a taxi back to the city centre to Rua de São Paulo. Ask for Elevador da Bica and step into one Lisbon’s oldest funiculars. At the top look back and admire one of the world’s most picturesque streets. Head towards Largo do Carmo and go inside the Archaeological Museum of Carmo. The church of Carmo is the city’s most outstanding testimony of the earthquake of 1755. Its roofless top is both intriguing and mystical. Outside and facing the church follow a narrow street on the left. You will reach the top of the Elevator of Santa Justa without having to wait in line!
6 p.m. Now go to Largo Chiado where you will see the famous statue of Fernando Pessoa right in front of Café A Brasileira. Head towards Santa Catarina’s viewpoint and to a restaurant called Madame Petisca. As the name suggests, its menu is rich in Portuguese petiscos. What the name does not reveal is the spectacular view you will be fortune to appreciate while enjoying good food.
9 p.m. You are very close to Lisbon’s bohemian centre Bairro Alto. In the 16th century, it was Lisbon’s most modern district and it holds thousands of stories and secrets. With over 300 restaurants and bars in just 34 streets, there is one to every taste and manner.
11 p.m. It is your last day in town. Embrace Lisbon’s nightlife and then finish up at Lux Fragil. This place is Portugal’s most renowned nightclub with its club space, bar and terrace right next to the waterside.
10 a.m. No rest for the wicked. Grab a cab and head to LxFactory. This old printing factory now holds dozens of local creative hubs, restaurants and local shops. Walk around it and appreciate the factory’s walls now showing some of Lisbon’s top street art expressions. Lx Factory is one of Lisbon’s finest examples of mixing the past and the future, its history and what lies ahead. There are no walls in Lisbon, temporal or physical and we have been embracing the world ever since we were born. Lisbon sticks to you and wherever you go, it will always be there. As the sailors that left our shores to discover the world you will leave us and feel that mournful peaceful sentiment we call Saudade.