Lisbon 3 day itinerary

Lisbon is a charming, hilly seaside city with cobblestone streets, pastel-colored buildings, and beautiful vistas around every corner. As the capital of Portugal, it seamlessly blends old-world charm with modern vibrancy.

No wonder I love visiting this place. But seeing Lisbon in a day or two is not impossible, but staying three days is even better. Here, I share my 3 days Lisbon itinerary with you to make the most of your trip.

3 Days Lisbon Itinerary Is it Enough Time?

For a first-time visitor, three days is a reasonable amount of time to see the highlights of Lisbon, but if you cannot make it, a two-day visit is also great.

With efficient planning, you can experience the best of the city’s neighborhoods, landmarks, culture, and cuisine.

Lisbon has so much to offer that you could quickly fill 5-7 days and have enough things to do. If you have more time, consider some of these options to round out your itinerary:

  • Day trips to nearby towns like Sintra, Cascais, and Evora
  • Museums like the Gulbenkian, Berardo, MAAT
  • Food tours and cooking classes
  • Fado shows to experience traditional Portuguese song and dance
  • Beach day at Cascais or Costa da Caparica
  • Boat tour of the Tagus River
  • Nightlife in Bairro Alto and Cais do Sodré

But a long weekend lets you see the most famous sights and get a good feel for Lisbon’s characteristic neighborhoods.

With efficient planning, three days are plenty to check off the top attractions and experience Lisbon’s irresistible charm.

Complete 3 Days Lisbon Itinerary for First Timers

Let’s start with your Lisbon tour because you only have three days. 

Day 1: Walking Tour Baixa to Alfama

Baixa

Get acquainted with Lisbon on a walking tour of its most central and historic districts on the first day of your 3 days Lisbon itinerary. Start the day with a strong coffee to fuel up for a day on your feet!

But First, a Cup of Coffee

Protuguese-coffee

Begin your day by stopping into one of Lisbon’s many cafés for a bica or espresso. Good options include:

Coffee breaks are an integral part of the culture here, so take some time to people-watch over your cup of joe.

The Easy Lisbon Quiz

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I’ve made an easy Lisbon quiz with 5 questions. Let’s see if you can get them right. 🤞

Get Acquainted with a Tour Walking The City

Lisbon-street

Okay, now that you have your coffee with some snacks, a walking tour is a great way to get oriented in the city on the first day of your 3 days Lisbon itinerary. Some top options are:

  • Lisbon Walker: Offers both private and group tours covering different neighborhoods.
  • We Hate Tourism Tours: Quirky, alternative tours focusing on street art, local culture, and secret gems.
  • Chill-Out Free Tour: Pay-what-you-wish walking tours
  • Self-guided tour: Download a tour route/audio guide from GPSmyCity and explore at your own pace.

Tours typically last 2-3 hours and will give you a solid introduction to Lisbon’s history, architecture, culture, myths, and legends.

Chiado Pastel de Nata and Lunch

Chiado

After your tour, stroll through stylish Chiado and find a spot for lunch. This central district is known for its shops, theaters, and literary history.

For a trendy lunch, check out:

Don’t leave Chiado without trying the iconic pastel de nata, a creamy custard tart baked fresh at Pasteis de Belém cafe or Manteigaria. Grab one (or five) to go!

Afternoon: Explore The Alfama District

Alfama

Walk off your sugar rush and lunch exploring Alfama, Lisbon’s oldest district, a romantic setting.

Alfama’s narrow streets, small squares, and whitewashed houses stretch below the iconic São Jorge Castle on one of the city’s famed seven hills.

To explore everything in this beautiful district, I recommend you start at the top of the castle. Then work down from there to Sé de Lisboa (Lisbon Cathedral.)

You can take a tram ride on Tram 28 to reach the top of the hill and then walk down for fun. While up there you can see the beautiful views. 

Remember to invest in a Lisboa Card as well to save money!

Castelo De São Jorge

Castelo-De-Sao-Jorge

Climb up to explore the imposing Moorish castle dating back to the 12th century. The castle has seen many battles throughout the years. Admire panoramic views over the terracotta rooftops and Tagus River from its ramparts and gardens. Tickets are around 10 euros.

Miradouros Galore

Alfama is home to several excellent miradouros (viewpoints) besides the castle. Don’t miss:

  • Miradouro de Santa Luzia: Lovely octagonal tile panels and a wisteria-covered pergola. It’s a good spot for a break or sundowner drinks.
  • Miradouro das Portas do Sol: Enjoy sweeping views towards the river.
  • Miradouro da Graça: This is a smaller spot with a terrace café perfect for watching the sunset.

Also, remember St. Vincent, Lisbon’s patron saint.

Miss Can

In my 1-day Lisbon itinerary, I mentioned Miss Can, and is worth mentioning again. Here, you can find the most delicious canned fish to try and buy to take home as presents.

The family-owned business was passed down for generations. From the can to the fish, it is sustainable.

A worthy try is a cod known as bacalhau, which is in olive and garlic and not too fishy if you are not fond of a fishy flavor. There are plenty of options to choose from.

So, make it part of your 3 day Lisbon itinerary trip.

Pre-Dinner Drinks and Dinner

Dining-Lisbon

Instead of walking downhill after exploring as the sun sets, walk about 10 minutes uphill to the Miradouro da Senhora do Monte. It is a steep walk but worth the viewing.

While there, check out 8a Graca to enjoy a craft beer or head down for an expansive Portuguese wine and snacks like cheese and bread at Graca do Vinho.

Then stroll back downhill for dinner in Alfama at:

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Based on your input, you then get an entire vacation planned with ideas.

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Day 2: A Food Tour For Portuguese Cuisine + Belém

Enjoy Lisbon’s incredible food scene today with a tasty tour of the highlights on your 3-day Lisbon itinerary. Then, escape the city crowds with an afternoon in the riverfront Belém district.

Lisbon’s Best Flavor Food Tours

Food-Tour-Lisbon

Joining a food tour is the ideal way to dive into Lisbon’s diverse cuisine and culinary traditions. Some top options:

  • Culinary Backstreets: Go behind the scenes to taste regional specialties and learn about Portuguese food culture.
  • Eat Portugal Food Tours: Sample everything from street food to gourmet bites across different neighborhoods.
  • Taste of Lisboa: Visit markets, cafés, shops, and restaurants to taste over a dozen authentic foods and drinks.

You’ll get to try everything from savory traditional dishes like bacalhau (salted cod), pasties de nata custard tarts, their sausage, and prego steak sandwiches to sweet Portuguese egg tarts, queijadas cheese pastries, wines, and ports.

It’s a delicious crash course in local cuisine!

Spend The Rest of The Day in Belém & LX Factory

Belem-Tower

Work off your big lunch and escape the city crowds with an afternoon in Lisbon’s Belem district along the Tagus River.

It is home to exciting sights, including a vast monastery, Torre de Belém, and the famous Pastéis de Belém, where the pastel de nata was born.

The entire district is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Still, I recommend you start at the far end and return to the Tower of Belém and Lisbon.

Reaching Belem

Tram-15E-Lisbon

Belem is about 4 kilometers west of the city center. The quickest way to reach Belem is tram 15E, which frequently departs from Praça da Figueira.

Tickets are available on the tram, but I recommend getting a Navegante Card at the Metro Station instead. You can tap on/off, providing you with less hassle. Or invest in a 24-hour metro pass to use the trams and buses.

Alternatively, you can use the city’s Gira bike share system and take a taxi, Uber, or bike. Once in Belem, all the main sights are within easy walking distance of each other.

Torre De Belém or Belém Tower

Please start at the iconic 16th-century stone tower, a prime example of Portugal’s Manueline architectural style with its mix of Moorish, Renaissance, and maritime elements.

Wander the exterior (tickets to go inside are optional and not a must) unless you want to explore the interior.

The tower had two main reasons for being built. The first was an entry and exit way to enter the city by ship, which served Lisbon’s coastal defense.

Padrão Dos Descobrimentos

Padrao-Dos-Descobrimentos-2

Then, head east to visit the Monument to the Discoveries, built in 1960, to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the death of Henry the Navigator.

One of the main prominent people in the Monument is Vasco da Gama. Ascend to the top for sweeping views along the river.

Still, it is interesting that the art was formed with limestone tile that South Africa donated, rising to 171 feet.

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Jerónimos Monastery
Monastère des Hiéronymites, Lisbonne, Portugal
Jerónimos Monastery / Mosteiro dos Jerónimos

Then, don’t miss the imposing Jerónimos Monastery, which dates back to the 16th century.

Marvel at the highly detailed stonework covering the exterior and interior of this UNESCO site. The monastery used to house the Saint Jerome monks.

The building is an excellent example of Gothic architecture found in Lisbon.

Pro tip: Get tickets in advance online to skip the often long lines.

Pastéis De Belém

No visit to Belem would be complete without trying the original recipe pasteis de nata from Pasteis de Belem cafe, dating back to 1837.

Join the inevitable line for warm, flaky, creamy custard tarts dusted with cinnamon. Boxes make great gifts!

The sweet treat will give you energy for the rest of the day on your 3 days Lisbon itinerary.

LX Factory
LX-Factory-Lisbon

If there’s still daylight, head to LX Factory, a trendy creative complex housing shops, eateries, and art spaces in a former industrial complex.

Sip coffee or pre-dinner cocktails and browse the independent boutiques. Or end your day here to enjoy dinner, as the vibe is lively.

One of my favorite places is Livraria Ler Devagar, a huge bookstore and a record shop. Then head to More Than Wine to enjoy both a cider and wine. You can find jam, ceramics, chocolate, and honey sold here.

Day 3: A Day Trip to Sintra

Sintra

Today, you will escape the city on your last day to visit the picturesque, UNESCO-recognized town of Sintra with its fairytale-like palaces and castles. But remember to put on some comfortable walking shoes.

Exciting Things About Sintra:

  • It’s about a 40-minute train ride from Lisbon, so start early. Trains depart frequently from Rossio station.
  • Purchase a combo ticket covering the entrance to multiple sights to save money.
  • Wear good walking shoes – the attractions and the town are very hilly!
  • Sintra gets extremely crowded in peak season. Please plan to arrive early when it opens to beat the worst crowds. Or visit in the colder season.

Getting to Sintra

There are a few options to get from Lisbon to Sintra:

  • Train: This is the most convenient and fastest option. Trains take under 40 minutes and depart from Rossio station every 15-30 minutes. Tickets cost around €2.20 each way.
  • Bus: Sintra Express and City Sightseeing buses take about 45 minutes. Tickets are around €8 round trip. Buses depart from Praça da Figueira or Sete Rios station multiple times per hour.
  • Private/Group Tour: Book a custom private tour or small group day trip to Sintra to maximize time and minimize hassle. Companies like GetYourGuide offer these.
  • Rental Car: Driving gives the most flexibility but requires navigating Sintra’s narrow, winding, often crowded roads.

What to Do in Sintra

Sintra has so many fantastic historical attractions you won’t be able to see them all in a day. Focus on its two stand-out palaces, allowing at least 3-4 hours to explore them.

Pena Palace
Pena-Palace

Pena Palace is the most recognizable and visited attraction in Sintra. The 19th-century, pastel-colored palace looks straight out of a fairy tale perched atop a hill overlooking the town.

Wander through the lavish interior and move room-to-room on the outside terraces to take in panoramic views of the lush forests and mountains around Sintra.

You will need to buy different tickets to enter in two separate sections. One is inside the palace, and the other is in the garden.

Pena-Palace-Garden

But if you have seen several palaces, you can start by exploring the gardens from the lake to the bottom of the hill.

Then, walk to the palace to look at the tiles and arches and visit the chapel for free.

You can also walk on the palace walls, taking a short path around the building that offers spectacular views.

Castelo dos Mouros
Castelo-dos-Mouros

The 8th-century ruins of the Moorish Castle are also a must-see.

Climb its ancient stone ramparts and walk the lofty battlements for incredible vistas over Pena Palace and beyond. You can walk on the castle walls, among the most popular tourist attractions. 

On your way down, pop into the historic center of Sintra to browse the shops and cafés.

Stop at Piriquita cafe for Sintra’s famous queijadas, small sweet tarts made with cheese and cinnamon.

The Advanced Lisbon Quiz

You’re now at the advanced Lisbon quiz with more difficult questions. No one gets every question right, so don’t beat yourself up on it. Good luck.

Wrap-Up

With this 3-day Lisbon itinerary, you can see the best of captivating Lisbon, from its hilltop neighborhoods and dazzling miradouros to the legendary food scene and enchanting day trips just a train ride away.

Wherever your feet take you in this city, remember to look up and admire the postcard-worthy views around every corner.

Lisbon’s beauty and charm will leave you eagerly planning a return trip to dive deeper into its history, culture, and seducing Portuguese way of life.

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