Is it possible to explore Lisbon in one day? Hell no, but we will try anyway considering some of us don’t have more time to spend in Portugal’s capital city.

Having visited Lisbon multiple times, this one day itinerary has been crafted keeping my expertise so that you can experience the city’s rich history, see cool sights, and viewpoints, and don’t end up wasting time in long lines in one of Europe’s oldest capitals.

Lisbon is unlike most of the European cities because it is warm and it is said to receive 300 days of sunshine every year. The city is pastel-hued and pretty much feels like it is out of a Wes Anderson movie.

Lisbon has many viewpoints
Lisbon has many viewpoints

This lovely city is built on many steep hills and that’s why has many viewpoints. If you are a first-time visitor, then keep in mind that climbing up these hills isn’t easy. If you’re walking from point A to point B, even if Google Maps says it is 200 meters, it feels like quite a workout. So wear your most comfortable pair of shoes. (Here’s what to wear in Lisbon)

Planning your Lisbon Trip at the last minute?

Yes, it takes a lot of time and effort to find the RIGHT place to stay or book a decent tour or experience. If you are going to visit Lisbon, I have got you covered with my recommendations so that you won’t have to look any further.

Where to stay in Lisbon?

  • Olissippo Castelo: 4-star hotel with views of Lisbon and is along the walls of St Jorge Castle.
  • Costa do Castelo Terrace: an entire apartment in Alfama on Rua dos Lagares that’s close to Miradouro da Graça viewpoint and St. George’s Castle
  • Lisbon Gambori: is a hostel, we booked a private room here and loved it. It was close to everything – St George’s Castle, Alfama, and Praça do Comércio. We could just walk everywhere from here.

Must do tours in Lisbon

  • Fado Experience with Port Wine: Fado is Portuguese Blues music and if you are in Lisbon, then you should experience a live fado show for a one-of-a-kind magical evening.
  • Sintra Day Trip: This makes sense if you are in Lisbon for more than a day. Make a side trip to Sintra and see the Pena Palace, Cabo da Roca, & Cascais.
  • Jerónimos Monastery Entrance Ticket: Do this if you have more than a day in Lisbon. Visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site in Lisbon’s Belém district.

Lisbon 1 Day Itinerary Map

I have made this map on Google Maps and marked all the stops so that you can open it on your phone before you start this itinerary.

Remember – you don’t have to do it all but you can skip a few places to make this itinerary more “doable”.

Miradouro da Graça

Lisbon View from Miradouro da Graça
Lisbon View from Miradouro da Graça

I don’t know about you but I love to climb a bit for a good view. Miradouro da Graça is one of my favorite viewpoints in Lisbon because it is in Graça, which is a lovely neighborhood close to Alfama that some tourists miss out on.

You have to climb up a bit of steps to reach here, so don’t even think of doing this on an empty stomach. When you are up here, you will see a nice view of Alfama, Rio Tejo (Tagus River), the Monastery of São Vicente de Fora on one side, and also Ponte 25 de Abril. Ponte 25 de Abril is 25 April Bridge, which is a bit like San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge and you can see it from Miradouro da Graça.

There is a cafe right here so you can grab a table near the viewpoint and sip your coffee or tea. There is also a public park here with WCs that were surprisingly very clean.

Alfama District & Tram 28 Route

Follow Tram 28 Route in Alfama, Lisbon
Follow Tram 28 Route in Alfama, Lisbon

Alfama is Lisbon’s historic district and is the city’s most beautiful neighborhood that’s located between the medieval Castelo de São Jorge and the Tagus River. I actually recommend spending more than just half a day here in my 2 day Lisbon itinerary but if it is just one day, then we don’t have a choice.

Alfama and the nearby Graça are hilly neighborhoods, and as a result, there are lovely lookouts and amazing photo opportunities. I have an entire post about Lisbon’s Alfama on my website, give it a read.

The Best 2 days in Lisbon happy in Alfama
The Best 2 days in Lisbon happy in Alfama

Please don’t make the mistake of trying to visit Castelo de São Jorge in the summer months. Yes, it has the best views but you will end up wasting a lot of time due to the long lines. You can’t visit Castelo de Sao Jorge if you have just one day in Lisbon. Instead, walk around Alfama and just enjoy the beauty of this neighborhood.

Yellow Tram in Lisbon with Tagus River in the background
Yellow Tram in Lisbon with Tagus River in the background

Follow the route of the famous Tram 28 and get lost in the labyrinth of Alfama’s cobblestone streets. These narrow streets are slanted and you will see the vintage red and yellow trams making their way up and down.

When in Lisbon, walk on Rua dos Remédios, the prettiest street of Alfama which is just for pedestrians. It is narrow and on a steep hill. You can see the Tagus River on one end of Rua dos Remédios.

Lunch in Alfama

Grilled Octopus at Santo André, Alfama
Grilled Octopus at Santo André, Alfama

I love trying local cuisine when I travel to a new country, and Alfama is one of the places where you can find not just quaint family-run restaurants but also international food.

I had lunch in Santo André, which is on one of the slanted streets that goes from Alfama to Graça. The Tram 28 runs on this street too, so you can get a window-side table and enjoy the view. I had grilled octopus and prawns here.

Yak and Yeti - slanted restaurant with a view in Alfama, Lisbon
Yak and Yeti – slanted restaurant with a view in Alfama, Lisbon

I also ate often at Yak and Yeti, an adorable Nepalese restaurant with delicious momos (dumplings), thali, and prawn curry with naan. Both these restaurants are on the same street. This particular street has many other options and a few cocktail bars too.

Miradouro de Santa Luzia & Portas do Sol

View from Portas fo Sol Alfama
View from Portas fo Sol Alfama

Miradouro das Portas do Sol and Miradouro de Santa Luzia are two amazing viewpoints in Alfama that are next to each other. This is where you will click some of the best photos of Lisbon’s pastel houses and the Tagus River.

The viewing platform of Portas do Sol is bigger and has more space to move around for photos, but I likeMiradouro de Santa Luzia a little better because of its arched passage and pillars next to the sitting spots at the lookout point.

Miradouro de Santa Luzia viewpoint in Lisbon
Miradouro de Santa Luzia viewpoint in Lisbon

Because of its direction, Miradouro de Santa Luzia is actually the perfect spot for sunrise photos in summer but for that, you have to wake up at 5 am, depending on the month.

If you like clicking photos, then be sure to check out my Lisbon Instagram Spots post. Like viewpoints and have a bit more time on your hands? Consider visiting Miradouro da Senhora for the panoramic views at sunset time, which is a little higher and is on top of a steep hill.

Sé de Lisboa

Sé de Lisboa - things to do in Alfama
Sé de Lisboa – things to do in Alfama

It is time to gradually make your way out of Alfama and move on to Rossio Square. On your way, you will cross Sé de Lisboa (a.k.a. Lisbon Cathedral), a protected national monument. This cathedral is the oldest church in Lisbon!

Originally built in 1147, Sé de Lisboa has been modified and restored many times, which is why you will notice a mix of different architectural styles. There are Romanesque, Gothic, Baroque, Rococo, and Neoclassical styles that are evident in this cathedral. The great earthquake of 1755 in Lisbon destroyed the main chapel of this church but it was restored.

I like photographic historical buildings and churches, but I don’t go inside most of them. If you’d like to go inside Sé de Lisboa, the entry fee is EUR 5 and you will see interesting artifacts.

Rossio Square

Rossio Square Fountain, Lisbon
Rossio Square Fountain, Lisbon

Rossio Square is one of the main squares in Lisbon city and is also called Praça Dom Pedro IV. If you are tired of walking, you can just skip it and head directly to Arco da Rua Augusta instead of taking this small detour to see Rossio Square.

So what’s special about the Rossio Square? There is a lot going on here and you will see geometrical flooring, a historical fountain, a ginjinha stand, and loads of other interesting things. Stop and try a ginjinha shot – it is a Portuguese liqueur made by infusing Ginja berries.

Ginjinha Stand at Rossio Square, Lisbon
Ginjinha Stand at Rossio Square, Lisbon

You will also see the long lines of people waiting to get into the historical Tram 28. We can forget about trying to get in if you are in Lisbon for just one day.

Santa Justa lift - Rua de Santa Justa Baixa Lisbon
Santa Justa lift – Rua de Santa Justa Baixa Lisbon

Another interesting spot near Rossio Square is the historical Elevador de Santa Justa or the Santa Justa Lift. Getting on to this lift is usually impossible during the summer months because of long lines, but I’d like you to still see the lift tower which was built in 1902.

From Rossio, walk to Arco da Rua Augusta. I suggest another optional detour here towards Livraria Bertrand – the oldest operating bookstore in the world as per the Guinness Book of World Records. It isn’t as crowded as Porto’s Livraria Lello.

Arco da Rua Augusta

Rua Augusta in Lisbon
Rua Augusta in Lisbon

From Rossio, walk to Rua Augusta Arch. Rua Augusta is Lisbon’s busiest walking street and you will see all sorts of restaurants and shops on both sides of the street.

If you haven’t yet tried Lisbon’s famous snack – Pastel de Nata, then stop at Fábrica da Nata and eat one with or without coffee. If this bakery is busy, then skip it because there will be many other options.

Fábrica da Nata in Lisbon, Portugal
Fábrica da Nata in Lisbon, Portugal

The most famous pastéis de nata are from Pastéis de Belém but that’s in the Belém district which is far away. Even though Belém Tower and Jerónimos Monastery are a UNESCO World Heritage site, it doesn’t make sense to go all the way there for just one day in Lisbon.

Arco da Rua Augusta, Lisboa
Arco da Rua Augusta, Lisboa

Walk under the 30-meter-high Augusta Arch and make your way to the Tagus Riverside that comes right after. On your way to the Tagus River, you will also cross Praça do Comércio.

Tagus Riverside

Tagus River of Portugal is also called Rio Tejo and walking along it is an interesting way to experience the culture of Lisboa. You may see some musicians, performers, locals, and tourists alike.

Sit on one of the marble steps at Tagus Riverside and enjoy the warmth of Europe’s sunshine capital. If you did pack a snack or Pastel de Nata, then now would be a good time to enjoy it.

I did see some cocktail stands right here with Mohitos and Caipirinhas prized at 5 Euros.

Time Out Lisboa or LX Factory

Inside Time Out Market Lisboa
Inside Time Out Market Lisboa

Since you have just one day in Lisbon, I will let you decide which place you’d like to pick for dinner. Both LX Factory and Time Out Lisboa have plenty of options for eating and drinking.

Time Out Lisboa (also called Mercado da Ribeira) is closer to Arco da Rua Augusta on foot, so you can easily arrive here by walking. It is a massive food court-style hall with some of the best eating options from the top chefs in Lisbon. There are also a few cocktail bars in the middle of the hall.

In my experience, Time Out Lisboa was very full and almost all the restaurants had a queue (even though there were many). But the queues moved fast and we managed to get our meal in a few minutes and luckily also found a place to sit together.

Inside LX Factory in Lisbon
Inside LX Factory in Lisbon

On the other hand, LX Factory is not just a hall but an area that’s built up on an abandoned industrial spot. There are art installations, murals, and an amazing arty vibe. But, you will have to get on an UBER taxi to arrive here because it isn’t within walking distance. Uber in Portugal is super affordable!

My lunch - prawns in LX Factory
My lunch – prawns in LX Factory

LX Factory has plenty of outdoor restaurants and cocktail bars. If you decide to come here then you can not only enjoy a nice dinner but also a fun atmosphere and get started with a cocktail or two before you hit the nightlife.

Bairro Alto or Pink Street

Pink Street with Umbrellas looks good at sunset time, Lisbon
Pink Street with Umbrellas looks good at sunset time, Lisbon

Where to go for the best nightlife in Lisbon? The answer is always Bairro Alto which is a street that reminded me of Bangkok’s Khao San Road and has cocktail bars, clubs, and all sorts of fun places for an epic night out.

Another option would be Pink Street, which is pink in color and has umbrellas on top. All these places are nearby and can be reached on foot (unless you went all the way to the LX factory for dinner).

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