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One day in Lisbon, the perfect 1-day itinerary.

Welcome to Lisbon, a city where history, culture, and the rolling waves of the Atlantic come together to create a symphony of vibrant life. With its iconic yellow trams, whitewashed buildings, and bustling alleyways, Lisbon is a treasure trove for the intrepid traveler eager to explore a fusion of old-world charm and modern vibrancy.

Street view Lisbon
Street view Lisbon

If you find yourself with just one day to soak in the magic that is Lisbon, fear not, for a day in this city can be a kaleidoscope of experiences that are as enriching as they are exhilarating. Pack your sense of wonder and let's dive into an ideal day itinerary designed to help you make the most of this magnificent city. If this is your first time visiting the city and it is only a day trip there are many options, but you will not be able to see everything in one day. So, pick and choose certain things in the areas I mention and take the time to immerse yourself as much as you can into the culture and live as a local, while enjoying what you would like to do and see.

Some of my most memorable experiences happened in Lisbon, and there were a few times the city took my breath away due to its beauty, and I was not expecting it too. I was lucky enough to get videos and pictures of those moments which I will be sharing in the blog. Although the pictures do not do justice for what I was seeing in the moment it gives a good idea of what I was seeing and how it made me stop, stare and fall in love with this magical place.

I have been to Lisbon a couple times, once by cruise and once by plane so I have a variety of experiences in the city. So I will be pulling from both visits to show you how you can see this city and have an amazing experiences here with just a limited amount of time.

View of Lisbon just before dawn at the River
View of Lisbon just before dawn at River

My first memorable experience was just before daylight. I was awake as I knew I had to be an early riser to see as much as I could in this wonderful city. I snaped this picture from my cruise ship balcony. The darkness, the fog, the April 25th bridge, it was a great sight to wake up to as the cruise ship was coming into the port city. I could tell already that today was going to be a great day.

Cruise Critic

First Part of the Lisbon 1 Day Itinerary. A Morning Stroll Through History: The Streets of Alfama, Castelo de São Jorge, and Sé de Lisboa.

View of Alfama
View of Alfama

Lisbon's ancient soul lives in Alfama District, the city's oldest neighborhood. As the morning sun casts the first gentle light over terracotta rooftops, take a leisurely walk-through on narrow streets, and catch glimpses of daily life in the time-honored Alfama. The architectural style with these beautiful buildings are something to behold.

As you ascend towards Castelo de San Jorge, an ancient fortress that offers panoramic views of the city, pause to breathe in the rich architectural tapestry. The castle area is ancient with original fortifications beginning in the 1st Century BC. As you walk towards the castle take in the history and know that this hill has been important for over 2200 years. Can you imagine the people, the tribes, the regions of Europe that have controlled this fortress area over the years. You are really walking in history when you are walking the streets of Alfama.

The Romanesque splendor of Sé de Lisboa, or also known as Lisbon Cathedral, or Cathedral of Saint Mary Major is reason alone to explore this part of town, with its imposing façade and serene interior. Built in 1147 and always having to fight a battle against earthquakes. The great earthquake and fire destroyed sections of it which later were rebuilt. Still with being the oldest cathedral in Lisbon it is worth stopping and taking a few pictures on your walk. Walking the area is a great way to spend the morning.

View from hill
View from hill

While ascending these hills be sure to get pictures from a perfect place, there are a few great viewpoints in the Alfama area. Miradouro das Portas do Sol, is one of the best, but I cannot complain about Miradouro de Santa Luzia. This viewpoint is another time that Lisbon took my breath away, and I hope the picture proves that.

Insider's Tip: In Alfama, losing your way is the best way to discover hidden nooks and crannies. Embrace getting lost but be sure to carry a map just in case! (Or cell phone. Lol)

Other options in the Alfama area for the morning.

If you would prefer to spend your morning in museums or visiting other sites in the Alfama area. Check out the National Tile Museum, or the Fado Museum to learn about the sounds. You could visit the Santa Engracia National Pantheon, where you can climb up into the dome. Or spend some time in what is called the Thieves Market, a local flea market that is open from Tuesday to Saturday in the mornings. The Market is a great place for a deal.


A Flavorful Luncheon: Seafood at Cervejaria Ramiro.

No visit to Lisbon is complete without sampling its legendary seafood, and few places capture its essence better than Cervejaria Ramiro. A hop away from Avenida da Liberdade, Ramiro is more than a restaurant – it is an institution that has perfected the art of serving up the freshest seafood since 1956. This restaurant is the best place for lunch, but one of many amazing places to eat in Lisbon. (Also, if you can't do lunch here, try for dinner, you will not be disappointed.)

Seafood in Lisbon
Seafood in Lisbon

Indulge in a hearty serving of grilled tiger prawns or feast on a platter of percebes (goose barnacles), washed down with a refreshing glass of vinho verde. Be prepared to wait in line as locals and visitors alike flock to this culinary haven, but the reward is well worth the wait.

Insider's Tip: Arrive early if you can, or during off-peak hours, and if a long wait seems daunting, don't worry — the local tascas and Pasteis de Nata bakeries are splendid alternatives. Here is a list of other amazing places to grab lunch in the area.

Other lunch options (or later for dinner too)

  • Alter is an amazing choice in the Alfama area that serves Portuguese style food, can be pricey but worth every dollar. They have a 4.6 rating and are well loved by tourists and the locals int he area. Remember this place for dinner also.

  • Salsa is the perfect place for lunch, with cheap prices and a high rating at 4.4 you will not be disappointed. Portuguese cuisine and a great bar too.

  • Eating Bear is a Tapas fusion style restaurant where you will not be disappointed. With a 4.4 rating it would be a great place for a lunch you will always remember.

  • Tia Alcina is great place for lunch, with yummy deserts and great prices. It is a 4.5 rating and loved by the locals.

Afternoon Artistry: Discover the Art of Lisbon, or Afternoon of Architecture.

Option 1

Lisbon is a haven for art enthusiasts. The Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian art collection harbors treasures from antiquity to modern times, while the nearby Centro de Arte Moderna holds a mesmerizing selection of Portuguese and international contemporary art.

MAAT/Museum of Art and Architecture.
MAAT /Museum of Art and Architecture

If Art is your fancy, take a stroll along the Tagus River to the MAAT /Museum of Art, Architecture, and Technology in the Belem section of Lisbon. The building itself is a triumph of modern architecture, and inside, cutting-edge exhibitions await. For something truly unique, venture to the street art-laden walls of the LX Factory, where creativity knows no bounds.

Insider's Tip: Do some research or ask the locals about temporary exhibitions or art installations that might not be on the usual tourist radar but are not to be missed.

Other Museums near the MAAT are The Coach Museum, Museum Marinha, Museum of Contemporary Art, MAC/CCB, or Cordoaria Nacional

If Art or Museums are not your thing then option #2 might be the best bet while still in the Belem area.

Option 2

Belem, a district in Lisbon, is a captivating destination that seamlessly blends history, architecture, and natural beauty. A visit to Belem offers a glimpse into Portugal's rich heritage and an opportunity to marvel at some of its most iconic landmarks.

Jerome's Monistary
Jerome's Monistary

Saint Jerome's Cathedral, also known as Jerónimos Monastery, stands as a testament to exquisite Manueline architecture. This UNESCO World Heritage site exudes grandeur and tranquility, inviting visitors to immerse themselves in its ornate details and serene atmosphere. Just remember you can go inside the church if you like, it is magnificent. On my visit I was astonished to find out that Explorer Vasco de Gamma and his crew stayed here at the church the night before he went on his expedition and prayed while he was here.

Near the church there are always local vendors that will come up to you and try to sell you things. Buy if you like, and you can bargain with them, but they never had anything that I would want. If you are like me when you see them walking your way just say no ,shake your head no, and keep walking, they will not follow you far unless you act like you want to buy something.

Just across the street, and a short walk is one of the best places for some people watching. Parca do Imperio Garden, with its decorative hedges, beautiful trees, and a fountain in the middle you can treat it as a maze and stroll aimlessly around watching the people and birds in the trees. 

A stroll through Belem is incomplete without indulging in the famous Pastéis de Belém, delectable custard tarts that have become a symbol of Portuguese culinary excellence. The district's charming cafes and restaurants offer a delightful blend of traditional flavors and contemporary dining experiences. You can always after lunch stop in for an afternoon snack. You have done a lot of walking and deserve it. There is a great quaint cafe located one block to the right of Jerónimos Monastery called Lisbon Cafe-Belem, so it is easy to remember. Get a cup of coffee, a pesto and mozzarella toast or even a Pastéis de Nata. 

Belem Tower
Belem Tower

The Belém Tower, also known as Torre de Belém, is an enchanting symbol of Portugal's Age of Discovery, stands as a steadfast sentinel at the mouth of the Tagus River. This UNESCO World Heritage site exudes an intriguing blend of medieval grandeur and maritime allure, captivating visitors with its historical significance and architectural splendor.

Constructed in the early 16th century, the tower served as a defensive fortress and a ceremonial gateway to the bustling port of Lisbon. Its intricate Manueline design, adorned with delicate carvings and maritime motifs, evokes a sense of wonder and reverence for the explorers who embarked on daring voyages from these very shores.

A climb to the top unveils panoramic vistas of the river and the surrounding landscape, immersing travelers in a timeless embrace of natural beauty and maritime heritage. The Belem Tower stands as a tangible link to the past, inviting modern-day adventurers to step into the footsteps of intrepid sailors and chart their own course of discovery.

Monument to the Discoveries
Monument to the Discoveries

The Monument to the Discoveries pays homage to Portugal's age of exploration, featuring larger-than-life figures of notable navigators who shaped the country's maritime legacy. It stands proudly overlooking the Tagus River, symbolizing the spirit of discovery and adventure that defined an era. You will notice all Portuguese explorers, monarchs and many more who were important to the age of discovery. This is not an old monument; it was finished in 1960. My favorite statue on the monument is Henry the Navigator.

If you would like you hire a walking tour of these Belem sights with a few more sights added in, plus a lot more information on history. I suggest clicking this link for a wonderful walking tour.

Calm waters of the Tagus River in Lisbon that took my breath away.
Calm waters of the Tagus River in Lisbon that took my breath away.

Another one of my most memorable moments happened in the afternoon, and I must show you this picture. Like previously mentioned, one of my trips to Lisbon was by a cruise ship and on this occasion, I came back to the ship in the afternoon for a quick trip before heading back out for the evening. It had been a gloomy and rainy in the morning, but the weather was changing and warming up with the sun starting to peak out at times. I opened my balcony door and this view of the Tagus River where the ship was docked. I stopped and stared because it was absolutely beautiful.


Sunset with Panoramic Views: Miradouros of Lisbon or Visit the Santa Justa Lift.

Option 1

As the day starts to wane, head to one of Lisbon's miradouros, the lookout points scattered on the city's seven hills. Miradouro da Senhora do Monte in Graca offers a breathtaking view over Alfama, the River Tagus, and beyond. The golden hour brings the promise of a spectacular sunset with the best views.

Complemented by the sounds of traditional Fado music echoing through the streets and the fragrance of freshly grilled sardines, the Miradouros are the perfect vantage points to witness the city transform into a sparkling panorama.

Christ is King Statue and April 25th Bridge
Christ is King Statue and April 25th Bridge

Pay attention across the Tagus River, to the Almada area. You will notice the “Christ is King” Statue, located right beside The April 25th Bridge, Both the bridge and the statue are amazing. The bridge has the same architect as the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, that is why it looks so similar to it.  As for the statue, it was built after a Portugese Cardinal went to Rio and saw the unveiling of Christ the Redeemer Statue and thought…. Portugal needs something like that. Lol. It took many years to build but finally completed in 1959.

Option 2

If you were wanting to venture into the city center Baxia is that place. One of the best things to do here is the Santa Justa lift, or also known as Elevador de Santa Justa or Carmo Lift. This is the only remaining lit in the city, the rest have been demolished over the years, but with all these hills in Lisbon you can see why they were used so much in the past to travel between lower and upper streets. The Santa Justa Lift is a major tourist attraction but will give you a great view of this beautiful city from its observation deck.


The Gloria Funicular is also located nearby, it is an amazing experience to ride the funiculars, so go ahead while visiting, take this up the hill to see the sites. You will not regret it. My experience with the Gloria Funicular was just a quick trip, up and back down because I was running out of time, but I still loved riding it.

There is plenty to see and do in Baxia, as it is the full of life, this area was demolished bt the great earthquake in the 1800's so there are not any historic buildings in the area but there are plenty of things to see and do. Rue Augusta is in the city centre and is one of the most popular places to shop, with many traditional restaurants and if you would like something to quinch your thirst, get a glass of Ginjinha.

If you are into history there are several ancient Roman tunnels in the underground in the Baxia area. They are not open all year long so check in advance if you would like to take a tour. Núcleo Arqueológico (Archaeological Center). The Convento do Carmo or also known as the Carmo Convent is great place to stop by and take a look at the ruins of the Roman Catholic Catherdral, built in the 1300's and the great earthquake of 1755 destroyed it. The arches and basic structure of the building are still standing. Other sites are the Rossio Square, Sao Domingos Church where the Jewish memorial is located. A fact I did not learn until my visit was this memorial is new, placed in 2008, placed for the thousands of Jewish residents in Lisbon that died from a massacre in 1506. 

Other sights are the Rossio Train Station, the world's oldest bookstore, and a bronze statue of famous Portuguese Author Fernando Pessoa.

Insider's Tip: Bring a bottle of wine or some local cheese, find a cozy spot, and marvel at the city's transformation as day turns into night.

Evening Revelry: Fado, Fresh Catches, and Nightlife.

A day in Lisbon wouldn't be complete without a night to remember, and what better way than with a traditional Fado performance. This soulful music, often a lament or celebration of the human condition, is Lisbon's heart laid bare in song.

For dinner, make your way back to Alfama for a taste of Portugal's culinary delights. Freshly caught fish at a tasca or a robust meal of cozido, the country's national dish, offers a perfect introduction to Portuguese cuisine. Remember the restaurants I mentioned in the lunch section and pick another one for dinner. You will not be disappointed in Alter or Cervejaria Ramiro.

Nightlife option 1

Drinks at a Lisbon Bar
Drinks at a Lisbon bar

Finish your night with a stroll through Bairro Alto, one of Lisbon's most vibrant neighborhoods. Join in the revelry at a lively Fado house or dance the night away in one of the district's electric bars and nightclubs. Some of the top bars to visit are Majong, Eclipse Rock Bar, Portas Largas, Pub Lisboeta, and Friends Bairro Alto. This is just the tip of the iceberg in Bairro Alto so get out there and enjoy your last little bit of time in this wonderful city.

Nightlife option 2

If you want to try a different neighborhood that has a great night life, check out Principe Real located near to Bairro Alto. This area is considered very hip and known for the LGBTQ bars, restaurants and great people. Some of the favorite bars and restaurants are. Gin Lovers Bar and Restaurant, Lost in or one of favorites Sneaky Sip. This area is actually in my opinion an upscale area, with many hotels too. If you are staying in a hotel in this area just know you will be in up late in this neighborhood so don't plan on going to bed early as bars will usually be open till 2AM.

Nightlife Option 3

Pink Street
Pink Street

Rua Nova do Carvalho, also known as Pink Street, is a great place for a visit to a lively neighborhood. Located in Cais do Sodre neighborhood. For hundreds of years this area was known for drinking and brothels. This is still a great place to get a drink and enjoy the nightlife of the city. Yes, the street is actually pink, and you will see tons of umbrellas above you as you walk down the street. It really is just as much of a tourist attraction as a place to enjoy the nightlife. This short street at just 250 meters is sometimes known as the prettiest street in Lisbon and is Instagram famous for all the colors. Some of the most popular are Pink Wine Bar, Music Box, Pensao Amor, Sol e Pesca, and Europa.

Insider's Tip: If you're out late, remember that Lisbon rises late. The nightlife starts to pick up around 11 pm, so take a siesta if you need to, and be prepared for a long night!

Getting Around: From Trams to Tuk-Tuks and Everything in Between.

Tram in Lisbon
Tram in Lisbon

In a day, there is no shortage of transport options. The iconic and famous Tram 28 weaves its way through Alfama's tight streets, offering a traditional and charming trip through the city's heart. These trams are a part of the public transportation in Lisbon so you will be interacting with the locals. So you need to remember on a busy summer day, long lines can be expected for Tram 28, so the best time to use is early or after 3 PM


For longer distances or a dash of modern-day fun, consider a Tuk-Tuk for a fast and exhilarating ride, an excellent way to pack more sightseeing into a short time (and to conquer those hilly streets without breaking a sweat!). If you are unfamiliar with a Tuk-Tuk, they can hold a few people and will take you around the city similar to a golf cart tour. The drivers are knowledgeable, and it is a wonderful way to get around the city and see the sights. The prices for this type of tour are more expensive but are worth it in my opinion.

There is a Hop-On-Hop-Off bus that is a decent cheap way to see the city, but it lacks a little charm that the trams or even the Tuk-Tuk will give you and it will not be going up and down some of the tight streets in Lisbon. This option will give you stops near places you would want to see all around Lisbon but be warned if you think it will save you some walking, it won't. You will still have to do a good bit of walking all around the city when using this option to see all the sites you want to visit. There are options available to purchase a Hop-On-Hop-Off tour with a combination of trams or even a scenic boat ride up the Tagus River, which I still consider an affordable option.

Speaking of taking a boat tour. This is a great option, it gives you a great look at the city from the water, and might be able to give you some picture like I have taken of the April 2th Bridge, and the Christ is King Statue. The river tours are excellant, and great way for a different type of tour of the city.

If you enjoy walking and exploring, but would like a guide or tour, there are plenty of walking tours available for purchase. I personally liked the walking tour of the Belem area. They are a few walking tours to choose from and even food and wine tours or shopping tours.


Some other sites that you might be interested in spotting from a moving vehicle of your choice area the Royal Palace, the bull fighting stadium (yes, they do it in Portugal too, but not in the same way the Spanish do), or the Aqueduct (which totally shocked me). Some of these sites might be best seen from a bus ride to that section of the city. Also, a bus is the best way to get to the zoo, also known as the Jardim Zoologico. I have never been to the zoo in Lisbon, but I know its location from a bus ride I did around the city one time. If you would like to visit remember, it will take up a lot of your time in your 1-day itinerary in Lisbon, but it can be done.

Insider's Tip: Be mindful of pickpockets, especially on crowded trams. Keep your belongings close and your pocketbook zipped up tight. In fact, if you want to be safe like me, I use a crossover bag that hangs over my shoulder but across my chest. My best suggestion is to never carry anything in your back pockets. As for safety though Lisbon is one of the safest larger cities in Europe. I never felt unsafe or had a worry when walking all these cobblestone streets and hills. Also, everyone was extremely friendly and helpful for the couple times I lost my sense of direction.


I hope you have found this blog helpful and gives you great ideas of some sites you can see in one day. I like to give options so you can pick and choose what appeals to you. With my couple visits I have seen a variety of things and that helped to build this itinerary where you can choose what you like.

One day in Lisbon can only scratch the surface of this multifaceted city, but it's more than enough to leave you with a taste for more. As dusk turns to dawn and you find yourself saying "até breve" to this enchanting metropolis, you'll carry with you the echoes of Fado, the salt of the sea in your senses, and the vibrant spirit of a city that truly knows how to live. Whether you're planning a whirlwind tour of Europe, or simply making the most of a layover in Lisbon, cherish each moment — and like the city itself, immerse yourself in every experience with passion and joy.


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