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Lisbon is getting more and more popular and honestly, I understand why. The weather is nice, it’s a dynamic city, the food is delicious, there’s a rich cultural and historical heritage, and of course life is not expensive. Moreover, Lisbon is a beautiful city and people are nice. I spent 3 days in Lisbon and looking back, I think I would have stayed longer if I could? You’re about to visit Lisbon? This article can help you out!
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Description of Lisbon
Before listing what to do in 3 days in Lisbon, let me describe the city quickly! Lisbon is one of the oldest cities in Western Europe. It’s older than other capitals like London, Paris and even Rome! It was built on seven hills by the Tagus river. Consequently, there are many uphill slopes and descents. It’s ideal for your legs but I think you need to be in good shape.
Otherwise no problems, there are trams allowing you to reach the heights of the city without wearing yourself out. All those hills allow you to enjoy wonderful views of Lisbon. There are many viewpoints in the city, we call them miradouros.
Lisbon is really a relaxing city. The weather is nice, strolling in the streets in enjoyable, we eat well and it’s not expensive, plus alcohol is cheap. However, all those features attracted many Europeans and digital nomads who moved in Lisbon, and the prices went up because of that. The cost of living is relatively low compared to other Western Europe countries, but still, living in Lisbon is more expensive than a few years ago.
Alfama, a famous area in Lisbon, is filled with tourists renting Airbnb apartments. There are no more locals living there. Accommodation prices skyrocketed there. The atmosphere is still relaxed but it’s definitely not like a few years ago. Still, Lisbon is a very beautiful city, a cosmopolitan place, with a large community coming from Angola and Cape Verde. It’s one one of the best places to travel alone. Let’s see what to do in 3 days in Lisbon.
What to do in Lisbon
The Sao Jorge castle
It’s one of the most famous landmarks in Portugal! The Sao Jorge castle is located on top of a hill in the historical center of Lisbon. It was built in the 12th century, and it’s still here today, although it suffered several damage. Today, it offers a wonderful view of Lisbon and the Tagus river. A lot of people have a drink there at the end of the day to admire the sunset. The castle being popular, I suggest you to buy a skip-the-line ticket. Click here to buy it.
The miradouros in Lisbon
Miradouros are viewpoints in the heights of Lisbon, offering you a beautiful view of the city. There are many of them but you don’t have to see all of them. They’re more or less the same with a view in the heights of Lisbon. There are many of them : miradouro de Santa Luzia, miradouro das Portas do Sol, miradouro da Graça, miradouro de Sao Pedro de Alcantara, miradouro de Santa Catarina… There are 16 of them!
The Santa Justa lift
Once again, you want to admire Lisbon from the heights of the city? Enjoy a view of the roofs and the Tagus river? Take the Santa Justa Lift. Built in 1902, it attracts a lot of people cause it’s an architectural masterpiece. The lift is 45 meters (147 ft.) high, and it was allegedly built by one of Gustave Eiffel’s students. This would explain why it reminded me of the Eiffel tower a little bit. Just next to the lift, you can visit the Carmo convent, an archaeological museum. There’s also the arch on rua Augusta which is not far, and you can go on top of it for the nice view. Click here for more info.
Praça do Comercio
Don’t miss the Praça do Comercio (the trade square). We call it this way because the goods were arriving from the boats and were unloaded directly on the square in order to be sold. Praça do Comercio is surrounded by yellow buildings, but it’s also by the Tagus river. It’s the former royal palace square, and we still call it the palace’s terrace today. You can have a drink and savor pastel de nata there! In the center of the square, you’ll see the statue of Joseph I. He helped rebuilt the city after the 1755 Lisbon earthquake. It destroyed the city and killed between 50000 and 70000 people.
The Belem tower
The Belem tower is one of the most famous landmarks in Portugal. It’s an iconic place in Lisbon and it’s a UNESCO World Heritage site. The Belem tower was built in the 16th century to protect the city from the foreign invasions, but also to protect the Jeronimos monastery. It’s from here, at the former commercial port of Lisbon, that the Portuguese explorers like Vasco da Gama used to leave to discover the world. More spectacular from the outside than inside, the line can be long to get in the Belem tower. Click here to buy a skip-the-line ticket. To go to the Belem tower, take tram 15 from Praça do Comercio!
The Jeronimos monastery
In the same area, you’ll find the Jeronimos monastery, another UNESCO World Heritage site in Portugal. Just like the Belem tower, the building from the outside is wonderful, inside the building is nice too, but a bit less. It was built in the 16th century thanks to the wealth brought by the Portuguese explorers. It’s really impressing but it’s crowded, and the wait is long to get in. Click here to buy a skip-the-line ticket. In the same area, there’s the monument of the discoveries but I didn’t go.
If you can do it, I suggest you to take tram 28, a mythical yellow tram in Lisbon. It goes through the historical center, beautiful narrow streets and very beautiful places in the city. Be careful though, this tram is popular and often crowded. Moreover, there are pickpockets in the tram. Keep an eye open, and don’t forget to buy travel insurance!
Other things to do in Lisbon
There are so many places to see and things to do. I didn’t go but you should see Cristo Rei, that’s the Christ the Redeemer of Lisbon! You need to cross the 25 de Abril bridge, or take a ferry at the Cais do Sodré train station. Take some time to have a walk in Alfama, the only area not impacted by the 1755 earthquake. Go see Igreja de Sao Roque, a wonderful church!
If you want to party or have a drink, go to Bairro Alto. There are many bars and the prices are not outrageous. If you have time, go to Sintra, about 30km (20 miles) away. The Pena castle is wonderful. Here’s how to enjoy a one-day trip to Pena Palace in Sintra.There’s also Cascais and its beautiful beaches about 30km away from Lisbon. Click here for more information. Finally if you don’t have much time, here’s how to see Lisbon in one day.
Activities in Lisbon
If you want to, you can go to a private walking tour in Lisbon. Click here for more info. You can also admire a sunset on the Tagus river. Click here for more info. If you want to, it’s possible to go on a electric bike tour. Click here for more info. You can also go see a fado show. Fado is a popular Portuguese singing. Click here for more info. If you’re into street art, there’s a street art walking tour. Click here for more info. Finally, you can go to the Lisbon Oceanarium. Click here for more info.
What to eat in Lisbon
Wanna eat well in Lisbon? First go to the Timeout market, a huge food court with dozens of stalls. Cold meats, burgers, woks, tapas… You have plenty of options, and people love it! Otherwise you have many options all over the city. You’ll find everywhere dishes with bacalhau (codfish), grilled sardines, and of course the famous pastel de nata, the typical Portuguese custard tart.
To taste the original recipe, go to Pasteis de Belem, close to the Jeronimos monastery. They use the same recipe since 1837! FYI, there’s often a long line! Regarding drinks, you cannot miss the sangria (red wine and chopped fruit). They also drink a lot of porto and ginjinha, a cherry liqueur. Click here to enjoy a food and wine walking tour in Lisbon.
There’s something you need to know when you go to the restaurant : they put snacks on the table. They’ll charge you if you eat them. If you don’t want them, you can refuse them.
I really enjoyed my 3 days in Lisbon and I understand why its popularity skyrocketed the last few years. If you have the opportunity to go, don’t hesitate! If you spend more time in Portugal, check out this 10 days in Portugal itinerary.
How to get to Lisbon
There are many flights going to Lisbon. Click here to check the flight prices to go there.
How to get around in Lisbon
Lisbon is not a big city but it’s not possible to see everything by foot. First off, there are uphill slopes and descents. Plus the Belem tower among others is further. You’ll also have to use public transportation. The city is well served thanks to its metro and all the trams.
The simple thing to do is to get the Lisboa Card. You get unlimited access to public transportation during 24, 48 or 72 hours. Moreover, you get free admission to many attractions with the Lisboa Card : the Santa Justa lift, the Belem tower, the Jeronimos monastery… Click here to buy your card.
Where to stay in Lisbon
Here’s a guide listing where to stay in Lisbon. If you’re traveling on a budget, I suggest you to stay at the Goodmorning Solo Traveller Hostel. Click here to book your stay. For a mid-range hotel, I recommend the Hotel Da Baixa. Click here to book your stay. For a luxury hotel, the best option in Lisbon is the Santiago de Alfama. Click here to book your stay. Otherwise click here to check the hotels available in Lisbon.
Best time to visit Lisbon
When the weather is nice, which means almost anytime! Seriously, May/June or September/October are the best months to go there. The weather is nice and it’s not too crowded. Lisbon is packed in July and August. But if you go there in the winter, check out the things to do in Lisbon in winter. Also check out the best places for winter sun in Europe!
Lisbon travel tips
- Traveling soon? Check out my travel resources page! This list of travel accessories can also be useful for you!
- Never ever travel without a travel insurance! Here’s why you should buy travel insurance!
- Want a tailor-made trip to Portugal? Click here to get a free quote!
- Always use a VPN when traveling! I use ExpressVPN and I love it! Here’s why use a VPN when traveling!
- Keep an eye open, there are pickpockets, especially in tram 28!
- Some locals can come up to you in the street to ask if you want some drugs. Cocaine or weed mostly. Just ignore them, they’re not dangerous.
- Portugal is a cheap travel destination!