If you’ve got a long trip planned, then more than 3 days in Lisbon is never going to be a bad idea (!), but if you’re on a whistlestop city break, a full Portugal road trip or perhaps even a maxed-out Iberian excursion, then I’ve got great news for you…. 3 days in Lisbon is a perfect amount of time to see this city in all her glory!
From touring the city centre with its great lookouts, cafes and tiled buildings, to fitting in the best places to drink, day trip as well as pick up a prize-winning pastel de nata, this 3 day Lisbon itinerary will bring you the full lowdown on how to truly make the most of your time in the Portuguese capital and not only check out its top sights but also get under the cultural and historical skin of this trendy city too.
What more could you need?!
So let’s not drag out this introduction longer than we need to!
Here’s the ultimate 3 day Lisbon itinerary you should follow during your time here…
- Top 21 Things to Do in Lisbon
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- Best Way to Travel from Lisbon to Porto
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How to Travel to Lisbon?
Before we kick off this 3 day itinerary, I thought it would be useful to give you some key info on how to get to Lisbon… after all, it’s a good idea that if you want to enjoy 3 days in this city, you know how to travel there first!
If you’re coming from an international destination, particularly one further away, it’s likely you’ll be flying into the capital care of the city’s international airport.
As always, I suggest Skyscanner for bagging the best flight deals and if you need an airport transfer, check out this secure option.
Otherwise, you can also use buses or trains to travel to Lisbon from elsewhere in Portugal, or from neighbouring European countries such as Spain.
Coach or rail travel may prove more cost-effective for getting to Lisbon if you’re already nearby and will certainly be better for your carbon footprint.
I highly recommend Omio for booking train and bus journeys to the Portuguese capital, as this website makes it easy, quick and simple to compare hundreds of rail and coach journeys to the city from across the Iberian region.
Alternatively, you can also take an organised tour in Lisbon that includes a heap of guided activities in Portugal’s beautiful capital. Check out these fantastic options for more info.
When to Visit Lisbon?
Next up, it’s also a good idea to think about when you might want to visit Lisbon.
And there’s no question in my mind that the best time to enjoy this 3 day itinerary is during the months of April through June, plus September and October.
This is when the warm weather will allow you to take full advantage of the city’s charm, but won’t have you wilting in the summer heat.
And with details of how to get to Lisbon and when to visit now out of the way, let’s crack on with bringing you the best guide to this city…
Day 1 in Lisbon:
I really recommend donating your first day in Lisbon to seeing this capital – and by this I mean the city centre.
For those who have already arrived, why not make it an early start and enjoy a lovely breakfast in one of the city’s trendy suburbs like Barrio Alto or Graça.
There’s loads of great cafes in these parts and it may also be useful to get your bearings in these areas too, as you’re quite likely to want to return for after-dinner drinks!
After brekko, it’s time to get your sightsee on, with visits to some of Lisbon’s top attractions next on the menu.
Don’t miss the city’s Cathedral – one of the capital’s oldest buildings – as well as the iconic ruins of Carmo Convent.
Climbing the Arco da Rua Augusta is another traveller hit, as is taking a ride in the Santa Justa Lift.
You’ll need tickets to access these 2 latter suggestions, but my suggestion if you plan to do a lot of the Portuguese capital is to invest in the Lisbon Card – this will cover many of the top activities and includes free public transport, so is likely to save you time and money if bought in advance.
And talking of transport, there’s no question taking a journey on one of Lisbon’s iconic trams is a must while you are here.
The number #28 is the most famous of these historic, yellow rides and, conveniently, this route will lead you to Castelo de São Jorge – another must-see in the city.
The view from this castle, which sits on one of Lisbon’s highest hills, is a real treat, but don’t forget to scale to one of the city’s many other miradouros (aka lookouts) too if you can – my favourites include Miradouro de Soa Pedro De Alcantara, Miradouro da Senhora do Monte and Miradouro das Portas do Sol.
Other must-dos while in Lisbon’s central districts include shopping for beautiful ceramics, snapping the gorgeous Azulejo tiled buildings and taking a street art tour to learn more about the social and political leanings of this fab capital – check out this top-rated option.
With a full day of sightseeing, it’s then time to unwind with dinner and some drinks, and Rua Cor de Rosa in the central Baxia district, as well as Barrio Alto and Graça, are all top places to do this.
Finish up with a lovely stay in one of these excellent Lisbon hotels or one of these great Lisbon Airbnbs.
Day 2 in Lisbon:
On day 2 of your 3 days in Lisbon, it’s then time to leave the city centre for a slice of something a little closer to the edge… aka the coast!
If you’re been out for a few drinks the night before, then day 2 might not involve such an early start and that’s fine, because you really can enjoy this one at a leisurely pace.
The first destination is Belem, which is a great half day activity easily accessed from central Lisbon via tram or an affordable Uber.
A highlight of your 3 days in Lisbon, Belem is a fabulous riverside suburb, with the amazing tower of Belem and the Jerónimos Monastery being 2 top sights you have to take in here.
If you fancy a guided tour to learn more about them, then this great option comes highly recommended.
But perhaps best of all, Belem is home to one of the most famous patisseries in Portugal – Pasteis De Belem!
Founded in 1837, there’s no prizes for guessing what they make here (yes it’s Portugal’s famous custard egg tarts – pastel de nata in case you hadn’t twigged!) and yes, they are some of the country’s best!
Having eaten your weight in tarts – which makes the perfect lunchtime snack in my opinion – it’s then time to grab an Uber to explore a trendy spot that sits between Lisbon and Belem called the LX Factory.
Located through an archway in a hidden street, this place is filled with cute cafes, independent shops, great restaurants and fab bars.
My tip is to head here around sunset and enjoy a rooftop tipple with a view!
Day 3 in Lisbon:
And with your final day on this 3 day Lisbon itinerary, it’s time to venture even further out of the city on one of Portugal’s most amazing day trips.
Yes, it’s time to hit up the Disney-like castles of Sintra.
Situated within a gorgeous national park, with lovely views over the wooded reserve and across to the cost, there’s actually several castles to visit in Sintra, but if you only have a day here, I suggest limiting your time to just 3 or 4, to make sure that you see a decent amount of them and don’t get castled-out!
See my list of the top picks here to learn which Sintra Castles you can’t miss!
It will be an early start for your Sintra day trip, especially if you don’t opt to take a guided tour and decide to make your own way there instead.
By train is the easiest way to do this and you can get a full step-by-step guide to this DIY day trip in this post I wrote.
Otherwise, delegate the organising to someone else and enjoy one of these great Sintra day tours:
- Sintra UNESCO World Heritage Site Tour from Lisbon
- From Lisbon: Sintra Highlights Full Day Tour
- Lisbon Day Trip: Pena Palace, Sintra, Cabo da Roca, & Cascais
Whatever option you go for, remember to take your camera to enjoy these lovely historic buildings, as well as their amazing elevated views and, of course, the cute town of Sintra itself – there’s some great eating spots here, as well as a craft beer place where you can finish off your day trip in style!
And there you have it – the ultimate 3 day Lisbon itinerary that really will have you seeing the best of this city in a short amount of time.
If you still have time for more travelling after Lisbon (and lucky you if so!), then you may want to head to other parts of Portugal, including the great city of Porto
Check out these articles I wrote about the country’s second city for some inspiration…
5 Packing Essentials for Lisbon
- UV sunglasses
- Supportive shoes for walking
- Natural 30 SPF sunscreen
- Good insect repellent
- Sony A6000 camera
Travel Insurance for Portugal
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Alternatively, if you’re a long-term traveller, digital nomad or frequent remote worker seeking travel health cover, check out Safetywing’s Nomad Insurance policies.
Travel Money in Portugal
When it comes to getting paying for things in Portugal, I always recommend using card payments as much as possible, because many ATM machines in this country charge hefty withdrawal fees.
But of course, you want to ensure you’re not being charged overseas transaction fees or getting poor exchange rates when you use your card abroad, which is why I always take my Wise Card away with me.
The easy way to spend abroad with the real exchange rates, no markups, no sneaky transaction fees and a free Euros account, you can use your Wise card just like a debit card in Portugal… and it links easily with Google and Apple pay – sold!
Get yours here.
PIN IT TO PINTEREST!
And there you have it, my ultimate 3 day Lisbon itinerary.
I hope it’s convinced you to visit this city and also given you a good insight into how best to spend your time there.
Because don’t forget, if 3 days isn’t enough, you can always return!