Back in November 2018, I traveled to Lisbon with a dear friend for four days. We arrived early on a Friday morning and flew home on a Tuesday morning. We had four full days to explore the city and the surrounding area. When I tell people I only leave home for four to five days, they don’t usually believe it’s possible to see or do much. But I assure you, choose the right place and you can have a wonderful, immersive experience in only four days. Why Lisbon? Well, it’s a pretty convenient place to get to as it’s on the western side of Europe with daily direct (affordable) flights form Toronto. It’s also super inexpensive to stay in Lisbon from the cost of accommodations to the cost of food. So without further ado, how to see Lisbon in four days. Yes, four.
Spoiler: If you want the short list of my top 10 favourite things in Lisbon, scroll to the bottom of the post ;)
Day 1 in Lisbon
To avoid jet lag, always hit the ground running after an overnight flight. You might be tempted to sleep but it’s just not worth it. Wait until the sun goes down and sleep as long as you can into the next morning. We arrived in Lisbon super early in the morning and dropped our stuff off at our airbnb. One thing I really loved about Lisbon – we found fresh squeezed orange juice everywhere and it was a great treat. To get a real sense of the city, be sure to spend some time just wandering the historic streets. It’s not very big and can easily be seen on foot. Just wear good walking shoes as the hills are steep and the beautifully mosaicked streets can be slippery when wet.
On your first day, be sure to spend some time in the main square, Praça do Comércio. You should also grab a coffee and snack at Cafe Janis (we spent hours just relaxing here!) and a meal at the Time Out Market. Visit the main square, the Praça do Comércio. While you’re there, grab a bite at Nosolo Italia. Amazing location, comfortable, great service and simple, delicious Italian (I loved their spaghetti!) We even ate outside at one point.
Eat, drink and relax at Cafe Janis.
Day 2 in Lisbon
On our second day, we waited in line (which went quicker than expected) for the Santa Justa lift. At the top is a viewing platform with one of the best views of Lisbon’s iconic red roofs. We decided to walk down (and realized we could have skipped the lift and line altogether) and on our way down, discovered the Carmo Convent. This was by far one of my favourite spots in Lisbon. After exploring the Convent, grab lunch or do some shopping (Looking for Flying Tiger – my favourite!) en route to Alfama. My absolute favourite spot in all of Lisbon was Miradouro de Santa Luzia. Be sure to stop at Portas do Sol when you’re in the area, preferably around sunset, for another incredible view of the city.
Take the Santa Justa Lift to the view platform for the most amazing views of the city. The cost to take the lift was around 5€. It’s included in Lisbon’s transit pass but you can also just climb to the top rather than needing to take the lift if you want to skip the cost or the line up.
Stop in at the the Carmo Convent, a Gothic Convent built in 1423. The cost was 3€. It’s a small site but really interesting.
Then take in the oh so breathtaking Miradouro de Santa Luzia.
Wander the historic streets of Alfama.
When in Alfama, be sure to grab some gelato + Ginja – Portugal’s famous sour cherry liqueur.
Admire the views from Miradouro das Portas do Sol at sunset.
Day 3 in Lisbon
Take Tram 15 or 127 OR take the Hop On, Hop Off bus (which is what we opted for) to Belem. While you’re there, be sure to admire the facade of Monastery of Jeronimos. The line up was HUGE so we decided not to go inside but just seeing the exterior was the worth the trip to Belem for sure. The best part of our visit to Belem was definitely the Jardim Oriental. We happened upon it accidentally but it was an incredible spot to explore. My favourite point was the Estufa Principal all covered in vines. We got a little lost on our way back to Lisbon but sometimes, getting lost is the best adventure and we ended up at Estufa Fria. If you arrive within 30 minutes of closing, admission is free :) And who doesn’t love free, right?
While visiting the Jardim Oriental, stop to admire the Estufa Principal.
Admire the facade of the Monastery of Jeronimos. The line up was enormous so we opted not to go inside.
If you love all things botanical, visit the Estufa Fria where admission is free if you arrive within 30 minutes of closing (which is plenty of time to explore the site).
My top 10 favourite things to do in Lisbon:
10. Take in the Praça do Comércio
9. Eat at the Time Out Market
8. Admire the facade of the Monastery of Jeronimos
7. The view from View from the top of the Santa Justa Lift
6. Explore the Jardim Oriental
5. Take in the views at Miradouro das Portas do Sol at sunset
4. Tour the Carmo Convent
3. Sit for hours and hours and hours and eat and drink at Cafe Janis
2. Wander the historic streets of Alfama
1. Enjoy the views, the flowers and the tile work at Miradouro de Santa Luzia
Day 4 in Lisbon
I hope this helped inspire you on how to see Lisbon in four days too. Tune in next week to find out how we spent our fourth day in Lisbon – well, sort of ;)
Lisbon Travel Photos, Europe Travel Photos, Portugal Travel Photos, How to See Lisbon in Four Days, Toronto Photographer, Wee Three Sparrows Photography