How To Spend One Day In Lisbon (Maps + 2 Best of Lisbon Itineraries)

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Are you in Lisbon for just one day and wondering how to make the best use of your time? Oh, and do you have to use only public transport? I’m sure it is tough to see many places in a short time being new to the place. Let me help you plan your one day in Lisbon better. I’ve written this post to give you two excellent itineraries so that you can choose one that suits you best.

Note: The two itineraries cannot be combined into a 2-day itinerary as they have a few common places. Then you may ask why two, though? Before going into the first itinerary, let me tell you the first big difference between the two and how to choose the best option for you. Let’s make a choice, shall we?

Do you want to visit Saint George’s Castle?

If the answer is a big YES, why waste time checking out the first option? Please head on to the second. (Just kidding, I’ll be more than happy if you read both options.)

If the answer is a NO or if you are planning to spend a separate day for Sintra, then your best choice would be the first option.

If you are unsure, I will tell you the next big difference. Instead of visiting Saint George’s Castle, you will visit the Jerónimos Monastery and Belém Tower in the first itinerary. I guess this should help you decide which option to choose.

Note: Start your day a little early. The earlier, the better. Minimum 7:00 am to 8:00 am is preferable.

Lisbon 1-Day Itinerary – Plan A

How To Use The Map?

The orange suitcases are the locations from the itinerary. If required, zoom in and click on a suitcase to view brief details about the location. Click ‘View in Google Maps’ to view the location’s complete details in Google Maps.

Stroll Around the Praça do Comércio of Lisbon

Praça do Comércio is the main square of Lisbon, which faces the harbor. On the other side of the square, you could see the Tagus river, and you will also be able to see Cais das Colunas. Take a walk around the square and enjoy the breeze from the river.

Tip! If you are a morning person, Cais das Colunas is a perfect place to enjoy Sunrise views. (Do check the weather before visiting.)

How to Get There?

Praça do Comércio is located in the Baixa Chiado. There is a metro station in Baixa Chiado on the other side of the arch. But I preferred taking the next stop in the metro, which is Terreiro de Paço. This station is closer to the river, and you can enjoy better views when you surface to the land from the subway.
There are also buses and trams which directly stop in front of the arch. My preference was to use the metro when possible. But that’s just me, you could take any means of transport as there are so many and they are frequent.

Safety Tip! Keep your bags protected when you are using any public transport, especially while you are standing. You would already find many warning signs about pickpocketing in all the buses and trams (especially trams).

Ride the Santa Justa Elevator

Just around a 600m walk from the Praça do Comércio is the Santa Justa Elevator, with an observation deck that offers stunning views of the city.

Good to know! The observation deck is sometimes closed for maintenance during off-peak season. So check if it is open when you are visiting. Although it is cool to ride the lift, it is not exactly worth the wait in the long queues. But the view from the top is quite exquisite. So here is a great way to escape the crowd but still enjoy the view from the observation deck.

Pro tip! If there is a long queue for the Santa Justa Lift, do not waste time standing in line. Instead, try this secret way to get to the top of the lift and directly go to the observation deck, which has a separate entry fee.

Check Out the Views From the Best Viewpoints and Explore Alfama District (Including Lisbon Cathedral)

Enjoy Views From Miradouro da Graça

Start by visiting one of the best viewpoints in Lisbon, Miradouro da Graça. Enjoy the amazing views of the city from here and check out the famous Portugal tiles found in many of the houses along the way.

How to Get There?

From Santa Justa, you could take the metro to M. Moniz, and hop on Tram 28, Tram 12, or bus 734 to get to Graça, a short walk from there. If you are following Plan B, you will be at Saint George’s castle, so walk around 10 minutes to reach Graça.

Tip! Do not again waste time waiting to ride Tram 28 if the lines are insanely long. The experience is the same in any other tram going through those routes. And since you are making multiple stops, you can try your luck with Tram 28 from a different stop. I have described my experience with tram rides in Lisbon and also had quite a story to tell.

What if I Want More Amazing Views in My One Day in Lisbon?

If you are still in the mood for more viewpoints, your next stops can be the Miradouro da Senhora do Monte and Miradouro das Portas do Sol (this is where you will hop off the tram to explore Alfama next). These are near the Santa Justa elevator. If not, then proceed to Alfama.

How to Get There?

It is a short 5-minute walk from the Miradouro da Graça, or you could take Tram 28.

Explore Alfama

Wandering around the streets of Alfama is one of the best things to do in Lisbon. This area is pretty steep and consists of many uphill alleys and staircases. Just walk around gazing at all those colorful buildings and quirky street art. Make sure to have some lip-smacking pastel de nata while there (it should cost you around €2).

Tip! This is also one of the best places to go for a walking tour, as if you are running short on time, you could get lost in the narrow streets in this region.

Insta photo alert! Don’t forget to snap pictures of trams passing by the Alfama when you get down on Portas do Sol. It is time to click your photos for the gram.

Lunch! It should be around lunchtime now. There are many tascas around the Alfama region where you can fill your tummy with lip-smacking Portuguese food. Not hungry yet? You could have lunch in the Baixa region before heading to Jerónimos Monastery later.

Visit the Sé de Lisboa (Lisbon Cathedral)

Sé de Lisboa (The Cathedral of Saint Mary Major or Lisbon Cathedral) is one of the iconic places to visit. It does not exhibit the grandeur that most of the other major European Cathedrals, but it is still worth visiting. If you don’t have much time, I suggest seeing the cathedral from the outside.

Tip! It could also be a fantastic spot for capturing pictures of Tram 28s traveling downhill from the cathedral. It could appear as if the tram was coming out of the cathedral.

How to Get There?

From Miradouro das Portas do Sol, you could take Trams 28 or 12 and get down at Se.

Good to know! Everything is located really close by. While wandering around the Alfama region, check your maps. You could already be very close to the cathedral and quickly reach there on foot rather than going back to Miradouro das Portas do Sol or the nearest tram stop.

Marvel at the Jerónimos Monastery

The Jerónimos monastery, called the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos in Portuguese (Heironymites Monastery), is a UNESCO world heritage site. This monastery is an architectural marvel of the 16th century built to commemorate the return of Vasco da Gama from India. This monument is one of the must-see places in Lisbon. (Highly recommend!)

Good to know! Make sure to purchase your tickets online. You are still required to collect the tickets from the entrance. So ensure you are in the correct queue.

Tip! The Lisboa Card gets you free entrance to the place, but you still have to scan your card at the machine to get your tickets. For others, I would suggest getting the combi ticket for Belém Tower and the monastery. You can get it at the Belém Tower if you are visiting in the morning or in the monastery if you are visiting close to sunset.

How to Get There?

From the Lisbon cathedral, you have to walk around 5 to 8 minutes back to the Praça do Comércio, where we actually started. Time for another tram, Tram 15. This one might not be a pretty, vintage tram, but a modern and bigger one. (Told ya! That we will cover so many tram rides!)

Photo alert! You could capture some amazing pictures for your gram doing your thing in the monastery’s corridors. It gives such a royal vibe.

Totally Random Stuff! I get some major Hogwarts vibes seeing the pattern on the arches here. Let me know after visiting if anyone feels the same?

Admire the Views From Belém Tower

This is an excellent place to watch the sunset. You could go climb the tower and see the place from inside. It is free when you have a Lisboa Card. You still have to scan your card at the entrance. The entry for the tower is €6, but you could also combine it with the Jerónimos Monastery ticket.

Suggestion! If the tower is too crowded, I suggest you skip climbing the tower. The best view is from the outside. The first layer of the tower has an open viewing area facing the Tagus river. It is a lovely sight to the eyes if there is not much crowd or it could become too suffocating, especially during summers. The Belém tower is open an extra 30 minutes more than Jerónimos during the fall and winter, so you could visit this close to the sunset. It is a fantastic picture spot when the sky turns orange.

Psst! There is a cafe and a yogurt van near the Belém Tower. We should have done a lot of walking by now and deserve to gorge on some evening snacks. (Watching the sun go down while sipping your coffee… That’s a dream!)

How to Get There?

The Tram 15 is the best option. There are many bus options as well, and it is a short 10-minute walk from where the tram stops. You should walk down an alley towards the coast and cross a skywalk. You can capture great pictures of the tower from the skywalk.

Explore the Rossio Square of Lisbon

The Rossio square originally called the Don Pedro IV square, is located in the heart of downtown Lisbon. It has been one of the most famous squares since the middle ages. You can notice that the square has attractive wave-patterned pavements. Not just the square, the sidewalks around this area have various beautiful patterns made of small tiles.

Take a walk around this area and maybe even shop. There are many shops nearby and cute little cafes where you can gorge on more pastel de nata.

Places to Admire

The Rossio railway station looks charming and mystical at night when the lights are on, making it a nice photo spot.

A bright-colored circus-themed sardine shop (interesting, isn’t it?) is located on the corner of Rossio Square. It is called The Fantastic World of the Portuguese Sardines. You can buy some souvenirs with your birth year from the shop.

Walk a little further from the Rossio square, and you’ll find yourself walking past the Restauradores into the Avenida da Liberdade. It is also known as one of Lisbon’s most expensive shopping streets. It’s shopping time if you are into some fancy brands. Or you could just window shop like me, enjoying the vibes of the cute shops.

There is a good cafe called Delta The Coffee House Experience, where you should definitely try their cupcakes. They are so scrumptious. (I am already drooling while typing it. I went there twice to have them in lemon and red velvet flavors.)

How to Get There?

Hmm, yeah, where were we? Yes, the Belém Tower! You hop back onto Tram 15, going in the opposite direction to the one where you got down. Ride the tram until Parca da Figueira. From here, Rossio Square is just about 300m by foot.

Now, this is your last chance to roam around and do some souvenir shopping. Or head on directly to Bairro Alto to gulp some good food or enjoy some fado performance along with it.

Last Stop for the Day at Bairro Alto

Wander through the steep cobblestone streets of the bohemian Bairro Alto. Once the sun is down, you can see the place becoming lively and getting ready for the fado performances.

Tip! Do not give in to the restaurants which try to lure you in with their offers. They usually do not have the best food, nor is the price attractive. Most of the good places would already be reserved for the night, so try to make a reservation in one that allows booking through call or online.

Psst! Check to see if the Gloria funicular in Restauradores is functioning during your visit. It is a very cute little funicular that is filled with graffiti. It goes up the steep road almost up to Bairro Alto, so you can enjoy a cute ride and save some energy walking uphill.

Suggestion! If you are into Italian food, try to dine at Limoncello in the Bairro Alto area, which serves delicious food. The place is tiny but cozy.

Good to know! There are a lot of souvenir shops around this area where you can get some cute magnets and postcards, and yeah, how did I forget about all things made in cork and Portuguese tile art? I sure did shop a lot of cute and quirky stuff during my visit to Lisbon.

Lisbon 1-Day Itinerary – Plan B (Includes Saint George’s Castle)

This is specially curated for all people who have Saint George’s Castle (Castelo de São Jorge) in their must visit places.

How To Use The Map?

The orange suitcases are the locations from the itinerary. If required, zoom in and click on a suitcase to view brief details about the location. Click ‘View in Google Maps’ to view the location’s complete details in Google Maps.

First, let’s address the elephant in the room, shall we? This castle was not on the first list because I felt it was better to visit the Castle of the Moors when traveling to Sintra. But why can’t both make it to the list?

Visiting castles take so much time, and in my opinion, for a first-time visitor, it is nice to have a varied experience of the place. You could visit Saint George’s Castle if you do not plan on visiting Sintra. (But please do not skip Sintra. It is so beautiful and has a charm to it!)

Psst! The Saint George’s Castle from the 1940s was destroyed mainly by a massive earthquake. The current one is a fairly newer construction mimicking the original one. That said, the place is worth the visit for its breathtaking view of the city.

Shushing myself for now. Let’s get on with the day! There is a lot to see, and enough about history for now.

Climb the Towers of Saint George’s Castle

I guess now the castle (or the viewpoint) needs no introduction. Yet here is some good stuff to know, folks!

  • The queue in the castle will be just insane. I highly recommend getting the Skip-the-Line ticket.
  • Bring along some snacks to eat. Visiting a castle, however new or old, takes time.
  • Pick your most comfortable walking shoes as it involves a lot of climbing to enjoy those crazy views from the towers. (If I remember correctly, there are around 10 towers that you can climb)
  • I would set aside 3 hours for a visit.

How to Get There?

If you are lucky enough to hop on to a Tram 28, you can get down at Miradouro das Portas do Sol (the place from where we wander into Alfama) and walk around 300m.

You could also get on the 737 bus, which stops in front of the castle. Or if you are feeling adventurous, you could walk up the steep cobblestone roads as it is only a little more than a km from the Rossio square. Phew! I am not a fan of uphill walks. But downhill, I could do.

Continue With Some of the Locations From Plan A

Once you have explored Saint George’s Castle, walk to the Miradouro da Graça. Then, move on to Miradouro das Portas do Sol and enjoy some of the nearby viewpoints. Explore Alfama and move on to the Lisbon Cathedral. The next stop would be to visit Praça do Comércio, a short walk downhill from the Lisbon Cathedral.

Head to Santa Justa Elevator, and enjoy sunset views from the observation deck. Head to Rossio Square by taking the metro, which is the quickest option. Enjoy the rest of the evening at Rossio Square, and end your day at Bairro Alto.

Whichever option you chose, you would have had a fantastic day in Lisbon. And now it’s time to rest your feet and enjoy the pictures you clicked during the day until your phone’s battery dies (like me), or just get some sleep and drift into a dream world.

Oh, and don’t forget to read some useful information to know before you visit Lisbon. Also, if you are visiting Sintra next, check out the best things to do when you are in Sintra.

Kiki from RooKiExplorers posing in a field of pink hyacinths in the Netherlands.
The Face Behind the Post

Hey, I am Kiki! A full-time software developer and hardcore travel enthusiast who is always up for a new adventure and the author of RooKiExplorers. I love to travel the world and enjoy talking about it, helping everyone around me plan their trips, and avoiding making the mistakes I made.

6 thoughts on “How To Spend One Day In Lisbon (Maps + 2 Best of Lisbon Itineraries)”

    • We’re glad that you found the itineraries and activities interesting. We hope you’ll enjoy Lisbon as much as we did! 🙂


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