Essential Lisbon: A 3-Day Itinerary

Travel advisor Denise Cruz siting on staircase, smiling and wearing black top.
Curated By

Denise Cruz

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  • Solo Travel

  • Boutique Travel

  • Arts & Culture

  • Lisbon

  • Portugal

  • Architecture

  • History

  • Sightseeing

Colorful buildings and street in Lisbon, Portugal.
Curator’s statement

As a digital nomad, Lisbon holds a special place in my heart. The city has captured my soul with its vibrant atmosphere, friendly people from around the world and a rich history intertwined with modernity. From its historic neighborhoods to enchanting castles, culinary delights and vibrant nightlife, Lisbon promises experiences that will leave you yearning for more.

The Fora Difference

Book with Denise to access exclusive perks and experiences on your trip.

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Killer perks

Free upgrades, spa credits and more—we got you

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Personalized recs

Customized travel planning for your style

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Insider knowledge

Expert advice from people who’ve actually been there

Where to stay

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Memmo Príncipe Real

Polished hillside property in the heart of Lisbon with chic rooms and suites.

Fora Perks
  • Special amenity or experience ($50 / $100 value).

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

AlmaLusa Baixa/Chiado

Head-turning boutique hotel on one of Lisbon’s most beautiful squares.

Fora Perks
  • Special welcome amenities.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & guaranteed late check-out.

The Lumiares Hotel & Spa

An all-encompassing homage to the arts and crafts of Portugal housed in one elegant, 5-star hotel and spa.

Fora Perks
  • $50-$100 hotel / resort credit.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • A bottle of white wine in your room on arrival.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

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Travel advisor Denise Cruz siting on staircase, smiling and wearing black top.

Unlock perks by contacting Denise to book your trip.

Day 1: Arrive in Lisbon

Lisbon Cathedral with a tram in front.

You'll likely arrive in Lisbon early in the morning so leave your luggage at the hotel and go grab a nice cup of coffee from one of the countless coffee shops, many of which are owned by expats.

Explore Old Lisbon

Visit the Castelo de São Jorge, an imposing fortress perched high on a hill in the heart of the city, and enjoy the panoramic views of Lisbon and the Tagus River.

As you descend from the castle, immerse yourself in the Alfama district, one of Lisbon's oldest neighborhoods.

See Lisbon Cathedral, the city's oldest church and visit the Fado Museum or the National Tile Museum.

You’ll eventually make your way into Baixa and Chiado, a neighborhood with a bohemian flair.

Stop by the Time Out Market, or Mercado da Ribeira, for a quick bite to eat. If you're a digital nomad, check out the co-working space above the market.

Ride the picturesque Ascensor da Bica funicular and the Santa Justa Lift and see the Praça do Comércio, the grandest square in Lisbon.

Fado and Nightlife

In the evening, head back to Alfama, for a Fado show. I recommend Tasca do Chico.

Or head over to Principe Real for a more contemporary night out. I recommend dinner at The Decadente.

Day 2: Sintra, Cabo da Roca and Cascais

Palácio Nacional-da Pena castle

Take a day trip to Sintra and the Pena Palace

Head to Sintra early and go straight to The Palácio Nacional da Pena. This eclectic castle perched on a hill is an absolute must-visit and you want to avoid the long lines.Take some time to explore Sintra and treat yourself to lunch. I recommend Incomun. Try the queijada and travesseiro, Sintra’s famous deserts.

Stop in Cascais

If you’re not staying in Cascais, make a stop on the way back to Lisbon.

Walk around this coastal town for a bit and grab a scoop of ice cream at Gelados Santini.

Visit the LX Factory

End your day at LX Factory, a former industrial complex that has been transformed with art galleries, trendy shops, live music venues and several dining options.

Day 3: Belém and Parque das Nações

Oceanário de Lisboa  Aquarium

Visit Belém and Mosteiro dos Jerónimos

Start your day with one of Lisbon's most famous custard-filled pastries at Pastéis de Belém, in the Belem district. Visit the Jerónimos Monastery and take a guided tour of the building to explore the stunning cloisters.

Explore Passeio do Carmo

Take a scenic bike ride or walk along Passeio do Carmo, a boardwalk along the Tagus River.
Admire some of Lisbon's most notable landmarks including the Torre de Belém, Padrão dos Descobrimentos and the Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology (MAAT).

Parque das Naçōes

After you check out of your hotel, drive through Parque da Naçōes, an entirely redeveloped area, to experience the modern side of Lisbon.Admire the architecture of the Camões Theatre, Pavilhão do Conhecimento, Oceanário de Lisboa and Estação do Oriente, a striking transportation hub designed by renowned architect Santiago Calatrava. If you have some time to spare, sit at one of the many trendy waterfront restaurants with panoramic views of the Vasco da Gama Bridge.

Need to Know

For more travel tips, check out Fora Advisor Olivia Coflin’s guide Experience the Enchantment of Lisbon: Best Places to Stay, Things to Do and Places to Dine.

Travel advisor Denise Cruz siting on staircase, smiling and wearing black top.

Travel Advisor

Denise Cruz

Get in touch with Denise

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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Lisbon.