I know that for most it might sound strange to plan a trip when you are only starting your latest, but let’s say I am not like most people, and the thought of having a trip planned keeps me going and gives me motivation.
But getting back to my four days in Lisbon, is that enough?
In the pace we did it (meaning fast, without visiting all the main tourist attractions, or at least not going inside), it is doable, and can also include one day outside of Lisbon, but I will talk more about that in a different post.
But if you want to do it the right way and get to see everything, not rush from one place to the other, I would recommend taking one whole week and walking the streets of Lisbon up and down till there’s not a secret left.
And if you have even more time to spend in Portugal, check out this one week Portugal itinerary that will inspire you to book your flight right away.
Lisbon in 4 days
Getting to Lisbon from the airport
The pilot had announced that we were starting to descend to Lisbon’s airport, but it looked to me like we were heading for the ocean.
A slight turn and we were getting back towards the mainland, getting closer and closer to the ground, and consequently to the many buildings visible ahead.
We passed the 25 Abril Bridge, crossed the Tagus river, saw the Cristo Rei statue. It looks like the Airport of Lisbon is really close to the city and there are plenty of ways of getting to the center of Lisbon.
We opted to take an Uber because we knew we were living on a hill and didn’t want to carry the bags all the way up, and were impressed with the low rate: paid around 11 EUR for a ride from the airport to the Alfama area.
Since we were 3, that was roughly 3.5 EUR/each for the comfort of not climbing the hills with our luggage.
But you can always choose public transportation:
- Metro – the cheapest way of getting to the city center of Lisbon, with a ticket costing only 1.95 EUR. The metro station is right in front of the arrivals terminal, and you won’t miss it since it looks like a big red dot. In order to use public transportation in Lisbon, you will need to buy the Viva Viagem card (0,5 euro) and add money or trips accordingly.
- AeroBus – the bus taking you from Lisbon’s Airport to its city center. In order to get to the city center, with the line ending at Cais do Sodré, take Line 1. The ticket costs 4 EUR ( or 6 for a roundtrip).
- Bus – there are several lines passing by the Airport ( 705, 722, 744, 783, 208) and a ticket costs 1.85 EUR if you are buying it from the bus, or 1.45 EUR with the Viva Viagem card.
- Taxi – just be extra careful because as we’ve heard (not lived it since we’ve opted for Uber) they might try to scam you and ask for huge prices.
Where to stay in Lisbon
As usual, we went for an Airbnb, choosing it based on the views it offered and the large terrace. And it did not disappoint.
Located in the Graca area, really close to one of the best miradouro, walking distance from Alfama and the center of Lisbon, the apartment was perfect for 3 people (fitting in up to 4 persons).
But what I liked most about it, was the terrace which unfortunately we didn’t really get the chance to try a lot, but I think to make the apartment perfect for the long Summer days.
Join Airbnb and get 34 EUR off your first trip by using my link
If you are not an Airbnb fan, read below my few recommendations. As always, I am looking for coquette places, which offer nice views, are perfectly located and have amazing reviews.
New to Airbnb? Read these Essential Tips for Booking on Airbnb
If you are into that, don’t mind clicking through my links below:
- Marino Lisboa Boutique Hotel – in the very heart of Lisbon, walking distance from Martin Moniz and Rossio station, this place caught my eye because of its beautiful, clean, simple design yet blending in traditional Portuguese patterns. What I’ve also liked is the rooftop terrace where breakfast is served.
- Feeling Chiado 15 – I like everything about this place, and the reviews are certainly there to support my statement. The design, the rooms with a view over Lisbon, the location right in the Chiado area, with all the stores and singing streets at your feet. Also, I’ve seen that some of the rooms are in the attic, and I’ve always had a soft spot for this kind of room, with a window in the ceiling making me feel like I can lay in my bad and stare at the stars.
- River View Alfama Historic Lisbon – One word can describe this place: royal! It is, in fact, a whole apartment, tucked on the streets in the Alfama area, with a pretty little balcony overlooking the river, and an amazing interior design.
- Casa do Jasmim by Shiadu – with a very special design, I think you can either love this place or not like it that much. I personally like it a lot, and if you are lucky to have the top floor, oh wow what a view! It can challenge any miradouro out there.
Where to go and what to see in Lisbon in 4 days
Waking up early in the morning is always a great idea, especially in one of the most vibrant European capital when you have so much to see and do.
Spend 10 days in Portugal!
No matter the time of the day, Lisbon has a certain vibe to it, but since we stayed in a rather less touristic area of the city, as soon as we walked out the door we got a huge splash of pure Portuguese lifestyle.
Old ladies going out shopping for food in the morning and gossiping at the corner, the little old man meeting each other for a morning coffee, cats lazily sitting in the window, an old puppy standing still waiting for his owner.
And all the colorful buildings.
But as soon as we stepped down our pretty little hill, we started ticking Lisbon touristic attractions off our list. These are some of the places you should not miss whether you have many days or only one day in Lisbon.
National Azulejo Museum
Where else could we have stopped for the first time in Lisbon? The tiles museum!
This place is really nice and we got lost admiring the green, blue, yellow, orange tiles for a few hours. One place that really stole our attention was the chapel, with its beautiful white and blue tile walls.
The entrance ticket costs 5 EUR and there are 2 floors to explore.
Visit Alfama and the many miradouros
Once we finished with the Azulejo Museum, we took a walk all the way to the Alfama area and we started climbing the hill and reached the National Pantheon.
Here is where we spent a few hours also on Saturday morning roaming around all the stalls at the colorful open-air fair.
Letting yourself get lost on the streets, admiring each and every tiled house, we reached one of the best belle view spots of the city: Miradouro Das Portas do Sol.
I can hardly put into words the atmosphere we found here since we reached the point just at the perfect time for sunset.
People singing live music, dancing in the street, the smell of fresh food cooking, the trams passing by. And that view!
Later on, trying to find the way back to the top of the hill to our apartment, we somehow reached another of the best miradouro: Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen. The less thrilling part about getting here is the many stairs to be climbed in order to reach it.
On our second day, we woke up early enough, got ready fast (it might sound impossible for 3 women, but we are efficient like that), called an Uber and headed straight to the Belem Tower. Our goal was to get to see it before all the crowds would gather, and we were there at 9:30 (the tower opens at 10).
I took many pictures from all sides (women, haha) and managed to be some of the first people to stay in line when the tower opened its doors for visitors.
The ticket costs 6 EUR and my opinion is you can go about it without going inside.
Once we finished with the tower, we headed towards the Padrão dos Descobrimentos (Monument of the Discoveries), located as well on the banks of the Tagus River, from where the ships of explorers departed in the search of new destinations.
We haven’t climbed the monument, but that is an option.
Take a perfect one day trip from Lisbon!
Right across the street from the Monument of the Discoveries, we were captured by the big imposing building, with a beautiful park and fountain in front.
The Jeronimos Monastery is one fine setting that cannot be missed, as we are guilty of doing since the line was huge at the time we arrived in front. It is part of the UNESCO World Heritage and one of the best Gothic-style buildings of Lisbon.
Right in front of the fountain, looking at the monastery, where we stopped to take pictures, at the time we arrived magic happened: whenever the water of the fountain was up, we could see a pretty rainbow.
Pastéis de Belém
Ok, I think everyone knows about the delicious Pastéis de Nata – that delicious sweet traditional from Portugal.
As well, everyone who has ever researched or thought about going to Lisbon has heard about Pastéis de Belém – the blue place, across the street from the Jeronimos Monastery, where you will find the best Pastéis in Lisbon.
What you might want to know when planning a stop here:
- It is always crowded, but don’t be fooled about the line, because they are very efficient and even though the line was outside of the store, we still waited for only 3-4 min. But again, we visited in November.
- They have other delicious stuff (mainly pastry, sweet and savory, but also doughnuts and other things)
- You can sit inside and the place is pretty big in the back – we were almost fooled by the 20 something tables in the front part of the store, but if you go towards the toilets you will find a big place in the back, and also a pretty garden
- One pasteis costs 1.1 EUR and most of the people buy them to go
If you don’t have the time to spend at Pastéis de Belém, go for the next best thing!
Both places are closer to the city center (or right in the city center), thus making it more accessible and easily reachable while discovering the city.
Also, one pasteis is 1 EUR in each of the two places, and at Fabrica de Nata they had a “menu” where for 2.2 EUR you got one pasteis and one glass of Porto wine. Sounds good for me.
While on the way from Belem towards the center of Lisbon, there are plenty of other cool museums to visit such as the National Coach Museum, or the Museum of Art, Architecture, and Technology, or the Village Underground Lisboa.
We didn’t have the time to stop in each and every one of them, thus we went directly to LX Factory.
The only place we’ve stopped by chance at was the place next to the Congress Center of Lisbon, which offers an amazing view over the river and over the 25 Abril Bridge.
LX Factory – As they describe themselves “A creative island occupied by corporations and professionals of the industry serves also has stage for a diverse set of happenings related to fashion, publicity, communication, fine arts, architecture, music, etc., attracting numerous visitors to rediscover Alcântara through an engaged dynamics”, this is a place you will either like a lot or dislike.
I can imagine my boyfriend would have skipped it altogether, but we really liked the hipster vibes.
The mix of cool small shops, handmade accessories and colorful clothes, the beautiful library, great coffee places, and delicious hip restaurants and bars, is something that I really liked and a place where we’ve spent a few hours in.
Going back to the library, this is one place that you cannot miss. And while you’re there see also the small kinetic museum, which was one of the nicest parts of our trip. Mostly thanks to the little old man guiding us with its funny stories.
I really felt like a kid and it managed to capture our full attention and interest.
Cais do Sodré
There is plenty to see and do in this area, but we did not explore too much since we came here set to find the pink street.
And it is not hard to find it, even though chances are you will find it really filthy if you come here early in the morning since it is filled with night bars and clubs.
Baixa – Chiado District
We started from the Praca do Comercio, the main square located near the Tagus River. Here is where you can find also a tourist information point with many maps and information with regards to different trips you might want to take.
Leaving the square behind, we walked through the Arco da Rua Augusta – for a 3 EUR fee you can also choose to climb up this iconic building of Lisbon. The building was built after the 1755 earthquake and symbolizes the city’s rebirth after the calamity.
When then walked up the street filled with shops, all the way to the Elevator de Santa Justa which can take you above Lisbon’s buildings and offer a great view over the city’s skyline.
I have to admit we got lost in the many shops. We entered the oldest bookstore in the world still in operation – Livraria Bertrand, watched people drinking coffee with Fernando Pessoa’s statue at Cafe a Brasileira (the most iconic cafe of Lisbon).
We also admired the beautiful Rossio station building and the many colorful others, with the yellow and red trams passing us by.
Also in this area, you will find another of the most iconic buildings of Lisbon: Carmo Convent – a medieval building, ruined in the 1755 earthquake, which hosts now an Archeological Museum.
Climbing the hill up towards Martim Moniz (the end of the line to the iconic 28 tram), we found the funicular and stopped to take some pictures with it and with the beautiful graffiti walls.
Waiting in line to take a picture with the tram/funicular is a funny experience since it is so popular everyone wants a picture.
Moving forward, we found another beautiful viewpoint: the miradouro of São Pedro de Alcântara, which had a large art closed for restoration, but still offered a beautiful view over the city.
We crossed it from one end to the other on our way back from Belem, and the area is quite charming, with its narrow colorful streets.
Once we approached the more vibrant part of the district, we passed the very popular Elevador da Bica with the crowds surrounding it waiting to take the perfect picture.
Where to eat in Lisbon in 4 days
Our first meal in Lisbon was after landing and having left the luggage at our Airbnb, at this very small place in the neighborhood. Since this wasn’t a touristic place, and we were the only tourists in there, everything was very authentic.
People came here during their lunch break or only went out to meet their friends and eat together. Thus, the food was basic but good, and for soup, second course (meat and rice with salad), a glass of wine and dessert, we paid around 10 EUR.
Later on, we had tapas at A Muralha Tasca Típica in the Alfama district and drank a bottle of delicious local wine.
The one place we came back several times because the food was so delicious was this small place in Chiado, with only a few tables, called Nelson on R. do Norte. Here is where I ate the best sardines and the most delicious and fresh octopus.
When asking for recommendations from Rui (our driver for the trip to Sintra), he told us about the well known Cervejaria Ramiro especially popular for its seafood.
Also, he mentioned another place, as good and fresh as Ramiro, but with a lower price tag, and that’s where we went and LOVED! The best seafood I’ve ever had, for a totally fair price: A Marisqueira Do Lis.
What not to do in Lisbon in 4 days
Don’t carry a large bag
Since Lisbon is on hills, there will be a lot of climbing involved. Climbing, descending and climbing once again. That’s why you won’t want to be carrying around a large, heavy bag.
Luckily, I had with me the small, pink and black “Kisses from Transylvania” bag from Bucharest’s airport, at Art and Craft. The pretty shop promotes everything that is Romanian traditional and here is where you will find all the best Romanian inspired gifts, with a twist. If you ever find yourself in one of the airports in Romania, make sure to pay them a visit, you won’t have to think about gifts to bring home, because you will find everything you want here, not only small and perky pink bags.
Leave without drinking ginjinha
I have to admit, here in Romania we have something very similar called Vișinată, but we could not leave Lisabona without trying ginjinha.
Ok, I admit, we did not wait much and have a taste of it on our first night, while looking for a restaurant in Alfama area, from one of the ladies selling it in front of their house. It was good, but not quite as strong as I was expecting it to be (comparing it with the one my mother does).
Later on, we’ve tried it once more, as it is usually served, directly from small chocolate cups, which made me think about the “Kisses from Transylvania” cherries in chocolate candies.
Leave without taking tons of pictures with the colorful buildings
Yes, we had a lot of stops along the way in order to do that. The buildings are so colorful and beautiful, most of them ornated with amazing tiles, that make for the perfect background for a picture.
Go and see rainbow-colored tiling on Avenue Infante Santo
I had read about it in Conde Nast but had forgotten all about it, until I bumped into it while we were walking our way to Bairro Alto looking for the center and a restaurant.
The street is pretty, especially at night when we got to see it, but you cannot really reach the colorful part so easily since the sidewalk is so so narrow.
Go for a fado night at Luso
We got fooled into coming for a fado night at this old and popular (among tourists) restaurant. Fado, is the Portuguese traditional music, pouring over a whole lot of emotions and feelings, thus we said it is a must when being in Lisbon.
At Luso, the music was fine, with 6 different singers taking the stage, but the food was not so amazing, especially for the price tag.
Moreover, when booking the table, we were told that the menu with the concert would be 30 EUR per person, and the check handed over to us was more towards 250 EUR (for 3), and after checking with them, 100 EUR miraculously disappeared.
All in all, I would rather recommend a fado club in the Alfama area.
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