If you’re looking for a beautiful and affordable European destination to explore, look no further than Lisbon, the capital of Portugal. Lisbon is one of my absolute favourite cities in Europe, and I’ve put together a 3-day itinerary so you can enjoy the best of Lisbon on a weekend getaway.
Lisbon is a vibrant and picturesque city, with plenty of sights to explore and delicious food to enjoy (I swear this city has the most amount of brunch spots per square metre because, for such a small city, I still seem to have a never-ending list of places to eat brunch). So, if you’re looking for things to do in Portugal Lisbon, keep on reading!
The size of Lisbon is one of the reasons it’s the perfect city for a European weekend getaway. It’s a bitesize city with everything you’d want in a city break: culture, art, music, and delicious food without having to sit on public transport for at least 40 minutes to get to it. Oh, and it’s also got a handful of beaches you can get to just over the bridge. So if you thought Lisbon could only be a city escape, I’m here to tell you that it can also be a beach escape as there are beaches in Lisbon too!
As a city with very mild weather and overall good weather, Lisbon is a city you can honestly visit all year round! Whether looking for a summer city escape or an autumn weekend getaway, Lisbon will welcome you with open (and often sunny) arms. My favourite time to visit is in late spring/early summer, from May-June or late summer/early autumn (September-October), as you avoid the summer crowds and experience Lisbon like a local.
Other travel guides you might find useful…
- Europe: the ultimate travel guide
- Top tips for travelling in Europe
- The best things to do in Portugal
- A 7-day itinerary for Madeira
- The best things to do in Ericeira
- A 2-week Portugal road trip itinerary
- A guide to driving from England to Portugal
- The best things to do in Lagos, Portugal
- A guide to Lisbon, Portugal
- A guide to Nazaré, Portugal: Home to the biggest wave in the world
- Hidden gems in Europe that you must visit
- A bucket list of road trips in Europe
How to get to Lisbon...
As the capital city of Lisbon, it’s home to the biggest airport in Portugal, and there are numerous flight options from countries all over Europe. Just search “lisbon portugal flights”, and you’ll get flight deals from anywhere. All major airports in the UK (Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Edinburgh, Bristol, Birmingham) have direct flights to Lisbon, so you can get there relatively quickly and with minimal hassle. From the airport, it’s about a 30-minute metro journey or an easy taxi ride into the city centre.
Where to stay in Lisbon...
Once you’ve booked your Lisbon Portugal flights, you’ll b looking for where to best stay in Lisbon. Lisbon has no shortage of accommodation options, from budget hostels to luxurious 5-star hotels. There’s something to suit every budget. Stay in one of Lisbon’s more central neighbourhoods, Chiado, Lapa and Principe Real, as they are the most convenient for getting around and exploring the city. If you’re looking for a bit of a more “local” trendy area of the city, then Campo de Ourique is a great option too.
An entire 1 or 2-bed flat on Airbnb costs range from £115-£200 per night, and there are some really unique options too! You could get an Airbnb with an incredible view like this or like this for under £160 a night!
If you’re more of a budget, there are plenty of options too, from hostels to Airbnb’s with shared rooms. Here are some of the best budget-friendly hotels and hostels I recommend in Lisbon:
Yes! Lisboa Hostel – €25 per night
Selina Secret Garden Lisbon – €25 per night
We hate F Tourist – €30 per night
If you want to stay somewhere with a view and a great rooftop terrace, I’d recommend booking your accommodation 3 months in advance (especially if visiting in the summer months) as the best places get snapped up quickly!
As someone who’s been to Lisbon three times only in the past year and added about 100 pins to one google map, I’m going to condense all the best things to do in Lisbon into a 3-day Lisbon itinerary so you can enjoy the best of everything Lisbon has to offer! From my favourite cafés, best beaches in Lisbon, views and best things to see and do in Lisbon – here’s your perfectly curated and timed Lisbon itinerary.
Now let’s get to the juicy itinerary, here’s how to spend 3 days in Lisbon, Portugal.
A 3-day itinerary for Lisbon
Day 1 in Lisbon
On the first day of this Lisbon itinerary, get you’re comfortable shoes on to get your bearings and explore one or two neighbourhoods. If you’re an early bird, I recommend heading to Miradouro Portas del Sol.
A Miradouro is a viewpoint, and there are many dotted across the city, but this one is the postcard-perfect view over the city. Make sure to go just as the sun rises for a beautiful sight of Lisbon’s terracotta rooftops. It’s also great to check this off when it isn’t tourist central, and it’s easy to grab the perfect shot!
Stop for brunch...
For your first brunch stop of the trip, make your way to Break Sé. A very popular spot amongst trendy travellers, and for a good reason! This spot serves up some of the most delicious avocado toast and waffles. It also has a great selection of smoothies. If the weather is nice, I’d highly recommend grabbing a table outside so you can watch the world go by and take in the Lisbon vibe.
Make the most of the morning to explore Castelo de São Jorge, a Moorish castle with incredible views of Lisbon. It’s a great way to get your bearings and take in some of the city’s history. The entrance fee is only €8.50.
After exploring the castle and its grounds, head up to Miradoura da Graça. It’s quite a steep climb, but worth the calf workout as the views from this Miradouro are one of my favourites!
Next, walk back down towards Portas del Sol, but take a right down Rua de São Tomé until you hit the narrow streets of Alfama.
No Lisbon itinerary would be complete without a visit to Alfama. Alfama is Lisbon’s oldest neighbourhood. This area is famous for its narrow cobblestone streets, colourful buildings and hidden squares. As you wander around, you’ll find many cute traditional cafes serving up delicious custard tarts and pastel de nata (Portuguese egg tart). Stop off at one or two along the way!
For lunch, I’d recommend hitting up Antu Alfama or heading to Rua Cruzes da Sé which is full of great restaurants.
Once you’ve had your fill of Alfama, hop on the 28E tram and take it all the way to Praça do Comércio. This is the “tourist centre” of Lisbon as it’s where the main square is and the streets are filled with restaurants, mainstream shops like Zara, Bershka, Mango etc. The views and architecture surrounding the main square are beautiful to stroll around, but as I said, it is tourist central.
Unexpectedly though, this area does have many truly unique vintage shops dotted around Chiado. If you enjoy vintage and secondhand shopping, you can find some real gems here. The best shops are: A Outra Face da Lua, Ás de Espadas, Humana and Retro City Lisboa.
You can spend the rest of the afternoon vintage shopping or mainstream shopping if you fancy.
However, if you’re a sunset and seafood lover, maybe cut the shopping short or skip it altogether and take the ferry over the river for dinner. The ferry you need to get on is the one to Cacilhas (yellow line) at Cais do Sodre station. Ferry costs €1.30 each way. Tickets need to be bought in the ticket machines in the station.
The other side of Ponte 25 de Abril, in the Cacilhas, has a row of seafood restaurants that offer incredible views of the sunset. One of the most popular ones, and the one I ate at, is Ponto Final. Ponto final is known for its seafood platters, but they also have 2 vegan/veggie options, so it caters to all! It’s a super simple, rustic restaurant, with literally just plastic chairs and tables, but that’s part of its charm. And the people that flock there to queue for a special dinner is a testament to it.
Day 2 in Lisbon
Start day two with the most important meal of the day: brunch. And it could be at no place other than Seagull Method. This spot serves up some of the most delicious (and affordable!) brunch plates and is extremely popular with locals and tourists alike. Get there early if you want to get the famous instagrammable window seat.
I picked this brunch spot for Saturday as it’s a very short (albeit steep) walk to Principe Real. And every last Saturday of the month, they have an organic market in the Principe Real Gardens. If you happen to be there on this special Saturday, make sure to check it out.
If the market isn’t on, it’s still super nice to have a little walk around this neighbourhood as it has so many of the classic, colourful tiled buildings. There’s also another viewpoint, Miradouro de São Pedro da Alcantara, from which you get impressive views of the city.
After a slow morning in Principe Real, hop on a bus or an uber to make your way down to LX Factory. This former industrial area has been re-invented as a creative hub for local Portuguese creatives to sell their products. It’s very “hipster” and is full of boutique cafes, cool bars and shops where you can find vintage furniture, jewellery and clothes.
Don’t just stay in the main little street of LX Factory; walk through the stores and the building behind, known as Edificio I Building, as that’s where things get interesting! There are honestly so many floors (I never made up all of them) and so many different things going on in these rented spaces that it’s quite fascinating to people-watch and get lost in this grungy building.
LX Factory is also home to Livraria Ler Devagar, one of the most beautiful bookstores I’ve ever seen. This bookstore spans three floors and is filled to the brim with books, posters and art installations- it’s a feast for the eyes!
After exploring all the inner happenings in LX Factory, you would have worked an appetite! Lucky for you, LX Factory is full of restaurants and bars, so pick one that takes your fancy for some late lunch. I’d recommend The Therapist (Vegan), Borogodó and Mex Factory.
The next part of this itinerary is probably my favourite part of this Lisbon itinerary: getting on an electric scooter to ride along the river in Santa Maria de Belém! There are countless bikes right outside LX Factory.
If you don’t know your way around on a scooter, fear not! There are several scooter companies (including Whoosh, Bolt, LINKS, and I swear, every time I head back, there’s a new one.) that offer you electric scooters for rent. All you need to do is download the relevant app and follow the instructions to rent. Top tip: it’s much cheaper to hire by day rather than by hour so go ahead and just pay a day’s rent upfront.
Scoot down to the MAAT. This museum is right on the banks of the River Tagus, and it’s an absolutely stunning architectural building. If you’re not in a rush, park your scooter at the entrance and spend some time wandering around the gallery.
Pick your scooter back up and ride along the riverside towards Belém Tower. This iconic tower is a UNESCO World Heritage site and has been standing there since the 16th century. Even though I do recommend going into Belém Tower, keep scooting along until you reach Champalimaud Foundation. This is a hidden gem in Lisbon! Especially if you love minimalist architecture and design. The building itself is a scientific research centre where people work, but anyone is welcome to roam the grounds.
Catch the sunset
After that, you have two choices for sunset. Your first option is to ride back to Belém Tower and watch the sunset from the rooftop. Entry to Belém Tower only costs €6, and well worth it for a one-of-a-kind experience!
Alternatively, make your way back to the MAAT and watch the sun go down from its rooftop (the only time the sun sets over the ocean on the far right side is in winter, from November – March). The view here is equally sensational, and in summer, it’s absolutely buzzing with people sitting on the steps and having an early evening stroll.
Day 3 in Lisbon
On your last full day in Lisbon, take a break from sightseeing and head to the beach! The beaches in Lisbon are easy to get to and perfect for a day of rest and relaxation (that’s what Sundays were made for, right?). Most people head to either Costa da Caparica or Praia de Carcavelos; there are the urban beaches in Lisbon, and both are around a 25 minutes car journey away, but in different directions. An uber would cost around €18-25, but make sure to avoid rush hour as this surges the price and the journey time.
You can also take public transport to the beaches too. To get to Carcavelos, just hop on the purple train (to Oeiras) line at Cais do Sodre and get off at the end of the line in Oeiras)
To get to Costa da Caparica, you’ll need to take two buses: one from Alcantara to Pragal to get you across the bridge and then change from Pragal to the bust to Costa da Caparica.
Whichever beach you choose, remember the essentials: a towel, sunscreen and sunglasses!
The best things to do at the beaches in Lisbon are surf, sunbathe, sit at a beach bar and (if you’re brave enough) take a dip in the sea.
If surfing is your thing, there are plenty of local surf schools you can join for beginner-friendly lessons, especially in Costa da Caparica. There are plenty of surf schools to choose from, like Caparica Evolution Surf, Caparica Surf Academy and Lisbon Surfaris.
But if you’re like most locals and just want a day at the beach to chill, drink and have fun with friends, then all you need to decide is which beach bar you want to set up shop at for the day, and there are plenty of options! I’ve listed some of the best beach bars in Lisbon below.
Best Beach Bars in Costa da Caparica:
Best Beach Bars in Carcavelos:
After spending a glorious day at the beach and having enjoyed the best of the best things to do in Lisbon, Portugal, this 3-day itinerary comes to an end! Naturally, Days 2 and 3 could be swapped if you wanted to make the absolute most of your time down at the beaches in Lisbon. The only reason the second day was specific to Principe Real is because of the market, but as that is only every Saturday of the month, a beach day in Lisbon might take priority!
Naturally, this is a jam-packed Lisbon itinerary, so if you wanted to break up the day to do things at a slower pace, then you could extend the trip to span 4-5 days. You could even sneak in a day trip or two to Cascais or my personal favourite, Ericeira. You can read all about Ericeira in this blog post.
There is so much to do in Lisbon, Portugal, and there’s a whole blog about the best things to do in Lisbon, so your trip could be even longer! But I hope that this 3-day itinerary to Lisbon serves those travellers who are looking for a weekend getaway so that they can make the most of their time here.
Enjoy your stay in Portugal’s beautiful capital city!
What are your favourite things to do in Lisbon?
Where are your favourite places to visit in Lisbon? Anything you’d add to this Lisbon guide?
Did you find this post helpful? I’d love you to share it for me.
Pin and save this blog post for later…