What to do and see in Lisbon

What to do and see in Lisbon in 3 days

Today I want to share with you my travel experience in Lisbon in 3 days, one of the most beautiful and fascinating cities in Europe. Lisbon is a city that offers many things to do and see, whether you are a lover of culture, history, art, gastronomy or nightlife. In this post I will give you some advice on what to do and see in Lisbon, delving into the things you absolutely cannot miss.

The first thing that will strike you about Lisbon is its light . The city is located on seven hills overlooking the Tagus River and the sea, and has a mild climate all year round. The light reflects on the red tiled roofs, the colorful facades of the buildings, the historical monuments and the famous yellow trams that travel the streets.

But Lisbon is a city that also invites the visitor to walk and discover its characteristic neighborhoods, each with its own identity and charm.

Among the icons of Lisbon, the birthplace of the writer Fernando Pessoa, there are trams, sardines, cod, cork, fado, azulejos, ginja, pasteis de nata. But let’s go in order and see what to do in Lisbon in 3 days.

And before starting I want to give you some advice: buy the  Lisboa Card  which will allow you to access over  30 tourist attractions in Lisbon . Plus, you get unlimited use of the  city’s public transport , including the famous trams, all for just €22 per person. 

The neighborhoods of Lisbon

But let’s find out which are the most beautiful and significant neighborhoods to visit in Lisbon in 3 days.


One of the oldest and most typical neighborhoods in Lisbon is Alfama , the heart of the fadista tradition. Here you can get lost among the narrow and winding streets, admire the houses decorated with the typical Portuguese tiles called azulejos (which we will see later) and visit the Romanesque cathedral and the castle of San Giorgio, from which you can enjoy a breathtaking view of the city.

If you want to listen to fado , traditional Portuguese music that expresses melancholy and nostalgia, you can go to one of the many fado houses found in this neighborhood, where you can also taste the typical dishes of Portuguese cuisine.

Have you found plane tickets? See also on Traveljourn
Read also: Lisbon the city of light – A guide to Lisbon

L'Alfama to Lisbona


Then continue to the Baixa district where you will find the Commerce Square, the town hall, the arch of the Rua Augusta and the Elevador de Santa Justa, an elevator built entirely of wrought iron and decorated with neo-Gothic arches , used since its inauguration in 1901 to reach the upper part of the city, with a difference in altitude of 30 metres.

In the bay you can travel by tuk tuk , ape cars which are also very popular in Asia and in most cases the drivers are young boys.


From here you can go up towards Chiado, the elegant and bohemian neighbourhood, full of shops, cafes, bookshops and theatres. Here you can visit the Carmo convent , an ancient Gothic building partially destroyed by the 1755 earthquake and now transformed into an archaeological museum. Also don’t miss the statue of Fernando Pessoa, the famous Portuguese poet, in front of the A Brasileira café, where he used to sit.

Bairro Alto

Continuing west, you will arrive at Bairro Alto , the liveliest and most alternative neighborhood in Lisbon, famous for its nightclubs, its graffiti and its fado houses, where you can listen to typical Portuguese music. Here you can walk through the narrow and colorful streets, admire the miradouros, the panoramic points that offer a breathtaking view of the city, and stop in one of the many bars or restaurants to taste local specialities, such as bacalhau (cod), sardinhas ( sardines) or pastéis de nata (cream filled puff pastry cakes).

Road to Bairro Alto to Lisbona

Cais do Sodré

If you still have time and energy, you can head down to Cais do Sodré, the riverside neighborhood that has transformed in recent years into a trendy and cosmopolitan area. Here you can take a walk along the Tagus, visit the Ribeira market, where you will find a variety of fresh and gastronomic products, or take a ride on the Ferris wheel which will give you spectacular views of the city and the river.



If you want to take a step back in time, you can visit the Belém neighborhood , where some of the most important monuments of Portuguese history are located. Here you can admire the Belém Tower , symbol of the city and a UNESCO world heritage site, the Jerónimos monastery , a masterpiece of Manueline architecture and burial place of the Portuguese kings and the navigator Vasco da Gama , the monument to the discoveries, which celebrates the great Portuguese explorers who expanded the boundaries of the known world.

Don’t forget to taste the famous pastéis de Belém, delicious oven-baked cream pastries.

Every Tuesday and Saturday morning the Feria da Ladra , the historic flea market, takes place in the Campo de Santa Clara , near the Panteao ; the atmosphere is exuberant, goods of all kinds are displayed and the typical smell of the attic is in the air.

Largo de San Domingos

Largo de San Domingos , near Rossio square, offers, however, a good overview of the lively multicultural soul of Lisbon: African citizens, many of whom come from former Portuguese colonies, sell dried fruit under the trees; the women wear traditional clothes, colored fabrics, Capulana from Mozambique and behind them stands the writing on the wall “Lisbon city of tolerance”.


Lisbon, in addition to being a city rich in natural and architectural beauty, also boasts a vibrant museum scene that reflects its rich history and culture. Here are which museums to see in Lisbon in 3 days.

National Tile Museum

The National Azulejo Museum , located in the Madre de Deus neighborhood , is an essential stop for art and ceramic lovers. This museum tells the story and evolution of Portuguese ceramics through a vast collection of tiles (azulejos) that decorate churches, palaces and private residences throughout the country. From medieval models to contemporary designs, the museum offers a comprehensive overview of Portuguese craftsmanship over the centuries.

National Azulejo Museum Lisbon

Calouste Gulbenkian Museum

The Calouste Gulbenkian Museum is one of the most important cultural institutions in Lisbon, located in the gardens of Parque Eduardo VII. This museum houses a large collection of ancient and modern works of art, including paintings, sculptures, jewelry and manuscripts. Among the masterpieces on display are works by artists such as Rembrandt, Rubens, Monet and Lalique, offering visitors an immersive experience in European and Eastern art.

Calouste Gulbenkian Lisbon Museum

Berardo Museum

Located in the modern Belém neighborhood, the Berardo Museum is one of the main contemporary art museums in Lisbon. Its collection includes works by some of the greatest artists of the 20th and 21st centuries, including Picasso, Warhol, Dali, Miró and Lichtenstein . With a variety of artistic movements represented, from surrealism to pop art, the museum offers an interesting perspective on the evolution of modern and contemporary art.

Fado Museum

For those who wish to delve deeper into Portuguese culture and traditions, the Fado Museum is an essential stop during your visit to Lisbon. Located in the Alfama neighborhood, the heart of fado, this museum offers an in-depth overview of the history and development of this unique musical genre. Through interactive exhibits, documentaries and live performances, visitors can immerse themselves in the soul and charm of fado, discovering its impact on Portuguese culture and beyond.

Fado Museum Lisbona

The Trams of Lisbon

Trams are a traditional way to get around the city, as well as great photo opportunities. The most famous is number 28 which makes its route climbing through the narrow streets of the most popular and homely neighborhood of Lisbon, Alfama. Walking through the narrow alleys you can hear the birds chirping, the scent of sauce comes out of the windows and you just have to look up to see the clothes hanging out to dry on the lines.

Tram 28 only has 20 seats and many standing, so I recommend taking it at the terminus; Countless times I have read to be very careful with pickpockets, but I think that petty thieves have changed places to carry out their heists due to their notoriety!

Tram to Lisbon

What to eat in Lisbon in 3 days

Sardines and cod are fundamental ingredients of Portuguese cuisine , they are not lacking in any menu of any restaurant, where sometimes the melancholy notes of fado will envelop you in live performances. Furthermore, you will also find sardines in tin boxes wrapped in decorative paper inspired by historical motifs: they are really beautiful to look at and a good souvenir idea.

In Lisbon, there are many traditional dishes and culinary delights to enjoy, reflecting the richness and diversity of Portuguese cuisine. Here are some dishes and specialties that you should definitely try during your visit to Lisbon:

  1. Bacalhau a Bras : This dish consists of dried and salted cod combined with shredded potatoes, onions and eggs. It is one of the most popular fish recipes in Portugal.
  2. Pastéis de Nata : They are the dessert par excellence associated with Portugal and are puff pastry pastries filled with cream. They are very good and near the monastery of los Jeronimos there is the historic pastry shop that prepares them faithfully respecting the recipe used in the past in the monastery.
  3. Sardinhas Assadas : During the summer season, grilled sardines are a traditional dish eaten during popular festivals and Santo António celebrations in Lisbon. Simple but delicious.
  4. Caldo Verde : A traditional Portuguese soup made with cabbage, potatoes, onions and slices of chorizo. It’s a comforting and nutritious dish, perfect for warming up during the colder months.
  5. Francesinha : This typical dish of Portuguese cuisine is a sort of layered sandwich, filled with various types of meat (such as sausage, pork and steak), covered with melted cheese and sausage, all bathed in a spicy sauce made from tomato and beer.
  6. Arroz de Marisco : A rice dish with seafood, typical of the coastal areas of Portugal. It is rich in flavor and is often enriched with shrimp, clams, mussels and other fresh seafood.
  7. Ginja : This cherry liqueur is a specialty of Lisbon. It is served in small chocolate glasses and is a delight to enjoy after a meal or as an aperitif.
  8. Queijadas de Sintra : These sweets are a specialty of the nearby town of Sintra, but are also available in Lisbon. They are made with fresh cheese, sugar, eggs and cinnamon, and are a real treat for those with a sweet tooth.

Also try ginja, a local red liqueur extracted from black cherries : in the city there are various places where you can taste it at any time of the day; one, for example, is a small ginja-only retailer near Rossio square.

These are just some of the incredible dishes and flavors you can discover in Lisbon. Explore local markets, traditional restaurants and patisseries to fully savor the variety and authenticity of Portuguese cuisine. Enjoy your meal!


you tiles

Azulejos are finely decorated tiles , also widely used in Andalusia and Morocco. In Lisbon there is also a museum dedicated to them, but it won’t be difficult to see them as they are truly everywhere and embellish every building, entrance hall or staircase.


How to get to Lisbon Center from the airport

From Lisbon airport the cheapest way to reach the center is by bus or metro depending on where your accommodation is located; however, in the arrivals area of ​​the airport and in the center there are tourist offices that will be able to provide all the necessary information also for any prepaid cards that reserve discounts in several attractions.

As for where to sleep, many facilities have rooms with shared bathrooms and are located in buildings without a lift, but rich in history.

Reflections on Lisbon

I really appreciated the fact of being able to walk through the streets of Lisbon for 3 days without a real destination, I was lucky because I found warm sunny days but it is true that every corner held a discovery, from a splendid jacaranda in bloom to a informal kiosk selling drinks in front of a majestic church or from a jazz group improvising a session in front of a colorful mural , to an enormous statue of a rooster, from the possibility of having a massage at a stand in the square to a small restaurant typical: in short, Lisbon is not boring, but surprising.


What to see outside Lisbon

After spending 3 days in Lisbon, I moved by bus to the south of the country in the Algarve area , specifically to Lagos, which is quieter than Albufeira . By chance I met a former work colleague who moved there and with him and his wife we ​​went around by car in the south-west part of Portugal called the Vicenza coast. There I was able to admire the superb cliffs overlooking the Atlantic Ocean in Cabo Sao Vincente and relax on the scenic, wide and highly recommended Amoreira beach .

photo by Rhiannon Batten

The beaches of the Algarve are mostly characterized by small coves framed by sandstone cliffs and a clear but rather cold sea . Often, wooden stairs lead to the beach which is below street level, some are quite wild and can be explored by boat.

Don Camilo is one of the most beautiful just outside the city center of Lagos but when I was there it was so crowded that when I went down the steps I could already smell the occupants’ sun cream. I admit that I am a little demanding when it comes to the sea and the beach, I prefer more secluded and solitary places, without obviously taking anything away from the scenic beauty  of the Algarve.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *