Are you planning a trip to Portugal and looking for what to do with one day in Lisbon? This post will give you all the information you need about visiting Lisbon in a limited amount of time and a list of all the top things to do.
Lisbon is the capital city of Portugal and a must-visit while in the country. This old city is full of stunning viewpoints, unique architecture, and much to be discovered. The city is beyond picturesque with its hilly terrain and colourful buildings, you will surely be enchanted with this magical travel destination. In addition to its beauty, the city has a vibrant yet laid-back atmosphere, a great culinary scene, and unmistakable charm.
If you have just one day in Lisbon you can surely get a taste of the city and its magic. Here are the top 10 things to do in Lisbon in one day.
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Top things to do with one day in Lisbon
Admire the views from Miradouro da Graça
Lisbon is a city built on hills and you will notice this when your legs start burning after the various hills you will walk up throughout the day. Although the hills make exploring a little more of a workout, they are great for supplying the city with stunning viewpoints. The most popular viewpoint in Lisbon is Miradouro da Graça which offers amazing views of the whole city. From up here, you can spot Castelo de São Jorge, the whole city below, and the 25 de Abril Bridge which crosses the Tagus River.
View São Jorge Castle (St. George Castle)
Lisbon is home to an authentic castle that sits high on the hills of the city. However, the castle isn’t a big attraction but the views it offers are. A visit here will give you some of the best views of the city and as a result, the lines can be extremely long. The views supplied from Miradouro da Graça are just as beautiful and have no line. Therefore, you can choose to visit the castle or just view it from afar.
If you do decide to visit the castle be sure to buy skip-the-line tickets beforehand. One day in Lisbon is a limited amount of time and it would be a shame to waste it in line! If you have 3 days in Lisbon or are visiting Lisbon for the weekend, you can definitely fit it in. Below are some great tours!
Walk the Narrow Streets of Alfama District
The Alfama District is an authentic and beautiful area to explore in Lisbon that is the perfect place to get lost in. This is the oldest part of Lisbon and makes up a large portion of the historic center of the city. The streets are full of tiled buildings, narrow alleyways, and beautiful architecture – and offer some of the best photo spots in Lisbon. There are also a ton of local shops and restaurants just waiting to be discovered.
The Alfama District is continuously ranked as tourists’ favorite neighborhoods in Lisbon where people fall in love with the cultural and historic roots of the area. Be prepared to walk up some steep staircases and down various cobblestone streets while enjoying this charming area. A visit here is a must with just one day in Lisbon, so be sure to add it to your itinerary.
Admire Down Rua Augusta
Rua Augusta is the most popular and touristy area of Lisbon and for good reason. This is a long street enclosed by colorful buildings that are filled with the best shops and restaurants. The end of the street is home to a beautiful stone arc that is unmissable.
Although this is a touristy area it is a lovely place to grab a bite to eat or some ice cream during your one day in Lisbon! Almost all restaurants have patios and sitting outside in this lively area to people watch and admire the surroundings is amazing!
Soak in Praça de Comércio
Praca de Comercio is a large square located beside the Tagus river in Lisbon. It is one of the largest squares in Europe and is the perfect place to walk around for a stroll. It begins from the stone arc that sits at the end of Rua Augusta which then opens up to the massive open area that used to be home to the Royal Palace until it was destroyed in an earthquake in 1755. The middle of the square holds a statue of the king who built the square in absence of the palace!
The stunning ornate architecture and beautiful views over the water are something to be admired.
Be Awed at Monastery Jeronimos
Located in the Belem district of Lisbon is the beyond beautiful Jerónimos Monastery. This is one of the top things to see in Lisbon and is very deserving of its title as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was built in the 1500s during the Age of Discovery and is one of the most powerful and important symbols of Portugal’s power during that time. Portugal spared no expense during the construction of this monastery and the Manueline and Gothic architecture is something to be awed at.
The building is giant and gorgeous and the gardens are amazing as well. Be sure to arrive early to avoid the long queues that grow very quickly. With only one day in Lisbon, you have to budget your time to ensure you can see everything!
Walk around Bairro Alto
Bairro Alto is a beautiful neighborhood in Lisbon and the best place to experience a lively nightlife experience. It is the epicenter of Lisbon nightlife that is full of bars, clubs, and restaurants. Drinking on the street is legal here too!
Not only is it great at night by Bairro Alto is a great area to explore during the day. The hilly streets and narrow walkways offer stunning views of Lisbon. There are also a lot of shops in this area which are perfect for picking up a travel souvenir or two.
Visit Rossio Square
Rossio Square is one of the most popular squares in Lisbon. It is located in the heart of Lisbon and is always lively and exciting to visit. The square is the perfect place to sit and relax and admire the beautiful buildings and wavy tiles on the ground. There are also various shops and restaurants surrounding the square which are perfect for grabbing a bite to eat.
View Santa Justa Lift
The Santa Justa Lift is a quirky architectural design constructed in the Neo-Gothic style. It was built in the 20th century by a French architecture that was a protege of Gustave Eiffel. Within this structure is a lift that people can ride to the top to a viewing platform and back down. The views from the platform offer magnificent views of Lisbon.
The lines for the lift are very long and costs 5 euros. But there are alternative ways to get to the platform. You can either access from a passage next to the church just up the streets or with an elevator located in a shop in a building behind the Lift.
Explore the City Center
Simply walking around and getting lost in the streets is the best way to see Lisbon. There are so many hidden streets with stunning views, and alleyways with unique buildings, and the best way to find these hidden gems is on foot. With just one day in Lisbon, you will be walking around a lot so be sure to let loose from the time constraints and simply enjoy the city.
Bonus: Walk the Pink Street
Just a short walk from Praca de Comercio is the famous and legendary Pink Street. This is a very Instagrammable street in the city and a must-see while in Lisbon. The vibrant pink street is very unique to Lisbon and is lovely to visit and admire during the day. However, once the sun sets is when it really comes alive! There are bars and restaurants all along the pink street and the area offers a lively night out experience.
It can be found here and you cannot miss it.
When to visit Lisbon
The best time to visit Lisbon is in the shoulder season months. From March-May and September – October the weather is still beautiful in Lisbon and the summer crowds have thinned down. In addition, costs for accommodation and flights are cheaper during this time. It is also a great idea to visit Portugal in winter as the perfect place for winter sun.
Where to Stay in Lisbon
The best place to stay in Lisbon is in the city center, especially if you only have one day in the city. The top neighborhoods to stay in are Alfama and Bairro Alto. These two neighborhoods are stunning in themselves and in close proximity to most items on this list. With only one day in Lisbon, you need to favor proximity over anything!
Lisbon is the playground of Portugal. There is so much to see and discover and a surprise around every corner and up every hill. In no other city will you get so many stunning views and narrow streets, so prepare to be wowed and charmed by Lisbon’s magic. If you are preparing for a visit to Portugal and you have only one day in Lisbon planned, be sure to add some of these amazing things to do to your itinerary!
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