3 full days was the perfect amount of time, in our opinion, to discover Lisbon as well as some nearby gems.
The first day was the one where we moved around the least. We started our day with coffee and a pastry in Lisbon’s main square called Praça do Comércio. It is a beautiful, colorful part of Lisbon’s center where you can find many restaurants, coffee shops and stores. It is also situated right on the river, so the views are outstanding.
After our European-style breakfast, we walked around the Baixa neighborhood and did a bit of shopping since this area is full of some of the most popular European stores. Another popular activity to do in this part of the city, is to go up the elevador de Santa Justa. It is an elevator that brings you up 7 stories and then even higher up a steep hill to a nice view point of the city. It is quite a popular attraction and that always means long line-ups. We were not willing to wait in line for this and decided to look around for another lookout spot. Completely by accident, we found the jackpot of viewpoints in our opinion! As we were walking to the restaurant we had reserved for dinner, we saw this terrace right in front that looks over the entire center of the city and the river. We have no idea what it’s called, but if you look up the Sao Jorge restaurant (which you should because it was AMAZING), it will be impossible to miss!
That same day we also visited the Alfama neighborhood, which is one of Lisbon’s oldest areas. It is also full of coffee shops, restaurants and shops selling original crafts. Another great lookout spot near this area is the miradouro das portas do sol.
After all that walking around, we had our incredible dinner we mentioned earlier and then headed to a bar for an evening drink. Another great discovery is the park bar in the Bairro Alto neighborhood! It is actually an indoor parking lot whose roof is turned into a hip garden terrace lounge. The views over the city and the famous Lisbon bridge are breathtaking! The atmosphere is great and the entrance is free! Be prepared to pay a bit more than expected for your drinks but it is worth it.
On the second day of our Lisbon trip, we decided to go explore a nearby beach. We rented a car and headed over to Praia do Guincho, which is a 30-minute drive away. The drive is normally short and beautiful, but ours was a little more chaotic and stressful being as it was our first time ever renting and driving a manual car for an entire day. Needless to say the hilly streets of Lisbon did not help. We eventually got there safe and sound and were so impressed with the beauty of our first Portuguese beach! It is a beautiful long sandy beach with plenty of space to spread out and enjoy a day in the sun. It is also normally a good beach to surf on but it was super windy when we went and the conditions for surfing were not great. We highly recommend visiting this beach if you want a little escape from the city life when you’re in Lisbon.
On the third and final day, we took a day trip to Sintra. Sintra is another very popular location in Portugal that is only 30 to 45 minutes away from Lisbon. We were headed there to see the famous Pena Palace. This castle stands on top of a hill in the mountains along the Portuguese Riviera so I am sure you can imagine what an amazing sight that is. The entrance tickets are 14 euros per adult and we highly recommend buying them in advance online, as well as getting to the palace as early as possible because it is one of the most visited attractions in Portugal! It gets quite crowded in the middle of the day. We took the train from Lisbon to Sintra to get there. It is important to note that from the Sintra train station you will have to purchase a local bus ticket that brings you up the hill to the different attractions in the area. We have heard it is possible to walk all the way up but we don’t suggest it. Once that bus drops you off at the entrance where you purchase your tickets (if you don’t already have them), there is another smaller bus that can bring you all the way to the palace doors. That smaller bus costs 3 euros per person and is just a 2-3 minute drive. It is easily walkable in 10 minutes, so unless you have a mobility issue, we recommend not wasting money and time waiting for that second small bus (the line was so long that more than one trip was necessary to bring all the people waiting). You can plan to spend multiple hours at the Pena Palace since it is huge! It is also incredibly beautiful so you will want to stop every 5 seconds to take pictures. There is also a small coffee shop and snack bar at the top where you can get a drink or something to eat. This day trip was definitely one of the highlights of our entire trip.
Lisbon truly is one of our favorite areas in Europe, and we already can’t wait to go back! We hope this little guide will help you if you are planning on spending a few days here.
If you have any questions, or if you have any other favorites in Lisbon please let us know in the comments! 🙂
Lots of Love,
Ben and Bianca