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How to Spend 24 Hours in Lisbon

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24 hours in Lisbon is not a lot of time. But if it’s all you have, you better make the most of it! 

You don’t have to go far to soak up Lisbon’s charm, no matter where you’re staying in the city. Every corner has a story to tell and something tasty to try. Plus, breathtaking views of the city are never too far away. Just be prepared to climb a few steep hills along the way.

With only one day in Lisbon, you need to plan your time carefully. So, keep reading for a complete guide to making the most of 24 hours in Lisbon.

Looking for a place to stay? Check out: Best Boutique Hotels in Lisbon

Here’s a breakdown of the itinerary:

Make the Most of Your 24 Hours in Lisbon: Join a Walking Tour

Joining a walking tour, like the Best of Lisbon Walking Tour with River Cruise, Jeronimos Monastery, & Alfama by Take Walks, is the perfect way to dive deep into the heart of Lisbon.

Get ready for breathtaking views, fascinating history, awe-inspiring architecture, and even a delicious local treat. 

From Belém to Alfama, this tour takes you on a journey to explore Lisbon’s top sights with a local expert who brings the city’s stories to life.

Price: From €74
Duration: 6.5 hours
Meeting Point: Meet your guide in front of the main door of the Cais do Sodre train station (Cais do Sodre, 1).

Here’s a breakdown of how to spend your day in Lisbon, starting with this tour.

Book this tour directly with Take Walks!

A snapshot of Lisbon

One Day in Lisbon Itinerary

We hope you got a good night’s sleep and packed your walking shoes because you’ve got a busy day lined up!

Wear your most comfortable and Instagrammable outfit—just so you’re ready for those photo opportunities! If you’re visiting Lisbon in Summer, be prepared for the heat. It gets hot, so wear breathable clothing. Pack a backpack with everything you need for the day, including sunscreen, sunglasses, hat and water.

Morning: The Historic Heart of Lisbon

Once you’re ready, head to the city center and meet your guide in front of the main door of the Cais do Sodre train station (Cais do Sodre, 1).

For information on how to get there, check out: How to Get Around Lisbon.

8:45 AM – Starting the Adventure

Your day begins in Lisbon’s vibrant city center. Here, you’ll meet your guide and a small group of fellow travelers, ready to explore. A quick train ride takes you to Belém, the maritime district testament to Portugal’s Age of Discoveries.

9:30 AM – Jeronimos Monastery

The first stop is the Jeronimos Monastery, where the grandeur of Manueline architecture awaits. As you wander through the cloisters, you’ll walk the same halls as Vasco da Gama and other explorers who prayed here for safe voyages.

10:15 AM – A Sweet Treat

Next, indulge in Portugal’s famous custard tarts at the original bakery. Enjoy this sweet moment as your guide shares tales of explorers and the Age of Discoveries, setting the stage for what’s next.

11:00 AM – Belém’s Monuments

Discover Belém’s iconic monuments, including the Monument of the Discoveries and Belém Tower. Learn about Portugal’s navigational triumphs and the empire that spanned continents.

If you’re planning your 24 hours in Lisbon on your own (without joining a tour), check out: How to Buy Tickets to the Tower of Belém in Lisbon.

Tower of Belém in Lisbon, Portugal
Tower of Belém in Lisbon, Portugal

Midday: Scenic Views and Hidden Gems

Now that you’ve covered some historic sights, it’s time to explore some scenic views and touch on the culture and cuisine of Lisbon.

12:00 PM – River Cruise Relaxation

After exploring on foot, a scenic boat trip offers a different perspective of Lisbon. Glide beneath the 25th of April Bridge and past the Cristo Rei statue, enjoying unparalleled city views of Lisbon.

1:00 PM – Lunch Break

Back in Lisbon’s city center, lunch awaits! This is your opportunity to immerse yourself in Portugal’s rich culinary scene. 

Here’s how to make it unforgettable:

  • Get local recommendations: Skip the tourist spots. Ask locals—your tour guide, a shopkeeper—for their go-to places.
  • Explore side streets: Authentic eateries are often hidden away from main roads. These spots are where you’ll find genuine Lisbon flavors.
  • Seek out seasonal specialties: Go for menus that showcase fresh, seasonal produce. It’s the essence of Portuguese cuisine.
  • Use online reviews smartly: A quick scan of reviews can guide you to noteworthy spots, focusing on atmosphere and standout dishes.
  • Opt for family-run restaurants: These establishments promise a homely vibe and traditional cooking, enriching your dining experience.
  • Try traditional dishes: Don’t leave without tasting classics like bacalhau, cozido à portuguesa, or a bifana. It’s a taste of true Portugal.

For foodies, check out: How To Eat Like a Local in Lisbon

Sardines in Lisbon - a must eat when spending 24 Hours in Lisbon
Sardines in Lisbon

Afternoon: Alfama’s Labyrinth

Time to get lost in Alfama!

2:00 PM – Alfama’s Secrets

As your tour continues, you’ll step into Alfama, the soul of Lisbon and its oldest surviving district. This area is a living museum, a canvas painted with the rich hues of history, culture, and tradition. 

Here’s what makes Alfama truly special and what you should keep an eye out for:

  • Rich history: Walking through Alfama is like traversing centuries, with its medieval charm and layers of history visible in its architecture and streets.
  • Architectural gems: From viewpoints to Gothic churches and azulejos-covered houses, Alfama showcases the essence of Portuguese design and tradition.
  • Fado music: Experience the soul of Portugal with a visit to a Fado house in Alfama, where the traditional music genre fills the air with melancholic tunes.
  • Authentic local life: Witness the genuine daily life of Lisbon’s residents, a living example of community and tradition.
  • Breathtaking viewpoints: Don’t miss the panoramic views of Lisbon and the Tagus River from spots like Miradouro de Santa Luzia and Miradouro das Portas do Sol.
  • Historic sites: Explore landmarks like São Jorge Castle and the Sé Cathedral to delve deeper into Lisbon’s rich religious and historical heritage.

When visiting Alfama, let curiosity be your guide. Engage with the locals, savor the small details, and allow the rhythm of the neighborhood to lead you. Alfama is not just a place to visit; it’s an experience to be lived, offering a profound connection to the soul of Lisbon.

Related read: A Guide to Lisbon Neighborhoods

Views in Alfama, Portugal
Views in Alfama, Portugal

3:15 PM – Ending in the Castle’s Shadow

The Take Walks tour wraps up near Lisbon’s imposing castle. While admission isn’t included, you’re encouraged to explore the castle’s rich history and stunning views at your leisure.

Visiting São Jorge Castle (Castelo de São Jorge) is like stepping back into a pivotal chapter of Lisbon’s history. Perched atop one of Lisbon’s highest hills, this iconic fortress offers a journey through the past and some of the most stunning views of the city and the Tagus River.

The castle’s origins trace back to the 11th century when it was a Moorish royal residence. As you wander through its robust walls and towers, you’ll walk through centuries of history, from the Islamic period to the age of Portuguese exploration and beyond.

The castle’s vantage point provides breathtaking panoramic views. You can see across Lisbon’s rooftops, the winding Tagus River, and beyond from its ramparts. It’s a perfect spot for photographers and anyone looking to capture the city’s essence from above.

The castle’s gardens are a serene retreat from the bustling city below. Here, you can enjoy the shade of olive and cork trees, accompanied by the resident peacocks that roam freely, adding an exotic touch to the castle’s ambiance.

It’s a lovely spot to relax after a busy day on your feet and in the sun!

Book this tour directly with Take Walks!

Evening: Explore Lisbon on Your Own

After a day of taking in the history, food and culture, it’s time to enjoy a fun (or relaxing) evening in Lisbon.

Depending on your travel style, energy levels and preferences, here are a few options to spend your only evening in Lisbon:

Sunset at Miradouro de Santa Catarina

Make your way to Miradouro de Santa Catarina, a beloved local spot known for its stunning sunset views. This picturesque terrace overlooks the Lisbon skyline, the Tagus River, and the 25th of April Bridge, offering a canvas of oranges, pinks, and purples as the sun dips below the horizon.

It’s a moment of pure magic, shared with locals and travelers alike, often accompanied by street musicians’ gentle strumming of a guitar. Bring a small picnic or grab a drink from the nearby kiosk, find a spot, and let the panoramic views and ambient sounds provide a perfect end to the afternoon.

View from Sardines in Lisbon
View from Sardines in Lisbon

Dinner in Bairro Alto

As night falls, Bairro Alto comes alive. This historic neighborhood, with its narrow cobbled streets and traditional buildings, transforms into one of Lisbon’s most vibrant dining and nightlife areas.

From traditional Portuguese restaurants serving classics like Bacalhau à Brás (shredded cod with potatoes and eggs) and grilled sardines, to modern eateries offering fusion cuisine, Bairro Alto caters to all tastes.

Wander the streets and choose a spot that catches your eye—the area is known for its welcoming atmosphere, where the delicious cooking smells fill the air, and the sound of lively conversations creates a buzz.

Tapisco, Lisbon, Portugal
Tapisco, Lisbon, Portugal

Fado Experience

To immerse yourself in Portuguese culture, end your evening with a live Fado performance. Fado, a UNESCO-listed music genre, is characterized by its melancholic tunes and lyrics that express the Portuguese concept of “saudade,” a deep sense of longing.

Alfama is home to many intimate Fado houses where you can experience these emotional performances up close. Venues like Clube de Fado, A Baiuca, or Sr. Fado de Alfama offer dinner and show combinations, allowing you to enjoy traditional dishes while being serenaded by Fado singers and guitarists.

It’s a soul-stirring experience that connects you to the heart of Portuguese tradition, making for an unforgettable conclusion to your day in Lisbon.

We’ve covered a few of the top spots here: Top Cafes, Restaurants and Fado Bars in Lisbon

The Best of Lisbon in One Day

Spending 24 hours in Lisbon is an exhilarating journey through time, tastes, and tales. From the historic depths of the Jeronimos Monastery to the charming alleys of Alfama, and concluding with the rhythm of Fado, Lisbon offers a day you’ll never forget.

We hope you manage to squeeze in as much Portuguese flavor, spirit, history and culture into your 24 hours in Lisbon. No matter what you end up doing, one thing is for sure: you’ll leave planning your next visit to this exciting city.

If you have an extra day to spare, check out: Exploring Lisbon in 2 Days

  • Take Walks

    Our philosophy is simple: We believe the best way to travel is to take walks.
    Every city has a story to tell – but you won’t hear it on a tour bus! The only way to truly understand a place is to explore it at street level; meet people, take shortcuts, hear stories… And that’s exactly what we do at Walks.
    Our intimate tours are highly regarded for their exclusive feel – and that’s no accident! Skip-the-line and out of hours access, together with our small group sizes, carefully planned itinerary and the most experienced guides in the business have led us to become an industry leader.

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