I set foot in Portugal for the first time in 2018, and it was a very memorable family trip. I enjoyed every region we’ve visited. We travelled from Lisbon airport down to the Algarve then went back up to Porto via Coimbra and Evora. I enjoyed every places we stopped. They all something unique to offer. So when I was offered a quick trip back to Lisbon and Porto, I couldn’t refuse the opportunity. If you only have 3 days to navigate around Portugal, focus on Lisbon and Porto but make sure you plan another trip to visit the Algarve, the Duro Wine region and Coimbra.
Where to start?
Rue Augusta Lisbon Porugal
Arco da Rua Augusta, Lisbon Portugal
Praça Do Comercio Lisbon Portugal
Rue Prata Lisbon Portugal
Praça Do Comercio Lisbon Portugal
Yellow painted walls Lisbon
Baixa is the gateway to Lisbon’s riverfront. It was built on the rubble of the 1755 earthquake. Travel back in time by wandering the streets of the cobbled streets of Baixa. As you stroll up, you will come across Pastelaria selling the traditional Pastel de Nata and small bars selling the Ginja liquor that you have to try just to get a feel of traditional living in Lisbon. The main street Rua Augusta, links you to Praça de Comercia square.
Praça de Comercia
This is a beautiful square lined with baroque style yellow painted building with the statue of Dom José I in the middle. Walk down to the Tagus riverfront at Sunset and watch the sun go down over the Ponte 25 de Abril.
Hop on the Tram
Hop on tram 28 at Praça Martim Moniz. This tram tour is a great way to discover the city before exploring it on foot. The number 28 tram in Lisbon connects Martim Moniz with Campo Ourique and passes through the famous tourist districts of Graca, Alfama, Baixa and Estrela it’s an excellent public transport service and a great way to get your first sight on the city and take your time to uncover more.
Where to get off the tram?
The tram will take you through the narrow streets of Graça and the viewpoint of Miradouro de Nossa. The Graça district is one of the oldest in the town, located on a hill. Get off the Lago da Graça stop walk to the Miradouro de Santa Graça, which will give you a fantastic view over Castelo de Sao Jorge and Sao Vincente Monastery.
Castelo & Alfama
Alfama Area Lisbon Portugal
This is the Lisbon that we’ve all dreamed about. I’m old enough to have visioned The Russian House film with Michelle Pfeiffer and Sean Connery a spy story set in Russia where both protagonists are finally free to meet each other in Lisbon. You’ve got this gorgeous view of Lisbon’s Alfama rooftops at the end of the movie. You can get that view and the Sè cathedral from the tram. Jump off the tram at Largo Das Portas do Sol to make the most of the panorama over the old town.
As the tram climbs higher to Estrela, located halfway up the hill between São Bento and Campo de Ourique, it’s home to a beautiful landmark, the domed Basílica da Estrela. Trail your way around the area to discover cafe rimmed squares and gentrified streets.
Make way to Bairro alto at night time to enjoy the magical vibe of a night out in Lisbon with late-night bistros and hole in the wall bars serving Mojitos and Margaritas. In contrast, you want a conversation with your friends under the city’s starry night and the crowded streets.
Marquês de Pombal & Saldanha
On the Northern side of the city. This is the modern area of Lisbon with some of the finest restaurants and designer boutiques. Plan to visit art galleries and enjoy the beautiful gardens of the contemporary art museum Centro de Arte Moderna.
Parques Das Naçoes
This area of Lisbon was transformed for the 1998 Universal exhibition with Europe’s longest bridge, high rising buildings and progressive architecture.
You can spend an entire day just dedicated to Belèm. Travel back into Portugal’s age of discovery, the 15th and 16th century by navigating the streets of Belèm with grandiose nautical monuments, and boats gliding along the Tagus. First, plan to visit Santa Maria de Belèm, a medieval church built in the Gothic style between 1492 and 1528. The tombs of Vasco de Gama and Lagos Henriques are located at the back of the church. The main altar combines gilt marble and beautiful artwork. After the church visit, walk to the Northern bank of the Tagus River to Pradao fos Descombrimentos, a monument erected to celebrate Portugal’s 15th and 16th century most famous navigator’s and adventurers.
There is a lot to explore in Lisbon, and three days will not be enough, but it will give you a good grasp of what the city has to offer and hopefully help you plan another trip to Lisbon.
Share in the comments what is your favourite area of Lisbon.
Where to Eat and stay
I stayed at Hotel Brown Central it’s a boutique hotel on Rua Dos Sapateiros. It’s very central and the perfect location to walk to Alfama area and take the 28 tram. They also have a lovely bar where you can hang out and they will serve you welcome drinks. The room are big, functional, modern and beautifully decorated I loved the black and white photography on the walls.
For one of the best view over Lisbon have a light dinner a Lumi roof top bar in Bairro Alto, they serve tapas for one or to share, have a very stylish restaurant and outdoor area located on the 5th floor. Do not miss the beautiful view over Lisbon’s roof tops.