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Dave and I have just gotten back from spending 3 days in Lisbon. We had seen so many pictures and heard so many things about the city but nothing prepares you for actually seeing it yourself. It is the kind of place you want to wander around aimlessly whilst taking photo after photo. It’s hilly streets offer a labyrinth filled with bars, and tiled buildings. Also, if you get yourself to one of the many vantage points in Lisbon you can gaze out at the pastel houses, with their distinguishable red tiled roofs, all against the backdrop of the River Tagus.
Lisbon is a treasure trove, filled with quality food, a laid back lifestyle, and a lot of sunshine. In this guide we list everything that you have to see in Lisbon, as well as the best places to eat, drink, and sleep. Here is our 3 day Lisbon itinerary to help you plan your own trip to this incredible city.
- Lisbon Itinerary Factsheet
- Is 3 days in Lisbon enough?
- Best time to plan your 3 days in Lisbon
- Starting your 3 days in Lisbon – getting from the airport
- Getting around during your 3 days in Lisbon
- Where to stay during your 3 days in Lisbon
- Top things to do over 3 days in Lisbon
- Eating and drinking during your 3 days in Lisbon
- Must Eat Foods during your 3 days in Lisbon
- Sample 3 Day Lisbon itinerary
- How much money do I need for my 3 day Lisbon itinerary
- What currency do I need in Lisbon?
- More than 3 days in Lisbon?
- Travelling as a couple – Romantic things to add to your 3 day Lisbon itinerary
- What to pack for your 3 days in Lisbon?
- So should I spend 3 days in Lisbon?
- Tips for spending 3 days in Lisbon
- 3 day Lisbon Itinerary recap
Lisbon Itinerary Factsheet
Famous For: Custard Tarts, ornate architecture, Fado music
Visit if you like: Good quality food, sunshine, getting lost in backstreets
Some other interesting facts about Lisbon are that, it is actually the oldest city in Western Europe. It was was founded by the Phoenicians in 1200 BC, and was an ideal location due to its location along theTagus river and the Atlantic coast.
Lisbon is built on 7 hills, although the exact about of hills it is actually built on is debatable. Apparently, it is actually 8 hills. In fairness spend 5 minutes walking around in the heat and you will think the city is built on 100 hills!
Also you know those yellow trams that are synonymous with Lisbon? Apparently they were inspired by American trams, like in California, and they were called Carros Americanos back in the day.
Is 3 days in Lisbon enough?
So you might be wondering how many days in Lisbon is enough. Well Lisbon is one of those places that you could spend weeks exploring. There are so many cobbled streets to walk down, as well as little coffee shops and restaurants. All in all, we spent a total of 3 days in Lisbon, although we did set aside a separate full day to explore Sintra which we have not included in this 3 day Lisbon itinerary.
This amount of time is probably your bare minimum. You will be able to see a lot of things and still leave a bit of time for coffees and glasses of wine. It won’t be possible to see everything but you will still see a lot. Because Lisbon is so relaxed and you want to enjoy the food and drink on offer, mixed with the sights, we recommend 5 days in Lisbon as a minimum. But don’t worry if you do only have 3 days, you will still see a lot, eat a lot, and drink a lot (if that’s something you want to do).
Best time to plan your 3 days in Lisbon
Lisbon is a really popular place to visit all year round. If you can, we recommend avoiding visiting smack bang in the middle of summer. Temperatures can get well into the 30’s and with all those hills it can be quite exhausting. Summer (August specifically) is also busy because of school holidays, so expect prices for things like accommodation to be slightly higher. Additionally, if you only have 3 days in Lisbon you don’t want to spend your whole trip lining up for tourist attractions so summer is not ideal.
We visited Lisbon in October and it was pretty perfect. For starters, the temperatures were mild and ranged from 23-26 degrees Celsius (although Dave being Irish flinched when I described these temperatures as mild). We also had quite a bit of sunshine too. Lisbon in October is a lot quieter than the summer months too, so you won’t have to line up nearly as long as you would a few months earlier. So, when planning your 3 day Lisbon itinerary October is definitely a good time to go.
March-May are also good times to visit due to the milder temperatures, and lower number of tourists. You still get the odd beach day, and can definitely sit outside sipping beers in the sun. So it’s win win.
Winters in Lisbon do get cold, I think a lot of people assume it is a year-round sun destination which it isn’t. It also rains quite a bit in the winter, so you aren’t guaranteed sunshine. A lot of the charm of Lisbon is alfresco dining, and exploring the cobbled streets, so with a strong chance of rain winter probably isn’t the best time to visit.
Starting your 3 days in Lisbon – getting from the airport
Chances are your 3 day Lisbon itinerary will start at Lisbon Portela Airport or Lisbon Airport as it is more commonly known. In our experience it is one of the better airports in Europe, and getting into the city centre is really easy. You have a few options with everything from bus, train, and taxi services available. Here is a summary.
Of course, getting a taxi is going to be your quickest and easiest option to get from the airport to the city centre. The cost isn’t too bad either, compared to other European airports. On average you are probably looking at around 20 Euros at the most one way.
The metro is a fast and cost effective way to get to Lisbon from the airport. A one way ticket will costs you 1.45 Euros, although you do need to purchase a Viva Viagem or 7 Colinas card, and top this up as you use it, but that is an additional 0.50 cents. The metro takes about 20 minutes to get you to the centre of Lisbon, and from there you can either get another subway, bus, or tram to your onward destination. This is also a good option if you have a super early or late flight as the metro runs between 6.30am – 1am.
Another quick and easy way to get to the city centre is by Aerobús. This is essentially a shuttle bus that stops in the city centre, or the Lisbon financial district. You do need to check the route in advance to make sure that this is convenient for you, but if so it’s only 4 Euros one way to get into Lisbon. The bus leaves every 20 minutes between 7.30am and 9pm.
Getting around during your 3 days in Lisbon
As mentioned above to get round Lisbon you will need to purchase a Viva Viagem card. You can then load the card with a ticket, and you are off. If you go to a subway station you can top up your card with a 24 hour ticket which covers, buses, trains, and trams (including the 28) for a little over 10 Euros per person.
When purchasing your ticket there is an English language option which is handy. You can alternatively buy tickets on board buses, trams, and funiculars in the city, but these are more expensive that if you pay with your Viva Viagem card. Here is a quick overview on the public transport options.
There are 4 metro lines in Lisbon identifiable by their different colours (Blue, Yellow, Green and Red). The metro is frequent and convenient running between 6.30am and 1am daily.
There are 6 tram lines in Lisbon including the very popular Tram 28. The trams are operated by Carris and take you across the city. We actually didn’t end up using the trams all that much except to get to Belem and of course to do Tram 28.
We ended up getting the bus quite a bit in Lisbon, as they tend to go to areas not accessible by tram or metro. They operate between 5am to 11pm, and the easiest way to work out where you are going and where to get off is to follow your route on Google Maps.
One thing I should advise though is that buses tend to get really busy. We ended up squished onto quite a few buses with strangers’ elbows in our faces but I guess it is all part of the city break experience.
Funicular & Lift
They may look touristy but the funiculars and the vertical lift in Lisbon are all genuine modes of transport. They are ideal to help you ascend some of Lisbon’s steepest streets.
Public transport is really convenient and easy to use, which makes getting around during your 3 days in Lisbon very easy.
Where to stay during your 3 days in Lisbon
One of the most important things when planning your 3 day Lisbon itinerary is of course working out where to stay. Some of the best places to sleep in Lisbon are in Alfama, Baixa, and Bairro Alto. These are centrally located areas close to a lot of the main tourist sites.
Of course that being said, accommodation in this area can be more expensive and can book up quite fast. For this reason we ended up staying in Saldanha at the Olissippo Saldanha. The hotel was modern and clean and staff were so helpful. It actually only cost us about €10 in a taxi to the hotel from the airport, and we were only a couple minutes walk away from the subway and a busy bus route. It is also quite close to all the hustle and bustle and proved to be the perfect base for our 3 days in Lisbon. If you did want to get a little closer to the action though here is the rundown on the best neighbourhoods.
This was our absolute favourite part of Lisbon, and in hindsight we would try to stay here if we are lucky enough to return to Lisbon. It’s filled with back alleyways, steep hills, and a ton of character. Accommodation options in Alfama tend to be more apartment stays, so if you have your heart set on a hotel this might not be for you. The neighbourhood is really quirky, and there are so many places to eat, drink, and be merry.
Baixa is probably the more touristy part of the city, and is close to a lot of the attractions and main squares. There are a lot of coffee shops, and restaurants, and the atmosphere is fantastic. This is really the heart of Lisbon, especially on a 3 day trip.
The area is close to the city’s two funiculars, and is full of hustle and bustle. It’s filled cobbled streets, graffiti clad walls, but more importantly a lot of places to eat and drink in the sunshine. It can get a bit boisterous in the evenings, so maybe not the best if you want a quiet night. It’s a great place for couples too, with several rooftop bars in the area, and overall fun vibe.
All in all if you are only spending 3 days in Lisbon, we would recommend staying somewhere central and Baixa is probably your best bet, particularly if you are a first time visitor. When choosing your accommodation make sure you are close to public transport, as this will make it easier when you are trying to get around the city. Also, one place we would avoid staying is Belem. Yes there are some tourist sites there, and the world’s most delicious custard tarts, but it is quite far out.
For more information on where to stay in Lisbon here is a more detailed guide on hotels.
Top things to do over 3 days in Lisbon
It is so hard to narrow down the list of things to do in 3 days in Lisbon. Here are some of the top things we recommend to help you plan your trip. Or if you are looking for the most Instagrammable places in the city you can read this guide instead.
✈ Belem Tower
One of the most beautiful sights in Lisbon has to be Belem Tower. Built in the early 16th century the tower was commissioned by King John II as part of a defence system at the start of the Tagus river. The tower consists of 4 floors and you can go inside and explore. This is a must to add to any 3 day Lisbon itinerary. Although we took one look at the queue and decided against exploring the inside. Even if you decide not to go inside, the tower it is still beautiful and Belem really is a quaint area to explore.
✈ Jerónimos Monastery
One of the most magnificent and intricate buildings we happened to stumble upon was Jeronimos Monastery located in Belem. It used to be a monastery of the Order of St Jerome and is also a prime example of the Manueline style of architecture you can find throughout Lisbon. The queues here can be crazy so you might want to get in early to avoid the mad rush or at least purchase your tickets in advance. Alternatively you can purchase a ticket for the Belem Tower which includes entry to the Monastery which will mean you won’t have to wait along with loads of other people for entry.
Alfama is pretty much one of those places that is just made for photos. You could walk around for hours just taking pictures of every alleyway and every building. This is one of the oldest districts in Lisbon and originally was associated with squalor and poverty. In fact it used to be where a lot of sailors and dock workers lived. These days though it couldn’t be further from this and is a must see place on any 3 day Lisbon itinerary. You can do a pre-booked walking tour, or you can choose to explore on your own.
It’s labyrinth of cobbled streets are filled with quirky shops, bars, and restaurants. There is so much character and charm here that you could spend a day just taking it all in. The fact that it is situated on a hill also means that you can also get some of the most incredible views of Lisbon from here. Apart from visiting some hole in the wall bars and sipping Ginjinha, Lisbon’s famous sour Cherry Liqueur, here are some highlights in the area.
This is one of Lisbon’s most recognised religious buildings. And it is where you can go to get that iconic shot of Tram 28 snaking its way past with the cathedral in the background. It is free to enter the cathedral so it is worth exploring and it is also an opportunity to have some peaceful time to reflect in a chaotic city.
Listen to Fado
Alfama is one of the best places in Lisbon to go for Fado. What is Fado you ask? Well, it is a melancholy type of music genre which began in Lisbon around the 1820’s, although it has been argued it has been around longer than that. It is very expressive and emotional and is highly worth seeing. It usually involves dinner whilst listening to the music, but you can show up late in the evening without having a meal.
Drink Cocktails during sunset
If you are looking to inject a little romance into your 3 day Lisbon itinerary, then you have to visit the Memmo Alfama. It is a hotel with a bar that overlooks the red tiled roofs of the Alfama District. Non guests are allowed to visit, but cannot use the pool. There are also specific tables reserved for guests. It really is worth the visit. It is so beautiful and romantic sitting here sipping cocktails watching the sun set over Lisbon.
Miradouro de Santa Luzia
Another place with breathtaking views is Miradouro de Santa Luzia. This stunning and romantic terrace is located by the church of Santa Luiza and is a fantastic place to relax particularly on a sunny day. The gardens create a kind of oasis feel, with views of Lisbon on one side and the gorgeous Portuguese style tiles on the other. You will find buskers and artists here which adds to the romantic atmosphere.
Portas Do Sol Viewpoint
Right at the top of hill you will find the Portas do sol viewpoint. Again this is a great place with some fantastic views over Lisbon. There are a number of bars and cafes around here too, which certainly adds to the charm. And what better way to admire the views than to sip Sangria in the sunshine.
Lisbon Story Arch
One of the hidden gems of Alfama has to the be the Arch of Rua Norberto de Araujo. Here you will find a mural entitled Lisbon Story. This depicts the history of Lisbon in a kind of comical way.
✈ Tram 28
Tram 28 is one of the busiest but most beautiful tram routes in Lisbon and therefore is a must on any 3 day Lisbon itinerary. It used to be just for the locals but these days you will find tourists squished in trying to take in the views. If you want to get on at the start of the route then you will need to make your way to Square Martim Moniz in Baixa. Be warned, the line to get on the tram is long! We ended up queuing for over an hour, and whilst we felt it was worth it, you do feel like you should be exploring the city instead of queuing. If you purchase a 24 ticket for the public transport the tram should be covered in this price. You just need to swipe your ticket and hop on.
✈ Carmo Convent Ruins
In 1755 Lisbon experienced one of the most deadly earthquakes in its history. In fact the city was devastated, and the Carmo Convent and Church was pretty much destroyed. Today you can visit the ruins as a reminder of one of the worst days Lisbon has ever seen. As strange as it sounds the ruins are still beautiful but also act as a permanent reminder of mother nature’s wrath. In a way in its current state there is still an air of spirituality here, at least for me anyway. You immediately want to sit down and look up at the sky through the destroyed arches of the church, and for me it was a moment that made me think about higher beings and what lies above. If you are one of those people that finds beauty in ruins then this a a great place to come and get some incredible photos.
✈ Elevador da Gloria & Elevador da Bica
The Elevador da Gloria and the Elevador da Bica are two of the funiculars located in Lisbon. Considering Lisbon is so hilly they form an essential service because seriously no one wants to be walking up all those hills in the heat. They are also incredibly beautiful, both decorated with, and surrounded by streets filled with street art, they are a unique attraction in Lisbon, and definitely an essential to any 3 day Lisbon itinerary.
✈ Santa Justa Lift
The Santa Justa Lift was originally designed to connect the streets of Baixa with the higher Largo do Carmo. It is a similar concept to the Elevador da Gloria and the Elevador da Bica except that is is completely vertical. These days it is a tourist attraction with people queuing up to take in the views. It was designed by Raul Mesnier de Ponsard who was actually a student of Gustave Eiffel, who you might remember from such designs as the Eiffel Tower!
✈ The Pink Street
In a place where Lisbon’s seedy Red Light District once sat is now a street, so colourful it’s like it was made for Instagram. Located on Rua Nova do Carvalho this bright pink wonder might look quiet and unassuming in the daylight, but in the evening is home to some of Lisbon’s best nightlife.
✈ LX Factory
The LX Factory is pretty much a mecca for hip coffee shops, quirky stores, and some really funky outdoor bars. It is also home to Ler Devagar, of the most photogenic bookstores we have ever seen.
✈ St George’s Castle
St George’s Castle is hard to miss as it stands tall above the Alfama District. The castle that you see today is actually a restored version as it collapsed in the 1755 earthquake. At one point it was also a royal residence, before the King decided to build a palace near the water. Views from the castle are incredible and almost worth the entrance fee alone. Entry to the castle will set you back about 10 Euros.
Unfortunately for us, this was one attraction that we really wanted to see but ran out of time. Which I suppose just means that we have to plan a return trip.
✈ Praca do Comercio
No trip to Lisbon is complete without a visit to the Praca do Comercio. It is one of the main squares in Lisbon located right near the Tagus river. It also used to be where the Royal Ribeira Palace was located until it was destroyed in the earthquake of 1755. After this it was remodelled to resemble what you see today. If you get the chance it is a great place to head before sunset. There is a section by the river where you get an amazing view of the Ponte 25 de Abril Lisbon’s iconic suspension bridge. And if you time it right, you might also catch a glimpse of the sunrise in the background.
Eating and drinking during your 3 days in Lisbon
Eating and drinking in Lisbon actually deserves a whole other post which you can read all about. In the meantime Lisbon for us turned out to be a real foodie city. So make sure you add some traditional Portuguese food and drink to your 3 day Lisbon itinerary. Portuguese food really doesn’t get enough hype. We all know about visiting Spain and eating tapas or Germany and bratwursts, but little is really known about Portuguese food. Or maybe that is just us, either way here are some must eat places during your 3 days in Lisbon.
Time Out Market
One of the best places to go for food during your 3 days in Lisbon has to be the Time Out Market. Here you will find a variety of often Michelin star vendors, serving traditional Portuguese food and everything in between. The Time Out Market in Lisbon is a fairly new concept, only opening in 2014. The idea was to create a food hall with some of Lisbon’s top chefs serving everything from sardines, to noodles, and even fresh seafood. It does get pretty busy but is definitely worth a visit, particularly if you consider yourself a bit of a foodie. So grab yourself a table, and then get ordering!
Pasteis de Belem
The most incredible custard tarts you have ever tasted can be found right here at the Pasteis de Belem. A visit here HAS to be added to your 3 day Lisbon itinerary immediately. You might think we are exaggerating but we cannot even begin to explain to you just how incredible they are. For starters, there is a perfect custard to pastry ratio, and as soon as you bite into one, you will see how perfectly crisp the pastry is compared to the soft and gooey custard. Honestly you have to try one for yourself. Queues here can be pretty long, and it can often be quicker to walk into the restaurant and sit down and enjoy your Pastel de Belem with a cup of perfectly brewed coffee.
Dave and I are huge Rick Stein fans, and we remember watching the episode where he visits Lisbon a few years ago. One of the restaurants that he visits is Valenciana, a kind of Mediterranean BBQ place, serving up some incredible Peri Peri chicken among other things. We literally could not plan a 3 day Lisbon itinerary without coming here. The food here is a million times better than we could have imagined. We ordered some Peri Peri chicken with chips and rice, and not only was it cheap, but it was delicious. The restaurant is a bit out of the way from the usual tourist bits of Lisbon, but is so worth a visit.
Must Eat Foods during your 3 days in Lisbon
Lisbon has some incredible food, which we honestly were not expecting. You can get good quality food that isn’t going to cost a fortune either. Seafood is a big deal in Lisbon, with salted cod and sardines being really popular. Here are some of the must eat foods during your 3 days in Lisbon, to give you an authentic Portuguese experience.
Sardines in Lisbon are a big deal. It seems like every restaurant in the city has a dish including the oily fish delicacy in some form. In fact Sardines are so important in Lisbon there is even a festival in their honour. Well kind of. The festival is to honour St Anthony who is the patron saint of Lisbon. He would often preach to the people of Rimini, in Italy. It was said that the people ignored him but the sardines came to the shoreline to listen to him. During the festival you will find grilled sardines served on a small slice of bread. At other times of the year you will find variations of the dish, like the ones we discovered at the Time Out Market which was a bruschetta like sardine dish.
Peixinhos da Horta
So before arriving in Lisbon we didn’t realise that tempura was actually invented in Portugal and not Japan. Tempura vegetables are another big deal in Lisbon especially green beans. Peixinhos da Horta which is a dish consisting of green beans and tempura is a centuries old dish and was said to have been made initially on Portuguese ships to keep the vegetables from going bad. These days you can find it on the menu at several traditional Portuguese restaurants. The ones we had, had quite a thick batter, but apparently it is supposed to be a lot lighter.
Ok I will admit that this wasn’t my favourite dish in Lisbon but still worth a try. The simplicity and versatility of the fish means that you find it in several dishes in Lisbon. In fact it has been said there are over 356 ways to prepare a salted cod dish, which means you could have something different every day of the year. Basically there is no way you can get through your 3 day Lisbon itinerary without coming into contact with some salted cod. The classic way to prepare it is with a salted cod fillet served with potatoes. Salted cod is mad by dousing the cod is copious amounts of salt, it is then dried. In order to eat it you need to soak it in water for at least a day to reduce the salt levels. Just a warning don’t order this dish expecting it to taste like your typical fish and potatoes. The salted cod has a distinct flavour and is a little harsher then the usually sweet tasting cod fillets.
Bacalhau à Brás
Bacalhau à Brás is said to have originated from the Bairro Alto district of Lisbon. It is a dish that includes shredded codfish, thinly cut potatoes, onions, and parsley and is held together with scrambled egg. Out of all the salted cod dishes we tried this was actually my favourite. The thinly cut potatoes add an element of crunch to the dish, and whilst the salted cod is the main flavour in the dish, I really liked the texture of the egg as a binding agent. Whilst the salted cod and potatoes wasn’t anything to write home about in my opinion, the Bacalhau à Brás certainly made me realise why the Portuguese are so into their codfish.
In terms of drinking, no 3 days in Lisbon are complete unless you have tried Ginjinha a Portuguese liqueur made from sour cherry. It comes in a shot glass or if you want to be even classier a chocolate shot glass. Make sure you sip it, and do beware it is pretty potent even though it doesn’t taste like it.
Sample 3 Day Lisbon itinerary
Here is our 3 days Lisbon itinerary with a day by day breakdown of the best things to see, do, and eat.
3 Days in Lisbon- Day 1
Day 1 of our 3 day Lisbon itinerary starts with food. We had heard that the best Pastel da Natas in Lisbon are found in Belem. Although here they are called Pastel da Belem. So for us we had to start our time in Lisbon with a trip to Belem. Start the morning with a trip to Belem Tower. If you arrive early enough the queues shouldn’t be too bad and you should gain entry pretty quickly. Next head over to the Jeronimos Monastery to explore.
After you have built up an appetite, for lunch there are a number of Portuguese restaurants in this area and yes even a McDonalds! We recommend trying 2 to 8 Belém for some authentic Portuguese tapas including delicacies like deep fried beans and salted cod cakes.
Afterwards make sure you treat yourself at Pasteis de Belem. We recommend sitting inside and enjoying a cup of coffee with your custard tarts. Also don’t be put off by the queue. These are honestly the most delicious custard tarts we have ever tasted and we guarantee you will not be sorry.
Walk off the food by exploring a bit of Belem before heading to the LX Factory for some shopping, and late afternoon/early evening drinks and food.
3 Days in Lisbon- Day 2
If you were thinking of sleeping in, then no chance. Day 2 of this 3 day Lisbon itinerary includes getting up early to hop on Tram 28. Head to Square Martim Moniz in Baixa, and look out for the long line of tourists! Depending on how long you have been in line for, after riding the tram this should bring you up to late morning.
We recommend venturing out to ride the Elevador da Bica. Get on at the bottom and then ride to the top. Then we recommend walking back down. It is a picturesque walk that you won’t want to miss. Afterwards head over to the Pink Street to take your photos before heading to the Time Out Market for lunch.
We recommend exploring Alfama for the rest of the day, stopping to sip Ginjinha, and take photos of the cobbled streets and graffiti covered walls. As sunset approaches, make your way to Portas do sol viewpoint, and make sure you stop at the Story Arch. Have a drink before heading to Miradouro de Santa Luzia to soak up the atmosphere in the gorgeous gardens. Before sunset, head to the Memmo Alfama rooftop bar for cocktails and sit and watch the sky turn from blue to pink to black.
There are a number of places to eat around here, and some really great bars too so it is a nice place to spend your evening. If you have the time, try and go to a Fado show, otherwise just enjoy the hustle and bustle of the evening.
3 Days in Lisbon- Day 3
On the final of your 3 days in Lisbon we recommend starting the day at the Elevador da Gloria. You don’t have to ride it but it is a great place to go to take pictures of the funiculars and all the graffiti. Next we recommend exploring Baixa. Make sure you visit the Santa Justa Lift for some panoramic views over Lisbon, before popping into one of the many surrounding restaurants for lunch.
Walk off your lunch by taking the time to explore the area including Rossio and Chiado. There are a lot of Ginjinha bars around here too, so make the most of it. We also recommend visiting the Carmo Convent Ruins whilst you are in the area.
Then head to the Praca do Comercio and get some photos of the Ponte 25 de Abril.
If you missed out on Fado in Alfama, then there is a Fado concert every evening at 7pm at the Fado in Chiado. You don’t usually have to book in advance although it is recommended. The concert lasts about 50 minutes, and is a great experience. When you are done, grab some dinner and explore some of the bars in the area before retiring for the night.
How much money do I need for my 3 day Lisbon itinerary
Good news, if you are planning on spending 3 days in Lisbon, then it might be useful to know it is one of the least expensive capital cities in Europe. Sure, like anywhere you can spend big, but if you are wanting to visit on a budget than that is totally doable. For a mid range trip where you get to see a lot of attractions, have a few drinks, and some nice sit-down meals, we would budget around 100 Euros a day per person. That is without factoring in accommodation.
Food is relatively cheap, for example we ended up having a meal for 2 with wine for under 35 Euros. If you tried to get that in any other European city you would struggle. Tourist attractions are also relatively cheap, and depending on what you do you probably won’t spend more than 30 Euros a day. And when it comes to paying for things, most places will accept card in Lisbon, but we recommend having a bit of cash as some of the smaller or more obscure bars/restaurants may only accept cash.
What currency do I need in Lisbon?
Lisbon or Portugal to be specific is part of the EU and therefore the currency is Euro. One Euro is equivalent to 100 Cents. Euros are made up of a mixture of coins and notes. The coins tend to be Cents so you get 1,2,5,10,20 and 50 Cent coins, as well as a 1 and 2 Euro coin. Notes are made up of 5,10,20,50,100,200, and 500 Euros. With the notes we don’t recommend carrying around the higher denominations as some places won’t take anything over a 50 for security purposes. And honestly, I don’t think we have ever seen a 200 or 500 Euro note! So if you do find one let us know.
More than 3 days in Lisbon?
If you are planning more than 3 days in Lisbon we recommend doing a day trip. Some of the top trips include:
One of the most popular day trips from Lisbon has to be Sintra, a picturesque town about 25 kms away from Lisbon. You can easily get here by train, but just make sure you bring your walking shoes as there is so much to see and do here.
Another popular day trip destination is Cascais which is a resort town on the Lisbon coastline. It is a popular holiday destination particularly in the summer and again can be easily reached by train.
The highlight in Palmela has to be the castle. From here you get some sweeping views of the town. It is easy to plan a day trip from Lisbon as there is a direct bus that can take you straight there.
Travelling as a couple – Romantic things to add to your 3 day Lisbon itinerary
If you are lucky enough to be visiting Lisbon with your significant other, then here are some romantic things to add to your 3 day Lisbon itinerary.
Sunset drinks at a rooftop bar
One of our tried and tested romantic things to add to your 3 day Lisbon itinerary is sunset cocktails. We went to the Memo Alfama, with its rooftop terrace and gorgeous views, and watched as the sun set over a sea of red roofs and pastel walls. There are a number of rooftop bars, and vantage points all around Lisbon so no matter where you are you will find something super romantic.
Speaking of sunsets if drinks at a rooftop bar don’t float your boat (sorry for the bad pun), then maybe a river cruise will. You can sail along the Tagus River at sunset, whilst enjoying the great weather, and even better views.
Stroll around Alfama
Alfama is probably one of the most romantic parts of Lisbon and a must to add to your 3 day Lisbon itinerary. There are so many restaurants and bars, and it’s perfect for walking hand in hand along cobbled streets. Also there are heaps of places serving Ginja that you can stop by and enjoy.
What to pack for your 3 days in Lisbon?
What you pack as part of your 3 days in Lisbon will largely depend on the time of year that you are visiting. Here are some suggestions though for things that we think you should bring with you on your trip.
- Comfy walking shoes – seriously no one wants to be walking up all those hills in horrible footwear.
- Sunglasses, hat, sunscreen – basically anything to protect you from the heat particularly in the summer
- Reusable water bottle – again the heat and hills make for thirsty work!
- In the colder months or shoulder try to layer up, as even if the days are warm the evenings can get chilly
- Rainjacket if you are visiting in the winter months
- Swimwear for those summer months
So should I spend 3 days in Lisbon?
If you are wondering if you should spend 3 days in Lisbon that would be a massive yes from us. It is one of those cities that has left a lasting impression on us, with its beautiful architecture, cobbled streets, amazing food, and of course fantastic weather. And as mentioned above it’s also pretty cheap. While 3 days in Lisbon doesn’t give you the longest time to explore the city, it will give you the opportunity to see the main tourist attractions, have a few drinks, and enjoy some al fresco dining.
Tips for spending 3 days in Lisbon
Hopefully this article has persuaded you to pack your things and plan your own 3 day Lisbon itinerary. Here are some final tips from us on things you should know before you go.
- Book your tours in advance, especially in peak season.
- Book accommodation well in advance too, we booked last minute and struggled to find cheap accommodation close to all the action.
- Also do your research when eating in Lisbon. The food is amazing but try to avoid the tourist traps.
- Do a Fado tour – trust us!
- Be wary of pickpockets, Lisbon is generally safe, but pickpocketing does happen so be mindful especially in super touristy areas.
3 day Lisbon Itinerary recap
We hope this guide to spending 3 days in Lisbon will help you plan your own trip. We absolutely loved every moment that we spent in this picturesque city, and if all else fails, pop on your walking shoes and just explore. We really did spend 3 perfect days in Lisbon and hopefully you will too. Don’t forget to pin this guide for later!
Kat (Wandering Bird)November 10, 2018 at 1:55 pm
I always seem to go through Lisbon and never really stop! Your post has inspired me- next time, I’m making time to see all those beautiful places! Thanks for sharing 🙂
[email protected]November 10, 2018 at 2:19 pm
Definitely do! The pictures don’t do it justice, it really is a magical place.
MaggieNovember 10, 2018 at 2:06 pm
I’m headed to Lisbon at the end of April, so this post was really helpful for my trip planning! We’re planning on spending 2 days in the city, a day in Sintra, and then the rest of the week in other places in Portugal (Porto, Duoro Valley, Lagos)
[email protected]November 10, 2018 at 2:18 pm
That sounds so amazing. Sintra really is worth the trip too. Would love to see more of Portugal if Lisbon is anything to go by it has to be incredible.
Jessica CarpenterNovember 10, 2018 at 2:31 pm
Thank you for all this incredible information! This is an amazing and thorough article. I’m desperate to visit Portugal this next year so I’m pinning this and using it as my guide. Fantastic pictures too!
[email protected]November 10, 2018 at 3:40 pm
Thank you so much. It really is a gorgeous place, and we hope you have an amazing trip next year!
AlinaNovember 10, 2018 at 3:45 pm
Great city and great article! Very helpful in planning our next trip there!
[email protected]November 10, 2018 at 3:57 pm
Thank you. It really is a wonderful city. Enjoy your trip.
OdetteNovember 10, 2018 at 3:51 pm
This post could not get me more excited about visiting Lisbon, this just looks simply stunning <3
[email protected]November 10, 2018 at 3:56 pm
It honestly is!!!! Have a fantastic time there.
PennyNovember 10, 2018 at 3:58 pm
Amazing 3-day guide guys!! I’m visiting Lisbon for the first time for 4 days in two weeks and I found this post so useful!! 🙂
[email protected]November 10, 2018 at 4:10 pm
Oh good! I’m so glad it helped. Hope you have a great time. It is such a gorgeous place.
ClazzNovember 13, 2018 at 10:13 pm
Lisbon is so lovely!! I think 3 days would be perfect there, I’d love to go back as I was only there for a day (on my way to southern Portugal!). Craving a pasteis de nata too!
LizzieNovember 14, 2018 at 6:47 pm
I would love to see more of Portugal! And yes to the custard tarts!
Anca AnastasescuMay 17, 2019 at 3:47 am
Next week we are going to Lisbon and I was browsing on internet to make an idea about my itinerary. Lucky me I found your post. 🙂
One of the best article I have read about Lisbon and ….. btw ….amazing pictures .
Did you use the Lisbon Card ? Do you recommend it ?
Thank you !!!!!
LizzieMay 18, 2019 at 9:35 am
Thank you so much for your kind words, and we are so glad that our guide has helped you. Lisbon is so beautiful and you will have a great time. We didn’t get the Lisbon Card, but I think that was mostly because we didn’t plan properly in advance for this trip. I would have a look at what attractions are included in the price and think about if you really want to see them or not. Public transport is pretty cheap in Lisbon as well so you can still get around really cheaply without the card.