3 day guide to Lisbon

Well hello to you my reader chums! This week, I've returned from a 3 day city break to Lisbon with my best friends. None of us had visited Portugal before and we couldn't wait to see what its capital, quirky city had in store. 

With hilly terrains, rustic streets, traditional trams, authentic food and colourful buildings on every corner, Lisbon was a city like no other. Its traditional appeal left me wanting to discover more and see what each corner unveiled. Lisbon slightly reminded me of a mixture beween Rome and Athens, holding traditional European values and with the many historical sights to explore. I did a lot of research before we headed off on the adventure, however as much as you plan, you'll always pick up hints and tips as you go. With all that in mind, I've put together my pictures and tips for you.

Here's my take on a 3 day guide to Lisbon...

Lisbon tram tour

Day 1: Monday 16th April - Flying to Lisbon and exploring the city centre

Our flight headed off at London Stanstead at 9.45am and we landed in Lisbon at lunch time, giving us plenty of time to settle in and spend the afternoon exploring. Our apartment was located in Alfama, the old town of Lisbon, down a slight curved hill. It was in the perfect location to walk to the main city centre (which took around 20 minutes once we figured it out), hop on a tram and explore that area itself. As we were in the Alfama district, there were plenty of authentic restaurants nearby and the apartment was set in a quieter location, away from town's bustle. I'd highly recommend staying here if you're planning a trip.

Rossio Square, Lisbon

The first thing we did was venture our way into town and see the main city action. We arrived in Rossio Square, the liveliest square in all of Lisbon, with its many shops and quirky cafes. The centre of the square has a statue of Dom Pedro IV which stands on top of the monument and two fountains either side. There's also the Dona Maria II National Theatre which is at one side of the square and the rest is surrounded by additional buildings.

City centre Lisbon

After a little bit of square exploring and mooching around the surrounding area, we stopped off for cocktails and chats, then headed to Tapas n' Friends for Tapas (located on Calcada Do Carmo). The food at this restaurant was delicious and I would really recommend it if you'd like a variety of different, well-sized tapas dishes for an affordable price.

Rua Augusta Arch Lisbon

After dinner, we had a look around the shops and got a general vibe of what the city centre was like. I have to admit, it didn't seem too busy at all compared to Rome or Paris. There was more of a chilled out and calm vibe about this city, where everything worked at a slower pace. 

We then headed through the Rua Augusta Arch (one of the city's most famous monuments) onto the Praça do Comércio, a beautiful plaza surrounded with restaurants and located River Tagus' edge. The elegant square also works as a prime transport hub for trams, buses and taxis.  

Day 2 - Alfama, Estrela Basilica, Castle de S. Jorge and more

Alfama district Lisbon

The second day was our biggest of the 3 to explore. It began with a trip to one of the local bakeries for some fresh orange juice and pastries then a walk to town through the Alfama district. Before arriving to town, we found a few hot spots for photo opportunities and got lost in the process - but hey that's all part of the adventure. 

3 da guide to Lisbon

3 day guide to Lisbon

After some pink backdrop snaps ( there's literally coloured walls everywhere for the perfect blog picture in this city), we somehow stumbled upon Miradouro da Senhora do Monte, one of the highest points in Lisbon, where you can see some of the famous sights including the Castle de S. Jorge and many other monuments. I'm thrilled we managed to find an incredible viewing spot without planning to - a bit of spontaneity always lands you in the best of places.

Miradouro da Senhora do Monte

Miradouro da Senhora do Monte

Once we arrived in town, we bought ourselves a ticket which let us on all the hop-on-hop-off buses, trams and the boat tour to Belém at one of the kiosks for 45 euro. We then began our ventures by getting the bus over to the Estrela Basilica.

Estrela Basilica

The Estrela Basilica was one of my favourite spots. Every location I visit, I absolutely love seeing their churches because there's something about a church which is ever so calming. We went in, lit a candle and then walked up the 114 steps to the top of the dome for the best view of the city.

Estrela Basilica

Climbing up the top of Estrela Basilica

The top of Estrela Basilica

The top of the church was a massive terrace which offered surrounding views of Lisbon. At the top, you could also enter the dome which overlooked the seating in the church. I wouldn't recommend leaning over too much in the dome as if you're afraid of heights like me, it can be a bit scary.

Jardim da Estrela, Lisbon

Opposite the basilica are the Estrela Gardens. We bought ourselves an ice cream and soaked up the sun, as we had a stroll through this park. I always find it wonderful, when there is a park in the middle of a bustling city. Nothing can be calmer than a bit of nature, to get away from the city's noise. 


Lisbon historic tram tour

To continue our tour, we hopped on the tram towards the Castle de S.Jorge. Travelling on the tram was a lovely, authentic experience and the classic 'Lisbon' thing to do. I love how their trams are still completely traditional and have that 'old school' vibe. It felt so much more charming than travelling through the city on a cramped bus or the open top tourist buses. I wish we had trams where I live at home! 

Miradouro Das Portas Do Sol

We got off the tram at Miradouro das Portas do Sol, a stunning spot with city views and the best lunch spot. We had a late lunch here in the sunshine with cocktails in tow before heading along to Castle de S.Jorge.

São Jorge Castle

I'm a bit of a history geek and when it comes to visiting sights like castles, I get very excited. Castle de S.Jorge was no disappointment; it involved a lot of walking up high through the castle's ruins and the many steep steps, however the views were worth it. The castle is an ancient vision of beauty which overlooks the Alfama district and a must-see on your visit.

São Jorge Castle

São Jorge Castle views

São Jorge Castle

São Jorge Castle

Lisbon tram tour

Once we went around the castle grounds, we hopped back on the tram and ended up going the complete wrong way back to our apartment. However, it gave us a bit of time to enjoy a good old life chat and see the sights along the way. We dined that evening in Alfama, where we found a tucked away restaurant which served up authentic fish dishes. When it comes to restaurants, I love finding hidden gems, as the dinners are always more original than typical tourist traps near the main sights.

Day 3: Wednesday 18th April - Belém exploring and boat tour

Jerónimos Monastery

On our last day, after a breakfast at Miradouro das Portas do Sol, we walked down to the city centre and hopped on the bus to Belém, another area of Lisbon. There was plenty to see in this location, including the Jerónimos Monastery and the most stunning fountain area opposite.

Jerónimos Monastery gardens

We didn't go in the monastery, however took our time walking around the fountain area and onto the nearby park. I still can't believe how beautiful Belém was and I'm glad we took the time to take this excursion. 

Jerónimos Monastery gardens

We took the journey back to the city centre and had our last Lisbon lunch in a delicious Italian called La Vita e Bella. They cooked up the best Italian grub and it was super lovely to soak up the sunshine with a delicious meal in tow. 

Statue of Christ Lisbon

Our last venture of the holiday was a boat trip across the Tagus River from Praça do Comércio to Belém and back again. As we spent a lot of the trip walking up hills and venturing through the city via public transport, it was refreshing bopping along on water and seeing the city edge from a different view. The boat tour took an hour and a half for the round trip.

25 de Abril bridge

On the tour, you saw the famous Statue of Christ up close, floated under the 25 de Abril bridge, witnessed the Belém Tower and learnt a lot more about Lisbon's rich history. I used to have a massive fear of boats and getting on this boat and feeling a complete sense of calm the entire time, was a truly brilliant moment. Bye bye boat anxiety.

Belem Tour Lisbon

Portugal is renowned for its custard tarts and we couldn't leave its capital without trying the delicacy. They were actually pretty scrummy and I can see why it's a favourite all over the country!

Portugese custard tart

To finish our Lisbon trip, we toasted a bottle of wine with a delicious dinner at Restaurante Figus. This restaurant served up platter style dinners of top quality and had the most friendliest service - I'd definitely recommend. The next morning, we got a 6.30am flight back to London.

Tip and tricks
  • Lisbon is a hilly city - bring suitable shoes otherwise walking will be a nightmare.
  • Taxis and Ubers are super cheap to get around the city so if you're not a fan of public transport, these can be your go to.
  • If travelling on trams, purchase a day pass to save you keep paying every time you hop on.
  • The Basilica is free to enter but you have to pay to climb the stairs to the top, which costs 4 euro. You'll have to enquire at the help desk and the person working there will give you access to the steps.
  • There's a flea market open on Tuesday and Saturdays at Feira da Ladra, from 8am-5pm. 
  • The iconic tram 28 is worth a tour around the city and goes through the old town Alfama.
  • Walk around instead of taking public transport, you'll never know what hidden gems you may find. 
  • The main tram terminal for the city tour is in Praça do Comércio and you can also get the boat tour from this location. 
  • The bus terminal is at Rossio Square for the hop-on-hop-off bus tour.

Lisbon, what a swell city you are! It's been a lovely few days spending quality time with my best friends, eating good food, seeing the best historic sights and soaking up a new culture. We managed to walk up the hills and create some beautiful memories - here's till the next city break!

I hope you enjoyed this 3 day guide to Lisbon. Have you visited this city?

Thank you for reading <3



10 comments

  1. I love this! Super useful tips.

    xx
    thedecemberdame.com

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  2. I'm in love with your pictures!😍 Lovely blog post, Della! 😊✨

    Xoxo
    Shirley | https://shirleycuypers.blogspot.be

    ReplyDelete
  3. Looks like you had an amazing time! If I ever go I will definitely be using this as a guide. Really well written girl x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you lovely - I hope you get to visit one day xx

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  4. Looks like you had a great trip and thanks for all the tips. The pics look great as well.

    GR | https://www.thegreat.uk

    ReplyDelete
  5. Lovely photos, looks like a beautiful place xx

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  6. Looks like you guys had a great time! We nearly picked to go to Lisbon for a long weekend, but have chosen Madrid instead. I will definitely be looking into Lisbon for my next long weekend though after looking at your pics (which are lovely btw) and reading your post.

    Aimsy xoxo

    ReplyDelete

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