Lisbon, Portugal is by far one of the most beautiful and artistic cities in Europe. Located off the Tagus River, the capital is full of amazing architecture, palaces, forts, castles, and everything else you could think of. The city is home to delicious restaurants, pretty boutique stores, and picturesque streets.
But that’s not all Lisbon has to offer. You will find a ton of history within the city involving famous sailors and navigators. For me, it was really cool to see everything my teachers taught us about in real life! In the end, Lisbon is a must visit city while traveling through Europe.
Three Days In Lisbon, Portugal
Where To Stay.
When it comes as to where to stay, I would highly recommend Bairro Alto. This area is right in the center of Lisbon and home to everything traditional. We stayed in the most perfect apartment there called The Lisboans that was walking distance from São Jorge Castle, Praça do Comércio, and the Santa Justa Lift. Every morning we were treated with fresh croissants and orange juice, along with homemade jam. Staying there made our trip so much better.
Sights and Activities.
Belém Tower is one of the most iconic sights in Lisbon, if not, in Portugal. The tower was built in 1519 to protect the river from any foreign sailors and is now a UNESCO World Heritage sight. After waiting in a long line, we got to climb up to the top and look out at the Tagus. Belém Tower is beautifully constructed and a perfect place to visit if you want to learn and have fun.
São Jorge Castle
São Jorge Castle is another one of Lisbon’s beautiful landmarks. We walked around the entire castle at sunset and experienced one of the best views of our lives. Not only does the castle offer rich history of Lisbon’s past, but it also gives you an unreal view of the city.
My favorite part of our visit was either seeing all the peacocks scattered around the grounds or walking down the long path of stairs leading to a secret room alongside the mountain. São Jorge Castle is by far one the best place to spend a nice Lisboan afternoon.
Santa Justa Lift
The Santa Justa Lift is an incredibly designed elevator in the middle of Lisbon. From the architect of the Eiffel Tower, the lift gives you stunning views of the city, river, and castle.
The lines into the elevator may seem long, but they move very fast. And once you’re done, the best Pastel de Nata bakery, Manteigaria, is just around the corner!
Our sidecar tour was certainly one of the highlights of Lisbon, in a weird, weird way.
The drivers were two classic Portuguese guys. They were pretty funny and taught us about the history of Lisbon and the details of famous landmarks. In the sidecar, they took us through the streets of Lisbon, down to the seaside town of Cascais, and all the way to Cabo da Roca, the western most point of Europe.
Once we stopped at the halfway mark, my mom did not feel comfortable winding all the way back to Lisbon… so we called an Uber. That definitely didn’t make our drivers feel good, but I was somewhat happy to be safer.
Where To Eat.
We ate the fresh croissants and toast our apartment / hotel offered us every morning.
Time Out Market
Time Out Market is the ultimate food lover’s place to eat. The huge warehouse – like building is home to many restaurants ranging from Portuguese food to Greek to even Asian. You won’t be able to go wrong at this market.
Out of every meal we ate in Lisbon, Pizzaria Lisboa was by far the best. The restaurant served the most delicious Italian pizza and pasta I’ve eaten in Portugal, and if not, Europe. Out of our four nights, we went to the pizzeria three times and not once did it get old.
Ever heard of Pastel de Natas? Well they are famous little custard filled pastries and can be found all over Lisbon. And Manteigaria is the place to get them. The little shop is right around the corner from the Santa Justa Lift and almost always has a long line outside of it.
Pasteis de Belém
Between Manteigaria and Pasteis de Belém, I liked Manteigaria much better. It tasted much fresher and not as filling; not to mention the line into Pasteis de Belém was unreal compared to the other place. That being said, I would still give it a try because it sells Pastel de Natas… (aka the best pastry in the world)
Lisbon Travel Tips
Watch out for pickpockets.
Just like every other city in Europe, Lisbon is definitely home to some petty crime. No matter what, make sure you have a handle on all your belongings, but mostly just pay attention and be smart.
I will not recommend completely relying on taxis. We mostly walked and sometimes took the streetcars; like locals!
Speak Portuguese to the locals.
No matter where you go around the world, locals love it when you speak their language to them. No matter if you know some Portuguese or not, you ought to give it a try. Here are some simple words to know…
Hello = olá (o-la)
Please = por favor (por fah-vore)
Thank you = obrigado (obree-gahdo)
Without a doubt, visiting Sintra is a must do while in Lisbon. The town is home to many castles and sacred areas, along with a ton of rich history.
To get there, I recommend taking a Lift or Uber, which ends up taking about an hour.
You should start by walking through Quinta da Regaleira. It is an amazing place to see mysterious gardens, chapels, caves, and underground castle ruins. I’d expect to spend about an hour and half to two hours there.
Next, you must visit Peña Palace which is an amazing colorful castle on the hill. You can explore the stunning grounds of the palace and even take a short hike to see it from afar. Peña Palace is generally more crowded than Quinta da Regaleira, but I’d still recommend going to it second because Quinta da Regaleira is especially nice in the morning.
Once you’ve finished sightseeing, you must go to Café Saudade. It is a local cafe that makes really good sandwiches, specifically ham and cheese ones.
I know the thought of losing one day in a magical city like Lisbon is horrifying, but missing that day for Sintra is a great reason.
Quinta da Regaleira