4 days in Lisbon

4 Days in Lisbon: The Perfect Itinerary (2024)

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Want to make the most of 4 days in Lisbon?

Spending 4 days in Lisbon is just the right amount of time to explore the city’s historical and cultural landmarks, enjoy some delicious food and take some trips out of the city center.

Having spent several weeks exploring Lisbon myself, in this itinerary I cover the best places to see in Lisbon from its historic downtown core to the beautiful neighborhood of Belem. You’ll find where to get the best Pasteis de Natas and put an end to the question of why you should visit Lisbon, it’ll become obvious! 

4 Days in Lisbon: Quick View

With so many things to see and do (and eat!) in Lisbon, knowing exactly how to plan your Lisbon itinerary can be tricky but this 4 day Lisbon itinerary will help. 

Day 1: Downtown Lisbon, Fado Music Experience
Day 2: Belem Tower, Monument of Discoveries, Jerónimos Monastery
Day 3: Sintra, Pena Palace, Quinta de Regaleira, Moorish Castle
Day 4: Cascais, Guincho Beach, Cabo da Roca 

4 Days in Lisbon: Full Itinerary 

This 4 day itinerary for Lisbon, Portugal first details what to do in downtown Lisbon, before heading a little further afield to some places near the city that you just can’t miss.

Day 1: Chiado district, Alfama, Santa Justa, Barrio Alto

Explore Praça Luis de Camōes 

Praça Luís de Camões in the trendy Chiado district is a great place to start your first day in Lisbon. It has a lively atmosphere, outdoor cafes and often you’ll find musicians busking nearby.

The square is surrounded by historical buildings, creating a fantastic backdrop to soak up the local culture.

Be sure to stop at Livraria Sá da Costa, a treasure trove of second-hand books, vintage photos and old tiles. It’s not your typical Portuguese experience, but trust me, wandering through this bookstore is a delightful adventure of its own. You never know what hidden gems you might stumble upon!

Another place worth checking out is A Brasileira, a café with outdoor seating and a stunning art deco interior. Treat yourself to a coffee here while you enjoy the lively buskers in the square and do some quality people-watching.

Don’t miss out on O Trevo either, which gained popularity after being featured on Anthony Bourdain’s show about Lisbon. Here, you can try a bifana (pork sandwich). The service may not be the friendliest, but this spot is a must-visit for inexpensive and authentic local eats.

Ride Tram 28

Tram 28 in Lisbon, Portugal

If you had limited knowledge about Lisbon before your trip, chances are you still knew of the city’s iconic yellow trams. Lisbon is well connected by trams which crisscross the city,  yet none are as renowned as Tram 28.

What makes Tram 28 so special? Well, it takes passengers past most of the city’s historic landmarks, making it a convenient and scenic route for sightseeing. However, it can get pretty crowded which is why I recommend riding it in the morning.

If you’re using public transport during your stay in Lisbon (which is recommended) purchase a VivaViagem card at a metro station for just €0.50 and top it up during your stay. You can use this card on trams, buses, subways and ferries.

If the queues for Tram 28 are too long and you’re not keen on waiting, you have two alternatives—either take a leisurely walk or hop on the metro to the next destination instead.

Or, consider booking this private TukTuk that follows the Tram 28 route for a unique experience!

Visit Lisbon Cathedral (Sé de Lisboa)

Lisbon Cathedral, also known as Sé de Lisboa, is situated near the charming Alfama district and has a long history dating back to the 12th century.

You can get off the tram at the cathedral if you want to go inside and explore the beautiful interior. Or, stay on the tram until Graça, where you’ll find some of the best miraduoros (viewpoints) and the Castle.

Sé de Lisboa suffered significant destruction during the 1755 Lisbon earthquake and has been rebuilt since then. Inside you can marvel at the intricate carvings, Gothic and Romanesque architecture and beautiful stained glass windows. 

Wander the Streets of Alfama 

When you have 4 days in Lisbon, explore the Alfama area

From Miradouro da Graça, stroll downhill along Rua São Tomé towards Miradouro das Portas do Sol and Miradouro de Santa Luzia. 

These two viewpoints are among my personal favorites from the many miradouros I visited in Lisbon. 

You’ll get amazing panoramic rooftop views over Alfama, the Tagus River and beyond. These viewpoints tend to be popular, so expect there to be plenty of other people about.

If you fancy a drink or a bite to eat, this is a great spot to satisfy your hunger. Or, you can wait a bit to explore the cafes and restaurants in Alfama.

To reach Alfama, look for the staircase leading downhill between the two viewpoints, and make your way through the narrow and winding streets.

Alfama is the oldest neighborhood in Lisbon, and its streets are adorned with fruit trees, fountains, quaint cafes, restaurants and small shops. 

While the neighborhood is becoming more developed and attracting more tourists, for now, it still has an authentic feel that’ll take you back in time.

Stroll in Praça do Comércio and Arco da Rua Augusta

Once you’ve finished your exploration of Alfama, make your way towards Praça do Comércio, also known as Commerce Square. 

This grand plaza was constructed on the remnants of the former royal palace, which was destroyed during the devastating 1755 earthquake. 

Praça do Comércio has played a pivotal role in Portugal’s political, social and economic life since the 18th century and was once the largest public square in Europe serving as a prestigious arrival point for visiting kings and heads of state. 

Over the years, the square has witnessed Lisbon’s evolution, including the transition from monarchy to republic, and has stood witness to countless historical events. 

In the center of the square, you’ll find the statue of King José I facing the Tagus River, with the Marquis do Pombal positioned just below him. 

The Marquis is credited with spearheading the rebuilding efforts of Lisbon after the natural disaster. 

To the north of Praça do Comércio lies Arco da Rua Augusta, an impressive triumphal arch erected to celebrate the city’s victory over the earthquake.

You can also go to the top of the arch which is a great place to get views of the city and out towards the Tagus River.  

Otherwise, pass under the arch and head straight up the road ahead of you.

See Santa Justa Lift and the Carmo Convent Ruins

Santa Justa Lift is worth adding to your 4 day Lisbon itinerary

Once you find yourself on Rua de Santa Justa, prepare to be amazed by the sight of the iconic Santa Justa Elevator standing proudly to your left. 

This impressive ironwork structure was designed to connect travelers from Carmo Square to the bustling lower streets of Baixa, all while treating them to views of Lisbon. 

The Santa Justa Elevator has become a star attraction featured in many photos, which has led to there being long queues to ride it at all times of the day. 

However, you can skip the lines by going toward Largo di Carmo. Then, keep an eye out for a narrow street going uphill to your right, running alongside the church. 

Follow this path, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised to discover a hidden viewpoint that offers the very same breathtaking vistas as you’d see from the top of the elevator. The best part? You can enjoy these incredible views without having to wait in line. 

While you’re in the area, be sure to explore the ruins of the Carmo Convent which gives you a glimpse into Lisbon’s history. 

Then, continue your journey by strolling downhill through the enchanting Barrio Alto neighborhood, which may appear tranquil during the day but truly comes alive with vibrant energy after nightfall.

Enjoy Food & Fado

A can’t-miss experience when visiting Lisbon is to experience a traditional fado performance. Fado is Portugal’s traditional music, and going to a performance is a great way to immerse yourself in this cultural aspect. 

This Food & Fado tour combines a visit to one of Lisbon’s top fado houses, with Portuguese cuisine and brushes with locals. 

First, you’ll enjoy pre-show Portuguese tapas and homemade ginjinha (the famous sour cherry liquer. You’ll be invited into a local’s home for part of this experience, before heading to the Fado show.

Along the way, you’ll also have the opportunity to stop and snap photos at some popular viewpoints. 

Finally, you’ll see the fado show itself as you enjoy a delicious 3-course meal. This is truly a special experience that goes beyond your average city tour!

Click here to check availability for the Food & Fado Tour

Have Dinner at Time Out Market

Alternatively, if you’re not able to book the Food & Fado tour for your first night consider dinner at Time Out Market instead. When it comes to where to eat in Lisbon on your first evening, the Time Out Market is a good option since you can try a variety of different dishes all in one place. 

Just across from the Cais do Sodré train station, this historic market, known as Mercado da Ribeira, underwent a stunning transformation by the Time Out Group in 2014 which turned it into a busy food hall. 

Inside you’ll discover traditional Portuguese cuisine as well as international foods. If you find that Time Out Market doesn’t have precisely what you’re after, don’t worry!

The surrounding Cais do Sodré neighborhood has loads of options so you’re sure to find somewhere nearby. 

After dinner, take a walk along Pink Street, a thoroughfare that was once the notorious red-light district of Lisbon. Today, it’s been transformed into a lively hub where you can enjoy a drink or two before heading back to your hotel in Lisbon to rest up before another day of exploring.

To see all the highlights with an informed local guide, book this Lisbon in a Day tour. It includes lunch and pastries, exclusive early access to Jerónimos Monastery, scenic boat ride and MUCH more. Click here to check prices and availability.

Day 2: Belem Tower, Monument of Discoveries, Jerónimos Monastery, Pasteis de Belem

For your second day in Lisbon, it’s time to head to Belem. There are so many things to do in Belem from beautiful monuments to museums and, of course, the best Pasteis de Nata.

Visit Belem Tower

Belem Tower in Lisbon

Make your way to Belem by train or tram and head to the Belem Tower. 

This UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of Portugal’s most famous landmarks and showcases the incredible architecture that draws people to Lisbon. 

Originally built as a fortification to protect the city from invasions, the tower is now open to visitors. If you do decide to go inside know that you can purchase tickets in advance, which I recommend since there are often long lines. 

I found the views to be sufficiently impressive. 

See Padrão dos Descobrimentos

Monument of Discoveries in Lisbon

After visiting Belem Tower, take a short stroll along the waterfront to reach The Padrão dos Descobrimentos: the Monument of Discoveries. 

This monument pays tribute to Portugal’s rich history of exploration and discovery during the Age of Discovery.

It features 33 prominent figures from the period, with Henry the Navigator taking center stage.

For panoramic views of Belem, the river and Lisbon itself, you can purchase a ticket to enter the statue and ride an elevator to the top.

Visit Jerónimos Monastery

Jeronimos Monastery

Next, take the path which crosses under the road and through the Praça do Império gardens to make your way over to the beautiful Jerónimos Monastery.

The Belem Monastery is a stunning example of Portuguese Late Gothic Manueline architecture. Commissioned in 1496 during Portugal’s Age of Discovery, the monastery took more than a century to build and miraculously survived the devastating 1755 earthquake!

Book a guided tour, which includes entrance, to skip the lines and go inside the monastery to fully admire how beautiful it is.

Eat at Pasteis de Belem

Pasteis de Belem pastel de nata

After exploring the monastery, venture into the town of Belem to find a variety of restaurants for lunch. 

Don’t miss the opportunity to indulge in the best pastel de nata of your Lisbon trip at Pasteis de Belem. 

These flaky custard tarts are simply irresistible, especially when sprinkled with cinnamon and icing sugar. Choose to enjoy your treat in one of the nearby parks or savor it alongside a cup of tea or coffee in the beautiful tearoom.

Visit a Museum

Belem has many different museums and art galleries to explore, so it’s up to you to decide which one to visit after lunch. 

Some recommendations include the MAAT, a contemporary art gallery; the Museu dos Coches, dedicated to old trams in Lisbon; and the Museu Coleção Berardo, showcasing contemporary art (this museum also features a rooftop café with great views and a lovely garden).

Take a Sailing Tour on the Tagus

One of the highlights of Belem is taking a sailing tour on the Tagus River.

Many of these 2-hour Lisbon boat tours include drinks and snacks.

As you sail along the river, your knowledgeable guide will give you more information about Belem’s top attractions, such as the Monument of Discoveries and the Belem Tower. 

You’ll also get a much better view of these attractions from the water since you can see the front of them. For that reason alone, taking a sailing tour while visiting Belem is well worth it.

Click here to book a sailing our on the Tagus

Dine at LX Factory

LX Factory

Finish your day in Belem with shopping and dinner at LX Factory, located in the nearby neighborhood of Alcântara.

LX Factory is a vibrant complex that was once a neglected textile manufacturing site. Today, it’s brimming with cool bookstores, restaurants and shops featuring local produce, art and more. 

Don’t miss the rooftop bar for some drinks with an awesome view.

Day 3: Sintra, Pena Palace, Quinta de Regaleria, Moorish Castle

For your third day in Lisbon, head out of the city to the beautiful Sintra National Park. It takes about 40 minutes to 1 hour on the Sintra to Lisbon train to get there and it’s an easy journey.

I recommend having a VivaViagem card with money on it in advance of your train journey so that you’re not waiting in a long line of people at risk of missing your train!

Sintra boasts three main attractions that are on everyone’s list as well as a few more that are worth visiting if you have the time.

Click here to book a private tour of Sintra’s top 3 attractions

Marvel at the Pena Palace

add Pena Palace to your 4 days in Lisbon itinerary

The Pena Palace is a beautiful yellow and red palace with Romantic architecture situated on top of a hill in Sintra National Park. 

It was built in the 19th century and is renowned for its vibrant colors, intricate details and fairytale-like appearance. 

The palace combines various architectural styles, including Neo-Gothic, Neo-Manueline and Moorish influences, creating a truly unique and whimsical structure.

Explore the palace’s stunning interior, full of luxurious furnishings, intricate tilework and beautiful paintings. Make sure you don’t miss the gardens, featuring beautiful viewpoints and plants.

Explore Quinta da Regaleira

Quinta da Regaleira is an estate built in the early 20th century that combines Gothic, Renaissance and Manueline architectural styles. 

It’s an unusual-looking building, very different from the Pena Palace but well worth checking out. 

One of the main attractions of Quinta da Regaleira is its Initiation Well: a deep, spiral-shaped underground staircase that was once used for secretive initiation rites. 

Descend into the depths of the well to marvel at the intricate stonework and symbolism that adorns its walls. 

The gardens are worth walking around as well to explore the hidden grottoes and pretty fountains, which many visitors miss.

See the Moorish Castle

Sintra Moorish Castle is a great day trip from Lisbon

The Moorish Castle, perched on a hill overlooking Sintra, is a medieval fortress that dates back to the 9th century. 

Its strategic location provided a defensive stronghold for the region, and you’ll see why it was successful once you see the views! You’ll be able to look all the way out to the Atlantic as well as down toward Lisbon. 

Walk along the castle’s walls and towers to immerse yourself in its rich history and enjoy spectacular panoramic vistas of Sintra, the Pena Palace and beyond.

Visit the National Palace of Sintra

The National Palace of Sintra, also known as Palácio Nacional de Sintra, is in the heart of Sintra’s old town. 

With its distinctive twin chimneys rising up into the sky, this palace was originally constructed in the 14th century and then expanded over the years. Because of this, the palace’s architecture is a blend of Moorish, Gothic and Manueline styles.

Step inside the National Palace of Sintra to see beautifully intricate tilework that depicts scenes from mythology, hunting and daily life. 

The rooms have decorative ceilings, stately furnishings and valuable artworks that provide a glimpse into the lives of the Portuguese nobility who once resided here. 

Don’t miss the iconic Swan Room, with its stunning ceiling adorned with elaborate swan motifs. 

Wander Through the Old Town of Sintra

Wandering through the charming streets of Sintra’s old town is like stepping into a storybook. 

The cobblestone lanes are lined with colorful buildings, shops and cafes. Spending an hour or so wandering through the town is a must during your day trip to Sintra.

The old town itself is a UNESCO World Heritage site and you’ll find places like the Church of São Martinho, a medieval church with an impressive Manueline portal, and the Santa Maria de Sintra Church.

The Old Town of Sintra is also the best place to get lunch or drinks,since there aren’t many options once you’re in the main national park area. 

Although it is possible to visit these Sintra attractions in one day, it’s important to plan for an early start and expect a late finish and allow time for traveling between the attractions, as well as any entrance wait times. 

You can get around Sintra on foot, by taxi and tuk-tuk, by bus or by e-bike. E-bike gives you the most flexibility without getting too tired from walking everywhere! 

Day 4: Cascais, Guincho Beach, Cabo da Roca 

Cascais in Portugal

Spend your final day by taking a day trip from Lisbon to Cascais, a cute seaside resort town only 40 minutes from Lisbon by train.

A day trip to Cascais from Lisbon promises beautiful views both on the journey there and as you wander around the town.

Explore Cascais Old Town

From the train station, make your way to the historic center of Cascais where you’ll find pretty cobbled streets, cafes, bars and boutique shops. 

Admire the traditional Portuguese architecture and soak up the relaxed, welcoming atmosphere.

There are also a couple of beaches right by the Old Town. If it’s hot and you need to cool off, take a refreshing dip in the sea or simply spend a few hours relaxing on the beach.

People Watch at Cascais Marina

Make your way to Cascais Marina by walking along the waterfront promenade, known as the “Paredão.” 

The marina is a busy area featuring some beautiful, luxurious sailboats and yachts as well as some great waterfront bars and restaurants. It’s a great place for people-watching, too!

Explore Museum Quarter

Discover the rich history and cultural heritage of Cascais by visiting its museums. 

The Museum Quarter features several noteworthy options including the Cascais Cultural Center which hosts contemporary art exhibitions, and the Condes de Castro Guimarães Museum, housed in a beautiful palace showcasing an impressive collection of art and artifacts.

After a morning exploring Cascais, it’s time to venture further along the coastline and see some of the natural beauty nearby.

See Boca do Inferno

Walk, scoot, bike or take a bus up the coastline toward Boca do Inferno.

This natural landmark translates to “Hell’s Mouth” and is a dramatic cliff formation where the waves crash against the rugged rocks which are super cool to see especially at high tide.

Take a moment here to enjoy the views, grab a drink at one of the nearby bars, or browse for souvenirs at one of the market stalls. 

Play at Guincho Beach

Continue your journey to Guincho Beach, a renowned paradise for surfers and windsurfers.

Even if you’re not keen to try out surfing or windsurfing yourself, visiting the beach is still worthwhile since it’s one of the best in the area.

There are also some beautiful sand dunes that you’ll walk through on a wooden boardwalk as you make your way down to the beach and the sea.

Admire Cabo da Roca

Cabo da Roca

Either from Sintra or Cascais, you can make your way to Cabo da Roca. This area is the Westernmost-point of continental Europe, and it’s especially magnificent at sunset. 

There are a couple different options for getting to Cabo da Roca. The first is taking a taxi or an Uber, but asking your driver to wait a few minutes for you so they can also give you a ride back into town. It can be tough to find a return ride from Cabo da Roca otherwise, so be mindful of this!

Alternatively, you can book a tour that includes a stop at Cabo da Roca. Many of the tours to Sintra and Cascais do include a stop at Cabo da Roca. In fact, you can even visit Sintra, Cascais and Cabo da Roca all in one day on this guided tour. 

While it would be a long day, you’d see a lot and this would free up an extra day for exploring the city of Lisbon itself or taking another day trip to an entirely different area.

Dine in Cascais

Come dinnertime, treat yourself at one of Cascais’s many restaurants. From traditional Portuguese cuisine to international flavors. 

Cascais’ speciality is seafood, which I’d highly recommend getting since you’re so close to the sea! Be sure to get some Vinho Verde (green wine that’s actually a white wine made in Portugal) and enjoy a delicious meal.

After dinner, take a leisurely stroll along the promenade, enjoy the vibrant nightlife, or simply unwind and soak up the charming ambience of Cascais before catching your train back to Lisbon.

Best Day Trips from Lisbon

In addition to Sintra and Cascais, Lisbon is a great base for additional day trips as well. Here are a few of the best-rated day trip options to consider adding to your Lisbon itinerary. 

Note that each of these tours has been granted Viator’s Badge of Excellence for traveler satisfaction:

✅ Berlenga Grande Island Private Day Tour

Berlenga grande Island

For a scenic and relaxing day on the water, book this private day tour to Berlenga Grande Island. A UNESCO-listed scenery, this destination is a must-visit and this particular tour ensures a worthwhile experience.

You’ll spend an 8-hour day taking a scenic boat tour, learning the history behind pirate sieges on St. John the Baptist Fort, exploring the Berlenga Nature Reserve and enjoying free time to swim or lounge on a stunning beach. 

You’ll also get to enjoy a ride on a glass-bottom boat, or a kayaking experience. Through it all, you’ll be led by a professional local guide. 

Click here to book the Berlenga Grande Island Day tour 

​​✅ Fátima, Nazaré, and Óbidos Small-Group Day Trip

Fatima Portugal is one of the best day trips from Lisbon

Head out into the countryside to one of the most significant Christian religious pilgrimage sites. Fátima is where it’s been said nearby children witnessed an apparition of the Virgin Mary in 1917. 

On this day trip, you’ll also visit the medieval town of Óbidos and the seaside fishing village of Nazaré. Admire stunning views of the Portuguese coastline along the way. 

With more than 1,000 highly-rated reviews this tour is certainly worth your time. 

Click here to book the Fátima, Nazaré, and Óbidos Day Trip

✅ Wine Tasting Day Trip to Vineyards 

wine tour from Lisbon

Spend a leisurely day exploring Portugal’s wine-making scene with this private wine tasting day trip.

You’ll visit two vineyards with guided facility tours, tastings and snacks at each one. Learn about the flavor profiles of Portuguese wines and expose your palate to local varietals in your beautiful surroundings. 

Enjoy a typical lunch of delicious grilled seafood, and visit a historic Baroque palace that’s Click here to book the Wine Tasting Day Trip

Where to Stay in Lisbon 

For a four-day trip to Lisbon, it’s best to stay close to the downtown area so that you’re close to the main attractions and transport links. Consider these centrally located options:

Lisbon portugal where to stay

🏨 Budget: Home Lisbon Hostel 

Located in Lisbon’s historic center, this hostel has comfortable rooms with balconies, the famous Mamma’s Dinners offering incredible value, friendly staff and a welcoming atmosphere that will make you want to return.

Check prices and availability for Home Lisbon Hostel

🏨 Mid-Range: Lisboa Carmo Hotel

With beautiful rooms and great views of the Tagus River this hotel is a great place to stay in Lisbon. 

Check prices and availability for Lisboa Carmo Hotel 

🏨 Luxury: Lux Lisboa Park 

The best place for a luxurious stay, this 4-star hotel is walking distance to the Marques de Pombal Square. It has an outdoor heated pool and hot tub, as well as a bar and terrace on site. 

Check prices and availability for Lux Lisboa Park 

How to Get Around Lisbon

getting around Lisbon

Getting around Lisbon is easy since the city is relatively small and has great public transport.

If you end up booking a hotel in the center of Lisbon, you’ll be able to walk between most of the top attractions. Just make sure to pack good walking shoes. The city is hilly and has many cobbled streets which can become very slippery, especially if it rains!

You also have Lisbon’s iconic trams, particularly Tram 28, which are practical and also a fun sightseeing experience. Be prepared for crowds during peak times if you’re planning to ride on Tram 28 in particular. 

Lisbon also has a metro system, which is another great way to get around the city and is less busy than the trams. 

Alternatively, you can use an e-scooter or rent an e-bike. This works especially well in Belem, where you can ride safely along the waterfront with no vehicular traffic.

FAQ: 4 Days in Lisbon

Many people traveling to Lisbon for the first time have similar questions which are answered below.

How many days do you need to see Lisbon?

It’s recommended to spend 3 to 4 days in Lisbon. This gives you time to see all the best places to see in Lisbon, as well as visit some of the most popular places nearby such as Sintra and Cascais. 

Is 4 days enough to see Lisbon?

Yes, 4 days are typically enough to see the highlights of Lisbon and experience some of its culture, landmarks and cuisine. It allows for a decent amount of time to visit popular sights and also offers some flexibility for further exploration.

When is the best time to visit Lisbon?

The best time to visit Lisbon is generally during the spring (April to June) or autumn (September to October) when the weather is nice but not too hot, and the city is less crowded. 

Summer (June to August) can be quite hot and busy with tourists, while winter (December to February) tends to be cooler and rainier with fewer crowds.

Final Thoughts: 4 Days In Lisbon

Lisbon is a great destination for a four-day city break. Full of history and culture, the city will charm you with its cobblestone streets. Take in the beautiful architecture of downtown Lisbon, the magical sights of Sintra and the relaxing vibe of Cascais.

While you could always spend longer in Lisbon, four days gives you enough time to see the must-visit places across the city while leaving you enough still to see on a future return trip if you like. 

Wondering where to go after Lisbon? While in Portugal don’t miss out on the second city, Porto, which is equally if not more beloved.

About the author: Hannah is the adventure lover behind That Adventurer, a travel blog for active travelers. Since 2013, she’s been sharing her exciting journeys from backpacking and biking to skiing all over the world. After 6 years living in Canada, she’s now back in Europe exploring new places and sharing her adventures.