• 10 September 2019

Lisbon is a colourful and enticing city that is on the list of any intrepid traveller! This energetic capital of Portugal is filled with a captivating history and culture, and is a wonderful place to spend some time when discovering Portugal and all its magic!

Unforgettable Lisboa, as it’s locally known, offers visitors delicious food, charming streets, lively markets, and plenty of entertainment! If you have 24 hours to discover the appealing seaside city with its attractive hills and incredible architecture, you have a lot to be excited about!

With so much to do and so little time, you’ll need a plan in mind when making the most of Lisbon’s treasures in just 24 hours. Don’t panic, we’ve compiled this handy compact guide to the best sights and attractions to discover in an exciting 24 hours in Lisbon, Portugal.

Palace of Pena Sintra
Palace of Pena Sintra
Ride the Tram 28

Start your day early and grab a coffee in one of Lisbon’s many charming cafés before heading to the starting point of the famous Tram 28 before the crowds get there. First stop, Martim Moniz, and it’s time to start this full-day adventure in Lisbon!

This tram passes through some of the main streets of Lisbon and offers a quick and easy way to see more in 24 hours in Lisbon, leading you along to the pastel-coloured buildings of the Alfama district.

Admire the architecture along the journey as you make your way up the steep cobbled hills of Lisbon, admiring a wonderland of sights and tastes waiting to be discovered!

Famous old yellow tram 28
Famous old yellow tram 28
Wander through Alfama

Get the best views of Lisbon and experience the charming allure of the cobblestoned lanes in the Alfama neighbourhood. These hilly streets are filled with quaint bars, restaurants, and boutiques that create an endearing atmosphere with a real liveliness to them. 

Stroll up the hilly labyrinthine streets to reach an amazing viewpoint of the city Portas do Sol viewpoint. From there make your way to the popular castle on top of the hill…

Old colorful traditional house in Alfama
Old colorful traditional house in Alfama
Explore Castelo de São Jorge

The Castelo de São Jorge is atop a steep hill in the Alfama neighbourhood and offers some of the best views in Lisbon! Marvel at the city’s rooftops as you explore the São Jorge Castle. 

Make sure you have plenty of water with you as you spend some time wandering around the castle’s courtyard and then head over to the Miradouro do Castelo for another great viewpoint.

Take in a deep breath as you admire the view of the amazing architecture overlooking the Tagus river.

The Castelo de Sao Jorge Lisbon
The Castelo de Sao Jorge Lisbon
Hop-On-Hop-Off Bus

To really make the most of such a short time in Lisbon and traverse as much ground as possible, we’d highly recommend doing a Hop-on-Hop-off bus tour. It’s also the best way to see the best sights without having to navigate public transportation.

Head back to the historic city centre to wander around the central square Praca Da Figueira, from which the tours begin and end. From here, hop on a yellow hop-off bus that will take you from one end of Lisbon to the other, stopping at all the tourist spots.

Hop-on hop-off bus in Lisbon
Hop-on hop-off bus in Lisbon
Try the Famous Custard Tart in Belem

After all the sightseeing, wandering, hill-climbing, and mind-blowing views that have devoured your day so far, I’m sure you’ll be feeling a little peckish. What better way to kick-start your energy while in Lisbon than with a famous delicious Portuguese custard tart known as Pastéis de Nata. 

Lisbon is famed for these delicious treats and so they can be found on just about any corner! The most famous of them all though is a famous patisserie called Pasteis de Belem

The likely long queue will tell you all about their popularity, but if you’re on a time-saving mission for a jam-packed day, then it may be best to grab a table inside for a quick sit-down treat to refuel yourself for more exploring.

Pastels de Belem (egg tart pastry)
Custard tart in Belem
Discover Torre de Belem

While you’re in Belem and on Lisbon’s waterfront, there’s a great place to have a quick rest. A famous landmark that offers incredible photo opportunities and soars high above the seafront of the Lisbon quays. 

This iconic feature displays a fusion of architectural styles from Gothic to Romanesque that make it a contrasting figure against the mouth of the Tagus River drifting out into the vast Atlantic Ocean.

Belem tower on the Tagus river
Belem Tower on the Tagus river
Explore Cais do Sodre

This is an urban, trendy, up and coming neighbourhood that is home to some very important government and ministerial buildings. The Rua De Arsenal connects Baixa to Cais do Sodre and is where to head to find the Municipal de Lisboa or Lisbon city hall.

The rugged character in this once-seedy area makes it a fascinating place to see some of the history and culture of Lisbon.

Cais do Sodre
Cais do Sodre
Praça De Comércio

Praça De Comércio is the grandest of Lisbon’s plazas. It was originally built on the site where the old Royal Palace used to exist. This is a popular meeting point for tourists and locals with a famed statue of King Jose where you’ll be able to find a bunch of cafes and restaurants for some lunch. 

After a nice lunch around Lisbon’s main square, have a wander around the area to find two main points of interest, the Rua Augusta Arch, is located on the northside of commerce square and is the arch that gives way to the most prominent boulevard in Baixa and into the heart of Lisbon. 

Then, there’s the Statue of Joseph I of Portugal, who was the King of Portugal during the Great Earthquake. Start walking towards Rua da Conceição, and wait for one of the famed Lisbon yellow trams.

Praça De Comércio (Commerce Square)
Praça De Comércio (Commerce Square)
Lisbon Cathedral

From Rua da Conceição take a left towards Igreja da Madalena, a wonderful spot to admire the incredible architecture. Continue onwards towards the Church of Santo António, which is an 18th-century baroque building.

Another few minutes along the journey, you’ll get to the Lisbon Cathedral, which you’re free to explore from either the interior or exterior or sit on a nearby bench to soak up the city’s atmosphere to embrace your 24 hours in Lisbon. 

The Patriarchal Cathedral of St. Mary Major
The Patriarchal Cathedral of St. Mary Major
Fado Dinner in Bairro Alto

Once the compact day of exploring the magical city of Lisbon comes to end, we’d recommend spending your evening in the vibrant Bairro Alto neighbourhood for an immersive cultural experience in the Fado restaurant scene and the areas lively nightlife.

Wander the cobblestoned streets before finding whichever fado restaurant is looking the most inviting, and get settled in for a night of good food and entertainment, and possibly a little late-night socialising to end off a busy 1 day in Lisbon!

Did you know? Fado is traditional folk music, which was added to UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list in 2011. The word Fado comes from the Latin word fatum, which the English word fate also originates from. The music is melancholy by nature and includes instruments like guitars and mandolins with one Fadista singing poetic lyrics.

Bairro Alto, centre of Lisbon
Bairro Alto, the centre of Lisbon

Lisboa city is definitely one of Europe’s secret gems that travellers are fast catching onto while Lisbon tourism is booming. With its charming cobbled streets and pastel-coloured buildings with hilly terrain and incredible buildings, it’s no wonder everyone is putting it on their bucket list.

24 hours in Lisbon is a short amount of time to really get the feel of this coastal city, but you can definitely plan an unforgettable day that is filled with all the best views and some of the most important landmarks – not to mention the delicious custard tarts!

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