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The Portuguese capital, Lisbon, is such a cool city that should be on anyone’s European bucket list. I came her with no expectations and was overwhelmed by how wonderful it was. It wasn’t a city that fell into my Europe backpacking trip in Summer 2018, so I spent 3 days in Lisbon as a short city break in the November.
My Lisbon trip was my first time visiting Portugal and it definitely made me keen to go back! There are so many things to do in Lisbon so definitely think about spending a few days here, it really is the ideal place for a city break. I spent 3 days in Lisbon and was able to cover a lot of the best places. Here is my guide to help you do the same!
3 DAYS IN LISBON
Getting Around Lisbon
I made my Lisbon city break from Manchester, getting an early flight so when I arrived I need to get an airport transfer to my hostel. The Aerobus departs from a stand just outside the airport, where you buy the ticket (4€ in Nov 2018). It runs every 20 to 30 minutes and you get a map of Lisbon with directions of how to get to your accommodation from the bus drop off points.
Accommodation in Lisbon
The best hostels in Lisbon are some of the best in Europe. They are really well rated and very good value. There are a lot of party hostels in Lisbon too, including the one I stayed at which was called ‘G Spot’. It was £13 a night including breakfast (Nov 2018 prices). It is less than half a mile from the centre of the vibrant Bairro Alto district, arguably one of the best areas to stay in in Lisbon
The staff were amazing here with lots of local knowledge, they hosted family dinner every night for 7€ and it was the easiest place to make friends. There was a happy hour every night where you could buy alcohol for 1€ before heading out on an organised bar crawl around Lisbon.
The dorms weren’t the best, with hard mattresses and too many beds squashed into one room. There weren’t enough showers for the amount of guests either, but the water pressure was INCREDIBLE (which is what you need at a party hostel where you are likely to be hungover).
Things to do in Lisbon
Miradouro Sao Pedro de Alcantara
To start my 3 days in Lisbon I headed to Miradouro Sao Pedro de Alcantara, a park with amazing panoramicviews over the city, really showcasing the vibrancy of Lisbon. There are plenty of food stalls up here, I would recommend trying roasted chestnuts and a sheep cheese & honey sandwich.
Ascensor da Gloria
All over Europe there are many funicular ralways to check out but this is by far the coolest. It is know as the Elevator Gloria and connects Pombaline Downtown to Barrio Alto. You don’t have to get the train to ascend the hill, you can just walk if you want to. It costs 3,70€ for a return ticket.
Out of all the areas of Lisbon, Alfama was by far my favourite, so 3 days in Lisbon wouldn’t be complete without a wander around here. It is the oldest neighbourhood in Lisbon, spread between Sao Jorge Castle and the Tagus River. Alfama is home to many historical Lisbon attractions such as Lisbon Cathedral as well as many other churches. There are also lots of restaurants, bars, cafes and street art around this area.
Chiado is another of the best areas in Lisbon. Found in the historic centre of the city it is home to historic landmarks, theatres and museums and is best known for it’s luxury shopping.
There are a fair few beaches in and around Lisbon that you can visit, including the urban beaches along the Cascais shore. When I visited the Urban Beach there was a man making sand and stone sculptures. You can see across to the 25 de Abril Bridge, which leads over to Christ the King.
Praca de Comercio with Arco da Rua Augusta
This massive square near Urban Beach is surrounded with yellow buidlidngs. In the middle is a statue of King Jose I on a horse, symbolically crushing snakes. The Arco da Rua Augusta was built to commemorate the city’s reconstruction after the 1755 earthquake. It was completed in the 19th century and consists of 6 columns adorned with historical figures – definitely worth adding to your itinerary for Lisbon.
Pink Street / Rue Nova de Carvalho
You can find some of the best bars in Lisbon along Pink Street, which takes the place of Lisbon’s form red light district centre.
Elevador Baixa – Lookout at Zambeze Restaurant
The Baixa District in Lisbon district lies at the very heart of the city and is full of impressive architecture, plazas and streets. The Baixa Elevator connects the Baixa District with the Castelo District so is the quickest way to get between these two attractions (it’s free to use). The elevator descends from the lookout at Zambeze Restaurant on Calçada Marquês de Tancos in Castelo, where you can see an amazing view across the whole of Lisbon.
Sao Jorge Castle
If you are stuck with where to go in Lisbon, look no further than Sao Jorge Castle. This is one of the most notable attractions in Lisbon and can be seen all across the city. You can find Sao Jorge in the Castelo neighbourhood, another great area of Lisbon. Entry to the castle is 4€ for concessions or 8,50€ for adults but you can climb Sao Jorge Hill and explore the surrounding area for free.
There’s lots of colourful buildings, shops and cafes to admire in the Castelo neighbourhood. There are lots of hidden viewpoints around Castelo, which look across the entirety of Lisbon.
Just Walk Around
In my opinion one of the best things to do in Lisbon is just wander around and take everything in. Get lost down little streets and come across an amazing display of street art or take a random turn down an alley to find an amazing panoramic viewpoint.
Exploring the Graffiti and Street Art
I was so surprised at how much street art there really was in Lisbon! The most arty and creative areas of Lisbon are Alcantara, Bairro Alto and Mouraria. In Mouraria there are walls dedicated to ‘Fado’, a musical style developed in this part of the city. Check out this post on Culture Trip which gives you a Walking Tour of Lisbon’s Best Street Art.
Best Places to Eat in Lisbon
This gelato is considered ‘the Portuguese Venchi’. Apparently the interior of all the stores is intentionally left very plain and bland in order for all the attention to be focused on the gelato and it’s ‘exquisite’ flavours. We tried Mango, Passionfruit, Chocolate and Cinnamon and they were really good. A small portion (2 scoops) cost 2,90€ (Nov 2018 prices). You can find Santini’s at R. do Carmo 9.
Timeout Indoor Market
With plans for several to open all over the world, Lisbon’s Timeout Market was the first of it’s kind, opening it’s doors in May 2014. This giant market is home to 35 stalls selling all different types of food. Many of the kiosks sell regional specialities such as Azeitao sheep’s cheese, custard tarts, sardines, wines, chocolates and Alentejo ham.
Whilst half of the building is occupied by the food hall, the other is taken up by fresh fish, fruit and vegetable market stalls. There is also a florist here. If you are in need of free WiFi then Timeout is the place to go! You can find the market in the Mercado da Ribeira at Cais do Sodre.
Try Pastel de Nata
A Portuguese tradition, these are similar to egg custard tarts but so much better. They are also known as Portuguese custard tarts and are dusted with cinnamon. We went to a few different places to try them out. At 1€ each it’s hard to resist! I tried Pastel de Nata at Padaria de Bairro, A Padaria Portuguesa and Café Aloma at the TimeOut Indoor Market. My favourites were from Café Aloma.
Lisbon is definitely one of the best cities in Europe and therefore your ideal place fot a city break. Hopefully this guide can help you make the most of spending 3 Days in Lisbon.
Enjoyed reading this guide to 3 Days in Lisbon?
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Great post, Emma, your great photos bring across Lisbon’s special atmosphere very well! Thanks for sharing! Marcus
Ahhh Lisbon is so fab, so many memories reading this! Loved the post, beautiful photos too! Glad you enjoyed the city (I want to go back too!)
Thank you so much!!
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