Lisbon in 4 Days: everything you need to know

Four days is the perfect length for a trip to Lisbon. In that time you will be able to get to know the Portuguese capital and its surroundings without leaving anything out.

Carlos Bleda

Carlos Bleda

9 min read

Lisbon in 4 Days: everything you need to know

Commerce Square, Lisbon | ©João Reguengos

If you are thinking about the number of days you should travel to Lisbon to know it in depth and without leaving anything behind, in my opinion, the answer is 4 days. In that time we can visit Lisbon without stress, its most important neighborhoods and the monuments of Belém and, in addition, it leaves us time to visit some interesting surrounding cities such as Sintra and Cascais.

  • Lisbon Alfama and Sao Jorge Tour
  • From $23.
  • 3h
  • Small group tour
  • With entrance to the Lisbon Cathedral and visit to the secret Jewish Quarter
  • Professional guide
  • Book now
  • Lisbon Belem Tour
  • From $37
  • 3h
  • Small group tour
  • Tour the Jerónimos Monastery, the Monument to the Discoveries and more
  • Professional guide
  • Book now
  • Lisbon Jerónimos Monastery Tickes
  • Starting at $16
  • At your own pace
  • Explore on your own
  • With access to the 16th century cloister and the former monks' refectory
  • Without guide
  • Book now
  • Sintra, Cascais, Pena Palace, Cabo da Roca and Regaleira Day Trip from Lisbon
  • From $76
  • 8h
  • Small group tour
  • Does not include entrance fees to the monuments of Pena Palace and Quinta da Regaleira.
  • Professional guide
  • Book now

Day 1: Historic Center: Alfama, Baixa and Chiado districts

Alfama neighborhood| ©Louis Droege
Alfama neighborhood| ©Louis Droege

The best thing to do when arriving in Lisbon is to start visiting its most central neighborhoods. Alfama, Baixa and Chiado form the historic center of the city and in its streets we have a lot to see and do. If we get up early we can visit all of them calmly and see everything they offer on the first day of our trip to the capital of Portugal.

Walk through the Alfama neighborhood

The best starting point to get to know Lisbon is to book a guided tour of Alfama. This historic area is located on one of the hills of the city under the watchful eye of St. George's Castle and captures the essence of Lisbon's culture. The most interesting places to visit in the Alfama district are, besides the castle of St. George:

All this you will know in depth in this three-hour tour with a professional guide in which you will enter the Cathedral and that will show you the history and architecture of this neighborhood, besides giving you to know their traditional music.

And if you go on your own to Alfama, keep in mind that you can go on foot or by taking the famous streetcar 28 that passes through much of the neighborhood and saves us having to climb several of its many steep streets. I recommend that you spend some time just to walk around and enjoy its atmosphere, street musicians and gastronomy.

Book a guided tour of Alfama

Descend to Baixa and Chiado neighborhoods

After visiting Alfama, it's time to go down to the Baixa and Chiado neighborhoods. To visit them you can choose Pedro IV. square as a starting point. And from there you will go down the Rua Augusta in the direction of Praça do Comércio. But before reaching this point, we will make a detour to the elevator of Santa Justa.

With this elevator, in addition to viewpoint, we can go up to the Convento do Carmo to visit its spectacular ruins. Now yes and to finish the day we will go to the Plaza del Comercio. At this famous point we can climb the arch of Rua Augusta and enjoy the banks of the Tagus. Near the square there are many restaurant options in which to end the day with a good dinner.

Enjoy a walk along the Tagus at sunset.

And to end the day, there is no better plan than booking a sailboat ride. Feeling the wind on your face while sailing along the Tagus is a sensation that you should not miss.

This ride, which lasts approximately two hours, will allow you to admire the most important monuments of Lisbon while enjoying a glass of Portuguese wine.

Book a sailing trip

Day 2: Get to know the Belém neighborhood in depth

The Jerónimos Monastery| ©Minh TRAN
The Jerónimos Monastery| ©Minh TRAN

The second day begins where we ended the first, at the Plaza del Comercio. From here we can take streetcar number 15 to the Belém area. This neighborhood of Lisbon is located 7 kilometers from the center and by streetcar it takes about 20 minutes to get there. There are so many things to see that it will take us the whole day.

Book a tour of Belem neighborhood

Visit the Jerónimos Monastery

The Jerónimos Monastery, declared a World Heritage Site, is recognized as the most visited monument in Lisbon. It is a spectacular complex formed by an impressive cloister and church and the national archaeological museum that houses in its east wing.

I recommend that you book tickets to the Jerónimos Monastery in advance, as there is always a queue. Nevertheless, it is well worth the visit. The monastery is a must-see in Lisbon on its own merits.

Book tickets to the Jerónimos Monastery

Tasting the Pasteles de Belém

One of the most famous experiences in the Belém neighborhood is tasting its famous pastries. These sweets have crossed borders and are known in many places, but nowhere can they be tasted better than in their place of origin. Next to the monastery is the original factory where you can still taste these delicacies.

Also, if you are passionate about these cakes as I am, do not hesitate and book a cooking class pastel de nata. They will teach you how to make these culinary delights while you enjoy a cup of tea or coffee.

Book a cooking class pastel de nata

Don't miss the Monument of the Discoveries

In front of the Jerónimos Monastery and across the Garden of the Plaza del Imperio is the Monument to the Discoveries. It is one of the most photographed points of Lisbon thanks to its spectacularity with its more than 50 meters high. It was built to honor the memory of the discoverers who set sail from the same waters where Lisbon is located.

Enter the Belém Tower

On the west side of Belém and entering the waters of the Tagus is the Torre de Bélem, which is certainly the most representative place of Lisbon. It is a small fort on the banks of the Tagus that was used to defend the city, serve as a lighthouse and even a dungeon.

Book tickets for the Belém Tower and visit its interior and terrace, while enjoying the spectacular views of the Tagus River and the bridge of April 25.

These are the must-see sights of Belém. But if we have been left wanting more we can visit some of its many museums, such as the archaeological or carriage museum, or stroll through its parks and gardens.

Book tickets for the Belém Tower

Day 3: Excursion to Sintra

The Pena Palace| ©laredawg
The Pena Palace| ©laredawg

After two days in Lisbon, we will have had plenty of time to see the main monuments in the city. It is time to visit the outskirts and one of the most outstanding places not only of the capital but also of all Portugal. I am talking about Sintra and its palaces. Located about 30 kilometers from Lisbon, this village is an almost fairytale setting for its palaces and gardens.

So much so that it was declared a World Heritage Site in 1995. It is also located in the middle of a natural park of Sintra-Cascaes. Visiting Sintra from Lisbon can be done by car or bus, but it is best to book an excursion to Sintra, which already includes round-trip transportation and a professional guide who will discover all the charms of the place. There are many buildings that can be seen in Sintra, but the four essential are:

Let yourself be dazzled by the Pena Palace

It is the most visited and emblematic of Sintra. So much so that it is one of the most popular monuments in Portugal and considered one of the most beautiful palaces in Europe thanks to its unique blend of styles.

The Pena Palace should be our first and obligatory visit in Sintra. For this, do not hesitate to book your ticket to the Pena Palace and let yourself be dazzled by this fairytale castle, as well as its 200 hectares of gardens. And if you go with time, also book tickets for the Parque da Pena in Sintra.

Book your visit to the Pena Palace

Discover Quinta da Regaleira

The Quinta da Regaleira stands out for its architecture, its gardens and its mysticism. The building is closely linked to the Masonic cult and holds many secrets. So visiting it with a guide is highly recommended.

It is another must-see in Sintra and you can book a tour to Quinta Quinta da Regaleira along with Sintra, Cascais, Pena Palace and Cabo da Roca, which lasts approximately eight hours.

Book a tour to Quinta da Regaleira

Don't miss the Sintra National Palace

Located in the center of Sintra, the National Palace preserves its interior almost intact. On the outside, its two large cone-shaped chimneys are visible from many points of the park and the village of Sintra.

Book an excursion to Sintra

Explore the Monserrate Palace

It is known as the hidden gem of Sintra, as it is not as popular as its neighbors. However, it has envelope-pushing charm to include it in the list of must-see places to visit in Sintra.

Other worthwhile places to visit in Sintra

These last 4 points are the ones considered as essential of Sintra, but the village houses many more treasures.

If the clock allows us we can also visit the Castelo dos Mouros, the Convento dos Capuchos or the Chalet and garden of the Countess.

Book an excursion to Sintra

Day 4: Night in the Alto district, excursion to Cascais and Park of Nations

Cascais| ©Luiz Pantoja
Cascais| ©Luiz Pantoja

The fourth day in Lisbon can and should start with the evening of the third day. After spending several hours in Sintra, what better than to immerse yourself in the night of Lisbon in the best area for it. Already on our last day we can take advantage to make another excursion to the village of Cascais, very close to Lisbon, and finish seeing the city by visiting the park of nations.

Get to know the Barrio Alto by night

After visiting Sintra the best thing to do is to enjoy the night in Lisbon. And the perfect place for this is the Bairro Alto. In the heart of the city, this neighborhood is avant-garde, modern and full of life especially at night. There is a wide range of restaurants in which to dine even while enjoying a performance of Portuguese Fado.

After dinner we can go to enjoy its many pubs or go to the viewpoint of Santa Catalina. In this place, in addition to enjoying the night views of the city, it is common to install stages for evening concerts. It is also a meeting point among the inhabitants of Lisbon and there is always a good atmosphere on its terraces.

Book tickets for a fado concert

Stroll through Cascais

On the morning of the fourth day, without rushing to get up, we have the option of booking an excursion to Sintra and Cascais. Cascais is located about 30 kilometers from Lisbon and was during the twentieth century a town mostly of aristocrats and artists, which is noticeable as soon as you walk through its streets with beautiful palaces and numerous street artists.

In the 40's and fleeing from the war, many nobles arrived and took refuge in their palaces and enjoyed its beaches. This environment is said to have inspired Ian Fleming to give life to the character of James Bond.

Spending a morning strolling through its streets and enjoying its beaches is a highly recommended activity , especially if you visit in summer.

Book an excursion to Cascais

Say goodbye at the Park of Nations

After visiting Lisbon in depth, a good way to say goodbye is to do it in the Park of Nations. It is located in the eastern part of the city and is located in what was once an industrial district. On the occasion of the 1998 Universal Exposition held in Lisbon, this modern park with a futuristic air was built to host the event.

It is very different from the rest of the neighborhoods of the Portuguese capital for its modern buildings such as the Gare Do Oriente station, designed by Santiago Calatrava or the oceanarium. The latter is one of the largest aquariums in Europe and is a must-see especially if you are traveling with your family. Of course, book tickets for the Lisbon Oceanarium in advance because they are in high demand.

To say goodbye to Lisbon you can take the cable car up to the park to see the sunset from the heights with the Vasco de Gama bridge in the background. This is the longest bridge in Europe with 17 kilometers across the Tagus River.

Book tickets for the Lisbon Oceanarium