I am more than eager to return to Lisbon aka Lisboa. I’d name it as one of Top 10 of my favorite cities worldwide (that I’ve been to so far). Next time I’m planning for at least 5 days there and I’m taking my guy with me. I know he would love it just as much. There was so much to do that I didn’t even have time to make my way over to Cascais or Sintra, the popular fairytale castle in Portugal. I also didn’t have time to visit any of the super touristy spots but I did have time to take A LOT of photos. My finger went a little too trigger happy and I snapped hundreds. So here’s my short 3 Days in Lisbon travel guide for you!
Lisbon Portugal 3 Day Itinerary
Want more Portugal information? Check out this post on Aveiro day trips and find out how to add Lisbon to your 2 week Europe itinerary. For a lesser known Portugal destination that’s full of charm and tradition, check out the ultimate guide to Alentejo.
Where to Stay
Unless you like busy streets and a party-filled nightlife, I would highly recommend staying in the Alfama district, one of the oldest areas in Lisbon. Alfama is full of charming cobblestone streets, old alleys and is IMO, quintessential Lisbon. It’s full of restaurants, cafes, gorgeous city lookouts and fresh fruit stands. The only thing it’s lacking are modern retail stores which I found refreshing (no worries, they are only a 15 minute walk away).
If you prefer bustling areas and a more central location, I would recommend staying near the Bairro Alto district. It’s still charming, full of restaurants and more centrally located. Alfama will be about a 15-20 minute walk which is not bad if you’d prefer to just explore for a day.
Where to eat
As with all cities, Lisbon is full of restaurants. And fresh fish abounds so wherever you go, make sure you try the fish. Here are my recommendations:
In Alfama… Pateo 13. This place serves the best golden bream (the server will even tell you this and you should believe him). It’s also 9 euros which makes it probably the cheapest whole fresh fish I have ever had in my life. Our second favorite menu item was the Portuguese sausage dish. We didn’t love the swordfish or scuttlefish and honestly, they paled in comparison to the golden bream so if you want fish, go with the GOLDEN BREAM. Their cinnamon cake (can’t remember the name) was heavenly. Note that the only seating they have is outdoors (it’s a gorgeous area FYI).
As far as cafes go, make sure you try the peanut butter cheesecake and lattes at Pois, Cafe.
If you’re in north Alfama and are hangry over coffee, you can make a stop at Cultura Portuguese Cafe. While I didn’t love their food items, their plain lattes/cappuccinos were good.
For a delicious cup of fresh squeezed juice, a trip to Fruits & Juices in Travessa de São João da Praca is in order. We tried their watermelon/strawberry and mango juices and both were excellent. They also give out free samples if you’re having a hard time committing to one flavor.
In central Lisboa… Taberna da Rua das Flores. This place was one of two of my favorite restaurants in all of Portugal. Go early – we tried to go the first night around 8pm and were told they were full for the evening so we returned the following day around 2pm/3pm for an early dinner. This place is small and is super popular. The setup is a bit unique – the server comes to you and explains each of the approximately 12 menu items. It’s kind of a tapas style restaurant but portions are generous and everything is FRESH. We loved the grilled veggies, corvina, swordfish relative (can’t remember the name), and crab bread. To put it plainly, everything is good so come here!
What to do
We spent most of our days walking around Alfama and parts of central Lisbon, snapping photos left and right. I would recommend doing the same, getting lost in Lisbon’s streets. Make sure you head up to the lookouts (miradouros) like the Miradouro Sophia de Mello. This is where you’ll see those city view shots that are all over Instagram. If you’re not much of a walker and you prefer actually visiting sites as supposed to wandering around, you can head over to the famous Belem Tower, take the yellow Tram through Lisboa, and/or make a day trip out to Cascais and Sintra. Note that if you have time, I would highly recommend Cascais and Sintra. I was so disappointed we didn’t have time for them so be sure to head over if you get tired of Lisboa.