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First Time in Lisbon – The Best 3-Day Lisbon Itinerary

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How to spend 3 days in Lisbon? For your first time in Lisbon, you could spend 3 days exploring the city and visiting the main sights. Or, you could spend 2 days in Lisbon and then spend your third day taking a day trip to Sintra

During my trip to Portugal, we opted to spend two days in the city and one day in Sintra. Therefore, that’s how this Lisbon itinerary is built. 

If you’re planning a trip to Lisbon, you can follow this guide to a t, or you can just use it for some recommendations. When I am planning a trip, I like to read a bunch of different posts and then pick and choose what suits me to build my ideal itinerary. 

Either way, I hope this post helps you!

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First Time in Lisbon – 3-Day Lisbon Itinerary

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Best Time to Visit Lisbon

Lisbon is a pretty great place to visit year round; however, most people will say the best time to visit Lisbon is March to May, September, and October. During these months, hotel costs are lower and there are fewer crowds. Plus, the weather is rather temperate with highs in the 60s and 70s and lows in the high 40s.

Like most of Europe June-August is the high season so temperatures, costs, and crowds all go up. In the winter, the temperatures and crows are low, but there is a higher chance of rain. 

We visited at the end of November and the temperatures were pleasant. However, it did rain for a couple of hours during our boat tour. Otherwise, the weather was perfect for wandering around.

3 days in Lisbon itinerary

Where to Stay your First Time in Lisbon

During our 3 days in Lisbon, we stayed at the Rossio Plaza Hotel. The hotel is in a great location right across the street from the Santa Justa Lift and a short walk from the Arco da Rua Augusta and transportation lines. 

Book Your Stay at the Rossio Plaza Hotel

The receptionists were friendly and greeted us with some port wine and pastéis de nata. They also gave us a map with direction on how to get to certain places and recommendations for our trip.

WHERE TO STAY IN LISBON - ROSSIO PLAZA HOTEL

As for our room, we stayed in a double mansarda room. We were meant to have two singles but there wasn’t a room with that configuration available when we checked in. They offered to move us to one the next day, but we opted to keep our room rather than move around. At the end of the day, it really didn’t matter and we really enjoyed our stay at Rossio Plaza Hotel nonetheless.

Find More Hotels in Lisbon

Where to Eat in Lisbon, Portugal 

Café Janis

If you’re looking for a cute, trendy place to grab breakfast definitely check out Café Janis. The food is really good, and the place has an overall nice vibe. 

Cafe Janis in Lisbon

Pastéis de Belém

You can’t visit Lisbon and not eat pastéis de nata, and the best place to try them is Pastéis de Belém. When you walk up to the building, there’s two doors. One is for customers looking to dine in and the other is for takeaway. From the to-go side. you can order individuals or an order of 6. 

Pastéis de Belém in Lisbon - First Time in Lisbon Must

Chickinho

After our boat tour, we walked to LX Factory and had dinner at Chickinho. We had a good laugh about this place because everytime our server came to our table it was to tell us they were out of something we ordered. The last time we thought he was going to say they were out of chicken. Fortunately, they still had chicken. I ordered the chicken sandwich with potato wedges which was good for what it was.

Belem 2 a 8

We came across this place while walking around Belem. It’s a cute little street-side restaurant serving traditional Portuguese cuisine and tapas. I highly recommend the Portuguese sausage with pineapple and mint. It sounds odd, but it’s amazing. Oh, and don’t forget a glass of vinho verde!

Dear Breakfast

Another really good spot to grab breakfast in Lisbon. There are a couple of different locations around the city, so google for the most convenient one for you. We both got the breakfast sandwich but the pancakes and avocado toast looked really good coming out.

Fábrica Coffee Roasters

Fabrica is another place in Lisbon where you can get pastéis de nata. The coffee is also good so grab a couple of tarts and a cappuccino to wash them down with. 

First Time in Lisbon – Things to Do

Jerónimos Monastery

Jerónimos Monastery is probably the most popular tourist attraction in Lisbon. Located in the Belem area, the monastery holds the tomb of Vasco da Gama, a famous Portuguese explorer. We missed the tomb but did get to see the cloister which is the section of the monastery that you’ve probably seen all over Instagram. Entrance is included with the Lisboa Tourist Card.

LX Factory 

LX Factory is a mix of shops and restaurants located about a 20 minute walk from Jerónimos Monastery. My recommendation would be to start here and then walk towards the monastery, Royal Coach Museum, and Pastéis de Belém. 

Royal Coach Museum 

If you’re looking for something a little different to do in Lisbon, check out the Royal Coach Museum. The museum is about a 10 minute walk away from Jerónimos Monastery and features a variety of carriages. They range from grande to practical.  If you have the Lisbon tourist card, your entry into the Royal Coach Museum is included. 

Food Tour

If you enjoy food and want to learn some history behind Portuguese cuisine, I highly recommend taking a food tour your first time in Lisbon. It’s easily one of the best things we did during our trip. Our guide was great and it was a good way to try some things we’d probably otherwise not have. 

Sunset Cruise

One of the most popular things to do in Lisbon is taking a sunset cruise on the Tagus River. It was pouring rain for the majority of our cruise but luckily they provided rain jackets and they kept the vinho verde flowing! Fortunately, it stopped raining towards the end and we were able to catch a beautiful sunset. 

Carmo Convent 

Carmo Convent is often regarded as one of the must-see sites in Lisbon. However, when we went there was a bunch of construction going on which kind of ruined the beauty of seeing this place. If I’d known that the famous view was obstructed, I probably would have skipped this altogether. But the entrance fee is only €5 (€4 with the Lisboa Card), so I don’t feel super cheated.

carmo convent in lisbon
things to do in lisbon - carmo convent
carmo convent in lisbon - 3 days in Lisbon itinerary

Santa Justa Lift

The Santa Just Lift was originally constructed as a form of public transport for residents going from the lower streets of Baixa to Largo do Carmo. Now, it’s mainly a tourist attraction with an observation deck offering nice views of Lisbon. The lines for this can get pretty long as only 20 people can fit per ride, but if you want a chance to see Lisbon from above its worth checking out. Also, this attraction is covered by the Lisboa Card.  

Things to do your first time in Lisbon - Santa Justa Lift
View from Santa Justa Lift

Day Trip to Sintra

One of the best things to do in Lisbon is to actually head out of the city and take a day trip to Sintra. There’s a bunch of beautiful palaces and castles to explore, so if you have 3 days in Lisbon definitely take one to visit Sintra. If you don’t feel like planning a self-guided visit, there are plenty of tours you can take from Lisbon.

First Time in Lisbon – 3-Day Lisbon Itinerary 

Day 1: 

  • Breakfast at Café Janis
  • Jerónimos Monastery
  • Royal Coach Museum
  • Lunch at Belem 2 a 8
  • Pastéis de nata from Pastéis de Belém
  • Sunset river cruise
  • Dinner at Chickinho

If you have time before or after the monastery you could also check out the Belém Tower which is in the area. 

Day 2:

  • Breakfast at Dear Breakfast
  • Carmo Convent
  • Shopping around the convent
  • Pastéis de nata from Fabrica
  • Santa Justa Lift
  • Lisbon food tour

Day 3:

  • Day trip to Sintra

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1 COMMENT

  • Kelly

    I’ve always wanted to visit Lisbon in Portugal. I really appreciate all your helpful tips for a first-time visit. I’ll be using this guide for a future trip!

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