Just have 1 day in Lisbon? Here's an incredible one day Lisbon itinerary for culture lovers that allows you to see the 5 best cultural things in Lisbon in 24 hours.

Best One Day In Lisbon Itinerary For Culture Vultures

Last Updated on January 15, 2024 by Soumya

Wondering what to see in Lisbon in one day?

Don’t worry. We have the perfect one day Lisbon itinerary for you. 

With this epic Lisbon 1 day itinerary, you’ll be able to see the beautiful historical monuments of Belem as well as experience the culture and charm of Alfama

You’ll witness a stunning sunset from a Lisbon miradouro and dig into a delicious Portuguese egg tart.

Whether spending one day in Lisbon from the cruise ship or flying to the airport, this epic itinerary will allow you to see the best Lisbon attractions.

Experience all the fantastic things the city of Lisbon is famous for – Azulejos, Fado, Miradouro, Manueline Architecture, Pasteis de Nata, and Vintage Trams – all in less than 24 hours in Lisbon!

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Best One Day in Lisbon Itinerary

Morning (1 Day in Lisbon) – Explore Historic Belem

At the beginning of your epic 24 hours in Lisbon, I recommend heading to the Historic District of Belem, which is full of UNESCO sites and amazing museums and is the birthplace of Pasteis de Belem.

Getting to Belem from Lisbon is easy by tram, bus, or train. The journey takes 15 mins.

Visit the Belem Tower

Belem Tower in Lisbon Portugal
The iconic Belem Tower is one of the best things to see in Lisbon in 1 day.

The iconic Belem Tower is one of the most famous landmarks in Lisbon, and for good reason. 

Built-in the 16th century as a fortress to guard the entrance to the city’s harbor, the Belem Tower now serves as a symbol of Portugal’s maritime history. 

The tower’s intricate Manueline style of architecture gives you a glimpse of Portugal’s Age of Discovery. 

You can climb to the top for stunning views of the river and the surrounding area.

Be sure to get your skip-the-line ticket in advance here. Entry is free if you have a Lisbon Card.

Pro Tip: Visiting Belem Tower? Remember to check our Belem Tower Visitor’s Guide before you do.

Explore Jeronimos Monastery

Stunning Manueline architecture in Belem
The Manueline cloisters of Jeronimos Monastery are a must-have on every Lisbon one day itinerary.

Located just a short walk from the Belem Tower, the Jeronimos Monastery is another must-see attraction in Lisbon. 

This UNESCO World Heritage Site was built in the 16th century and is considered one of the finest examples of Portuguese Manueline architecture. 

Because of its location by the sea, the Jeronimos Monastery offered guidance and spiritual comfort to sailors, including the legendary explorer Vasco da Gama, who spent his last night here before leaving for India. 

An interesting thing to note here is that the construction of Jeronimos Monastery was funded by treasures brought back from voyages to Africa and Asia. 

Don’t miss the stunning cloisters and the tomb of Vasco da Gama.

Be sure to get your skip-the-line ticket in advance here. Entry is free if you have a Lisbon Card.

Pro Tip: If you’d like to cover more ground during your time in Belem, book this exciting 3-hour Segway Sailor Tour to Belem.

Taste the famous Pasteis de Belem

Portuguese Pasteis de Belem are one of the most sought after desserts in the world
The gorgeous egg tarts of Pasteis de Belem – a must-have in Lisbon in a day.

No trip to Lisbon is complete without trying a Pasteis de Belem, also known as the Portuguese egg tart. 

With its creamy custard center and flaky crust, this iconic pastry is an absolute delight for the senses. 

The recipe for Pasteis de Belem, kept secret by the monks of Jeronimos Monastery, has been passed down through generations. That makes Pasteis de Belem a unique and authentic taste of Lisbon’s culinary heritage.

The best place to try the iconic Pasteis de Belem is at a confectionery by the same name in the Belem neighborhood.

Located next to Jeronimos Monastery, Pasteis de Belem has produced these traditional egg tarts since 1837. 

📖 Related Read: Love Portuguese desserts? Find out more with our epic guide on the Best Portuguese Desserts to Taste in Portugal.

Afternoon (1 Day in Lisbon) – Explore Charming Alfama

Wander through the streets of Alfama

The charming neighborhood of Alfama is one of the oldest in Lisbon, with narrow, winding streets perfect for exploring on foot. 

You’ll find colorful houses, traditional fado music, and plenty of cafes and restaurants where you can sample local cuisine.

Step back in time in this historic district where beautiful tiled buildings and stunning views await in every corner. 

Visit Alfama’s Historic Monuments

Alfama is full of unique places to visit, including many historic landmarks. 

I have listed some of the best ones here. Pick and choose what you like. 

Sao Jorge Castle in Lisbon
The historic Sao Jorge Castle is a great addition to your one day in Lisbon itinerary especially if you’re a history buff.
Sao Jorge Castle

Sao Jorge Castle is a medieval castle in Lisbon occupying a commanding hilltop overlooking the historic city center. 

It is home to an excellent museum depicting the city’s rich history, ancient ruins, and the Ulysses Tower, which offers a panoramic view of Lisbon and the Tagus River. 

The lines at Sao Jorge Castle are always super long. So, remember to get your skip-the-line tickets for Sao Jorge Castle here.

Se Cathedral

Romanesque landmark dating back to 1147, the Se Cathedral or Lisbon Cathedral features decorative arches and beautiful cloisters.

National Pantheon in Lisbon
The National Pantheon is often missed but makes a great addition to your 1 day Lisbon itinerary.
National Pantheon

The National Pantheon houses the tombs of many famous personalities from Portugal, including Fado artist Amalia Rodrigues

Climb the roof for stunning views of Tagus and Lisbon.

Be sure to book your National Pantheon tickets in advance here. Admission is free if you have a Lisbon Card.

Monastery of Sao Vicente de Fora

A hidden gem in Lisbon, the Monastery of Sao Vicente de Fora is home to an extensive collection of azulejo tiles, including a large set depicting fables from La Fontaine. The Braganza Royal Pantheon is creepy but exciting.

📖 Related Read: Read our guide on the 14 Best Things to do in Alfama Lisbon for more ideas.

Take a ride on Tram 28

Tram 28 on the narrow roads in Alfama
What to do in Lisbon for a day? Hop on the picturesque Tram 28!

This vintage tram is a Lisbon icon, and it’s a great way to see the city’s sights without having to navigate Lisbon’s steep hills on your own. 

Tram 28 takes you on an exciting ride through some of Lisbon’s most picturesque neighborhoods, including Alfama and Bairro Alto.

Beware that Tram 28 is often too crowded to be enjoyable. You might want to ride in earlier in the day or later in the evening to avoid peak crowds. 

Or book a 24-hour Tram 28 ticket here to save time buying the ticket.

Pro Tip: A Tram 28 ride combined with an Alfama guided walking tour is also a great choice.
But this tour happens only in the morning. 
Suppose you’re okay with moving things around (i.e., explore Alfama in the morning). In that case, you can easily add the Tram 28 + Alfama walking tour to your one day Lisbon itinerary. 

Evening (1 Day in Lisbon): Sunset and Fado Performance

Enjoy a gorgeous sunset

View from Miradouro of Santa Luzia
Catching a stunning view from one of the miradouros is one of the best things to do in Lisbon in one day.

Head to Miradouro Santa Luzia, one of the most famous viewpoints in Lisbon

It is also one of the prettiest places in Lisbon because of the hundreds of blue and white tiles adorn the terrace. 

Miradouro Santa Luzia offers breathtaking views of Lisbon, especially at sunset. 

As the sun disappears below the horizon, it paints the sky in hues of orange and pink. The city lights begin to twinkle below, and Lisbon indeed looks like the “City of Lights” from the miradouro.

It’s a perfect spot for a romantic evening in Lisbon or a peaceful moment of introspection.

Pro Tip: Check out our post on the 10 Best Miradouros in Lisbon if you are looking for more viewpoints.

End your day in Lisbon with a soulful Fado performance

You can’t leave Lisbon without experiencing a traditional Fado performance. And there is no better place to do it than in Alfama, the birthplace of Fado.

Listed as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage, Fado is a traditional Portuguese style of music that originated in Lisbon during the 1820s. It’s a soulful and melancholic music form often associated with longing or “Saudade.”

You can pair the Fado show with a traditional Portuguese meal and local wine, making the entire experience even more wholesome.

Here are some of the most popular Fado tours in Alfama that start around 6:00 – 7:00 pm.

  • Fado Musical Delight with Portuguese Wine: Enjoy a fado performance in a typical fado house and hear stories about its origins from a knowledgeable local guide while sipping on your glass of local wine. Find more details here.

Best One-Day Tour of Lisbon, Portugal

View from Arco Rua da Augusta
Beautiful Commercial Square – Can be easily added to you 1-day Lisbon itinerary via a guided tour.

Don’t like planning your own itineraries but want a fab day in Lisbon? 

Not to worry. Here are some fantastic one day tours of Lisbon that’ll allow you to see the best that the city has to offer. 

In my opinion, a guided tour is the best way to see Lisbon in a day. It allows you to cover so much ground without worrying about the logistics.

  • Love private tours? Don’t worry. This Lisbon in One Day Private Tour takes you to the best Lisbon attractions and hidden gems in the comfort of a private car with a private driver and trip leader. 

More than One Day in Lisbon Portugal?

Pena Palace in Sintra Portugal
The colorful and eclectic Pena Palace in Sintra can be easily seen with more than 1 day in Lisbon Portugal.

If you’re planning to spend more than a day in Lisbon, nothing better.

There’s just so much to do in Lisbon and nearby that you’ll never be short of ideas.

Where to stay for one day in Lisbon Portugal?

Alfama is one of my favorite places to stay when visiting Lisbon for a day or more. 

Some of the best hotels in Alfama are the Memmo Alfama HotelAlfama Lisbon Lounge Suites, and Pousada Alfama.

If you want a quintessential Lisbon experience, I highly recommend staying in Alfama.

However, I suggest you stick to this 1 day Lisbon itinerary. In that case, staying in the historic neighborhood of Belem might make more sense. That’ll enable you to get to Belem Tower and Jeronimos Monastery quickly before the crowds start coming in.

Altis Belem Hotel & Spa by Design Hotels and Geronimo Guest House are great places to stay in Belem. 

Practical Information for spending one day in Lisbon

Best time to visit Lisbon

The best time to visit Lisbon is spring (March to May) or fall (September to October)

The weather is usually pleasant during these periods. Temperatures range from mid-60s to low 70s Fahrenheit, making it ideal for exploring the city on foot. 

Moreover, these off-peak seasons offer fewer crowds at major tourist sites and more affordable accommodation rates.

The city’s charm is at its peak, with blooming flowers in spring or the golden hues of fall.

How to get to Lisbon?

If you’re traveling internationally, the Lisbon International Airport (LIS), also known as Humberto Delgado Airport, is the main entry point into Lisbon. 

LIS is serviced by numerous international airlines, offering direct flights from many major cities worldwide. 

Upon arrival at the airport, the city center is just a 30-minute taxi ride away, or you can use the Metro system. Book a Lisbon airport transfer for a relaxed, stress-free 1 day in Lisbon Portugal.

Alternatively, consider taking a train to Lisbon if you’re already in Europe. 

The city’s primary train stations, Santa Apolonia and Gare do Oriente, handle domestic and international train routes, including direct services to Porto. Find more details on Portugal’s official railway website here.

Lisbon is also one of Europe’s most popular cruise ship destinations. So, you can spend one day in Lisbon from cruise ship.

A quintessential street in Alfama Lisbon with a yellow tram
Trams are a great way to get around and see Lisbon in 1 day without having to tire yourself.

How to get around Lisbon?

It is easy to get around Lisbon because of its efficient and comprehensive public transportation system. 

Lisbon Metro is a quick and cost-effective way to travel around the city, with four lines covering major tourist sites. 

Trams, including the iconic Tram 28, offer a more scenic route around the city, primarily through the hilly Alfama district. 

Buses run regularly and cover areas not serviced by Metro and trams. 

It’s worth exploring Lisbon on foot for shorter distances to soak in its charm and vibrant street life. Or you could book a tuk-tuk tour to see the highlights.

I highly recommend purchasing a Lisbon Card for unlimited travel on Lisbon’s buses, trams, and metro systems.

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Just have 1 day in Lisbon? Here's an incredible one day Lisbon itinerary for culture lovers that allows you to see the 5 best cultural things in Lisbon in 24 hours.

Soumya is an acclaimed travel writer who has traveled to 30+ countries and lived in 8 while pursuing her passion for history and culture. Her writings have been published in BBC Travel, Architectural Digest, National Herald, and many more. She loves exploring world heritage sites and has a deep affinity for everything ancient, especially the lost civilizations of Mesoamerica!

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