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See Lisbon in one day, is it possible?

Can you explore Lisbon in a single day? Discover the attractions and activities to take a short trip to this beautiful city.

Have you ever wanted to explore and see a city, but only had one day? Well, it may sound impossible, but with the right advice, seeing Lisbon in one day is possible! The impressive capital of Portugal offers a variety of tourist options, from historical monuments to vibrant neighborhoods, which can be explored without spending too much time.

In this article, we give you helpful tips on which sites and attractions you can see in a single day.

Rua Augusta Lisboa

How much can you see in Lisbon in one day?

I leave you an idea of what you can see in one day, based on what we managed to visit. Of course, always keep in mind that if you don’t like something, you can change a place or a neighborhood for another that you really want to see.

If you wish to get to know the city in a first contact with a guide but not want to spend a lot of money, we recommend you to start taking free tours, such as free tour in Lisbon or a free fado tour.

We are going to divide the visits between what can be seen in Lisbon during the morning and during the afternoon-night.

If you are planning to visit several attractions, you must consider buying the Lisboa Card!

What to see in Lisbon during the morning?

Rossio Square (Pedro IV Square)

Start the day at Rossio Square, which is one of the liveliest places in Lisbon. This square was once home to many wealthy families and important political figures, although it was also used as the setting for public executions and bullfighting.

There are many cafés and restaurants around the square where you can have a coffee, just in case you haven’t done it yet and don’t want to miss it to start the day.

During your visit, be sure to take pictures of the iconic statue of Pedro IV located in the center of Rossio Square!

Even if you only have 1 day to see Lisbon, this square should definitely be on your list: it is an essential part of experiencing life in this beautiful city!

Rossio Square Lisbon

The Fantastic World of the Portuguese Sardine (Mundo Fantástico Da Sardinha Portuguesa)

Even if you only have one day to visit the city, be sure to visit this store, if you don’t like sardines, you probably won’t buy anything. As was my case. But, it is well worth seeing it inside and listening to the music dedicated to the sardines of Portugal, it is a fantastic store, as its name says, for the atmosphere.

The sardine boxes that they sell are special, since they have the year and the events marked on it. They are a nice gift and, yes, they made me want to buy our years, but then I remembered that I am not a fan of sardines and it passed.

The Fantastic World of the Portuguese Sardine

Santa Justa Elevator

From Rossio Square you will also see the beautiful Santa Justa elevator, although at that moment stay with the desire to go up, since there will surely be a line and the idea is to make the most of the time to see Lisbon in 1 day.

This unique elevator connects the Baixa district with the highest districts of Lisbon, such as Chiado. With its iron structure, which rises 45 meters above the ground, you will get an impressive view of this beautiful city from its upper platform.

As a curiosity, it is said that the engineer who designed this elevator was a disciple of the creator of the Eiffel Tower, although apparently it is just an urban legend.

Santa Justa Elevator Lisbon

Commerce Square (Praça do Comércio)

Go walking down Rua Augusta, which is a pedestrian street full of culinary options. You will realize that you have arrived at the Commerce Square, since the huge arch of Augusta street will welcome you.

This square is considered one of the most important places in Lisbon. It is also known as Terreiro do Paço, and it was the main square during the period of the Portuguese monarchy, so much so that in 1511 Manuel I of Portugal changed his residence, which was in the São Jorge Castle, to this place.

In addition to being an important part of Lisbon’s history, Commerce Square also offers a stunning view of the Tagus River.

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Commerce Square Lisbon

Alfama neighborhood

From the Commerce Square, go to the castelo elevator. So, you can take a walk through the Alfama neighborhood, where the streets can become quite winding.

From here, depending on your preferences, you can go to the São Jorge Castle, the Santa Lucia Viewpoint, go to the Fado Museum or to the Lisbon Cathedral.

Also, take the opportunity to find a restaurant where you can eat a delicious cod. Oh, and yes, don’t leave the neighborhood without admiring the Street Art that adorns the streets!

Lisbon Street Art

What to visit during the afternoon?

In the afternoon, go to Belem, to get there you have several options, for example:

  • Tram: 15E. From the Commerce Square, it will leave you right in front of the Jeronimos Monastery.
  • The buses: 727, 728, 729, 714 and 751. In the same way, they will leave you a few steps from the monastery.

Jeronimos Monastery

Start the afternoon by visiting the Jerónimos Monastery, which is a must to see Lisbon in one day. It was built in 1502 and its Manueline style, a Portuguese version of late Gothic architecture, makes it an impressive sight to behold.

The monastery also houses the tomb of Portugal’s most beloved poet, Luis de Camoes.

If you feel that time is running out, as it happened to us, here’s my tip: the cloister is the most impressive area of the place.

The price to visit the Jeronimos Monastery is €10, buy them here!

Together with the Belem Tower, the Jeronimos Monastery was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1983.

Monasterio de los Jerónimos Lisboa

Belém Tower

The Belém Tower is a must-see when visiting Lisbon in one day. This UNESCO World Heritage Site was built in the 16th century and was used to protect the entrance to the Tagus River.

The tower has a beautiful Manueline architecture with Gothic influences, which makes it one of the most emblematic places in Portugal. Its four floors include galleries, terraces and a chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Good Success.

In our case, having delayed in the Jeronimos Monastery, we were unable to enter the interior of the tower. However, we were able to enjoy its views for a long time, since there was still daylight left and in fact the sunset reached us with the beautiful Belém Tower. For me, it was the place that was essential to see on this day in Lisbon.

The price to visit the Belém Tower is €6, if you are planning to visit several attractions, you must consider buying the Lisboa Card

Torre de Belem Lisboa

Before you leave Belém, and if you still have time, stop by some Pasteis de Belem, you will recognize the famous place since there will be a line.

Pasteis de Belem Lisboa

Mercado da Ribeira

In the late afternoon, take the 15E tram back to Lisbon and stop by the Mercado da Ribeira for a bite to eat. Whether you just want to snack or, flat out, have your full dinner. There will be options, and many!

Mercado da ribeira

Take the Santa Justa elevator

It is already night, but there is still something to do to see a beautiful night view of Lisbon and crown the day of visits: go up the Santa Justa elevator. Yes, the one you left for later.

After paying the €5.30 (which includes going up and down) enjoy some beautiful views and fondly remember the day you spent in Lisbon.

If you are planning to visit several attractions, you must consider buying the Lisboa Card!

Vista de Lisboa

Recommendations so you don’t get a bad surprise in Lisbon

  • Lisbon is a city made up of several hills, this makes the city anything but flat. You will have to walk through quite steep paths, and it is best to bring the most comfortable shoes.
  • Bring a backpack or bag that closes very well, Lisbon has been one of the few places where I have been robbed. It was in the market when, as soon as I turned around, I realized that my backpack was open, luckily, they only managed to steal the guidebook I was carrying.
  • If you are used to other European countries, such as France, where food portions are small, you will see the contrary in Lisbon, and in Portugal in general, the portions are quite generous. What can be a bad surprise when they serve you a large portion? It can be if you have ordered expecting small portions, and then you are forced to leave food. At least, it is something that I dislike a lot, that’s why I share it.
Lisbon manhole

Lisbon, a city you will want to return to

In conclusion, Lisbon is a city of many wonders, and can be experienced in a single day with proper planning and preparation. Of course, you have to be aware that not everything can be done or seen in a single day, but that’s fine, so you’ll want to spend more days or why not? Come back!

Tranvía Lisboa

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Olga Grijalva

Olga is a traveler and travel content creator with 17 years of experience. Her goal is to share useful information to help you plan your adventures. She has visited more than 40 countries and is excited to share her experience with you.