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Last Updated on December 5, 2023 by Madison Krigbaum
So you’re interested in spending 5 days in Lisbon? You’ve come to the right place.
A city filled with culture, color, and some of the prettiest viewpoints in Europe, Lisbon is truly a treasure of the Iberian Peninsula. Whether you’re looking for history, tasty seafood, quaint cobblestoned streets, or just some gorgeous views, Lisbon has something for everyone.
I’ll level with you – five days definitely isn’t enough time to see everything Lisbon has to offer, so don’t feel bad if you don’t make it to everything on your Lisbon bucket list. However, 5 days in Lisbon is definitely enough time to hit the highlights and get a solid feel for the city.
I visited Lisbon for the first time in 2019 for only three days. Since that fateful trip, I have been lucky enough to move back for two whole months in 2023! I spent those two months hitting all the tourist attractions, trying out the tastiest restaurants, and – yes – partying my ass off in Bairro Alto more nights than I’d personally like to admit. Keep reading for my all-inclusive itinerary for 5 days in Lisbon, plus a sneaky day trip to Sintra if you’re among the castle-inclined.
The Lazy Girl’s Guide to Visiting Lisbon
🏡 Where to Stay:
BUDGET HOTELS IN LISBON:
- Yes! Lisbon Hostel (⭐️ 9.6/10)
- Goodmorning Solo Traveller Hostel (⭐️ 9.8/10)
- We Love F. Tourists (⭐️ 9.7/10)
- Lisbon Lounge Hostel (⭐️ 9.6/10)
MID-LEVEL HOTELS IN LISBON:
🐙 A Quick Lisbon 5 Day Itinerary:
- Try Pasteis de Nata from Manteigaria – Lisbon’s famous custard tart 😋
- Hop on a free Lisbon Walking Tour 🥾
- Visit the historic Sé Catedral ⛪️
- Snap a pic on Pink Street
- Experience the best of Bairro Alto and Lisbon nightlife on a Lisbon Pub Crawl 🍸
- Head to Tasca do Chico for a traditional Fado show 🎶
- Ride the famous 28 Tram 🚋
- Take in the views from Castelo de S. Jorge 🦚
- Splurge on a Lisbon Food Tour 🦐
- Take a day trip to the castles in Sintra 🏰
- Book a relaxing boat cruise and take in the views along the coast 🛥️
- Watch the sunset from one of Lisbon’s many viewpoints 🌅
- Spend a day in Belém hitting the highlights in this historic neighborhood 📸
The Best Area to Stay in Lisbon
Most of the time I lived in Lisbon, I lived in the historic Alfama neighborhood high on the hill (with the exception of the three weeks I lived in Anjos).
As a tourist, I would highly recommend staying in the Alfama neighborhood. It’s close to all the big attractions and there are beautiful views around every corner. The only downside of staying in Alfama is that all the restaurants in the area are touristy, expensive, and not very good.
The Baixa and Chiado neighborhoods are also great options for your 5 days in Lisbon. Unless you are coming to Lisbon to party your ass off, I wouldn’t recommend staying in Bairro Alto. Every night is guaranteed to be very noisy.
Bica, Cais do Sodre, and Príncipe Real are also great neighborhoods for your stay, but they are a bit further out than Baixa and Chiado. Thankfully, Ubers and Bolts only cost around €4 to go anywhere in Lisbon – so at the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter where you stay!
Protect your Trip to Lisbon
**I receive a fee when you get a quote from World Nomads using this link. I do not represent World Nomads. This is not a recommendation to buy travel insurance.
Whenever I plan a trip, I always make sure to protect myself and my wallet with trip insurance. In the past, I’ve had very good experiences with World Nomads. During my trip to Chiang Mai in 2019, I had an unfortunate ankle-spraining incident that turned into a hospital visit with X-Rays, crutches and physical therapy. When I submitted my claim to World Nomads, I was reimbursed within weeks.
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Map of My Lisbon recommendations
Day One: Pastel de Nata, Walking Tour, Praça do Comércio, Sé Catedral
Your first day in Lisbon starts in Bairro Alto – an ancient fisherman’s neighborhood turned Lisbon’s best nightlife district. During the day, however, Bairro Alto is full of Portuguese history, tasty eats, and beautiful sights.
Ready? Let’s dive into your first day in Lisbon.
👩🏽🍳 Taberna sal Grosso:
Attention Lisbon Travelers! Taberna sal Grosso is widely considered one of the best restaurants in Lisbon, as confirmed by my local tour guide and tons of travel blogs. Popularity like this means you need to make a reservation weeks, if not months, in advance. Unfortunately for us, I made our reservation for my last night in Lisbon, when the restaurant unexpectedly closed due to a power outage. If you’re reading this blog in your Lisbon trip planning stage, be sure to make a reservation now to guarantee your spot.
Start the Day with a Pastel de Nata from Manteigaria
Fuel up for your first day of exploring Lisbon with a classic (and world-famous) Portuguese pastry, the pastel de nata.
This delicious custard tart originated in the 18th century at the Jerónimos Monastery. It was common for the monks to starch their clothes using egg whites, so they would bake the leftover yolks into various pastries and desserts.
One of the best places to try pasteis de nata is Manteigaria. There are many Manteigaria locations around Lisbon, but the original shop is in Lisbon’s Chiado, right on the edge of Bairro Alto in Praça Luís de Camões. These pastel de nata are baked fresh and only cost €1.30 apiece.
Visit the World’s Oldest Bookstore: Livraria Bertrand
After savoring every bite of your delicious pastel de nata, make your way to Livraria Bertrand – A.K.A. the oldest bookstore in the world.
Founded in 1732, this charming bookstore has been operating for over 285 years and is even listed in the Guinness World Records. Browse through their extensive collection of books or attend one of their many literary events.
However, between you and me…Livraria Bertrand is not the coolest bookstore in Lisbon. If you’re hyping yourself up for an antique bookstore seeped in Portuguese history, you’ll be let down by Bertrand. The store was redone in a modern fashion and honestly resembles a tiny Barnes & Noble more than the world’s oldest bookstore.
Instead, head across the street to Livraria Ferin. This bookstore was established in 1840 and, although it’s technically 100 years more recent than Bertrand, it feels much older. You’ll find plenty of antique books, ancient maps, and cool collectibles like vintage postcards in this shop.
Hop on a Free Walking Tour of Lisbon
After experiencing the city’s literary culture, stretch your legs with a free walking tour of Lisbon by Sandemans New Europe! These tours are offered daily from Praça Luís de Camões (in both English and Spanish) and typically last around three hours.
You’ll get a chance to see some of Lisbon’s top sights, learn about the history and culture of the city, and get some insider tips from a local guide. Keep in mind that, although these tours are free, you’re expected to tip your guide at the end – so bring cash.
Sandemans operates awesome tours (both free and paid) all over Europe. Their Prague walking tour is especially interesting!
Stop by the Historic Praça do Comércio
Trust me – I know you’ll be hungry by this point. However, the walking tours typically end in the historic Praça do Comércio, so you’d be remiss not to take a look around.
Praça do Comércio translates to “the Square of Commerce,” which is fitting since captains and merchants would trade their goods here after long sea voyages to Brazil, India, and Southeast Asia. A statue depicting King Joseph I stands in the center of the square, while the historic Rua Augusta Arch stands to the north. The square was constructed as the symbolic entrance into Lisbon.
You can actually climb to the top of the Arco da Rua Augusta (if you’re not too tired from the walking tour). Entrance tickets cost only €3.50 and you’ll be rewarded with beautiful views of Lisbon and the Tagus River. The stairs are narrow, so it’s not an activity for tourists with poor mobility, but there also aren’t so many steps that you’ll be a sweaty mess by the time you reach the top.
Grab a Delicious Local Lunch from Lisboa Tu e Eu 2
Now that you’ve spent your first morning exploring the city, it’s time for some much-deserved lunch. Lisboa Tu e Eu 2 is one of my favorite restaurants in the whole city and a must-visit on any 5 days in Lisbon itinerary.
The little local restaurant is located up a tiny staircase/alley and the interior is covered floor-to-ceiling with customer-written graffiti. Ask for a Sharpie to leave your mark on the place!
At Lisboa Tu e Eu 2, I tried a traditional Portuguese meal – Bacalhau à Brás. This typical dish consists of salt cod, eggs, and potatoes. Although salt cod definitely doesn’t speak to everyone, cod is served everywhere in Lisbon, so be sure to try some before you leave. When it comes to Bacalhau à Brás…trust me, it’s delicious. Especially when served in a heart shape at Lisboa Tu e Eu 2!
Explore the Historic Sé Catedral de Lisboa
No itinerary for 5 days in Lisbon is complete without a stop at the beautiful Sé de Lisboa. Located in the city center, this cathedral dates back to the 12th century and is steeped in Portuguese history.
It’s free to simply walk around the ground floor of the cathedral, but if you’d like to visit the Museum of the Treasury, the High Choir, and take in the view from the top – you’ll need to purchase a €5 entry ticket. There’s no need to purchase tickets in advance, you can buy tickets at the cathedral directly.
Catch the Sunset from the Nearby Miradouro de Santa Luzia
Now that you’ve killed a day exploring some of Lisbon’s best sites, it’s time to enjoy one of Lisbon’s best combinations – a viewpoint and a sunset.
Head to the Miradouro de Santa Luzia in the historic Alfama neighborhood to catch a breathtaking Lisbon sunset above the Tagus River.
This gorgeous spot is famous for its iconic blue tiles and draped floral pathway, along with its fantastic views. Keep in mind that, since this is one of Lisbon’s most famous viewpoints, it’s also one of its most crowded viewpoints. For a bit more space, head around the corner to the Miradouro das Portas do Sol.
Have a Tasty Dinner at Farol de Santa Luzia
After a long day of exploring, chances are you’ve worked up an appetite again! Head across the street from the Miradouro de Santa Luzia to the Farol de Santa Luzia for some delicious and traditional Portuguese cuisine.
On my visit to Farol de Santa Luzia, I enjoyed a glass of vinho verde (€5) and a hearty dish of grilled octopus and potatoes (€21). The food was absolutely delicious and the staff was incredibly kind. I even got a free glass of white port after my meal!
I will mention, that although I enjoyed my visit to Farol de Santa Luzia and the food was exquisite, the service was truly terrible. My wine took 20 minutes to arrive (I only received it after a reminder to the server) and I was informed they were out of the original dish I ordered a full 25 minutes after I had ordered it. Thankfully, when my dinner did arrive it could not have been more delicious.
Indulge in High-End Cocktails at Pavilhão Chinês
If you’re still kicking after dinner, and I’ll be impressed if you are, consider adding Lisbon’s high-end cocktail scene to your 5 days in Lisbon itinerary.
In my research before my trip, I stumbled upon the name Pavilhão Chinês, and thankfully I took note. Pavilhão Chinês is an upscale cocktail bar that has major speakeasy vibes. The whole interior is covered in antique statues, paintings, photos, etc. which gives the impression that you’re sitting in a high-end antique shop.
If you’re visiting Lisbon on a budget, this is not the bar for you. However, if you’re open to a little splurging…these were some of the best cocktails I’ve had in Europe. Pro tip: order a white Russian.
…Or Go All in with a Lisbon Pub Crawl
If you’re interested in fully immersing yourself in the Lisbon nightlife scene right off the bat, then look no further than a Lisbon pub crawl!
I’ll be honest – I went on far more than my fair share of pub crawls during my two months in Lisbon.
I think the exact number might have been around six…
So, borderline drinking problem aside, you can trust I know what I’m talking about! My favorite pub crawl is put on by the Yes! Lisbon Hostel. You don’t need to be staying at the hostel to participate. Just show up, pay your €15, enjoy your free drink at the hostel bar, and head out for a night of Pink Street fun!
If you’ve already been in Lisbon for a few days and prefer the Bairro Alto (NOT Barrio Alto) bar scene to Pink Street, you might prefer this Pub Crawl instead. Both should include free welcome shots and entrance to a nightclub at the end of the night.
Day Two: Santa Justa Life, Carmo Convent, 28 Tram, Bairro Alto
Providing you’re not too hungover…it’s time for your second day of your amazing 5 day itinerary in Lisbon. (If you are too hungover, no judgment girl. Order yourself something greasy on Portugal’s best app for food delivery – Glovo.)
If you’re ready for another awesome day of exploring, pack your camera, charge up that portable charger, and get ready for some gorgeous views, historic sites, and tasty eats in Lisbon.
Get Brunch at Dear Breakfast
Lisbon is a modern city. You’ll find lots of trendy restaurants serving all your brunch favorites washed down with tasty mimosas in the city center.
Dear Breakfast is one of those places.
If your night of exploring Lisbon’s cocktail scene has you craving some eggs benedict and a spicy bloody mary, this is the spot for you. Fuel up and get ready for some beautiful sites coming your way…
P.S. If you want to eat as much Portuguese food as possible during your trip, skip the basic brunch and head to A Padaria do Povo for some traditional Portuguese cuisine.
Take the Elevator de Santa Justa
Next on my kick-ass Lisbon itinerary – get ready for some seriously breathtaking views!
The Elevator de Santa Justa is a century-old iron lift that links downtown with Lisbon’s Chiado neighborhood up the hill. Although the lift was originally built for public transportation, it’s now mostly a tourist attraction.
You could spend the €5.30 for a ticket to the top…or you could spend that on a glass of vinho instead and try out my budget-friendly hack for getting the same views for free.
…Or Save Your Money and Head to the Lift Observation Point
For some reason, it costs €5.30 to ride the elevator, but visiting the lift observation point is completely free. Head to the Carmo Convent, turn right, and walk around the convent to the back. You’ll see where tourists get off the elevator – A.K.A. the Lift Observation Point.
Walk around here and take in the views to your heart’s content! Next, get ready to explore the historic Carmo Convent.
Explore the Nearby Carmo Convent
Built in 1385, the Carmo Convent is the site of 700 years of Lisbon history.
In 1755, Lisbon was nearly destroyed by an earthquake measuring an estimated 7.7 on the Richter scale. It hit on All Saints’ Day, while the majority of Lisbon’s population was in church observing the religious holiday.
The Carmo Church, like many other churches in Lisbon at the time, collapsed during the quake – killing many of the churchgoers inside the building. The earthquake destroyed the structure of the building, while the lit candles inside the church burned through the interior. Reconstruction of the convent began in 1756, but was abandoned in 1834. Today, you can visit the skeletal remains and the museum inside for a €5 entrance fee.
Grab a Bifana for Lunch at Solar da Madalena
Getting hungry? Next on this 5 days in Lisbon travel guide, it’s time to try a traditional Portuguese dish – the bifana.
A bifana is a Portuguese pork sandwich that is commonly eaten for lunch in Lisbon. These tasty sandwiches consist of thinly sliced pork marinated in garlic, white wine, and paprika that’s served on a fluffy white roll with mustard and piri-piri (hot) sauce.
Solar da Madalena serves some of the best bifanas in the city. I feasted on a tasty bifana and a glass of delicious Portuguese wine for only €5.50 – talk about a steal! I’ve also heard amazing things about Bifanas do Afanso. Sadly, I didn’t make it there during my time in Lisbon.
Ride Lisbon’s Iconic 28 Tram
This Lisbon 5 day itinerary wouldn’t be complete without a ride on one of Lisbon’s iconic yellow trams!
The 28 tram connects Martim Moniz with Campo Ourique. On the route, you’ll pass through Alfama, Baixa, Estrela, and Graca. Although the 28 is definitely not the only tram that runs through Lisbon, it’s the most famous because the route is the most scenic. Below is some advice on riding Lisbon’s 28 tram:
- Ride the trams early in the morning to avoid the crowds.
- Board the tram in Martim Moniz or Campo Ourique. There is a better chance of getting a seat at these stops.
- Purchase a ticket in advance from any metro station. You can purchase tickets directly on the bus for €3, but you need to pay in cash and it’s an extra hassle.
- Ride the whole route to take in the scenery!
Watch a Fado Show at Tasca do Chico
If you’re wondering what to see in Lisbon in 5 days, make sure a Fado show makes it on your Portugal bucket list!
Fado is a genre of music that can be traced back to the early 1800’s in Lisbon. In all reality, the origins of Fado are suspected to reach much farther back than the 19th century.
It’s said that Fado comes from the Portuguese soul. The songs are usually mournful and tell tales from the sea or the life of the poor.
One of the best places to watch a Fado show in Lisbon is at Tasca do Chico in Bairro Alto. If you arrive between shows, you’ll have to wait outside for a bit before they open the doors again. Don’t leave! It’s definitely worth the wait.
Try Some Traditional Brazilian Food at Acarajé da Carol
Lisbon is full of Brazilian influence, so be sure to try some tasty Brazilian food during your 5 days in Lisbon.
I highly recommend heading over to Acarajé da Carol (just around the corner from Tasca do Chico in Bairro Alto) for some traditional Brazilian cuisine in a fun and friendly setting. For a table of three, we ordered acarajé com camarão, carne do sol com mandioca, and bobó de camarão. Don’t forget to ask for hot sauce, but tread lightly! That shit is delicious…but it kills.
Get Your Drink on in Bairro Alto
After you’re sufficiently stuffed with Brazilian food, it’s time to get your drink on in Lisbon’s best bar neighborhood – Bairro Alto! If you’re doing Lisbon in 5 days, you’ll want to include at least one fantastic night of bar hopping in Bairro.
I like to start at Shortys Bar for €5 caipirinhas! If you haven’t had a caipirinha, it’s a traditional Brazilian cocktail made with cachaça, sugar, and lime. Think of it as a mix between a margarita and a mojito. I personally prefer my caipirinhas with some added flavor, since the lime can be a little strong for my taste.
If the mood strikes, head to The Corner Irish pub for a night filled with karaoke!
Day Three: Time Out Market, Pink Street, Castelo de São Jorge
It’s officially day number three of your 5 perfect days in Lisbon! Are you excited?
Spoiler alert: today will be filled with more historic Lisbon sites, fresh Portuguese seafood, killer views, and – of course – the best places to get your buzz going.
Ready? Let’s go!
Head to the Time Out Market for Breakfast
For breakfast on your third day of your 5 days in Lisbon itinerary, head to the famous Time Out Market in Cais do Sodré.
This market, held in the Mercado da Ribeira, is filled with vendors selling traditional Portuguese food, international cuisine, drinks, and desserts. You’ll find stands selling sushi, noodles, pasteis de nata, seafood, steaks, cocktails, and more – basically anything your heart desires.
Take some time to peruse the different stands before grabbing a table. Keep in mind that the Time Out Market is Lisbon’s most famous market, so it tends to be more crowded and on the expensive side.
Even if you decide to grab food somewhere else, it’s fun to take a lap around the market to get a feel for the space.
If you’re searching for something a little less touristy, head down the street to A Merendiera for a heaping bowl of caldo verde and a tasty sandwich for only €5.50 (and that includes a drink!).
Snap a Pic on Pink Street
While you’re in the area, be sure to stop by Lisbon’s famous Pink Street for a couple of iconic pics.
Pink Street used to be known as Rua Nova do Carvalho and was initially home to Lisbon’s Red Light District. It used to be a meeting point for sailors, criminals, and prostitutes looking to gamble and drink.
Since 2013 when the pavement was painted pink, Pink Street has been one of Lisbon’s best going-out streets at night turned occasional open-air art gallery during the day. I killed many a night on Pink Street hopping from bar to bar and overindulging in €5 glasses of prosecco.
If you’ve already booked a Lisbon Pub Crawl, chances are you’ve already partied on Pink Street!
Visit the Gulbenkian Museum
The Gulbenkian Museum is considered the best art museum in Lisbon. The museum, located in Avenidas Novas, showcases the prized collection of Calouste Sarkis Gulbenkian, a British businessman with a fondness for art during WWII. His collection of Egyptian, Greco-Roman, Islamic, and Oriental pieces is beautifully displayed and well worth the €10 ticket (50% off for visitors under 30). The museum is a great way to spend a few hours indoors recovering from the Portuguese sun.
You can book tickets online ahead of time on the official website.
💡 Pro Tip:
On this 5 day Lisbon itinerary, I’ve done my best to keep daily activities within walking distance of each other. However, when you only have 5 days in Lisbon, the highlights aren’t always going to be right around the corner. I recommend downloading Bolt, an essential app for Portugal travel and Portugal’s version of Uber. When I lived in Lisbon in 2023, you could get a Bolt pretty much anywhere in the city for under €4.
Grab an Authentic Portuguese Lunch from Penalva da Graca
Getting hungry? Head to Penalva da Graca for a traditional and delicious seafood lunch.
This place is about as authentic as it gets. It’s extremely affordable, no frills, and no-nonsense.
We grabbed a table, immediately ordered a delicious bottle of vinho verde, and got ready to feast. After a look through the menu, we decided on a heaping bowl of seafood rice (for two) and a plate of freshly grilled sardines. We ended the meal with a coffee (espresso) and left feeling full and happy!
Explore the Castelo de São Jorge
Now that you’re fueled up and ready to go, it’s time to visit one of Lisbon’s top attractions – Castelo de São Jorge.
I’m forever searching for a viewpoint and there is no better picture of Lisbon than from Castelo de São Jorge. A €15 entrance ticket grants you access to the 11th-century Moorish castle along with the museum and a truly stunning view. Perched at the top of the hill in the Alfama district, the castle is surrounded by adorable shops and outdoor restaurants – all with great views.
The castle grounds are filled with peacocks and, if you’re lucky, you might catch a glimpse of one raising its tail feathers!
Catch the Sunset from the Miradouro da Senhora do Monte
After another full day of exploring, it’s time for another gorgeous Lisbon sunset. If you haven’t already caught it from the castle, head down to one of Lisbon’s best viewpoints – Miradouro da Senhora do Monte.
I’ve watched many a sunset from this spot, and I prefer to grab a bottle of vinho on the way over. Most bodegas will open it for you and provide you with a few plastic cups.
Grab a Delicious Dinner at Santo Andre
Dinner tonight is extra special…so set your expectations high.
Santo Andre is my favorite restaurant in Lisbon. Conveniently, it was located a two-minute walk from my apartment in Alfama.
I first visited Santo Andre on my trip to Lisbon and Barcelona in 2019, when admittedly prices were a lot cheaper. Although the prices have increased, the quality has stayed just as fantastic as it was four years ago.
On my first visit to Lisbon, I ordered the Polvo a Lagareiro (octopus in olive oil) and was quite literally blown away. It was the best octopus I had ever had in my life. I mean you could seriously cut this thing with a spoon.
I ordered this dish countless other times during my two months in Lisbon, and each time it was just as fantastic as the first time.
Santo Andre also puts on Fado shows during the week! If you’re lucky, maybe you’ll visit during a show.
Head to Topo Martim Moniz for Drinks with a View
After a delicious seafood dinner at my favorite restaurant, it’s time for drinks at my favorite Lisbon rooftop bar! Introducing…Topo Martim Moniz.
The patio at this rooftop bar is unparalleled, as are the prices. Stop by for a tasty glass of sparkling wine and a killer view of Lisbon.
Day Four: Day Trip to Sintra
There are many day trips to choose from in Portugal, but with only 5 days in Lisbon, I would recommend packing up your day pack and heading to the castles in Sintra.
Getting to Sintra is easy from Lisbon’s Rossio train station. The journey takes only around 45 minutes and tickets cost €2.30 each way. The ticket lines at Rossio tend to be very long, so I would recommend purchasing a metro card and filling it up at any other metro station before departing for Sintra (this is easy to do a day before).
OR arrive at Rossio at least 30 minutes before your preferred departure time. That should give you plenty of time to wait in line for a ticket.
Grab a TukTuk, a Jeep, or a Bus
There are a couple of different ways to get to the castles in Sintra. The one method I would not recommend is walking, unless you want to walk uphill for an hour and arrive at the palace covered in sweat.
As of 2023, a private tuktuk to the palace costs €15/person. You can also hop in a shared Jeep for €7.50/person, or purchase a single bus ticket for €4.10 (the 24-hour pass costs €15). As soon as you leave the train station in Sintra you’ll see plenty of tuktuks and Jeeps roaming around. You can flag one down to bring you to the top of the hill!
Visiting the National Palace of Pena
When it comes to a day trip to Sintra, the Pena Palace is the star of the show. This is the Instagram-famous, yellow, blue, and red castle you’ve seen perched on top of a hill and surrounded by lush, green forests.
I’ll be honest with you – it’s every bit as beautiful as it looks online. However, it’s every bit as frustrating to visit as it is beautiful. I’m not saying you shouldn’t visit! I’m just warning you not to expect a relaxing, leisurely experience.
If you plan on fully visiting the National Palace of Pena, book your tickets in advance. If you book them the day of, chances are you won’t be able to visit until later in the afternoon (if you get in at all). Booking in advance will allow you to choose which time you want to visit so you can better plan out your day.
Tickets cost €15/person to visit the palace. When you show up for your assigned time slot, you’ll still be waiting in line for around 30 minutes to enter the palace. Once you’re inside, you’ll be guided through, room by room, in a line behind all the other visitors in your time slot. It takes forever and, in my opinion, takes away from the experience since you can’t explore the palace at your whim.
If you don’t have tickets or don’t want them, you can still show up and get some awesome views. Simply head to the cafe on the third floor and find a spot on the balcony!
The Palace is surrounded by 84 acres of grounds. It’s beautiful to explore, but do yourself a favor and skip the Cross Viewpoint. It’s a long, uphill walk and the views are much better from the palace itself.
Grab Lunch at Romaria de Baco
Be warned, castle-hopping makes you hungry. At this point in your Sintra day tour, you’re going to be ready for some well-deserved grub.
Head into town for a tasty lunch at Romaria de Baco!
We ordered bread, traditional cheeses from the region, sausage croquettes, pan-fried squid and shrimp, and steak with fried potato and egg. I ordered the pan-fried squid, and my food was delicious. My friend decided on the steak and said her meal was just okay.
Moral of the story – order the seafood.
Quinta da Regaleira
The next castle on the agenda is Quinta da Regaleira. If you’ve seen photos on Instagram or Portugal travel blogs of a moss-green, spooky-looking well disappearing into the ground – this is the place.
Unfortunately, we learned that visiting the Initiation Well isn’t as simple as just booking a ticket online (€11 each + a small booking fee) and descending some stairs. We showed up in what we thought was the off-season, turned the corner, and were immediately greeted by a line wrapped so far around the block that we couldn’t see the end.
It was around 5:00PM at that point, we were sweaty, hungry, and tired…so we noped out of that situation really quickly.
Even if you don’t get to take an iconic photo in the Initiation Well, Quinta da Regaleira is well worth a visit during your 5 days in Lisbon. It’s speculated that the owner of this 19th-century mansion was a member of the Knights Templar! There’s even a hidden network of caves located in the vast gardens.
Castelo dos Mouros
I visited the Moorish Castle during my first trip to Sintra in 2019, but I didn’t revisit it on my 2023 trip. I remember that the Moorish Castle had the best views in Sintra! However, this means that it’s also the furthest away.
The Moorish Castle is considerably older than most of Sintra’s attractions. Its roots can be traced to the 10th century when the Moors still occupied the Iberian Peninsula. For only €8, you can walk the castle walls for yourself and marvel at the magnificent views of the surrounding hills and town of Sintra.
The National Palace of Sintra
The National Palace is actually the only palace that spans the entire history of Portugal! Basically – it’s a lot older than it looks.
It’s estimated that the first building was constructed in the National Palace in the 10th or 11th century, while Portugal was under Moorish rule. Today, the palace is considered Portugal’s best-preserved medieval royal palace. Entrance tickets to The National Palace of Sintra only cost €10, so be sure to leave time for a visit while you’re in town.
🏰 A note on the Monserrate Palace:
Unfortunately, I never found the time to fit in a trip to Monserrate Palace. This tri-towered palace is inspired by Islamic architecture and a love of symmetry. Nestled in the green hills of Sintra, this palace is truly a sight to behold. Entrance tickets are only €8 and you can buy them online.
Try Sintra’s Famous Pillow Cakes at Casa Piriquita
Don’t head back to Lisbon before trying out Sintra’s famous pastry – the Travesseiro or “Pillow Cake.” Piriquita is widely considered the best place to try these tasty treats! Thankfully, it’s located in the center of town, not too far from the train station.
Stop by to try an original pastry stuffed with sweet, eggy almond cream and dusted with powdered sugar, or opt for a Nutella-filled version of the treat for €1.70 apiece.
Dinner at Taberna da Rua das Flores
Now that you’re back in Lisbon, it’s time to try out one of Lisbon’s most famous restaurants – Taberna da Rua das Flores.
I won’t lie to you, it’s not easy to get into this restaurant.
This little Portuguese tavern is consistently rated one of the best restaurants in Lisbon…a fact that is widely known. My advice would be to stop by when they open at 6:00PM to put your name in. On a normal night, that means you’ll be able to get in around 8:00 – 9:00PM (normal dinner time for Lisbon).
The restaurant is near Bairro Alto, so there are plenty of great spots to grab caipirinhas and kill and hour or two!
When you do finally get seated, your server will bring a large, handwritten chalkboard menu to your table and explain each option. The options change daily, depending on what’s fresh, so you never know what tasty options will be available on any given night.
I ordered the scallops and tuna tataki, plus a covert with bread and olives. Combined with a glass of wine, my bill was around €33. The food is not cheap and the portions are on the smaller side, but wow that was some of the best food I’ve ever tasted in my life.
Day Five: Belem
It’s the last day of your 5 days in Lisbon! Don’t be sad – this will be another exciting and action-packed Lisbon day of exploring a historic neighborhood called Belém.
Visit the famous UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Torre de Belem, snack on some of the best pasteis de nata in Portugal, and learn tons of history on a free Belem walking tour. Even though it’s your last day in town, it’ll be a day to remember!
Ready? Let’s dive in.
Grab a Historic Pastel de Belém
Start the day off at Pastéis de Belém, the site of the original pasteis de nata.
I’ll let you in on the secret –
There’s no difference between a typical pastel de nata and a pastel de Belém. This pastry shop was the first to invent this delicious custard tart back in the 18th century. When other shops around Lisbon wanted to replicate it, they were banned from using the name “pasteis de Belém” and instead started calling the tasty treats “pasteis de nata.”
Add a little cinnamon on top (like the locals do), and this is one seriously yummy pastry.
P.S. On our Belem walking tour, the guide bought us all pasteis de Belém to try after visiting the Monastery. If you signed up for the tour, I recommend waiting to visit Pastéis de Belém until afterward, so you don’t accidentally repeat.
Have a Tasty Lunch at Andorinhas
Since the tour doesn’t start until 3:00PM, be sure to fuel up beforehand! Andorinhas is an adorable little Portuguese restaurant in the Belem neighborhood, located a short five-minute walk from the tour meeting point.
Be sure to order the Queijo de Azeitao as an appetizer! It’s honestly some of the best cheese I’ve had in my life.
Take a Free Walking Tour of Belem
The best way to learn about this historic Lisbon neighborhood is to hop on a free walking tour of Belem by Sandemans New Europe. Make sure to reserve your spot online ahead of time.
The English tour typically starts at 3:00PM, but there’s also a Spanish tour available at 11:00AM.
Our guide took us to all the highlights: the Jerónimos Monastery, the Torre de Belem, the Padrão dos Descobrimentos, and even bought us all pastries from Pastéis de Belém.
You could easily walk around these monuments by yourself, but it’s so much more enjoyable to learn about the history behind them at the same time.
Don’t forget to tip your tour guide!
Tour the Historic Jerónimos Monastery
If you opt to take the walking tour, you’ll make a stop at the Jerónimos Monastery during the tour. Entrance to the monastery is free, so our guide waited outside while we spent some time exploring the interior.
The construction of the monastery started in 1501, but it took over a century to complete. It was built to honor the Portuguese expansion in the 15th and 16th centuries, and it was originally populated by monks of the Order of Saint Jerome whose full-time jobs were to pray for the King’s soul, along with giving the occasional spiritual guidance to sailors. Today, it’s a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the most visited monuments in Lisbon.
Explore the Torre de Belem
Whether you book the tour or not, you can’t miss out on visiting the Torre de Belem during your 5 days in Lisbon. Built in the 16th century by architect Francisco de Arruda, the Belem Tower was originally a fort to protect Lisbon from raids along the Tagus River. It was also of symbolic significance for sailors, as it marked the beginning of voyages as the last sight of land.
Later in history, the Torre de Belem was used as a lighthouse, and then as a prison for politicians (and a ruthless one at that). For €8.50, you can actually tour the inside of the Belem Tower. Unfortunately, we were so exhausted after a full day of exploring that I flew the drone around it a couple of times and called it a day.
Visit the Padrão dos Descobrimentos
The Padrão dos Descobrimentos, or “Monument to the Discoveries” in English, is much newer than the Torre de Belem and Jerónimos Monastery, but it still deserves a spot on your 5 days in Lisbon itinerary.
This monument was built in 1940 to commemorate the “Exposition of the Portuguese World” and the 500th anniversary of the death of Henry the Navigator (Infante Dom Henrique). For a small fee (€10), you can climb the 170 ft structure and take in the panoramic views from the top.
On the walking tour, your guide will give you tons of interesting information about the Padrão dos Descobrimentos and the real-world symbolism that covers the monument and the grounds beneath it.
Dinner at Casa dos Passarinhos
Since 2018, I’ve stood by the fact that the best steak I’ve ever had in my life came from Il Gatto e La Volpe in Florence. Casa dos Passarinhos might give that fact a run for its money.
I originally sought out this spot to try a traditional Portuguese dish called Alheira – a type of sausage made with meats and bread. While I was eating, the table next to me ordered “naco do lombo na pedra,” which was basically a massive chunk of sirloin served on a hot stone. With an extra stone (so you can split it between two people), this massive and delicious meal only costs €19.95. It came with two different types of aioli on the side, and let me tell you, it was life-changing. I had to come back with my friend to try it for myself.
Try Ginja at A Ginjinha – Espinheira
Every country has a famous alcoholic aperitif to try when you visit. Italy has grappa and limoncello, Greece has ouzo, and Portugal…well Portugal has ginja.
Ginja is a Portuguese liquor that’s made with brandy or fortified wine infused with sour cherries, sugar, and cinnamon. I’ll give the Portuguese credit, it’s a lot tastier than grappa and ouzo (although I’d have to put limoncello in first place).
A Ginjinha was founded in 1840 by Francisco Espinheira and the business has been run by his family for five generations. This hole-in-the-wall shop only serves two things: cherry ginja and regular ginja. For only €1.50 per glass, it’s the best way to try ginja during your time in Portugal. Pro tip: I recommend the cherry.
Extra Things to Do During Your 5 Days in Lisbon
Although you only have 5 days in Lisbon, I had two months to explore and get to know this historic Portuguese city. Naturally, I had time to do a bit more than what would fill a 5 days in Lisbon itinerary…
I recommend browsing the activities below before your Lisbon trip. You never know – one might catch your eye and earn a spot on your Portugal 5 day itinerary!
Book a Relaxing Tagus River Cruise
Whether it’s in Split, Croatia; the Greek islands; or Lisbon, Portugal…we LOVE a boat cruise. On our last day in Portugal, my friend and I decided to book a relaxing Tagus River cruise to drink some wine and take in the beautiful sights on the Lisbon shoreline. Whelp…cue the only rainy fog the city got in the two months I lived there. Our cruise looked like this 👇🏼
But we expected it to look like this 👇🏼
The cruise we booked was affordable, but a bit more crowded than we would have liked. However, for only $28 per person, you get a platter of snacks (including a pastel de nata), a drink, and a two-hour boat cruise – so it’s not a bad option. If you’re willing to splurge a bit during your 5 days in Lisbon, consider booking a catamaran sunset cruise or, like my friends above, a cruise on a private sailboat.
Take in the Views from the Church of Our Lady of Grace
If you’re looking for a hidden gem viewpoint during your 5 days in Lisbon, look no further than my favorite viewpoint – The Church of our Lady of Grace. A €5 ticket will buy you entrance into the spectacular rooftop viewpoint, as well as an included glass of wine! While most of the Lisbon viewpoints were crawling with tourists during sunset, this one was completely empty.
The church is open until 7:00PM, but the last entry is at 6:30PM, so make sure to arrive in time to see the views.
Escape for an Afternoon at the Beach in Costa da Caparica
If you’re searching for some rest and relaxation during your 5 days in Lisbon, consider adding a beach day to your itinerary. Lisbon has no shortage of amazing beaches, and most of them are only a train or bus ride away.
During my first week in Lisbon, my roommate took me to a beautiful beach in Costa da Caparica. We left from Anjos metro station and, one 45-minute bus ride later, we were relaxing in the sun and watching the surfers on a beautiful Portuguese beach. The water was frigid, but other than that it was a fantastic spot for a beach day.
If you’re interested in checking out Lisbon’s beach scene, you might also enjoy Praia do Guincho (great for water sports), Praia do Tamariz (with firework shows every Saturday), or Praia da Ursa (for a secluded, clothing-optional shoreline).
Explore X Factory
What used to be an old industrial complex for textiles, is now one of the trendiest neighborhoods in Lisbon! The once-abandoned warehouses are now home to art studios, bohemian shops, tasty restaurants, and adorable cafes.
If you’re in search of a hipster vibe during your 5 days in Lisbon, look no further than LX Factory. I wouldn’t personally recommend staying in this area, since it’s so far out from the main sites, but it’s definitely worth a €4 Bolt to spend a couple of hours shopping around and exploring.
Shop for Souvenirs
The best souvenirs to take home from your 5 days in Lisbon are painted tiles and cork. You’ll find souvenir shops on every corner selling both, so there’s no shortage of options to satisfy your shopping spree.
Around the corner from my apartment in Alfama, we stumbled upon this adorable handcrafted tile shop. I ended up buying most of my souvenirs here since it was much higher quality than the usual mass-produced items that most of the shops sell.
Cork in Portugal is actually a sustainable material, so don’t feel guilty buying up cork to your heart’s content! It’s actually a renewable material that can go through several life cycles. The Portuguese cork industry has perfected using the entirety of the bark, so there’s almost no waste in the manufacturing process.
Take a Day Trip to Cascais
Other than Sintra, Cascais is the most popular day trip to take from Lisbon. This charming beach resort town is less than an hour away and is filled with fun and interesting things to do. On a day trip to Cascais you can relax on the beautiful beaches, explore the Lighthouse and its museums, take a walk to Boca do Inferno, explore the Cidadela de Cascais, and more!
Unfortunately, I didn’t make it to Cascais during my time in Lisbon. Guess I was too busy downing beers in Munich at Oktoberfest 😜
Have Drinks at the Historic A Brasiliera
If you’re hankering for a drink in Lisbon, why not stop by one of the city’s most historic bars – A Brasiliera? A Brasiliera was opened in 1905 in Chiado by Adriano Telles, a man who married the daughter of the largest coffee producer in Minas Gerais, Brazil. He brought coffee to Lisbon, which at the time was an unknown and unpopular drink in Europe. Telles successfully stirred up interest in the Bica, a very strong espresso, by giving away free samples to patrons in his bar.
Over the years, A Brasiliera attracted many of Portugal’s most famous poets and intellects. In 1988, a bronze statue of the poet Fernando Pessoa was placed outside the bar with an empty chair to his left. Although many tourists sit on the chair to take photos, my local tour guide mentioned that, according to legend, all that sit in the chair will be haunted by a ghost for whom the seat was meant, so proceed with caution!
I only went to A Brasiliera for one drink. Although the bar is historic and a cool spot to visit, the prices are inflated and the service is subpar.
Visit Mercado da Baixa
Mercado da Baixa is a little pop-up market in Praça da Figueira that sells Portuguese cheeses, meats, sangria, ginja, and desserts, as well as jewelry, clothing, and souvenirs. It’s a bit overpriced, but that cheese is still some of the best cheese I’ve ever had in my life – trust me.
Tips for Visiting Lisbon
Now that we’ve discussed things to do with 5 days in Lisbon, it’s time for some helpful tips for visiting Portugal. If you’ve never been to Portugal (or even Europe) before, you’re not going to want to miss these Lisbon travel tips.
Stay Connected During Your 5 Days in Lisbon
First up…internet! This isn’t 1995 anymore, no one travels without it. For travel newbies, the thought of an international SIM can sound incredibly complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. I use Airalo for all my international data needs – and it couldn’t be simpler!
Simply download the app, select your desired package, pay, and follow the installation instructions. Just make sure your phone is unlocked before you leave, or else you might run into some trouble. For data in Portugal, choose one of the packages below:
- Foto Mobil 1 GB for 7 Days
- Foto Mobil 2 GB for 15 Days
- Foto Mobil 3 GB for 30 Days
- Foto Mobil 5 GB for 30 Days
- Foto Mobil 10 GB for 30 Days
- Foto Mobil 20 GB for 30 Days
- MEO 30 GB for 15 Days
Getting To and Around Lisbon
Getting to Lisbon is easy, simply fly into Lisbon Airport (Humberto Delgado Airport LIS) and take a Bolt or Uber into the city center. You can also take public transportation, but with ride-share apps as cheap and easy as they are in Lisbon, I would highly recommend just ordering a car.
Once you’re in Lisbon, I would recommend either walking or booking ride-shares on Bolt and Uber. If you have more than one person in the car, these apps are cheaper than a single-ticket ride on the metro or buses. Plus, they take way less time.
Currency in Portugal
Portugal takes the euro. Make sure to avoid currency conversion shops and Euronet ATMs! I would suggest taking cash out at a bank ATM, preferably one located directly outside of the bank. I always cover my pin number as I enter it and refrain from taking out cash at night unless it’s absolutely necessary (and I’m not alone).
Useful Portuguese Phrases
Hello: Olá (oh-LA)
Good morning: Bom dia (bom DEE-ya)
Good afternoon: Boa tarde (BO-a TAR-de)
Goodbye: Adeus (a-DAY-ush)
Good night: Boa noite (BO-a NOI-te)
Please: Por favor (por fa-VOR)
Thank you: Obrigado (obri-GAH-du)
You’re welcome: De nada (dee NA-da)
No: Não (now)
The Lisbon Card
Since I lived in Lisbon for two months, my visits to historical monuments were very spaced out. For this reason, I never bought The Lisbon Card, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t!
In your 5 days in Lisbon, The Lisbon Card will give you access to 39 monuments (including Fast Track to 12); free transportation on the Lisbon metro, buses, and trams; 5% to 50% discount on certain local services; and 5% to 10% discount in participating stores. They offer three options:
- 24 Hours for €20.90
- 48 Hours for €35.15
- 72 Hours for €43.70
If you’re planning on spending 5 days in Lisbon, The Lisbon Card might be a great option for you.
In conclusion, living in Lisbon was an unforgettable experience.
This city, with its rich history, dynamic culinary scene, and friendly locals, offers something for every type of traveler. Even if you only have 5 days in Lisbon, this city is guaranteed to capture a piece of your heart.
Lisbon’s charm is woven into every street corner, every plate of bacalhau, and every sweet bite of pastel de nata. From yellow tram rides to stunning viewpoints to hole-in-the-wall eateries, each moment was a testament to the city’s uniqueness. Lisbon, with its mix of the old and the new, is a city that invites you to explore, taste, and fall in love with it. So if you’re planning your next Europe trip, consider 5 days in Lisbon. It’s a journey you won’t regret.
5 Days in Lisbon FAQs:
It really depends on your personal preferences and travel style. Some people may find a week in Lisbon to be too long, while others may find it to be the perfect amount of time to explore the city and its surrounding areas. If you enjoy taking things slow, soaking in the local culture, and exploring at a leisurely pace, then a week in Lisbon could be an ideal amount of time for you. However, if you prefer a faster pace and want to visit other cities in Portugal or neighboring countries, then you may want to shorten your stay in Lisbon.
Personally, I found anywhere from 5 days in Lisbon to a week in Lisbon to be the perfect amount of time.
It’s recommended to spend at least 3-5 days in Lisbon to fully experience and appreciate all that the city has to offer. You can easily fill your days with sightseeing, trying new foods, and wandering through charming neighborhoods. However, if you have more time, it’s always nice to have a few extra days for spontaneity or day trips outside of the city.
While 5 days may seem like a short amount of time, it is still possible to visit both Lisbon and Porto in this timeframe. However, keep in mind that you will have limited time in each city and may not be able to fully explore all of their highlights. If you are short on time but still want to experience both cities, consider taking a guided tour or planning your itinerary carefully to make the most of your visit.
To plan a 5 day trip to Portugal, first decide on your must-visit destinations. Lisbon and Porto are popular choices, but there are also many other charming cities and towns to consider, like Lagos and Madeira.
Next, make sure to research transportation options between each destination and book any necessary tickets in advance.
Then, create a rough itinerary for each day, leaving room for flexibility and spontaneity. Don’t forget to also factor in time for meals, relaxation, and potential day trips outside of the cities.
Lastly, make sure to pack appropriately for the season and activities you have planned. With careful planning and a well-rounded itinerary, you can make the most out of your 5 days in Portugal.
The best time of year to visit Lisbon is during the spring (March-May) or fall (September-November). During these months, the weather is mild and pleasant, making it ideal for exploring the city on foot. Additionally, these seasons are considered shoulder seasons, meaning there will be fewer tourists compared to the peak summer months.
However, if you don’t mind crowds, visiting during the summer can also be a great option. Just be prepared for high temperatures and an influx of tourists. Additionally, keep in mind that many businesses and restaurants may close for a few weeks in August, as it is a popular time for locals to go on holiday. Ultimately, the best time to visit Lisbon depends on your preferences and travel style. Regardless of when you choose to go, make sure to plan ahead and book accommodations and tickets in advance as they tend to fill up quickly during peak season.
Lisbon has a Mediterranean climate, with mild winters and hot summers. The city receives plenty of sunshine throughout the year, making it a great year-round destination. The average temperature in winter is around 15°C (59°F), while in summer it can reach up to 30°C (86°F). It’s always a good idea to check the weather forecast before your trip so you can pack accordingly.
Yes, Lisbon is a very walkable city! With its narrow cobblestone streets and charming neighborhoods, it’s the perfect city to explore on foot. Additionally, many of the top attractions are within walking distance from each other. However, be prepared for some steep hills and wear comfortable shoes as Lisbon is known for its hilly terrain. If you prefer not to walk, Ubers and Bolts are extremely cheap to book, or you could get around on Lisbon’s public transportation.
Lisbon offers a diverse culinary scene with influences from Mediterranean, African, and Brazilian cuisine. Some must-try dishes include bacalhau (salted cod), pastel de nata (custard tart), and bifana (a hearty sandwich with pork and garlic). Vegetarians and vegans will also find plenty of delicious options in the city. Don’t forget to try some local wines and port during your stay as well.
Many restaurants in Lisbon serve traditional Portuguese dishes at affordable prices, making it a great city for foodies on a budget. Don’t be afraid to venture off the beaten path and try some hole-in-the-wall eateries for an authentic dining experience. My tour guide says if there are paper tablecloths – the restaurant is authentically Portuguese.
Yes, Uber is available in Lisbon. Other ride-sharing options such as Bolt and Free Now are also available in the city. Taxis are another option for transportation, but they can be more expensive than ride-sharing services.
No, Lyft is not currently available in Lisbon. However, there are several other ride-sharing options such as Uber, Bolt, and Free Now that operate in the city. These services offer a convenient and affordable way to get around Lisbon, especially for travelers who prefer not to walk long distances or use public transportation.