Yet here comes another issue of my 24 hours in-itineraries – this time we are spending a day in Lisbon.
If you are on your way to one of Portugal’s fantastic beaches or on a road trip through Europe or flying for instance to Cape Verde, chances are that you have to fly TAP. Aaccording to my experience, it is a pretty flighty – no pun intended – airline. Hence you better be prepared for a stopover in Lisbon.
Obviously, as almost any other city, Lisbon has far more to offer than you can squeeze into 24 hours.
I was keen to find as many sights as possible located in one area so that you don’t have to travel crisscross town. Therefore, I chose a hotel right next to Rossio station. Here, a shuttle bus and the metro connect the city with the airport.
Euro (EUR) / 1 EUR = 1 US$ as of November 2022 / current rate
(At this number you also reach a service center that can redirect you to other help centers)
Lisbon Airport / IATA-Code: LIS
Tourist Info Online and Onsite
Getting Downtown and Back
I am a frequent traveller, therefore I do hang out at different airports a lot. This being said, the airport of Lisbon is among my favorites since it’s welcoming and comfortable. Also, there is a lot to see and do.
And if you still get bored, you can access the city center easily. Just take Aerobus Line 1 straight to Rossio station. In any case, if you don’t stay the night, you can buy a ticket for € 3,60 which is good for 24 hours. However, only on the Aerobus, not on other transport like buses or the metro.
Yet, if you do stay overnight and want to follow my itinerary, you better get the Via Viagem for € 6,40. Then you can take the metro from the airport to Alameda station. There you change to the green line down to Rossio station.
Once you’re in the center, it’s still very easy to get around. The cheapest way is to get a Lisboa Card for 24 hours for 20 €. If you happen to stay longer, it’s also available for 48 hours for 34 € and for 72 hours for only € 42.
With this card, you can use all public transport for free and you have free or discounted access to many museums and landmarks. It’s definitely worth it if you are following the rainy-day itinerary. If you need just a ticket because you won’t go to so many museums, the Via Viagem card is your best option. For 24 hours of unlimited rides on public transport – airport included – you pay only € 6,40.
I think Lisbon likes its visitors and wants them to feel comfortable. What other reason could there be for the super-easy getting around?! Not only is there the fast and convenient bus from the airport going downtown alongside many places of interest. There is also the legendary tram #28 taking the visitor to many landmarks – for even not a hand full of Euros.
But as a matter of fact, you can walk in about 20 minutes from the below-suggested hotel to one of the most iconic places, the Castelo de São Jorge. Interestingly, it was built by the Moors in the mid of the 11th century.
In 1147 Dom Afonso Henriques conquered Lisbon to become the first king of Portugal. From then on the castle experienced glamorous and colorful times being home to Portuguese royalties. Today there is the archeological site along with galleries showing exhibits from great epochs. Actually, visiting this landmark is a good plan whether rain or shine since there is so much to see inside as well as outside.
The citadel is open from November to February between 9 a. m. and 6 p. m.
From March to October they open from 9 a. m. to 9 p. m.
Visiting the Castelo de São Jorge is only one of many great opportunities to have a breathtaking view of the city.
Want more views?
Easy peasy: There are the Miradouro de Santa Luzia or the Largo do São Vicente located even a bit closer to the Tejo river. Hence, the perfect photo spot!
Hop on the Tram
After all this walking and climbing you should take a break and see the city on the famous tram #28.
Riding one of these beautiful old carts will make you feel like being on an old-fashioned roller coaster. Although today, mainly tourists use these trams, it’s great fun going up and down the seven hills the city was built on and awe at how the vehicle squeezes through narrow alleys.
If you take the tram at the Miradouro, just sit down, lean back, and relax. If you find a seat, that is. You are going to the very last stop, Campo Ourique.
And just in case: Here you find the schedule and here you can follow the route on a map.
The last stop of the morning program was the last stop of many. It’s the Cemitério dos Prazeres, literally translated as the ‘cemetery of joy’.
Like many South European cemeteries, also the Cemitério almost resembles a small town with little ‘houses’ along straight alleys; very much like for instance the Père Lachaise cemetery in Paris. Especially on a hot day, it’s a…joy to walk in the shade under the big trees and admire the elaborate architecture and decoration of the tombs.
Due to its size, you can hardly miss Pedro de Sousa Holstein’s family grave. Said to be the largest of its kind in Europe, its design was inspired by the Egyptian pyramids it houses more than 200 family members.
Cemitério dos Prazeres
Praça São João Bosco
Phone: + 351 -213 -96 15 11
In a city like Lisbon with its colorful and rich past, you certainly won’t get bored on a rainy day.
Let’s get to one of the most complete, interesting, and precious exhibition venues in Lisbon. The Calouste Gulbenkian Museum is close to Praça de Espanha. This huge complex is surrounded by a lush garden. Inside, you’ll get to see the Founder’s collection, the modern collection, and special exhibitions on a regular basis. Thus, there are also other arts and many great activities – it’s a wonderful place.
When I say that the upbringing and life of the patron Calouste Gulbenkian are even more interesting and varied than his collection than it’s with all due respect to the fantastic treasures that he brought together.
It’s just that his course of life taking place in almost every European and Oriental country is so exciting.
Citizen of the World
Born in Istanbul (then Constantinople) in 1869, and educated in Marseille, London, and Baku, he considered himself being a “business architect”. Actually, he was consulting and connecting oil companies not only in Europe, but also i. a. in Iraq, South Africa, and Australia.
After acquiring British citizenship, he also lived in Paris, and finally moved to Lisbon where he died in 1955 leaving an incredible fortune. Since this went both to France and Portugal, long negotiations took place before all the personal art treasures could be sent to Portugal. Now they are on display at the museum’s Founder’s Collection.
To get to this fantastic venue take the green metro line from Rossio station to Baixa-Chiado. There you change to the purple line going up towards Reboleira. Get off at Praça de Espanha.
The exhibition is open Wednesday to Monday from 10 a. m. to 6 p. m.
Whether rain or shine – no visit to Lisbon is complete without riding tram #28.
Just go back by metro from Praça de Espanha to Baixa-Chiado. Here you can catch the metro’s less modern but much more charming cousin.
Don’t forget to get off at Estrela station, lunch is waiting.
Padaria do povo – the people’s bakery – this might not sound like a place where you get a sumptuous meal.
But you’ll definitely be surprised. They serve a nice lunch with veggie soups made from scratch, salads, and fish for about 7 €. The most charming part is the setting at this historical padaria that has been there for over a hundred years.
Besides cooking with love, the ‘bakers’ are putting together an attractive show program; keep it in mind for your next stay in Lisbon.
Padaria do Povo
Rua Luís Derouet, 20-A
Phone: + 351 – 21 – 362 04 64
The padaria is open Monday to Friday from 12 p. m. to 1 a. m. (Friday 2 a. m.), Weekends 3 p. m. to 1 a. m. (Sunday 2 a. m.)
A nice way to spend a hot afternoon in Lisbon is at one of the many parks.
It allows you to relax in the shade under the trees, watching people walk by.
Now that you’re already in the neighborhood, turn left into Rua Coelho da Rocha. At the traffic circle, you walk down Rua da Estrela which brings you straight to the Jardim, the park.
In the morning, you have the chance to cross the ‘Cemitério Ingles’, the English cemetery. This graveyard was founded only in the early 18th century as the final resting place for non-catholic British nationals. Today, there are also Catholics buried here. Unfortunately, this nice, a bit savage yard is open only till 1 p. m.
But the beautiful, serene Jardim da Estrela is awaiting you. With lush meadows, exotic plants, a duck pond, and many relaxing places, it is a great place to hang out. As a matter of fact, it is my favorite park in Lisbon.
If you need even more shade, just cross to the Basilica da Estrela and enjoy the pompousness of its interior. This magnificent basilica, built in baroque and neo-classicist style, can be visited daily from 8.45 a. m. to 8 p. m.
Amoreiras – More Than Just a Park
Another atmospheric park is the Jardim das Amoreiras, also known as Jardim Marcelino Mesquita East of Jardim da Estrela.
To get there, go to the Northern tip of Estrela Park and just walk down Avenida Álvares Cabral.
This Jardim is a paradise for tree lovers (and huggers) because it’s named after the 331 mulberry trees that Marquês de Pombal planted here where his silk factory was to promote the Portuguese silk industry.
Besides the mulberries and many other trees, there are even ginkgos and banana trees at the park. The park’s second name derives from the writer and dramaturg Marcelino Mesquita.
Since you are at the Praça das Amoreiras, you should pay the small Capela de Nossa Senhora de Monserrate church a visit: It stands beneath one of the arches of the aqueducts close to the Mãe d’Água das Amoreiras reservoir (which, by the way, is worth a peek, too).
Phew, enough parks and churches, I bet by now you’re ready for dinner and I’m afraid you might be too tired walking the mile to the Clube de Jornalistas restaurant, so just hop on the bus No. 713 at Jardim de Amoreiras (towards Estação de Campolide) and get off at Rua Buenos Aires. From there it’s a fine minute’s walk South.
To get to another Cockaigne of contemporary Portuguese art, the Museu Nacional de Arte Contemporânea / Chiado museum, you simply take tram #28 at Rua Saraiva de Carvalho again (towards Martim Moniz).
Then, you get off at Rua Vítor Cordon – and you’re right there in the heart of the Chiado district, a few steps away from the venue.
Since 1994, the museum’s temporary exhibitions along with the permanent collection are housed in the former Convent of Sao Francisco which makes the visit to this collection being founded back in 1911 extra interesting.
If it’s not raining too hard, you should at least see one of Lisbon’s many idyllic parks.
To get to the Jardim das Amoreiras, walk from the Chiado to Rua do Alecrim station (Rua Serpa Pinto South, then turn right into Rua Ferragial, the stop is at the other end), take the bus No. 758 towards Portas de Benfica and get off at Rato station. From there you walk about five minutes down Calçada Bento da Rocha Cabral to get the mulberry park.
You’ll find some explanations about the park and the adjacent Capela de Nossa Senhora de Monserrate above in the sunny day itinerary, as well as directions to get to the restaurant where dinner’s waiting for you.
Clube de Jornalistas – the journalists’ club, that sounds fancy and expensive; if you are even admitted!?
Wrong: It’s a very pleasant place with excellent cuisine, and nice service, but the slightly pretentious presentation seems to be rather ironic.
However, compared to Portuguese standards, the Clube is more expensive, not in comparison to other cities, though; and the quality is definitely worth every cent.
The restaurant is open from Monday to Saturday 12:30 p. m. to 2:30 p. m. and 7:30 p. m. to 12:30 a. m.
Now the nightcap I’ve chosen for you is really special.
Enjoying a chilled glass of Vinho Verde, the famous, light Portuguese wine, you can listen to some Fado, the intense, melancholic chants – one of the most important national treasures.
After all, I’ve heard, Senhor Vinho is famous for its Fado – not for the food…but you had dinner before, so – enjoy the wistful concert.
To get to this joint from the Clube, just walk down Rua das Trinas, turn left into Rua das Praças and right into Rua Meio à Lapa – it’s two minutes!
To get back to the Feels Like Home Rossio Prime Suites*, take bus No. 714 at Santos-o-Velho to the final stop Praça da Figueira. From there you can walk to your hotel in about two minutes.
Especially if you are on a layover and need to get back to the airport in the early morning, staying close to Rossio station is really smart.
Especially since around this spot, you have more than just one option in case something should go wrong with the Airport Bus.
When you stay at the Feels Like Home Rossio Prime Suites*, you can even use the hotel’s shuttle service to the airport so you definitely won’t miss your flight.
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Note: I’m completing, editing, and updating this post regularly – last in November 2022.
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