24 hours in…LISBON

(Last Update Mai 2019)

Yet here comes another issue of my “24 hours in…” category – this time we are spending a day in Lisbon. If you are going e. g. to Cape Verde, chances are that you have to fly TAP, according to my experience a pretty flighty – no pun intended – airline. Hence you better be prepared for a stopover in Lisbon.

I’ve started this series because flying at cheap prices often requires longer stopovers in different cities, and instead of thinking of this involuntary stay as a drag, you can transform it into a short extra-vacation. Of course these itineraries – one for a sunny and an alternative for a rainy day – are great not only for layovers but for any kind of a brief stay, e. g. when you’re on your way to one of Portugal’s fantastic beaches or on a road trip through Europe.


View from the top of Arco da Rua Augusta on the Praça do Comércio.


Like almost any other city Lisbon has far more to offer than you can squeeze in 24 hours, hence, of course, these itineraries are always just a ‘filler’ – although a pleasant and quite complete one.

I was keen to find as many sights as possible located in one spot so that you don’t have to travel crisscross town, and the hotel is right next to Rossio station where a shuttle bus and the metro connects the city with the airport.

?  Local Currency:


Euro (EUR) / 1 EUR = 1.12 US$ (May 2019) / current rate


?    Emergency Hotline:

Police 112
(At this number you also reach a service center that can redirect you to other help centers)


?    National Airline:

TAP Portugal


?    Airports:

Lisbon Airport / IATA-Code: LIS


?    Tourist Info online and onsite:

Turismo de Lisboa Visitors & Convention Bureau
Rua do Arsenal, 21
1100-038 Lisboa
Phone: + 351 – 210 – 312 700
Email: atl@visitlisboa.com 


?    Getting Downtown and Back

I am a frequent traveller, therefore I do hang out at different airports a lot, and the airport of Lisbon is among my favorites. It’s comfortable, there is a lot to see and to do – and if you still get bored, you can access the city center easily: Just take Aerobus Line 1 straight to Rossio station. If you don’t stay the night, you can buy a ticket for € 3,60 which is good for 24 hours, but only on the Aerobus, not on other transport like buses or the metro. If you stay overnight and want to follow my itinerary, you better get the Via Viagem for € 6,15. Then you can take the metro from the airport to Alameda station and 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 € (Yeyii – finally a city where you can get a tourist card for only 24 hours. But if you are staying 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 (see above) is your best option. For 24 hours of unlimited rides on public transport – airport included – you pay only € 6,40.


?    Morning Activities


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 along many places of interest – at a really cheap price; there is also the legendary tram #28 taking the visitor to many landmarks – for even not a hand full of Euros.

Feeling like the proverbial King of the hill…overlooking
one of Europe’s most vibrant cities.
(Photo: © Turismo de Lisboa)

But as a matter of fact, you can walk in about 20 minutes from the below suggested hotel – or any other accommodation in the Rossio district – to one of the most iconic places, the Castelo de São Jorge, interestingly 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 in- and outside.

Castelo de São Jorge
1100 129 Lisboa
Phone:  + 351 – 218 – 80 06 20
Email:  info@castelodesaojorge.pt


The citadel is open November to February from 9 a. m. to 6 p. m. and March to October from 9 a. m. to 9 p. m.


View from the Largo do São Vicente over Lisbon to river Tejo.

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!



The legendary tram #28 rattling across Largo do São Vicente.

After all this walking and climbing you should take a break and see the city from 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 tourist use these trams, it’s great fun going up and down the seven hills the city was built on and 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.


Way to go – the Cemitério dos Prazeres is one of the most
beautiful graveyards I’ve seen.

The last stop of the morning program was the last stop of many – it’s the Cemitério dos Prazeres, literally translated the ‘cemetery of joy’.

Like many South European cemeteries, 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 elaborated architecture and decoration of the tombs.

Due to its size, you can hardly miss Pedro de Sousa Holstein’s family grave which is said to be the largest of its kind in Europe. Inspired i. a. by the Egyptian pyramids it houses more than 200 family members.

Cemitério dos Prazeres
Praça São João Bosco
1350-297 Lisboa
Phone: + 351 -213 -96 15 11
Email: cemiterio.prazeres@cm-lisboa.pt 


⛈    Morning Activities

At a city like Lisbon with its colorful and rich past, you certainly won’t get bored on a rainy day. 

Calouste Gulbenkian Museum
This is the modern part of the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum,
housing mainly Portuguese modern and contemporary art, but
also some international artists.
(Photo: Calouste Gulbenkian Museum)

Let’s get to one of the most complete, interesting, and precious exhibition venues in Lisbon: to the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum close to Praça de Espanha. It’s a huge complex in a lush garden consisting i. a. of 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.


This is from the Calouste Gulbenkian Collection, in the
patron’s honor an Armenian bowl.
(Photo: Calouste Gulbenkian Museum)

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: born in Istanbul (then Constantinople) in 1869, educated in Marseille, London, and Baku, he considered himself being a “business architect”, consulting and connecting oil companies not only in Europe, but also i. a.  in Iraq, South Africa, and Australia. He acquired the British citizenship, lived also in Paris, and finally moved to Lisbon where he died in 1955 leaving an incredible fortune – both in France and Portugal. Therefore long negotiations took place before all the personal art treasure could be sent to Portugal and are now 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 and change there to the purple line going up towards Reboleira and get off at Praça de Espanha.

Calouste Gulbenkian Museum 
Avenida de Berna, 45A
1067-001 Lisboa
Phone: + 351 – 217 . 823 000
Email: info@gulbenkian.pt

The exhibition is open Wednesday to Monday 10 a. m. to 6 p. m.

The iconic tram #28 coming around the
corner at Sé de Lisboa cathedral

If rain or shine – no visit to Lisbon is complete without riding the tram #28.

Just go back by metro from Praça de Espanha to Baixa-Chiado, where 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.

And just in case: Here you find the schedule and here you can follow the route on a map.


?     Lunch

Whether you need a set menu or just a light lunch snack –
you will certainly enjoy a noonish break at the padaria.

Padaria do povo – the people’s bakery – this might not sound like a place where you get a sumptuous meal, but you’ll 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
1250-153 Lisboa
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.)

?    Afternoon Activities

View of the Basilica da Estrela from the Jardim.

A nice way to spend a hot afternoon in Lisbon is at one of the many parks, relaxing in the shade under the trees, watching people walk by.

Now that you’re already in the neighborhood, just walk down Rua Luís Derouet and turn left into Rua Coelho da Rocha. At the traffic circle, you walk down Rua da Estrela that brings you straight to the Jardim, the park.

In the morning, you have the chance to cross the ‘Cemitério Ingles’, the English cemetery, founded only in the early 18th century as the final resting place for non-catholic British nationals (nowadays there are also Catholics buried here), but 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 to hang out. 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.


Idyllic Parque das Amoreiras.

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 the Estrela Park next to the João de Deus museum 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 walk South.


⛈    Afternoon Activities

The Museu do Chiado welcomes you with this dramatically
arranged presentation – before you can even buy a ticket.

To get to another Cockaigne of contemporary Portuguese art, the Museu Nacional de Arte Contemporânea / Chiado museum, you simply take the tram #28 at Rua Saraiva de Carvalho again (towards Martim Moniz) and 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.

Museu Nacional de Arte Contemporânea do Chiado 
Rua Serpa Pinto 4
1200 444 Lisbon
Phone: + 351 – 213 – 43 21 48
Email: museuchiado@mnac.dgpc.pt


The Capela de Nossa Senhora de Monserrate at its ‘shelter’
under the old aquadukt.

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.


?    Dinner

Bacalhau in many different variations is Portugal’s
national dish.

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, nice service, 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.

Clube de Jornalistas

Rua das Trinas 129
1200-857 Lisboa
Phone: + 351 – 21 – 397 71 38 and + 351 – 91 – 330 49 34
Email: info@restauranteclubedejornalistas.com

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.

?   Nightcap

No Lisbon visit is complete without
weeping into a glass of vinho verde
over a melancholic Fado.
(Photo: © Turismo de Lisboa)

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 the 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!

Senhor Vinho
Rue Meio à Lapa 18
1200-724 Lisboa
Phone: + 351 -21 -397 26 81

Email: reservas@srvinho.com

To get back to your accommodation at Rossio, 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.


?    Accommodation

Lisbon’s central point Praça Dom Pedro IV – aka Praça Rossio

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 very sensible, especially since here you have more than one option in case something should go wrong with the Airport Bus; even the hotel itself offers a shuttle service to the airport so you definitely won’t miss your flight.

Feels Like Home Rossio Prime Suites
Rua Barros Queiros 47
1110-076 Lisboa
Phone: + 351 – 213 – 42 09 07
Email: rossioprimesuites@feelslikehome.pt

Staying longer in Lisbon or taking a trip to other Portuguese destinations as well?

Get some inspiration and info from these ‘Whistle Stops’ on my railroad trip.

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15 Replies to “24 hours in…LISBON”

  1. Great plan, albeit quite ambitious for one day. I would for sure ride the trolley and hit up the Castelo and cemetery. And then I'd try to do everything else!!!

  2. …and I would try to go their on a rainy day to enjoy the Gulbenkian; there's definitely too much to see for 24hrs. But look at it like a buffet: You pick what you like.
    Thanx for your input, though – and many happy travels!

  3. This makes me want to book another trip to Lisbon. Looks like you had a very productive day in the city.

  4. I love how you cram so much into each of those 24 hours, from Fado and the wriggling, rattling tram to less familiar spots. We're lucky to have friends in Lisbon, so we get to see this beautiful city from their perspective. I definitely want to go back soon!

  5. Portugal- especially Lisbon- is a dream of mine! I don't know if I would be satisfied with just one day, but you sure packed a LOT in to a short trip!!

  6. Lisbon has been on our list for a while now. This is a helpful guide to visit and explore the city. Will save this post for our planning.

  7. That was such a detailed post. Covered a lot in a short period of time. Thanks for sharing this

  8. I must admit, I didn't see any of the museums on my last trip to Lisbon. Reading this brought back great memories for me, it's such a vibrant city.

  9. This is a great guide to 24 hours in Lisbon. We visited Lisbon for 3 days last year and loved the city. There's so much to see and do that we couldn't fir it all in. but I think you've suggested some great places for a short layover in the city!

  10. I haven't visited Portugal yet, but it's at the top of my list after I relocated with my future husband. Yesterday I wrote about Portugal's travel costs and all the research I did helped me see what a great destination it is for budget travelers like ourselves.

  11. Whenever I saw a picture of that yellow and white tram, I knew it's in Lisbon. But this is the first time I read about the iconic tram #28.

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