If you follow me on social media, mainly Instagram, you might know that I have recently been traveling in Spain and Portugal.

When I was in Lisbon, I didn't have a lot of time and I felt like there was so much that I wanted to see. I searched for some online itineraries and I really just wanted one that was like a schedule, with specific times and time intervals for things to guarantee that I could see everything that I wanted to see. I ended up not being able to find an itinerary that I really liked, so I had to form my own by doing lots of research.

Here was the travel itinerary that I formed while exploring Lisbon, but modified with a little bit of hindsight from what I learned would work best based off of my experience. If you are traveling to Lisbon, I encourage you to use this as a resource for forming your own travel itinerary. I don't expect you to follow it perfectly, as this has been customized towards what I valued seeing most, but I think it's a good starting point if you're planning on traveling to Lisbon.

8:00 AM | Ride Tram 12 or 28

The tram is one of the icons of Lisbon, similar to a San Francisco trolley. It's on all kinds of travel sites as a must do, as it's a fun way to see the city's main tourist attractions. However, it is very touristy and you may end up crammed in a tram without any view due to the large numbers of tourists. 

Tram number 12 in Lisbon, Portugal
Tram number 28 is the most popular tram for tourists, but can get very crowded. At 9am, I saw a completely full tram number 28 and later in the day, there were long lines. Some tourists online said that they had to wait about 45 minutes to get a spot on the tram. 

Read more: Lisbon Tram 28 Guide - lisbonlisboaportugal.com

If you want something that is quicker and less packed with tourists, the number 12 tram takes a similar route to the 28 but is shorter and sees fewer of the main attractions. This is the tram that I took. I aimed to take the tram around 8 am, but ended up being late and didn't catch the tram until around 9 am since I had to buy tickets and wait for the next tram. I boarded at Praça da Figueira, which is located right by the Rossio metro station. When I boarded the tram, there were only 2 other people on it at the time, so it was super private and nice because I didn't have to worry about pickpockets. The ride was about 15-20 minutes long to go around the whole loop and return to Praça de Figueria.

Regardless of which tram number (12 or 28) you take, you will ride in one of the Remodelado trams like the one pictured, which are the cutesy traditional trams. 

How to buy tickets for the tram:

  • Option one: Go to the metro station and purchase a via viagem card (€0.50) and put a ticket on it (€1.45)
  • Option two: Purchase tickets on the tram (€2.90)
  • Option three: Purchase a 24-hour public transport ticket (€6.15) which includes all metro and bus fares

If you decide to follow this itinerary exactly, I advise you to purchase a via viagem card (€0.50) and put 3 tickets on it (€1.45 x 3) which is slightly cheaper than the 24 hour transport ticket. 

9:30 AM | Breakfast in Rossio Square

Rossio Square in Lisbon, Portugal
Rossio Square
Rossio Square is home to lots of delicious pastry shops. I personally wasn't a big fan of Portuguese food, but I did really enjoy the pastries. In Rossio Square, I visited two pastry shops: Pastelaria Suiça and Confeitaria Nacional. They were both delicious. However, I think that Confeitaria Nacional has more of the complex and fancier pastries while Pastelaria Suiça has more of the classic pastries.

When you eat breakfast in Rossio Square, I recommend that you eat outside so you can enjoy the view of the square. 

pastries and coffee at the Pastelaria Suiça in Lisbon
Pastelaria Suiça

10:15 AM | Explore Martim Moniz, Alfama, and Castelo de São Jorge

Castelo Sao Jorge over Portuguese buildings
This seems broad, but exploring these areas is a "choose your own adventure" kind of thing. All of these places have lots of different shops to stop into and great places to take photos and take in the tiles and pastel buildings. While exploring, check out the Santa Luzia Cathedral for a city view and search for the great lookout points that these areas all have.

I didn't have a lot of time to explore these areas more in depth, but if I had more time, I would go into the Castelo de São Jorge, which I didn't have a chance to do, I only looked from the outside, and maybe visit the the Azulejos musuem, which is a museum of the Portuguese tiles.

1:00 PM | Check Out Praça do Comércio and Baixa-Chiado

The Praça do Comércio has picturesque yellow buildings, an arch, and statue. Additionally, it's by the water, which makes it even prettier. Conclude your explorations for the morning around here and venture to Baixa-Chiado where there are lots of restaurants.

Praça do Comércio in Lisbon, Portugal
Praça do Comércio
There's lots of restaurants around the Baixa-Chiado area, so you can explore here and pick whatever kind of food that you're in the mood for. I tried out the codfish cakes at lunch, which I felt were pretty similar to Spanish croquettes, but with a more structure in the filling (less mushy).

2:30 PM | Take the Number 15 Tram to Belém

The number 15 tram runs from Praça do Comércio to Belém in approximately 20-30 minutes. The way that you purchase tickets for the tram is the same way as buying tickets for number 12 or 28.

3:00 PM | Explore Belém

There are quite a few things that you can visit in Belém that makes the ride away from Lisbon worth it. Here are a few of them.

A visit to Pastéis de Belém (also called Antiga Confeitaria de Belém)

Pastéis de Belém or Antigua Confeitaria de Belém by Lisbon, Portugal
This bakery is the bakery that in 1837 originally made the famous pastel de nata seen in Portuguese bakeries. If you don't know what a pastel de nata is, it's basically a custard tart. The shell is flaky, almost croissant-like, and the inside is a thick and sweet egg custard.

From the outside, there are long lines that make it seem like there will be a long wait, but it only takes a quick 15 minutes to get in and out if you get your pastries to go. The staff is quick and efficient, which I was pleasantly surprised by. You can sit down and get served, but it's much quicker to get to go and find somewhere to sit or stand outside to eat. Make sure to eat the Pastéis de Belém while it's hot, it's much more delicious then.

Jerónimos Monastery in Belem, Portugal
Jerónimos Monastery

Jerónimos Monastery

The Jerónimos Monastery is huge and doesn't look like a monastery from far due to its size and stature. I didn't go into the monastery since I've seen a lot of cathedrals, churches, and religious buildings while traveling, making it less appealing considering the number that I had visited previously and I also didn't have enough time. Regardless, I did get a chance to see the outside.

Tower of Belém

Buy your tickets online because the line can be long. I didn't, causing me to wait about 45 minutes. Even if you buy your tickets in advance, you can still expect a little bit of waiting, since they regulate the number of people inside the tower. Note that they stop allowing people in at 5:00pm.

Tower of Belém in Portugal
Tower of Belém
You can probably see the whole tower in about 30 minutes, it took me only about 20 minutes, but that's because I was speedy. From the tower, there's a pretty nice view, but you will have to go up some steps in a narrow staircase. It's a one way staircase with some confusing arrows and directions that you need to follow, so read the instructions before dashing up the staircase.

6:00 PM | Tram Ride Returning to Lisbon

Take tram number 15 again back to Lisbon.

6:30 PM | Rest at Hotel

This part is up to you, but after a day of rushing around, I would prefer to take a rest, which is exactly what I did. If you're following this itinerary, you are free to substitute this time period with seeing something else, but I think that it's nice to refresh and stop with the fast pace for even just a little while.

9:00 PM | Dinner in Bairro Alto

Bairro Alto has a ton of restaurants and bars and comes to life at night. When I was in Bairro Alto, it was the day before Portugal day and also a Saturday night, making it extra lively. You have so many restaurant and bar options here that it's not necessary to do much prior research for where to eat/drink. There also may be live music in many bars and restaurants in this area if you're looking for some entertainment.

24 Hours in Lisbon

No comments: