Many of you plan to visit Lisbon in 4 days for your next vacation. During the last decade, Lisbon has become one of the most attractive cities in Europe, due to its pleasant climate, beautiful landscapes, numerous tourist attractions, gastronomy and the kindness of its inhabitants, but also due to its economic and financial opportunities, low cost of living and real estate, relatively low tax pressure.
Visit Lisbon in 4 days: many neighborhoods to explore
Lisbon has many diverse neighborhoods, each with its unique character, but all connected by the Tagus River that runs through the city. Among the famous areas of Lisbon are:
- Alfama, in the old Moorish quarter, near historic buildings like Lisbon's Sé Cathedral and São Jorge Castle
- Baixa, where you'll find stores, cafes and restaurants along Rua Augusta
- Bairro Alto, with its charming cobblestone streets lined with colorful houses
- Chiado, a quiet neighborhood where you can relax.
Day 1: Explore Lisbon inside the famous tramway number 28
Many picturesque streetcars, dating back to the beginning of the 20th century, run through the city streets. Lisbon is the only city in the world with many of its original streetcars still in service.
This vital network of streetcars allows the inhabitants and numerous tourists to move around the city. Streetcar 28 is one of the most famous streetcars and is often used to represent the city, with its yellow and retro style, which makes its charm.
Line 28 has 35 stops, which take passengers on a journey through the city's historic center. It will take you to the main attractions of Lisbon.
To make the most of this fun means of transportation, it's best to use a Viva Viagem 24-hour pass, which you can pick up at Carris's various points of sale, the Lisbon network manager.
Evening 1: Get lost in the alleys of the historic Alfama district, the soul of Lisbon
Alfama represents the traditional neighborhood par excellence, where the soul of the city is found. It is mainly composed of labyrinthine streets and winding alleys. A fascinating place to explore, with countless surprises around every corner.
Within its walls, you can find almost any type of business: flower stores, bookstores and old-fashioned grocery stores, pharmacies, cafes and colorful restaurants.
This setting reflects that during the Moorish rule (from the 8th to the 13th century), part of the Alfama was a large urbanization nucleus with many buildings connected to several thermal springs. These thermal springs are therefore the origin of its name.
The most famous legend about the origin of the name of this neighborhood indicates that it derives from the Arabic word Al-hamma, which means fountains or baths. In the past, Arabs living in this area, known as Moors, used to come here to bathe.
The Alfama was restructured after the Christian reconquest of Lisbon in the 12th century. After the 16th century, new waves of immigrants came to settle in its narrow streets. It became a very poor neighborhood where people lived in misery without running water.
If you feel like tasting the traditional fado music, go to one of the many bars in Alfama, where there are live performances every night. The best time to go is around 9 pm on Thursdays or Fridays when more people gather after work.
You can easily walk to the historic center and the Baixa district from here. Alfama is undoubtedly a neighborhood of Lisbon, full of history and culture.
Day 2: Visit St. George's Castle, and climb to the top to admire the view.
St. George's Castle is one of the most emblematic sites in Lisbon. It was built in the 13th century on top of a hill, which dominates the city and offers visitors an impressive view of Lisbon who will bravely climb it to its top.
The castle has been renovated many times, some parts dating back to the 16th century while others were added during restoration work in the early 20th century. There are also two art galleries inside St. George's Castle, with works by Portuguese artists from all periods.
Evening 2: Taste a Pastéis de nata, the iconic dessert of Portuguese gastronomy
Portuguese cuisine may not be the most famous in the world, but it is clear that they have a nugget in their delicious pasteis de nata. These little pies with cream (more precisely custard) can be a perfect dessert, and a breakfast!
You can find these sweets in bakeries and cafes in downtown Lisbon. But, the most famous ones can be found in an emblematic pastry shop in Belém, near the tower, simply named "Pasteis de Belém".
Beyond these delicious pastries, we must mention a place that has become very attractive in recent years to eat: Time Out Market Lisbon
One of the most popular places to eat in Lisbon, this covered market has an eclectic mix of international food stands. You can take your meal with you, as well as enjoy your meal in the center, on large tables, which makes the place very friendly, at mealtime.
Day 3: See Lisbon's top tourist attraction, the Belém Tower
The Belem Tower is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the city. It was built around 1515 by King Manuel I of Portugal to guard the entrance to the port of Lisbon.
Designed to protect the port, it still stands a few centuries after its construction. This tower reflects the architecture of the Manueline style which approaches the Gothic architecture of northern Europe.
With its narrow spiral staircase leading to the top, it has become an icon of Portuguese culture and is regularly depicted on stamps and postcards.
The view from the top is superb! There is also a small museum inside, which displays artifacts from several centuries ago when Portugal was an empire stretching across much of South America.
Evening 3: Treat yourself to Cascais, a seaside resort near Lisbon
Cascais is a coastal town on the "Portuguese Riviera", 20 minutes from Lisbon. The city enjoys an average of 300 days of sunshine per year. It is a typical city that has kept its charm while modernizing itself. It is famous for its beaches with azure waters and its spectacular cliffs.
Cascais offers visitors picturesque walks (beautiful views of the bay of Cascais from the citadel). Vacationers will find traditional restaurants, luxurious spas and top-notch golf courses.
This little gem has everything from beaches to restaurants if you want to visit Lisbon in 4 days!
Day 4: What to visit in Lisbon? The Hieronymites Monastery
After exploring downtown Lisbon, you might want to combine a visit to the Belem Tower with a visit to the Hieronymites Monastery (Mosteiro dos Jerónimos in Portuguese), which are very close to each other.
What could be better than to visit the Hieronymites Monastery - Lisbon?
It is an ancient monastery whose history dates back to 1265. Its name comes from Saint Jerome, who lived in this area before he died.
There are many things to see here, but the most important thing to see is its cloister, which art historians recognize as one of the most beautiful in the world. This cloister shines by the quality of the stone sculptures, in lace. The walls are covered with scenes from the Old Testament.
To avoid the crowds during the visit, plan to arrive at the entrance around 9:30 am, just after a passage to the Pasteleria de Belem, to buy a Pastei de Nata.
Evening 4: Get on the Santa Justa elevator
Santa Justa, a beautiful old-fashioned elevator with brass fittings and an elegant wrought iron cage, is one of Lisbon's most valuable attractions. Built in 1902 by Raoul Mesnier du Ponsard, it was the first "modern" elevator for passenger transport in Europe. It connects the Baixa pombalina to the Bairro Alto.
The Santa Justa elevator has two glass panels that open vertically on both sides of the cabin, so you can see out while you go up or down by the Largo do Carmo.
The Santa Justa is located about 100 meters from Praça da Figueira.
Visit Lisbon in 4 days: Where to sleep?
Lisbon is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe with many places to discover. Nevertheless, the consequence is that staying in Lisbon is becoming more and more difficult and more and more expensive. Some tips may be useful if you are looking for a place to stay without impacting your budget.
Lisbon has many hostels and hotels within walking distance of tourist highlights such as Cais do Sodre (Sodré Station), Rossio Square. These are all excellent options if your finances are limited or if you want accommodation close to the center of Lisbon.
For other travelers, there are also some excellent 5-star hotels in the Lapa area. The Lapa area is also full of bars and restaurants.
So what are you waiting for? Pack your bags and go there now!
Are there any areas to avoid in Lisbon?
As in all major cities, some areas should be avoided. In Lisbon, the neighborhoods to prevent are mainly : Baixa, Chelas, Cova da Moura, Bairro Alto.
Visit Lisbon in 4 days: summary
- Day 1: Start by taking the famous streetcar number 28
- Evening 1: Take the opportunity to visit the historical district of Alfama
- Day 2: Visit the Saint George's Castle
- Evening 2: Taste a Pastéis de nata
- Day 3: Go to the Belém Tower
- Evening 3: Visit the seaside resort of Cascais
- Day 4: Visit the Hieronymites Monastery
- Evening 4: Ride the famous Santa Justa elevator