Spending 4 days in Lisbon isn’t enough to visit all beautiful nooks and crannies of this city on the European shores of the Atlantic Ocean. Nevertheless, a well-thought 4-days Lisbon itinerary can be a great way to get acquainted to the vibrant Portuguese culture and to the laid-back lifestyle of these people.
Before deciding on your 4 days in Lisbon itinerary, you should rather think about the type of things you like doing while visiting places. Are you a history buff or a photographer? Your best Lisbon itinerary won’t be similar to the one of a gourmet food and wine lover. You can easily fill your 3 or 4 days in Lisbon (Lisboa in Portuguese) with museum visits, food tours, cooking classes, hills climbing and day trips to some of the neighboring towns such as Belem, Cascais, Sintra, Mafra, Ericeira, Estoril, and Obidos.
Lisbon is a great base for exploring the surrounding region. Even if you can only spend four days in this city, consider taking a day trip to nearby Sintra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its stunning castles and palaces.
The Algarve, a region on the southern coast of Portugal known for its beautiful beaches and outdoor activities, is another great idea for a day trip from Lisbon, but I’d rather do it as part of a longer Portugal itinerary. Porto, another lovely city, is at less than four hours distance by fast train. However, for the first time in Lisbon, I’d leave aside remote places and focus instead on the city and its immediate surroundings.
What You'll Read About
- The Lisbon Card
- 4 Days in Lisbon – Day 1 – Alfama, Castle of Sao Jorge, Bairro Alto, Tram 28, Miradouros de Lisboa
- 4 Days in Lisbon – Day 2 – Belem, Time Out Market, Baixa, Chiado
- 4 Days in Lisbon – Day 3 – Sintra
- 4 Days in Lisbon – Day 4 – Ponte 25 de Abril, Cacilhas, Almada and Santuario de Cristo Rei
- Are 4 Days in Lisbon Enough?
The Lisbon Card
To start with, I’d recommend that you reserve your Lisbon Card here. The Lisbon card is a 24, 48 or 72-hour pass that grants you unlimited access to the public transport system, free admission to some tourist spots and discounts at some others. Click here to see the list of Lisbon attractions that are free with this card. There are way more than you can visit in three days.
4 Days in Lisbon – Day 1 – Alfama, Castle of Sao Jorge, Bairro Alto, Tram 28, Miradouros de Lisboa
Your first day in Lisbon can start with a stroll on the cobbled streets of Alfama, the oldest neighborhood of Portugal’s capital city. Climb your way to the São Jorge Castle or simply enjoy the beauty of the narrow streets, take photos and have a coffee and a Pastel de Nata (or three).
Next, you can take Tram 28 for a scenic ride through central Lisbon. These tiny streetcars are very beautiful, but they can get very crowded. I preferred to take photos and walk rather than riding them. However, trams aren’t special to me, as I come from a city that uses plenty of them. You, on the other hand, could enjoy this ride a lot.
Tram ride or walk, once you’re done with it, head over to Bairro Alto, another scenic neighborhood of Lisbon. Here you can ride the Bica Funicular, visit the Sao Roque Church and climb to the top of Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara. Click here to book a guided walking tour of these neighborhoods at the price of today, Monday, January 30th 2023.
Lisbon is built on hills. On top of many of these hills you’ll find viewpoints, also known as miradouros, with chairs, lounges and small coffee shops. Locals and tourists climb to these miradouros just before dawn to enjoy lovely sunsets over the amazing rooftops of Lisbon.
If you only have four days to spend in Lisbon, it’s best to choose accommodation in the city center. I stayed at this Apartamento Zen en pleno Centro de Lisboa. While it isn’t exactly in the city center, it is at 15-20 minutes’ walking from Rossio Square or at 5 minutes by subway. It is a great choice and a great value for money. I highly recommend it. This apartment is near two metro stations on the green line, Anjos and Arroios.
From Arroios metro station, you can start your itinerary by walking along Almirante Reis Avenue (towards the city center), then turn left on Marques da Silva Street and climb to the Miradouro da Penha de França. This scenic spot offers beautiful sunset views of Lisbon and of Vasco da Gama bridge.
Follow the street to descend until you meet Rua da Penha de França. Walk along until you meet a crossroad, then take Heliodoro Salgado street and turn right on the first narrow alley you’ll encounter. This will take you straight to the top of another hill, Miradouro do Monte Agudo, a viewpoint with a small bar and several lounges.
Miradouro da Senhora do Monte is the next in line in this first day of your Lisbon itinerary. This is the best place to watch the sunset over the Tagus river. You’ll surely find lots of other people here, some of them tourists, others locals. Performing artists come here to play music. I love the vibe of this scenic spot in Lisbon!
If you aren’t tired just yet, you can check out two other viewpoints nearby, Miradouro dos Barros and Miradouro da Graca.
4 Days in Lisbon – Day 2 – Belem, Time Out Market, Baixa, Chiado
On the second day of your 4 days in Lisbon, take the metro (Green Line) to Cais do Sodre. Have your morning coffee at the Pasteis de Nata shop just outside the market, then take the train to Belem.
Belem is a remote district of Lisbon that spreads alongside the Tagus riverbank. Belem’s promenade is a lovely place to spend at least a few hours. You can visit Torre de Belem, a 16th century construction that served military purposes. Here’s the point where Portuguese explorers would embark and disembark.
The Belem Tower is a UNESCO Heritage Site. This medieval defensive tower is worth a visit, even though it can be too crowded at times. Click here to buy your Torre de Belem ticket online. This will help you save time, as you’ll skip the line at the tickets kiosk in Belem.
Another tourist objective in Belem is the Padrao dos Descobriementos, a concrete monument erected to honor the memory of maritime explorers. You can climb to the top terrace to enjoy panoramic views of Tagus River and Lisbon.
Next, head over to Lisbon, following the shoreline. After about 10 minutes of walking, leave the shore to enter the city. You’ll soon arrive to a massive gothic style building that hosts the Maritime Museum (Navy Museum) and the National Archeological Museum. The famous Jeronimos Monastery is connected to these museums.
You can visit all three objectives, if you want. Don’t skip the Navy Museum, as it is pretty cool and not crowded at all. It is hard to decide what to visit during your four days in Lisbon. Joining several monuments, museums and places together is an absolute must, if you want to make the most out of your time.
Once you’re done with Belem, you can return to Cais do Sodre by either tram or train. The tram ride is nice but slower than the train.
At Cais do Sodre, enter the Time Out Market to have lunch. This market gathers dozens of restaurants and bars that offer a wide range of foods and drinks. There are huge wooden tables where you can sit to enjoy your meal. They only accept payment by card, so you don’t need to worry about getting cash.
You can spend the rest of your day wandering through Baixa/Chiado, the central area of Lisbon. Consider visiting the National Tile Museum (Museu Nacional do Azulejo). This museum is located in a former 16-th century convent building.
Consider visiting Carmo Convent, a ruined Catholic convent that collapsed in the 1755 earthquake. The walls are still erect but there’s no roof. The place is charming and very easy to visit during your walks. The attached museum is also interesting.
The Rossio Christmas market is neat, particularly in the evening, when they turn on the lights.
The Church of St. Dominic (Igreja de São Domingos) is in Largo São Domingos, in the immediate neighborhood of Rossio Square. This Roman Catholic church is a national monument. The entrance is free.
Also, if you want to see a fancy shopping street with luxury shops, head over to Restauradores and walk along Avenida da Libertade.
4 Days in Lisbon – Day 3 – Sintra
Sintra is a UNESCO Heritage site. This town boasts five castles, all of them worth a visit: Pena Palace, Castelo dos Mouros (Moorish Castle), Quinta da Regaleira, Monserrate Palace and Palacio Nacional (National Palace of Sintra).
If you want to visit all five of them, make sure you leave for Sintra as early as you can. Trains to Sintra depart from the train station by Rossio Metro station. The Rossio train station is in the building with the most beautiful entrance in the area – it’s impossible to miss it. There are several trains per hour and the ride takes about 40 minutes.
Sintra is a big town. Don’t try to walk from the train station to Pena! We tried it and it was an epic fail. The walk starts with a nice trail through a forest, but it soon takes you on a curvy asphalt road with no sidewalks.
There are buses going from the town center to Pena. You can also take a taxi or a tuk-tuk.
Pena Palace and Castelo dos Mouros are close top each other. If you intend to visit both castles, I’d suggest you start with Castelo dos Mouros. The reason is that Pena Palace sits in the middle of a huge park with is also very beautiful and deserves a proper exploration.
If you only want to visit Pena Palace and Park, click here to buy your ticket online.
If you’d rather see Sintra, Cascais and Cabo da Roca as a day trip from Lisbon, click here to book this tour.
4 Days in Lisbon – Day 4 – Ponte 25 de Abril, Cacilhas, Almada and Santuario de Cristo Rei
Since my very first day in Lisbon I wished to cross the Tagus river. When I visited Belem, I noticed the huge statue on the southern bank, near the red bridge that reminded me of San Francisco. That’s Santuario de Cristo Rei (The Sanctuary of Christ the King), a Catholic monument dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ and inspired by Christ the Redeemer, the famous statue in Rio de Janeiro, in Brazil.
The prospect of being able to climb on top of that monument to take photos of the bridge and of the river made me assign this trip one full day. This proved to be a wise decision, even though 4 days in Lisbon is way to little time to cover all monuments and objectives inside the city.
To get to Almada, take the commuter ferry from Cais do Sodre to Cacilhas. The river crossing takes less than 10 minutes. There are many boats departing from Cais do Sodre, so you won’t have to wait for a long time to board.
You can also get to Almada from Lisbon by driving, bus or train.
I loved the dock where the boat left us. The former industrial area is a giant canvas made from ran down buildings boasting amazing pieces of street art. Every now and then, between the graffiti-covered concrete slabs, narrow openings show up, suggesting that there are people living between those walls.
By the end of the docks, you’ll find a lift that will take you up to Almada. Follow the street signs to Cristo Rei and you’ll be there in 15-20 minutes of walking.
Are 4 Days in Lisbon Enough?
It depends. If you only want to see the most important monuments and to get a gist of the city, four days would do, provided that you’re fortunate to get good weather.
If you want to learn more about the history and the culture of Portugal’s capital, or you want to take a few days trips to visit the surroundings, your four days in Lisbon would only allow you to scratch the surface of this cultural and historical treasure.
The above itinerary lets you take a glimpse into Lisbon. Should you be able to spare more than 4 days, check out my other Lisbon itineraries (will publish them soon) or subscribe to my newsletter here to be among the first to know when I publish new articles.
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