While planning a trip to Europe this summer with some friends, we brainstormed places we wanted to visit. None of us had been to Spain so we decided to stop there first (you can see that travel guide here). But while deciding where else to go, Lisbon kept coming up. We ended up finding some decent flight options to fly into Barcelona and out of Lisbon.
What we didn’t realize when we booked those flights though, was how not so convenient it is to go from Barcelona to Lisbon. We took trains and cars to make our way over. But it was 100% worth it. We ended up using My Day Trip that offers car services in this area. They not only offered a great car service with an English speaking driver, but you could even choose itineraries. Go wine tasting on the way into Portugal, or visit Roman ruins in Spain. If we had a longer trip, I think we would’ve 100% added something on to this travel day to make it more valuable than just sitting in the car for 4 hours.
This cost us about $115/person which would’ve been cheaper than a flight and much faster than any of our other options. Highly recommend this company! They also offer routes across Europe.
Below is the full 7 day itinerary for the trip in case you want to recreate it. And keep reading to see my must-sees and more for Lisbon!
7 Day Itinerary For Spain & Portugal
7 Day Travel Itinerary
Barcelona – 2 Days
Visit must-see cathedrals and architecture while enjoying all the tapas and cava
Seville – 2.5 Days
See a flemenco show, tour stunning castles and parks and the modern Metropol Parisol. Don’t forget more tapas and cava!
Lisbon – 2.5 Days
Explore Alfama, Old Town and Barro Alta. Eat your weight in Pasteis de Nata and try sardines like you’ve never had before. Visit Belem Tower and the point where Christopher Columbus returned from discovering the Americas.
Lisbon Travel Guide
We arrived the evening of Day 5 of our trip only really allowing us to grab dinner and head to bed. Day Six we toured the city, ate lots of things and visited Belem Tower. On Day Seven, we took a 30 minute Uber to Porta de Castorica to lay beachside for a few hours. Sintra was a must-visit but we didn’t have the time. Wish we went! I would have loved to have spent more time in Lisbon. Maybe next time!
Lisbon Travel Tips
Reservations & Gratuity
Strongly encourage them for dinner. Gratuity is usually always included.
Walking was great but some neighborhoods are very steep (similar to SF) so choose a sandal that you can basically hike in or a sneaker. Ubers are available and insanely cheap.
This country is only a 5 hour time difference from EST.
If you see it on the menu, order it! This wine is from a region that’s super lush and green from all the rain which is why it’s called green wine. To me, it was like a really refreshing sauvignon blanc. I loved it.
Pasteis De Belem is the Cafe du Monde of Lisbon
They churn out thousands of Pasteis de Nata as they’re the original bakery who invented this sweet egg custard pastry. I ate half a dozen in one evening. They’re so good.
Where To Stay
Old Town Alfama
We decided to stay at an Airbnb that was definitely unique. If you followed my Stories (you can check them out in my Lisbon Highlights) our Airbnb was interesting. And I fell down the stairs… Anyway, the location was pretty great since we were in a popular neighborhood with lots of restaurants and cafes. Another neighborhood we considered staying in was Bairro Alto. This is where I have had several friends stay and they loved it.
Things To Do In Lisbon
Tuk Tuk Tour
A quick hour-long tour which was a great way to learn a bit of history and see some pretty views of the city and neighborhoods. I wouldn’t recommend a walking tour in Lisbon only because it’s so hilly similar to San Francisco. The Tuk Tuk tour was truly ideal and gave us a good history of Old Towne. There are several tours to choose from and we did this one.
Try Green Wine!
It’s not actually green which I was surprised by. It’s a grape from a region that is so lush and green they call it green wine! So delicious, crisp and refreshing. We all brought a bottle home.
Walk Around Alfama
One of Lisbon’s oldest neighborhoods and home to the no. 28 tram
Visit A Beach
Queens Beach in Costa da Caparica is where we went. It was a 30 minute Uber ride and worth it. We relaxed for a few hours and soaked in some sun. I recommend bringing a picnic as the food options aren’t great.
A stunning fortification on the Tagus River that was once a fortress and a ceremonial gateway to Lisbon. Pasteis de Belem is just a few blocks down and highly recommend visiting it. You also can walk through the stunning Jardin De Belem which is picture-perfect to get to your pastries. On your way to the gardens you’ll also see the Monument To The Discoveries where Christopher Columbus returned from his voyage to find India, only to discover America.
Portas Do Sol
The city has several lookout points (called Miradouros) where you can catch a beautiful view, grab a coffee, pastries or sandwich and cocktail. It’s a great place to spend a couple of hours just relaxing!
Try Pasteis De Nata
I was guilty of eating SIX of these delicious egg custard pastries in one evening. At 300 calories a pop, not smart. But calories don’t count on vacation, right? They were created at Pasteis De Belem and that place is like a well-oiled machine. But all bakeries, coffee shops, and Miradouros have them available. See which place makes your favorite. At a euro a pop pretty much, it’s fun to try them all!
Day Trip To Sintra or Cascais
We did not have time to do this day trip to Sintra, a stunning beach town. But it was highly recommended. I think if we had one more day here we would’ve done this instead of the half day at the beach.
Ride Tram 28
We saw Tram 28 go through our little area of Alfama all day long. It connects Martim Moniz with Campo Ourique and goes through several historic neighborhoods. It’s definitely a tourist attraction but also a great way to experience Lisbon and some neighborhoods without walking a ton!
Best Resturants In Lisbon
Hands down our favorite night and meal of the entire trip. We had so much fun here trying sardines (big fish, not the canned mini ones you’re thinking of) green wine and salted codfish salad. I recommend making a reservation.
Pasteis de Bélém
The birthplace of the Pasteis De Nata that you see all over the city. It’s the Cafe Du Monde of Lisbon. We got two dozen and I personally ate half a dozen in 12 hours. Impressive, right? They’re delicious!
A mix of vendors, shops, restaurants and more. You could spend some serious time here between eating, shopping and grabbing a sweet treat from local vendors.
An impressive food hall that had some incredible eats! More green wine, octopus and salted cod chickpea salad and more.
Was closed when we went but the menu looked great for breakfast!
Not really a local spot, but we ended up here since it was close to our Airbnb after realizing Magnolia was closed.
As you can see, there is so much to see and do in Lisbon. I wish we had more time to take a day trip to Sintra or Cascais. And also just spend more time exploring more neighborhoods like Bairro Alto. I recommend at least 4 days in Lisbon to get most of it in without feeling rushed.