When it comes to travel, I think nothing of jumping on the first flight of the day, visiting a country, seeing some of the sights, have dinner somewhere, stay the night and then take the last flight back home on the following day. Sometimes when you don’t get a lot of days off to travel you have to learn to maximise the little amount of time you have! In today’s ‘how to’ guide I share my tried and tested itinerary on how to spend 24 hours in Lisbon, Portugal. Including cool things to see and do, where to eat and where I stayed! You can fit so much into just one day in Lisbon!
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links
Duration: 1 night, 2 half days of exploring. (Saturday – Sunday)
Month of Travel: June
How to Spend 24 Hours in Lisbon
Day 1 – PM (arriving at midday):
Swim in the hotel rooftop pool
Just try and keep me out of the water. I’m a nightmare, seriously. The HF Fenix Music hotel (see below) is one of the few Lisbon hotels that I could find with an outdoor pool and due to itinerary plans and pool opening hours, the only space I had to swim was as soon as we arrived! It had awesome views though, the walls surrounding the rooftop were glass so even in the pool or laying on a sun lounger you could see Sao Jorge Castle and the River Tagus.
Lisbon by Segway – Visiting the Cities View Points
We chose Lisbon by Segway because their Segways had x2 off road tyres which meant it was perfect for exploring the hills and cobbles of the Alfama District which is a big maze of tiny little streets and alleyways! Again, me and my Sister were the only ones on our tour so we got to go at our own speed (which is fast) and we saw extra parts that regular tours don’t usually have time for…the guide even gave us 30 minutes extra because he was having so much fun!
Get ready for lots of big Portuguese names…here are some of the places we saw on our tour:
- Praca do Comercio (this was where we done our ‘practising’).
- Miradouro da Senhora do Monte (a view point in the Alfama district. I really liked this area, there was outdoor dining and street musicians in this area too).
- Miradouro de Santa Luzia (another view point closer to the river. A courtyard where the walls are covered with lots of blue and white tiles and BRIGHT pink flowers climb up trellises that make an undercover area with benches).
- Se de Lisboa (Lisbon cathedral).
Elevador de Santa Justa
The Elevador de Santa Justa is a 45 metre high elevator that dates back to 1902! It took its inspiration from the Eiffel Tower in Paris so it’s pretty impressive! There are 4 wooden ‘cabins’ that hold 29 passengers in each, however when I visited, only 2 were running. The Elevador de Santa Justa (and the other 3 ‘Ascensors’) is included as part of the Carries Card (see ‘Other Notes’ for more information) which we had purchased for the Metro, so we got our ride for free! Otherwise it’s 2.50Euro for a single trip. Elevador de Santa Justa is located on Rua de Santa Justa (right near a giant shopping centre, you can’t miss it)!
My favourite part was the observation platform at the top which has an entrance fee of 1.50Euro. It offers awesome views across the city and the spiral staircases are impressive too!
Most of our Segway route shared the top part of the Tram 28 route through the Alfama District so we jumped on it at Rua Da Conceicao (3 blocks up from Praca do Comercio, you will be able to see Igreja da Madalena church at one end of the street) to Bica. Our intention was to ride on the Ascensor da Bica, but it was having repair work during our visit so we ended up just visiting the little supermarket nearby to get a drink! Tram 28 is supposed to be the most scenic of the routes, it was packed out on a Saturday afternoon in June…I nearly left my Sister on it too after I jumped off and she hadn’t heard me say it was our stop!
*TIP* We really struggled to find BOTTLED drinks in Lisbon, for some reason all the little newsagent type shops only sold cans, so it’s worth hanging onto an empty bottle and refill it with a can if you don’t face downing it all in one go or carrying it around open in your hand!
Ascensor de Gloria
Ascensor de Gloria was the only funicular that we had time to ride on in the end. We took the journey up the hill (again, free, thanks to the Carries Card) but much to my Sister’s disgust, we then walked back down because during our visit there was loads of street art boards that I wanted to stop and get photos of! She should be thankful that I didn’t make her walk UP the hill!
Ascensor do Larva
Ascensor do Larva had closed for the night by the time we reached it, as we stopped after we’d had dinner, but in a way this made it even better from a photography point of view! This Ascensor is the oldest of Lisbon’s funicular railways, it opened in 1884 and has a gradient of 25%! It was nice being able to wander up the middle of the tracks to take photos of the street art and not worry about getting squished!
Day 2 – AM/PM
It’s Portugal! You’ve got to go to the beach at least once and believe it or not, I managed to squeeze a beach day into my 1 night trip! Cascais is a little beach town a 40 minute train journey away from Lisbon. You can’t go wrong, catch an overground train at the Cais do Sodres Metro Station and Cascais is at the end of the line! You’ll even go by the Belem Tower, it’s a nice scenic journey!
The street pavements are all coloured with a wavy pattern made out of black and white titles, it gives a really awesome effect! There are lots of the typically little bucket and spade seaside shops selling rubber rings and souvenirs and cute little cafes.
Then obviously there are the beaches! There are other beaches that are closer to the city but when I was doing my research, it seemed that beaches closer to the city had questionable water quality due to Lisbon being on a river estuary. There’s something like 8 beaches in Cascais! Conceicao Beach is huge with a boardwalk, shops and restaurants and when we visited there was even an inflatable obstacle course out in the water.
My heart had already been taken by Praia da Rainha which is a little hidden cove accessed by some steps, it’s one of the closest beaches to the train station. It also features a little hidden rock pool area! There are sun loungers with umbrellas and tables that can be rented for 20Euros a day, a little drink and ice cream stand and some toilets. On a Sunday in June, all the sun loungers were gone by lunch time on the Praia da Rainha beach, we arrived early so were one of the first to get one. Be warned…the sea is freezing though.
Where to Eat & Drink in Lisbon
Hard Rock Cafe
This is personal preference, obviously the Hard Rock Cafe is a world-wide chain that’s quite expensive and not exactly authentic Portuguese cuisine. Me and my Sister visited because we went through a stage of seeing how many Hard Rock Cafes we could ‘collect’! It’s right opposite the Ascensor de Gloria so it was also perfect for our itinerary route.
Fabio Lupi Gelato (Cascais)
I was starting to panic because I hadn’t had my ice cream fix and then I came across Fabio Lupi in Cascais. There are lots of yummy flavours but it did melt quick in the heat!
Panisol Bakery (Cascais)
Lots and lots of yummy cakes and close to Praia da Rainha. Great for a quick lunch time snack while waiting for the train back to Lisbon!
Where to Stay in Lisbon
HF Fenix Music
$130PN – breakfast included
HF Fenix Music is possibly one of mine and my Sister’s favourite hotels, but then we are music fans! Each floor has a different music genre theme, the front desk is a drum kit, the bar is a piano, there’s even a ‘music’ room downstairs with a guitar in it!
- It’s located right next to the Marques de Pommel Metro Station. So it’s very accessible.
- The rooftop pool is awesome.
- The breakfast is really cute, there are fruit juices and yoghurts in individual person sized glass jars!
- The rooms are soundproof and modern with electric blinds that open when you enter the room, bluetooth built in speakers, mood lighting
You can find HF Fenix Music on booking.com HERE
The Metro is so simple in Lisbon. It even connects the airport to the city centre! I bought a 24hr Carries Card for 6.50Euros from the station at the Airport. This gives you unlimited rides on the Metro (which then obviously includes your journey from the airport!), the trams, the Santa Justa elevator and the ascensors. For our return trip to the airport, we just reloaded the card with a single journey using a machine. The card doesn’t include the train journey to Cascais though, this is an extra ticket.
One day in Lisbon will definitely leave you wanting more! If I had the choice of spending 24 hours in Lisbon or missing out…I know what I would pick 😉
Disclosure: Please note some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which means I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking. It comes at no extra cost to you but it helps me with the running of this site! As always, opinions are my own.