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My time was pretty limited in Lisbon since I wanted to spend more time in Albufeira but I made the most of it while I was here for about 24 hours. Here are my top recommendations for things to do in Lisbon if you only have one day:
6:30 AM: WALK AROUND ALFAMA IN THE MORNING
I love walking around any city first thing in the morning when it’s calm and quiet but Alfama was especially beautiful. The views from the top, looking down at the Tagus River and the colorful homes were so magical.
9:00 AM: STOP BY ONE OF LISBON’S DELICIOUS BAKERIES
Lisbon has some of the best bakeries and they are practically around every corner. A Padaria Portuguesa is a popular chain bakery and I enjoyed some delicious pastries from one of them that was right across the street from Praça Luís de Camões. There are plenty of tables within the bakery, but it’s also fun to sit on one of the benches outside at the square and people watch.
10:00 AM: TAKE ONE OF LISBON’S FREE TOURS
I didn’t have time to do much research on Lisbon, so I wasn’t really sure what to do once I got there. I started walking around and made my way towards Praça Luís de Camões where the free tours start around 10am. There are free tours offered by several companies and a couple of them require a reservation, but the company I went with did not require one. Lisbon Chill-Out Free Tour approached me and asked if I’d like to join their tour and so I did just that. The tour was a great way to get an understanding of Lisbon’s culture and neighborhoods. It lasts for 3 hours but you can leave anytime during the tour. Just make sure you tip the guide before you leave :)
1:00 PM: EXPLORE CASTELO DE S. JORGE
After the tour, make your way uphill towards Castelo de S. Jorge, which used to be a Moorish castle dating back to the 11th century. You’ll get gorgeous panoramic views of the city and learn about the medieval period of Portuguese history. It might be helpful to take one of the many guided tours they offer as there are minimal signs.
3:00 PM: TRY THE FAMOUS EGG TART IN BELEM
You cannot leave Lisbon without having a pastel de nata, a Portuguese egg tart pastry, and you have to get it at the most famous restaurant in Belem called Pasteis de Belem. They make the absolute best egg tarts that are warm and melts right in your mouth. I had a pastel de nata in Lisbon afterward and although it was good, it wasn’t nearly as good as the ones at Pasteis de Belem. To avoid the long lines, just walk inside and grab a table. The restaurant is bigger than it looks, so chances are, you’ll find a table quickly and will be able to order those delicious treats within minutes.
7:00 PM: DINNER IN ALFAMA (OR BAIRRO ALTO) WITH FADO
Fado is the musical expression of the Portuguese people dating back to the 1820s. I was not able to enjoy this since I was too tired and ran out of time but I have heard plenty of great things about the traditional Fado performance. When I was walking around Alfama, one of the friendly workers of the restaurant pulled me inside his restaurant to show me where the Fado performance would be held. It looked like a lovely setting and I wish I had enough energy to enjoy it. If you have enough stamina left, I recommend enjoying dinner and watching the performance.
9:00 PM: NIGHTCAP IN BAIRRO ALTO
If you want to finish the night off with some cocktails, head to the Bairro Alto area where there is a lively nightlife with plenty of bars and tapas restaurants.
Hope you enjoy your day in Lisbon!