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How to spend 24 hours in Lisbon

A dream itinerary for one day in Portugal's capital.

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Adored by travellers from all over the world, Lisbon is not just easy on the eyes, it has creamy tarts, Portuguese singing, sunset views, and superb architecture, too. The Portuguese capital is sure to surprise you on every corner, whether you're strolling by the intricate Manueline buildings of the Belem quarter or getting lost in the atmospheric narrow streets of the Alfama district.

Here’s how to make the most of your 24 hours in Lisbon:

8.30: Postcard views of the yellow trams

Begin your day in the city of Lisbon by seeing what it’s all about. The Rua da Bica de Duarte Belo is a street situated in Bico, a trendy, picture-worthy neighbourhood near Chiado and Rossio.

Strolling in this part of town, on your way to breakfast, offers you a chance to see the locals going about their day and also the yellow trams for which the city is famous. On this street, you will notice the Bica Funicular, doing its thing, hauling travellers up the steep, narrow streets of the old town. 

9.00: Eggs for breakfast

Stay in Bico for breakfast, taking your spot at laidback local spot Dear Breakfast. Here, you can enjoy all the classics, from avocado toast to eggs benedict cooked to perfection, as well as daily pastries and a selection of Portuguese teas.

Better yet, the space is minimalist and calming, located inside a renovated former warehouse featuring whitewashed archways. The cafe also has free Wifi, so you can get some more last-minute planning done for the day ahead.

10.45: Head to the bustling square

From breakfast, it’s a 20-minute stroll, or 10-minute tram ride to the city’s Praca Do Comercio, the city’s main square and central meeting point. Its majestic 19th-century arcades, cobblestone, and riverfront setting make the square a must-see during your time in Lisbon.

If it’s already time for your post-breakfast caffeine, just off the square is Fabrica, which is one of Lisbon’s best coffee spots. The speciality coffee roasters offer ample seating in the sunshine outside, or you can grab a coffee to go. 

12.00: To market

The foodies will go wild for this next stop. From Praca Do Comercio, walk along the waterfront promenade until you reach Lisbon’s Time Out market. It should take you 15-minutes if you’re in a hurry, but it’s better if you take your time to enjoy the views and soak up the sunshine. The market is a huge food hall, offering an enticing range of wine bars and food stalls selling classic custard tarts, bacalhau (dried and salted cod), Portuguese croquettes, and more.

This market has been so popular that it spawned a series of other Time Out markets around the world, in locations such as New York City, Miami, Dubai, Prague, and Montreal. 

14.00: A contemporary hotspot

While the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum is one of the city’s most-visited museums, home to an impressive private art collection dating from Ancient Egyptian times to the 20th century, there is another spot you should add to your Lisbon list.

After sampling the market’s best snacks, dishes, and drinks, take a 15-minute taxi ride to the Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology. This space is devoted to innovative thinkers, modern trends, and contemporary artists. What’s more, the building itself is particularly striking, sitting opposite the River Tagus, with a grand, gently curving white facade.

17.30: Dinner by the castle

If you only have one day to experience Lisbon, then getting some elevation is in order. Located just below the walls of 11th-century São Jorge Castle, Chapitô à Mesa is the place to visit for a sensational, expansive view over the sea ahead and the city below. The restaurant serves up delicious and authentic Portuguese food, but be sure to book well in advance!

19.30: Sunset at a mirador

From dinner, it’s a short 10-minute walk to another incredible Lisbon viewpoint. Miradouro da Graça is a popular terrace serving up views of the seasonal flowers, city rooftops, and sea. In other words, it’s the best place to watch the setting sun.

20.30: Experience Fado

You can’t visit Lisbon without catching a Fado show, right? This unique style of performance originated in the early 19th century in Lisbon and has remained to be one of the country’s best examples of culture and history combined. Fado usually involves melodic, sometimes mournful songs of passion sung in public spaces like cafes and restaurants. 

Sold? It’s time to see your first Fado show. Head to O Faia, a restaurant that has put on nightly Fado shows since opening in the 1940s. If you’re still feeling peckish, indulge in some dessert wines and Portuguese cheese platters/

22.30: Head out, or get some rest

After a long day exploring Portugal’s capital city, it might be time to rest your pretty little head. But if you’re not quite done, and you’re excited to explore the best of the city’s nightlife, make your way to Bairro Alto. This lively neighbourhood has a fantastic array of nightlife options, including wine bars, pubs, jazz clubs, and live music venues. 

But if it’s sleep time for you, one of the best places to stay in Lisbon is Palácio Príncipe Real. This former manor house is a vision in pink, decked out with tubs to soak in, fresh flowers, and a heated pool.

If you fancy a day in Lisbon, or you would like to see even more of beautiful Portugal, join a Newmarket Holidays tour to see all the highlights.