What to see in Lisbon in 1 day? The capital of Portugal is an ancient city on seven hills. It is considered to be the uncharted European capital that was once the center of the great Empire. Lisbon has given the world the discoveries of famous sailors and still surprises not only with its diverse architecture, unusual landscape, but also with cultural traditions.
One day spent in Lisbon is enough to fall in love with this city forever. If possible, we do recommend taking an individual or a budget group tour. Local guides will tell you many interesting tales about the main attractions and help you better navigate the city.
Let’s start the morning with the stroll through the Belem quarter, which is the historical center of the city. From this very spot the expeditions of the legendary Portuguese explorers – Fernand Magellan and Vasco da Gama began. Here is a monument to the same explorers with 32 engraved statues of heroes and a map of the world with the designation of the routes of their first trips.
Built in the 16th century in the style of Manueline, Belem Tower was the last building in the spirit of medieval fortress towers. The building with East Islamic motifs was erected on the Tagus River in honor of the paved sea route to India. Today, tourists can also see the Gothic-style interior, which houses an old throne of the 16th century.
In the old days, the Belem Palace served as a haven for Portuguese kings; today this building of the 16th century is the residence of the country’s president. The Belem Palace is a mixture of different architectural styles, but Mannerism and Baroque are more distinctly traced. On the facade with the Portuguese azulejo tiles, there are paintings depicting heroes of myths and epic scenes.
As you walk, don’t forget to try Pastel de nata, which is the iconic and famous Portuguese dessert. Every Pastelerias or pastry shop has their own version of Pastel de nata.
This sweet and creamy Portuguese egg tart is so addictive that it might become your daily pastry of choice.
The Pastel de nata pastries became very popular when a small store attached to a sugar refinery started selling them to visitors.
Today, the store Fábrica de Pastéis de Belém has preserved the traditional recipe. Nowadays, they bake over 10,000 tarts per day to serve the many visitors seeking to taste this unique traditional recipe.
This is the only store that can sell these Portuguese pastries under the name Pastel de Belém.
The bridge under the name April 25th, connecting the capital of Portugal with the Almada district across the Tagus River, is among the top 20 of the world’s longest suspension bridges. It received its interesting name in 1974 in the honour of the day the Red Carnations Revolution began. The impressive structure, 2 km long and 190 meters high, consists of two levels: the first is a six-lane highway, the second is a railway.
One of Portugal’s seven wonders, the Jeronimos Monastery is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The monastery, built in 1450 was a thank you to the Virgin Mary for helping famous sailors. It serves as the resting place for Vasco da Gama, King Manuel I and poet Luis Camoens. The monastery building with a Neomanuelino-style facade with “lace” carvings, decorated with patterned portals and stunning iconography are admirable.
It is time to take the famous vintage “yellow tram”. Tram which is still carrying passengers is one of the symbols of Lisbon. A trip on an old tram will give an unforgettable experience: guests of the capital can feel like its native inhabitants and enjoy the wonderful panorama.
Tourist route No. 28 passes through the center and the old districts of the city, making sharp turns through narrow and uneven streets. On the way you can see the St. George’s Castle, Commerce Square and Lisbon Cathedral.
Located on one of the hills, St. George’s Castle is visible from anywhere in the Portuguese capital. This is an ancient building, the “cradle of the city”, built about the 6th century BC. For dozens of centuries, this place has had many owners, was used as a prison, and only in 1910 received the status of a national monument.
Currently, the castle hosts city events, and visitors can enjoy a panoramic view of the city while sitting in one of the cafes in the surrounding area.
The Lisbon cathedral is located in the heart of Lisbon on a small hill, and is a national monument of the country, erected in the second half of the 17th century. The majestic medieval church with elements of baroque and neoclassicism inside represents a huge space with colonnades and arches.
Incredibly beautiful old square of Rossio is located in the Baixa region. In the center, on a huge pedestal, stands a monument to King Pedro. The sidewalk is laid out in black and white cobblestones so that the visual effect of the waves is obtained. Luxurious bronze fountains, facades of ancient houses give this place a unique atmosphere of comfort and charm. There are numerous shops, souvenir shops, cafes, restaurants and pastry shops here.
If you get hungry when we recommend to try out some Portuguese traditional dishes. It is an amazing place to have a lunch break before continuing the walk towards Arc de Triomphe.
No trip to Portugal would be complete without indulging in traditional food. Bacalhau or Portuguese codfish is a national obsession. In Portugal, there are over 365 ways of preparing bacalhau – one for each day of the year.
You can reach Arc de Triomphe from Rossio Square by following the busiest street of Augusta. The Arc de Triomphe is an unusual building. It is decorated with statues and decor in the style of Manueline, Renaissance and Baroque, and on the facade there are antique clocks with stone carvings. Since 2013, an observation deck has been operating upstairs. In the evening, illuminated by bright multi-colored lights, the arch looks especially solemn.
Elevator di Santa Zhusta is an impressive building constructed at the beginning of the 20th century for pedestrians traveling from the Baixa to the Chiado district. The elevator was built in the style of elegant neo-Gothic. At first it was powered by a steam engine, then it was replaced by electric motors.
Through the Arc de Triomphe you can get to Prasa do Comerciu or Commerce Square. This is one of the central squares of the city and one of the largest and most beautiful in Europe. In the center is a 1775 monument to King Joseph the First.
One of the most beautiful sights of the capital, the “Star Basilica” was erected in a neo-Gothic style with baroque elements and striking with almost weightless architecture. At the top of the building is a terrace, which serves as a magnificent observation deck.
The statue of Christ is a copy of the Brazilian statue in Rio de Janeiro. It is the tallest statue in Europe – its height reaches 28 m. The monument was being built from 1949 to 1959, as a thanks to God for the fact that World War II did not reach Portugal. The figure of Christ rises on a 82-meter pedestal, and tourists can climb to the observation deck, which offers a wonderful view of the city and the Tagus River.
The Quinta da Regaleira Palace and its Park Complex is an attraction which is located in the vicinity of the city, but it is so impressive that it is worth the time spent on the road to reach it.
The territory of the complex is a park and an unusual beauty of an old palace in the Renaissance and Gothic style. The estate of the millionaire Antonio Monteira was built in 1910.
Everything here is shrouded in magic and a special atmosphere – the castle, reminiscent of a magical fairytale house, and the garden with its mysterious sculptures, tangled paths and the Well of Initiation in the center.
It is dinner time and you can’t go wrong with the restaurants located near the Palace.
We encourage you to try Portuguese famous Chicken Piri-Piri.
Chicken Piri-Piri has got its name following the Age of Exploration in the 15th and 16th centuries, when Portuguese explorers travelled through coastal Africa and discovered many new spices.
One of the spices was a small spicy chili pepper known as Piri-Piri, or “African devil.” Today, Portuguese chicken covered in piri-piri is served with French fries and a small side salad. It is a very popular Portuguese national dish and is a must for someone who would like to experience cuisine.