How To See Lisbon In 4 Days With Your Family

There can only be one Lisbon. A tremendous city full of charm, views, great food, and a feeling that makes you never want to leave. So while you’re there you’re going to want to make the most of your time. Fortunately, the city packs in a lot of goodness in a small area, so you can cover a lot of ground in a short amount of time. That said, it’s best to have a plan. This plan combines what our family experienced and researched for our trip to Lisbon. What follows is a proven way to see Lisbon in 4 days.

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DAY ONE IN LISBON

Rua Augusta

The Rua Augusta is one of the premier streets in Lisbon. It’s a unique pedestrian walkway that is decorated with ever-present tiles and lined with plenty of shops and restaurants.

The street stretches from Rossio Square to the north down to Praca do Comercio to the south. This is a great spot to start your trip because it puts you right in the middle of the city. This allows you to soak in the atmosphere and vibes. Also, the walk isn’t that far down to the Arch.

Arco da Rua Augusta

Arco da Rua Augusta in Lisbon

Taking the Rua Augusta will lead you to a highlight of this street, the Arco da Rua Augusta. After the devastating earthquake of 1755, this arch was created as a celebration of the rebuilding of Lisbon. This is a great photo opportunity and the Arch is visible as you approach coming down Rua Augusta.

Praca do Comercio

Praco do Comercio in Lisbon

Coming through the Arch is a truly fascinating space in Lisbon. This was once the site of the Royal Palace. The vast openness of the square is quite captivating with the lone statue of King Joseph I in the middle.

The open end gives the square a distinct character and a great view wherever you look. Make sure to walk around the colonnade that surrounds the square. The symmetry is beautiful and is the perfect spot for pictures.

Cais das Colunas

Cais das Colunas in Lisbon

As you make your way through the square towards the river you reach this scenic point. It juts out into the river just enough to give you a wonderful perspective of the river, the April 25th Bridge, and the surrounding area. The two columns, inspired by the columns from Solomon’s Temple, mark a pier that was once the entrance from the river to the square.

National Museum of Contemporary Art

Take a walk along the scenic Avenue Ribeira das Naus on your way to this splendid museum that holds art that was created from 1850 to 1950.  Inside, you’ll find work created primarily by Portuguese artists, but some foreign art is included as well. As such, this museum holds one of the premier collections of Portuguese art in the world. Even though the focus is on Portuguese art, many works add an international feel to the museum.

There are permanent exhibits as well as temporary exhibits. Included are modernism, surrealism, and expressionism among its many genres. The majority of the work are paintings but many other types of art are represented as well.

Pink Street

This famous street, also known officially as Rua Nova do Carvalho, is a mere 8-minute walk from the Art Museum, and is one of if not the most famous street in Lisbon.

The simple act of painting it pink in 2013 changed it from just a street to a well-known tourist attraction. It’s an excellent location for the occasional selfie or photo. Not too far from Pink Street is one of the best places to get something to eat.

TimeOut Market

This popular market is home to well over 30 restaurants and is located in the Cais do Sodre district. It’s here that you’ll find a wide variety of some of the best food that Lisbon has to offer from some of Portugal’s top chefs.

The food hall contains everything from simple casual meals to more extravagant dishes. Besides the expansive selection of delicious food, there is the food court, an open area designed for groups to sit together and enjoy the communal dining experience.

DAY TWO IN LISBON

Avenue da Liberdade

Yellow building in Avenue da Liberdade in Lisbon

A great way to start the day is on this grand leafy boulevard. Our apartment was in the Baixa neighborhood, so we took the metro a few stops up to Avenida stop and began to make our way south towards Restauradores Square.

This wide boulevard is the home of several luxury boutique shops if you’re in the mood to spend a few euros. We didn’t shop but it was a nice place to walk and enjoy the area. There are several benches along the way so you can take a stroll and rest whenever and just look around.

Restauradores Square

Restauradores Square in Lisbon

Framed by several stately buildings, Restauradores Square is a pleasing area to make your way through. With its towering monument anchoring the square and wide open space, this area is a marvel.

Praca Dom Pedro IV

Praca Dom Pedro IV in Lisbon

As nice as Restauradores Square is, this space is the main event. (after a brief Starbucks stop). Not only is it also anchored by a towering monument in its center, but it also includes two beautiful fountains on either side of it.

The north end of the square is bordered by the grand Queen Maria II National Theatre. There are also trees and plenty of stone benches situated across the square.

This was perfect for us to sit down, rest our feet, and take in the busy square. Along the side of the square, there are several restaurants if you want a meal with a view.

Santa Justa Lift

Santa Justa Lift in Lisbon

Heading out of the southwest end of the square towards Rua Aurea took us almost directly to the Santa Justa Lift. We didn’t have any plans to go up the lift, just seeing it was good enough for me and it’s quite an impressive structure.

It was probably just as well that we didn’t plan to go up because the line was pretty intimidating. Be prepared to wait for a bit if you plan to make your way up for a ride. Of course, if you just want the view, you can take the steps.

Shopping

Passing the Santa Justa lift we took Rua Aurea around to Rua Nova do Almada on our way to do a little bit of shopping. As you begin to move into the Chiado neighborhood you come upon a great retail area.

There are all types of stores including familiar brands such as H&M, ZARA, Nike, and Levi’s among many others. Of course, we were more than happy to visit what ended up being our favorite store…

Bertrand Bookstore

Bertrand Bookstore in Lisbon

The oldest operating bookstore in the world resides in Lisbon. It’s a treasure trove for bibliophiles not only for their selection but because of the history surrounding this location. The store itself is a cozy space. It even has a nice-sized English section as well.

I was happy to purchase a book about the history of Portugal and then a souvenir bag to go with it. I loved having my book stamped as having been purchased at the Bertrand Bookstore.

This is an excellent spot to purchase something that will remind you of your trip to Lisbon, or for a thoughtful gift.

Carmo Convent

Carmo Convent in Lisbon

Following our shopping and book buying we headed up the hill (there’s a lot of them in Lisbon) to Carmo Convent. Tickets to visit the Convent are just 5 euros per adult. Children 14 and under are free. There is also a museum on site.

This structure was damaged during the great earthquake of 1755. Major damage was done to its roof which was never restored. The result is a unique place to visit where you admire the walls and the arches of the church but see outside due to the lack of a roof. Truly a unique experience.

DAY THREE IN LISBON

Jeronimos Monastery

Jeronimos Monastery in Lisbon

Even though Jeronimos Monastery is located on the far west end of the city, it’s fairly easy to get to. We were able to take the tram (the new modern version) straight out to Jeronimos Monastery. To take the tram we had already purchased Viva Viagem tickets. This gives you access to the metro, bus, and tram.

After about a 30-minute ride from the Praca Comercio stop, the 15E tram dropped us off right in front of the monastery. Before we headed in we took another Starbucks break as it’s just a few minutes down the street.

Jeronimos Monastery in Lisbon

Even though we purchased our tickets ahead of time, we were not able to skip the line as we had at other places. You can purchase your tickets here. Kids under 11 are free.

We had to wait it out, and even though the line was long, it moved pretty fast. I like knowing that I have my tickets ahead of time, but unlike other places, there didn’t seem to be as much of a benefit.  

The tram ride and the wait in line were worth it. We only toured the monastery and not the church, but that was enough for us. There are two main levels and a courtyard in the middle. There are also several other rooms off of the main floor.

We were struck by the intricate design, the monochromatic color, and the way the light streamed through the columns. The wide hallways capped by a series of arches were magnificent.

Even the stairways which transported you from one floor to another were cool and seemed like you were traveling back in time through secret passageways. This place is a must-see and a can’t miss!

Belem Tower

Belem Tower in Lisbon

From the monastery to Belem Tower is an approximately 15 to 20-minute walk. Since we had our kids with us we decided to save their legs and feet and take the bus. The bus picks up right in front of the monastery. We took the 729.

If you want to enter the tower to get a better look, you can purchase tickets to go inside Belem Tower here. We were content to enjoy it from the outside. There is a walkway all around the tower so that you can view it from different angles. It’s an enjoyable open space so even though there were a lot of people out, it never felt crowded and you can easily get those great selfies without worrying too much about people being in the way. 

If Lisbon has a notable well-known structure it would be this, the Belem Tower. We enjoyed not only the tower, but the approach through the little park was quite picturesque. Following a pathway among trees, you immediately spot the tower in the distance and it makes for a nice perspective. 

Once we were done taking our pics, walking around the area, and enjoying the views of the tower we headed back to our apartment, taking the tram back.

Pasteis de Belem

We had our fill of pasteis de nata throughout our trip but somehow when it was time to get one from here we didn’t get the chance to. If you do want to sample pasteis de nata from this world-famous spot it’s just steps from the Jeronimos Monastery. You can either stand in line to purchase them or take a seat inside where there is usually less of a crowd and a shorter wait.

DAY FOUR IN LISBON

Tram 28

Tram 28 in Lisbon

If you’re staying in Baixa like we were, and want to visit Alfama, taking Tram 28 (or its lesser-known and much less crowded Tram 12) is the way to go. The hike up the hill can be steep and long and riding a tram going in this direction can be a lifesaver, especially for young families. Tram 28 is the popular choice and can be overcrowded so another option would be to take tram 12 which goes in a similar direction but without the crowd.

Miradouro das Portas do Sol

Lisbon is a city of hills but also a city of miradouros and this is one of the best. It boasts spectacular expansive views of the city and the river. It has a wide terrace for a great viewpoint and several other wonderful spots to check out the view. On the other side of the terrace and main viewing area is a small square.

There is a set of steps that goes down a narrow corridor that takes you down through the heart of Alfama. Following that path will take you through the many winding streets and alleyways and down from the heights of the miradouro, so you’ll have to decide if you want to take that experience or head off to the next spot…

Miradouro de Santa Luzia

Miradouro de Santa Luzia in Lisbon

This miradouro is the opposite of Portas do Sol in that while Portas do Sol is remarkable for being an open and expansive space, Santa Luzia is more intimate and closed off.

It has two main sections, an upper section, and a lower section. The upper section is the main attraction with a pergola-covered terrace. The area has spots to sit and enjoy the view and pose for pics.

The flowers and adjoining garden make this a wonderful spot to sit and relax and we did just that. We spent more time here than at Portas do Sol. The good thing is the two spots are maybe a 5-minute from each other.

The lower section is nice but not as scenic as the upper section but provides a great view with fewer people and is just a few steps away.

Castelo de Sao Jorge

Castelo de Sao Jorge in Lisbon

From Santa Luzia you can make your way up the hill up the street Largo do Contador Mor towards the castle. This was my favorite stop in Lisbon. I was not familiar with the castle so I wasn’t prepared for everything that we would experience there.

You can purchase tickets ahead of time to skip the line and that made a difference for us since the line to get in was pretty long. 

You are treated to an epic view of Lisbon as soon as you make your way to the castle grounds. When you walk around the city you likely will see the castle perched high upon the hills of Alfama and once you’re in the castle grounds you benefit from that position.

The view is expansive and awesome. We spent quite a while walking along the castle walls enjoying the different views the castle offered. 

Castelo de Sao Jorge in Lisbon

After enjoying the courtyard, we made our way to the interior of the castle. Before we made our way in, we treated to the sight of peacocks. Yes, peacocks roam the castle grounds freely, and as we learned they have a very distinctive and loud call. 

We found them just across from the entrance to the interior of the castle.

The interior of the castle was an adventure of staircases, open spaces, elevated walkways, and all types of pathways. There were numerous watchtowers, lookout points, towers, and battlements all across the castle.

Castelo de Sao Jorge in Lisbon

It was fun following the paths, climbing the stairs to see where each path led and where the corners and walkways took us. It was an endless adventure that I wish we had set aside more to time to enjoy during our 4 days in Lisbon.

Lisbon Cathedral

Lisbon Cathedral in Lisbon

This gothic cathedral, built in 1147 is another remarkable landmark in Lisbon. A ticket to visit the cathedral allows one to enjoy the amazing architecture with its sky-high ceilings and arches.

You can also take the trip up the steps for an overhead view of the cathedral, upper rooms as well as a trip to the balcony which provides a great view of Lisbon. 

Alfama

House in Alfama in Lisbon

The most famous neighborhood in Lisbon is a great place to get lost. Finding your way through the winding streets and narrow alleys ways of Alfama is a great way to spend a day getting to know Lisbon.

This neighborhood which is the epitome of the Lisbon experience is not only picturesque but home to some of the most notable sights in the city. It’s easy to spend a whole day just walking around even beyond the famous stops such as Sao Jorge Castle, Lisbon Cathedral, and the miradouro.

OUR FOUR DAYS IN LISBON

Our time in Lisbon seemed to go by so quick but full of wonderful experiences. Having a plan for our stay in Lisbon made a big difference. Even though Lisbon was just one stop on a larger trip, We were at the same time prepared by pleasantly surprised at how amazing the city was. An important part of our preparation was knowing what to pack. Check out this article to find out what to pack for your trip to Portugal and also check out our guide on the best areas to stay during your visit.

Author

  • Jeremiah Pittmon

    Jeremiah Pittmon is a published travel writer and photographer from Cleveland, Ohio. Passionate about exploring the world with his family, he finds inspiration in all types of travel. Through his blog, smilesonarrival.com, and social media channels, he shares captivating experiences and valuable tips for families who love to travel.

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How To See Lisbon In 4 Days With Your Family
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