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Lisbon itinerary help for 4 nights

All,

I will be arriving to Lisbon from Seville on 12th May with my family - wife and 12-year old daughter.
I have not yet finalized how will I travel but I hope to be in Lisbon hotel by 3 PM
My flight from Lisbon is on 16th afternoon.
So I will have 12th Evening and 3 full days - 13th,14th ,15th.

I am planning to book at Lisbon art stay apartments, which is pretty much at the city center.
Let me know if you have any reviews about this place or have some other suggestion in similar budget (<200 EUR per night)

In Lisbon, some of things I would like to do -

  • take a walking tour of the historic places
  • go to Belem
  • see the aquarium
  • listen to Fado
  • visit Sintra
  • visit Timeout market
  • go to some of the viewpoints

Question I have -
ANy recommendations of walking tour?
I mostly see 2 walking tours - one for Baixa,Chiado and another for Alfama
I am worried that it might take too much time and not leave enough time to roam for ourselves.
So, may be we can do one walking tour - which area will be better to do a tour or roam ourselves?

In Belem, is it worth going up the towers or inside the monastery?
I am thinking to just go inside the Monument of discoveries and skip going inside the monastery and Belem tower.
What else can I see in Belem - Coach museum/Navy musem?
How long is the queue in Pastéis de Belém ? Is it worth or may be try from other restaurants?

About tram 28, I heard it's really difficult to get a seat. SO, should I skip it?
Is there a particular place or time where I can get in easily?

Any good clubs/restaurants for Fado? I hope it is fine to go with a 12 year old

About Sintra, should we go for a guided tour or ourselves?
Should I take a cab or train?
I don't know if Uber or mytaxi works in Lisbon or should we take local cabs, please suggest
Timeout market - worth visiting? Is it a good place for lunch?
Which viewpoints do you recommend?

Posted by
1653 posts

Hi,
Sintra is basically a full day, perhaps combined with Fado in the evening, for which I don't have any tips. Easy to go by yourselves, and frankly you might as well take an Uber all the way there, barring a surge it's less than 30 euros from the center of Lisbon to the hilltop palace (Pena) and it will save tons of time. Uber and its European competitor Kapten worked really well for me last summer, and prices are very low.

Then, I would say that Belém + Chiado = 1 day and Baixa + Alfama = another day. I would skip the aquarium unless weather is iffy, it's a nice aquarium but there are many of those all over the world, including the USA.

I would, for the first day, head to the tower of Belém in the morning, no need to go inside. Then walk back to the Monastery, worth visiting (it's very quick!), grab a pastel de Belém if the line is OK (if not they're available in many bakeries), visit the coach museum if interested (haven't been). Take train or cab back to Cais do Sodré, where you cross the street to Timeout Market for a late lunch. Head up the Bica funicular for a stroll in Bairro Alto and Chiado. Tram 25 from Praça de Camões provides a historic tram experience minus the crowds. The Manteigaria bakery on Praça de Camões does amazing pastéis de Belém with a tenth of the Belém crowds.

For the second day, head straight to Senhora do Monte overlook (cab/Uber) in the morning, then walk mostly downhill towards Graça and Alfama. You will walk along 28 tracks: if the crowd looks OK, hop on, if not, don't worry about it (and see above re. tram 25, a suitable alternative).
You will eventually end up in the Baixa.

These two days are fairly packed but still OK, I did basically the same thing last summer in bits and pieces.

Posted by
568 posts

You can fly from Seville to Lisbon on TAP Airlines. That might be the easiest and fastest way to get to Lisbon from Seville.

We loved the Jeronimos Monastery, and I think it is worthwhile to visit. The cloisters are beautiful. We did have to wait in line for about an hour, but it was worth it. Our line was short but the problem is they let tour groups in first, so our line moved slowly. Be there early if you can, either when it opens or even earlier, if possible. I think you can bypass the lines if you purchase combined ticket to Navy Museum, and visit Navy Museum first. Hopefully others can confirm this. I think the monastery is the highlight of Belem.

We did not go into the Belem Tower because of long lines. Instead, we took the elevator to the top of the Discoveries Monument, and the view from there is gorgeous! And there were no lines!

We enjoyed the Coach Museum. The coaches are very ornate and beautiful. We spent about an hour here.

The Time Out Market is a fun place to visit for lunch or dinner. I am away from home right now so I don’t have my notes, but I think we ate at Monte Mar at the market. This is a small restaurant with counter seating, and we were served at the counter. In most places at the market, you get your food and then carry your food to communal tables. It was crowded when we were there for dinner, so that’s why we chose Monte Mar. Food was delicious.

Taxis are very inexpensive in Lisbon and plentiful, so that is what we did. We did not use Tram 28 because it was always jam packed with people. We didn’t feel we missed out on anything by not using the tram.

We did not take any guided walking tours, but we followed 2 of Rick’s walking tours in his book. I’m not saying you shouldn’t do a guided walking tour. I am sure you learn a lot from them. We’ve done guided walking tours in other places.

Regarding Sintra, it is very easy to go on your own. However, we did take a guided bus tour which we normally don’t do. But this was the end of a 3-week trip for us; we are older; and I was having arthritis issues, so we decided to be lazy and take the easy way out with a guided tour. But it’s certainly not necessary to do that.

You will love Lisbon!

Posted by
1252 posts

A third vote for going inside the monastery - it’s gorgeous and unusual.

Posted by
1252 posts

I really loved the Aquarium - it’s one of the best in the world. Easy to reach by subway.

Posted by
99 posts

I was in Lisbon for about the same amount of time as you plan and I did everything on your list except the acquarium.

Walking tour: I recommend Best of Lisbon walking tour with the Inside Lisbon tour company. There were several families with kids around your daughter's age when I went. It was several hours but with stops for snacks and lookout views along the way.

Belem: At the suggestion of our walking tour guide, I went to Belem in the afternoon when the line for the monastery might be shorter. Not sure if it was shorter, but it worked out fine. In Belem, I only went inside the monastery and the pastry shop.

Tram: Our walking tour guide suggested avoiding tram 28 due to crowds and pickpockets but recommended other, less crowded trams -- I have forgotten which numbers but you can look up the routes.

Fado: What were recommended as the best, but also most popular Fado spots, don't start the music until after 10 pm and generally require you buy an expensive large dinner, though RS says you can sneak in some for just drinks at the bar. This is probably not great for your child. However, there are a number of small restaurants, called tascas, I think, probably with less well known performers, where the music starts around 7:30 or 8 pm and you can order as much or little food as you choose as in an ordinary restaurant. The one I went to is Labios de Mosto which I think would be kid-friendly; there were a number of other places on nearby streets (sort of behind Rossio station into Chiado).

Sintra: The train from Rossio station and the bus within Sintra worked out fine and easy but taxis are also available as others mention. The key is to book at least Pena Palace tickets online before hand. No need for a guided tour unless you generally prefer them to going at your own pace.

Time Out Market: Fun option. Sometimes with live music in the evening. You could each order from different restaurants, if you want, but eat together at the same table. You can sample deserts from several famous bakeries, etc.

Viewpoints: Our walking tour went to several and recommended others (with shortcuts to avoid some of the climbs). I tend to choose viewpoints by what else that I want to see is nearby. The elevador Gloria, a funicular from Rossio to Barrio Alto takes you to a long terrace panoramic view.

Posted by
1252 posts

Also wanted to mention the Gulbenkian Museum. It’s quite wonderful in general, and a special feature is a large collection of jewelry by Rene Lalique. Your 12 year old might really enjoy it.

Posted by
24 posts

Thanks for all the replies, these are really helpful.
About the aquarium, my daughter is very interested as she has not seen such large one before.
We are not too much interested into art and museums, so I will probably give the Gulbenkian museum a miss though it is highly rated.

I am planning to walk as much as possible as all of us love to walk. For places like Belem/Sintra/Aquairum, I am planning to take the uber. If I use public transport, should I buy a card before or can I just hop on to the tram and buy the ticket there?

I forgot to ask about the Castelo de S. Jorge - is it worth going inside? My initial thought it's better to skip considering the time available.

Here is my tentative plan, please do comment -
12th May - evening - general roaming around Baixa - Santa Justa viewpoint, Rossio sqaure, Commercial sqaure, Rua Augusta viewpoint, Fado??

13th May - best of lisbon walk by inside tours (10AM) - lunch - afternoon - Alfama - Miradouro da Nossa Senhora do Monte/""The Miradouro de Santa Luzia/Miradouro das Portas do Sol

14th may - head to Belem Jeronimos monastery (if possible) , else just visit Igreja Santa Maria de Belem church - Padrão dos Descobrimentos(go inside, enjoy the views) - riverside walk to Belem Tower. - coach museum/maritime museum (if time permits) - Fábrica Pastéis de Belém (depends on queue) - LUNCH (timeout market)- Elevator Bica - Miradouro de Santa Catarina - visit to Aquarium in the evening.

15th May - Sintra tour (planning to take Uber while going and come back by train). Visit Pena palace first and then walk down to visit Sintra town and Quinta da Regaleira - LUNCH at SIntra station. - evening free (shopping / small boat tour/ spillovers from previous days etc)

I think the 14th May itinerary looks too packed. One other option is to go for the aquarium on 13th May immediately after lunch.
And cover Alfama region on 12th evening.

Posted by
1252 posts

You can reach Belém by trolley - they’re fun. As I mentioned, you can get to the Aquarium by subway. The Lisbon subway is beautiful. The stations are decorated with tiles, each station quite different.

Posted by
24 posts

Guys,

I am planning to cancel/postpone my trip to SPain and Lisbon due to the Corona Virus outbreak.
It has now spread to Europe and several other countries, so it does not make sense to travel.
I will plan the trip later this year or next year. So, all the planning is definitely helpful :)