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Should we leave Lisbon airport for a few hours?

We arrive sept. 1st on TAP airline from Miami to Lisbon at 5:25 am and leave for Bordeaux that same day at 4:20 pm. That's a lot of hours to spend in the airport waiting for our flight. We have never been to Lisbon. Should we leave the airport to see any sites in Lisbon and what should those be? I have no idea how far away the airport is or how is the best way to get into town. Would it be worth it? We will be tired after the long flight. We would have to get back into the airport and whatever that requires to get back through security. Or should we just maybe buy some type of airport lounge access and stay at the airport, put our feet up and wait it out? What do you think?

Posted by
921 posts

It's easy to take the metro into town. There are a number of easy places to get off the metro and explore for a few hours. The Chiado área is quintessential Lisbon with hills, coffee shops, shopping, restaurants and views. The Rossio area is a flatter area to explore with a great train station, Rossio plaza and flat walking in the Baixa area down to the river.
Without having to deal with luggage, both leaving the airport and going back would be pretty simple. You might want to do a little research to discover which area is more appealing. I can give you metro instructions once you determine where you want to go - or you can easily find metro maps online.

Posted by
244 posts

I would:
1. Use a taxi. Faster than any other mode. It is only 7km from the Aeroporto to the "center" of Lisboa.
2. Read about and plan a "tour" and visit the Alfama https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfama . Rick's book on Portugal has a good section on what to do in the Alfama.

Posted by
17017 posts

I'm always dead on my feet after a sleepless transatlantic flight and would do best walking around outside (good areas already recommended), weather permitting. But in case you are better flyers than I am and are up to tackling some specific sights, I commend to your attention:

  • Gulbenkian Museum: one very rich man's personal collection with a bit of this and a bit of that, but not enough of any one thing that you'll get bored. There are paintings, furniture, etc.

  • Jeronimos Monastery at Belem: classic example of Manueline architecture.

Posted by
47 posts

We actually will have luggage with us cause we aren't checking it, but we travel light, per Rick Steve's specifications (carry on only) and I assume we can put out luggage in an airport locker?? It sounds like nobody thinks that trying to get out of the airport, and going back through security when we return, will cause us any issues. With all the terrorism regulations, etc., I thought it might now be a problem. I sure don't want to miss our flight onto Bordeaux.

Posted by
11158 posts

" It sounds like nobody thinks that trying to get out of the airport, and going back through security when we return, will cause us any issues. With all the terrorism regulations, etc., I thought it might now be a problem. "

It's no different now than it was in the past. Upon landing in Portugal, you will go through immigration, since it's your first arrival in a Schengen country and your are connecting to another Schengen country. Once you've done that, you are allowed to go wherever you wish in Portugal (or indeed the whole Schengen zone). So, you're not "breaking any rules" by going into the city.

Yes, you will go through security upon returning to the airport; just be sure to allow enough time for this. Again, since Lisbon to Bordeaux is all within Schengen, you don't go through passport control on this leg; since it's all within the EU, you don't go through customs on this leg.

The airport isn't far from the city center, so in your situations with those times, doing some sightseeing makes sense. So many people ask about sightseeing with tight connections, but fortunately, that's not your situation. Play it by ear, see how you feel and whether your plane is on time or late. If it's on time and you feel up to it, cab in to the city and explore.