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Lisbon 3 day Itinerary on the Lisbon Tram 28
Our Lisbon 3 day Itinerary took us all over the city from Alfama to Belem. Our journeys often began on the Lisbon Tram 28. To get to know Lisbon, you must see it by tram and on foot. Sure, there are easier and quicker (and more expensive) ways to get around, but the trams are a way to travel like a local. Specifically, the Lisbon Tram 28 and 15 are the best ways around the city.
The first thing we notice in Lisbon was the hills and the cobblestones. Our quads and glutes got quite a workout. We recommend sensible shoes for this trip and many of the items on this Portugal Packing List. The views are beautiful and the people friendly. And, the food was fantastic.
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Lisbon 3 Day Itinerary
We arrived in Lisbon from the US on New Year’s Eve. This was the first part of a longer trip that included a road trip through the Algarve and then a bus ride to Seville. The Lisbon 3 Day Itinerary started with, of course, our first Lisbon Tram 28 ride. We sat amazed as the tram made its way down the hilly, curvy, narrow streets, passing by cars and buildings with inches to spare. We were hooked.
Day 1-Alfama to Belem
We stayed in Alfama, so began our trip walking through the winding alleys of the oldest part of Lisbon. As you travel around, make sure to stop by Castelo de S. Jorge. Originally built 400 years ago, many parts of the Fort were rebuilt in the 1920s. There can be long lines, so you might start your Alfama tour there and then go explore the rest of the area.
One of the Castle staff (Marta) was giving a private tour as we arrived and we joined her tour. We learned the history of the Castle during the Iron Age (7th century BC) and facts about the Muslim houses. Marta took us down to about 4.5 meters below sea level. The ramps along the perimeter of the castle walls have the best views of the entire city.
This area is very hilly and once your legs are tired, we recommend hopping on Lisbon Tram 28 and taking it all the way to Belem–about a 45-minute ride. Spend the rest of the day in Belem.
Afternoon Day 1 Belem
Key sites in Belem are: Belem Tower, Museu Nacional dos Coches, and the Monastery (the Cathedral at the same place as the Monastery). We went to Belem Tower first, then the museum and finally to the Cathedral. Unfortunately, we arrived too late to go into the Cathedral so had to come back another day. Since we loved riding the Lisbon Tram 28, we didn’t mind going back. We recommend doing this in the opposite order: Cathedral, then the Coach Museum and then Belem Tower.
The Museu Nacional dos Coches has the coaches from the royal family. One of the coaches had bullets holes–King Carlos was riding in it in 1908 with his family when he and his son were assassinated. You can take Bus 728 to Estacio Fluvial de Belem which stops right outside the museum or tram 15 and walk a little further.
Day 2 Chiado, Baixa, Commerce Square
One the second day, we recommend a walking tour of Chiado, Baixa and Commerce Square. You can also take a walk down Avenida da Liberdade. Chiado is the shopping district in Lisbon. The buildings date to the 1700s, but have been recently restored. From there, you can go to Baixi and take the Santa Justa Lift–an old wrought iron elevator. Lines here can be long, but there are great views at the top. After that, go to Commerce Square. Until 1775, the Royal Palace was in Commerce Square. The palace was destroyed in an earthquake and there is a stone monument memorializing the palace. It is worth seeing the Arch and a huge statue of King Jorge.
Day 3 Go Deeper in Lisbon or Visit Sintra
If you go to Lisbon in the summer, there will be long lines everywhere and you most likely will not get through what we did in two days. Your alternatives for the last day of the Lisbon 3 Day itinerary are to take a relaxing day to enjoy more of Lisbon or go to Sintra.
Since we were not going to Porto on our trip, we did a port tasting at the Port Wine Institute at Ludovic Palace (Barrio Alto). Barrio Alto is another neighborhood worth seeing. You should also go to a Fado Performance, Portugal’s traditional music. More on Fado below.
Sintra is a beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Site located about 45 minutes from Lisbon. It is the most popular day trip from Lisbon. The Pena Palace, the Moorish Castle, the National Palace are beautiful and worth seeing. We also went to see Quinta da Regaleira, a private home built in the neo manueline style (similar to the Jeronimos Monastery). You can easily spend a few hours exploring the extensive grounds. The architecture is lovely and there is a small and beautiful chapel.
Sintra is very crowded in the summer. We were there in January and the crowds were manageable. We recommend two days in Sintra, especially in high season.
There are direct trains which depart every hour on the hour. You can also take the tourist bus 434. We had limited time and wanted to see some places on the way to Sintra so we hired a driver for the day.
Portuguese Fado Performances
Fado is a very mournful and expressive Portuguese folk music. Many tourist restaurants have Fado performances. It is much better to hear it in a neighborhood place. Antonio from Porto Alfama (see below under restaurants) recommended that we go to a place near the Fado Museum. Here are a few places that we discovered in that area: Arcaz Velho (only has Fado some nights, check first), Senhor Fado, Mesa de Frades, Tasca do Chico and Rua dos Remedios 83 (a bar that has amateur fado nights).
We went to Bela Vinhos e Petiscos (Rua do Remedios 190) and heard a wonderful performance. There is a Fado performance every night (cover charge is €15 per person). The setting is very intimate. At 9:15, the lights were turned off and the performance started. We stayed for 2 sets (there may have been more). We thoroughly enjoyed the evening–the food, the performance, and the setting.
You need to have reservations at Bela Vinhos. When you walk in, it seems like someone’s house. In fact, some people eat in the kitchen! The food is already on the table, so return what you don’t want to eat. It is a good idea to limit what you eat at the beginning and order as you need. The tapas are cold. If you want hot food, order from the menu.
You can hear Fado before you go:
We had 6 tapas (fried cod & legumes, fava beans, cod with chickpeas, pickled peppers, octopus) and a liter of white sangria which came up to €46.50.
Lisbon Tram 28 and 15
The Lisbon Tram 28 was right outside our hotel in Alfama. It goes through most of the tourist areas, including Graca, Alfama, Baixa and Estrela. We took it everyday. Tram 15 takes you from Figueroa Square to Belen. buses 728, 729, 730 also go to Belem. Tram 12 was also nearby.
The roads in Lisbon are narrow and have cobblestones. And, the trams share the road with cars, taxis, buses. Getting through the narrow passageways can be quite a feat. The trams also often screech. We were usually able to find a seat, but they can be very crowded.
Eating in Lisbon
We enjoyed eating in Lisbon. Our favorite restaurant was Cafe Electrico. It is right on the Lisbon Tram 28 line–from inside it looks like the tram is going to go right into the restaurant. Other favorites are listed below.
Café do Electrico
Sandra runs the Café do Electrico, a local hangout. She makes lunches from a very small oven. It was €13 for a plate of ribs, potatoes, salad and soda for 2 people. The Cafe is at the corner of Rua du Salvador and TV Sao Tome. Sandra also makes the best and cheapest espresso (€0.60) and butter toasts (€1). We hung out there quite a bit and at one point she had us staff the counter while she ran an errand. Sandra also gave us a recipe for her pork stew. The Cafe is open Monday – Friday, 7.30am to 6.00pm; cash only.
Time Out Mercado da Ribeira (across from the main train station, Cais do Sodre)
Our second favorite hangout during our Lisbon 3 Day Itinerary was Time Out Mercado da Ribeira (across from the main train station, Cais do Sodre). Time Out has dozens of food stalls run by chefs like Henrique Sa Pessoa. We had baby bass tartare with avocado & salmon roe, mango from his stall for €8 and heavenly suckling pig confit(€9.95). We had Duck croquette (with lots of duck meat) at Cozinha da Felicidade for only €1. And, the chicken and seared scallops at Miguel Laffan’s stall were delightful.
Pastéis de nata is a delightful egg custard with a light flaky crust. We loved Aloma at Time Out for the best Pastéis de nata (€1 each) in the Lisbon. As most tourists do, we went to the famous Pastéis de Belém (established in 1837). In our opinion, Aloma’s were better. Plus, we did not have to wait in the long line at Belem when we had a craving.
Lisbon is known for its fish and it is a well deserved reputation. Here are some of the places that we ate during our Lisbon 3 Day Itinerary. You should know that you will be charged for the cheese, prosciutto and bread that the waiter places on your table. If you don’t want it, tell your waiter to take it away immediately. Keep this in mind for all Portuguese restaurants.
Restaurant Frei Papinhas – R. São Tomé 13
Frei Papinhas, a neighborhood family-run restaurant a few steps away from Hotel Convento do Salvador, served great fish and good prices. The grilled dorade and cod were excellent. The fish were fresh and well complemented by white wine (1/2 bottle) Caiado from the Alentejedo region. There were plates of cheese (sotonisa, queijo de ovelha qurado, monte franco queijo de vaca e ovelha curado), prosciutto and Portuguese bread. We rounded off the feast with a very good coco cake dessert.
28 Café – R. de Santa Cruz do Castelo 45
We found 28 Café in the shade of the Jorge Castle. 28 Café is cash only and has a daily tourist menu at a very reasonable price.
It has old streetcar (tram) banquettes as seating inside as well as outdoor seating. We had a cod & spinach quiche served with salad and a toastie (grilled chicken with edam cheese on Portuguese bread) that was large enough for 2 people.
Marcellino Pao & Vinho – Rua do Salvador 62
At Marcellino, we had the Tapiscos and chicken puff pastry and excellent hot chocolate served with strawberries. The café has interesting and eclectic décor with pictures of local artists who lived nearby adorning their walls. It has a very economical varied menu and is cash only.
Porto Alfama – Rua de Sao Pedro 26
We accidentally discovered this small tapas and port wine bar and restaurant while wondering around Alfama. Antonio (a psychologist) and his wife Teresa (a journalist) own this 3 table (12 seats) restaurant. They are lovely hosts and told us a lot about the different types of port. They offer flights of port and a pre-fixed or an a la carte menu of tapas. Hours are from 3pm-10pm. The food was very good and inexpensive. We had smoked octopus (excellent), spicy sardines, chickpeas with pepper and smoked trout
In addition, to tell us all about port, Antonio recommended local places to listen to Fado music.
Bomjardin’s for Frango Assada
Bomjardin’s is located near the Rossio train station (just down the alley to the right of CTT) and it is a local joint for chicken. The chicken was tasty, though a bit dry when we went.
Antigo Restaurante 1st de Maio – Rua da Atalaia 85
We went to Antigo, is a traditional restaurant, with a Portuguese friend. The fried John Dory fish with acorda (made from a puree of 1-day old bread with cockles, olive oil & coriander) was done perfectly. The tenderloin of black pork and osso buco we equally amazing. And the price was a relatively inexpensive €41 for three people. Again, this is a restaurant for locals and is cash only.
Solar do Vinho do Porto-Rua Sao Pedro de Alcantara 45
Solar do Vinho has a wide selection of port wines including flights. The salon has a slight musty smell and the furniture looks as old as the port! We found the service terrible (no attention and forget about any recommendation). If you know your ports, this is the place to go otherwise don’t come expecting to learn anything.
If you like Culinary Adventures, read about our food experiences in Hong Kong.
Lisbon 3 Day Itinerary Hotel
We stayed at the Hotel Convento do Salvador. It was once one of the oldest convents in the City. The rooms are minimalist and functional with a king-sized bed and oversized bathroom. We were upgraded to a duplex suite with sitting area. Some taxis will not go down Rua Do Salvador to the hotel as it is deemed too narrow. If you stay here, we recommend that you ask the hotel to arrange for a transfer from the airport (€17.50). The Hotel was well located near the Cathedral, Castle Jorge and the Santa Luzia view-point. Breakfast was included and the staff was very helpful. Since we were there on New Year’s Eve, we were given a bottle of champagne, bolo rei (traditional cakes) and 12 dried grapes to ring in the New Year.
Lisbon is a very LGBTQ+ friendly city. Discrimination based on sexual orientation is banned in Portugal and same-sex marriage has been recognized since 2010. The Law of Gender Identity is one of the most progressive laws in the world regarding name and sex changes for transgender people.
Barrio Alto and Principe Real are the twin centers of the LGBTQ+ community with many bars and restaurants. LGBTQ+ Pride is celebrated in June with a festival and parade which take place over 2 weekends. In September, there is an LGBTQ+ Film Festival. There are a number of LGBTQ+ Beaches, with Beach 19 being the most known.
8 Tips for Lisbon 3 Day Itinerary & Lisbon Tram 28
- Sensible walking shoes are a must–lots of hills and cobblestones.
- Trams and buses are an inexpensive and efficient way to get around the city. If you stay in Alfama, Lisbon Tram 28 and 12 are easy to find.
- If you go in peak season, be prepared for the crowds.
- Purchase the via Viagen card (€6.50 for a day pass and you can add value). It is valid for travel on buses, trams, metro and elevators.
- Many restaurants are cash only.
- If you are not interested in the antipasto plate (mainly cold cuts & cheese), send it back immediately or you will be charged.
- Food and wine are excellent.
- Slow down and enjoy the Lisbon experience. Walk, talk to locals, find out-of-the-way places to enjoy Lisbon.
Please leave a Comment. Have you been to Lisbon or Sintra?
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