Lisbon is a great destination for a city break. From London to Lisbon Airport (LIS) is a less than three hours flight. Although you can wander forever in this warm and romantic city, a getaway for a few days already provides you with plenty of time to view the highlights of Lisbon.
The last few months we’ve seen more and more people enjoying a short city break in Lisbon. We totally understand!
Because Lisbon has so many sights to offer, we recommend that you make a ‘must see list’ with the things you really REALLY want to visit. Plan your days around those sights during your trip and try to ‘spontaneously’ see as much as possible in between. This way you are flexible and you are certain that you aren’t missing anything from your initial plan.
This is how you plan your city break
There are different ways to plan a weekend break to Lisbon. You can of course book a fully catered city trip through tour operators such as Thompson or Expedia (LINK HERE?) Everything is arranged for you, you don’t have to worry about your flight or your hotel.
We usually book our flight and hotel separately. The advantage is that you are more flexible in your choice of flight times, the choice of a hotel and how long you want to go.
Book your own flight: Which airline?
You can choose from a large number of airlines, such as easyJet, Ryanair, TAP Portugal and air Europa. We have a preference for TAP Portugal because they’re pretty relaxed with hand luggage, and because we like the service on board. Besides, it’s nice that you’ll be hearing so much Portuguese around you while still in the airport. Great way to get in the mood!
If you’re only interested in the ticket price, you will usually end up with a low-cost airline, like Ryanair, easyJet or Vueling (the cheaper sister of Iberia). If you choose one of these carriers then Vueling is your best option as far as we are concerned, because they use Terminal 1 at Lisbon Airport. That means you don’t have to get on a 10 minute bus ride at Lisbon Airport for checking in. Very comfortable.
Choose your Lisbon hotel
Because we’re pretty sure that Booking.com always has the best deals for hotels in Lisbon, we usually don’t overthink this. The only thing we check is the location of the hotel and of course the price. Comfort and luxury doesn’t really matter to us: a joyful city break is experienced in the city itself, not so much in your hotel room. So, for your hotel you simply check what Booking.com has to offer.
Ready, Set, Go!
Okay, so you’ve booked your trip and your hotel in Lisbon, your city break can begin! What do you need to see? What shouldn’t you miss? Pooh, tough one! Lisbon has so much to offer, you should probably go for a month! Anyway, we understand very well that you probably just have a day or three in Lisbon. Below are our recommendations.
Where to start your trip after you’ve arrived in Lisbon?
Our advice is to go to Rossio first (check our list of best hotels at Rossio). Rossio is the central square of Lisbon and gives you the opportunity to immediately get a good impression of the city. Around Rossio you’ll find plenty of nice cafes, pastelarias and restaurants to get acquainted with the Portuguese way of life: bica and pasteis de Nata. Our tips at Rossio: Café Nicola and Pastelaria Suíça. Prefer something alcoholic? Then A Ginjinha is the place to be.
Castelo de São Jorge
Your next stop is Castelo de São Jorge. This castle defines the skyline of Lisbon and offers you a fantastic view over the city! Take bus 37, tram 28 or a taxi. Of course you can also go walking, but remember that it is a steep climb.
Sé de Lisboa cathedral
You can find the cathedral Sé de Lisboa in Alfama. This is the most famous and the oldest cathedral in Lisbon, and also a very characteristic landmark. Don’t forget to take beautiful pictures, because the Romanesque, Gothic and Baroque architecture is magnificent.
Praça do Comércio
In the Baixa district, on the banks of the Tagus River, you will find the large Praça do Comércio square. This square has played an important role in the history of Lisbon and shows you why Portugal was such a major naval power a few centuries ago.
The Bairro Alto district is ideally suited for lunch or to enjoy a delicious Caipirinha in the evening. Cervejaria Trindade is our tip for an extensive lunch, for cocktails and fado go to A Tasca do Chico.
A little downstream from the Tagus you will find the Belem district. This is the place to be when it comes to Pasteis de Nata: at Pastéis de Belém you can treat yourself to the traditional pasteis, with powdered sugar or cinnamon. In Belém you can also visit the Torre de Belém and the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos.
These are just a few of the many highlights that we recommend to visit during your city break to Lisbon. Browse the rest of our site to get even more inspiration!