If you want to see the whole of Lisbon, you'll probably need about a week or two.
But sometimes life will only give you a day to spend in one of the most stunning capitals in Europe, and with its easy-to-navigate transport system and museums, monuments and palaces all snuggled close to each other, you'd be surprised to see how much you can fit into a day.
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The airport is also about an hour's public transport (shorter if you want to splurge on Uber) from the old parts of Lisbon, so when faced with a day-long layover, hopping in and out is incredibly easy - you can also store your luggage at the airport's baggage hold if you can't check it through.
You can also make your spending easier by buying a Lisboa Card for the day at the airport - it includes free transport on the busses and metro, as well as free entrance and discount to a variety of museums and attractions. Read more about it here.
But even with the public transport - this is a walking city - so wear your most comfortable shoes, load up on water and sunscreen and get a appetizing taste of a city steeped in history.
A few general things to note:
- In summer, museums and attractions open at 9:00 and close at 17:00.
- For lunch and dinner, rather get a take-away and sit in a park instead of wasting time in a restaurant.
- Sometimes opt for walking rather than taking public transport - the city streets are as beautiful as the monuments and filled with street art.
- There's free WiFi on all public transport - so always load up your directions then and take screenshots for when you're out of WiFi range (Google offline maps don't work when using public transport directions).
Itinerary 1: Belém
Museu do Combatente
Padrão dos Descobrimentos
The Streets of Belém
Museu Nacional de Arqueologia
Museu de Marinha
Last stop: Ajuda National Palace
Itinerary 2: Bairro Alto and Alfama
Santa Justa Lift
Convento do Carmo
Museu do Chiado II - MNAC
Praça do Comércio
Lisboa Story Centre
Just a stone's throw away: Museu Nacional do Azulejo
Castelo de S. Jorge