Sunday, September 8, 2019

3 Days Itinerary in Lisbon, Portugal

A blogpost throwback to my first trip of 2019 to Lisbon, Portugal. It's summer here again and things slow down because everyone is on holiday. Hence, I am taking the opportunity to document down my recent trips around Europe.

Started off early morning, took an Uber to the airport at 6.40am. We were definitely early and ready to hit the road. At 7.10am, we got on the M11, cars weren’t moving and I start googling immediately. Turn out there was a major accident in the morning and they had to to close the road. It was like the morning when we travelled to Austria again. That fear creep into me and I started panicking.

All I wanted for a smooth trip to Lisbon. It took us 3 hours to the airport and I paid 110 pounds for my Uber ride. We missed the plane for sure but RyanAir send out a message to notify all passengers that we were allow to get on the next flight for free of charge. I calm down for a bit as the last time when Easyjet cancelled our flight, we waste on the hotel fees for two nights and also miss out exploring the place. Got into the customer service, told me the flight was delay and we rush to the gate.

WE GOT ON THE PLANE! All that fear and panick went away. It was definitely a rush morning as I had to cancelled the taxi I booked to pick us up from the airport and I was prepared to cancelled the tour for the next day in case we couldn’t make it to a flight on the day.

What a morning adventure just to get to Lisbon. Also, I also pretty impressed by the fact that our taxi that we booked through Agoda actually checked that our flight was delay and still waited to pick us up from the airport.

We got to our hotel called Lisbon Art Stay Apartment in Baixa. Its a pretty cool and hippie hotel. Totally love the concept and artistic sense of the place. They even have a rooftop lounge which would allow you to get a view of Lisbon. I would say it is a very strategic place to stay as well because we are nearby to all the tourist attraction spot.

Drop everything off at the hotel and started our journey! That was about 2pm.

Day 1

Santa Justa Lift

We were just 3 mins walk from Santa Justa Lift. We did not go up to the elevator as we were already heading off to Alfama where Castelo de Sao Jorge and famous miradouros (viewpoints) are located.
Since we were going to these viewpoints, we decided not to head up to the lift.

Tram 28

In order to get to Alfama, we took the historic tram 28 up to the hilly district, experiencing the beautiful cobblestone village. The tram route will take you up the steep hill all the way up to the 11th century Castelo Sao Jorge. Along the way, we decided to stop at Miradouro das Portas do Sol to get a stunning city views of the red roof.

Miradouro das Portas do Sol

What other way to start off the trip if it's not getting a beautiful view of Lisbon. I did a lot of research as to where to get the best view in Lisbon and decided to head over to Portas do Sol. It was definitely very breathtaking and the red roof reminds me a lot of Prague. 

Although it was a gloomy day, it definitely did not hide the beauty of the city view. Although the photos weren't able to express the scenic beauty, I was definitely taken back on how different European countries and cities have its very own beauty. 

Castelo de Sao Jorge

A historic castle right in the capital city which is only 10 mins walk from Miradouro das Portas de Sol. This is also one of the famous viewpoints to get the city view. The castle saw the fall of the Romans to the Visigoths and also other major event such as the birth of Portugal as a seafaring nation.

Unfortunately, the castle closed at 4pm on that day so we did not manage to visit the castle. We walked around the souvenir shops and the castle. We ended up just having nata and charcoal chestnut! It was quite disappointing as I didn't get to visit the castle but definitely will advice you guys to include it in your itinerary.

The only photo I took which was the ticket booth and castle entrance

Miradouro de Santa Luzia

As we were exploring the Alfama district, we stumble across another view point which was super close to the Miradouro das Portas do Sol. We got a different angle of the viewpoint which was really pretty. Also, this viewpoint is slightly different as it's wall are decorated with tiles as you can see in the photo below. 

If you walk around Lisbon city, you will notice the walls are all decorated with tiles also known as Azulejos. The word stems from Arabic roots which is known as "small polished stone". These tiles are used to decorate churches, buildings and walls around the city. There's a tile museum in Lisbon which is one of the tourist attraction site in Lisbon.

Lisbon Cathedral

Last stop for the day was the Lisbon Cathedral, also known as Santa Maria Maior de Lisboa (Official name). It was getting darker and we will walking down the hills and stumble upon the cathedral. We decided to have a look around the cathedral before heading back to our hotel and have dinner. 

Our first day in Lisbon were pretty productive considering the flight delay and being stuck in the taxi due to the accident on the highway. We spend most of our time exploring Alfama district, visiting the famous view points for the best city views and strolling through the shops. Although the weather was gloomy but the view was beautiful. The next day, weather was beautiful and this was the picture I capture when I was in the car. If the sky was as blue as this, the view would have been 11/10.

Day 2

Since this is a family trip, I sign up for a day tour to Cascais and Sintra through GetYourGuide. It was a mini van for 7 people and they pick us up from the hotel itself. I was told that it would be good to explore these two cities separately. However, a tour would have be more suitable for my parents as they prefer someone to guide them and lead them through the places. 

Boca do Inferno 

First stop along to Cascais was Boca do Inferno, also known as the Hell's Mouth. A scenic cliff formation from the pounding of wave located close to Cascais town (40 minutes walk). It's definitely a good place for evening walk to just admire nature's beauty. Despite it being call Hell's Mouth, the beauty of this place was the exact opposite from its name. 

This place was formed by the erosion of the limestone which then lead to the cave collapsing forming the unique Hell's Mouth.

It was really refreshing and nice to finally experience this scenic view after all the gloomy days in London. If you are someone visiting Europe and would love scenic views like these during Winter, definitely suggest you pick Portugal as it's not as cold and better weather. 


Next stop at Cascais town.. Our tour guide took us to this village town and brought us around the area, explaining to the history of some of the important landmarks. 

Museu Condes De Castro Guimaraes

One of the landmarks that he took us to was this palatial residence. This is a summer residence incorporating chimneys reminiscent of medieval palaces, arched windows with mixed features of Roman , neo-Gothic and neo-Arab archietecture. 

Within this museum, they display various antiques such as painting, furnitures, jewelry and tiles. What differentiate this residence from others was it's unique design and architecture. 

After the tour around the residence, we were given 1.5 hours to explore the town. It was a really pretty town with palm trees along the path we were walking. My brother was just rushing to the shops to buy more Nata as his aim of this trip was to eat as many nata and in every location he visits. 

I'll let the pictures do the talking to describe Cascais. I absolutely love the walk around the town. There are plenty of beaches in this town which caters for family and also water sport lovers. This is definitely one place that you could spend a full day rather than a few hours.

After the short exploration in Cascais, its time to head to our next stop. 

Cabo da Roca

A cape located at the westernmost point of the Sintra Mountain Range, also the strongest wind I've ever experienced. I still remember the last time I experience such strong wind was when I was 15, visiting the 12 Apostle in Australia. It was so strong that the wind was pushing me upfront and I barely needed to use any energy to walk. 

My hair was flying everywhere in all directions. Despite all that, I still manage to capture the scenic view where the skies meets the ocean. The view was captivating but as the wind was too strong, my mum was super worry so she hurried me to get back to van. One of things when you are travelling with your parents, they will always be paranoid and over protective. I use to find it annoying but right now, I know it's because they care and love me. 

One of the things that I've learnt after being abroad for so long. When they use to nag me, I'll get annoyed but now I just smile and realise I actually do miss them. Sometimes, they even think I might have overwork myself that I am not thinking right for smiling while they nag. 


Our last stop was in Sintra. We were given time to have lunch in town and also take a walk around the place. We were given 1.5 hours which was definitely not enough. We took an hour for lunch and only had 30 min to walk around. One of the disadvantages following tours is that you would not be able to explore small towns. 

Either ways, we head on to Pena Palace. This was the highlight of my trip. I've seen so many pictures of the colourful palace. It was beautiful and I wanted to find out even more about it. 

Garden of Pena Park

Instead of driving straight up to the palace, our tour guide suggested that we should take a walk through the park and follow the route to the palace. That way, we will get to experience nature and at the same time, the beauty of Pena Park. 

I was a bit worried for my parents as I knew they didn't really like climbing up steps and steep hill but they were all for it. It was quite interesting as each corner of the park has its own story. Our tour guide was super knowledgeable as he took us through each area. The walk felt really short as we were learning a lot about the place. 

A mini castle within the park itself

Pena Palace

After 45 minutes strolling the park, we've finally arrive to the beautiful and majestic Pena Palace. This was definitely the main star of the day. Truly a masterpiece and it's one of those things where "you get what you see" as it's definitely what you see in pictures but even better. 

A Romanticist castle, located in the hills of Sintra and materialisation of the dreams of King Ferdinand II. A fairy tale like castle, so very charming sitting at the top of the mountain. The palace was built in a location such that it will be visible at all direction in the park. King Ferdinand bought the monastery in the 1800s and converted this to a royal residence after. This became the summer residence for the royal family. 

The view of the castle itself was truly breathtaking. Although you can see that the walls are dirty, this definitely did not hinder its beauty. The castle definitely capture my heart. You'll also get the most amazing view from the castle. Standing at top of this castle, overlooking the view, words can't express how I feel and that moment. It was definitely different from going up to a skyscraper that overlook the beautiful city. This is a view of nature and we must protect. 

Ended our tour with this view and headed back to Lisbon city for dinner. 

Day 3

Praça do Comércio

The grand city square located near the Tagus River also known as Terreiro do Paço. After our breakfast, we decided to head over there. It was only a 5 mins walk from our hotel. It was a busy and sunny morning at square with tour groups and everyone else just admiring the beauty.

Jeronimos Monastery

Itinerary for the rest of the day was to tour around the Belem district. Since we've got 3 full days in Lisbon, I wanted to cover as much as we could at the same time, not rushing through everything. First stop was Jeronimos Monastery.

The monastery was declared as a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1983. Diogo de Boitaca designed the monastery to commemorate the return of Vasco da Gama from India. The Church of Santa Maria is known to be unique and one-of-a-kind as it's completely different from other churches. The church is held by six beautifully sculpted column and houses the tomb of Vasco da Gama

The entrance fee to the monastery is 10 euros, which isn't too bad. If you are student, you will get a 50% discount on it. 

Praça do Império (Gardens of Empire Square)

Right opposite of the monastery, there's another public square and park. All the historical landmark were near by in Belem. Hence, you'll definitely pass by this park and it's majestic water fountain. 

Padrao dos Descobrimentos

If you are looking for beautiful viewpoint of Belem, this is highly recommended. Although I did not actually went up the monument itself, I did my research online and you'll be able to get a stunning view of the district overlooking the monastery. As my dad wasn't very keen on going up and I did not want to make him wait for me, we just stroll around the place and head over to Belem Tower. 

I'll definitely come back here again in the future as Lisbon was a beautiful city and definitely needed more than 3 days to fully capture and enjoy the city itself. My main aim of this trip was also to spend more time with family and do everything together. Since I've started working in London, I haven't gotten much opportunity to spend time with them so when I do, I want to cherish every moment. 

Belem Tower

A fortress built in the northern bank to defend Lisbon long long time ago. The tower is about 505 years old and have been an iconic landmark together with the monastery in Belem. This is also declared as an UNESCO site in 1983. 

Everything in Belem look so pure with the white majestic architecture. This district is completely different from Alfama. I wanted my parents to also experience the different parts of Lisbon and not just the city central. My mum was really fascinated by the architecture and how beautiful the monastery and the tower. 

As we were walking towards the tower, the clouds got darker and next thing we knew, the sky looks really gloomy. It started raining as well. Hence, after the tower, we decided to head back to city and do some shopping in the city centre. 

Oh! Before I forget to mention, our hotel had a rooftop terrace which overlooks the city. We had gloomy skies on the first day at the view points. We didn't have much time to rush back to Alfama to the viewpoints again but I was definitely satisfy with our viewpoint from the hotel's rooftop. 

As you can see from the photos, Lisbon is quite hilly and hence, it wouldn't be the best vacation place to bring elderly people especially your grandparents. Otherwise, Lisbon is a perfect gateway place with beautiful views, historic landmarks and not to forget, amazing food. 

If you want to know what I ate in Portugal, just hop on to my post on Best Eats in Lisbon for more information. I definitely had my fair share of egg tarts. I would like love to come back to Lisbon again and spend more time in Cascais and Sintra. 


  1. I was looking out for a short itinerary for my Portugal visit. I want to surprise my daughter who is studying there and also visit the wonderful places. I got my Portugal holiday visa a few days back. I would love to spend good time with my lovely daughter while exploring Lisbon.

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