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  • Writer's pictureCruise Genie

What to Do in Just One Day in Lisbon

The Portuguese city of Lisbon is brimming with old-world charm and historic sites. Overlooking the Tagus River, it boasts colourful neighbourhoods, interesting museums, Fado music, and there’s an amazing culinary scene.

Much of the city is walkable, however, certain areas are steep, and popular landmarks can be located far apart. Fortunately, city lifts such as the Santa Justa Elevator can transport you to different levels in the city and there are plenty of great, (and cheap), transport options for getting around too.

If you only have one day in Lisbon or less, here are a few of the best things to do to give you a brief taste of this vibrant and historic city.

Port of Lisbon Map

Lisbon cruise port has four cruise terminals - Santa Apolónia, Alcântara, Roche Conde d’Óbidos and the new quay at Jardim do Tabaco which is nearest the city center. The cruise port itself has cafes, snack bars and duty-free shops.

How to Get from Lisbon Cruise Port to City Center

It’s easy to get from Lisbon cruise port to city center via taxi, hop-on/hop-off bus (€20), No. 28E tram (€1,50-€3), tuk-tuk or metro, and if you purchase a Lisbon Viva Viagem card, it gives you unlimited rides on public transport for 24 hours. It costs around €11 for metro, tram, and suburban train use, plus, you get to jump the queues at the city’s iconic attractions!

If you’re arriving at Santa Apolónia dock or Jardim do Tabaco, it is possible to walk to Lisbon Cathedral, Arco da Rua Augusta, or the city center in 10-15 minutes. Some cruise liners may also offer a shuttle bus from Lisbon port.

What to do in Lisbon if You Only Have One Day

It’s impossible to see all of Lisbon in a day, however, there are several historic landmarks and activities you won’t want to miss.

Try Delicious Pastéis de Belém

If you are only spending a few hours in Lisbon, this is definitely one activity to partake in! These deliciously creamy, flaky custard tarts date to the 18th century when monks from Jerónimos Monastery would sell them, and today, at Pastéis de Belém bakery, the recipe is still the same!

Visit Jerónimos Monastery

The UNESCO World Heritage Site Jerónimos Monastery was built to celebrate Portuguese explorer, Vasco da Gama’s discovery of a route to India by sea. It’s a superb example of Manueline architecture with intricate motifs, carvings, and double cloisters.

Climb to the Top of Belém Tower

Set along the Tagus River, Belém Tower was built to honour Portugal’s Age of Discovery. At one time it also doubled as a fortress to guard the harbour and the views from the roof are well worth the climb.

Lisbon Port Wine Tasting

Portugal is famous for its port wine, and there’s one establishment close to the cruise port in Alfama district where you can sample a glass or two. Taylors Port tasting shop is a family business which has been specialising in fortified port wine for over 300 years. Here you can sample three types of Port and a Pasteis de Nata for around 16€ per person.

Lisbon Cruise Port Excursions

If your time in Lisbon is limited, one of the best day trips is to the UNESCO-listed fairy tale town of Sintra. Visitors can spend a few hours wandering through Pena National Palace and Quinta da Regaleira with its magnificent gardens and grottoes, before exploring artisan craft shops and galleries of Sintra town.

Alternatively, enjoy a day trip to the elegant beach towns of Cascais and Estoril, just a short train ride or cruise excursion away from the city.

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