Lisboa in a weekend (part 1)

The capital of Portugal is relatively small, relaxing and unlike your megacities found elsewhere in the world (looking at you, Asia) can be done as a weekend trip to Europe. Whilst we all have different tastes I am not telling you what you should do but giving a snap shot of what can be achieved over a weekend without over exerting yourself, after all, it’s Lisbon, not Ibiza.

Whilst we all have different tastes I am not telling you what you should do but giving a snap shot of what can be achieved over a weekend without over exerting yourself, after all, it’s Lisbon, not Ibiza.

Day 1

You should aim to arrive in the early – mid morning, Lisbon’s airport is not huge and can be cleared with relative ease. The metro is fast and simple with few lines in total. The red line from the airport takes about 30min into Lisbon and 1 change to the aqua colored line will get you to Rossio, the main tourist area.

Flying over Lisbon. Ryanair from London had reasonable fares.

Rosario square has its own station where you can exit and have a wander through and see sights such as Rossio Square, the National Theatre and a few nearby churches which should keep you occupied till lunch time after which you’ll be able to check in. We stayed in the square to be in the heart of it all making it that much easier to do more.

Rossio Square – a lot of food choices around here!
“Mini” square next to Rossio square – Praça da Figueira
The National Theater sits at one end of Rossio Square

After a rest and freshen up, one can get a ride or walk to the Castelo de Sao Jorge (St. George castle). Due to the heat, we opted for an Uber to the castle.

Expect to spend roughly 2 – 2.5 hours at the castle grounds as there are a few things to see, including the awesome view over Lisbon from the castle walls and a museum of artifacts. Entry requires a paid ticket however you are then free to wander and the map lets you plan a structured path around. If you need your booze fix there’s a wine cart that roams around as well.

The view from the castle grounds
At the heart of the castle complex, the main fortifications

Aim to leave as the day nears sunset (assuming you have gone in summer), the long days will give you plenty of time still. A walk down south will take you through the historic Alfama district where you will see plenty of the famous yellow trams and more epic views.

Away from the tourist areas, the narrow streets of Lisbon
View from Alfama district
Yellow Tram! They are actually tiny and look rather unpleasant in summer…

Once you reach the coast head west to be looping back to Rossio. Along with this route, you will see Chafariz D’el Rei, Se de Lisboa (Cathedral), Casa dos Bicos (Museum inside a 16th-century townhouse dedicated to Jose Saramago) and eventually you will hit Comercio Square. The square includes a statue of Dom Jose 1 in the middle. This whole area is government buildings such as court houses and ministry building.

Chafariz D’el Rei – Looks a little worse for wear outside but this is a top of the line luxury hotel. with only 6 rooms.
Arco da Rua Augusta from Comercio Square.

Once you are done taking in the sights and selfies in the square looking back at Lisbon you will see the impressive gateway, Arco da Rua Augusta which forms up one side of the square. A walk through the square will take you straight back to Rossio Square, however, this street and the parallel streets hold all the main big brand shopping and since it’s the weekend should still be open for some evening shopping.

Everything looks better by night, right? (looking towards Rossio Square)

By now it’s definitely dinner time and the amount of walking done it’s time to satisfy the hunger. As you are in Portugal, a seafood platter is a must have and most of the restaurants will have some form of it.


I’m not going to tell you where to go and what to eat however as what’s good is very subjective.

A small walk after dinner and darkness should have set in now and as you head back to where you choose to say, swinging by Rossio square to see it by night is worth it and there is a quirky canned sardine shop there worth seeing, you won’t miss it as it looks like there’s a small carnival going on inside.

Yep, things definitely look better by night.

I have somewhat overcome the flu so part 2 is up here!

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