Disclosure: My trip to Portugal was provided at no cost for review purposes. All opinions are my own.
I am of mostly Portuguese descent, and a visit to Lisbon, Portugal has always been on my bucket list. Earlier this month, I finally had the opportunity to visit with Martinhal Family Resorts. During our stay, we spent much of our time at two of the Martinhal Resorts in Cascais and Sagres (here are my reviews of the Cascais property and the Sagres property), but did have the opportunity to explore the capital city of Lisbon for one day. I definitely want to return to Portugal with my family and spend more time in Lisbon – it was absolutely beautiful. I’d recommend spending more than one day in Lisbon, but if you only have one day, here’s what you can do.
One Day in Lisbon: Things to Do in Lisbon
I flew into Lisbon, but then headed to the Cascais resort right away. On the morning of our day in Lisbon, we started out at the Martinhal Cascais Lisbon Family Resort Hotel, located about 35 minutes from Lisbon. After driving through the towns of Cascais and Estoril to explore, we stopped at the Padrão dos Descobrimentos (Monument to the Discoveries). The monument sits on the Northern bank of the Tagus River in Lisbon, and the whole area is a beautiful spot to take a walk. It was being restored during my visit, but I was still able to see the whole statue. During your visit, take the time to walk through the area – the small, quaint cocktail stands are so fun to see, and you can sit by the river to enjoy the view.
We made a brief stop at the Time Out Mercado Da Ribeira Lisbon, located right in the city. The market features a number of food booths, and would be a great place to stop for lunch. I’d recommend trying a few different places, because there were so many options. Next time I return, I’d want to have each member of our family get something different, so that we can all share. If you like seafood, there are plenty of options to try.
During our walk to lunch, we passed by the very popular Santa Justa Lift. It’s a gorgeous structure, and guests can pay to travel up the elevator to get beautiful views of the city. If you choose not to go up in the lift, you can still admire the architecture of the structure. While we didn’t have the time to go up in the lift, it’s definitely something I’d recommend doing. I’m sure the views are amazing.
As we continued our walk through the Baixa (lower town area), we passed the Rua Augusta Arch, which was featured in the movie Gulliver’s Travels. Elevators and stairs take guests to the top of the arch for more views of the city. Again, we didn’t have the time to travel up on the arch, but I’d love go to back and do it. The architecture of the arch is stunning.
The highlight of our visit was the Hop On Hop Off Tram Tour. This tram tour, which runs through the old city, offers guided narration in a variety of languages through headsets. I found the narration to be educational, and the tram runs slow enough that there are lots of opportunities to take photos. With the ability to hop on and hop off, it’s a good way to get around the city to see the various sites. If there’s only one thing that you can do on your day in Lisbon, I think the tram tour is what you should do. The trams are pretty iconic in Lisbon, and the tour is a great way to see the highlights of the city.
Since the tram is limited to traveling only where the tracks are, the same company offers a open-air, double decker bus tour to see more of the city. It’s also hop-on, hop-off, so you’ll be able to do the rest of your sightseeing that way. That’s probably better to do if you have a bit longer than a day to tour.
If we had a longer stay, I would have wanted to visit a few museums – the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum and the National Azulejo Museum (National Tile Museum). There are also food tours and walking tours, as well as a zoo and oceanarium. With the amount of activities, art, culture, sights, and food, there’s definitely enough to do for much more than one day.
Have you been to Lisbon? What did you do?