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Itinerary help

Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
17 posts
Itinerary help

I will be traveling to Lisbon from Nov 15 – 18 with my husband. Arriving Nov 15 via train from porto, will be going back to port by train on Nov 18 (haven’t booked ticket yet, but likely taking a 2pm of 4 pm train back). This is our first time in Lisbon and although time is a bit tight want to make sure that we can make efficient use of our time. We will be staying in the Chiado area.

We are in our 30s and enjoy exploring neighborhoods, local culture, historical sites, restaurants and bars, quaint shops etc. I personally love museums but felt that it’s best not to go to any given our limited schedule. Would like to also checkout some of the street art by Bordalo II.

Mon Nov 15

- Arrive Lisbon 12:30pm

- Take walking tour of Lisbon with sandman or take tours (starts at 2:30 – 3pm) which covers chaido / baxia area

- Explore Bairro Alto area, Cais do Sodre, Timeout Market in the evening (neither of us are interested in clubbing, more interested in exploring areas, good food and drinks)

Tues Nov 16

- Explore Belem in the morning: (Pasteis de Belem, Padrao dos Descobrimentos monument, Torre de Belem, Mosteiro dos Jeronimos)

- Explore Alfama in the later afternoon/evening (take tram 28, go to Castelo de Sao Jorge and then wander the streets down)

- Have a nice dinner and watch a Fado show

Wed Nov 17

- Sintra day trip (I think we’ll be spending the whole day in Sintra given the number of sites to see plan on going to Pena Palace, Castle of the Moors, Quinta da Regaleira and if there is time Sintra National Palace)

Thurs Nov 18

- Spending morning in any area we feel we want to go back to

- Afternoon train back to porto

Would appreciate some feedback and guidance on our itinerary. I’m a bit concerned if trying to do Belem and Alfama in one day will be too much. But thought that trying to do Alfama on our first day after our walking tour wouldn’t give us enough time to enjoy the area. Thoughts?

Also have a few questions:

1. Is the Torre de Belem current open? I’ve seen conflicting information on different sites, I contacted the site but haven’t heard back yet

2. By the description I want to go inside and explore Mosteiro dos Jeronimos but not sure if it’s worth going into the Torre de Belem, heard that the line ups are very long and not much to see inside…thoughts?

3. Would appreciate recommendations for good places to watch Fado show (is Alfarama area best or another district better?). Know this can be very subjective, but it will be our first time experiencing it and would like an authentic experience.

4. Any particular sites in Alfama that’s a must visit?

5. How long should we spend at Castelo de Sao Jorge?

6. Would appreciate any restaurant / bar recommendations? Doesn’t have to be fine dining, authentic food is what we try to go for with 1 or 2 nicer restaurants for the trip :)

7. Any other areas/sites that we are missing?

Appreciate any help and feedback.


Portland, Oregon
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2,155 posts
89 reviews
57 helpful votes
1. Re: Itinerary help

I would drop the Torre de Belem and Castelo de Sao Jorge. In my opinion, the tower is over rated. The castle was constructed in the 1930s on old foundations. I recommend the restaurant and museum reviews on the TA site.

Island of Malta...
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for Island of Gozo, Island of Malta, Penang
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191 reviews
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2. Re: Itinerary help

Plan Sintra - you seem to be listing too many places to visit in my view. I would aim for one in the morning & one in the afternoon only.

The Belem Tower was closed recently when I was there and many say the Monastery is not worth the entrance fee as you are limited to the cloisters. The Church is free and the carvings on the outside are pretty spectacular.

Investigate where to eat in Alfama as many are tourist fodder restaurants.

On Saturday's the flea market takes place behind the Panteao Nacional in Alfama.

We loved Lisbon on our recent trip. Wandering about is part of the fun.

Edited: 1 year ago
Level Contributor
1,290 posts
41 reviews
20 helpful votes
3. Re: Itinerary help

As for the St. George Castle (Castelo de Sao Jorge), I cannot agree with the first comment. It's true that major restorations were undertaken in the 1930s, but there are portions that exist from many past ages in the past, including the 11th century, if not earlier. Furthermore, you'll see the castle looming above you from almost everywhere in Lisbon; it will be difficult, if not futile, to resist seeing it up close.

Keep in mind that you don't go to the castle, just to see the castle. You go there, as well, for the spectacular views of Lisbon and the Tejo estuary beyond. As to how long you need -- it's hard to say. I suppose you could just traipse through in an hour or so. But if you really want to enjoy the views, perhaps sitting on a bench sipping good Portuguese wine from the wine cart (I can't say whether it's still there), and maybe even have lunch in the restaurant, you could do as I did and spend an entire afternoon there.

Edited: 1 year ago
Level Contributor
1,290 posts
41 reviews
20 helpful votes
4. Re: Itinerary help

Also, as for the Alfama, I do want to put in a good word for a museum that doesn't always get a lot of mention, the Museum of Resistance and Liberty, also known as the Aljube Museum (after the original name of the old building in which it is located). It's devoted to the resistance against the long conservative dictatorship of Antonio Salazar (1932-1968). If you're a dedicated fascist or authoritarian, perhaps you may not like it; otherwise, you may find it informative and inspiring, as I did. Most of the displays are labelled in English as well as Portuguese.

Edited: 1 year ago
Oslo, Norway
Level Contributor
24,563 posts
116 reviews
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5. Re: Itinerary help

I recommend the national Azulejo (tiles) museum


A bit east of Alfama along the river and railway

Agree that the tower of Belem is not that interesting.

Cape Cod...
Destination Expert
for Christiansted
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228 reviews
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6. Re: Itinerary help

I would highly recommend doing a foodie tour with Treasures of Lisboa as a great way to taste great food and wine and to visit Alfama. Belem is on everyone’s must see list but it wasn’t our favorite day. Did go into the Maritime museum which we liked a lot as well as the Coach Museum and the Jeronimos Monastery. Walked on the waterfront, etc but Belem didn’t knock my socks off.

Definitely have dinner in the Bairro Alto area as it comes alive at night. We loved Lisboa a Noite but it may be too low key for your age group. We enjoyed O Fado for dinner and a show a second night.

We didn’t pay to go into the Castle (line was huge and heard it was a disappointment. But we were very glad we visited the adjacent neighborhood as it was quite lovely.

Manchester, United...
1 post
7. Re: Itinerary help

I think your list is mostly do-able. I disagree regarding Torre de Belem we loved that area as it seemed slow paced compare to central Lisbon. Also along the River with the MAAT museum offers amazing views of the place. As for restaurants to check out in addition to Barrio Alto and Alfama, I would highly recommend checking out the restaurants in Pink Street. You can check out the list here https://www.itsallbee.com/2019/03/pink-street-lisbon-restaurants-bars-rua-nova-do-carvalho/ as that whole areas is charming with some cute and unique places to eat.

8. Re: Itinerary help

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