Here’s some information about Lisbon before we dive into the 1 day itinerary.
Lisbon is the capital city of Portugal. It is one of the Top 25 cities of Monocle's Quality of Life Survey, 2019. It's a busy and lively place, but the pace of life is slower here. Most shops close early. You would not see much crowd till early evening. The architecture here is very much different from other European counterparts. The buildings kind of reminds me of a blend of Singapore Housing Block with a European twist. The citizen would air their clothes in the balcony. Although cobblestones flooring is a common sight in Europe, Lisbon street is pretty uneven. You would be walking uphill/downhill on uneven cobblestone flooring. It's like an exercise by itself. It's not the best street to be pushing your luggage. Ideally, it's best to take a taxi from the airport to the hotel.
Life happens. Of course, you may have heard of sad stories of pickpockets and etc. happening in various part of the world. Lisbon is a safe place. As a general rule of thumb, go out after the sunrise and don't go back too late at night. Avoid dark lanes. Be mindful of your own belongings, especially in the trams. The trams can get really crowded in the afternoon, where more people are out to play. Pickpockets tend to happen in such packed places, where you can't see your own belongings. Exercise cautions regardless of where you are travelling.
There are a various mode of transport in Lisbon, such as tram, train, bus and taxi. I managed to take the taxi to and fro the airport and the tram. All Lisbon taxis have a sign on the roof stating "Taxi Lisboa". The driver would start the counter once the taxi starts moving. It's easy to catch a cab. There's no need to get an app just for a holiday. On top of that, it's quite affordable, especially if you are travelling for less than 15 mins. I would totally recommend taking the taxi if you are having several bags of shopping in hand.
Tram is one of the most touristy transport in Lisbon. Every tourist would take a photo of the tram. Tram 28 is the one that would attract the most tourists as it passes by several tourist attractions. The trams are very small with minimal seats. You would need to give up your seats to people who need it more than you. It's hard to get out of the tram if it's very packed as well. It can get a bit stuffy at times if the windows are not opened. You would need to purchase the Lisboa Card upon arrival at the airport. I highly recommend you to get that at the airport, as you do not wish to waste time walking around the city to find the card. I got the 24-hour card which cost 19 euro, as I had 1 day to travel around Lisbon.
The hotels here are cheaper than Amsterdam! I stayed in Vincci Liberdade. You would need to pay tourist tax for every night you stayed in the hotel. The tax for each night is 2 euros.
Food is affordable. You can find breakfast at the cost of around 3 euros. It consists of a coffee and croissant. You can also find a bottle of wine for 4 euros in the supermarket too. A meal can cost as low as 10 euros to 50 euros, especially if you are having lobsters or other seafood items. However, if you bother to walk around and hunt for good deals, you would be able to find affordable meals.
Here’s the budget 1-day Itinerary in Lisbon!
You could easily travel around the main tourist areas via Tram 28. You would want to the tram for 1 round first just to embrace the views of Lisbon offers. Honestly, it’s quite different from other European cities. After that, you could decide which stop to alight and tour around the area. The last stop is situated near the graveyard. Initially, I didn't know it was a graveyard, but I was attracted to the view. Little did I know that it was a graveyard, but nevertheless I was admiring the cats more than anything else.
After that, I took the tram to Alfama. Alfama a beautiful and chill area by the seaside.
You would be able to enjoy the view of Lisbon from the top in Alfama. Other than that, if you are lucky, there are flea markets and locals busking in the afternoon sun. All these experiences are free. Honestly, you do not need to plan anything, just hop on the tram, alight anywhere and let your legs guide you. Let life flow. Sometimes, you would land upon a potential tourist attraction as I did.
I ended up in Castelo de São Jorge, and I paid 10 euros for this view and saw a peacock trying its best to attract a mate. Instead of attracting a mate, it attracts a crowd surrounding it, admiring the full glory of its beauty. I think with the group surrounding the peacock, no potential mate would dare to go here the peacock.
Despite buying a 24 hours Lisboa card, I did not make good use of the card. I only took the tram twice, which I did not foresee that to happen. One of the reasons for not using the card regularly is because Tram 28 is really crowded. Hence, it’s quite hard to board the tram at times.
After visiting the area in Alfama, we walked along the tram tracks and landed up in Baixa.
Walking in Lisbon is a bad idea! It’s an uphill and downhill walk on uneven clobber stone floor. You need to wear a pair of good shoes. I managed to do it, but at some points, my ankle hurt a little. At certain turns or street, the tram would pass by, and it is very near you. At times, I have to stop to check out for a tram and wait for it to pass by.
Baixa is another area within Lisbon. It’s more of a shopping district with restaurants and boutiques. It’s quite a beautiful place to walk around, grab a snack, people watch and do window shopping. The Elevador de Santa Justa is also situated in Baixa. There’s a long queue to take the elevator. I did not want to waste my time queuing for it, despite it being one of the attractions in Lisbon. The line is never-ending. I heard that the view at the top of the elevator is gorgeous, so do check it out for yourself.
You can pretty much explore Alfama and Baixa within a day at a comfortable pace. Given that I was there for a short 2 days, I like the slow pace of Lisbon, but not the roads. It’s a country where you want to take it slow, enjoy city life and people watching and the history of Europe within a healthy budget.
Lisbon reminds me of a fusion between the European and Asian culture, be it in the architecture or even the food. It's a nice getaway from home. There's some form of familiarity, but at the same time, you can get to enjoy new experiences.
Here’s a list of expenses.
Accommodation: SGD 220 per night
Food: less than 100 euros for 6 meals
Transport: About 50 euros for a 24-hour card and 3 taxi rides.
Shopping: Less than 50 euros.
I did not include air ticket into the expenses, as there are plenty of options available. You would have to factor in your own budget. For my shopping, I mainly bought condiments that are not commonly found in Singapore, such as cherry alcohol, hot chocolate powder without sugar and their famous sardines.
I stayed in Vincci Liberdade during my visit to Lisbon.
Here are some of my recommendation to eat and shop:
Lisbon is definitely one of the more affordable European countries to visit. If you have not been to Europe, you can use Lisbon as your first stop or even your base. Sadly, I did not manage to visit more places as I only had 1.5 days in Lisbon. I would love to visit other sites like Belem, Sintra and Pena. I had read many reviews of these places. So, if you are planning a trip to Lisbon, other than a city tour, you could go to these 3 different places. Share with us your experiences if you have visited these areas.
That's all I have to share for Lisbon, Portugal.
See you again.
PS: Click here to read everything about Portugal.