12 hours in Lisbon (as cheap as possible!)

When we were originally booking our flight to South America, we found that flying via Lisbon and staying there for one night, actually worked out cheaper than flying direct to Rio de Janeiro (https://packingitin.com/2018/03/01/our-departure-is-booked/) Lisbon has been on both our lists for a while. It’s certainly an up and coming destination in Europe with the Web Summit having moved there along with numerous tech companies setting up offices there. We only had 12 hours to fit as much as we could in so here’s what we managed to do!

We landed from Heathrow and immediately went to drop our stuff at our Airbnb (use our referral link and we’ll all get money off!)

If you’re planning a trip, or just thinking about going there already, you probably know that Lisbon is cool.

Views, coastline, ports, beaches, bars, restaurants. The Portuguese capital seems to have a bit of everything. But we didn’t have the time nor the desire to spend money. So instead…

1. The famous E28 tram. The old yellow trams are only used on a few routes, and the 28 takes you through the heart of the coastal city.

This can be made particularly budget efficient by buying a 24-hour transit ticket from any metro station, which give you 24 hours of unlimited use of the underground, trams and busses for around €6.90 – perfect for getting to and from the airport.

Two notes here – the trams are apparently a pickpocket favourite, so bags in hands etc. Also, the tram gets busy and seats are at a premium for sightseers. Happily, we boarded an empty tram at Martim Moniz, the end of the line stop near our Airbnb and recommend doing the same.

2. Lunch at the Time Out Market. It’s not a hidden gem, it’s not a hideaway from tourists. But it’s really, really nice and conveniently close to the major sights. There’s something for everyone here, including decent value local food from top Portuguese chefs like salted cod fritters, plus, a bottle of beer comes in at €2.50.

3. Visit the seafront, not just because everyone feels better for seeing the waves but also for fantastic views of the bridge (name!) and scale version of Christ the Redeemer.

4. Catch sunsets from Park bar, on one of Lisbon’s miradouros viewpoints. We recommend Park, as it’s a cool place to have a drink anyway, hidden at the top of a car park in the Bairro Alto district. You need to go into the actual car park and find the lift. Take it to the top floor and then follow the music up a flight of stairs and you’re there.

5. Dine like a local, north of the tourist hotspots. We found there was a pretty good variety of places near Roccio Square. There’s plenty of options, particularly where the speciality is sardines (random thing I didn’t know – Portuguese/Lisboaetes are super into sardines, they even have a museum).

We stayed in this excellent AirBnB near Martim Moniz. The area itself is very local, very hilly and very picturesque. Use our link and we’ll both get £25 off an Airbnb stay!


Got any other favourite things to do in Lisbon? Leave a comment!

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