Set on the scenic Tagus River, Lisbon is a city of UNESCO World Heritage architecture, captivating cultural sites, avant-garde shopping and world-class dining. From the vast collection at the Museu Calouste Gulbenkian to a foodie trail through Lisbon’s Mercado da Ribeira and a trip to the ancient Mosteiro dos Jerónimos, there’s a lot to soak up in this buzzing city. For those with just 24 in Lisbon, we’ve put together the ultimate must-see guide for travellers on a tight schedule.
Begin your 24 hours in Lisbon with a hearty breakfast at Sete Colinas restaurant at Corinthia Lisbon – if the weather’s nice make sure to bag a table on the terrace. Fully fortified for the day ahead, the fist stop on your tour of Lisbon is the world-renowned Museu Calouste Gulbenkian, just a short 15-minute walk from the hotel. With over 1,000 pieces on display (and many thousands more in its collection), you can take a journey from Ancient Egypt to medieval France in one morning. It’s the perfect spot to spend a leisurely afternoon, but with just 24 hours in Lisbon, we’d recommend you stick to our curated list of the top 10 things to see at the Gulbenkian.
From one set of hallowed halls to another (this time of the retail variety), Embaixada is a venerated Portuguese shopping gallery, which houses everything from cosmetics to eco home design within its 19th century Moorish-themed interiors – the courtyard at Le Jardin is a particularly lovely spot for a mid-morning cuppa, should you need a caffeine fix.
Head straight for the food court at Mercado da Ribeira (the city’s biggest food market) and try a little bit of everything. Opened in 2014 to great acclaim, you’ll find 35 kiosks here offering all kinds of goodies, from Azeitão sheep’s cheese to those ubiquitous Portuguese custard tarts. With only 24 hours in Lisbon, make sure to set aside some time to see the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos, or Hieronymite Monastery. Although only a 15-minute taxi ride from the market, its vaulted cloisters, historic high altars and intricate, grand statuary is a world away from modern-day Lisbon. Built in the 15th century by King Manuel I, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is a perfectly preserved slice of Portuguese history and a beautiful, peaceful place to visit.
From here, there are two cultural experiences to choose from, both within easy strolling distance. Take in sweeping city views and UNESCO World Heritage architecture at the Torre de Belém, or explore Lisbon’s fascinating maritime history at the Museu Marinha. But before you go, treat yourself to one of the city’s best custard tarts from nearby Antiga Confeitaria de Belem.
Where better to experience Lisbon by night than bustling Bairro Alto. For gorgeous sunset views, the rooftop bar, Park, or the terrace of Noobai Café are ideal for pre-dinner aperitifs. Whichever you choose, you’ll be within ambling distance of your dinner destination, the two Michelin-starred Belcanto.
If you opt for an early dinner, it’s but a short walk over the road from Belcanto to the Teatro Nacional de São Carlos, where you can choose from an exciting programme of opera, music, and ballet. Alternatively, enjoy a long and languorous meal, followed by a tour of the Bairro Alto’s top bars and clubs, before heading back to your sumptuous room at Corinthia Lisbon for a good night’s sleep.