I would say 7 days in Lisbon as a young adult with a limited amount of money is not enough to see all of Lisbon, but it is more than enough to have seven days of adventure, fun and beautiful sights.
If you’re going to Lisbon the first place I would recommend you go to is Belem. Wherever you are staying in Lisbon, Belem will be an easy tram/bus/train journey away (you must get the train at least once; cheap fairs and a scenic route along the coast is not to miss!).
In Belem, firstly, is the monastery Jeronimos Monastery. I can’t say we went inside, but the outside was more than enough for us and many other tourists. The beautiful carved stone work was like nothing I had ever seen before and was a breathtaking sight.
Monastery in Belem
Monastery in Belem
Also in Belem, a two minute walk from the monastery is the botanical gardens Jardim Botanico Tropical. This is a decent sized botanical gardens with small bridges across water, bamboo trees, beautiful mosaic benches and wall art, peacocks roaming free and other aesthetic garden features. Seeing a mother duck with about 10 baby ducklings sitting in the grass was definitely one of my favorite bits (maybe that’s just because I’m a sucker for all things cute!).
With plenty of fine restaurants, a courtyard with a fountain, a beautiful view of the sea and the Padrão dos Descobrimentos (see photos below), Belem is definitely a must whilst in Lisbon
Padrão dos Descobrimentos – a statue marking 500 years since Henry the Navigators death
Row of restaurants and fine dining in Belem.
Moving on from Belem to Barrio Alto and Cais de Sodre.
Not only are the cobbled streets, vintage looking trams and churros vans something that makes these two districts unique, but Barrio Alto especially is known for it’s roaring nightlife. Where our apartment was, there were small bars everywhere, including one either side of us! Which is great for two 19 year olds…not so much if you want decent nights sleep… Every night expect Sundays and not so much Mondays, the clubs are vibrant and atmospheric, meaning you’ll never be lost on plans for a night out. All bars serve a vast range of drinks including fruity cocktails and Portugal’s specialty: Sangria.
One place in Barrio Alto you must go is the secret hideout that is Park. Hidden at the top of a six story car park, Park is a hidden gem, with one of the most beautiful views I believe any bar has given me.
View from Park bar at night time
Decorated with wicker furniture and palm tree like greenery, Park not only has a tranquil yet lively vibe, but serves delicious and nicely sized cocktails!
Onto Cais do Sodre. This is down the road from Barrio Alto and too has some brilliant restaurants and cafes including Po Po Lo – which serves some of the best pizza we have ever tasted- and Jeronymo Coffee Shop. The coffee shop has a variety of breakfast items and 5 star coffee (rated by myself).
Damn, these waffles were good
Cais do Sodre is not only located near the train station, but, on the vague topic of nightlife, has a fantastic beach club called Urban Beach. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I went for the first time; it was like something off 90210 in California, with a huge swimming pool round the back – do not swim in or you will get take out by security we learned – and a lovely lounging area outside and inside it was a night to remember. Not only because the setting, but because with face paint, great music and a healthy amount of people, the night was exciting.
Urban Beach view
If you enjoy the night life and music like us, you’ll also be pleased to know there are also organised bar crawls around Barrio Alto and music festivals on all the time! Including a street festival we went to: small stages scattered around the town outside, with drinks and food stalls. Which may be more up your street if your partying days are over!
You must also go on the train that takes you along the coast, especially if you want a beach day. There are luxurious beaches at every stop, so jump off wherever you fancy.
With little novelties on every corner; a small bakery with Nutella doughnuts, a New York Slice style pizza place, sushi restaurants and even a shopping mall with six floors, Lisbon is a place I think absolutely everyone with all different preferences would enjoy.
So I’m not telling you to go, but at least, have a look online – see for yourself. Otherwise, you’re missing out!