Layover in Lisbon, Portugal with city tour

As my layover from Luxembourg to New York on my world tour was 24h in Lisbon, I decided to book a hotel room in the city center, and stay there for the night, allowing for a city visit and a nice dinner in town - at least I thought so when I was planning the trip.

Lisbon one day layover

As my layover from Luxembourg to New York on my  World Tour   was 24h in Lisbon, I decided to book a hotel room in the city center, and stay there for the night, allowing for a city visit and a nice dinner in town - at least I thought so when I was planning the trip.

Landing in Lisbon

The view landing in Lisbon was amazing, as it was still winter in Luxembourg, with temperatures close to freezing point, a very strong cold wind, and not that much sun, while in Lisbon, even before anding, we could have a beautiful view on the Atlantic ocean with an amazing sun.

The captain announced us that local temperature was 22°C at 4pm, what a nice surprise!

Lisbon: Find local activities

Landing there in Lisbon, the winter jacket did not seem useful anymore, and the scarf for sure not.

I booked the Hotel ibis Lisboa Centro Saldanha, which is situated right next to a metro stop with direct connection from the airport.

They have a system in which the public transport card has to be bought for 0.50€, and can be recharged, one trip cost being 1.50€. I bought the card with two metro trips, to go to hotel and come back, and it was very easy.

The metro line was very easy to find, and the metro arrived quickly.

Getting to Ibis Lisboa hotel

Arriving at the Saldanha metro station, which is also a hub to change with another metro line, I couldn't figure out which exit is the right one, and finally took a random one, as the hotel street was not written on any sign.

It appeared to be at the opposite side of the nearby roundabout, as I could see on my smartphone GPS. Thankfully, my new prepaid  international SIM card   DrimSim is working fine even in Portugal, and I could check the directions online.

Getting there, the check in was fast, I was offered a welcome drink voucher as I am a platinum member with Accor hotels membership, and got to my room, which is according to Ibis standard, comfortable and clean.

After a quick phone charge, to be sure to be able to take some pictures, I decided to go on an adventure, as Lisbon is by the Atlantic ocean: go in the direction on the water, and find a nice terrace with ocean view, where I could if possible eat a bifana, a tasty traditional Portuguese sandwich with chicken and spices which I used to eat once a week when working at a client in Geneva.

What is a “Bifana”

Getting down Lisbon' Liberty Avenue

Leaving the hotel, and reaching the Liberty Avenue, the main avenue of Lisbon that goes from Marques de Pombal huge roundabout down to the ocean, I quickly reached the roundabout.

The huge place is magnificent, in honor or Sebastiao Jose de Carvalho e Melo, the fist marquis of Pombal, which has been one of the most important Portuguese statesman ever.

However, as it is not my first time there, I've been working a few weeks in Lisbon, I quickly turn to the left to go down the avenue.

And I soon remember that thing about the avenue... it is made with some kind of stone mosaic, and the whole pavement is uneven and very slippery. I remember to walk slowly and carefully, and will be close to slip a few times on what will be a 7km walk down to the ocean and back to the hotel.

Along the way, on both sides, huge palm trees are giving some shades, and remind me that I should still hurry a little bit in order to be able to find a place to eat before the sunset.

Lisbon Commerce square

After more than an hour walking, I finally reach the commerce square, and haven't stumbled upon a nice terrace to have dinner yet.

The weather being beautiful, I decide instead to go close to the ocean's arm, and take some beautiful pictures of the bridge that I've been told once is from the same designer as the famous San Francisco bridge, which I am going to see in a few weeks, and use the opportunity to make some selfies as well, with the setting sun behind.

A lot of people actually have the same idea, but we still manage to all get nice pictures with the bridge, the small beach nearby, and the beautiful sunset.

Staying a few minutes there, I then decide to turn back and actually find a place to eat dinner.

Terrace with view quest

Around the commerce square, there are a few terraces with kind of a view on the ocean. Getting close to them, the are actually too far away from the water on the square to have a view on the water, and generally offer expensive international food, a tourist trap.

I decide instead to continue my way back to the hotel, to find a nice terrace with view.

Having a look on Google Maps, there aren't that many rooftop places registered, and most of them are expensive hotel places.

Trying to get to the first one that is the closest to my current location, I get to go up a hill. Arriving next to it, and having a look above, it clearly doesn't seem like a nice rooftop at all... maybe at best a high level restaurant. I keep walking instead of checking it.

Going up the liberty avenue

All the way up the Liberty avenue, the same thing is happening... no nice place is actually advertising for bifana, and the places I cross have view on nothing, even when having terraces outside.

I get tired of it, and, as I slowly reach a 7km walk on these uneven rocks, decide to go back to hotel, maybe I'll get lucky on the way?

Kiosk sandwich

At the Saldanha roundabout, next to my hotel, I actually find kind of what I was looking for. A kiosk offers different kind of sandwiches for a few euros, has a large and comfortable terrace, and screens the football game of the day, Benfica against another team.

Well, that seems good enough, and for sure a much better option than most of what I have seen on the way there!

I order a chicken sandwich, which is the closest thing to a bifana, which I accompany with a beer, and enjoy it while having a look at the soccer game.

After having finished my dinner, it is already 9pm local time, the game hasn't reached half time break yet, but weather is getting chilly despite a 19°C temperature.

I decide to go back to hotel, as I have anyway to wake up early the day after to reach airport on time for my flight to my 48th country, New-York in the United States, and what will more feel like the real start of my  World Tour   with a new city and country to visit.

Frequently Asked Questions

What highlights can travelers cover during a layover city tour in Lisbon, and what makes the city ideal for short visits?
During a layover in Lisbon, travelers can visit key sites like the Belém Tower, Jerónimos Monastery, and sample local cuisine. Lisbon's compact size and rich cultural landscape make it ideal for short but fulfilling visits.

Michel Pinson
About the author - Michel Pinson
Michel Pinson is a Travel enthusiast and Content Creator. Merging passion for education and exploration, he iscommitted to sharing knowledge and inspiring others through captivating educational content. Bringing the world closer together by empowering individuals with global expertise and a sense of wanderlust.

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