Cruise from Lisbon, Portugal – the essential guide

Lisbon was quite spread out, so we explored the city both on foot and by using tuk-tuks! We saw so much in just a few days. We definitely recommend you spend time here before you cruise from Lisbon – it’s fantastic!

Lisbon, capital city of Portugal, is a city with an intriguing ancient history and a specific cultural vibe enriched by centuries of foreign influences. Start your cruise from Lisbon by spending some time in the city before you board your cruise ship. Easily reachable, Lisbon cruise port is located close to the city and marked by the unmistakeable monument of Tower of Saint Vincent, known as the Belém Tower.

Transport options to and from Lisbon International Airport

Here are the transport options you have to get from Lisbon’s international airport – officially called Humberto Delgado Airport – to your city center hotel. But before you leave the airport terminal we recommend you visit the excellent tourist information office there. It’s the yellow booth with the sign “visitlisboa.com”.

Here you can pick up maps from the friendly staff and also purchase a Lisboa Car. The card is great if you plan on using the public transport system in Lisbon over a few days. It costs around 40 euros per person. Included is transportation on the Lisbon Metro subway, buses, trams, the train from Lisboa to Sintra and more. Check with the staff when you purchase that this information is still valid.

There is also entrance into lots of museums and monuments included too. Note! some of these are closed on Mondays so always check opening hours before visiting.

Airport Shuttle Buses

Lisbon’s “Aerobus” connects the airport to the city. Buses leave outside of the arrival terminals about every 10-15 minutes. Tickets can be purchased on the spot using euros or a card. The cost of the journey is about 4 euros per person (please note that prices are such to change). The aerobus is not included in your Lisboa Card.

They stop very close to many city center hotels. Inform the driver of the name of your hotel when you board the bus and keep an eye on your google maps with your hotel location marked.

Taxi

A taxi will cost you about €40 and takes approximately 30 minutes. This is the most expensive option. However you don’t have to carry your luggage and all your cruise packing and you will get door-to-door service straight to your hotel. If you are 4 people travelling together then this will be the most convenient option and the best value for money.

Be sure to take a taxi from the official taxi rank outside of the arrivals terminal. It’s clearly signposted. Never take a taxi from someone who approaches you offering you a journey.

Metro

Another alternative is the metro station that will give you easy access to the city centre by train. The Aeroporto – Saldanha line will take you to the city in just 20 minutes.

The trains depart the airport train station frequently. Follow the signs to the train station. A single ticket costs around 1.5 euros per person if you are not using the Lisboa Card.

Where to stay before you cruise from Lisbon

We’ll try and make your choice of hotel easy by offering hotels suggestions in the two main tourist areas of Lisbon, in the heart of city.

Accommodation options in Baixa and Avendida da Liberdade

Baixa

The area of Baixa is right in the heart of Lisbon. Full of beautiful plazas and packed with tourists, this is a lively part of the city to be in, with a lot right on your doorstep. Here you will find great bars, restaurants and Port wine tasting rooms in amongst the busy, bustline chaos of high season.

  • Baixa Castelo Serviced Apartments – this is a great option is you want to do self-catering in the city or are a family. Each bright, modern apartment has a fully equipped kitchen, air conditioning and clean rooms. Best of all it’s in a great location, just a 5 minute walk from the cathedral. 
  • Hotel da Baixa – enjoy spacious rooms in a historic building in the heart of the city. The friendly staff will even help with transfers from the airport if you contact them before you leave home.
  • Pestana CR7 Lisboa Hotel – a funky choice with bright decor in the city center, this hotel is known for its hip vibe and is just a short walk from the main tram stops.
  • Vincci Baixa Hotel – this elegant hotel has an excellent location and often very good offers for a minimum 3-night stay when you book direct. Check their website for special campaigns.

Avendida da Liberdade

Choose a hotel on Avendida da Liberdade if you want to be close to luxurious shopping. This main boulevard is host to city festivals and numerous bars, restaurants and high end stores. It will remind you a little of Paris’s Champs Elysees. At the northern end of the avenue, enjoy the city’s central park, a green oasis in the jumble of streets and traffic.

  • Turim Boulevard Hotel   – a stylish, 5 star hotel. What we love about this hotel is the great bar and terrace.
  • PortoBay Marquês –A great location close to many eateries and shopping. A small rooftop pool for a plunge at the end of a hot day.
  • Holiday Inn Express Lisbon – Ave. Liberdade, an IHG Hotel – a great priced hotel for the excellent location. Rooms can be a bit small but breakfast is included in the price but it’s a good 3-star option.
  • Hotel Vincci Liberdade – Rooms that have juliet balconies and a view over the tree-lined shopping avenue. And that makes this hotel our favorite choice in this location. What we love is the great customer service from the front desk staff.

2 ways to spend the day in Lisbon and 1 fantastic day excursion

If I were your guide, here is how we would spend our time in Lisbon. In a city with so much history, it’s a good idea to pack a pocket guide book so you don’t miss anything. For you last day, we give you our top picks for the best day trips from Lisbon.

And at the bottom of the page you find essential information on how to get to the Lisbon Cruise Port for your cruise from Lisbon!

First let’s discuss the hop-on/hop-off bus in Lisbon. These tours are run by Yellow Bus Tours. A popular way get around, the bus does in Lisbon what it does so well in many other cities around Europe. And that is get you from A to B and onto C easily.

We recommend that when you purchase your bus ticket, include the tram ticket as well. This way you can use the tram freely around the city without having to pay euros as you go. It’s just more convenient. And if you want a view of the city from the water, include the boat tour too.

Day 1- Praça Comércio & Arco da Rua Augusta to Rossio Square

Downtown Lisbon is flanked by two hills. You will spend your time in 3 distict neighborhoods: Baixa, in the lower part of the city close to the water, Alfama on the hill to the east, and Bairro Alto, rising up in the west.

Start your first day at Commerce Square (Praça Comércio), the large beautiful plaza facing the harbor. The statue in the center of the plaza is of King Joseph I. This is a good meeting point if you and your friends want to do different things during the day. You can use this location to meet up later on.

Walk towards the water and look to your right. You’ll see the Ponte de 25 abril – the 25 April Suspension Bridge. You’d be forgiven for thinking you were suddenly looking at the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. Lisbon’s striking suspension bridge stretches across the river Tejo for 2 km.

Opposite stands the Arco da Rua Augusta. The huge arch dominating the plaza which marks the end of one of Lisbon’s busiest shopping streets. This stunning architectural building was built after a disasterous earthquake that hit the city in 1755. It celebrates the reconstruction.

It is free of charge to enter if you have purchased a Lisboa card. Climb to the top for a great the view over Lisbon and the river.

Right opposite is the Lisboa Story Centre. Visit to find out more about the history of the city during a one hour interactive tour of the museum.

Praça do Comércios is also where you will also find the kiosk selling the Yellow Bus Tours tickets. Alternatively choose your tour and buy from their website before you leave home.

If you are ready for lunch find a local restaurant and try the Bacalhau, the traditional dish of salted cod fish.

A walking through history

Head through the arch and enjoy time browsing the fantastic shops along Rua Augusta. Be sure to visit again in the evening where the whole area is alive with bars, cafes and music. The long pedestrianized street joins the city’s two main squares, Praça do Comércios and Rossio Plaza, up ahead.

As you are walking you will cross Rua Conceição. This is the route the number 28 tram takes. So if you are tired of walking, find the nearest bus stop. You can hop on the tram – it’s one of the best routes for sightseeing around the city.

You will soon reach Dom Pedro IV square, known locally as Rossio. This beautiful square has 2 fountains and a fantastic calçada pavement made of limstone. At Christmas this public square hosted an Rossio is the place where many guided tours start in Lisbon.

A trademark unique to Lisbon is the ornate paving along the streets. So remember to look down when you're walking, as well as looking up. Lisbon's calçada portuguesa is reflective paving of limestone, placed by hand by local craftsmen. It's make the street you walk on a beautiful artist flair.

Day 2 – Alfama. Castelo de S. Jorge & Lisbon Cathedral

Alfama is a jumble of medieval streets built on a hill. Which makes visiting fun as you can ride the tram up the steep roads. This cobbled area is home to many artists, unique local craft shops and traditional cafes. It’s a shaky, bumpy ride, and narrow – be sure to keep your hands, head and feet inside at all times!

Take the Remodelado tram on route 28 at a tram stop on Rua da Conceição up to Castelo de S. Jorge and start your day here. You can pay for your ticket onboard the tram, it will cost around 3 euros per person.

Located at the top of the hill, the 11th century, castle and it’s garden are open daily. Inside you can pick up a guide and headphones, find out more about their own tours on their website. T

From the castle walk to Miradouro das Portas do Sol. This is a fantastic place to see the views over Lisbon. Follow the winding streets of Rua do Remedios offers plenty of cafes and souvenir shopping. Ahead is Lisbon Cathedral (Sé de Lisboa).

Wear comfortable walking shoes as hills and cobbled streets can be steep and quite a climb at times!

Day 3 – Explore Cascais, Sintra & Cabo da Roca

Our favorite day excursion from Lisbon is visiting Cascais and Sintra. And in between these two picturesque locations is Cape Roca (Cabo da Roca). This is the most westernly point not only of the Sintra mountain range but of the western european continent. Be camera ready and from this point there are magnificent views.

We strongly recommend booking a full day tour with a trusted provided such as Viator. You will have time to explore these areas and enjoy the views. And be driven in a comfortable air-conditioned mini-van with your guide. Choose the tour that includes Azenhas do Mar, a stunning coastal village overlooking a sandy beach.

Cascais, a fishing village that became a summer resort

Your first stop will most likely be Cascais, which is closest to Lisbon. It’s take around 45 minutes to get there. Originally a fishing village, it became popular as a summer destination for Portugal’s royalty in the late 1900’s. Now it’s popular with locals and tourists and it’s easy to see why. The beautiful towns, the coastal walking routes and available water sports make this an idyllic location.

If you are there on a Wednesday or Saturday, don’t forget to visit the fantastic Cascais fish market!

16 km north of Cascais is Sintra, a picture-perfect romantic village located in the moutains and surrounded by pine forests. Walk around the town then head to Pena Palace for the view. The area is a UNESCO World Heritage site and there is plenty to see and do in this beautiful place.

If you are visiting during July and August, that’s when the Sintra Festival takes place. If you’re lucky you will be able to see the outdoor classical music performances of gifted musicians from all over Portugal.

How to get to Lisbon Cruise Terminal for your Cruise from Lisbon

The new Lisbon Cruise Terminal was opened in 2017. Only 15 minute walk from the city it has excellent facilties for visitors.

At the terminal you will find a guest information center should you need on-the-spot help. It is also only 11km from Lisbon international airport, or about 20 minutes by taxi.

Whilst walking to the cruise port can be done, it takes about 15 minutes from downtown Lisbon – with cruise luggage we recommend a taxi from your hotel. This way you get door to door service and will be dropped right at the entrance to the cruise port terminal.

Remember always to check your cruise ticket for the address of you departure terminal.

Need more tips on cruising? We’re here to help!

If you are still in the planning process and need help deciding on the best cruise for you, these articles will help you along the way.

They are full of good advice and travel tips to help you book the perfect cruise for you and your family:

Package trip – Mediterranean cruise from Barcelona 2022 – Royal Caribbean International

Cruise packing list essentials – our best tips

Cruising – questions to ask to kick-start your planning

Essential tips for a first time cruise

Top tips for booking a cruise and avoiding common mistakes

Meet the Author

Mattias has nearly 2 decades of travel industry expertise, working with cruise lines, tour operators, airlines, IT providers, hospitality suppliers and everything else in between that makes the travel industry tick. more..