I have a five hour stopover in Lisbon on a flight from NYC to Istanbul and would like to explore the city. I've done this in many places throughout Europe, and am looking for insight into the logistics and time, and some recommendations from those who are familiar with the city on unique experiences (arrive at 6.05am, depart 11.30am).

  • There is a metro in the airport, so you can arrive in the city centre in less than a hour. – fedorqui Jun 8 '15 at 14:24

I had about 7 hours of a layover in Lisbon last summer returning to Dublin from Brazil.

My bag was not checked through and for the life of me I could not find a baggage depository in the airport, so I took mine with me. It may be there, but be prepared to take your suitcase with you.

The Metro goes right to the airport from the city centre, though you will have to change (from Vermelha to Azul at Sao Sebastiao). Head for Baixa / Chiado. I had no idea about the city and spotted a Praca de Espanha and thought that would be central enough - nope!

I had a tasty breakfast in one of the restaurants on Rua Augusta. Not the cheapest, but not too pricey by NY standards either.

5 hours isn't a lot, but I would recommend walking around the old city a bit. Praca do Comercio up to Restauradores.

It's a beautiful city, enjoy it!

  • Thanks Richard. I think heading into old city might be the course of action. If I head to Baixa/Chiado, does that put me in the vicinity? What was the time from airport -> this stop? Did you try taking a taxi or uber? – user30448 Jun 9 '15 at 18:27
  • Baixa/Chiado is right in the middle of the old city. There are stops at Restauradores and Praca do Comercio as well, so walking from one to the other might be an idea. It took roughly half an hour on the way back on the metro, if memory serves. The metro is very cost effective so I just went with that and did not look at a taxi. Uber is not as big in Europe as in the US/Canada, so I'm not even sure that it exists in Portugal. – Richard Jun 10 '15 at 11:08

It is possible with a bit of planning and discipline. I think you will struggle to get into the centre of town, but you might instead be able to explore the area to the east of the airport, which has been recently regenerated into a modern style area, quite different from old Lisbon. There is a nice cable car that goes along the coast, and an oceanarium.

You are coming from NYC. If you have a European chipped passport, you should use the electronic gate, which is much faster than talking to a person. Also I believe that US passports do not work with it, so you will bypass the big queue. If you are going to be using another passport, try to be near the front of the queue!

The metro station does not take foreign credit cards of any kind, so you will need euros. There is a normal cash point in the metro station that did work with my UK-issued card; I presume other cards would work.

Alternatively you can take the bus; there are a few options, I think in general it is faster than taking the metro. I am not sure how they are at 7 am, but the times I have used them to/from the airport, they are much much faster than taking the metro. Again, cash only.

On your way back the airport is pretty fast and easy to use. You go through security first and then through passport control again to exit the Schengen zone. As I remember, most of the lounges are before the Schengen exit.


5 hours in Lisbon is tight. It is more tight when you talk about 6am. The rush hours in Lisbon at week days usually are tough.

I saw few option. Easy to go.

Praça do Comercio

It is the old town of Lisbon. There you can see little streets, local and old coffees and restaurants. Also you can find a lot of touristic points. My favorite is Castelo de São Jorge. Where you can see the ocean, the bridge and the old town. Castelo de Sao Jorge is a big place, ease to entry, this time possible without any queue. This pictures I took there.


Expo 98

In other hand this is the new part of Lisbon. There you can find a mall and some interactive attractions. This is a nice place as well. There are lot of terrace restaurants and coffees. Portuguese people loves coffees.

Centro cultural de Belém

This is the farther place to go. But is amazing. There you found a grand park and attraction. The Mosteiro dos Jeronimos e os the famous Pasteis de Belen are there. Early morning you can eat a Pastel de Belen with a coffee.

Torre de Belém


The taxi driver in the airport of Lisbon had a bad reputation. Some times they try get more money from the tourist people. This first two places, are close enough from the airport for the driver be upset. In case of doubts call a police officer to check ( normally this action reduce your bill )

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