Sleeping in Airports

Lisbon Airport Layover Sightseeing

This article includes links to our travel partners at Tripadvisor, where you can read traveller reviews, book tours and plan your visit to Lisbon. 

Lisbon Airport Layover Sightseeing
(photo credit: Sean Pavone / Shutterstock)

Humberto Delgado Airport (LIS), the official name for Lisbon’s airport, is located 7 kilometres north of Lisbon, Portugal’s capital. Lisbon Airport is a small congested airport and not very well ranked by reviewers. If your layover is over six hours, you may decide to make the most of your layover with a visit to the city center, which is only 20 minutes. Following the coast of the Tagus River, taste some delicious Pasteis de Nata in the pedestrian area of Praça do Comércio before discovering some of Portugal’s most iconic historical monuments. And if you’re in the mood for getting a tan and relaxing, lay your towel on Caixa Beach while you wait for your next flight.

Airport Overview

If your layover in Lisbon is less than 6 hours, you won’t have enough time to go through security and explore the city, so staying within Humberto Delgado Airport would be wise. Facilities offered to travellers are what you can usually find in most airports: restaurants, duty-free shops, paid lounges and resting areas. There is also a spa, but at the time of writing this article, it was temporarily closed. For more information on the airport itself, check out our Lisbon Airport Guide.

Lisbon Sightseeing Options

Below are a few of the top things to do in Lisbon:

Praça do Comércio

Praca do Comercio
(photo credit: KendrasSnaps / Shutterstock)

Praça do Comércio, Lisbon’s most iconic square, is an ideal introduction to the city. You can go on top of the Rua Augusta’s arch for a small entry fee to appreciate the 360 views over the old neighbourhood of Baixa. You’ll also find plenty of local restaurants, street food, and wine-tasting shops in this area. Continue on Rua Augusta, one of Lisbon’s most famous shopping streets, to find the Santa Justa Lift, a neo-gothic elevator from 1899 that offers a romantic setting over the city.

  • Time Required: The duration of your visit to Praça do Comércio and the streets nearby can be as short as less than an hour and up to two to three hours if you stop by various places.
  • How to Get There: The easiest way to reach Praça do Comércio from Humberto Delgado Airport is by taxi, for about 7 € and in 20 minutes. You can also take the public bus lines 783 and 208.
  • Plan Your Sightseeing: Visit Tripadvisor to plan your sightseeing, read traveller reviews or book a tour to Praça do Comércio.

Belém Tower

Belen Tower
(photo credit: Mix Tape / Shutterstock)

If you only had time for one monument to visit in Lisbon during your layover, the Belém Tower would probably be your best choice. This 16th-century tower, located on the Tagus estuary, is one of the symbols of the Portuguese capital. Once the embarkation point of Vasco da Gama and Magellan, it carries the naval heritage of the country and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can simply appreciate the tower from the outside or visit the interior that was once a military fort.

  • Time Required: Consider half an hour if you only intend to see the tower from outside. If you plan to visit the fort’s interior, expect 2 to 3 hours, as there is often a long waiting line. You’ll have to pay an entrance fee of approximately 6 €.
  • How to Get There: You can get to the Bélem Tower by taxi, for about 10,90 €, or by public bus (bus lines 714, 728, and 727 stop near the monument).
  • Plan Your Sightseeing: Visit Tripadvisor to plan your sightseeing, read traveller reviews or book a tour to Belem Tower.

Jeronimos Monastery

Monastery dos Jeronimos
(photo credit: RudiErnst / Shutterstock)

The beautiful 16th-century Jeronimos Monastery is an excellent option for travellers who enjoy history and architecture. Registered as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1983, it was built to commemorate the sea journeys of Vasco da Gama. His tomb is located within the monastery, along with many other Portuguese explorers, kings, poets, and writers.

  • Time Required: One or two hours are enough to visit the cloisters and the various chambers of the monastery. Admission to the church is free, but the cloisters and the museum require an entrance fee (about 10 €). You can combine Jeronimos Monastery’s ticket with the Bélem Tower’s.
  • How to Get There: Jeronimos Monastery is located 2 kilometres away from the Bélem Tower. From the airport, prefer getting there by taxi. But once in the city center, you can ride the tramway (line 15E – Algés) or one of the many buses that get there.
  • Plan Your Sightseeing: Visit Tripadvisor to plan your sightseeing, read traveller reviews or book a tour to Jeronimos Monastery.

Caixas and Carcavelos Beach

Carcavelos Beach
(photo credit: LifeCollectionPhotography / Shutterstock)

If you’re in the mood for taking a dip and chilling on the warm sand, then forget about Lisbon’s cobbled streets and head toward the beach. Located west of Lisbon, Caixa Beach is the closest to the capital. Not so big, it has a lovely white sand beach with a deep blue sea, and you’ll even have some cultural attractions with the ruins of a 17th-century fort on the beach. You can also opt for the larger Carcavelos Beach nearby. And if you have more time, you can drive to the gorgeous Figueirinha beach, located an hour south of Lisbon.

  • Time Required: Caixa and Carcavelos beaches can be reached in half an hour’s drive from the airport, so plan at least 3 hours to enjoy your escapade. As for Figueirinha beach, to consider an excursion there, you should have at least 5 hours to spend outside of the airport.
  • How to Get There: Whether you want to reach Caixa, Carcavelos, or Figueirinha, you should get there by car, so car rental and taxi are the best options.
  • Plan Your Sightseeing: Visit Tripadvisor to plan your sightseeing, read traveller reviews or book a tour in Lisbon.

Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour

Santa Maria cathedral
(photo credit: Kraft_Stoff / Shutterstock)

A good option to visit Lisbon’s historical and cultural sightseeing in a minimum of time is to go on a Hop On Hop Off Tour Bus. Most tours last about 2 hours, with usually a departure every 20 to 30 minutes.  Explore attractions such as the Castle of São Jorge, Mosteiro dos Jeronimos, Torre de Belem, and more

  • Plan Your Sightseeing: Visit Tripadvisor to plan your sightseeing, read traveller reviews or book a bus tour of Lisbon.

Airport Transportation

Public transit options include:

  • Bus: Humberto Delgado Airport is served by six public bus lines departing outside the Arrival Hall in Terminal 1. Note that there is a baggage size limit (50x40x20) and if you intend to bring large baggage out of the airport on your layover, you should take the AeroBus, metro, or taxi. For fare and schedule: Carris Website.
  • AeroBus: The AeroBus is the airport bus shuttle. It departs every 15-20 minutes in front of the Arrival Hall in Terminal 1 and is direct to Lisbon’s city center. For fare and schedule: AeroBus Website.
  • Metro: You can go to/from Humberto Delgado Airport by metro with the Red Line. The station (Aeroporto) is located in Terminal 1. It takes about 20 minutes to reach the city center, and the metro operates every day from 6:30 A.M. to 01:00 A.M. For fare and schedule: Lisbon Metro Website.

Private transit options include:

  • Taxi: Official taxis are located outside the Arrival Hall. A taxi ride to the city center usually costs 10 to 15 euros and takes about 20 minutes. The ridesharing apps Uber, MyTaxi, TaxisLibsoa and Coop Taxis are authorized and available at the airport.
  • Car Rentals: All major car rental companies are in Humberto Delgado Airport. Go to the Arrival Hall in Terminal 1 to find their kiosks.

Before You Go: Layover Tips

Now that you are motivated and excited about your mini layover vacation, just make sure to check a few final logistical concerns off your list before you fully commit.

  • Do you need to organize a visa to leave the airport? Requirements change frequently and for each nationality, so be sure to seek out current details on the availability, cost and procedures of obtaining a transit visa.
  • When is your next flight’s check-in time? Make sure you double-check with your airline exactly when you need to be at the airport – and plan your layover accordingly.
  • What are security wait times like at the airport? Some airports are notorious for long security wait times, so be sure to do a bit of research in advance and factor that into your overall time budget.
  • What’s happening with your luggage? When you check in to your first flight, be sure to confirm whether your luggage will be checked through or needs to be picked up between your connecting flights. Check out our Lisbon Airport Guide for information on luggage storage.

Other Useful Resources

Finally, here are a few handy resources to help you plan your layover even more thoroughly: