Lisbon Airport Layover
How to spend it in the best way
Everyone knows that layovers can be tiresome. Sometimes there is not enough time to get out of the airport and actually explore the city, and we end up dragging ourselves around the duty free shops for hours until the time for our connection flight.
If this has ever happened to you, we have some good news : next time you have a layover in Lisbon, you will most likely have a much better experience. In this article, we tell you all about how to fill up your waiting time with a lot of fun and cool exploring.
Less than 3 hours of layover
What to do… …if you can’t leave the airport
So you have just landed in the Lisbon airport, but have only a couple of hours to spare until you are back on another flight? Don’t worry – we have all the tips on how you can keep yourself entertained.
Try a «pastel de nata»
If this is your first time in Portugal, the first thing you must do is try a «pastel de nata», the iconic portuguese cream custard pie. In the airport main square, you will find Pastelaria Versailles – head there and ask for it in the portuguese way «uma bica e uma nata» – which is the casual and typical expression to order an espresso and one of these pastries. You will not be disappointed!
Grab a bite
If you’re feeling hungry, why not leave the «pastel de nata» for dessert and go for a meal first? Inside Lisbon airport you will find several options to grab a bite, depending on what you feel like having. Here are a few suggestions :
Go Natural: light and healthy meals. You can order something to be done in the moment, or you can simply grab a take-away salad, sandwich or wrap. Also serve great breakfast options.
Cockpit: offer a selection of tapas, soups and toast. Good choice for a comfort meal.
If you’re craving fast food, you can choose between McDonald’s, KFC or Pizza Hut.
For a sweet craving, we recommend heading to Paul – they have the best selection of french pastries. You can also find several places to go for a coffee, like Starbucks or Delta Café Central (amazing portuguese coffee).
Even though it is smaller than many hubs, Lisbon airport offers a great variety of stores. You can start by exploring Duty Free, where you’ll find great deals on perfumes, alcoholic beverages, chocolates and national products. Depending on what you like, there are many stores you can head to next :
Books, magazines and technology: Fnac, Divers
Fashion: Burberry, Guess, Carolina Herrera, Lacoste, Mickael Kors, Springfield (and many others)
Accessories: Parfois, Pandora, Sunglass Hut, Swarovski (among others)
Gifts and travel: Ale Hop, Portfolio (Made in Portugal), Artesanato do Aeroporto.
Relax and nap
If you have been traveling for long now, chances are you are feeling quite tired. In that case, you can simply choose a quiet corner and get comfortable. Inside the airport you can find chairs without arm division, which is great news for anyone that needs to take a small nap in between flights. Or, you can just take out your smartphone or laptop and catch up on your favorite Netflix or HBO show – Lisbon airport offers unlimited free access to Wi-Fi.
Time will fly by!
More than 3 or 4 hours of layover
If your layover is more than just 3 or 4 hours, don’t despair – we have great news for you!
Did you know that the Lisbon airport is located only 6 km away from the city center, one of the shortest distances in all Europe ?
Reaching some of the coolest spots in the Portuguese capital is not only fast but also cheap and convenient – here’s all you need to know.
First things first, you might need to leave some luggage at the airport. Lisbon airport has Left Luggage, where you can drop all of your big bags..
For one day, you can pay either 3,39€ , 5,03€ or 9,97€, depending on if you have a light, medium or heavy bag.
Update: Left Luggage is temporarily closed. Please check their website to confirm availability.
Transportation: options, times and prices
If you have more than 3 or 4 hours of layover, you can take this chance to visit at least a little bit of the sunny, colorful Lisbon. From the airport you are only 25 minutes away from the city center by metro, and the station is literally the first thing you will see once you step outside.
Metro: the airport is the last station of the metro’s red line, which makes it the most efficient way to move around the city. Lisbon’s metro plant has only 3 other lines besides this one, so you will likely have no trouble moving around.
A one way ticket costs 1,50€, and you can get them at the automatic machines in every station.
Taxi: by far the best option more information here
Car ride: if you prefer a more convenient and comfortable way of transportation, you may also opt for a taxi ride, always available in front of the airport.
Alternatively, you can also download Uber, Bolt or FREE NOW, which usually end up being cheaper and equally as convenient.
A ride from the airport until the city center should cost you around 15€ – 25€ (one way).
→ What to visit during your layover in Lisbon
For a few hours
If you don’t have that much time, you should head straight to the city center. If you take the metro at the airport, you must simply remain seated until you reach the end of the red line, in S.Sebastião. Here, you are already in the central part of Lisbon, but if you want to visit the dreamy, historical downtown, don’t leave the station just yet.
Change to the blue line, in direction to Sta. Apolónia. Get out when you see Baixa-Chiado.
You have arrived at the heart of Lisbon. Explore the small, picturesque streets of Bairro Alto, a neighborhood brought to life by all the tiny, cute bars, colorful buildings and an overall feeling of joy and freedom. If you walk towards Avenida da Liberdade, you will start to see many luxury brand shops, or you can also head to Príncipe Real, where you can find cute, artsy designer boutiques, most of them born in Portugal.
If you’re more in the mood to relax, walk in the other direction, closer to the river. Ideally, do this passing through Rua Augusta, one of the most iconic in the whole capital. At the end of that street you’ll see a huge white arch, after which you arrive in Praça do Comércio, the biggest and most beautiful square in the whole city. Once here, you will be right next to the river, so why not just walk along the water, grab a drink, and enjoy the vibe of the city?
When you need to head back, you can get on the metro in Terreiro do Paço (another name for Praça do Comércio, also the name of the station), and follow again the blue line towards S.Sebastião. Here, change lines to the red one and go until the last stop: you’ll be back at the airport in no time, with wonderful memories from your short time in Lisbon.
If you have a full day or more
Do you actually have several hours of layover or are you even staying the night? Here’s three lists you might want to check out:
What to see and do
Go on a Lisbon Layover Tour
Relax by the beach – if the weather is on your side, take the train in Cais do Sodré towards Cascais. It’s a beautiful 20 minutes trip along the river and then the ocean. Leave at Carcavelos station and after a 14 minute walk, you’ll arrive at the beach.
Visit Belém – you can also take the same train and stop in Belém. It’s a beautiful neighborhood, full of life and locals specially during the weekend. Buy some Pastéis de Belém and sit on the grass in the park, enjoying the sun – the true Portuguese definition of pleasure.
Where to stay – Near the airport
- B&B Hotel Lisboa Aeroporto
- Lisbon Airport Suites
- Meliá Lisboa Aeroporto
- Star Inn Lisbon Airport
- In the city center
- Brown Boutique Hotel
- My Story Hotel Augusta
- The Leaf Boutique Hotel Lisbon
Where to eat
- Amazing seafood : Cervejaria Ramiro
- Great meat and portuguese dishes : Adega das Gravatas
- Vegan, portuguese food reinvented : Ao 26 Vegan Project
- Fine dining with a view: SUD Lisboa