Lisbon had been at the top of my European wish list ages.

Luckily, my ex-boyfriend helped me cross it off the list when he planned a romantic getaway for us a few years ago.

We were excited to check out Portugal because of its amazing weather most of the year, as well as its culture and food scene.

We spent the weekend running around Lisbon, doing equal parts sightseeing and eating, and had the time of our lives.

It was truly a weekend I’ll never forget.

If you want to plan a memorable 2 days in Lisbon similar to what we had, grab a pen and get ready to take notes.

Planning Your Lisbon Itinerary

Best Time to Visit Lisbon

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Lisbon has a pretty mild climate, making it a year-round destination.

However, for favorable weather without the peak season crowds, plan your visit in either spring (March to May) or fall (September to November).

Where to Stay in Lisbon

Praca-do-Comercio-lisbon

For convenience, consider staying in central districts like Baixa or Chiado.

If you want a more local atmosphere, Alfama or Bairro Alto are great options.

Either way, always look for proximity to public transport options when booking.

Transportation in Lisbon

24 hours in lisbon ride tram28

Public transport is plentiful, with lots of buses, the metro, and trams.

There are also plenty of cabs and Ubers.

My ex and I ended up using Uber a lot to cover big distances, and walking a good amount, or hopping on the occasional tram.

When you’re coming in from the airport, it’s well worth paying a cab or Uber. We found it to be affordable and quick, minus a bit of confusion over which parking lot our car went to.

Lisbon Card and Viva Viagem

Lisboa card

The Lisboa Card provides free or discounted access to many attractions and includes unlimited public transport for 24, 48, or 72 hours.

For a more flexible option, use the reusable Viva Viagem card with single or multiple tickets for bus, metro, tram, and train.

Day 1: Exploring Historic Districts

Morning in Alfama and São Jorge Castle

Sao Jorge Castle Lisbon Portugal April 2022

Begin your journey wandering through Alfama, Lisbon’s oldest neighborhood.

Here, you’ll stroll on cobbled lanes that curve past residents’ doorsteps, leading you into hidden courtyards and striking viewpoints like the Miradouro das Portas do Sol.

Don’t miss seeing Lisbon Cathedral (Sé de Lisboa), a testament to the city’s enduring faith and history.

São Jorge Castle is also a must, as it offers panoramic views of the city.

If you want to see the castle, go early in the morning when it first opens. My ex and I went a few hours after it had and there was a big line to get tickets and enter.

The views, however, are very worth it! There are also peacocks, and castle ruins you can wander around.

Afternoon in Baixa and Chiado

Baixa Lisbon

In the afternoon, make your way to Baixa, the commercial heart of Lisbon.

Marveled for its neoclassical architecture, this district is home to Rossio Square, where Lisbon’s preferred meeting place buzzes with activity.

Praça do ComércioBaixa’s riverside square is gorgeous, and surrounded by yellow Pombaline buildings

Next, venture into neighboring Chiado, an elegant and cultural district adorned with theaters, bookshops, and historical cafes.

It’s where tradition meets the hustle, and every turn offers a piece of Lisbon’s creative spirit.

Evening in Bairro Alto

Bairro Alto, Lisbon

As evening approaches, find your way to Bairro Alto, famous for its bohemian vibe and eclectic nightlife. This is where Lisbon unwinds – with Fado houses, trendy bars, and local restaurants lining the streets.

Dine in a cozy tavern or sip a drink at a rooftop bar to enjoy the vibrant atmosphere among the narrow streets of this dynamic enclave, which once was home to the city’s writers and artists.

Your exploration of Lisbon’s historic districts will leave you with lasting impressions of its cultural and architectural diversity.

Day 2: Discovering Belém and Beyond

Morning Visit to Jerónimos Monastery and Belém Tower

The Best Things to Do in Belem Lisbon

Begin with a stop at the Jerónimos Monastery, a gorgeous UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Don’t miss admiring the intricate Manueline architecture and visit the tomb of explorer Vasco da Gama.

Just a short walk away, the Belém Tower awaits, standing as a fortified sentinel at the mouth of the Tagus River.

Climb the tower for a panoramic view that’s steeped in maritime history.

And don’t forget to take a cute social media picture next to it for good measure!

Local’s Tip: Don’t eat at the cafe near Belém Tower. My ex and I both got sick after eating there.

Afternoon in the Museums and Monuments

Monument-to-the-Discoveries-lisbon

After savoring the famous pastéis de belém, spend your afternoon at the Monument to the Discoveries, a tribute to Portugal’s navigational achievements.

Next up, make your way to the National Coach Museum for a glimpse at elaborate royal carriages.

Both locations boast vast collections that are a testament to the country’s storied past.

Sunset at the Tagus River

Tagus River Lisboa

End your day along the banks of the Tagus River.

It’s gorgeous as the sun sets.

The water reflects the evening sky, offering a scenic view that really captures the essence of Lisbon’s beauty. It’s a great date night activity!

Cultural Experience and Nightlife

Fado Music in Lisbon

Fado Music in Lisbon

Your cultural journey in Lisbon should include experiencing Fado, the soulful music that’s a fundamental expression of Portuguese culture.

In the historic neighborhoods of Alfama and Bairro Alto, find intimate venues where Fado singers (fadistas) perform.

Casa de Linhares and Clube de Fado are notable places where dinner accompanies the melancholic melodies.

Nightlife and Dining

Ally and Dora in Lisbon April 2022 3

Engage with Lisbon’s dynamic nightlife in the bustling district of Bairro Alto.

It’s a hub of activity with many bars, restaurants, and clubs.

Then enjoy a range of cuisine, from traditional Portuguese dishes at Tasca do Chico to contemporary dining experiences.

For a more alternative scene, head to Alcântaraunder the 25 de Abril Bridge, where you’ll find LX Factory, a creative complex blending dining, arts, and nightlife.

Additional Activities and Day Trips

Excursion to Sintra and Cascais

Cascais portugal

Take an excursion to Sintra, a UNESCO-listed treasure with palaces and lush gardens nestled in the Sintra Mountains. You can’t miss the colorful Pena Palace or the mysterious Quinta da Regaleira.

Next, journey to Cascais, a former fishing village turned elegant seaside town, where cobbled streets and historic forts await discovery.

  • Sintra:
    • Pena Palace: Roam the fairytale palaces.
    • Quinta da Regaleira: Explore gothic architecture and secret tunnels.
  • Cascais:
    • Old Town: Stroll through charming alleys.
    • Fortresses: View historical coastal defense points.

Beaches and the Atlantic Coastline

Obidos Portugal

Your Lisbon itinerary should include lounging on sandy shores along the Atlantic Coastline.

Bask in the sun at Carcavelos Beach or explore the rugged beauty of Guincho Beach.

Or, for a unique escape, consider a day trip to the medieval town of Óbidos.

  • Beaches:
    • Carcavelos: Sunbathe on wide, golden sands.
    • Guincho: Enjoy windsurfing in natural settings.
  • Óbidos Day Trip:
    • Medieval Charm: Wander inside fortress walls.
    • Local Ginja: Taste the traditional cherry liqueur.

Tips and Practical Information

Climate and Weather

How to Get to Belem From Lisbon 2

Lisbon enjoys a mild climate year-round, making it a fabulous destination in any season.

Expect warm summers with dry weather and cooler, wet winters.

Lightweight clothing is great for summer, while I recommend layers for the winter months because of sporadic rain.

Oh, and always wear comfortable shoes, as the city’s steep hills can be challenging to navigate.

Local Etiquette and Customs

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When in Lisbon, be mindful of local customs and you’ll blend in with ease.

Speaking even just a few words in Portuguese can go a long way in showing respect to the locals.

It’s common to greet with a handshake and maintain direct eye contact.

In this affordable and cosmopolitan city, dining out won’t break the bank, but remember to tip around 10% for wonderful service.

FAQs

What are the must-see attractions to include in a two-day Lisbon itinerary?

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Your itinerary should cover Lisbon’s iconic landmarks such as Jerónimos Monastery, Torre de Belém, and the Castelo de São Jorge.

Oh and of course, some Portuguese custard tarts at Pastéis de Belém.

What are the best strategies for maximizing sightseeing in Lisbon over a two-day period?

Lisbon at night

First, get a Lisboa Card for free public transportation and discounts for many popular attractions.

Then, plan your route in advance to cluster nearby attractions together.

If you really want to streamline things quickly, consider guided tours for insightful exploration within a limited time frame.

Can you recommend a comprehensive itinerary for a weekend in Lisbon?

BELEM-LISBON-2

Start your day with exploring Baixa and Chiado districts, including a ride on the historic Tram 28.

Then, dedicate your afternoon to Belém to visit the Monument to the Discoveries and the aforementioned landmarks.

On your second day, visit Alfama and take in a live Fado show in the evening in Chiado.

What are the top day trips to consider when visiting Lisbon for 48 hours?

ONE DAY IN LISBON 2

Sintra, with its fairytale palaces like the Pena Palace, is an excellent choice.

Visitors can realistically combine a visit to Sintra with Cascais, a charming seaside town that offers relaxation and beautiful scenery.

Given a short stay, what unique experiences should I prioritize in Lisbon?

Is-the-Lisbon-Card-Worth-it-for-One-Day-

Don’t miss a visit to iconic Belém, then hit up the LX Factory, a creative hub full of unique shops and eateries.

Then, eat authentic Portuguese custard tarts at Pastéis de Belém, and catch the sunset from a rooftop bar or one of Lisbon’s scenic viewpoints such as Miradouro da Senhora do Monte.

Wrapping It Up

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If you’re visiting from another country in Europe, Lisbon is the perfect city for a quick weekend away.

I hope this helped you plan the perfect vacation. I know it’s certainly made me want to book another trip to Portugal soon.

 

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