The Portuguese capital is one of those cities that you could spend weeks in and never run out of things to do. Realistically, you probably only have 2 days in Lisbon, which is why you’re here. We’ve created this detailed 2-day Lisbon itinerary including the very best must-see highlights. This will help you get straight to the point so that you don’t miss out on anything important!
Every Portugal itinerary is likely to start or finish in Lisbon. In fact, a trip to Portugal without visiting Lisbon simply isn’t a complete trip! There are many reasons why this bustling, vibrant city has quickly become one of our favorites in Europe. It’s rich in history and culture, full of stunning architecture, and it’s incredibly photogenic – seriously, there’s just something about Lisbon.
Whether you’re a fan of delicious food and wine, a history lover like us, or you’re just looking for a fun night out on the town, Lisbon has it all. There is truly something for everyone in this unique and wonderful city. Famous for its beautiful tiled buildings, bright yellow trams and delicious Portuguese custard tarts, this coastal city is a true gem that will steal your heart faster than you can say Pastel de Nata!
Table of Contents
How to Spend 2 Days in Lisbon
Hop on Hop Off Lisbon
A great way to save money and time is to purchase the 48 hours in Lisbon ticket when you first arrive in the city. This ticket gives you hop on hop off access to 2 different sightseeing bus routes around the city. It allows you the flexibility of being able to see the city at your own pace. This ticket covers the Lisbon downtown area as well as the Belém district.
The hop on hop off Lisbon ticket also includes tram rides, the Santa Just Lift and Lisbon Funiculars. On top of all that, it gives you access to the Aerobus – the bus that takes you to and from the airport.
It doesn’t cover entrance to museums but it is well worth purchasing to avoid the hassle of having to buy tickets for every tram or bus you want to take! Click the link below to book your ticket and find out more information.
Lisbon Walking Tour
When you first arrive in a new city, it’s nice to familiarize yourself with a walking tour while learning fascinating facts and history from a local guide. Get the best introduction to Lisbon while exploring some of the oldest neighborhoods, most beautiful squares and cutest alleys of the city.
Let a local guide take you to all the best city viewpoints and photo spots on this 3 hour Lisbon walking tour. This tour departs daily at 10 am from the heart of Lisbon in Rossio Square. For more detailed information and to book your ticket, click the link below.
Getting to and from Lisbon Airport
Lisbon Metro – The easiest and cheapest way to travel to and from the airport is by taking the Lisbon Metro. The Metro has a direct line which runs from the airport to the city centre in 20 minutes. See below for more info on taking public transportation around Lisbon.
Lisbon Airport Transfers – If you’re traveling with a group or just prefer a more convenient way of getting to the city centre, booking an airport transfer is the best option. For a group of 4 people, this airport transfer service will greet you at the airport and take you to your hotel for a price of €20.
It’s the same price as a taxi service but slightly more convenient as you have the option to book ahead of time and know the driver will be waiting for you at the arrival’s hall. Find out more information and book your Lisbon Airport transfer here.
Public Transportation in Lisbon
If you’re spending 2 days in Lisbon, it’s a good idea to purchase the 24-hour pass that allows you access to the metro, buses, trams, funiculars etc. Pretty much any form of transportation in Lisbon will be covered by this pass.
This pass is an alternative to the hop on hop off Lisbon pass as I mentioned above. The only difference is that the 24-hour public transport pass does not include sightseeing buses as the hop on hop off pass does.
The Lisbon Metro is very easy to navigate and you’ll likely end up using it many times during your stay in Lisbon, especially when travelling to and from the airport. It’s worth saving yourself a lot of hassle by getting the 24-hour pass. You can buy passes or tickets at any Metro station of Lisbon.
Single Fare – €1.50
24h Pass – €6.40
2 Days in Lisbon – Day 1
Day 1 will be spent exploring the Alfama + Barrio Alto districts.
The historic Alfama district is Lisbon’s oldest neighborhood. It’s made up of steep, narrow streets that span from the Tagus river all the way up to the São Jorge castle. Packed with quaint cobblestone alleys and photo-worthy tiled buildings, the Alfama district is the perfect place to kick off your 2 days in Lisbon.
Take a step back in time as you explore the ancient backstreets and find all the best viewpoints and photo opportunities as you go. Stop at cute cafes and little shops as you wind your way through the maze of medieval streets.
You’ll also come across some impressive churches in the Alfama district like the Se Cathedral and the Igreja de Santo António. Make sure to stop at Miradouro de Santa Luzi for some Insta-worthy views!
You haven’t been to Lisbon if you haven’t taken a ride on one of those quintessential yellow trams. The historic Tram 28 trundles along the steep streets of the Alfama district and ends its journey at the São Jorge Castle. If you’re tired of walking up the hills, why not let the tram do the work?
The Tram 28 will take you on a scenic journey through the Alfama district. Take a seat and people watch as you pass through picturesque streets with beautiful pastel-coloured buildings lining each side.
Since the Tram 28 is an extremely popular attraction in Lisbon, they tend to fill up quickly. The best time to avoid queues and crowds is to arrive early in the morning, preferably before 10 am. Aim to arrive at the Martim Moniz Square nice and early to get a spot on the Tram 28 without having to wait in a long queue.
São Jorge Castle
The most iconic symbol of Lisbon is the impressive 11th century hilltop castle that towers over the city below. Make your way all the way up the Alfama district to find the São Jorge Castle perched at the top. If you don’t feel like walking, take the Tram 28 that runs up the steep streets stopping at the castle.
The São Jorge Castle has survived through a turbulent history from the fall of the Romans to the take over of the Visigoths; it’s lived through the wars and conflicts between the Arabs and Christians. The history of this castle is extensive and so fascinating. You can learn all about it at the archaeological museum within the castle grounds.
If you decide to enter the castle, tickets cost €10 each and you should allow for 1-2 hours to fully explore the inside and grounds. For an epic view over the city and river, the castle fortress is actually the best place to go!
Praça do Comércio
After having lunch somewhere in the Alfama district, take a stroll down to the riverside to see Libon’s most important and beautiful square: Praça do Comércio formerly known as Terreiro do Paço. This is also called the gateway to Lisbon and you’ll find a big statue surrounded by 18th century symmetrical yellow buildings with a massive arch in the middle. Shops and outdoor cafes line the plaza and surrounding area.
Historically, this is where the royal palace of Lisbon once stood before being damaged in the 18th century earthquake. During the medieval times, this area was an important gateway to Lisbon.
Elevador de Santa Justa
On your way to the Bairro Alto district, make sure to stop by the historic Elevador de Santa Justa. Originally built in 1902, this unique elevator was made to lift passengers up from the Baixa district to the Largo do Carmo area. It was once a vital method of transportation for locals but has now become primarily a tourist attraction.
At the top of the lift there’s a viewing platform where you’ll find sweeping views over the city. Since it’s become popular with tourists, you can obviously expect to find queues here. If you wish to ride the lift, it’s best to avoid the peak time of the middle of the day, before 10 am or after 4 pm is ideal.
The price to ride the lift round trip is quite expensive if you buy it directly from the office, €5.30. It’s good to know that the Elevador de Santa Justa is part of Lisbon’s transportation system and is covered if you purchase a 24h public transport ticket.
These tickets cost €6.40 and can be found at any metro station. On top of that, it covers all trams and buses in the city including the funiculars. Note that the viewing platform isn’t included in the 24h transport ticket but costs €1.50 on it’s own.
In all honesty, this lift looks very cool but the queue was a bit too long when we were there. We opted to admire from the outside, take a few photos and carry on.
If you’re hunting for that perfect Instagram spot during your 2 days in Lisbon, you can’t miss the pink street! Located only an 11 minute walk from the Elavador de Santa Justa, make your way toward the waterfront to discover this little gem.
Once you’ve got your fill of fresh IG material, carry on to the Bairro Alto district which isn’t too far away. Or you could stick around the Pink Street as the bar scene around here is actually pretty good!
Bairro Alto District
During the afternoon of Day 1, make your way over to the Bariro Alto district which is about a 20 minute walk if you’re coming from the Alfama district. If you prefer to catch a bus, get on the 28E from Largo das Portas which takes 24 minutes and then get off at the stop Calhariz – Bica. See map below for details and bus times.
By day, the Bairro Alto district is a chilled out scene full of luxury shops and trendy cafes. By night, this place completely transforms with an endless amount of bars and restaurants to choose from. The Bairro Alto district is home to Lisbon’s best food and nightlife scene. If you’re looking for a fun night out on the town or simply looking to find the best tapas restaurant, look no further.
Spend some time exploring the cobbled streets of Bairro Alto, admire the centuries old buildings and vibrant street art decorating the walls.
Elevador da Bica
An absolute must-see during your 2 days in Lisbon is the iconic Elevador da Bica. The little yellow 19th century funicular runs up and down the steep streets of the Bairro Alto district. Even if you don’t plan to ride it, you have to stop here anyway to grab that cheesy but essential “I went to Lisbon” photo.
Watch the sunset at a Miradouro
If there’s one thing Lisbon has no shortage of it’s Miradouros aka epic viewpoints. Make your way over to the Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara in the evening to watch the sunset over the red rooftops of Lisbon. This was our favorite viewpoint where you’ll find sweeping views of the city including the São Jorge Castle.
During the evening this terrace really comes to life with food and drink stalls, traditional singers and plenty of people stopping by to hang out. Grab a drink, sit back and take in the lively atmosphere.
A few more scenic Miradouros in Lisbon that are worth checking out:
Miradouro de Santa Luzia – A viewpoint in Alfama with a pergola offering stunning views over the city and Tagus river.
Miradouro de Santa Catarina – A popular terrace for picturesque river and sunset views with street performers and bars nearby.
Miradouro das Portas do Sol – A perfect view over those red rooftops of the Alfama district.
São Jorge Castle – They say the best views come after the toughest climbs, it’s no surprise that the most epic view of Lisbon can be seen from the top of the castle!
Bairro Alto Restaurants & Bars
By this point in the day you’ve probably reached your daily step target and worked up an appetite. It’s time for the best part of the day: eating and drinking!
The Bairro Alto district has no shortage of awesome places to eat, the easiest way to find them is simply to walk along the streets and window shop until you see something you might like. If you’re looking for a list though, here you go. Below are a few of the most highly rated bars and restaurants of the Bairro Alto district.
- A Nossa Casa – One of the top restaurants in the Bairro Alto district, it’s reasonably priced and has excellent reviews on TripAdvisor. Serving traditional Portuguese and Brazilian cuisine, most reviews say that booking ahead is essential as it’s extremely popular!
- Versiculo do Faia – If you like seafood, this highly rated seafood restaurant serves Mediterranean cuisine as well as traditional Portuguese. Reviews say that service is excellent and the wine is selection is great.
- Restaurante Momento HB – Located in the heart of the Bairro Alto district, this is a small restaurant with a cozy atmosphere serving delicious traditional Portuguese seafood, meat and vegetarian dishes. Reviews say that you must book ahead to get a table in here!
- Bairrices – Tapas – A highly rated Portuguese tapas restaurant serving a huge selection of tapas dishes along with cocktails and wines. Friendly staff, good food and quick service.
- Lisbon Winery – A wine bar specializing in traditional ports and wines. Stop here for wine tastings paired with delicious cheeseboards. Staff are knowledgeable and informative and you can expect to learn about the different types of wines and ports as you taste them.
- BA Wine Bar do Bairro Alto – Another traditional Portuguese wine bar with a huge selection of over 600 bottles of wines and over 150 different wines by the glass. They also have a great selection of cheese and charcuterie boards to taste as you sip your wine. A perfect place to hang out before going for dinner. Note, they don’t serve cooked meals here as it’s only a wine bar.
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2 Days in Lisbon – Day 2
In the morning of your second day, make your way over to the Belém district where you’ll find a handful of famous landmarks that cannot be missed during your 2 days in Lisbon. Belém is located about 6 km west from Lisbon city centre and can be accessed by taking the tram 15 from the downtown’s Figueira Square.
The stunning Belém Tower is a 16th century fortification that once served as defense for the city of Lisbon. It was later turned into a lighthouse and now it’s a popular attraction that draws tourists by the hundreds of thousands each year.
It’s easy to see why, this picturesque tower is a highlight for anyone’s stay in Lisbon. If you feel like climbing to the top of Belém Tower it costs €6 per person. A narrow, spiral staircase leads you to the top of the tower where beautiful views can be seen.
During peak season, and even off season for that matter, Belém Tower often has a long queue forming on the outside. If you really want to go inside, get there as early as possible! When we visited, we chose to admire the beauty of the tower from the outside instead of standing in the long queue.
Pasteis de Belém
A visit to the famous bakery, Pastéis de Belém, is a must when you’re in Belém. This historic bakery is where the original Pastel de Nata recipe was created and has been in operation since 1837.
Pastéis de Belém is by far the most popular place in Lisbon to eat these delicious tarts but it’s not the only place. Pastel de Nata are the famous Portuguese custard tarts that you’ll find at pretty much every bakery when walking around the city, usually sold for €1 each. We seriously couldn’t get enough of these things!
After stocking up on too many Pastel de Natas, make your way to the stunning Jerónimos Monastery which is only a 3 minute walk away. Along with the Belém Tower, this UNESCO world heritage site is one of the most visited sites in Lisbon.
Construction of the Jerónimos Monastery began in 1502 under King Manuel I but it took a century until it was fully completed in 1604. This impressive Gothic style church is one of the most beautiful churches in all of Portugal.
Entrance to the main chapel is free however if you wish to enter the monastery it costs €10 each. If you’re already planning to visit the Belém Tower, you might as well purchase the combo ticket for €13.00 which includes both attractions.
Padrão dos Descobrimentos
Once you finish up at the monastery, take an 8 minute stroll to the waterfront to check out the Padrão dos Descobrimentos. This epic monument was placed on the banks of the Tagus river in 1940 to recognize the Portuguese explorers from the 16th century and to commemorate 500 years since the death of Henry the Navigator.
Padrão dos Descobrimentos means Monument of the Discoveries which is appropriate since Portugal was once the most powerful seafaring nation during the era of discoveries. On each side of the monument, you will see statues of Portugal’s greatest explorers.
Entrance to the museum and viewing platform at the top of the monument is €6 per person. It’s free to walk around and take photos of it.
Lisbon Food Tour
After a full morning in Belém, head back to the city centre and get ready for a fun afternoon of eating your way around the city. There’s no better way of getting a feel for a new country than tasting its traditional cuisine!
Hop on this popular food tour of Lisbon and taste your way around the city with a local guide who will take you to all the best spots. Learn about the history behind Portugal’s most famous traditional dishes while sampling them accompanied by wine and port tastings.
During this 3 hour gourmet walking tour, a guide will take you to Lisbon’s finest cafes and restaurants around the city. On top of sampling delicious food, you’ll get insider tips on the best restaurants to visit and best foods to try in each neighbourhood of Lisbon.
More Fun Things to do in Lisbon
Lisbon is surrounded by an incredible amount of beauty and fascinating sights to see. If you end up staying for longer than 2 days in Lisbon or have any spare time during your stay, the following day trips from Lisbon are highly recommended!
Craving some beach time? A 40 minute train ride from Lisbon’s Cais do Sodre train station will take you to the charming beach town of Cascais. Why not escape the bustle of the city and spend a relaxing day at the beach?
Highlights of Cascais – Explore the quaint town centre of cute fisherman’s houses and stop for a seafood lunch at one of the cafes or restaurants. Cascais is traditionally a fishing town so if you’re a fan of seafood, you’re in the right place.
Photo Credit – Meredith, The Longest Weekend
Head over to the town’s beach, Praia da Conceição to rent a beach chair and spend the day sipping cocktails and soaking up some rays.
Before making your way back to Lisbon, take a wander over to Boca do Inferno, which means “the devil’s mouth” in Portuguese. Marvel at a series of weathered cliffs and unique rock formations which makes a great spot for taking photos and enjoying that evening light.
Sintra is home to a gorgeous collection of historic mansions and palaces. These estates were once summer homes to Portuguese royalty and nobility and they now attract tourists by the bus load. It’s easy to get from Lisbon to Sintra, just take the train from Rossio Station in Lisbon city center. Trains to Sintra take 40 minutes and depart every half hour.
Highlights of Sintra – The vibrant and eye catching Pena Palace is a must on your visit. This castle looks like it’s been taken straight out of an N64 video game, Super Mario anyone? Seriously though, I have yet to see a more impressive castle in my lifetime.
The enchanting Quinta da Regaleira is another beauty that can’t be missed out on! It’s a gorgeous old mansion surrounded by mysterious gardens full of tunnels, grottoes, wells and caves that can easily be lost in. Don’t forget to check out the initiation well that is the highlight of most people’s visit.
The exotic Monserrate Palace is the third palace that we recommend visiting in Sintra. Its architecture is a beautiful blend of Arabic, Gothic, and Indian and is surrounded by lush gardens. Monserrate Palace is located a little further away from the rest of the bunch. To get there, take the bus 435 which you can catch from Sintra town centre or from outside of Quinta da Regaleira.
For more detailed info on visiting Sintra as a day trip from Lisbon, see our complete Sintra itinerary.
A fairy tale, medieval village with a castle perched on a hill top, Obidos was one of our favourite stops on our road trip through Portugal. Traditional white washed houses bordered with blue and yellow surrounded by fortifications still intact, a truly picturesque little town. Obidos is a perfect day trip from Lisbon that you’ll never forget!
To get there from Lisbon, there is an express bus service that runs to Obidos daily. The journey takes around 1 hour and buses depart from the Campo Grande bus station in the north of Lisbon.
Highlights of Obidos – Head over to the town’s epic hill top castle which happens to be one of the 7 wonders of Portugal. You can’t actually enter the castle unless you’re a paying guest (it’s also a hotel), but you can explore the castle grounds and take as many photos as you like.
Take a wander through the ancient streets of Obidos town centre and get lost in the back alleys that extend off the main street. This is where you will find the most picture perfect corners of the town.
Walk along the fortifications to find the best views of the town, castle and surrounding countryside. Be careful though, the safety measures are non-existent with uneven cobblestones and nothing to keep you from falling off the edge!
The Best Lisbon Day Tours
If you don’t feel like figuring out train or bus schedules and prefer to have a relaxing, care free day, these are some of the best tours that will take you on the most epic day trips from Lisbon!
Where to Stay in Lisbon
We recommend booking your accommodation near the city centre as it allows you to access most of Lisbon’s attractions by foot and also be closer to the trains and buses. Below I’ve listed some of the best hotels to stay in Lisbon for each price range.
Lisbon Destination Hostel – Based on its extremely high rating of 9.1 out of 3,000 reviews on Booking.com, if you’re on a budget this hostel might be the best value for money! The Lisbon Destination Hostel is located in central Lisbon near the Rossio Train Station.
For a reasonable price, it offers bright and clean private or shared rooms, an excellent breakfast included and a fully equipped kitchen or the option to order a meal prepared by the chef. The bathrooms are shared.
The hostel includes free Wi-Fi, a cinema room, a pool table, a bar and has an all-around fun atmosphere.
Lisbon Downtown Inn – This is where we stayed in Lisbon and can highly recommend it based on great location and comfort. The Lisbon Downtown Inn is a lovely and clean guest house located in the heart of Lisbon surrounded by all the major city attractions making it easy to access everything by foot.
It’s a one room apartment with a private bathroom, fridge, air-conditioning and flat screen TV. The host was very friendly and accommodating and even let us leave our bags there for an entire day before we had to catch a late flight.
We liked the central location of this guest house as we were able to explore the entire city of Lisbon easily. It’s close to the Alfama district, waterfront and also within walking distance to the Bairro Alto district.
Hotel Avenida Palace – This beautiful 19th century hotel with antique style furnishings is the perfect option if you’re looking to splash out a little but still want to stay in the city centre. Stay in a luxury historic building in the heart of Lisbon for easy access to all popular attractions.
It’s located near the metro station, has extremely friendly staff, and an exceptional rating of 9.3 on Booking.com.
The Best Time to Visit Lisbon
Lisbon is an extremely popular destination during the summer months of June-August, this is also the hottest time of year to visit. Avoid the heat and beat the crowds by visiting during bumper season in Autumn or Spring, which is from September to October or from March to May.
Visiting during off season guarantees cheaper hotel rates, less crowds to battle and the weather is still nice which is a bonus! We visited Lisbon in October and the weather was sunny and in the low to mid 20s°C.
Planning your trip to Portugal? Check out some more detailed Portugal guides below!
- The Ultimate Portugal Road Trip Itinerary: From Porto to Lisbon
- The perfect 2 days in Porto – Complete Itinerary
- Day trip from Porto: A complete guide to spending a day in the Douro Valley
- 13 Amazing Day Trips from Lisbon
- Looking to hit the beach? Check out this epic guide on the best things to do in Carvoeiro, Algarve
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