Lisbon is an exciting city 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.
To help maximise your time, I’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!
The bustling Portuguese capital is the ideal European weekend escape. Rich in history, full of stunning tiled buildings, a great nightlife scene and sunny weather for most of the year, Lisbon really packs a punch.
Whether you’re a fan of delicious food and wine, a history lover, or you’re just looking for a fun night on the town, Lisbon has it all. There is truly something for everyone in this vibrant and captivating city.
Read on to discover Lisbon’s most popular tours and tickets, the best hotels for every price range and how you should plan to spend 2 days in Lisbon!
Table of Contents
How to Spend 2 Days in Lisbon
Lisbon Transportation Tickets and Tours
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.
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. Stopping at many major attractions around the city, this is an easy and stress-free way to sightsee during your 2 day Lisbon itinerary.
For one price, the Lisbon Card gives you access to unlimited use of the public transportation system. Instead of buying a new bus or train ticket each time, this pass provides flexibility and convenience to get around easily during your 2 day stay in Lisbon.
On top of that, the ticket includes a range of discounts and free entry to popular sites and museums around Lisbon. The Lisbon card also gives you skip-the-line access to top attractions such as the Jerónimos Monastery and Belém Tower.
Lisbon is a fairly spread out city with many hills and several different districts. While walking is a great way to explore, you will end up using public transportation at some point during your stay.
Lisbon Walking Tour
When you first arrive in Lisbon, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with a walking tour to learn insider stories and history from a local guide.
Get the best intro to Lisbon while exploring some of the oldest neighbourhoods, most beautiful squares and prettiest alleys of the city.
Let a local guide take you to all the best city viewpoints and photo spots on this highly rated 3 hour Lisbon walking tour.
This is Lisbon’s most popular walking tour which departs daily from the heart of the city. There are several starting times offered throughout the day depending on availability.
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. This journey will cost you €1.50 for a single fare ticket.
Lisbon Airport Transfers – If you’re traveling with a group or just prefer a more efficient way of getting to the city centre, booking an airport transfer is the best option. This airport transfer service will greet you at the airport and take you to your hotel for a price of €25 per group.
It’s the same price as a taxi service but more convenient as you can 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.
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 neighbourhood. 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 colourful 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 such as 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 iconic yellow trams. The historic Tram 28 trundles along the steep streets of the Alfama district, ending 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
Lisbon’s most famous landmark 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!
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 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.
Avoid waiting in line to enter the castle by booking a skip-the-line ticket which includes a guided intro. Allow for around 1-2 hours to fully explore the inside and grounds. For a panoramic view over the city and river, the castle fortress is the best place to go!
Opening Hours – 9am – 9pm daily
Tickets – €10/adult, Free/children under 12
Skip-the-line ticket + tour guide – €31.50
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 a top 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 very touristy, you can expect to wait in a queue. 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.
A round trip ticket will cost €5.30 and includes entry to the viewing platform at the top. If you buy the Lisbon Card, your ride on the Santa Justa Lift is covered, however access to the viewing platform will cost you €1.50.
Opening Hours – 7:30am – 9pm daily
Tickets – €5.30, free with the Lisbon Card
If you’re hunting for that perfect Instagram spot during your 2 days in Lisbon, you can’t miss the Pink Street! Located only a 10 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 area.
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 up for a fun night out or simply looking to find the best tapas restaurant, look no further.
Spend some time exploring the cobbled streets of Bairro Alto, admiring the centuries old buildings and vibrant street art that decorates the alleys.
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 my favourite viewing platform 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.
The Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara is located on the edge of the Bairro Alto district, a 15 minute walk up hill from the Elavador da Bica.
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 the 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 best 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 accompany 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’s city centre and can be accessed by taking the tram 15 from Figueira Square.
**Tip** Be aware of pickpockets on this tram. The trams on this route get very crowded with tourists which has unfortunately attracted skilled pickpockets.
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 of most people’s Lisbon itinerary. 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!
You can buy your entry ticket to the Belém Tower online before visiting.
Opening Hours – 10am – 5:30pm (closed Mondays)
Tickets – €6
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.
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. I couldn’t get enough of these during my time in Lisbon!
Pastéis de Belém is by far the most popular place in Lisbon to eat these delicious tarts. This particular bakery has made a name for itself by serving their pastries warm and fresh.
When you buy a Pastel de Nata here, you can expect only the best quality: crispy and flaky on the outside with a warm and creamy custard filling on the inside. Worth waiting in a queue for? Definitely!
Opening Hours – 8am – 9pm daily
Location – R. de Belém 84 92, 1300-085 Lisboa, Portugal
After stocking up on too many Pastel de Natas, make your way to the 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 landmarks of 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 per person. 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.
Get your ticket to the Jerónimos Monastery online before you go.
Opening Hours – 10am – 5:30pm (closed Mondays)
Tickets – €10
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 imposing 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 costs €6 per person. It’s free to walk around the outside and take photos.
Opening Hours – 10am – 7pm daily
Tickets – €6
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!
Join 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 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. On top of sampling delicious food, you’ll get insider tips on the best restaurants to visit and foods to try in each neighbourhood of Lisbon.
The tour starts daily at 4:30 pm at Rossio Square.
Spending Longer Than 2 Days 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!
Why not escape the bustle of the city and spend a relaxing day at the beach? A 40 minute train ride from Lisbon’s Cais do Sodre train station will take you to the charming beach town of Cascais.
Highlights of Cascais
Take a stroll through the historic centre of Cascais to see the traditional Portuguese buildings and stop for 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.
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 the evening light.
Best Cascais Day Trip
This highly-rated tour combines a visit to Cascais with a stop in Sintra as well as the incredible cliffs of Cabo da Roca. Take in the coastal beauty of Portugal with a bonus visit to Pena Palace along the way.
Learn insider tips and stories told by your guide as you skip the long lines at each attraction. Enjoy free time at each stop as well as hotel pick up and drop off in Lisbon.
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’s city centre. Trains to Sintra take 40 minutes and depart every half hour.
Once you arrive in Sintra, you can hop on the local “tourist bus” which runs in a loop stopping at the most popular palaces of Sintra.
Highlights of Sintra
Pena Palace – Perched high on a hilltop, the vibrant and eye catching Pena Palace is a must-see on your visit to Sintra. This storybook castle will blow you away with its bright colours and unique architecture. I was completely in awe with Pena Palace and the stunning views that surround it!
**Important Tip** Just remember to buy your skip-the-line ticket to Pena Palace before you go, the crowds and queues here are no joke!
Castle of the Moors – When you finish up at Pena Palace, make your way over to the Castle of the Moors which is located next door. This medieval fortress sits along the ridge of the Sintra hills showcasing a panoramic view over Sintra and the surrounding countryside.
There isn’t much of a castle remaining here but the big draw to these 12th century ruins is the fascinating history and of course the unbeatable view!
Quinta da Regaleira – The enchanting Quinta da Regaleira is another beauty that can’t be missed out on. It’s an old Gothic style mansion surrounded by mysterious gardens full of tunnels, grottoes, wells and caves.
The palace is beautiful but the main draw to Quinta da Regaleira is the gardens. You could spend hours exploring this maze of paths, finding beauty around each corner. Steeped in mystery, the initiation well is the big highlight of most people’s visit.
Monserrate Palace – If you have more time in Sintra, the exotic Monserrate Palace is the fourth palace that I recommend visiting. Surrounded by lush gardens, the palace showcases a beautiful blend of Arabic, Gothic, and Indian architecture.
Monserrate Palace is located a little further away from the others. 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 my complete Sintra itinerary.
Best Sintra Day Trip
Enjoy a guided tour through the famous palaces of Sintra with stops at Pena Palace, Quinta da Regaleira and Sintra’s town centre.
This full day tour from Lisbon takes the guess work out of navigating public transportation allowing you to move quickly between attractions while avoiding waiting in long lines.
A fairy tale medieval village with a hilltop castle and fortifications still intact, Obidos was one of my favourite stops on our road trip through Portugal. With traditional white-washed houses and vines creeping up the side, this little town is the image of a postcard.
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
Start by visiting the 800 year old Obidos 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 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 town’s prettiest corners and hidden gems.
Walk along the fortifications to gaze over the best views of the village, 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!
Best Obidos Day Trip
Take a walk back through Portugal’s history and visit some of the country’s best historic sites. Wander through the picturesque lanes of Obidos, visit the UNESCO World Heritage monastery of Batalha, and discover the importance of the famous Catholic shrine in Fatima.
This tour stops for lunch in the seaside village of Nazare. This is a popular day trip for history lovers and those looking to experience true Portuguese culture. Pick up/drop off from your Lisbon hotel is included.
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Where to Stay in Lisbon
I recommend booking your accommodation near the heart of the city as it allows you to explore some of Lisbon’s attractions by foot and also be closer to the trains and buses. Below you’ll find some of the best hotels to stay in Lisbon for each price range.
Lisbon Destination Hostel – Based on its high ratings on Booking.com, if you’re on a budget this hostel offers great value for money. The Lisbon Destination Hostel is located in central Lisbon near 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 I 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 some of the major attractions making it easy to get around 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 me leave my bags there for an entire day before catching a late flight.
I loved the central location of this guest house as it offers easy access to explore the highlights of Lisbon by foot. It’s close to the Alfama district, waterfront and also within walking distance to the Bairro Alto district.
Hotel Avenida Palace – Stay in a luxurious historic building in the heart of Lisbon. This lovely 19th century hotel with antique-style furnishings is the perfect option if you’re looking to treat yourself but still want to stay in a central location.
It’s located near the metro station, has extremely friendly staff, and an exceptional rating of 9.4 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 – October or from March – May.
Visiting during off season guarantees cheaper hotel rates, less crowds to battle and the weather is still nice which is a bonus! I visited Lisbon in October and the weather was sunny and in the low to mid 20s°C.
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