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The Ultimate 2 Day Lisbon Itinerary – Uncover most of Lisbon’s secrets

Embark on an unforgettable two-day journey through Lisbon, where each turn in its cobbled streets leads you to a new discovery, from the historic charm of Alfama to the lively pulse of Bairro Alto.
2 days in Lisbon

If you’re on a quick two-day layover like I was, you might think it’s not enough to explore Lisbon. But, trust me, it’s doable, and I’m excited to guide you through it.

My buddy, arriving from Amsterdam, and I, coming from Athens, found out firsthand. If you’re in Lisbon for just a short stop, grab a pen, and let’s dive into the must-dos of this charming city.

When planning your whirlwind two-day adventure in Lisbon, the first step is a crucial one: choosing the right neighborhood to stay in. This decision sets the tone for your entire trip.

Download Maps.me – it’s a lifesaver, free and works offline – or use Google Maps. Pin all the key spots on it. Next, decide if museum-hopping is your thing or not, as it’ll shape your schedule a lot.

Kick-off your day around 9 am; that’s my preferred start time. A heads-up: I won’t be recommending restaurants – you’ll want to keep flexible with your timing. But don’t worry, the city is dotted with affordable bakeries perfect for a quick bite.

This guide is split into two parts:

  1. A two-day itinerary in Lisbon (perfect for layovers)
  2. Handy Lisbon tips: best travel times, airport transfers, accommodation, transport, dining, and costs

Lisbon is buzzing with creativity these days. It’s a haven for global creatives, boasting collaborative workspaces, trendy bars, and diverse budget-friendly options. Yet, it retains its quaint charm with cobblestone streets, tiled facades, and the melancholic strains of Fado music. It’s a metropolitan experience with a small-town feel.

Two days may not be enough to uncover all of Lisbon’s secrets, but this practical itinerary will give you a real taste of the city without breaking the bank. And here’s a pro tip: get the Lisbon Card. It grants free entry to nearly all attractions and unlimited free transport for the duration of the card. It’s worth every penny!

Lisbon in 48 Hours (Perfect for a Stopover)

Day 1 in Lisbon:

  • Start at the bustling Praça do Comércio, taking in the grandeur of the Arco Triunfal da Rua Augusta.
  • Stroll down Rua Augusta, a must-visit for me due to its vibrant atmosphere.
  • Treat yourself at Casa Portuguesa do Pastel de Bacalhau – their cod cakes are a delight.
  • Explore the historic Igreja da Sé and ascend to Castelo de São Jorge for breathtaking views.
  • Don’t miss the Miradouro Portas do Sol and Convento da Graça for more stunning vistas.
  • The Miradouro Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen offers a unique perspective of the city.
  • Dive into history at Igreja e Museu de São Vicente de Fora and the impressive Panteão Nacional.
  • For local flavor, the Feira da Ladra market is a treasure trove.
  • The Elevador de Santa Justa is an architectural marvel, leading you to the serene Igreja e Convento do Carmo.
  • Unwind at Praça do Rossio, grab a cherry liqueur at AGinjinha, and people-watch at A Brasileira and Praça Luís de Camões.
  • Explore Rua Rosa for its nightlife, and don’t miss Mercado da Ribeira and Manteigaria for authentic Lisbon flavors.

Day 2 in Lisbon:

  • Embark on a cultural journey starting at Mosteiro dos Jerônimos, a masterpiece of architecture.
  • The Padrão dos Descobrimentos and Torre de Belém are iconic landmarks that I always recommend.
  • Museu Coleção Berardo showcases captivating modern art.
  • A trip to Lisbon isn’t complete without tasting the famous Pastéis de Belém – trust me, they’re heavenly.
  • The Museu de Arte, Arquitetura e Tecnologia offers a contemporary twist, while LX Factory is a hub for creativity and shopping.
  • End your day marveling at the Ponte 25 de Abril, a stunning bridge that reminds me of San Francisco’s Golden Gate.

Day 1 in Lisbon (with details)

Praça do Comércio (aka Terreiro do Paço) is Lisbon's main square.
Praça do Comércio (aka Terreiro do Paço) is Lisbon's main square.

Kick-off your Lisbon adventure at Praça do Comércio, reshaped by Marquês de Pombal after the devastating 1755 earthquake. Here, you’ll find the majestic Arco Triunfal da Rua Augusta, offering a glimpse of Lisbon’s bustling pedestrian street, Rua Augusta. 

This street is a shopping paradise, hosting major international brands. While there, don’t miss the creamy cod cakes at Casa Portuguesa do Pastel de Bacalhau, perfectly paired with a glass of wine – an affordable and filling treat.

Consider wandering up to Alfama, or catch the iconic tram 28 for an easier ride. This neighborhood is a maze of narrow cobblestone streets and steep climbs. Your effort pays off when you reach Igreja da Sé, an impressive church built on a former mosque around 1150 post the Moorish expulsion.

A bit further up, Castelo de São Jorge awaits. Built by the Moors in the 11th century, this castle offers a panoramic view of the city. It’s open daily, with a reasonable 8.50 euros entrance fee.

Nearby is Miradouro Portas do Sol, offering stunning city vistas. But for a truly breathtaking view encompassing the city, river, and castle, head up to Convento da Graça at Miradouro Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen.

On your way down, visit the Igreja e Museu de São Vicente de Fora, housing the world’s largest collection of baroque tiles. Entry is just 5 euros. The Panteão Nacional, a 16th-century church turned 20th-century mausoleum, is also worth a visit, housing the remains of famous figures. Nearby, explore Feira da Ladra, a charming antique market open from Wednesday to Monday.

1. Elevador de Santa Justa

This gothic, metallic structure offers a unique view of the city. If you have a Viva Viagem card, you can use it here without buying an additional ticket.

2. Igreja e Convento do Carmo

Right behind the elevator lies the partially-restored, earthquake-stricken Igreja e Convento do Carmo. It’s a fascinating glimpse into Lisbon’s religious and general history, from the Paleolithic era to the 16th century. Entrance is 4 euros, and it’s open Monday to Saturday.

3. Praça do Rossio

A short walk brings you to Praça do Rossio (also known as Praça Dom Pedro IV). At the square’s corner, don’t miss A Ginjinha, a traditional spot to sample Lisbon’s famous cherry liqueur.

4. Café A Brasileira

Cafe A Brasileira (@abrasileirachiado)
Cafe A Brasileira (@abrasileirachiado)

After the lively liqueur experience, stroll back via Rua do Carmo to Rua Garrett, passing cool shops like Ale-Hop, Flying Tiger, and Muji, to reach Café A Brasileira. Opened in 1905, this iconic café aimed to sell authentic Brazilian coffee. It’s easy to spot, thanks to the Fernando Pessoa statue out front.

5. Praça Luís de Camões

A bit further, you’ll find Praça Luís de Camões, marking the boundary between Chiado and Alta neighborhoods and home to the Brazilian Consulate.

6. Rua Rosa

Continue to Rua Nova do Carvalho, popularly known as Rua Rosa. Once a hub for sailors and nightlife, it’s now revitalized with a pink-painted road, graffiti walls, and lively bars.

7. Time Out Market / Mercado da Ribeira

As evening falls, head to the Time Out Market (Mercado da Ribeira). Here, you’ll find an array of kiosks from some of the country’s top chefs offering delicious dishes at affordable prices. Don’t miss Manteigaria for a pastel de nata that rivals the famous Pastéis de Belém.

And there you have it…

Ran out of time? No worries! Day 2 is more relaxed, giving you a chance to catch up on anything you missed.

Day 2 in Lisbon (with details)

Start your day by hopping on tram 15E from Praça da Figueira, heading to the other side of Lisbon – Belém.

1. Mosteiro dos Jerônimos

Mosteiro dos Jerónimos
Mosteiro dos Jerónimos

Your first stop is the grand Mosteiro dos Jerônimos. This monastery, a symbol of Portugal’s maritime might, is the final resting place of Vasco da Gama. Entry is 12 euros, and it’s worth every cent for the history and architecture.

2. Padrão dos Descobrimentos

Next, just a stroll through the Jardins de Belém, and you’ll find the Padrão dos Descobrimentos. This ship-shaped monument honors the brave explorers of the Age of Discoveries. Don’t miss the ground map marking Portuguese exploratory achievements – it’s quite a sight!

3. Torre de Belém

Belem Tower, Lisbon
Belem Tower, Lisbon

A walk along the River Tejo leads you to the iconic Torre de Belém. This 14th-century Manueline fortress, built for the city’s defense, is stunning inside and out. Open Tuesday to Sunday (10 am to 6 pm in summer, till 5:30 pm in winter), the entry fee is a modest 6 euros.

4. Museu Coleção Berardo

Heading back via Avenida Brasília, you’ll soon spot the Museu Coleção Berardo. This modern and contemporary art museum features works by Miró, Warhol, and Mondrian. Open daily from 10 am to 7 pm, entry is 5 euros, but here’s a tip: it’s free on Saturdays!

5. Pastéis de Belém

On your way, make a mandatory stop at Pastéis de Belém for the authentic pastel de nata. Their secret recipe, unchanged since 1837, is legendary. Trust me, they’re the best of the best. The shop’s open from 8 am to 11 pm.

6. MAAT

A short 10-minute walk away is the MAAT (Museum of Art, Architecture, and Technology). Opened in 2016 with its futuristic architecture, it’s not just about the art, architecture, and technology exhibits; the riverside setting is perfect for sun-lovers. It’s open Wednesday to Monday, 11 am to 7 pm, with a 5-euro entry fee.

7. LX Factory

LX Factory (@lxfactory)
LX Factory (@lxfactory)

About 2 km away is the LX Factory, reachable on foot or by tram 15E. What once were warehouses are now trendy décor shops, creative studios, with river views and plenty of dining and drinking options. Check out my list of ‘9 Things to Do in the LX Factory in Lisbon’ for ideas. The views of the 25 de Abril Bridge from here are spectacular.

And now…

By mid-afternoon, take a moment to relax. Decide if you want to revisit any missed spots from day one or spend more time exploring the LX Factory. With tram 15E, getting back to the Mercado da Ribeira and Praça do Comércio is a breeze.

Lisbon Travel Tips

Best Time to Visit Lisbon

  • Summer (June-August): The city is lively under the strong sun, but expect higher prices.
  • Winter (November-February): Rainy and chillier, but you’ll enjoy lower costs – a big plus!
  • Spring and Autumn: These are the sweet spots. Pleasant temperatures and moderate prices make these seasons ideal for a visit.

Where to Stay for 2 days in Lisbon: Top Neighborhoods

  • Rossio and Baixa: Close to major attractions and convenient for sightseeing.
  • Bairro Alto and Chiado: Perfect for nightlife lovers, though be prepared for some uphill walking. Look up Lisbon’s hotel choices here.
  • Alfama: If you love Fado, cafes, and museums and don’t mind the climbs, this is your spot. Find hotels in Lisbon here.

Getting from the Airport to the City Center

  • Metro: Solo travelers, take the metro. It’s a quick 30-minute ride, costing only 1.50 euros. The metro operates from 6:30 am to 1 am. You’ll need a Lisboa Viva card (formerly Viva Viagem), which is also handy for city transport, or get the Lisboa Card for extensive access.
  • Taxi: For groups or those with luggage, a taxi is convenient, costing about 10-15 euros for the same 30-minute journey.

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