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The lively and colourful capital of Portugal makes for an amazing city trip. Lisbon had something for everybody. From the traditional heritage to the modern bars and nightlife that fuels the city. Lisbon is filled with colourful buildings covered in pretty tiles and has beautiful weather all-year-round. This 2 day Lisbon itinerary shows you how you can see most of these beautiful sights in a timely manner. I’ve also included some handy tips to make your holiday planning a little easier at the end of this post.
Like Rome, Lisbon was built across seven hills. The city is approximately four centuries older than Rome, making it one of the oldest cities in Europe. You can find some amazing views on these seven hills looking across the Tagus river – which I’ve obviously included in these two days in Lisbon.
* This trip was sponsored by ATO tours as part of their surprise holidays. Check out my Surprise Holidays blog post to read about my experience.
Why Did I Visit Lisbon?
Even though I am always looking for new destinations and cities to visit (and add to the website), Lisbon never really crossed my mind. Luckily, I got the amazing opportunity to go on a surprise holiday with ATO Tours. The destination turned out to be the beautiful city of Lisbon. Instead of having to spend hours picking a destination, hotel and sort out all the “less” fun parts of travel planning, they took care of it. I also had NO idea where they were going to send me until seven days before the trip. It was SO exciting!
The seven days I had between finding out where I was going and the actual trip, I spent planning. I think it ATO Tours nailed the balance between feeling excited about the surprise and the practicality of having time to prepare. It was such a liberating and exciting experience. If you want to learn more about the surprise holidays and my full experience going on one, please check out my surprise holiday post. I managed to strategically plan my 2 days in Lisbon in order to see as much of the city as possible in an efficient way. Let’s dive into the itinerary and show you some of the beautiful places I found in the city.
2 Days In Lisbon Itinerary
This trip to Lisbon was a little 2 day city break. Even though two days isn’t very long to explore a city as large and beautiful as Lisbon, it’s definitely enough to make you fall in love with the city. I managed to fit in most of the main highlights including a few lovely hidden gems that I stumbled upon along the way. I hope this itinerary inspires you to take a trip to Lisbon too because it’s a city worth visiting!
Day 1: Pink
Day 2: Blue
Click here for the map in Google Maps
Day 1 in Lisbon: Baixa & Chiado
My little city trip to Lisbon started at Lisbon airport early in the morning. It was really nice to fly in early, giving me the chance to make the most of my 48 hours in the city. My hotel (My Story Hotel Rossio) is located on Rossio Square, close to many of Lisbon’s main sights and downtown Lisbon. It only took about 30 minutes to get to the hotel from the airport with public transport. After dropping off my bag and checking in, it was time to start exploring!
As my hotel was located on Rossio Square, it only seemed right to start here. This central meeting place is one of the liveliest and most vibrant squares in Lisbon. Lined with shops, cafes and restaurants, this is also a great place for a bit to eat (perfect as our hotel is literally ON the square!). The mesmerizing stonework almost seems like an optical illusion!
Two beautiful baroque fountains stand on either side of the square with a 27-meter tall monument in the middle. This monument shows Pedro IV of Portugal surrounded by 4 female figures representing Wisdom, Moderation, Strength and Justice. You can also find the National Theatre here.
Santa Justa Lift
From Rossio Square, Santa Justa List is only a few hundred meters away. This stunning 19th-century industrial lift is one of the main tourist attractions of Lisbon. The 45-meter high lift connects the Baixa district with Largo do Carmo.
You may be able to notice some similarities to the Eiffel Tower in the design. This is because the designer of the lift, Raul Mesnier de Ponsard, was a student of Gustave Eiffel. Upon returning to his hometown of Lisbon, he designed the Santa Justa Lift to make it easier for residents to get to the top of the hill. It was actually used as a part of the public transport system in Lisbon until it turned into a more tourist-y attraction. The lift opened in 1902 and the electric motor that replaced the original steam engine in 1907 still powers the lift today.
Only 29 passengers can fit in the lift at a time, and because the lift only goes up and down 6 times per hour, queues can get pretty long. Especially during peak season, you may have to wait over an hour.
Tip: If you don’t want to wait to ride the lift and save a bit of money, you are still able to enjoy the view from the viewing platform on the top. Simply walk up towards Convento do Carmo. Then walk alongside the Carmo ruins towards the top of the lift. Here, you can enter the top part of the lift. It costs €1.50 to enter, or it’s free if you are using your Lisboa Card. You can then also decide to take the lift down, that’s usually less busy.
Address: R. do Ouro, 1150-060 Lisboa
Opening hours: Open every day from 7:30 AM till 11 PM (7:30 AM – 9 PM during winter). The lift goes up every 10 minutes.
Entree fee: Riding the lift is pretty pricey (in my opinion) and will set you back €5.30. This is the price for a return ticket. If you have bought a 24-hour public transport pass at the metro station, you can also use this to travel on the lift.
Lisboa card?: You can ride the lift for free with the Lisboa Card.
Convento do Carmo
Once you are on top of the Santa Justa Lift, you can easily walk over to Convento do Carmo. The ruins of this gothic church are absolutely stunning. Even though there is a small entree fee (with a small discount when using your Lisboa Card), it is more than worth it. When Lisbon was hit by a devastating earthquake, the church was hit too. The roof collapsed and damage was done to the interior and the library.
Today, the ruins welcome visitors to enjoy the stunning view from inside the church. The alter at the back is now used as an archaeological museum and tomb. Inside, they also show you a video that explains the history of the church and its founder. Even if you’re not interested in learning about the church itself, it’s a beautiful place to visit. Especially because the roof is missing, it’s such a unique place. (And perfect for a few photos!).
Address: Largo do Carmo, 1200-092 Lisboa
Opening hours: Open every day from 10 AM till 7 PM (6 PM in winter)
Entree fee: It costs €5 for adults to enter the Convento do Carmo and the Archeological Museum. There is a €1 discount for students and seniors.
Lisboa card?: You get a €1 discount for showing your Lisboa card, making the entree fee €4
Wander through Downtown Lisbon
One of the things I enjoyed most about visiting Lisbon is simply wandering through the beautiful streets. The cobblestoned paths lined by colourful building tiled with detailed Portuguese tiles. This is why I didn’t use public transport unless it was absolutely necessary. Walking from one sight to another was a true blessing! You’ll find so many lovely spots, colourful buildings and picturesque side streets.
When you walk from Convento do Carmo towards Arco da Rua Augusta, enjoy a stroll through the Baixa District (also known as downtown Lisbon). Apart from the main shops that you can find in almost any city (H&M, Zara, Pull&Bear), there are some real gems in this area. Especially because so many of the buildings in Lisbon are tiled with the beautiful Portuguese tiles, there are some real photography gems here. Some of my favourites included:
- Leitaria (right outside of Convento do Carmo)
- Ferin Bookstore
- R. Garrett
- A Brasileira
Arco da Rua Augusta
As you can imagine, the earthquake in 1755 destroyed large parts of the Baixa district. This arch was built to commemorate the reconstruction of Lisbon. The Latin inscription reads “The Virtues of the Greatest“, symbolising the strength and resilience of the Portuguese people. On the top of the arch, Gloria crowns Genius and Virtue.
You can climb the Arch for €3 (or free with the Lisboa Card) to enjoy a unique 360-degree view over the city and the water. An elevator brings you to the viewing platform. Personally, I don’t think it’s worth the three Euro fee. But if you have a Lisbon card, I’d definitely make the trip up.
Because the plaza in front of the arch sits by the bank of the Tagus river, this is also a great opportunity to sit by the water and enjoy the sun. There are a few cafes and restaurants on the plaza, but it’s much nicer to sit near the riverbank and peacefully watch the water.
Address: R. Augusta 2, 1100-053 Lisboa
Opening hours: Open every day from 9 AM till 7 PM.
Entree fee: €3 for adults, free for children under 5.
Lisboa card?: Free entree with the Lisboa card.
The Pink Street
This Instagramable pink street is located in Cais do Sodre. The beautiful colours make for a perfect backdrop and almost feel like a movie set. The history of this part of Lisbon is a little darker, however. Lisbon used to be a very important port city, being located so close to the ocean. Many sailors would come to shore here to gamble, drink and… you know. The Pink Street used to be the Red Light District, where many criminals would also meet.
In a successful attempt to put this part of Lisbon in a more positive light, they painted the street pink in 2011 (I know right, it’s really not that long ago!). Many cool bars emerged and turned the area in a lively neighbourhood with a vibrant nightlife. Many of the bars that are found near the Pink Street nowadays still carry the names of the port city names, like back in the day. If you want to experience Lisbon’s nightlife, this is one of the best places to go!
Address: R. Nova do Carvalho, 1200-372 Lisboa
Opening hours: The Pink Street is a public street, making it open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Entree fee: It’s free to visit the Pink Street
Time Out Market Lisbon
Then it’s time for dinner. How do you pick a restaurant in a city as diverse and large as Lisbon? Time Out Market has the perfect solution. It’s not far from the Pink Street and has 26 restaurants, 8 bars and multiple shops.
This indoor food market is the perfect place for those who want choice because there is a lot of choices. Almost too hard to pick! All the dishes look amazing, but it’s really good that this place has something for everybody. This is great if you’re travelling with a group and you all want to eat something else 😉 Grab a seat, order a few dishes accompanied with a drink and you’re ready for a wonderful dinner!
Address: Praça Dom Luís I 44, 1200-148 Lisboa
Opening hours: Open Sunday till Wednesday from 11:30 AM till 12 AM, Thurday till Saturday from 11:30 AM till 2 AM.
Entree fee: Free to enter, food prices differ per food stand.
Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara
What better way to end the day than with a beautiful view of the city. By now, you may have noticed the many hills Lisbon has been built upon. Even though they may be a pain to walk up, they definitely give the city its charm. And it gives you some amazing views! There are countless Miradouros in Lisbon, but this one is located close to the hotel and is actually one of the most popular ones. This makes it a great stop before heading back towards the hotel.
At the viewpoint, you can find a beautiful view across the orange rooftops, the cathedral and with the river in the background. There is a little cafe near the viewpoint too, where you can end your day looking out over Lisbon while enjoying a glass of wine. Can you imagine a better ending of your day?
Address: R. de São Pedro de Alcântara, 1200-470 Lisboa
Also read: Take a day trip to Tomar from Lisbon
Day 2 in Lisbon: Belém, Alcantara & Alfama
On my second day in Lisbon, I continued to see some of the main sights of the city. But today, we start in Belem. Belem is located a few kilometres outside of the city centre, using public transport is the easiest and fastest way to get there. From the hotel on Rossio, it took me about 40 minutes to get to Belem. It was a very enjoyable journey though. From the hotel, I took the metro to Cais do Sodré. From there, I took one of the iconic electric yellow trams (line E15) towards Belem.
Torre de Belém
Possibly one of the most popular and famous sights of Lisbon is the Belem Tower. Built in 1514, the Belem Tower was part of the defence system of Lisbon’s port. It was used to guard the entrance of Lisbon’s harbour, where Portuguese sailors set off on adventures to explore the world. This tower played a huge part in the history of both Lisbon and the exploration of the world. The tower was also briefly used as a prison (1581) and as a lighthouse (1865). It was very fortunate to survive the earthquake!
The building itself was built on the banks of the river, but due to the natural flow of the water, the river is now surrounding the tower. You can still visit the tower by walking across the little bridge. I personally didn’t go inside the tower, as I heard it was a little underwhelming. You are able to enter the tower for a small entree fee (or free with Lisboa Card). Due to its size, only 150 people are allowed inside at the same time, so you can expect long queues outside. Especially in peak season. I’d recommend skipping this one and queue for the Jerónimos Monastery later on the second day instead.
Address: Av. Brasília, 1400-038 Lisboa
Opening Hours: Open every day except Mondays, January 1st, Easter Sunday, May 1st and Christmas Day. October-April from 10 AM till 5:30 PM. May-September from 10 AM till 6:30 PM.
Entree Fee: It costs €6 for adults to enter the Belem Tower. You can, however, buy a ticket for both the Belem Tower and the Jerónimos Monastery for €12 – saving you some money if you are planning to visit both. Entree is free with the Lisboa Card.
Lisboa Card?: The Lisboa Card can be used to enter the Belem Tower for free.
TIP: Café do Forte
Located next to the Belém Tower, Café do Forte can be found. It’s a great place to sit down and enjoy a cup of coffee before heading to the next sight. The view of the tower and the water is stunning. A perfect spot to enjoy the sunshine and get your caffeine fix in the morning before heading on to our next stop.
Address: Av. Brasília Forte do Bom Sucesso, 1400-038 Lisboa
Opening hours: Open every day from 9:30 AM till 8:30 PM.
Padrão dos Descobrimentos
From the Belem Tower, it takes a few minutes to walk over to our next stop: The Padrão dos Descobrimentos (or Monument of Discovery). Completed in 1960, this monument celebrates the Portuguese Age of Exploration. Henry the Navigator stands at the front. The monument was opened on the 500th years anniversary of his death.
32 Characters accompany Henry on this monument. They’re all figures who played a significant role in the expansion of the Portuguese empire back in the 15th and 16th century. It’s a stunning monument and quite impressive to see from up close. There are an exhibition, a viewpoint and a film (shown every day at 3:30 PM) that can be visited for a fee. I personally skipped these but you can find more info about these below.
Address: Av. Brasília, 1400-038 Lisboa
Opening hours: Open every day from 10 AM till 7 PM during March-September. Open every day excpet Monday from 10 AM till 6 PM during October-February. Closed on January 1st, May 1st and December 25th.
Entree fee: €6 for adults, €5 for those over 65.
Lisboa card?: You can get a small discount if you want to enter the exhibition and viewpoint. This will cost €4,80.
Probably as popular as the Belem Tower, the Jeronimos Monastery is one of the main highlights of Lisbon. It was built in 1501 to celebrate the return of Vasco da Gama from his expeditions to India. Vasco da Gama was the first European to reach India by sea. His tomb can also be found here. This monastery was built around the chapel Vasco and his sailors would come to pray before setting sail.
This beautiful building is a perfect example of the Manueline architecture style that can also be found back in the Belem Tower. It’s a proud symbol of Portugals wealth and power during the Age of Discovery. There are two parts to the Monastery: the church and the cloister. The church is free to enter, whereas the cloister sets you back €10 (or you can enter for free with the Lisboa Card). In my opinion, it’s more than worth a tenner! The two-storied cloister is a piece of art with beautifully decorated arches, making it an amazing place to shoot some pictures.
If you’re going to queue for one sight in Lisbon, pick this one. Despite visiting Lisbon in March, the queue outside was still pretty long and I ended up queuing for a good hour and a half. It was more than worth it though. The monastery is one of the most beautiful buildings I have ever set foot in and I’m so happy with the photos I took.
Address: Praça do Império 1400-206 Lisboa
Opening hours: The monastery is open every day except Mondays, January 1st, Easter Sunday, May 1st and Christmas Day. Open October to April from 10 AM till 5:30 PM. Open May to September from 10 AM till 6:30 PM.
Entree fee: An entree ticket will cost you €10, but you can get a combination ticket for the Monastery and the Belem Tower for €12. Seniors can get a 50% discount and people with a Lisbon Card can enter for free.
Lisboa card?: You can enter the Jeronimos Monastery for free with the Lisbon card.
Pastéis de Belém
You simply cannot leave Lisbon without having tried a Pastel de Nata. These Portuguese custard tarts can be found on pretty much every corner in Lisbon. If you think “oh, they’re just custard tarts? We have those in the UK!” – NO. Stop it right there! These are on another level!
The best place to try them is Pastéis de Belém, located only a few minutes from the Monastery. This is one of the oldest shops that sell these delicious treats. Opened in 1837, this bakery follows a secret family recipe, selling hundreds a day to hungry tourists and locals. I had to stop by to try a few and they were delicious!
This shop is HUGE. There are multiple rooms where you can sit and enjoy a freshly baked Pastel de Nata. Sprinkle some cinnamon on top and enjoy. The reason I loved this shop so much is that the pastries are super fresh because there’s a pretty high demand here. The custard was still warm! They are by far the best ones I had during my 2 days in Lisbon! And… I had quite a few 😉
Address: R. de Belém 84 92, 1300-085 Lisboa
Opening hours: Open every day from 8 AM till 11 PM. Closed on January 1st, December 24, 25 and 26th.
Price of Pastel De Nata: €1,15
If you haven’t filled up your belly with countless pasteis de natas, here is a tip for lunch. Even if you’re already full, LxFactory is still worth a visit because there are tons of shops and cafes too. This abandoned industrial site was turned into a creative, cultural hub that is now home to over 200 businesses. More than 50 of those are restaurants, cafes and shops!
Apart from all the cool independent businesses that have made their home in LxFactory, there is tons of cool street art to be found here too. From big animals made out of trash to murals and a flock of fake birds flying over you while you’re enjoying freshly made sushi. Even if you just come here for a wander, it’s highly recommended.
Address: R. Rodrigues de Faria 103, 1300-501 Lisboa
Opening hours: Open every day from 9 AM till 2 AM.
Lisbon would not be Lisbon without its iconic yellow trams. They make the city even more picturesque and can be found in any travel brochure of the city. So how could I miss it in this itinerary? There used to be much more trams in the city, but they slowly disappeared as the metro was built. On certain places, the tram remained (especially near hills and other places the metro couldn’t be built) – including the popular Tram 28.
This tramline was created in 1930. Nowadays, locals don’t use it as much because it has turned into a real tourist magnet. It is one of the longest tram lines in the city and takes you through some beautiful streets, also passing many of the main sights of Lisbon along the way. This is why it’s such a hot topic for tourists. I didn’t ride the 28, because I was on my own and was wary of pickpockets. But I did see the tram pass a few times while wandering the streets of Lisbon myself. They do look lovely with the colourful flats in the background.
Single ticket fee: €3.00
Lisboa card?: Yes, the Lisboa card can be used to travel on Tram 28 for free.
NOTE: Please be wary of pickpockets on this tram. Because of the number of tourists that want to ride this iconic tram, it is also a busy hive for pickpockets. Especially because it’s usually packed. If you do want to ride the tram, keep an eye on your belongings and don’t leave cameras dangling from your shoulder.
Cathedral Of Lisbon
The Tram 28 also stops right in front of the Lisbon Cathedral (also known as Se). This Roman Catholic cathedral was built in 1147, making it the oldest church in the city. It has survived many natural disasters, including the earthquake in 1755. The cloister has a similar design to the Jerónimos Monastery, but smaller. It costs €2,50 to go in. I personally don’t think it’s worth going in if you’ve already visited the Monastery, but it’s still lovely to see the cathedral from the outside. Especially with the yellow tram passing by, it makes for a beautiful sight.
Address: Largo da Sé, 1100-585 Lisboa
Opening hours: The cathedral is open for visitors every day from 7 AM till the evening mass at 7 PM. The cloister is open from 10 AM till 5 PM.
Entree fee: Entree to the cathedral is free, but there is a small fee (€2,50 per adult, €1,00 per child) to enter the cloister.
Lisboa card?: The Lisboa card does not give you any discounts at the Lisbon Cathedral.
Miradouros of Lisbon
We’re ending this 2 day Lisbon itinerary by enjoying some of the most beautiful views of the city. Luckily, these three are located pretty closely together. If you start your walk up the hill early enough, you can enjoy the sunset after arriving at the top. Even though the hike up may take a little leg power, it’s more than worth it!
Our first stop is at Miradouro de Santa Luzia. You can easily make your way up to this point from the Lisbon Cathedral.
From Miradouro de Santa Luzia, it’s only a few minutes on foot to get to our second viewpoint of the evening: Miradouro da Graça. Photo tip: Stop by Villa Sousa, a gorgeous home tilled with turquoise tiles.
We then end our day and our two days in Lisbon at one of the most beautiful and highest points of the entire city: Miradouro da Senhora do Monte. It’s a little hike from Miradouro da Graça, but it is 100% worth it. Especially if you go here at the end of the day to enjoy the sunset.
Where to stay in Lisbon?
Picking a hotel in a city you haven’t been to can be quite difficult. You want to stay somewhere nice, close to the sights but not too crowded. Luckily, ATO Tours didn’t only pick this destination as part of the surprise trip, they also picked my hotel.
During my two days in Lisbon, I stayed at the My Story Hotel Rossio. Located on Rossio Square, this hotel sits in the middle of the city centre. The nearest metro station is only 130 meters from the hotel entrance. Many sights are only a short walk from the hotel too.
The hotel itself was absolutely perfect for this city trip. A very comfortable room with everything you could possibly need: a bathrobe, slippers, a mobile phone with internet and 30-minute credit to make international calls, free WiFi, aircon, a hairdryer and a huge shower. With a stunning view across Rossio Square and a breakfast to die for (tons of choices including freshly baked Pasties the Natas – yes I had some for breakfast, you would too!), I couldn’t recommend this place more!
I hope that the two day itinerary helped you get an idea on how to see the best of Lisbon in a timely matter. But when visiting Lisbon, you need to know more about the city than the things to do. Here are some handy tips to make your travel planning a bit easier.
Money and tipping
Lisbon’s currency is the Euro. Overall, it seems like Lisbon is quite cash-based. International cards like Monzo or Tranferwise (which I normally use when travelling) aren’t too easy to use because many smaller shops don’t accept them and most ATMs charge a fee.
Tipping in Lisbon is never expected. But in restaurants, it’s always nice to leave 10% if the service was good. In touristy areas, a service charge may be added – so make sure to check your bill before leaving a tip.
How to get to Lisbon from the airport?
Lisbon’s international airport is located only 7 kilometres from the city centre. After arriving, there are multiple ways to get to the centre of Lisbon. The easiest way is to use the metro, which is located right outside the airport. It only took me about 30 minutes to get to my hotel located on Rossio Square from the airport.
You can also take a taxi from the airport, but it will cost you a lot more money. A taxi ride will take approximately 20 minutes (depending on the location of your hotel), so it’s not even that much quicker! I’d personally take public transport instead. Especially because for a two day city trip, you probably won’t be taken too many bags 😉
How to get around Lisbon?
Lisbon is a very walkable city, despite the many hills upon which the city has been built. But despite the beautiful streets and the enjoyable walks through this colourful city, Lisbon also has an easy-to-use public transport system. The metro, busses and the iconic yellow trams all intertwine to help you navigate the city without any problems. Here are a few ways to pay for these:
- Lisboa Card: The Lisboa card gives you free access to all public transport for the duration of your card (24, 48 or 72 hours).
- Viva Viagem Card: These public transport cards can be bought at metro stations for €0,50 and loaded with money or travel passes. A single trip on the metro, bus or tram costs €1,50. Alternatively, you can also load a 24-hour ticket on this card, which costs €6,40. (€10.55 if you also want to include Comboios de Portugal).
FAQ: Extra Lisbon Travel Tips
You could easily spend a week in Lisbon and still find more amazing things to do. Spending two days in Lisbon definitely gives you enough time to see some of the main sights and completely fall in love with the city, though. It makes for a lovely little city trip.
I personally spent 2 days in Lisbon in March and it seemed like a perfect time to visit. The weather was beautiful (22-25 degrees Celcius), it was pretty quiet and very affordable. Therefore, I’d recommend visiting Lisbon between March-May.
Alternatively, visiting during the summer season (June-August) would be perfect if you’re looking to add some days at the beach or attending one of the many open-air festivals.
You can purchase a Lisboa Card for 24 hours (€20), 48 hours (€34) or 72 hours (€42). This card gives you free unlimited access to public transport in the city, free entree to some of the main sights and museums and lots of discounts to many other sights. You can buy the cards here.
For this particular itinerary, I would recommend getting the 48 hour Lisboa Card. ATO Tours provided me with one as part of the surprise holiday package, and it made my trip so much easier.
Altogether, Lisbon is a very safe city with low crime rates. But like every other large European city, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. As a solo female traveller, I felt completely safe walking through the city both during the day and at night. Here are some tips to stay safe in Lisbon:
– Stay on the main roads at night
– Always keep an eye on your belongings
– Beware of pickpockets when riding the tram
– Get the correct travel insurance before your trip
Being the city build upon seven hills, Lisbon has some amazing viewing points where you can enjoy the city from above. Here are the best views I found during my 2 days in Lisbon.
– Santa Justa Lift viewing platform
– Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara
– Miradouro de Santa Luzia
– Miradouro da Graça
– Miradouro da Senhora do Monte
– On top of the Arco da Rua Augusta
Obviously, a packing list is very personal and will differ per person. But here are a few items that made my trip a lot easier, so make sure to add these to your packing list.
– European power adaptor
– Sunscreen & sunglasses
– Water bottle
– Comfortable walking shoes