Lisbon in 2 Days: everything you need to know

If you are thinking of a weekend getaway to Lisbon, check out this guide to visit the Portuguese capital in 48 hours.

Carlos Bleda

Carlos Bleda

7 min read

Lisbon in 2 Days: everything you need to know

Lisbon Aerial View | ©Gemmmm

Seeing Lisbon's main monuments and getting to know the city in a weekend is possible. And, moreover, we can do it with relative tranquility, enjoying it calmly. For this, I share with you this itinerary to visit the city in 48 hours. Although some less important points will be left out, in two days you will have time to visit the historic center, the most important neighborhoods and monuments such as the Jerónimos Convent or the Belém Tower.

Day 1: Visit the historic center: Alfama and Baixas neighborhoods

The Portas do Sol viewpoint| ©Vitor Oliveira
The Portas do Sol viewpoint| ©Vitor Oliveira

The first day of the itinerary is designed to discover and enjoy the historic center of Lisbon. The route runs between the adjoining neighborhoods of Alfama and Baixas in whose streets we will find some of the most significant points of the city: Lisbon Cathedral, St. George's Castle or the Commerce Square are some of the main points of this first day in Lisbon.

Take the best snapshots of the viewpoints of Porta do sol and Santa Lucia

The day can start at the viewpoints on the hill of St. George's Castle. The ones at Portas do Sol and Santa Lucia are two of the best thanks to their views of downtown Lisbon with the Tagus River in the background, and you're sure to have the opportunity to learn more if you book a guided tour of Alfama and St. George's.

Near both viewpoints there are several terraces perfect to have breakfast and get your strength for the day.

Book a guided tour of Alfama and St. George's Castle

Enter St. George's Castle

At the top of the hill in the heart of the Alfama district is St. George's Castle, a must-see if you book a guided tour of St. George's Castle. The effort of climbing up the steep streets is worth it to see this 12th century castle.

Paying the 10 € entrance fee we can access its interior which highlights the periscopic viewpoint of the Tower of Ulysses, the archaeological site and the castle gardens where you can stroll surrounded by ducks and peacocks while enjoying the spectacular views of the city.

Book a guided tour of St. George's Castle

Don't miss the Lisbon Cathedral

Walking down from the castle towards the Tagus we will come across the Lisbon Cathedral. The most important temple of the city can be visited for free and paying an extra 2,5 € you can add to the visit its cloister and the treasure that houses this church of Romanesque origin. A highly recommended visit that you can learn more about if you book a guided tour of Lisbon.

Book a guided tour of Lisbon

Discover the Alfama district

After seeing its monuments it is advisable to take a short walk through the streets of the Alfama neighborhood. It was originally a fishermen neighborhood that grew under the walls of the castle of St. George and is now one of the most beautiful neighborhoods of Lisbon.

If you let yourself get lost in its streets you will surely run into a street musician singing Fados, as this neighborhood is considered the cradle of this Portuguese musical genre. We can take advantage of the walk to enter a restaurant and eat enjoying the Portuguese cuisine. The cod and other fish dishes are especially recommended as Alfama is a neighborhood historically linked to fishing.

And if you prefer not to miss any detail about the history of this popular and peculiar neighborhood, do not hesitate to book a guided tour of Alfama.

Book a guided tour of Alfama

Stroll around Pedro IV Square

Pedro IV Square in Lisbon| ©Thomas
Pedro IV Square in Lisbon| ©Thomas

From the Alfama neighborhood we walk down to Pedro IV Square, one of the stops of the guided tour of Lisbon. Formerly known as Rossio Square, it is one of Lisbon's nerve centers. In the center of it stands the monument to Pedro IV, the first emperor of Brazil and Portuguese constitutional king, in the form of a column.

In its surroundings there are endless stores and restaurants that we can take advantage of to eat if we have not already done so. Although I recommend that you look for better options to eat in the streets near the square as prices rise on average.

Book a guided tour of Lisbon

Take a walk along Rua Augusta

This street is one of the main arteries of Lisbon and connects the Pedro IV square with the Comercio square. The two most important squares of Lisbon, which you can visit if you book a guided tour of Lisbon.

Augusta Street is pedestrian and in its more than 600 meters are the main stores and businesses in the city. We can take advantage of the walk to sit on a terrace to have a coffee and go into the stores to buy a souvenir or just indulge ourselves.

Book a guided tour of Lisbon

Do not miss the Commerce Square

In the late afternoon we will arrive at the famous Commerce Square. One of the most representative places in Lisbon. We access it through the arch of Rua Augusta which we can access to climb to its viewpoint and see the square and Augusta Street from above.

It costs only 2.5 € to climb to the viewpoint. In the Plaza del Comercio we can also see the equestrian statue of José I and the pier that overlooks the Tagus River and its excellent panoramic view.

This is a good place to end the day as it gives us a nice sunset over the river and nearby there are plenty of dining options for dinner before returning to our accommodation or start enjoying the night of Lisbon. If you don't want to make a mistake with where to go, don't hesitate to book a gastronomic tour in Lisbon.

Book a gastronomic tour in Lisbon

Day 2: Enjoy Santa Justa Elevator, Convento do Carmo and Belém

Santa Justa Elevator and Rua Augusta| ©Rob Oo
Santa Justa Elevator and Rua Augusta| ©Rob Oo

We already know the center of Lisbon, so on the second day it's time to finish the job and visit the Belém neighborhood, home to two of the most important monuments in Lisbon and Portugal. But that will be after going up in a particular elevator to visit an impressive church in ruins.

Take the Santa Justa elevator

Your second day in Lisbon can begin with a visit to the Santa Justa elevator. Located on Rua do Ouro, this particular elevator connects the Baixa Pombalina and Chiado neighborhoods via an elevator and a walkway at 45 meters high. The upper part houses a terrace with good views of downtown Lisbon.

As queues are frequent, it is advisable to go early in the morning. The elevator starts operating at 7:30 am and costs 5,30 € including round trip in the elevator and access to the viewpoint.

Book a guided tour of Lisbon

Visit the Convento do Carmo

As we exit the upper walkway of the Santa Justa elevator we find the former Convento do Carmo. This was the most important Gothic building in Lisbon until 1755. Year in which there was a historic earthquake that left this and many other buildings in ruins.

Today you can visit the ruins of the church that houses the archaeological museum Do Carmo. The main structure of the temple is preserved but without the roof, which offers a simply spectacular postcard. Visiting the convent and museum costs 5 €.

Take the streetcar to Belém

One of the most authentic experiences in Lisbon is riding the streetcars. Since our next destination is the Belém neighborhood and it is a bit far from the center, don't hesitate to book the tourist streetcar through Lisbon to get there.

It is best to take a 10 or 15 minute walk from the convent Do Carmo to the Commerce Square where we can take the streetcar number 15 that will take us to Belém in a journey of about 20 minutes.

When we arrive and before visiting the Jerónimos Monastery, we will look for a place to eat. There are many options near the monastery itself. I recommend eating before as the visit to the monument can take longer than expected.

Book the tourist streetcar through Lisbon

Be dazzled by the Jerónimos Monastery

From the streetcar we will get off at the stop right in front of the Jerónimos Monastery. This building has the recognition of being a World Heritage Site thanks to its artistic and architectural value. Its convent and church are spectacular and make it a must-see in Lisbon.

I recommend that you book the entrance to the Jerónimos Monastery in advance, as it is the most visited monument in Lisbon. The price starts at approximately 17 €. It is open every day of the week except Mondays.

Book tickets to the Jerónimos Monastery

Taste the pastries of Belém

Being in the neighborhood of Belém we can not miss the opportunity to try their traditional pastries. These are puff pastries with cream and baked by the monks of the Jerónimos monastery.

They can be tasted all over the city, but next to the monastery is the original factory and is the best and most typical place to taste these sweets. It is worth making a stop on the way to try this famous snack.

Book a gastronomic tour of Lisbon

Admire the view from the Monument of the Discoveries

The Jerónimos Monastery| ©Minh TRAN
The Jerónimos Monastery| ©Minh TRAN

After refueling with Belém pastries we will visit the Monument to the Discoveries. This impressive construction is located near the monastery next to the Tagus River. The construction of more than 50 meters high was erected as a tribute to all the adventurers and discoverers who marked the history of Portugal. It is a nice place to stop for a few minutes to admire and take pictures along the Tagus.

End your tour at the Tower of Belém

As you can see, seeing the main monuments of Lisbon and enjoying the city in 48 hours is possible. The last stop of this itinerary will be at one of the most famous monuments of Lisbon, the Bélem Tower. This tower juts into the river and was built to serve as a fort and lighthouse.

Note that if you buy your ticket for the Torre de Belém you can visit inside to see its dungeons and climb to the top to see the views. The price to access the interior is approximately 19 €.

When leaving it is advisable to sit for a few minutes and wait for the sunset. The waters of the river bathed by the sunlight at sunset is the best possible picture to say goodbye to Lisbon.

Book tickets for the Belém Tower