Detailed itinerary to see the best of Lisbon in 2 days: what to see, where to eat, how to make the most of a weekend in Lisbon, Portugal.
Lisbon is a wonderful destination for a city break. Beautiful, welcoming and full of attractions, Lisbon has something for everyone but is still compact enough to be easily explored even with limited time.
This is our tried and tested itinerary with the best places to see in Lisbon in 2 days.
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How to see Lisbon in 2 days: practical tips
2 days are not enough to see all Lisbon has to offer. However, there are a few Lisbon travel tips you can follow do to maximize your time in the city.
Choose accommodation in the city center: Lisbon has a pleasant city center which you can explore on foot. Stay in Chiado or Alfama to keep transport time at a minimum and stay in close proximity to many of Lisbon’s must see sites.
Invest in the Lisbon card. The Lisbon Card gives you access to the city’s extensive public transport network and offers free or discounted access to many tourist attractions in the city.
You can collect it at the Visit Lisbon kiosk at the airport and start using it straight away.
Are 2 days in Lisbon enough?
Two days in Lisbon are a short time to see all the city has to offer.
However, they are enough to see most of the city’s main sights and get a sense for some of its famous areas.
For this Lisbon itinerary, I gave priority to vising the city rather than its museums.
I have however included some visits that I believe would add to your experience and can be enjoyed in this limited time frame.
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2 days in Lisbon Itinerary: day 1
I recommend starting your trip to Lisbon from the area around Praça do Comércio.
This is one of the most famous and iconic squares in Lisbon and it is beautiful, grand and a handy place for first time visitors as it has the Lisbon tourist office (Visit Lisbon).
We got in there first thing and we got kitted out with the Lisbon card, maps and recommendations on how to get to visit Sintra and Cascais, something that saved us plenty of time and research
In the Praça do Comércio area you can visit the square itself and also see one of the most peculiar sights in the whole of Lisbon, the Elevador de Santa Justa.
This is a one of the top attractions in Lisbon and truly, it is special: the elevador is unique and its beauty is only matched by the views from its top. Absolutely worth the ride up, despite the touristy price!
Not far from this area stands Mercado da Ribeira (also known as the Time Out market), one of the most famous food locations in Lisbon.
It opened in 1892 and for many years operated as the main food market in the city. In 2014 is was taken over by Time Out magazine and turned into an amazing food hall with a traditional yet hip feel to it.
The main architectural style of the market is modern industrial, and the result is airy and sleet yet welcoming.
Food stalls are arranged around the main area and you can find traditional Portuguese food, pizza, ramen and anything in between!
Bairro Alto, as the name suggests (‘alto’ means ‘high’) towers above Mercado da Ribeira.
When looking up from the bottom, the steep road is scary but Lisbon has a clever way to help the wanderer: lifts!
Lisbon has 7 hills and the ‘ascensores’ (cable cars or lifts) help negotiate this peculiar geography.
The Ascensor da Bica is the one climbing the bairro alto hill and operates as a funicular and climbs up its very steep hill.
The rickety ride doesn’t take more than a few minutes and is great fun. The ride is included in your Lisbon card of you can buy a ticket at the lift entrance.
At the top, you find a lovely local area with two worthy stops:the Miradouro Santa Caterina, a nice terrace with lovely views over Lisbon and the Pharmacy museum, which has a lovely cafe/bar view views over the city.
A little farther down the road you enter the area of Chiado, where you have one of the most beautiful sights in the whole of Lisbon: Covento de Carmo.
Convento do Carmo dates back to 1389 and is now listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site.
It is a stunning piece of Gothic architecture and now hosts an archaeological museum but neither of these elements alone is what makes this place unique.
What stands out about Convento do Carmo is that you walk along its nave with the sky above you.
The convent was heavily damaged by the huge earthquake that destroyed a large part of Lisbon in 1755 and it a powerful (yet beautiful) reminder of this scarring part of Lisbon history.
Not far from the Convento you can have dinner in Cervecaria Trinidade, a large yet welcoming restaurant serving authentic Portuguese food.
2 days in Lisbon: day 2
I recommend to spend the second day in Lisbon visiting two more areas: Alfama and Belem.
The Alfama is the oldest district of Lisbon and it is perched on a hill overlooking Praca do Comercio and Chiado.
Up to the 13th century, this district was outside the city walls and used to be the homes of Lisbon’s poorest inhabitants, especially sailors and fishermen.
Nowadays, it is all but poor.
Alfama has changed to become a vibrant and trendy neighborhood where old charm mixes with a young vibe.
The Alfama is known for many landmarks including San Jorge’s Castle (Castelo de São Jorge), Lisbon cathedral and St Anthony’s’ church but what is truly special about it are its meandering streets.
Arriving to the top of the hills is half the fun: to get up you can get a taxi, walk or get the famous tram 28, which is touristy but offers a fun rickety ride in streets that meander up like agile snakes!
The tram leaves you on a belvedere just below the castle and the view from there is stunning.
The sky, the diffused light, that incredible Tagus and a sea of red-tiled roofs and whitewashed walls embodies all we had imagined Lisbon to be and more.
Alfama is a mobility nightmare, made of cobbled streets, steep roads and steps climbing it flanks but makes up for it with it indisputable charm.
If you intend of visiting the castle, it is worth getting skip the line tickets in advance as the line can be long.
The best way to discover it is on foot: allow yourself to get lost and reward your efforts in one of the many restaurants and bars in this area such as Petisqueria Conqvistador
Belem is a lovely district of Lisbon with a nice residential feel and some of the city’s most recognizable landmarks.
It is far from the Alfama but can get there but tram, bus or tuk-tuk, all of them good options to see addition parts of the city.
The tuk tuk is a touristy way to get there however, we took it and found it worth it.
Our driver gave us a very good commentary about what were seeing so for the cost of the ride we got not just transport but also a decent guided tour!
The ride to Belem brings you along the river Tagus, so you can see the 25 de Abril Bridge and I recommend you get them to drop you off at the Belem tower.
From here, you can walk along the river to see the main Belem attractions the Belém Tower, the monuments to discoveries (Padrão dos Descobrimentos) and the the Jerónimos Monastery (stunning) and you can also venture to the famous Pastéis de Belém pastry shop.
If you so, you can taste the famous pastéis de nata, Portuguese’s traditional custard tarts just before indulging in a last dinner in Lisbon either in Belem itself or back in the city center.
I hope you found this 2 day Lisbon itinerary useful. Safe travels!