Lisbon Travel; Important Term | Best Time To Visit | Getting Around In Lisbon | Where to Stay | What To Eat | 2 Day Itinerary
Lisbon easily is one of my favorites among all the places I have been to and I am sure after reading this travel guide on the best things to do in Lisbon, it will be yours too. The bustling capital of Portugal, with warm Mediterranean climate, bleached limestone buildings and intimate alleyways will take your heart away. But for me, the real highlight of my trip was the genuine, authentic and welcoming hospitality of its people. Although, in recent years tourism has been on the rise, unlike the rest of the world Lisbon hasn’t gone global completely and maintains that rustic charms and identity are intact.
Before we jump into our detailed 48 hours itinerary and top things to do in Lisbon, I want to leave you with few pointers which will help you in planning your Lisbon Travel more successfully.
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Some Fun Facts & Practical Info
- Country: Portugal (largest and the capital city)
- Currency: Euro (€)
- Moneywise: Quite Affordable
- Safety: Very safe, especially for solo female travelers
- Language: Portuguese ( English is widely spoken among people in touristy areas)
- Fun Fact: Lisbon is known to be built on seven hills: Castelo, Graca, Monte, Penha de Franca, S.Pedro de Alcantara, Santa Catarina, and Estrela. It also has the mildest temperature in Europe.
Best Time To Vist
Lisbon is a fun city all year round. Due to its proximity to the Atlantic, weather in Lisbon is milder throughput the year. The cool breeze from the ocean tempers the hot long summer. In winter, average day time temperature hovers around 15C and can drop up to 3-4C at night. Still not as cold as western and northern Europe.
I am a big fan of the shoulder season when fewer people visit the city. You can get discounted prices on accommodation, flights, restaurants, and other spots. Here these are from March, April, and May. Or September and October.
Another fun month to visit Lisbon is during the time of Festas Santos Populares (festival of Saints). It happens everywhere for 2 weeks in June. The entire city is decorated with tinsel and streamers. People celebrate with street parties, crazy dancing, and traditional music.
How To Reach Lisbon
- Fly ✈️: Lisbon’s airport is called Humberto Delgado Airport, located only 7 KM from the city centre. A taxi from here to the main city will cost around 20€ (Uber is also available). Alternatively, you can get a public bus for 4€ or metro for 1.5€.
- Train🚆: The main train station in Lisbon is Estacao da Santa Apolonia. It is located in the Alfama District, very close to the Tagus river. If you are coming for surrounding cities or any other European destination, most likely your train will terminate here. Another major train station is Gare de Oriente. This is very well connected to other metro stations.
- Road: Lisbon is a coastal city and the only country you could come via road to Lisbon is Spain. If you are coming by bus, it will stop at Rodoviaria da Sete Rios. All buses from all over Portugal comes to this main bus stop.
How Many Days Do You Need In Lisbon?
I will recommend anywhere between 2-4 days. If you are short on time, all major attractions could be easily covered in 2 full days. But again, it will only give an idea about the city but will not really let you soak in the beauty of this fantastic city.
Getting Around In Lisbon
Being a capital Lisbon is a big city but once you are in the city centre (main attractions) it’s pretty much walkable. Public transport is excellent and the entire city is well connected with Trams, Buses, Metros, and 2 Funiculars (we will get into that later).
One way ticket for metros is €1.50, €2 for buses and €3 for trams (plus a Viva Viagem/7 Colinas cards which will cost you €0.5) Or you can buy a day pass from any metro station for €6.40 which allows you 24-hour unlimited travel, including all buses, metros, and trams.
Get Insure Before Traveling To Lisbon
I never ever travel abroad without travel insurance. Really! In case something goes wrong, you must have travel insurance. Frankly speaking, it will be stupid to head off to a new destination without one.
I will recommend World Nomads. Simply because they are backed by reputable insurers, 24-hour assistance providers and offer travel insurance to travelers from over 140 countries.
Even if you don’t get one from World Nomads, make sure to get your travel insurance sorted before you actually start traveling.
Well in the city center you will find people speaking English but the language still is a barrier and locals don’t usually communicate well in English. A few terms you should familiarize with and trust me, this will help you in navigating more smoothly.
- “Entrada” – Entrance
- “Saida ” – Exit
- “Olá” – Hello
- “Tchau”– Bye
- “Miradouro” – Viewpoint
Miradouro probably is the most important one and I will tell you why …. Lisbon is full of breathtaking city views and while walking around especially the old district ( Alfama) and Baixa you will encounter plenty of these. Just keep an eye on this. And yes we will visit my favorites in our 48 hours itinerary ( you are welcome ).
What To Eat In Lisbon? ( Vegan/Vegetarian Guide)
Yaaaassss !!!!! This is my favorite part of traveling and I am sure yours too. Situated at the mouth of the River Tagus where it meets the Ocean, Lisbon is a city with a strong connection to the sea and its food speaks so. Lisbon offers incredible seafood for culinarily curious visitors and some mouthwatering desserts which are an absolute must for foodies like me.
If you are a vegetarian or vegan like me, well don’t worry there are plenty of things for you to try. Here are a few of my favorites;
- Pastel de Nata (Custard Tart); A Lisbon classic! It is a small cream cake, with a base of crisp phyllo dough, usually served with a little powdered sugar and cinnamon on top. Though you will find this deliciousness at almost all bakeries in Lisbon, Pastéis de Belém is the original one. Located in the Belem area (Duh!), just 3 minutes walk from Jerónimos Monastery, it is a must in Lisbon. And yes we will be going there in our 48 days itinerary. Another bakery I will suggest is Manteigaria (located in Rua do Loreto 2).
- O Melhor do Mundo Bolo Chocolate: This is a delicious chocolate cake with meringue parts in the middle that make it crispy. You can try this at MBCM, Rua Tenente Ferreira Durão or MBCM Kiosk, Avenida da Liberdade.
- Good Vegan And Vegetarian Restaurants
Ao 26 – Vegan Food Project is a small, hip and busy cafe located in the center. They serve vegan versions of typical Portugees dishes. Quintal d’Santo Amaro is another good vegan restaurant serving awesome vegan dishes at a very reasonable price. It is situated in the backyard of Santo Amaro. I had the € 8 lunch box. It was quite filling and delicious.
Organi Chiado was my favorite on the whole trip. From excellent food to great service, there ain’t anything I didn’t like about this place. I had veggie lasagna, probably the best I had in a long time.
For my desi readers who are always looking for some spicy Indian food just like me, go to Veganapati and Taj Mahal (trust me you won’t be disappointed). Closest to a good Indian meal you can get in Lisbon.
Where To Stay In Lisbon?
If you are visiting Lisbon for the first time, the best places to stay will be Chiado, Baixa, Bairro Alto, Avenida da Liberdade, and Alfama. Each of these areas is centrally located, thus are walking distance from all the main attractions, restaurants, cafes, bars, and public transport.
Each of these neighborhoods is unique in their own ways. With different vibe, environments, and monuments, it is better to read a little about each before making any reservation.
Chiado is a neighborhood in the historic center of Lisbon. It is mainly known for luxury shopping, historic landmarks like São Roque Church, Largo do Chiado and many museums like Filigree Museum and the Archaeological Museum. Chiado is an excellent location as it is most centrally located, and other cool neighborhoods like Bairro alto are literally walking distance from here.
- Nice Hostel In Chiado: Goodmorning Solo Traveller
- Good Budget Hotel In Chiado: Esqina Cosmopolitan Lodge
- Beautiful Luxury Hotel In Chiado: Lisboa Pessoa Hotel
- Awesome Apartment in Chiado: Duque´s Apartments
Baixa is an adjacent neighborhood to Chiado. In fact, they even share a metro station. Here you will find some of Lisbon’s most popular attractions like Praça do Comércio, Rossio Square and Santa Justa elevator. As one would expect, this neighborhood gets extremely crowded with tourists and has a fair share of noise from all the traffic around. But at the same time, geographically it is extremely convenient as many tourist sights are just walking distance from here.
- Good Hostel In Baixa: Travellers House – Hostel
- Nice Budget Hotel In Baixa: Hotel Convento do Salvador
- Great Luxury Hotel In Baixa: Internacional Design Hotel
- Awesome Apartment In Baixa: Check out this amazing range of apartments in Lisbon’s center.
Avenida da Liberdade (Marquês do Pombal), is an avenue connecting the city center with Parque Eduardo VII. On top of Avenida da Liberdade is the statue of Marquês do Pombal. The area around the statue has tons of international hotels, banks, companies. It is more like a business district of Lisbon. If you are looking to stay away from the hustle-bustle of the main center but still be close to everything, Avenida da Liberdade is a good choice. (Baixa is an only 5-minute metro ride from here).
- Awesome Hostel In Avenida da Liberdade: Liv’in Lisbon Hostel
- Good Budget Hotel In Avenida da Liberdade: TURIM Marques Hotel
- Nice Luxury Hote In Avenida da Liberdade: Lux Lisboa Park
- Great Apartment In Avenida da Liberdade: Smart Suites & Apartments
Bairro Alto is the liveliest and most vibrant neighborhood of Lisbon. During the day it lies quite low but comes alive at night. As the sun goes down, the streets of Bairro alto buzzes with hip, quirky bars filled with crowds, looking to have an awesome time. You can also hear Fado music from more traditional restaurants. It is a great neighborhood if you are interested in Lisbon’s nightlife.
- Nice Hostel: Lookout Lisbon Hostel
- Cool Budget Hotel: Palácio das Especiarias
- Good Treat Yourself Hotel: Casa das Janelas com Vista
- Cozy Apartment in Bairro Alto: Casa Portuguesa Rosa
Alfama is one of the oldest districts in Lisbon. Though in recent years, it has become very popular among tourists, many local communities still live here. With tiny houses tightly packed next to each other, gorgeous cobblestone streets, and street decorations, it is liking a small village within a big city.
It is where Fado was created. Around every corner or a steep climb, you will find a delightful plaza, a trendy café, an independent shop or a panoramic viewpoint. Just get lost within the labyrinth of alleys and side streets.
- Nice Hostel In Alfama: This Is Lisbon Hostel
- Good Budget Hotel In Alfama: Hotel Riverside Alfama
- Best Luxury Hotel In Alfama: Memmo Alfama – Design Hotels
- Beautiful Cozy Apartment: Casa Da Lucia
PS- If you are new to Airbnb, you can use my code to get 38€ off on your first booking.
Top Things To Do In Lisbon (Day 1)
So now our food, travel, and accommodation are sorted, let’s get to the fun part: best things to do in Lisbon. Frankly, it can be a little daunting to actually plan an itinerary but worry not as I got it covered for you.
I tried to make it as simple as possible with few recommendations and a route I followed while my travel and hopefully this will help in you in planning your trip more successfully.
2 days might seem not a lot but they are enough if you know exactly what to do and how to visit. And here is when this itinerary will come handy.
Day 1 (top things to do in Lisbon)
We will start our first day with few of Lisbon’s most iconic attractions and explore two really cool neighborhoods Baixa and Alfama while covering a little of Barrio alto.
Praça do Comércio
After grabbing a quick breakfast at your hostel or any cafe nearby (won’t be difficult to find, they are located at every corner of this city) head to Praça do Comércio (point A on the map).
It is the grandest of Lisbon’s plazas overlooking the Tagus river. Get your cameras out and just walk around the area. After you have gotten some cool shots lets head to our second stop Lisbon Cathedral. Before we go, a small suggestion; There are tons of beautiful restaurants and bars in the plaza but I wouldn’t recommend eating here, they are super pricey and really not worth the money. Instead, just walk a few hundred meters out of the square and you will find better and cheaper places to eat).
There are two ways you can go to the cathedral, take a tramp or just walk. I prefer the second option, as you can explore the neighborhood and experience the real charm of this medieval city. But riding a tram is a fun experience too. The admission to the cathedral is free but remember to dress suitably ( its a church after all ).
Miradouro da Senhora do Monte
From the cathedral, we will head toward Miradouro da Senhora do Monte. Located in a churchyard, this highest point in the neighborhood offers panoramic views of the city. While walking around you will find some beautiful artists playing music, plenty of street vendors, small shops, tons of restaurants ( many reasonably priced ). Take a break from all the walking we did, maybe grab a drink and just soak in the beauty of this city.
Santa Justa Lift
Okay so now your legs are probably rested, let’s continue towards another iconic attraction, Santa Justa Lift (D). Situated at the end of Rua de Santa Justa, it connects the lower streets of the Baixa with the higher Largo do Carmo giving one of the best views of the city. Well, the cost to ride the elevator and get to the top is €5 and the line is usually very long.
Pro Tip: There is another way, right behind Santa Justa there is a small hidden elevator that takes you to the top for free and you only have to pay an admission fee to the viewpoint which is €1.5. I just saved you €3.5.
Miradouro de Sao Alcantara
After two stunning views of the city, there is another place I am excited to take you to. Yes another miradouro ( well I told you this city is full of them, and thank God for that…) Miradouro de Sao Alcantara. This one is located on the landscaped terrace with a fountain, offering panoramic views of the city.
But there is a surprise for you’ll. Remember the funicular we talked about earlier? well we are going to take one to reach the terrace from Praça dos Restauradores ( square ) take the funicular to Miradouro de Sao Alcantara ( should cost around €3.5) or just walk the hill ( 5 minutes roughly). But funiculars are more fun!
Mercado Reberia (Timeout Market)
After all the walking, I know you must be starved ….So let’s go to our final stop for the day Mercado Reberia food court also known as Timeout Market. It’s loud, it’s chaotic, and that’s all part of the fun. It’s open till midnight so you can just take your time and enjoy a plethora of food (it is never enough) !!
To all my vegetarian/vegan readers, though maximum food options are heavy on meat and seafood, there are still some deserts like pasties de Natas you can try. But don’t skip the market. Walking around these counters was actually more fun then I thought.
National Tile Museum
Optional; National Museum of the Azulejo or famously known as national tile museum(orange mark on the map). The cost is 5 €. Though it’s beautiful, I am keeping this as optional, depending on how exhausted you are and how much of time you have left. If you can do include this in your itinerary.
Day 2 (top things to do in Lisbon)
It’s our second and last day in Lisbon. Let’s make the best of it. Today we will explore Belém, a laid-back area on the Tagus River known for its green lawns, houses decorated with colorful tiles and some of Lisbon’s most historic landmarks.
Pastéis de Belém
It’s a great day as I am taking you to an exciting place for breakfast Pastéis de Belém. Its the most famous bakery cafe in Lisbon (it’s good to be here as early as possible as it gets flooded with tourists after 10-11 am) offering original Pastel de nata ( I am literally drooling typing this haha). Get like 6 of them ( 1= 1.05 € & 6= 4.3 € ) or even more, you are on a vacation after all.
Pro tip: don’t eat them yet. I know its super tempting but hold on. There is this beautiful, chill park right across the road. Start your day with these natas, overlooking the Tagus river on one side and typical Belém houses on the other.
Now lets head towards our first destination Jerónimos Monastery (A). It constitutes the Church of Santa Maria (entry to which is free) and two-story cloister which basically is a Cathedral’s nunnery, also the main tourist attraction, cost: €10. The building is predominantly Manueline style architecture and its stunning.
Though I skipped the cloister, if you plan on visiting, I recommend buying the tickets in advance as the queue can be really long. You can buy them here.
Right behind the monastery is Museum de Marina (B). The entrance to this is free and worth stepping in.
Tower of Belém
Now let’s go across the road toward Tagus river, Tower of Belém (C). Tough going to the tower is free but if you want to go inside and climb the tower you will need a ticket. You can buy skip the line ticket here.
This is one of the most popular attractions and gets really crowded after 10-11 am. So if you want some cool pictures, I will advise going early in the morning before hoards of tourists start crowding the tower.
Padrão dos Descobrimentos
Walking along the riverside from Belem tower, you will reach our second last stop (D) Padrão dos Descobrimentos.
Entrance ticket 6,00€ which includes an exhibition, viewpoint, and film. Don’t miss the Mappa Mundi ( in front of the structure) that is 14 meters wide, showing the routes of Portuguese carracks and caravels during the Age of Discovery. It’s pretty interesting.
As you keep walking along the riverside you will reach our final stop for this 48-hour itinerary. The Museum of Art, Architecture, and Technology is a museum in Lisbon, (MAAT). The museum closes at 7 pm and the entrance is 5€. If you still have the energy, I will recommend going to one of the Miradouro for sunset and dinner somewhere in Baixa.
Got More Than 2 Days In Lisbon?
Lisbon is surrounded by many historic towns, rich in natural beauty and some superb sandy beaches. Thanks to its geographic location and excellent public transportation, exploring the surrounding wonderful region is quite accessible. With so much variety across the region, each of these towns is unique and offers different advantages. My favorite among all is Sintra and Cabo Do Roca.
Check out these awesome Day Trips from Lisbon
I hope this guide will give you a good idea about Lisbon. Have a wonderful time! If you find this blog helpful, do share it and save it on Pinterest. ️
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