Lisbon has received the prize for best weekend getaway a couple of years in a row so we decided to design this itinerary with the best of the Portuguese capital in 2 days. This will give you a good taste of the best Lisbon has to offer and the most important sights.
Morning - Alfama and Mouraria, the oldest neighborhoods in Lisbon
We recommend starting the day with a visit to Alfama and Mouraria, the oldest neighborhoods in Lisbon. With more than 3000 years of history, Lisbon is considered to be the second oldest capital in Europe, only after Athens and everything started in these charming neighborhoods.
You can start your visit from Praça do Comércio, the charming square by the Tagus River. The square was totally rebuilt after the Great Earthquake of Lisbon in 1755 and in the XIX century, it received the famous Augusta Street Arch, one of the most beautiful monuments in the city. At the corner of Rua da Prata, you will find the oldest Café in Lisbon, Martinho da Arcada, which was originally opened in 1782.
Follow Rua da Alfandega until you reach Largo José Saramago. And the incredible Casa dos Bicos, one of the oldest buildings in the area and host of the José Saramago’s Foundation, dedicated in honor of one of the most famous Portuguese writers and the only who has being awarded the Nobel Prize.
From there you should go to Sé Cathedral, the oldest church in Lisbon, which started to be built in the XII century, just after the conquest of the city by Afonso Henriques, the first King of Portugal.
Get lost in the narrow streets of Alfama and meet the friendly locals from the area and go to Miradouro de Santa Luzia, one of the nicest viewpoints in the area. Right next to it, you’ll also find the Miradouro das Portas do Sol, one of the most famous ones in Lisbon, with it’s amazing view of Alfama area.
Keep walking up, until you reach the Miradouro da Graça, in front of the Igreja da Graça for another fantastic view of Lisbon (this one including São Jorge Castle, the Golden Gate Bridge lookalike 25 of April Bridge and the fabulous statue of Cristo Rei. There is a kiosk on this viewpoint, where you can have a nice drink while you enjoy the view.
Walk down the Caracol da Graça, a nice stairway with a lot of Graffiti and get lost in the area of Mouraria, the second oldest neighbourhood in Lisbon. The name comes from place of Moors. When the Christians conquered Lisbon in the XII century, the Muslims were allowed to stay outside of the city walls and they started this neighbourhood, one of the most cosmopolitan nowadays.
For lunch, we recommend an experience in a “Tasca”, a traditional Portuguese restaurant for a local experience. We recommend Tasca Zé dos Cornos, a Provinciana and o Marques.
Afternoon - Baixa and Chiado, the Downtown area of Lisbon
Baixa was the first planned area in Lisbon and it was rebuilt by Sebastião José de Carvalho e Melo, the Marquees of Pombal after the Great Earthquake of Lisbon in 1755 and it became the main shopping area in the city.
We recommend hanging around Augusta Street and Praça Rossio, the oldest square in the city, where the magnificent National Theatre is located. At the corner of the theatre, you will find A Ginjinha, a traditional shop that sells Lisbon’s famous liquor called also ginjinha and visit the Church of São Domingos, one of the most impressive churches in Europe.
To go to Chiado, take the elevador da Glória, one of the oldest elevators in the city. At the top, it’s one of the most beautiful viewpoints in Lisbon, the Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcantara.
Not far from the viewpoint, you’ll find the Church with more gold in Lisbon, the church of São Roque. From there, follow towards the ruins of Carmo Church and the Elevator of Santa Justa.
We also recommend visiting the oldest bookshop in the world still on business according to the Guinness Book called Bertrand. It was opened in 1732.
Close to Baixa and Chiado Station, you’ll find another one of the nicest Cafés in Lisbon, A Brasileira, first to sell Brazilian coffee and a popular place among the intellectuals of Lisbon in the XIX century, including the famous Portuguese Poet Fernando Pessoa.
At Camões Square, you can have a go at the most famous pastry in Lisbon, the pastel de nata at the shop called A Mantegaria, one of the best ones in the city.
For the sunset, we recommend watching it from Miradouro de Santa Catarina or if you want a nice rooftop bar, Park Rooftop Bar is one of the most popular options in Lisbon.
For dinner, we recommend a Fado experience in one of the many Fado restaurants in Alfama, Bairro Alto and Mouraria. A good option is Tasca do Chico, where you can just have some snacks while you enjoy the traditional Portuguese music.
If you still have energy to have a few drinks, Bairro Alto is the place to go. Most bars are quiet small so people just buy drinks and stay on the streets.
Morning - Belém, the Birthplace of the Discoveries
On the second day, we recommend to start with a visit to Belém, the birthplace of the Discoveries and one of the most beautiful neighborhoods in Lisbon.
To get there, you can take the tram 15, the bus 728 or the train towards Cascais and get off at Belém (third stop).
We definitely recommend starting your visit with a Pastel de Nata from the Original shop, Pastel de Belém, which was opened in 1837.
From there you will see the extraordinary Jerónimos Monastery, one of the biggest ones in Europe and an UNESCO Heritage Site since 1983. It was idealized by King Manuel I and built in Manueline Style, a very unique architecture style from Portugal, which is a mix of different styles. It’s definitely one of the most impressive churches in Europe and free of charge to visit. For the monastery, the entrance fee is 10,00 euros.
Across the street, you will see the Praça do Imperio, the most beautiful square in Lisbon and by the river, the incredible Monument of the Discoveries, the biggest monument in Portugal with 50 meters, built to honor 33 personalities that somehow had important participation in the Discovery Age, including navigators, missionaries, kings, writer, painter and others.
Walk by the lovely esplanade until you get to the famous Tower of Belém, the most famous sightseeing in Lisbon It was built to protect the entrance of the Tagus River around 500 years ago and it was the first example of Manueline architecture in Portugal. The entrance fee is 6,00 euros.
Cross the train lane and visit the fantastic CCB (Cultural Centre of Belém) and if you like modern and contemporary art, the museum Coleção Berardo is a must. The entrance fee is 5,00 euros and it’s free on Saturdays.
Afternoon - Coaches Museum, LX Factory and Liberdade Avenue
For a nice lunch, we recommend one of the nice restaurants with esplanade by the garden of Belém and after filling up, we recommend visiting the Coaches Museum, the best collection in Europe of Horse Carriages used by the royalty back in the days of Monarchy in Portugal.
Cross the walk passage across the train lane and by the water, you’ll find the MAAT, the Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology, with an amazing view of the 25 of April Bridge and Cristo Rei. It’s definitely one of the best places for pictures in Lisbon.
On your way back from Belém, we recommend a visit to LX Factory, the hipster area of Lisbon with its nice shops, restaurants, bars and a lot of street art.
Back to the downtown area, we recommend watching the sunset by the Tagus River and later, to visit the famous Mercado da Ribeira (Time Out Market), one of the nicest food markets in Europe, with options for every taste.
If you still have some time and energy left, we recommend walking up Avenida da Liberdade (Lisbon’s Champs-Élysées) and from Eduardo VII Park, to enjoy the amazing view of Lisbon.
We’re sure that this itinerary will give you an amazing overview of Lisbon and leave you with a taste to come back to visit it again!
Great article. Thanks for the inspiration!