Lisbon is the vibrant capital of Portugal and one of our favourite cities in all of Europe. With its warm climate, rich history, mouth-watering food, and lively atmosphere, spending 2 days in Lisbon is an incredibly easy thing to do! Keep reading for the best itinerary for your first time in lisbon.
Depending on what you’re interested in seeing and how quickly you like to travel, this stunning city can be explored in 1-5 days. Because of our desire to see the entire country in three weeks, we settled for 2 days in Lisbon. It was jam-packed with sights, food, and culture, but very doable. This hilly, coastal metropolis boasts historic castles, fantastic viewpoints, and a welcoming charm that is certain to blow you away.
where to stay
First things first, you’re going to want to pick a place to stay. If it is your first time visiting Lisbon, I would highly recommend choosing a hotel in the Alfama, Baixa, or Bairro Alto district. They all offer excellent accommodation and are within walking distance to the majority of the places you’ll want to go. This means you will save time and money by not having to rent a vehicle or take taxis around the city.
when to visit
The best time to visit Lisbon is in the spring or fall. The summers are warm and dry which is lovely, however it is the busiest and most expensive time of year. The winters are typically cold, wet, and windy making it far less enjoyable to explore the city. May-June and September-October offer good weather, fair prices, and smaller crowds. Win-win-win!
Breakfast Near Your Hotel
There are too many good restaurants to count in Lisbon, so we are confident that you will be pleased with pretty much any decision you make. Our go-to breakfast spot in the Alfama district was Fruitaria. They have a variety of vegan, dairy-free, and gluten-free options that are all to die for! Make sure to try their Banana Cake, Eggs Benedict, and Açai Bowl.
Explore Saint George’s Castle
Once you are finished breakfast, make your way up to Saint Georges Castle. Also known as Castelo deSão Jorge, this fortress played an important role in the history of Lisbon. Located on top of the city’s highest hill, it’s a bit of a trek up the winding cobblestone streets to get to the gates. When you get there, however, you are rewarded with 360-degree views of the city.
Once inside, you can visit several viewpoints, walk the castle walls, and even indulge in some of the local food trucks near the entrance. Open daily from 9am to 7pm, arriving early promises the clearest skies and the smallest crowds. After leaving Saint George’s Castle, there are several shops lining the streets selling everything from pottery to gelato. Wander through the ones that catch your eye as you make your way to one of the most beautiful viewpoints in the city.
Walk to The Miradouro de Santa Luzia
The Miradouro de Santa Luzia is hands down the most picturesque miradouro (AKA viewpoint) in Lisbon. The red roof houses, ornate churches, and stunning Tagus River are perfectly framed by a pergola weaved with local flowers and vines. The patio is a picturesque combination of tile, murals, and flowers, and there is even a restaurant where you can order a drink and enjoy the view. Because it is east facing, Miradouro de Santa Luiza is also a great place to come for sunrise!
Marvel at Lisbon Cathedral
The Cathedral of Saint Mary Major is a Roman Catholic Cathedral that is often referred to as Lisbon Cathedral. Built in 1147, this is the oldest church in the city and is definitely worth a stop. The tram line runs right in front of the Cathedral,offering some really neat photo opportunities! Admission is free and they are opendaily from 7am to 7pm.
Wander Around The Alfama
The Alfama is one of the oldest and most photogenic neighbourhoods in Lisbon. Home to many incredible spots like The Lisbon Cathedral, Tram 28 (the classic yellow cable car of Lisbon), and too many restaurants and shops to count, you could easily spend a few hours here. David and I stopped in to buy some treats from the local bakeries while shopping around.
Take a TukTuk (or Walk!) to LX Factory
LX Factory is an abandoned industrial site that has been converted into an upscale farmer’s market of sorts. Here, you will find rows of artisan shops, delicious restaurants, food carts, art studios, and even the world’s best chocolate cake! The bookstore, Ler Devagar, is very unique and worth checking out.
We shopped around for a few hours before choosing a place to sit and have dinner. Mex Factory had unreal burritos, great drinks, and live music! If you get the chance, try to sit at a table up on the balcony.
Visit The Arco da Rua Augusta
The Arco da Rua Agusta is located at the end of one of the most popular streets in Lisbon. If you are hoping to score some sweet photographs of this iconic arch, go first thing in the morning when the crowds are minimal. Once you cross underneath, you will find yourself in the middle of the Praca do Comercio, a stunning square that overlooks the river.
Bruch at Dear Breakfast
Dear Breakfast is a cozy brunch destination with fantastic food and a charming atmosphere. Although everything on the menu looked delicious, I would recommend pancakes and avocado toast. They do tend to get quite busy, but I promise, it’s worth the wait.
Explore Bairro Alto
Bairro Alto is a trendy little district where the steep cobblestone streets are lined with colourful street art. In this area you will find things like theSão Roque Church, The Gloria Funicular, and Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara. Bairro Alto is also one of the best spots in the city for alternative shops. Keep your eyes peeled for vintage clothing, specialty food, and even cork furniture.
Take a Walk Along Pink Street
New cafes, bars, and a pink street were introduced into Lisbon’s former Red Light District in 2011 to help rebrand the area. Now, Pink Street is a signature landmark of the city. A photo with the multi-coloured umbrellas hanging above the bustling restaurant-filled street is a must!
Make a Stop at Praça de São Paulo
Praça de São Paulo is a small public square with a delightful little church and a beautiful water fountain. We really enjoyed sitting on the benches and watching the people pass by. There was something about this area that was incredibly peaceful, it felt like a little slice of small-town Portugal in the middle of Lisbon. 2 days in Lisbon
Admire The Street Art
David and I found this area to be full of impressive street art, river views, and live music in the evening! One of our favourite pieces is located atAv. 24 de Julho 28. It is a two-story fox made out of trash and recycled material by a local artist, Bordalo II.
Eat Dinner at TimeOut Market
TimeOut Market in Lisbon is essentially a high-end food court. Here, you can find booths with every type of cuisine imaginable from many of the top Michelin-level restaurants in the city. Wander around, grab a drink from one of the three bars, and spend your evening trying all sorts of fantastic food!
Grab a Pina Colada and Watch The Sunset
If you leave Timeout Market and start heading back towards theArco da Rua Agusta, you will find a charming waterfront pathway full of people looking out over the river and, more often than not, some sort of live music. If you’re lucky, there might even be a pop-up piña colada cart where you can get a delicious frozen beverage. days in Lisbon