Lisbon has recently risen to be one of the top destinations in Europe; not only to travel but also to live. People have been coming in hordes take a glimpse of this gem. After travelling to Lisbon, I realise why. If you are short on time, this itinerary will allow you to see Lisbon in 2 days!
Lisbon in 2 days: Day 1
7am: Depending on your accommodation, you might or might not have breakfast. If not, start your day with authentic and mouth-watering pastries from Pastelaria Doçaria Pombalina. It’s less touristy as compared to other pastelarias which might be packed with tourists. If you prefer more touristy options, head to “The Portuguese Bakery”.
9am: Taking a free walking tour is always good to get some bearings of the city. I recommend taking a free tour covering Baixa area as knowing that area well you get you covered for the next few days.
12pm: After that, get a good view of the city from the Santa Justa Elevador. If you wanna save some money, you can use the back entrance. Head to the Lift Club Lisbon. You will notice that there’s an extension to the back entrance of the lift. It’s free to stay but if you wanna go up, you just have to pay 1.50 euros, instead of 5 euros – the price that’s collected at the ground level of the elevator. Besides, you’ll be able to avoid the long queue at the ground level as not many people know about the back entrance! You’re welcome.
PS: Walk through Carmo Convent if you have time. This is the ruin of a Gothic church after the deadly earthquake in 1755.
2pm: Head to Saint George Castle after you’ve enjoyed the view (and likely some cocktails). The queue is likely to be long but if you buy your tickets ahead of time, you can skip the queue and enter straight. If you are not too keen on visiting the castle, you can observe some peacocks that are just hanging around casually around the area.
PS: The best Pastel de Nata that I had in Lisbon was at “The World Needs Nata” – obviously, the one at Belem is better but this is a good alternative if you’re not heading to Belem.
4pm: Chapitô à Mesa offers an amazing view of the city. It’s one of those spots with an amazing view that actually serves decent food. Many people watch the sunset from here so bear in mind that if you arrive later, you might have to wait for a table.
6pm: Head to Praça de Comércio as locals and buskers for an amazing sunset. The buskers in this square are some of the best that I have seen in Europe, definitely worth spending some time here! You can take a nice timelapse here. Check out the travel gears that I normally travel with so I can take a perfect timelapse!
8pm: Have a quiet night at Pensão Amor. The décor in there is magnificent – I personally think that it should have been a tourist attraction itself.
10pm: There are plenty of restaurants around this area. I recommend having a look at Time Out Market Lisbon. The concept behind it is brilliant – only the best ideas, food and performances are allowed in there for a duration of 1 week to 3 years. If they are good enough, they get featured in TimeOut magazine. The live music there is beyond imagination. However, food can get really pricey. I recommend walking beyond the market and go to À Maria não Deixa as they serve amazing food and it’s priced really well.
Lisbon in 2 days: Day 2
9am: Alfama is the “Arabic” area of Lisbon. Not that they are many Arabians living there: people that live there are Portuguese. But Alfama is the oldest living neighbourhood in Lisbon. When Portugal was colonised by the Moroccans, they built this neighbourhood and now, you can see many, not only Moroccan’s influence but architecture from the Arab world.
The streets (or they like to call it Rua in Portuguese) can easily mess your head up. It’s chaotic. But at the same time, you would be able to make some sense out of it. For example, the mosque is somehow the epicentre of the quarter with a bazaar engulfing it. There must be a square (with a door) located somewhere which complements the church diagonally. All these will give you a better sense of orientation.
1pm: After the tour, take the famous tram 28 back to Baxia and have lunch. Here’s a whole list of lunch spot so you can avoid all the tourist traps. After lunch, head to “À Brasileira” to admire the décor of this true gem. Order a pingo (by saying “Um pingo, por favor”) and watch the world goes by. Take a peek at Livraria Bertrand. Being the oldest running bookstore in the world, history buffs and bookworms will definitely enjoy browsing this legendary bookstore.
3pm: After that, head to Barrio Alto. Walk around and admire the street art. This bohemian part of town is filled with spectacular street arts and brightly-painted buildings. Depending on the day, you might see a pop-up market at Jardim do Príncipe Real. The University Botanical Garden is nearby as well so you can take a peek before heading down.
6pm: For sunset, head to Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara. Fewer people know this place as compared to other spots such as the castle or the elevator.
8pm: Lisbon comes alive after dark so head out and join the locals for a drink! Barrio Alto is the nightlife district of Lisbon. You will be spoilt for choices as there are many restaurants, bars and clubs around. If you are opting for a cultural night, head to Café Luso for some authentic Fado music! Being one of the oldest surviving Fado houses, nothing can go wrong. BA Wine Bar in Bairro Alto will be the answer to all your prayers if you are a wine aficionado. Feeling cheap? There’s an Erasmus Bar. Feeling a little too old for Erasmus Bar? Glow Bar is an attractive alternative.
To be honest, trying to see Lisbon in 2 days is a tad too short. Happy times always come to an end really quickly. Happy planning for your trip to Lisbon in 2 days!!
Where to stay?
Lisbon is pretty walkable. Thus, I recommend staying at Bairro Alto as the downtown area is tooooooo expensive.
Cheap: Stay with Lookout Lisbon if you are on a budget but don’t want to compromise the luxury of getting an amazing view! Enjoyed my stay here and will always come back!
Moderately-priced: Anjo Azul is always booked out for a reason. This historical building was built in the 18th century and renovated to become a hotel. Contrary to normal historical hotels, you don’t have to break a bank to stay here! The rate can be as cheap as 120 euros but you have to book fast!
Better safe than sorry
I never leave home without getting a travel insurance. Not everything can happen according to to your plan. It’s not unusual for unfortunate events to happen at times. That’s why, I always go with World Nomads before leaving! They have been wonderful to help with my mishaps when I lost my wallet in South Korea and lost my baggage in Bangkok!
The plus side, it’s quite cheap as well – considering the service and the benefit that you’d get. Reimbursement comes in quick and they’ve always got your back!
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Born and raised in Malaysia, Aaron is a medical student who desperately preaches about “Travelling doesn’t have to be expensive” – well, he has a full-on blog about it. When he is free, he checks for the cheapest airfare that would get him out of Australia. Aaron indulges in local cuisine so much that he has to lose some weight before and after he goes travelling. Read more about him here!
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