Last Updated on January 5, 2024 by Soumya
Lisbon, the capital city of Portugal is one of the most charming cities in the entire world. It is easy to spend 2 days in Lisbon roaming the cobbled streets of Alfama, eating Pastel de Nata, or looking over the horizon at one of Lisbon’s many beautiful miradouros.
Is two days in Lisbon good enough?
Well, maybe not. But there’s so much you can do to make those two days worth your while. And it is extremely important you pick the best! That is why we put together this super easy and compact 2-day itinerary for Lisbon for you so that you don’t miss out on the top things to do and see in Lisbon.
You will learn
- How you can effectively plan your Lisbon itinerary for 2 days
- Ways to see the best of both Alfama and Belem in your short two days trip to Lisbon
- Tips and tricks to make your visit to Lisbon memorable
If you ever feel overwhelmed by the need to fit everything in such a short time, feel free to check out this highly-rated Lisbon tour of the historic center. Else, follow along to craft your very own, mind-blowing, 2-day Lisbon itinerary.
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- Lisbon Itinerary Day 1: Historic Center
- Lisbon Itinerary Day 2: Belem
- Practical Information for seeing Lisbon in 2 days
- More than 2 days in Lisbon?
- Loved our itinerary for 2 days in Lisbon? Pin it for later!
Lisbon Itinerary Day 1: Historic Center
Lisbon is a historical city. In fact, it is the second oldest capital in Europe after Athens. And one of the most vibrant culture capitals of Europe. Needless to say, any trip to Lisbon is incomplete without a tour of the city’s historic center.
On the first day of your 2-days stay in Lisbon, tour the areas of Alfama, Baixa, and Rossio – all of which form Lisbon’s historic center. Start early to beat the crowds.
If you are up before 9am, then you can take the famous Tram #28 (I would not recommend it otherwise – gets too crowded between 10am – 5pm) and go directly up to Sao Jorge Castle from where we begin our first day in Lisbon.
Before we get started, I would suggest you get a Lisboa Card before planning your Lisbon itinerary. If you are going to visit a lot of monuments and take the public transport, this card is going to be a lifesaver!
Castelo de Sao Jorge
If there is one castle that you wish to add to your 2-days in Lisbon itinerary, then the Sao Jorge castle should be it. Built by the Visigoths in the 5th century, this beautiful Lisbon monument has been here forever and seen it all.
Walk on the fort ramparts, explore the well-articulated museum, and enjoy some of stunning views of downtown Lisbon and River Tagus from here.
The castle is open between 9am – 5pm everyday and it is pretty empty if you are among the first to get here.
Tickets are priced at €10 (yes, I know this is probably the most expensive Lisbon attraction). You can also get a skip-the-line ticket. But that makes sense only during peak hours. If you can get here early, getting your ticket from the counter is much cheaper.
Miradouro de Santa Luzia
Head next to one of the prettiest viewpoints in Lisbon – Miradouro de Santa Luzia.
If you have been enamored by all those pictures of red and orange tiled homes in Lisbon with a shimmering Tagus behind, then this is the place to see it.
But it is not just the views. The miradouro is a splendid attraction in itself. One side is flanked by the Church of Santa Luzia whose walls have two beautiful azulejo panels painted on them. Pink and red bougainvillea cover the entire terrace.
There is also a café where you can get some refreshments .
Quite clearly, Miradouro de Santa Luzia is one of the most romantic places in Lisbon!
If you are feeling adventurous and wish to meander into some more wonderful miradouros, do not forget to check out our post on the 10 best viewpoints in Lisbon.
Once done, walk down the charming streets of Alfama and arrive at the Se Cathedral. Also referred to as the Lisbon Cathedral, the Sé is the most important church in the city.
Though I would not consider it to be the most picturesque. Let’s reserve Sao Roque and the Carmo Convent for that.
But if you are a history and architecture addict and wish to know more about the church that has seen the most famous baptisms, weddings, and funerals in Portuguese history, feel free to enter the Sé and explore its cloisters (€2.5) and treasury (€2.5).
Personally, I would suggest you check out only the cathedral (free) to save some time and see more iconic attractions of Lisbon in 2 days.
Praca do Comercia & Rua Augusta Arch
The Commercial Square in Lisbon is one the most colorful and charming public squares in Portugal.
Praca do Comercio is Lisbon’s most beautiful square and was once the site of Lisbon’s Royal Palace. But everything around this square was destroyed in the devastating earthquake of 1755.
Then the entire square was rebuilt. And how!
Today, three sides of the square are surrounded by earthquake-resistant buildings. They are yellow and white and flaunt the most beautiful arches. These Pombaline buildings are one of the most gram-worthy locations in Lisbon.
Want to learn how earthquake tests were done for these buildings? Check out these 25 curious facts about Lisbon.
Right in the middle of the square is Arch of Rua Augusta that was built to commemorate Lisbon’s triumph over the 1755 earthquake. Climb here for some more great panoramic views of the city and the river.
Pro tip: Entry to Arco da Rua Augusta is free with the Lisboa Card. Otherwise, you will have to pay an entrance fee of €3. The arch is open between 9am – 7pm.
Santa Justa Elevator
Santa Justa Elevator, one of Lisbon’s bucket list items, is only 10 minutes away from the Commercial Square.
This is the only surviving vertical urban lift in the city and fun to ride. But only if it isn’t crowded which more often than not, it is.
On top of the lift is an observation deck (separate access for €1.5) that gives you stunning views of the Pombaline Baixa district and some great shots of Carmo Convent from the top.
Pro tip: If you do not want to jostle for space inside the elevator or wait for long hours outside, I suggest you take the stairs by the side of the Carmo Convent and head to the Santa Justa observation deck from there. Same view but you save on the elevator costs!
Carmo Convent & Museum
Carmo Convent with its roofless nave and tall arches is a must-have on your Lisbon 2 day itinerary.
Another unmissable thing to do if you only have 2 days in Lisbon is to visit the Carmo Convent & Museum.
An old Catholic church that was almost completely destroyed in the 1755 earthquake, Carmo Convent stands in ruins today. And that is what makes it truly stand out in this otherwise busy Lisboa neighborhood.
Carmo was once the largest church of Lisbon. What remains now is a roofless nave held together by strikingly beautiful arches. Inside the main altar, now there is a small archaeological museum that is home to some impressive tombs, historical artifacts, and queer mummies.
Buy a Lisboa Card to get a 20% off on your Carmo Convent tickets. They are usually priced at €5.
Pro tip: The church is closed on Sundays, Jan 1, May 1, Dec 25. So, plan your Lisbon 2-day itinerary accordingly.
End your day at the most happening Rossio Square or Praça do Rossio. Some of the best restaurants, bars, and shops are at Rossio Square.
The historical Café Nicola is right here. This was once the meeting place of Lisbon’s intellectual elite. It sports an art deco façade and serves some great coffee today.
Other places of interest nearby include the Column of Pedro IV, The National Theatre, Rossio Railway Station, and several beautiful fountains.
Hungry after a long day of sightseeing? Check out our guide on the best things to eat in Lisbon.
Map for Day 1 in Lisbon
Lisbon Itinerary Day 2: Belem
On your second day in Lisbon, head to the heritage district of Belem from Lisbon to see the two main Lisbon attractions – The Jeronimos Monastery and the Belem Tower. Also to enjoy some of my favorite Portuguese dessert – Pasteis de Belem.
A view of Belem Tower
Built in the early 15th century, Belem Tower served many important purposes. It was used as a defense port, state prison, customs port. Even a lighthouse.
Today, it stands as a tall reminder of Portugal’s Age of Discoveries. It is from here that the great navigators of Portugal went on to discover the Orient and South America. That is why, it holds great historical significance for the country.
Torre de Belem isn’t very huge and it won’t take you more than an hour to explore it all. However, you would want to get here earlier in the morning than later because of its location.
Pro Tip: In the early hours of the morning, the rising rays of the sun cast a golden hue on the monument which will give you great pictures.
Monument of Discoveries
The impressive Monument of Discoveries in Belem.
170ft (52m) tall, the Monument of Discoveries is a tribute to the seafaring success of Portugal. It was inaugurated in 1960 to commemorate Portugal’s Age of Discoveries.
The most interesting part of the monument is the group of sculptures of various navigators who made the journey abroad. They all stand on a small sailing ship raring to go. Prince Henry, The Navigator leads.
From the top of the monument, you can get a beautiful view of the marina as well as of the 25th April Bridge. Plus, a wonderful bird’s eye view of the Compass mosaic at the foot of the monument.
Tickets are priced at €6 with a 20% off on the Lisboa Card.
You cannot miss the Jeronimos Monastery when in Portugal.
The Monastery of Hieronymites or the Jeronimos Monastery is another must-visit monument if you are visiting Lisbon for 2/3 days. Even if you are in Portugal for a day, I would suggest you visit this one. Basically, a must-have on every Portugal itinerary.
Jeronimos is one of the most impressive monasteries in Portugal as well as the world. You should visit here because of two reasons.
- The exotic Manueline architecture.
- This was where Vasco da Gama spent his last hours before leaving the shores of Portugal and discovering the sea route to India. His tomb lies inside.
You can visit the church at Jeronimos for free. But note that the line to enter the church is the longest.
If you wish to see the cloisters (which are gorgeous), you need to pay an entrance fee of €10. Buy your skip-the-line tickets to save you some time.
Even better, get your Lisboa Card and zoom through the first entrance on the left of the church. There was absolutely no queue for the cloisters when we entered with our Lisboa Cards.
Pro tip: Visit Jeronimos Monastery around midday. The crowd usually clears up then. Or come back after 4pm. The monastery is open between 10am – 5:30pm.
On the left of the monastery is the National Archaeological Museum housing the most impressive collection of historical artifacts in Portugal.
The display dates from Paleolithic to the Middle Ages. And the Egyptian and Islamic halls are extraordinary.
Pasteis de Belem
Delicious Pasteis de Belem – a must-try when visiting Lisbon.
Right next to the Jeronimos Monastery is the famous pastelaria, Pasteis de Belem, which serves the most delectable Portuguese tarts in the world. You just have to bite into one to know.
The café has been around since 1837. Its tart history started off solely as a selling place for sweet pastries from the monastery next door. How it went on to become the sole creator of that exotic pastry is detailed on the history page of its website.
Even today, the recipe of Pasteis de Belem is a closely guarded secret. But you can enjoy the dessert amply when you get here.
Pro tip: Don’t just get a takeaway. The takeaway queues are longer. Go inside (the interior of the café is a museum in its own right), take a seat, and have as many as you like.
The Coach Museum
National Coach Museum in Belem is more of a hidden gem in Lisbon but well worth-a-see.
Here, you can see several antique coaches on display. Most of them belonged to the Portuguese royalty.
Built between the 17th and the 19th centuries, most of them are ornately gilded and some terribly ostentatious. Nevertheless, they provide a sneak peek into the lives of Portuguese nobility and the amount of wealth they had amassed.
Cruise on the Tagus
If you are in the mood for a sunset cruise on the Tagus, make some time in your Lisbon itinerary and set sail on this highly-rated, small group sailboat to enjoy Lisbon’s historic waterfront from the Discoveries Monument.
Map for Day 2 in Lisbon
Practical Information for seeing Lisbon in 2 days
Getting around Lisbon
Getting around Lisbon is easy and cheap with lots of public transport options in hand. There are trams, buses, funiculars, and of course the metro.
I would highly recommend buying the Lisboa Card for your trip. Apart from discounts/free entries at many of Lisbon’s attractions, the Lisboa Card gives you free and unlimited public transport. 1-day, 2-day, and 3-day versions of the card are available.
Getting on a hop-on hop-off bus can be convenient too but may not be very flexible if you are planning on a DIY Lisbon itinerary for two days.
Apart from using public transport, you can always walk and explore Lisbon. It is very pedestrian friendly. Plus, most of the sights in Lisbon’s historic center are located quite close to one another. Just don’t forget to pack a good pair of shoes.
When planning your trip to Belem, refer to our Lisbon to Belem guide that includes all kinds of transport options: tram, train, and taxi.
There are various ways to get to the city center from Lisbon Airport. You can take the Lisbon Metro. But this may need one-two train changes. Preferable if you do not have too much luggage.
You can also take the Aerobus which is probably the easiest way to get to and from the airport. Also cheaper than a taxi. There is a bus every 30 minutes. Click here to check their departure times and fares.
If you have a lot of luggage and/or traveling in a group, it makes sense to book a taxi. You can book this very affordable taxi transfer in advance.
The Pantheon is a great addition to your Lisbon itinerary if you are staying for more than 2 days.
Where to stay in Lisbon?
If you are planning for only 2 days in Lisbon, then I highly recommend you stay in the city center within walking distance from Alfama and Baixa. That will save you time and commuting costs.
Here are some of the best hotels in the area.
- Pousada de Lisbon: A luxury hotel located right in the heart of Lisbon, it is almost like staying in a museum here.
- Hotel da Baixa: Located only 200m from the Rossio Square, this 4* hotel has rave reviews for its impeccable rooms and friendly staff.
- My Story Hotel Rossio: A 3* hotel located in the city center, this place provides amazing views of the city, comfortable beds, and a wonderful breakfast.
- Little Alfama Town: Centrally located, this charming apartment is perfect for a short stay at an amazing cost.
Packing essentials for Lisbon
Make sure you wear comfortable walking shoes when visiting Lisbon. There is a lot of walking involved.
Do not forget to get your hat and sunscreen. Carry water when touring the city.
Wear comfortable light clothing especially if you are visiting in summer or even in the shoulder months. It can get terribly hot in Lisbon.
More than 2 days in Lisbon?
Pro tip: Make sure to buy skip-the-line tickets for Pena Palace. The queues are really long there.
If you have one or two more days in Lisbon, refer to our offbeat Lisbon guide to check out some of the most hidden gems in the city. No crowds. You literally have these places to yourself. Also check out the 6 best day trips from Lisbon that are easy, affordable, and quick. There’s enough to fill up a week in Lisbon!
More Portugal Resources
Planning to visit more places in Portugal? Make sure to check our other guides as well.
- The ultimate Portugal itinerary for 10 days
- Best places to visit in Portugal
- Top things to do in Lisbon – Tick off your bucket list
- Offbeat things to do in Lisbon
- What to eat in Lisbon?
- 7 Magical castles of Sintra
- Best day trips from Lisbon