48 hours in Lisbon: where to go and what to see
If you only have a limited amount of time in Lisbon, but still want to be able to enjoy the Lisbon experience, take a look at our express guide! This guide will give you all you need to know to have some fun in the Portuguese Capital in just 2 days!
A perfect morning in Belém
This area is the perfect tribute to the Age of Discovery (Descobrimentos) around the 15th century.
The monuments in Belém greatly reflect this period of history with Padrão dos Descobrimentos being a tribute to the Age of Discovery in Portugal, whereas Belém Tower (Torre de Belém) and Jerónimos Monastery (Mosteiro dos Jerónimos) were built under the Manueline style; a variant of Portuguese late Goth style that contains maritime elements and representations of the discoveries brought by Vasco da Gama and Pedro Álvares Cabral.
If you visit Belém without going to the famous Pastéis de Belém, you will be missing out on the best custard tarts in town! Pastéis de Belém are the Portuguese custard tarts that are made within this establishment with the same recipe that has been used since 1837. Even if you’re not hungry, I strongly recommend that you don’t miss the opportunity and take some with you, although they are the most delicious when hot!
An afternoon in Downtown
Have a stop off in Lisbon’s downtown and enjoy the experience of walking around and embracing the astonishing views. In these lovely streets you will find many attractions varying from old-fashion stores to the Santa Justa Lift.
For lunch, look for a typical Portuguese restaurant, relax and enjoy the deliciously fresh food. We always get inspired with this No Reservations Episode from when Anthony Bourdain visited Lisbon. In this city, you can literally have any type of food you like, but if it’s Portuguese delicacies that you’d like to try, it’s better to go to the typical restaurants. Check out this list with 10 of the best Portuguese restaurants in Lisbon as rated on TripAdvisor.
An evening of Fado and Cocktails
Next stop, head to Bairro Alto and have dinner at a Fado restaurant. Bairro Alto is an old part of town that’s well known for its incredible nightlife and popular and traditional restaurants, where Fado is sung at night. Fado is a typical Portuguese genre of music that you will fall in love with if you have the opportunity to listen to it live!
If you didn’t get the chance to go to Pastéis de Belém during the day, you can still taste some of the best custard tarts in Lisbon in Manteigaria, which is very close to Bairro Alto.
After dinner, the city is not yet ready to sleep! In Lisbon, most of the establishments close pretty late, so you can still go out and enjoy the night. Sit down and socialise with a delicious cocktail in one of the beautiful bars and pubs such as Foxtrot, Pavilhão Chinês or Pensão Amor and experience the unbeatable experience of Lisbon’s nightlife.
We recommend that you spend a morning and afternoon exploring São Jorge’s Castle, the most beautiful viewpoints Lisbon has to offer and the typical neighbourhood of Alfama!
If you’re still near downtown Lisbon, don’t miss the chance to ride on the typical Yellow Tram 28 and visit the São Jorge Castle, there’s a truly stunning view of Lisbon waiting for you there. And while you’re still in the area, if it’s still early in the day and you haven’t had enough of Lisbon’s viewpoint, we can also suggest the beautiful Graça and Senhora do Monte’s viewpoints. The very typical neighbourhood of Alfama is also definitely worth a visit.
Spend an afternoon & evening near the river
Before heading away from the old part of town, embrace your adventurous side and go to any small restaurant in Alfama to have a delicious but typical lunch.
Now, head out to Parque das Nações (known in English as Park of Nations), especially if you’re heading to the airport at the end of the day, as it is nearby.
Designed to accommodate the World Exhibition of 1998 (Expo 98), it is now one of the coolest and most modern parts of town! This is where many companies are based so you can find many great places to eat, drink and shop around that location.
It’s strikingly modern and it’s a great contrast with the historical part of Lisbon that you would have visited if you have been following this guide.
In Parque das Nações you will find Lisbon Oceanarium, which is Europe’s Largest indoor aquarium. It is certainly worth a visit, as it’s Pavilhão do Conhecimento.
Dinner & Night activities
For dinner, we recommend that you check out this list from TripAdvisor to choose from the Top 10 restaurants in Parque das Nações. You won’t be disappointed!
This area is also filled with pubs, bars and Lisbon’s Casino where you can find all the usual casino fun!
We hope you’ve enjoyed our guide to spending 48 hours in Lisbon. The Portuguese capital is a city with a pulse, with a great balance between the old and the new, with great food, art, culture and an amazing nightlife. But the rest of Portugal is also worth visiting when you have more time.
In fact, you might even want to consider investing in Portugal or relocating to this sunny and beautifully historic yet modern country to live with your family!
For more info, please get in touch with us.