Whether you’re looking for a weekend getaway, a full vacation, or simply have a long layover to explore the city – there’s no doubt about it – there’s plenty of things to do in Lisbon, Portugal. From cobblestoned charming streets, to gourmet cuisine, and stunning red roof vistas, Lisbon has a lot of beautiful culture and activity to take in. Here’s our guide to the top things to do in Lisbon in 2 days!
1. Explore Lisbon by foot
Whether you’re looking to burn off all the delicious dinner and brunch you’ve been eating in Lisbon, or just want to really get to know this beautiful city, walking around Lisbon is by far the best way to do it.
The charm of Lisbon lies in its quiet side streets and quaint corridors. This is where you’ll see grandmothers leaning out their windows to people watch, and soft laundry lines blowing in the wind. You can find these idyllic scenes all over the city, but I think the most beautiful Lisbon neighborhoods to explore on foot are definitely the older neighborhoods: Alfama, and Bairro Alto.
However, if you or anyone you’re traveling with has mobility challenges, I would recommend you hire a tuk-tuk instead. The streets of Lisbon are notoriously hilly, and the tile sidewalks can be a bit slippery if you aren’t too strong on your feet.
2. Visit Miradouros
In a city with as many hills as Lisbon, there are no shortages of beautiful vantage points looking out over the picturesque red roofs. Those with the best views looking over the city do require a bit more of a walk, but you can find a great Miradouro in every neighborhood of Lisbon. Here’s a list of our favorite ones, ranked with pictures.
3. Eat your heart out with world-class gourmet cuisine
Due to its perfect positioning at the mouth of the Mediterranean sea, Portugal has always had some of the freshest flavors available from other countries. These flavors have been incorporated into its unique, multicultural cuisine. As a result, experiencing the restaurant scene is one of the top things to do in Lisbon in 2 days.
Whether you’re after drool worthy brunch, or high class, Michelin rated Portuguese gourmet dinners, the Lisbon food scene is sure to send your taste buds flying. Just be sure to pack some stretchy clothes for the flight home 😉
4. Check out the beautiful Bica Funicular
A staple in iconic Lisbon holiday photos, this classic yellow funicular is a must see when in Lisbon. Originally built to help local residents conquer a large hill in the Santa Caterina neighborhood, the Bica Funicular is still used by locals today. Furthermore, it’s also become a large point of interest for many visitors and is another one of the top things to do in Lisbon in 2 days.
Since it’s such a popular spot to visit, we wrote up a whole guide on the funicular. In this guide you’ll find its history, the best time to visit, where to find it, what to expect, and more 🙂
5. Visit the Tower of Belem
A local Unesco World Heritage site, the Tower of Belem is a stunning, castle-like fortress on the banks of the Tagus River. It is easily accessible by public transit from Lisbon, making it one of the top things to do in Lisbon in 2 days. Entrance is actually free with the Lisboa Card.
6. Visit the Tile Museum (The Museu Nacional do Azulejo)
A quick 15-minute ride outside of downtown Lisbon, the National Tile Museum is a great visit if you’ve been bitten by the Portuguese tile bug. You’ll learn about the history of tile (or “azulejos” in Portuguese), while viewing some of the oldest preserved tiles in Portugal.
It’s a great way to escape the heat if you’re looking for an indoor activity in Lisbon. It’s also a fun spot for photos!
7. Ride Yellow Tram 28
This is probably one of the top things to do in Lisbon in 2 days, as yellow trams are iconically associated with the city. Tram 28 is the most popular route as it hits many popular tourist destinations and takes you right through the heart of the city up into Alfama.
Our tips are to go early in the morning to avoid crowds, and closely watch your belongings while you ride the tram. Tram 28 is jokingly referred to by locals as the pickpocket ride. Also, Tram 28 isn’t a loop, so if you ride it all the way you’ll either have to walk to your next destination or ride it again to get back to your starting point.
8. Try a Pasteis de Nata
Breakfast? Dessert? A snack at any hour? Whether you’re a pasteis connoisseur or have never heard of them before (have you been living under a rock?!) tasting these delectable custard tarts is a must while in Lisbon. Walking around the city you’ll pass hundreds of bakeries churning these out throughout the day. Not all pasteis are created equal though. Our favorite place in Lisbon is Manteigaria.
9. Walk along the riverfront and grab a drink
While Lisbon doesn’t have any beaches in the city, it does have a lovely riverfront to relax at, and step away from the hustle of the city. A particular favorite spot of ours along the river was the Quiosque Ribeira das Naus. It’s a bumping outdoor lounge with great music, and even better views.
Still craving the beach while you’re in Lisbon? Head 30 minutes up the coast to the beautiful beaches and charming vacation town of Cascais.
10. Go Shopping
Whether you’re looking for a souvenir for yourself or someone back home, Lisbon is filled with artisanal boutique shops. Here you can find unique jewelry, handmade ceramics and all sorts of olive oils, sardines, and other tasty consumable goods.
11. Visit the iconic Praça do Comércio, and check out Arco da Rua Augusta
Located in the Baixa-Chiado neighborhood that was flattened during the great earthquake of 1755, the Praca do Commercio was thoughtfully designed and rebuilt to be the modern center of the city. Here you’ll find an incredibly large regal square, flanked on three sides by shops and restaurants, and the fourth side by the Tagus River.
The most iconic Lisbon sight here is the Arco da Rua Augusta. You certainly can’t miss it if you visit the Praca do Comercio. After you check out this famous Lisbon arch, be sure to continue on and walk the entire length of the Rua Augusta. It is probably the most popular and touristy street in Lisbon, but for a good reason.
You’ll find lots of shops and restaurants lining the streets here, although I’d suggest checking out our guide to the top Lisbon restaurants before you sit down at just any old spot here. Prices at restaurants along this street are definitely higher (without quality riding) due to the touristy nature of this avenue.
12. Check Out the Santa Justa Lift
The Santa Justa Lift has a somewhat similar history to the Elevador da Bica. It too was originally built in 1902 to help people from the lower Lisbon neighborhood of Baixa reach the higher one of Bairro Alto.
You don’t actually need to ride it, as the line can be incredibly long! Riding the lift is certainly one of the top things to do in Lisbon in 2 days, however, I’ve got something else in mind for you. Instead, you can enter it from the top on the Bairro Alto side if you go the Travessa Dom Pedro de Menezes. From here, you can walk right onto the top observation deck where you’ll have a stunning view over the rooftops of Lisbon.
If you want to grab a drink after, Topo Chiado is a great rooftop bar nearby, and it has a fantastic view of the Santa Justa Lift too! As a result, this is a very relaxing thing to do in Lisbon at sunset.
13. Head Out for a Night Out on the Town
Lisbon attracts a serious party crowd. If you’re looking for nightlife here, it’s not too hard to find! The Pink Street is the most popular part of town to head to. This famous area is filled with bars and giant clubs that spill onto the streets until the wee hours of the night. Alternatively, you could do a great bar crawl through Cais do Sodre, or Bairro Alto if you’re looking for a less rowdy night.
14. Take a Food Tour
If you want a more casual sampling of the incredible food scene in Lisbon, a food tour is a great way to do it! We didn’t do one ourselves as we spent lots of time checking out individual restaurants in Lisbon during our month-long stay there. But we did hear great things about Lisbon food tours, especially if you only have a day or two to visit the city.
Time Out pulled together a great list of 10 different food tours for you to check out in Lisbon.
15. Check Out the Pink Street
An Instagram hotspot if I’ve ever seen one, but how can you resist snapping a pic at this crazy pink street! Historically, this part of town was actually the red light district of Lisbon and a meeting ground for sailors, local criminals, and prostitutes. However, in 2011 the city decided to revitalize the neighborhood and chose to paint the street pink as part of the campaign.
The campaign was a large success and succeeded in revitalizing this seedy part of town. Many of the brothels were converted to wild clubs (as I mentioned in the nightlife section above), and it’s a bumping spot to visit at night.
If you’re interested in snapping a pic for the gram here, don’t worry about arriving too early in the morning. It doesn’t get busy very early. Plus, it’s better to wait for the daily street cleaners to come by and tidy up the mess from the night before 😉
16. Visit Time Out Market
Lisbon is well known for its abundance of fine dining experiences. While we’d definitely recommend checking out some of our favorite Lisbon restaurants, visiting Time Out Market is a unique experience in itself that everyone should have on their Lisbon list!
It’s basically a high-end food court. Here, many of the top Michelin-level restaurants have booths so you can try their culinary masterpieces in a casual setting without the price tag.
17. Visit LX Factory
Lx Factory is an old, abandoned industrial site that has been converted into a creative, cultural and gastronomic hub. You’ll find tons of artisans selling their creations here, along with niche food shops, quaint cafes, and inspiring art studios. It really is worth checking out and you can spend a couple of hours puttering from shop to shop. It was one of our favorite things to do in Lisbon.
18. Take a Day Trip to Sintra
Okay so this last one isn’t technically in Lisbon, but it’s the perfect thing to do from Lisbon. If you have at least a few days planned in Lisbon, make sure to spend one day taking a day trip into this medieval castle lover’s paradise.
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