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2 days in Lisbon

Lisbon has become in a few years the European capital to visit. The interest for the Portuguese capital dates from 2014, when the tourists accustomed to the sun of Tunisia and Egypt had to find a new destination following the Arab springs. Indeed these events benefited the popularity of Portugal which at the time suffered from a serious economic crisis. The Portuguese therefore saw in tourism an opportunity and it was at this precise moment that Lisbon was fashioned and raised to the rank of “trendy city to visit in Europe”.

There is so much to do in Lisbon and so little time to see everything that we have put together the best places to visit in a short time, 2 days. Useless to run in all directions because you will not enjoy it. Focus on 2 districts that you will visit in depth. 

So two days in Lisbon certainly it’s very short, it only takes 48 hours, but by planning the different places of interest to visit in advance, there is plenty to do. 

Why trust us? We are above all guides in Lisbon and we know all the places in the city and know which ones to pick on a short stay.

1st day - morning: the city center, Baixa and Chiado district

chiado district

The city center will be the ideal point to start your day because from there you can go to the other centers of interest in Lisbon. Start the morning by visiting Chiado from Luis Camoes Square. This central district is known for being the commercial area of the city, thanks to its numerous shops and restaurants. Regarding the shops, at the risk of disappointing, you will find the same as in your country however the prices are much lower, especially for Zara and Mango (-10€ approximately per item). So there is a lot of good deals to get.

If you’re not interested in shopping that much, extend your visit to Chiado from the top of the neighborhood. Going up the Rua do Sacramento you will find yourself in front of the Convent do Carmo. This building, which was constructed in the 15th century, was partially destroyed during a powerful earthquake that devastated the city and this building is proof of this. If you walk along the convent on the right and climb the stairs of the Bellalisa restaurant, you will find yourself on the platform of the Santa Justa elevator. This trick will allow you to observe a breathtaking view of Baixa, our next step.

view from the elevator Santa Justa - Lisbon

Go down the Chiado district to get to Baixa. Baixa means “low” in Portuguese because we are now on the flat part of the city, between Chiado (previous step) and Alfama (next step). This district was designed in a linear way, in grid pattern according to the will of the Marques de Pombal who following the earthquake of 1755 wanted to rebuild a traditional district.

Today it is above all a very touristy area. While crossing the district, you will cross the Rua Augusta, the main avenue of the district, this entirely pedestrian street connects the Rossio square to the Comercio Square. Join the Comercio square to observe the view of the Baixa district as well as the Arch which dominates the Rua Augusta.

The Comercio Square is one of the largest in the city, a meeting place, and event, it is also a place full of history. Indeed this place owes its name to its first use, the commerce. Here dealt the merchants of the city. The square also had a tragic fate. Indeed, it suffered the earthquake of 1755 as well as a tsunami! Recently (1908), it was in this very place that the Portuguese king Carlos I was assassinated. The buildings surrounding the Comercio Square hosts some of the Portuguese departments.

Time to eat!

Following this fairly productive morning, it is time to take a break. We recommend that you avoid restaurants in the Baixa district as most of them are simply tourist traps. Here are the addresses we recommend in the area. All of them are recommended by the locals and serve an authentic Portuguese cuisine at a reasonable price.

1st day afternoon: the historical center, Alfama.

viewpoint portas do sol

The Alfama is historically the oldest district of Lisbon. The formerly fortified area was built by the Moors from North Africa. Before venturing there, you should know that this district is quite sinuous because it is established on one of the 7 hills of Lisbon. So there are several ways to get there. You can take the tramway 28 from Baixa or Martim Moniz to get there. The waiting time can be long but the ride is really worth it. It is something quite unique and authentic. 

If you are brave enough, you can get there on foot. The best is to follow the lines of the tram 28 from the church of Madalena (Rua da Madalena). Going up the tram line, you can then get to the foot of the Sé Cathedral in Lisbon. Then there is a magnificent viewpoint on your way: Miradouro Portas do Sol. This viewpoint offers you a panoramic view of the Alfama and the Tagus. Depending on the time, we advise you to go to another viewpoint located 200m from Portas do Sol: the Miradouro da Graça. From this viewpoint, you can enjoy the most beautiful sunset. Quite exceptional because the sun is setting right in front of the view so make sure to arrive in time to observe it. Thus ends this first day of visit to Lisbon.

2nd day : Belém and LX Factory

Take advantage of this day to visit two must-sees in Lisbon. The Belém district and the artistic village of LX Factory. 

To go to Belém, there are 3 ways to get there.

The first solution is to take the tramway 15 from the city center. This is really not the solution that we prefer because the tram ticket costs 3 € per person which can quickly become expensive for many. On the other hand, you can take an Uber which will cost you approximately 6 € in total which will amount to two tram tickets, so it is a faster and even more economical solution than public transport!

The third solution, the one that all travelers prefer: get to Belém by bike. Since 2010 a cycle track has been built along the Tagus connecting the downtown to Belém for 7km. This track is an effective way to get to Belém in a fun way. Our company RideLisbon offers bike tours starting from the city center to discover the neighborhoods of Alfama and Belém if you are interested.

The Belém district represents the glorious centuries of Portugal. Formerly dominated by the Moors in Alfama, this district represents the opposite: a time when the Portuguese ruled the world through numerous conquests in Asia, Africa, and South America. The result today is numerous vestiges financed thanks to these explorations: the Jeronimos monastery and the Tower of Belém. Belém is now a cultural place where you can easily spend a morning. 

Where to eat in Belém?

We might sound picky but we do not recommend eating in Belém because being a touristy place, restaurants are often more expensive than elsewhere for often lower quality. The right option for you is to go to directly to LX Factory for lunch. This artistic village located 20 minutes walk from Belém along the Tagus will be the ideal place to eat. There are many restaurants there and most of them are highly rated. 

You should know that LX Factory was once an industrial area housing the factories of the largest textile factory in Portugal. The place abandoned for ten years was finally bought at a low cost. The goal: to attract artists from Lisbon and create some fun concepts of shops, restaurants, and cafes. For example, recently a Mexican restaurant was opened with a wrestling ring right in the middle! LX Factory also made it possible to transform the Alcantara district, which used to be a working-class district into a trendy neighborhood. For all these reasons, the visit is worth the detour. 

To reach the city center from LX Factory, as on the outward journey, you have 2 solutions. Either public transport with tram 15 which costs € 3 or an Uber will cost you around € 4. 

Here's how to optimize your time in 48 hours in Lisbon. Of course for a more in-depth visit to Lisbon, prefer at least 3 days to be able to go to Sintra for instance.

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