Someone wise once said, “variety is the spice of life.” Lisbon takes this motto to a new level. You could spend a month here and find something new to do each day, but for any weekend warriors — don’t worry, 48 hours is enough for our Lisbon highlights reel.
Make sure you have your comfortable shoes on, we have a lot of walking to do. And yes, hills will be involved. Our first stop is breakfast, where you can fuel up on a pãozinho (bread roll) and galão (espresso with milk). If you really want the inside angle on Lisbon’s culinary culture, you can also go for a stroll through the streets around Rossio Square with a guide.
The upside of the hilly landscape (pun intended) is the number of amazing lookouts dotted throughout the city. Use that caffeine-sourced motivation to walk up to the Miradouro de Nossa Senhora do Monte, one of the best views in the city. And it’s certainly worth it: this lofty perch is one of the city’s most Instagram-friendly spots. For those not wanting to ruin the photo with a sweaty brow, you can also climb the mountain in comfort with an e-bike.
Leave heights behind in favor of the cobbled footpaths of Rua da Misericordia. There you can enjoy the rejuvenated waterways, take a boat tour, or just people watch at the funky hotspot of Cais do Sodre. Just a short walk away is the MAAT or Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology, so peep inside and discover incredible exhibitions from internationally renowned artists. If you’d rather see some art of the more modern variety, opt for this street art tour. A private guide will show you graffiti and urban art across the city — from large-scale installations to political and social murals.
It’s been hours since breakfast, which means it’s time to pick up some of Lisbon’s famous delicacy, pastel de nata (custard tart). Swing by a pastelerias or specialty bakery to experience the creamy egg tarts for yourself. Remember, you’ve been walking up and down hills all morning so restraint can be left at the door.
Hungry for some jantar? Head to Alfama, one of the city’s oldest areas, for dinner and a show. Dig into traditional cuisine in one of the neighborhood’s prime dining spots while listening to the sometimes melancholy (and often romantic) native fado music sung by a local crooner. Afterward, hop in a tuk-tuk for a nighttime tour of the City of Seven Hills and see the city in a new light (literally).
You can’t visit Lisbon without seeing the infamous Tram 28. Covered in graffiti and an icon of the city, this simple tram will transport you via the scenic route through the boroughs of Lisbon. Going from one end of the line to the other is a great way to get a feel for the overall vibe of the city, but be careful — this tram is also a favorite for pickpockets.
Once you’ve taken enough photos of this yellow giant, hop off and wander down to the Feira da Ladra market. Established in the 13th century, this market has as many odd specialties as decades under your belt.
After lunch at the markets, put your new-found energy to use and head to Belém, home to Lisbon’s most popular historical landmarks. First stop is the Jerónimos Monastery, home to some of Portugal’s greatest figures — Vasco da Gama stayed here and Fernando Pessoa is buried in the nearby cemetery.
Just a short walk away and looming over the surrounding skyline is the Lisbon Cathedral, which was built in 1147 and is a must for any architecture geeks. Periodic renovations have ensured the building is a fascinating mix of styles across the centuries.
Leave history in the past and make your way over to the Terreiro do Paço, one of Lisbon’s most beautiful squares. For a truly lazy Sunday, stop at the scenic Ribeira das Naus or continue on to the riverfront, where you can kick back with a beer and watch the boats in the afternoon sun.
What’s better than watching boats? Boarding them. Sailing along the Lisbon waterfront is an excellent way to finish your weekend. So go ahead, give your feet a rest and enjoy the local (beverage) culture. Bonus: your spot on deck is ideal to pick out the sights and must-dos for your next visit.
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