My husband and I recently got to visit the beautiful city of Lisbon for two days. Unfortunately, we were supposed to actually get 3 days in the city but thanks to delays and flight cancellations, we lost a full day. I do believe we still managed to get the best out of our time there so today, I’m going to be sharing how we spent 2 days exploring the city and what I would recommend.
We started Day 1 with Belem Tower. This tower is from the 16th century and represents Portugal’s Age of Discovery. It was the starting point for many voyages during this time and is definitely one of the most visited spots in Lisbon. We just walked up to the Tower and looked around, we did not go to the actual tour mainly because they only let in so many people every half an hour ( I would recommend buying tickets ahead of time for this reason). We had limited time and knew we did not want to spend 2-3 hours of our day waiting in line and doing the tour but if we had more days in Lisbon, we would have definitely done it.
Afterward, we walked along the water to the Discoveries Monument. This monument is definitely worth seeing and I would also recommend buying the ticket to go up to the top because the view from the top is incredible. You see water on one side (and the 25 April Bridge and their Christ the Reedemer statue) and Jeronimos Monastery on the other. Speaking of the Monastery, that is exactly what we did next. This attraction is free to enter and is really cool on the outside.
Next up we went to see São Jorge Castle which is in a really cool part of town that’s been preserved for many centuries. I will say, ladies, don’t wear heels if you’re planning on going to the Castle because it’s all surrounded by cobblestone streets. Actually, that goes for most of Lisbon. If you’re looking for photo ops, this is going to be a great place for them. Many houses with beautiful tile and great views down to the city since you’re up on a hill.
After this, we explored Alfama and found a dinner spot. Alfama is a bustling part of town with restaurants and shops but I will recommend not going to the restaurants where waiters stand outside trying to convince people to eat there. Go to the more authentic Portuguese restaurants, do your research, you won’t regret it.
Our second day in Lisbon was actually a full week after our first day because we left a full day open at the end of our trip when we flew back from Lagos. When we got to our hotel, we knew the one thing we had to see was Sintra so we dropped off our bags at the hotel and got an Uber up to Sintra.
Sintra is a city about 45 minutes away from Lisbon that is home to several castles and some of the most beautiful buildings you’ll ever see. We knew Pena Castle was priority number one so we made that our first stop. I would highly recommend going there as soon as it opens in the morning otherwise you’ll be standing in the mile long line that we got to be a part of on our trip. Pena Palace is honestly one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen. I would definitely recommend getting tickets to see the inside as well because it’s very impressive and worth seeing. The pictures speak for themselves.
After seeing Pena Castle, we started the walk down to Moorish Castle. This is also a really cool area with stone walls surrounding the part of the city where the Moors lived. It was super windy up top by the highest part of the castle walls so I would recommend bringing a jacket. Even in the summer.
Some other cool things to see in Sintra that we didn’t get to see are Quinta da Regaleira and Monserrate Palace. You could easily spend a full day in Sintra because there’s so much to see.
Foods to Try
The most obvious one that you’ll hear from everyone that has been to Portugal is to try the Pasteis de Nata. It’s an egg custard pastry that is native to Lisbon but you can definitely find it in other cities in Portugal. If you want to buy it from the first place they were ever sold, head to Pastéis de Belém.
Where to Stay
We stayed in Bairro Alto and were very happy with this decision as this put us in the best place for food and great atmosphere and still close enough to all the main tourist attractions. Alfama is a good place to stay as well if you’re looking for great food and atmosphere. Avenida da Liberdade is a good place for shopping and very centrally located as well.
We did not end up doing any tours due to time constrains but we are always big fans of free walking tours and there are many to choose from in Lisbon. Look up free walking tours and find the meeting spots and be expected to tip whatever you think the tour was worth to you. We recommend tipping at least $15-20 per person.
That’s all I have for you guys for my Lisbon city guide! Let me know if you have any questions and if you’ve been to Lisbon, share your experience!
As always, thanks for reading!