Tuesday, May 03, 2016 / Lisbon, Portugal

Travel Guide: 2 Days in Lisbon, Portugal

All About Lisbon:
Europe's own San Francisco with iconic orange rooftops

If you're looking to see what to do in Lisbon for two days, this is it. I was in Lisbon for less than 48 hours, and I have to admit that it wasn't enough. I wasn't expecting to fall in love with the city! Besides eating and drinking, I walked around the historical city in awe as I soaked up their culture (and ate Portuguese tarts).

  • Tram 28
    • This is one of the most popular (and longest) public transit routes to take. Think of it as a 2,85€ tour around Lisbon!
    • It is hard to miss the tram as it is a bright yellow colour.
    • Tram 28 helps you get up and down Lisbon's crazy hills and turns while passing by a number of Lisbon's popular areas.
  • Take Tram 28 up to Castelo de Sao Jorge
    • Although there are many spots in Lisbon to watch the sun set, I truly believe that I've found the best spot in the whole city. Okay, and this is a pretty sweet castle.
    • Click here to see what I mean by that.
    • Not only do you have a view of the water and the 25 de Abril Bridge, the view of the sun setting down over the iconic orange rooftops is definitely one to remember.
    • Be sure to take Tram 28 to get to the castle as the hill to get up to this viewpoint is absolutely crazy lol.
  • Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara
    • From Rossio Station, walk a couple hills to get to this a garden with a panoramic view across the city to St. George's Castle and central Lisbon
  • Venture out west to the Belém area for Portuguese tarts and historical sites
    • Mosteiro dos Jeronimos
    • Belém Tower
      • Also listed as one of UNESCO World Heritage Sites
      • You can walk there from the Mosteiro dos Jeronimos
      • The tower isn't too high though, so you're also able to get a decent city view from the top of the tower (nothing compared to the view at Castelo de Sao Jorge though!)
    • 25 de Abril Bridge
      • Known as the sister bridge of the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco
  • Walk along Tagus River to the Praça do Comércio
    • This plaza is located near the Tagus River on the south side of the city near the downtown core.
    • It's a gorgeous open space where people typically just walk through. However, on our route from the downtown area (Cais do Sodré), we saw a lot of people just chilling on the boardwalk by the water.
    • It is definitely a very relaxing area to be in if you're looking to stroll around!
  • Bairro Alto is the place to be in the A.M. for some fun
    • If you're looking at where to go for some nightlife, it's this area.
    • The hostel I stayed at (Sunset Destination Hostel) organized a pub crawl for us to explore that area. For only 10 euros, we would be bar hopping to 6 different bars with a shot at each bar. That's a pretty sweet deal, if you ask me.
    • The walk from the hostel to Bairro Alto was quite a trek, but once you've got a couple of drinks with you, you won't even notice ;)
    • This was such a fun pub crawl as bars are literally lined up next door to each other and there are many people all around the streets. It is definitely a super fun area to check out!

  • Pasteis de Belém
    • The best Portuguese tarts are from this famous little shop. They are 150% worth the trek to the Belém area!
    • Read my review here.
    • I would also recommend that you visit this place the day before you leave so you can bring some back home with you!!! If you see tarts anywhere else, do not buy them. They're not the same! Unfortunately I made that mistake :(
    • Seafood in Portugal is amazing. I am 90% sure that all we had in Lisbon was: seafood, charcuterie, and wine. Not bad if I could say so myself!
    • Cod is a must order when you see it on a menu in Lisbon, especially in the form of cod cakes, dried cod (bacalhau), or just fresh seafood like when I went to Rio Coura.
  • Mercado da Ribeira
    • Located near Cais do Sodre (the main train station downtown), this is one of the best markets in Lisbon.
    • This market brings together some of the city's favourite food and drink vendors under one roof.

  • When I went to Lisbon, it was part of my 5 day Iberian Peninsula trip.
    • Specifically, I was in Lisbon for Day 1, 4 and 5.
  • Depending on what your plans are for the day, there are two main areas that I would suggest staying in.
  • Day 1
    • Goal: Our main goal was to head out to Sintra for the day and then have a relaxing night in Lisbon.
    • Area we stayed in: Near the main train station in Lisbon - Rossio station
    • Where we stayed: Lisbon Destination Hostel
    • How to get there: Take the Metro! Get on the Red line to São Sebastião and there change to the Blue line (direction Santa Apolónia). Get out at Rossio.
  • Day 4 and 5
    • Goal: When I returned to Lisbon for day 4 and 5, it was a weekend and we wanted to experience the nightlife that Lisbon had to offer ;D
    • Area we stayed in: downtown by the water, close to the train station (Cais do Sodré) and trams
    • Where we stayedSunset Destination Hostel
  • Both of the locations were just perfect for what we wanted. Day 1 was just chill, where as Day 4/5 was when we got to explore the nightlife a bit more. It is completely up to you! A lot of people actually move around during their trip between these two areas to get the best of both worlds in Lisbon :)

  • Know that Lisbon is known for being Portugal's hilly capital - the hills are no joke
    • Having grown up in San Francisco, I thought you'd be used to this but I'm really not.
    • When you look at a map and think "okay, this place is just two streets over. It'll only take 10 minutes - let's walk" ...beware. The route you take could be the craziest of the hills and it'll literally be a hike. LOL it happened to us.
  • Lisbon is one of the oldest cities in Europe
    • Take in the culture as you walk along the cobblestone paths around the city
    • There are a number of museums and a lot of art on the streets
  • Drink wine from Portugal
    • I recently learned that there is a lot of good wine from Portugal; however, most locals keep it to themselves and don't export the goods out when I went to a pop-up in Toronto for Cantinho.
    • Wine is super cheap in Europe but to drink the cheap, good stuff...drink the local stuff!
  • The nightlife is soo worth the lack of sleep.
    • I would highly recommend checking out the nightlife if you are into that.
    • I had one of the best times in Lisbon and believe me when I say that you go home bored.
    • The nightlife will last until the sun rises!
  • If you are in Lisbon for more than a couple days, you should take a afternoon trip to Sintra
    • As mentioned above, I spent half a day in Sintra hiking mountains and exploring castles. It was definitely an experience if you love...hiking and castles lol (quite obvious there).
    • Sintra is very accessible as it is only a 40 minute train ride away from Rossio Station.
  • If you're more into the beaches, there are also a number of spots located under an hour away from Lisbon. Note that 1 way tickets to these places are only 2,10€!
    • Cascais - a historical fish port that is now popular for eating grilled fish while chilling on the beach
    • Estoril - located on the coastline of Portugal and also perfect for having a relaxing day on the beach
    • Obidos - a historical town with cobbled streets, traditional painted houses while being enclosed with the city walls (a walled town! so interesting)
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Ps. If I didn't know I was in Lisbon, I would have thought I was in San Francisco! With the crazy hills to the Golden Gate Bridge look-a-like, Lisbon reminded me of being back on the west coast (which makes sense since Lisbon is on the west coast of Portugal hehe).
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