What To Do In Lisbon Portugal in 48 Hours

Lisbon, Portugal's vibrant capital has much to entertain locals and tourists alike. Sitting on seven hills at the mouth of the Tagus river where it meets the Atlantic, it is continental Europe’s westernmost capital and one of the world's oldest cities. 

Lisbon is fairly compact for a city and you can get around by foot or on the local trams - a very good idea when you have to climb one of the steep hills.  If you only have 48 hours to spare, here is what to do in Lisbon, when time is of the essence. 

Visit Baxia and Chiado 

Baxia and Chido are the areas you need to go to shop. The historic centre – the Baixa Pombalina, has traditional shops and museums, and the lively streets of Chiado, has an eclectic mix of contemporary and traditional stores. Most of this area was rebuilt in the 18th century after the Great Lisbon earthquake of 1755.

Take the Santa Justa Lift

Connecting Baixa to the Bairro Alto is the Santa Justa Lift, Elevador de Santa Justa. This lift was designed by Raoul Mesnier du Ponsard, a student of Gustave Eiffel, and you can really see his influence in the design. Take the lift up for a view of the city.  However, if there is a queue, take the steps and save your money, it's not worth queuing for longer than 10 minutes.

Visit the Time Out Market

The Time Out Market is a great place to stop for food and drink. This cool food hall is located in the Mercado Da Ribeira at Cais do Sodre. Choose your dishes from the independent eateries, grab a cocktail, beer or soft drink and then sit enjoying the freshest produce on long communal tables. There is even a section run by well-known Michelin-starred chefs.  

Exploring the winding streets of Alfama

Lisbon’s oldest neighbourhood, Alfama, is an interesting area of winding narrow streets and steep staircases which lead you up to São Jorge castle which overlooks the city. It's a beautiful neighbourhood full of colourful houses. Ride on the number 28 tram which connects Graça with Baixa and passes through the streets and hills of Alfama for an authentic experience. 

Take in a Fado show

Alfama is home of Fado music. This melancholy music about the realities of life is soulful and mournful and beautiful to listen to as the singers have real depth in their singing. We saw a girl in her early 20's singing and a man in his 90's both equally good, the old man had an edge to him from all the years he has lived.

Explore Belem

Explore Belém, the cultural district of Lisbon. Many of Lisbon’s landmarks are here such as the Torre de Belém and the Monument to the Discoveries as well as the Praça do Império, a city square and park. A UNESCO heritage site, the Jerónimos Monastery is also worth a visit.

Book a tour with local guides

To get a real depth of knowledge about this city, book a tour with local guides.  It's a great way to find those hidden gems only a local knows. There are a number of paid and free tours in Lisbon, and a quick search of the internet will bring up the prices and reviews. Don't forget to tip if you find the guide excellent.

Take an afternoon to discover Sintra

Only a thirty-minute drive from Lisbon is the lush green mountains, medieval castles and romantic 19th-century palaces of Sintra - a UNESCO world heritage. I would highly recommend a visit to the Pena Palace, its grandiose design and the mix of architectural styles makes it a must-see inside and out.

Eat the local food

Finally, don't forget to eat the local cuisine. from fresh sardines eaten with local bread to Caldo Verde, a kale soup, to Carne de Porco Alentejana a dish of pork and clams. My favourites were the Portuguese tarts or Pastel de Nata. Drunk with a little of the local port, these egg custard tarts with a crisp pastry base are simply moreish. 

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So here is what to do in Lisbon Portugal in 48 hours. For more information especially for a first-timer check out this post - 25 tips for your first trip to Lisbon and check out my post on Natural and Nature parks of Portugal

Tell me, have you been to Lisbon? 


  1. I have only ever been to Porto in Portugal, but Lisbon looks amazing. My sister-in-law is Portuguese so hopefully she could show us around :)

  2. Oh wow there is so much to do! We have never been to Lisbon but keep saying we need a European weekend away, Lisbon sounds perfect!

    1. There is so much to do, it's the perfect city break.

  3. Looks like the best 48 hours in your life!
    Eva @ UrbanWheelz.co.uk

  4. Reading this is making me want to book a weekend city break and hop on a plane. So much to see and do that you could easily visit time and time again

    1. Lisbon has an amazing culture and is great for a weekend break, but you could go back on numerous occasions to as there is so much to see and do.

  5. I love Portugal and we have been meaning to head back there, we would love to head to Lisbon now, since we know what to do there thanks to your suggestions

    1. No problem, I hope you have a chance to visit one day.

  6. I haven't been to Portugal in over 20 years but it was amazing. It's such a beautiful place.

  7. The TimeOut Market looks great! One day we’ll get to visit Lisbon, it sounds very vibrant x

  8. We did all of that, we fell in love with Lisbon and would love to go back