Sometimes all you have is 2 full days in a city, and you have to make the most of it! That’s how much time I had in Lisbon, Portugal, but I was determined as ever to see as much of what the city had to offer as I could!
After my boyfriend and I debarked from a 7 hour red eye that we hadn’t slept a wink on, we arrived at our hotel at 7 in the morning (2 a.m. to us) to find we could not check-in until 2 p.m.
So, in a deliriously euphoric manner we hit the streets of Lisbon. Thankfully I knew enough Portuguese to get us around, but we did find that a lot of the locals were fluent in English!
There is so much to see and do in Lisbon that we had to pick and choose what to leave out, but we felt that we had such an amazing time and can’t wait to go back! Here is how to get the most out of Lisbon in 24 hours:
Lisbon has many neighborhoods, streets, and squares to explore which all bustling with culture and history. Start at the Praca de Figueira and enjoy a coffee with a famous Pastel de Nata, which is a Portuguese egg tart pastry! You will notice many antique trams riding around the city, and you can hop on one to your next stop if you want to get the full experience.
After breakfast, follow the busy streets down toward the waterfront. Feel free to pop in any store or restaurant that catches your eye. Once you get to the waterfront you will see beautiful statues, and lots and lots of tourists getting ready for tours.
Take a historical walking tour of the city. My boyfriend and I were pleasantly shocked by how much history Lisbon has… it’s the second oldest city in all of Europe! This walking tour allowed statues, churches, and streets to come to life with a detailed count of what happened many years ago. Lisbon is a very easy city to walk in, even with all of its hills, there’s always something different to see down a new street.
If you have read my posts before, you know I love rooftop bars. Have dinner with a view during sunset. Lisbon is known for its hills that offer great views over the city, especially during sunset. We went to Lost in Esplanada which offered us blankets on a chilly night, and had great food and drink specials! As tired as we were we enjoyed relaxing and taking in the city view.
Lisbon has some of the best nightlife scenes in Europe! Head over to Barrio Alto for bars, fado (traditional Portuguese music), and a great party scene. My boyfriend and I chose to do a bar crawl which was a fantastic deal, and we met many other travelers. Try the famous cherry liqueur: Ginjinha.
Morning and Afternoon:
Take a day trip to Sintra, Portugal! Sintra is about 30 minutes from Lisbon by train, and tickets are very reasonable (less than $10). I cannot recommend Sintra enough. There are gorgeous medieval castles, winding roads, excellent seafood, and fantastic views.
You can also buy a day excursion, but we decided to explore ourselves. After leaving the train station, we took a cab up to the colorful Pena Castle. It was truly magnificent and picturesque, we had lunch over the balcony with an amazing view.
Another sight you can’t miss in Sintra is The Quinta da Regaleira. This is a beautiful gothic mansion surrounded by elaborate gardens, underground tunnels, and hills. There is even a beautiful spiraling well and waterfalls you can climb under.
After exploring Sintra you can grab some delicious seafood before heading back to Lisbon.
Take a stroll around Alfama, one of the oldest neighborhoods in Lisbon. Here you will find delightful cobble-stoned walls and colorful buildings. There are many historical buildings here. If you make it back in time, catch the The Portas do Sol viewpoint for a look over the sunset.
If you have the energy for it, enjoy one last night out in Lisbon on Pink Street. A literal pink street lined with bars and music. If you are too tired, then head back to your hotel, look at pictures, and get ready for your travels elsewhere!