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Two days in Lisbon

Lisbon isn’t a particularly big city, so here we try to put together a 48-hour city itinerary. Let’s suppose that you arrive on a Friday afternoon, and leave at the same time on a Sunday.

The evening of your arrival: Baixa

Restauradores Square
Restauradores Square
Rossio Square (Pedro IV Square)
Rossio Square (Pedro IV Square)

If you have the evening free you can start by visiting the Baixa neighbourhood. A good place to start is the Restorers Square, where you’ll find the magnificent building of the Hotel Edén. The Avenida da Liberdade, the most important avenue of the city, starts in this square and ends in the Marquess of Pombal Square, where modern Lisbon starts.

The Rossio Square is next to it, with the National Theatre and its famous café Nicola. This is one of the liveliest squares in Lisbon. From here you can get to the Figueira Square, with its sloping-roofed picturesque houses, offering wonderful views of the São Jorge Castle.

These three squares are very close to one another, just a hundred steps away. The elegant pedestrian street, Rua Augusta, extends from Figueira Square, going through the Triumphal Arch, into Commerce Square. You mustn’t forget the two joined streets that cross the Rua Augusta: the Rua Aurea and the Rua da Prata.

If you’re tired you can take the number 12 tram in which, as it makes its journey, you can get an idea of the neighbourhood.

The area is full of atmosphere and it's easy to find a place to have dinner, and drink a coffee or a glass of wine before turning in for the night.

Morning of the 1st day, São Jorge Castle, Alfama and Park of the Nations

Lisbon Oceanarium
Lisbon Oceanarium

Before starting out the best thing is to buy a complete day pass, as you'll get more than your money's worth out of it. Even if you've come to Lisbon by car, it’s better to leave it parked.

To start the route you should go to Figueira Square where you can take the 28 tram, which takes you to the doors of the São Jorge Castle, in the place called Largo das Portas do Sol, with its fantastic views of Lisbon and the Tagus River. At the foot of the hill two old and picturesque neighbourhoods begin: Mouraria and Alfama. Alfama is an old fishing neighbourhood with small streets where you can wander around at ease.

If you’ve seen the castle and it’s getting late, you can eat at some of its modest and popular restaurants, where you could even find some live fados.

The best thing to do after that is to take a bus that takes you to Park of the Nations. This is the area where Expo '98 was held, now a leisure area where the Lisbon Casino and other cultural sites can be found. You can admire the colossal and modern Vasco da Gama Bridge, the largest in Europe, and enjoy the Oceanarium.

Evening of the 1st day: Chiado and Bairro Alto

The best way to get to these neighbourhoods is to take the 28 tram, and the Santa Justa Lift, or the Gloria Lift (Elevador Da Gloria), which you can find in the Restorers Square.

Belém, view from the Monument to the Discoveries
Belém, view from the Monument to the Discoveries

The most important streets in Chiado, which was rebuilt after the 1998 fire, are Carmo, with the church ruins of the same name left as they were, in memory of the great earthquake, and Garret. It is an elegant and bohemian neighbourhood, referred to as the “Montmartre” of Lisbon.

A common meeting place in Rua Garret is the café A Brasileira, which offers a sculpture of Fernando Pessoa on its roof terrace.

Bairro Alto, which we get to by following the Rua Misericordia, has many cafes, bars and restaurants, as well as antiques shops. It’s probably the best neighbourhood, along with Alfama, for listening to fados.

After dinner there's no lack of places where you can get a drink in this neighbourhood. If you're feeling strong you can opt for Santo Amaro, Santos or Alcántara to move your body.

Morning 2nd day: Belém

The neighborhood of Belém is the most spectacular in Lisbon, holding the two jewels of the city: the Hieronymites Monastery, with its can’t-miss visit to the Church and Cloister and Belém Tower, monuments which alone justify a trip to Lisbon. The advantage of visiting Belém on a Sunday morning is that many of its attractions are free.

You can get to Belém from Commerce Square with the 15 tram.

In Belém you’ll also find the 25th April Bridge, the Monument to the Discoveries, the National Coach Museum, and of course, its famous pastries.

It’s probably already getting late, but in 48 hours you’ll already have seen enough of Lisbon to know that you’ll have to come back.