The evening you arrive: Baixa
If you land in Lisbon relatively early in the afternoon and want to explore part of the city, we recommend you start in the Baixa district. Take the Metro or a bus to Restauradores Square (Praça dos Restauradores), where you’ll find the magnificent Hotel Edén. Lisbon’s main avenue, Avenida da Liberdade starts from the square and stretches straight towards Marquis of Pombal Square (Praça do Marquês de Pombal), where modern Lisbon starts.
Near Praça dos Restauradores is Rossio Square, now called Praça de D. Pedro IV. This lively square houses the National Theatre Maria II and one of the city’s most famous coffee houses called Café Nicola. From here, head to Figueira Square, with its sloping-roofed picturesque houses. You’ll get a beautiful view of São Jorge Castle on the summit of São Jorge Hill, the city’s tallest ridge.
These three squares are very close to one another, barely one hundred steps away. The elegant pedestrian street, Rua Augusta, extends from Figueira Square, through Rua Augusta Arch until it reaches Praça do Comércio (Commerce Square). If you still have time, we suggest exploring Rua Aurea and Rua da Prata, two authentic streets in Lisbon.
If you’re tired you can take tram nº 12 and discover the neighbourhood while it makes its journey through Lisbon.
Baixa is a district full of life and activity with plenty of restaurants, cafés and bars to stop and have dinner and then a drink before turning in for the night.
Morning day 1: São Jorge Castle, Alfama and Park of the Nations
Before heading to any of the city’s attractions, we suggest purchasing a one-day travel card, since it is quite cheap and you’ll get more than your money’s worth out of it. Even if you’ve travelled to Lisbon by car, we recommend you leave it parked and take the city’s public transport or walk around the city.
Day one begins in Figueira Square. From here, take tram nº 28 to the top of São Jorge Hill, to one of Lisbon’s most impressive landmarks, São Jorge Castle. The area is called Largo das Portas do Sol and offers some of the most beautiful views of Lisbon and the Tagus River. Mouraria and Alfama are two of the oldest and most picturesque districts located at the foot of São Jorge Hill. Alfama is an old fishing neighbourhood with narrow and cobbled streets, and you can wander around discovering this authentic parish.
If you’ve already visited the Castle and it’s getting late, you can stop and have lunch in one of Alfama’s modest and genuine restaurants. Some even include live Fado music.
After lunch, take a bus to Parque das Nações (Park of the Nations). This area is one of the most modern in Lisbon. It was designed for the 1998 Expo and is now an area full of restaurants, bars, shopping centres and other top attractions, like the Oceanário de Lisboa. You can also enjoy views of the impressive Vasco da Gama Bridge, the largest overpass in Europe.
Evening day 1: Chiado and Bairro Alto
During the evening, head to Chiado and Bairro Alto, two of the most striking neighbourhoods in Lisbon. The best way to get to them is either to take tram nº 28, the Santa Justa Lift or the Elevador da Gloria (Gloria Lift) from Restauradores Square.
Chiado was rebuilt after parts of it were destroyed by a fire that took place in 1998. The main streets of the district are called Rua do Carmo, where the ruins of Carmo Church are fruit of the 1755 great earthquake. The other important street is called Rua da Garrett. Chiado is famous for being an elegant and bohemian neighbourhood, frequently referred to as the “Montmartre” of Lisbon.
Chiado houses the popular café called A Brasileira, where the Portuguese writer and poet Fernando Pessoa would spend much of his time. On the roof terrace of the coffee shop sits a bronze statue of the writer.
If you follow the Rua da Misericórdia you’ll get to the Bairro Alto. This parish is packed with cafés, bars and restaurants, as well as several stores and antique shops. Bairro Alto, along with Alfama is probably one of the best neighbourhoods to listen to Portugal’s famous Fado music.
After dinner, you’ll find numerous bars where you can have a drink or a cocktail. If you want to discover the city’s nightlife, we recommend you head to the reconverted industrial area called Doca Santo Amaro in Alcântara, where there are many nightclubs and good watering houses or Santos district.
Morning day 2: Belém
Belém is the most fabulous parish in Lisbon, as it houses two of the city’s most impressive landmarks: the Jerónimos Monastery, especially its Church and Cloister are must-see sights, and Belém Tower, a fortified tower at the mouth of Tagus River.
You can get to Belém from Praça do Comércio with the tram nº 15.
In Lisbon for over 2 days?
If you’re planning on staying in Lisbon for over 48 hours, we recommend you visit some of Lisbon’s nearby towns like Sintra, Cascais, Estoril, Óbidos, Fátima, Arrábida..