Two days in Lisbon give you enough time to explore the city’s famed cobblestone streets and have some of its top experiences, from Jeronimos Monastery to a live fado performance. Plus you can take a day trip out to the beautiful towns of Sintra and Cascais. Here’s how to maximize 48 hours in and around the Portuguese capital.
Day 1: Highlights of Lisbon
Morning: Get the lay of the Lisbon land on a hop-on hop-off sightseeing bus tour or guided walking tour. Alternatively, board the yellow-hued Tram 28, a route that’s become emblematic of the city; you’re best off going round-trip from Martim Moniz. Afterward, head to one of the charming cafés at Rossio Square for lunch.
Afternoon: Devote hours to two of Lisbon’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites and most beautiful examples of Manueline architecture: Belem Tower (Torre de Belém) and Jeronimos Monastery (Mosteiro dos Jerónimos), about a 15-minute walk apart. The monastery houses Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama’s tomb.
Night: Spend your evening soaking up local culture at a traditional tavern in the Bairro Alto or Alfama neighborhood. Both have a host of pubs where fado, a traditional form of music characterized by melancholic storytelling, is performed, often while petiscos (Portuguese tapas) is served.
Day 2: Day Trip to Sintra and Cascais
Morning: Spend your second day touring two of the most interesting day trip destinations from Lisbon: Sintra and Cascais. Start with Sintra, known for its gorgeous architecture, including 19th-century National Palace of Pena (Palácio da Pena), an extravagant castle that looks like it was plucked from a fairy tale.
Afternoon: While you could easily spend a whole day in Sintra, it’s worth heading out to Cascais, an old fishing town that’s popular with weekending Lisboans in summer. Though not as grandiose as what’s found in Sintra, the architecture here is still pretty lavish, with lots of lovely old structures throughout the picturesque town.
Night: If you’re into seafood, it may be worth sticking around Cascais for dinner; the town is full of charming seafood restaurants. Alternatively, head back to Lisbon, making sure to pair your evening meal with some local wine, port, or delicious ginjinha, a Portuguese cherry liqueur that’s often served in chocolate cups.