How to Spend 48 Hours in Lisbon
Lisbon might not have the sights of Rome or Paris, but the Portuguese capital is a pleasure to explore. Only have 48 hours in Lisbon? No problem – you can still see all the top attractions! From historical gems and world-class art, to an incredible food scene and picturesque parks, there’s something for everyone. Ready to explore this alluring Portuguese city? We’ll show you how to spend your 48 hours in Lisbon.
Getting To and Around Lisbon
Most travellers to Lisbon usually arrive by plane, and you have several transportation options to get from the airport to the city. Hop on the ‘Aeroporto – Saldanha‘ line and you’ll be in the centre of Lisbon within 20 mins!
Lisbon is not as large as other destinations in Europe so getting around is easy. Also known as the ‘City of 7 Hills’, walking around Lisbon is not for the faint of heart. Our best advice is to pack comfortable and weather appropriate shoes (depending on the time of your visit).
And if mobility is an issue, no problem. Lisbon is well connected with accessible public transportation, and several Uber driver’s offer accessible transportation.
What to Do with 48 Hours in Lisbon
Climb to the Top of Belém Tower
One of the most popular things to see in Lisbon is Belém Tower. Built in 16th century, and designed by architect Francisco de Arruda, it’s a must see on your 48 hours in Lisbon. The tower was originally used to defend the city but was later transformed into a lighthouse. You can purchase a ticket for 8,50€, but be sure to arrive early as the queue to get inside can be rather long.
Enjoy the amazing nightlife
Lisbon is another city that never sleeps! While you can find nightlife all over the city, Bairro Alto is the most popular district. It’s well-known for its vibrant bars, quirky pubs and seemingly endless people to meet. The drinks are fairly cheap as well, so if you’re a party person – a night of exploring Bairro Alto is a must with your 48 hours in Lisbon. This might be why Lisbon also has become one of the most popular stag do destinations in Europe.
Lounge at the beach
Tired after a night of partying in Lisbon? Spend a day at the beach! Lisbon is well connected for day trips to dazzling coastlines, rugged cliffs, and world-class waves that have made Portugal a top surf destination. We recommend Praia do Guincho, 30 minutes outside Lisbon. And getting here is easy: take a train from the Cais do Sodré station in Lisbon to the Cascais stop and recover and relax in the sun!
Enjoy a Fado Show
Fado is a traditional Portuguese musical genre and seeing a show is a must with your 48 hours in Lisbon. It originated in Portugal in the early 1800s but only began to appear in Lisbon after 1830. It finally found its popular rhythm in the early 1900s and is a popular activity among locals. Meaning ‘Fate’ or ‘Destiny’, the songs are generally quite melancholic and reflect on the struggles of daily life.
Visit the Oldest Bookstore in the World
Bookworms, rejoice! As recognised by the Guinness Book of World Records, the world’s oldest bookstore is in Lisbon. Opened in 1732, Betrand Chiado is waiting for you to explore its book collection! If you’re looking for a cool souvenir for yourself, this could be the perfect place to pick something up.
Visit the National Museum
Something you’ll notice about Portugal is the immense amount of facades covered in tile work. It’s a unique architectural feature of the country and makes for incredible backdrops in photos. If you appreciate this art, then you should check out the Museum Nacional do Azulejo (National Tile Museum). Filled with tiles of all colours and sizes (some dating back to the 15th century), you can easily spend a few hours here.
Ride the tram
Lisbon’s classic yellow trams, known as remodelados, is something you can easily fit into your 48 hours in Lisbon. For only 3€, you can hop on Tram 28 and ride through Lisbon’s most famous districts such as Alfama, Baixa and Chiado. This traditional method of transportation is one of the most popular – and cheapest – activities in Lisbon.
Ride the ferry to Almada
Lisbon is separated by the Tagus River, and on the other side of the river is the Almada district. You can explore loads of vintage shops, cafes, restaurants, and even an abandoned fisherman’s village!
Try Pastéis de Nata
Pastéis de Nata is something you should do more than once during your 48 hours in Lisbon. This custard tart is a national favourite and is sold everywhere. Made with egg yolks, vanilla custard and wrapped in crispy dough, it’s a delicious pastry you’ll never get enough of. Although the traditional recipe is not vegan friendly, some shops offer vegan options of the famous Portuguese pastry. Our favourite place for the vegan variety is definitely VeganNata!
Check out the Padrão dos Descobrimentos Monument
The Padrão dos Descobrimentos is a large monument situated on the banks Tejo Estuary. Created by Cottinelli Telmo and sculptor Leopoldo de Almeida, the monument was erected in 1940. Standing 170 Ft (52 meters) tall, it was designed to commemorate the ‘Age of Discoveries’ in Portugal.
Where to Stay in Lisbon
Finding accommodation can sometimes be the biggest challenge when planning a vacation. Having something well connected to the city’s main sights and suitable enough for a good night’s sleep can be tricky, but we’ve got you covered!
Our top recommendation and favourite hostel is Lisbon’s famous Oasis Backpackers Mansion, conveniently located in Barrio Alto. Whether you’re travelling solo, or as a couple, you’ll feel at home at Oasis with their friendly staff, comfortable rooms, and great common areas for socialising. Oasis also offers several activities, including free dinners, food walking tours, pub crawls, and street art tours.
How to Spend 48 Hours in Lisbon
As you can see, Lisbon has lots to see and do, and your 48 hours certainly won’t be boring. If you’re looking for more information on the Portuguese capital, check out our blog post on Top 10 Things to Do in Lisbon. And if that’s not enough, check out the Destinations section on the Europe’s Famous Hostels website for more information.
Blog post written by: Lydia Colman. Lydia is a journalist with tremendous experience in traveling. She wants to encourage people to be curious about the world and find ways to fit more travel into their lifestyle than they already have. She wants others to look at her and say ‘Because of you I didn’t give up’ . Some of her work can be found here.