Lisbon-sunset

48 hours in Lisbon: the best things to do and see in Portugal's capital

Get an authentic experience of Lisbon in just one weekend

Chloe Best

With all the attractions of a capital city in a beautiful coastal location, Lisbon offers the best of both worlds for a weekend away. Portugal's premier city has much to offer visitors, with a rich history, incredible architecture and mouth-watering food among the many highlights. Best of all – it's easily explored within 48 hours. Here's how to see the best of it…

1st Day:

Morning: Explore the Pombaline downtown of Lisbon

Get your trip underway with a visit to the Pombaline downtown area, which is a prime ensemble of historical monuments, such as Rossio Square and museums like the Museum del Fado and National Museum of Ancient Art. You can easily while away a few hours wandering the streets, but be sure to take a pit stop for lunch at Mercado da Baixa. This market/ food court offers everything from fresh fruit and veg to cheese, meat and wine so you're sure to find something for you.

Afternoon: Hop on the tram to the Alfama district and visit Castelo de Sao George

Getting a yellow tram is a tourist attraction in itself, and an experience you must have during your time in Lisbon. Hop on tram 28 to the top of the Alfama district, the oldest region in Lisbon, where you'll find historic landmarks like the Castelo de Sao George. This castle has parts still standing from before the 12th century and is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city. Plan your visit at castelodesaojorge.pt.

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Evening: Experience the city nightlife at Bairro Alto

Bairro Alto transforms after dark and is the place to go for dinner and drinks in the city. Book in advance for a visit to BA Wine Bar do Bairro Alto, where you can sample some fine wines and a selection of cheese, olives, bread and cured meats.

2nd Day:

Morning: Sample Portuguese cuisine and visit Torre de Belem

It's well worth queuing to get a taste of traditional pastel de nata at Pastéis de Belém, an iconic pastry shop that's been attracting visitors in their droves since 1837. While you're in the area you can also visit Torre de Belem. This UNESCO heritage site is also one of Portugal's most iconic landmarks. This tower was constructed to guard the river entrance into Lisbon harbour and features Portuguese stonework dating back to the 16th century. Entrance costs 6 Euros and tickets can be bought on site.

Alternatively: Venture out to the coast at Cascais. If you want to hit the beach, you won't be disappointed with a visit to this coastal town in Greater Lisbon, which has white sandy beaches and alluring crystal clear waters.

Afternoon: Shop in Avenida da Liberdade

Get some retail therapy at Avenida da Liberdade, known as Lisbon's most stylish shopping street. You can splash the cash at designer labels such as Louis Vuitton and Gucci, or do a spot of window shopping before settling down at one of the many bars and restaurants for a bite to eat and to watch the world go by.

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Evening: Enjoy a traditional dinner and drinks at a Fado bar

Get an authentic experience of Lisbon at one of the city's traditional Fado bars. This beautiful yet melancholy genre of music dates back to the 1800s, and can still be found at many bars and restaurants across the city, such as Adega Machado in Bairro Alto and Clube de Fado, in Santa Maria Maior.

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Where to stay in Lisbon:

Pestana CR7: Football fans should book a stay at Pestana CR7, a joint venture between Cristiano Ronaldo and the Pestana hotel group. The hotel has a prime position in Lisbon, and as you would expect, there is a football theme throughout. Speakers in the corridors project cheers from fans in a football stadium, and there is some football memorabilia on display. Who knows, you might even see the man himself during your stay. Rooms from £130 per night, see more at pestanacr7.com.

Martinhal Lisbon Chiado Family Suites: Visiting with little ones? You'll find everything you need at Martinhal Lisbon Chiado Family Suites, which offers a kids club and childcare even at night – so parents can enjoy an evening out together. Rooms from £239 per night, see more at martinhal.com/chiado.

How to get to Lisbon:

There are regular non-stop flights from airports across the UK - including London, Birmingham and Manchester - every day. Fly with airlines including TapAir, easyJet and British Airways in 2hr 50 minutes to Lisbon Airport.

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