48 Hours in Lisbon, Portugal: 10 Cool Things To Absolutely Do

1. Explore the Historic Alfama District

The Alfama district is the oldest neighborhood in Lisbon and a must-visit for history enthusiasts. Wander through narrow cobblestone streets, marvel at colorful tiled houses, and soak in the medieval atmosphere. This district is home to several historical landmarks, including the São Jorge Castle, which offers panoramic views of the city and the Tagus River. The Alfama district also hosts Fado music houses, where you can listen to traditional Portuguese music that resonates with tales of love and longing.

Source: Portugal.com

2. Take a Tram Ride to Belém

Hop on an iconic tram in Lisbon and take a charming ride to the district of Belém. This scenic journey allows you to admire the city’s unique architecture and vibrant neighborhoods. Upon arrival, visit the Belém Tower, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that served as a defensive fortress in the 16th century. Nearby, you’ll find the breathtaking Jerónimos Monastery, an outstanding example of Manueline architecture. Don’t forget to indulge in the famous Pastéis de Belém, mouthwatering custard tarts that have been crafted since 1837.

Source: Visit Lisbon

3. Discover the Modern LXFactory

LXFactory is a vibrant creative hub located in an old industrial complex. This trendy district showcases a blend of art, culture, and entrepreneurship. Explore independent bookstores, vintage shops, and contemporary art galleries, or grab a coffee at one of the hip cafes. LXFactory frequently hosts events, such as concerts, flea markets, and street art festivals, making it an excellent place to immerse yourself in Lisbon’s artistic scene.

Source: LXFactory

4. Visit the Timeless Belém Tower

The Belém Tower is an iconic symbol of Lisbon, and a testament to the city’s maritime past. Built in the early 16th century, it served as a defense tower and marked the starting point for many Portuguese explorers, including Vasco da Gama. The tower’s intricate architecture, blending Gothic and Moorish styles, along with its strategic location on the Tagus River, adds to its allure. Climb to the top of the tower for breathtaking views, and be transported back in time to the Age of Discoveries.

Source: Torre de Belém

5. Lose Yourself in the Majestic Sintra

Escape the bustling city and take a short train ride to the magical town of Sintra. Known for its fairytale-like castles and lush landscapes, Sintra is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that deserves a spot on your Lisbon itinerary. Explore the magnificent Pena Palace, a whimsical blend of Gothic, Renaissance, and Moorish architecture, set on top of a hill with panoramic views. Don’t miss the enchanting Quinta da Regaleira, with its intricate gardens, hidden tunnels, and mystical symbolism.

Source: Parques de Sintra

6. Indulge in the Vibrant Food and Wine Scene

Lisbon’s culinary scene is a delightful blend of traditional Portuguese flavors and innovative gastronomy. Taste authentic dishes such as bacalhau à brás (a salted codfish dish), pastel de nata (custard tarts), and savor the famous Portuguese wines. Visit the Time Out Market, a food hall showcasing some of Lisbon’s best eateries, allowing you to explore a wide range of flavors in one place. For a unique experience, book a food tour or a cooking class to learn about the city’s culinary traditions and try your hand at cooking delicious Portuguese meals.

Source: Time Out Market

7. Get Lost in the Streets of Bairro Alto

Bairro Alto is Lisbon’s bohemian neighborhood that comes alive at night. During the day, wander through its intricate maze-like streets, adorned with beautiful street art and colorful tiles. As evening approaches, Bairro Alto transforms into a vibrant nightlife hub, buzzing with bars and clubs. Enjoy a drink in one of the rooftop bars or venture into Fado houses, where you can experience the city’s soulful traditional music.

Source: Lisboa Mais

8. Marvel at the Oceanarium

The Lisbon Oceanarium is one of the largest and most impressive aquariums in Europe. Located in the Parque das Nações district, it showcases a diverse range of marine life from different ecosystems. Step into a giant central tank, surrounded by floor-to-ceiling windows, and observe majestic sharks, playful sea otters, and colorful tropical fish. This family-friendly attraction also offers educational activities and interactive exhibits for all ages.

Source: Lisbon Oceanarium

9. Explore the Alfama District

The district of Alfama exudes charm and authenticity, making it a top destination for any Lisbon itinerary. As the oldest neighborhood in the city, Alfama is home to historic landmarks, including the São Jorge Castle, which offers panoramic views of the city and the Tagus River. Stroll through the narrow cobblestone streets, admire the colorful tiled houses, and soak in the medieval atmosphere. Complete your visit by experiencing Fado music in one of the traditional houses, where talented singers pour their hearts into emotional and soulful performances.

Source: Visit Lisbon

10. Take a Ferry to Cacilhas

For a unique perspective of Lisbon’s skyline, catch a ferry from Cais do Sodré to Cacilhas, a small town on the south bank of the Tagus River. Here, you can enjoy a leisurely stroll along the riverfront promenade while savoring delicious seafood in one of the local restaurants. Cacilhas offers stunning views of Lisbon’s iconic landmarks, including the 25 de Abril Bridge, which closely resembles the famous Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. This short trip is a perfect way to relax and appreciate the beauty of the city from afar.

Source: Lisbon Lux

In conclusion, Lisbon offers an array of experiences for every traveler, from exploring historic districts like Alfama to indulging in the city’s culinary delights. Whether you soak in the city’s rich history, wander through the vibrant streets, or admire panoramic views from iconic landmarks, there is no shortage of things to do in this captivating Portuguese capital. So, pack your bags, grab your camera, and get ready for an unforgettable 48 hours in Lisbon, Portugal.