Lisbon in Two and a Half Days

By Blonde Bowhemian - June 12, 2017

I just got back from Portugal last night. We spent time in Lisbon, Porto, and Lagos, with day trips to nearby towns, as well. The nine days absolutely flew by and we enjoyed picture-perfect weather almost the entire trip! 

I'm definitely no expert on each city as we only spent a few days in each, but I still thought I'd throw in my two cents as well as some recommendations for each in case any of you ever find yourself there! 

We began our trip with around two and a half days in Lisbon, an absolutely beautiful city with no shortage of colored houses, cobblestone streets, steep hills, and river views. What's interesting about Lisbon is that everything you'd be keen on seeing is easily walkable. In fact, it seemed to me like no locals actually live/work in what would be considered the downtown area of Lisbon, it was almost solely composed of stores and restaurants on narrow and windy cobblestone streets and large open squares. It looked like the actual office buildings were just outside the city, and what'd you think of as Lisbon downtown was reserved solely for tourist-centered businesses. We stayed in an Airbnb in the Chiado district, which was super central to everywhere we wanted to go and I'd highly recommend it.

Here's what we managed to fit in during our two and a half days in Lisbon:

Alfama - This is the oldest neighborhood in Lisbon, high up on the hill with winding streets and laneways. I'd say it has the most personality of any of the Lisbon neighborhoods and really gives you a feel for the city and its history. There are also great viewpoints around every corner, which are perfect to visit on your first day in the city to help you get a lay of the land. Aflama is also home to Castelo de Sao Jorge, the Moorish castle that overlooks the city. We walked around the grounds and visited the onsite museum.

Barrio Alto - This is a very central district in Lisbon, nearby to Chiado. We wandered around the streets before dinner, perusing for a restaurant, of which is there is definitely no shortage. They all offer typical Portuguese food and/or Tapas, so you really can't go wrong. Plus, most offer outdoor seating! Another night before dinner we went to Park, a rooftop bar on top of a parking garage. I loved how they were able to transform the space into a rooftop oasis and the drinks weren't bad, either ;) Afterwards, we went to Principe do Calhariz, a local restaurant recommended to us by a tour guide. The menu was almost entirely in Portuguese, so we didn't totally know what we ordered, but that was half the fun.

Waterfront - Although, surprisingly, there isn't a ton to do down by the riverfront, we enjoyed walking along the water on Avenida Ribeira Das Naus, and stopped by the huge square, Praca do Comercio. Both the street and the square have an array of vendors and restaurants where you can stop for a drink or casual bite to eat.

Viewpoints/Parks - We walked up Avenida de la Liberdade, the main shopping street, on our way to Miradouro do Parque Eduardo VII, a park on top of a giant hill, with expansive views over Lisbon and straight down to the river. Although the walk was tiring in the heat and direct sunlight, the view was 100% worth it and we enjoyed hanging around in the park and listening to some local music. We also checked out the Jardim do Principe Real, a smaller park north of Barrio Alto, and got a casual lunch at a cafe in the park, Esplanada Cafe. We then walked down to see the views from Miradouro de Sao Pedro de Alcantara, which was actually right up the street from our apartment. Although it's in the midst of being repaired, there are still stunning views of the castle and much of the city.

Sintra & Cascais - These are two towns just outside Lisbon that we visited on a day trip with Around Lisbon Tours. Sintra is high up on a hill and is home to one of the most outrageous castles I've ever seen, Pena Palace. We had free time to explore the castle (watch out for the wind on the Atlantic side!) and we wandered around the little village below, before grabbing some lunch and pastries from the infamous Piriquita. Afterwards, we did a quick pit stop at Cabo da Roca, the most western point in continental Europe (again beware of the winds!) before heading to the beach town of Cascais. Cascais is a picturesque town known for being a beach getaway for the people of Lisbon (as well as for many royal families!) We had free time to ourselves to walk around the town, and, of course, get gelato from their top gelateria, Santini (#priorities).

Hope this helps for any of you planning a visit! 

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