I had some friends spending a weekend in Lisbon with me, in the 3 months I’ve lived there. They all hadn’t been in Lisbon before. There are many nice bars (check out my top 10 guide here!) and restaurants and there is loads to see, even though the amount of clear tourist sights to me is relatively low. Which is one of the reasons I love Lisbon, just walking through the city itself is the sight. In this article I will limit my favorites down to the not to miss when you are there and to what I would show visitors in a weekend itinerary. Are you looking for a quick overview of the best Lisbon Neighbourhoods? Check out this guide.
If you are planning on using public transport quite a bit during your stay as will as visiting some main attractions, the Lisbon card might be worth a try.
Where to stay to explore Lisbon?
Personally, I would choose an area that is not the main city center or tourist areas, such as Principe Real or Intendente. Most of the things to do in Lisbon can be done walking, so staying a little bit further saves money to spend on the amazing bars and restaurants!
Bica: Lisbon Bica (~€70 a night), Palácio das Especiarias (~€225 per night) or Bica FLH Suits (~€160 per night).
Barrio Alto: Bairro House Lisbon Charming Suites (~€150 per night), Lisboa Pessoa Hotel (~€210 per night), Bairro Alto Hotel (~€400 per night)
Mouraria / Intendente: Lisbon 5 hotel (~€75 per night), Lisbon Serviced Apartments – Mouraria (~€150 per night), WC by The Beautique Hotels (~€175 per night)
Principe Real: Flores Guest House (~€110), Casa de Sao Mamede Hotel (~€120), PortoBay Liberdade (~€330)
Alfama: Lisbon Best Choice Apartments Alfama (~€150), Patio São Vicente (~€200), Memmo Alfama (~€300)
Bica & Cais de Sodre
Assuming you will have some travelling time on the first day of your weekend in Lisbon, the itinerary starts a bit later. When you still have time, find your way to Praça Luís de Camões.
I like the square itself and it connects the shopping bit, with the street down to the river, Barrio Alto and the older neighbourhood Bica with the most photographed street in the city. Stroll around to soak up some of the colourful houses and find your bearings. In case you are in need of a snack, kick-off your stay with a Pastel del Nata from Manteigaria.
This is together with the famous Pastel del Belem the best Pastel del Nata in town. Once you’ve had one, you will want some more during your weekend. When it gets time for sunset, head to Mirador Santa Catarina.
Order yourself a drink from the kiosk or take one with you and enjoy the view and often live music. Once you are ready for food, the restaurant across the viewpoint Pharmacia is one of my favourites.
Up for another drink after dinner? Don’t miss out on Pensão Amor, which is an old brothel now turned into a cosy bar, but definitely have a good look around you for all the hints, also on the toilet. Looking for other bars to visit? Check out my top 10 favourite bars.
Marmouria & Alfama
Start of with some breakfast in one of the nice brunch places Lisbon has. When you still have some time, I would suggest to see the main square called Praça do Comércio.
A free walking tour is a good way to see many different things of the city. Personally, I would suggest a walking tour that covers Alfama and Marmouria as those are neighbourhoods with a lot of history and little alleys. A guide might bring you to places you wouldn’t be able to find yourself and it is an experience you can’t miss during a weekend in Lisbon!
Mouraria & Alfama
After the walking tour it is time for lunch. A nice place in Alfama to sit down is Pois, Café.
When you are not done walking yet, I would suggest seeing 2 of my favourite viewpoints that are both certainly worth seeing. Head to Mirador Graça first and when the weather allows, grab a seat and a drink on the terrace at the viewpoint.
If you want to go a little bit higher up, make you way to another viewpoint: Our Lady of the Hill.
Once you are ready to grab a drink and/or some food, head to Intendente, another neighbourhood of Lisbon (check out my neighbourhood guide to Lisbon here!), close to Marmouria. Head to Bar Josephine for your bistro meal if this is something you like. I love the atmosphere here!
Afterwards, located on the same square, make your way to Casa Independente for some more drinks. It is a great venue with places to sit both inside and outside and you will find many locals in this bar.
Are you up for more drinks during your weekend in Lisbon? Then I would suggest heading to Topo, a great rooftop bar.
Have a little lay in and make your way to a nice brunch place later. I would suggest sticking to the left side of the city and choose for example Flora & Fauna, Heim Café, Dear Breakfast or Hello, Kristof. Looking for more / different brunch places in Lisbon? Check out my top brunch spots in Lisbon guide.
LX FactoryNow it is time to head to LX Factory, the ‘hipster factory’ of Lisbon with little shops, bars, street art and food. Have a look around, but make sure you are not there before 12:00, as most of the things only open then. I would definitely recommend visiting Ler Devagar, a book shop. You can try world’s best chocolate cake at Landeau, make an iconic picture and go for a drink at Rio Maravilha and enjoy your pizza lunch at A Mesa.
If you would like a place a little bit less touristy for lunch and you are into markets with different food stands I would highly recommend passing Campo de Ourique. It is way less touristy than Time Out Market where you might have already heard about.
Afterwards, it is time to head to Principe Real, another nice neighbourhood in Lisbon. If you fancy a park on the way, make your way through Jardim da Estrela.
When you are into craft beers, settle down for a drink at Cerveteca Lisboa with around 15 beers on tap, both local and international. Lisbon has quite a craft beer scene, and there are many other great craft beer bars. I’ve listed my top 10 in this article. Another option is to head to Park, a very nice rooftop bar!
The trams are packed, and queues are insane, even at the first stop. I personally wouldn’t recommend waiting for it, as the chances are big you won’t even enjoy the ride as you are barely able to see something. I would suggest walking the city as nothing is too far apart and you manage to see more of the little hidden streets and gems.Visiting the castle
The views are probably good, but there are so many viewpoints in Lisbon that give you a good view. I would personally save the time and money on going here and enjoy the view from one of the rooftop bars or viewpoints.Fado in touristic places
There are many Fado places in Alfama, but most of them are fairly touristic and make you pay a lot. When you are there on a Monday or Friday, I would head to A Tasca do Chico to get your dose of Fado or do some good research.
When you have more time than just a weekend in Lisbon, even better! There is more to see, especially outside of the main city centre. In the morning, stroll along the river from Praça do Comércio to get a coffee along the water at for example Vestigius. Once you feel ready to go for a longer walk, I would suggest walking along the water towards the Ponto de 25 Abril and the Torre de Belém. You can also take one of the tram lines that heads to Belem, for example tram 15.
Take the train to Sintra, a nearby city known for some impressive castles. A train departs every hour from Rossio train station and only costs around €3. I only visited Pena Palace, but there are definitely more places worth visiting. Get yourself a bus ticket once you arrive in Sintra, as walking all the way to the castles will take you a while. You can also book a day-trip bringing you to Sintra and Cascais from Lisbon if you want to save yourself the hassle.
When you are back on time and arriving back at Rossio, head to Topo Chiado for sunset. I love this rooftop bar that might be a little bit tough to find at first. The entrance is on the side of Largo do Como.
Worth seeing, when you are in Lisbon on the right days, is the Fado performance at A Tasca do Chico, on a Monday and Wednesday at 21:00.