Lisbon is the largest city and capital of Portugal. It’s an amazing charismatically alive city with pastel-colored buildings and stunning detailed heritage all around. Spending a weekend in Lisbon is the perfect way to combine adventure with a European city break, and there is so much to discover!
Lisbon is one of the oldest cities in Europe and its old-school charm tells tales of its heritage and cultural history. Lisbon also boasts some incredible restaurants and cafes, making it the perfect weekend destination for foodies and wine lovers!
Come and discover the mosaic streets, quaint music venues and the scatterlings of incredible heritage all around the city. There is so much to do to fill up 36 hours in Lisbon that it can be daunting planning a weekend trip without missing out on all the good stuff. We have compiled this Lisbon city guide to help you in planning your weekend trip to the gorgeous, hilly, colorful city so that you can have the perfect European weekend getaway!
Insider Tips for an AMAZING Weekend in Lisbon
With so much to do and so little time, we get that planning your weekend in Lisbon would be a bit easier with a touch of insider perspective! Here are all the best tips for your trip.
We understand that the most important part of planning a trip with limited timing is to be in the best area in Lisbon with the most accessible transport, and surroundings to make your short time in Lisbon all the more worthwhile!
We’ve taken the time to save you time by finding the most centrally located and best value accommodation in Lisbon.
Our Favorite Hostel – Living Lounge Hostel
- Light and airy rooms
- Luxurious and spacious chill-out areas
- Perfect central location
This hostel is decorated by local artists to reflect different elements of Lisbon’s rich culture and offers a cozy and relaxing place to unwind after a long day of exploring! The central location with easy access to public transport makes this hostel a great base for your 36 or 48 hours in Lisbon.
Read more about our favorite hostels in our guide to the BEST hostels in Lisbon!
Our Favorite Airbnb – Renovated 18th century flat
- If you’re not sure where to stay on your first Lisbon visit, you should check out this Airbnb.
- With only the best reviews, the apartment is beautifully furnished, in the best location possible and has all of the amenities you’ll need.You can truly call this place a home!
- The main metro station is only a short walk away. Cute cafes, local restaurants and attractions are right around the corner too.
- Not available? There are lots of great Airbnbs spread across Lisbon.
Our Favorite Budget Hotel – Hotel ibis Lisboa Jose Malhoa
- Located in the city center of Lisbon
- Ideal for weekend escapes
- Air-conditioned and spacious rooms
This awesome and affordable hotel is located right in the heart of Lisbon, an easy 5 km from the airport, 300 m from Praca de Espanha and boasts a lovely terrace area, restaurant, and bar serving snacks 24/7. The perfect home base for your weekend in Lisbon!
Our Favorite Splurge Hotel – Hotel da Baixa
- Airport shuttle
- Buffet breakfast with vegetarian and gluten-free options
- Walking distance to most locations
This hotel has a vibrant and colorful classic facade with modern decor and absolute luxury and comfort for your weekend in Lisbon. Featuring a restaurant and a bar and boasting a prime location in Lisbon!
Know How to Get Around in Lisbon
Of course, you’ll want to see the best of Lisbon in the quickest and most efficient way when exploring with limited time. Luckily, there are multiple ways of getting around Lisbon to discover the most interesting sights and landmarks whilst staying in this hilly Capital of Portugal!
The favorite mode of transport amongst tourists around Lisbon is the Tram. Lisbon has two tram types and 6 tram routes that pass most of Lisbon’s tourist attractions. The vintage tram no. 28 is a tourist attraction in itself and passes most of Lisbon’s most picturesque areas, and is a great sightseeing option if you only have 24 hours in Lisbon.
The second most convenient mode of transport is the trains. These are very easily accessible from all central locations and are reasonable, punctual and clean! You can count on the train line to visit any major towns and villages in Lisbon.
The third form of transport in Lisbon is buses. These are much faster and offer more diversity than the trams, and are also cheaper and more efficient. You can also buy multiple-day tickets which make them the perfect option when spending a weekend in Lisbon!
Another method of getting around Lisbon is by taxi. Taxis in Lisbon are inexpensive when compared to other European capitals! If you are out late at night, the taxis are probably the best option to return to your hotel. They run taximeters and generally take cash payments, but alternatives can also be arranged.
The next mode of transport in Lisbon is by bicycle. This is great for active travelers who would love the freedom of exploring by bike. The hilly terrain can pose a challenge to those who aren’t very fit, but the cycle paths are pleasant and rewarding, with constantly changing landscapes to explore with a Lisbon guide in hand!
The ferry is a popular way to get across the river Tejo that divides the city. This makes getting from one side to the other much quicker and more convenient and allows you to experience Lisbon from a new perspective.
For the less accessible parts of Lisbon, there are funiculars to get to some of the historical parts of the city that would otherwise have not been possible. These national treasures will elevate you up hilly terrains to explore popular tourist landmarks and activities!
The Viva Lisboa card allows travelers to unlimited use of the Lisbon transport options such as the tram, metro, bus, and funiculars in the city center! These can be purchased with multiple options like a 24-hour pass.
Last but not least, walking is a wonderful way of exploring for a weekend in Lisbon. Most of the landmarks and tourist attractions in the city center are easily reachable on foot and allow you to really experience Lisbon’s little hidden gems that you may find along the way, as well as having the freedom to stop and take photographs of the incredible heritage buildings and architecture along the way.
Lisbon has a rich and diverse nightlife, whether you’re after a cocktail alongside the river, or would like to spend some of your 36 hours in Lisbon dancing the night away.
Note that Lisbon’s nightlife only really starts after midnight, so keep in mind that you may want to have a lie-in the next day! Many restaurants only open after 7 pm, and bars are packed until well after midnight, with clubs only filling up from about 2 am.
Cais do Sodré
- The nightlife of this area is centered around Pink street, named after the pink colored pavement
- There are numerous underground and trendy bars around the area
- The banging nightlife of Pink street starts very late!
Cais do Sodre is a cool and trendy district of Lisbon, with many shops, cafes, and bars. Be sure to visit Lust in Rio, home to a sushi restaurant on the first floor, and an outside and ground floor space that pumps with party-goers and different DJs from midnight to 6 am.
Another must in the Cais do Sodre district is the Music Box. This popular hybridized bar/concert hall/nightclub hosts a variety of DJ’s and live music, and is definitely worth checking out!
- Trendy bars and clubs that have been converted from old warehouses, breathing new life into the area
- Amazing views on the riverbank
- A large variety of musical atmospheres and dancefloors
Santos is located on the docks and in the district around Avenida 24 de Julho. Here you’ll find a variety of music to dance until the sun comes up. K Urban Beach is one of the leading nightspots right on the riverbank that comprises a bar, restaurant and a variety of dancefloors!
- The picturesque quarter from the 1500s, home to many artists and writers
- This area has a multitude of bars and Fado houses to dance all night long
- People of all backgrounds spend their weekends bar-hopping the cobblestoned lanes
Bairro Alto is one of Lisbon’s most vibrant nightlife quarters, where behind the colorful and graffiti ladened facades, you’ll find diverse crowds, quirky bars and Fado music creating a warm vibe on the streets. Check out Park, which is a popular rooftop bar with incredible views and DJ-driven soundtrack of jazz, soul, and funk!
Lisbon is fast becoming a popular foodie destination. As the home of the Pastel de Nata, they are found all over the city and are completely worth the visit!
Lisbon is also home to one of the world’s largest food markets, where you are able to try all sorts of Portuguese dishes and delicacies. Here’s our pick of the markets and restaurants to find the tastiest food choices in Lisbon:
Best market – The Time Out Market
- All the tastiest food and the best in Lisbon under one roof, with the best chefs, restaurants, cultural events and even cooking workshops
- First food market in the world where everything has been tried and tested, with no less than 4 or 5 stars!
- More than 40 spaces with all the food categories that make Lisbon what it is
Open daily from 10 am until midnight or 2 am. This is the perfect market to taste the best of the city under one roof. You’ll find a couple dozen restaurants each offering unique and delicious Portuguese food options, a bunch of bars and a buzzing cultural vibe with an artsy feel and live music. The Time Out Market is a perfect place to try a bit of everything, from appetizers to mains, to desserts and cocktails, this market is a must for your weekend in Lisbon!
If you’d like to dig deeper into this montorous market, consider hiring a local Lisboeta food expert!
For a Culinary Immersion – 100 Maneiras
- Unique tasting menu offering an immersive experience in authentic Portuguese dining
- The irreverent chef works closely with national suppliers to create dishes that are original and unique
- Each dish is a voyage through Portuguese flavors
This restaurant is highly recommended by all who have tasted the novelty dishes and experienced the unique combinations of Portuguese flavors by the irreverent chef Ljubomir Stanisic. Be sure to make a booking as tables are limited and you won’t want to miss out on this Portuguese fine dining experience during your 36 or 48 hours in Lisbon.
Best Dining Experiences:
Cervejaria Ramiro – Best Seafood Restaurant in Lisbon
- Famous seafood restaurant popular with locals and tourists alike
- Try the favorite dishes of Amêijoas à Bulhão Pato (clams with coriander sauce) and the Sapateira Recheada (fresh crab meat served in the shell)
- Leave space for the prego, the way a seafood meal ends in Portugal
This seafood paradise has been around for ages, and still has the best quality foods and attracts the crowds consistently. You can’t visit Lisbon without experiencing a great seafood meal, and this is the ideal place to do just that!
- A culinary experience and the best ceviche you’ll find in Lisbon
- Peruvian cooking with a Portuguese edge
- Warm service and stunning environment
Come and discover the delicious ceviche options, post delicious complimentary cornbread and butter. We can’t recommend this place enough! They don’t take reservations so be sure to come early or plan to grab a drink somewhere around the area while you wait for a table, and we promise it’s worth the wait!
Discover Broke Backpacker Travel Secrets!
Pop your email address in below and we’ll send you your copy of the Backpacker Bible for free – learn how to travel on $10 a day!
Lisbon is home to many football fans, hosting big games at their stadiums that attract quite a crowd. If watersports are more your thing, there’s so much along the golden coastline you can do!
- You’ll find very few places in Europe as good as Portugal for the surf!
- Certain towns around Lisbon are dedicated almost entirely to surfing
- The closest is Cascais, an easy 25-minutes from Lisbon
If you’re coming to Lisbon and hoping to catch a wave, your best bet is to head to Cascais. This is a protected coast and natural park just 25 minutes from Lisbon that is ideal for surfing.
Catch a game or visit the museum at the Stadium
- Come visit “Estádio da Luz”, the largest and most modern stadium in Portugal
- See what’s on and catch a game where the Champion’s League final in 2014 was hosted
- Learn more about Lisbon and the World’s History at Benfica Cosme Damião Museum.
The cosmopolitan of Lisbon huge on football, with locals passionately supporting two main teams and one smaller team. The two big teams are Benfica and Sporting, with Benfica having its roots in the Lisbon district and filling the stadium whenever they play their city counterparts, FC Porto!
- Get your adrenaline pumping as you get a whole new perspective of the city
- See the panoramic ocean views before landing on the golden sands of the coast
- Add a thrilling experience to your weekend in Lisbon
Portugal is classified as one of the best places in the world to go paragliding. If you’re an adrenaline junkie and would like to see the city from a whole new perspective, then this is the perfect sporting activity for you during your weekend in Lisbon!
The music, arts and culture scene is big in Lisbon, and there are always concerts and shows that are diverse and interesting. From the theatres to live music venues, you’re likely to find some great entertainment in Lisbon.
Watch a Fado Show
- A must-do! Experience Portugal’s own music genre that can be enjoyed over a meal
- Get a close-up and intimate perspective of the culture and energy of Fado music
- So integral to the Portuguese experience that UNESCO recognizes it as part of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity!
Fado is a huge part of Portuguese culture, and you’re sure to find a place to see a performance by following the music anywhere on the streets of Alfama or Bairro Alta. Choose to enjoy live music with a dining experience or just enjoy the melodies with a drink in hand!
Check out a concert at the Music Box
- A popular concert and live music venue in Lisbon
- Check out what’s on and go see a show at this great venue
- The perfect space for a show, and if you’re in the mood to party you can stay on longer to catch a DJ set
You can’t miss out on visiting the Music Box whilst in Lisbon. There are constantly new shows and concerts going on at this awesome venue!
Head to one of Lisbon’s Theatres for a show or some comedy
- If you’re into theatre, there are a few theatres to choose from in Lisbon
- Teatro ABC is great for a show and Teatro de Trinade is great for comedy
- Teatro Nacional de Sao Carlos and The Centro Cultural de Belem host excellent ballet, opera and symphony concerts
Check out one of Lisbon’s Theatres for what’s on during your weekend in Lisbon. With incredible architecture and a variety of excellent shows and performances, you’re sure to be blown away at one of Lisbon’s great theatres!
You should always have emergency cash hidden on you – pick up this awesome security belt with its hidden pocket before you travel, it’s perfect for hiding money, a passport photocopy.
10 Other Awesome Things to do in Lisbon This Weekend
If you’re lucky enough to find yourself with more time to explore the beautiful city, then perhaps you’d like to try to add some of these awesome things to your Lisbon itinerary!
#1 – Explore the Cities Different Museums
The Belem district is full of notable museums and a cultural center which has a notable collection of paintings and sculptures from artists like Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol and Jackson Pollock! The Museo da Marinha features the history and popular dominance of Portugal in the seas. Lisbon is rich in culture and diversity and has can make for a great informative day exploring the museums and discovering the past of the capital of Portugal.
#2 – Check out the Views from the Tallest Hill in Lisbon
Discover the breathtaking views from the Castelo de Sao Jorge, with architectural wonders all around and an incredible view of the city! Take pictures of the longest bridge in Europe, the “Ponte Vasco da Gama” which connects the opposite sides of the river Tagus.
#3 – Hit the Beaches
Spend a relaxing day working on your tan, surfing or enjoying the white sands at one of Lisbon’s captivating beaches. The two most popular beaches are Praia da Conceição and Praia da Rainha located just 30 minutes away from the capital of Portugal!
#4 – Discover the Awesome Rooftop Bars
Lisbon is a city of rooftop bars, with magnificent views over the capital of Portugal’s red roofs and colorful buildings. Check out the incredible views of the Tagus River with a drink in hand, or watch the sun go down over this impressive city with a glass of seriously impressive local wine. Entretanto atop the Hotel do Chiado is a favorite in Lisbon’s sunny climate!
#5 – Play a Round of Golf
Lisbon is a favorite destination for passionate golfers due to the great weather and wonderful courses with stunning surroundings. One of the popular golf courses in Lisbon is Clube de Golfe do Paco do Luminar.
#6 – Enjoy some Watersports
The beautiful shores of Lisbon are a great place to participate in some watersports, like sailing, kayaking or windsurfing. They offer sailing lessons for first-timers, or rental equipment for those who are just eager to get in the water and have some fun!
#7 – Go Shopping
Lisbon is a popular place for shopping due to its relatively inexpensive when compared to other capitals in Europe! There are a variety of options to choose from. Head to Bairro Alto if you would like to peruse the antique shops or find modern decorations, trendy clothes and famous Portuguese designs.
Chaido is a great area for elegant old-style cafes and art nouveau jewelry shops in the district of theatres and bookshops! If high-end fashion and well known international brands is what you’re after, then head down to Lisbon’s main avenue, Avenida da Liberdade.
#8 – Marvel at the Incredible Architecture
Lisbon is rich in amazing architecture no matter where you go. Take a walk along the narrow cobble-stoned pathways to discover Greek boulevards and monuments, particularly in the upper districts.
Take pictures of the colorful 18th-century houses and the medieval maze of the Alfama district overlooked by an ancient castle. The cities rich cultural heritage is eminent everywhere you look and with the magnificent churches and intricate architecture is a photographers dream!
#9 – Ride the Famous Trams
The iconic trams are a win amidst visitors and tourists in Lisbon. They are an experience in themselves but also a great way of getting to a particular destination!
Rattle across the city on one of these historic rides. Take a tram up some of the hilly districts in Lisbon to get a great view of the pastel-colored houses and little gems along the way.
#10 – Eat a Pastel de Nata
The birthplace of this tasty treat! The Pastel da Nada is found in every bakery and cafe in Lisbon. These freshly baked warm delights are a delicious treat that you can’t leave Lisbon without trying one! They have been sold in Portugal for hundreds of years. One of the most famous patisseries is Pastéis de Belém, where they use a traditional baking method and guarantee pure scrumptiousness!
Don’t forget to pack a good book! Night Train to Lisbon: A Novel is our top recommendation for an awesome and inspiring read on this magical city.
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions…
#1. What should I pack for a weekend in Lisbon?
This depends on what time of year you are visiting. The best months to visit are either from March to May or September to October, when the weather is still warm and there are fewer tourists and cheaper accommodation options!
During this time you will need a few warmer items but generally, the weather is warm enough for shorts and shirts and beach days. A handy tip is to carry around a scarf for when you just need that little bit of extra warmth.
Basically, you want to take some comfortable walking shoes, layered clothing that you can take off when it gets too hot or easily cover up with in the evenings when it gets a bit chilly, and a good hat and sunscreen.
If there’s anything that you’ve forgotten to pack, it won’t be too hard to find in the shops around Lisbon.
#2. Can I get an apartment in Lisbon for the weekend?
Yes, it’s possible to rent an apartment in Lisbon for the weekend. Check out booking.com for short-stay apartments or any of the great offers on Airbnb.
#3. Is Lisbon safe for a weekend trip?
Yes, Lisbon is one of the safest capital cities in Europe. There are minor instances of pick-pocketing but generally very few tourists will experience any difficulties or dangers during their weekend trip. Lisbon is said to be a city that is progressive, liberal and diverse, and is perfectly safe for travelers!
Just be conscious of what is going on around you, and don’t head down any dark alleyways that may feel a bit dodgy and you’ll be just fine!
And have you thought about getting Travel Insurance for your trip? We’ve put together a roundup of Travel Insurance for backpackers – check it out here, or if you’re low on time, get a quote from World Nomads, our favorite travel insurance provider.
Final Thoughts on a Great Weekend in Lisbon
It seems that everyone wants to visit Lisbon these days. This means the best time to go is now, before more tourists catch on to what an incredible city it really is. From the breezy sea views and colorful facades, to the red roofs and historic trams, it really is an awe-inspiring place to visit!
With great food and of course, the home of the Pastel da Nada, Lisbon is also attracting foodies from all over the world to discover the unique Portuguese flavors at the many restaurants that are constantly changing and booming with local young chefs.
With incredible architecture on every corner, beautiful cobblestoned lanes leading up the Lisbon hills with incredible cafes and shops and an awesome transport system to get you to wherever you want to go
Discover the incredible history of this colorful city full of pride and culture. Lastly, enjoy an awesome weekend in Lisbon wandering the streets, tasting the treats, sipping on cocktails and seeing Portuguese culture that is so inherent in the capital of Portugal.
“Find out how YOU can support the site. We work hard to put out the best backpacker resources on the web, for free! It’s all about helping out our tribe of awesome backpacker readers [that’s you!]. Please visit the link to find out how you can help keep the site going 🙂
For the sake of transparency, some of the links in our content are affiliate links. This means that if you book your accommodation, buy a book or sort your insurance, we earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. I only link to stuff I’ve actually used and never endorse products or services that are not up to scratch. Thanks for your support.