The itinerary shared below is for a 2 day trip starting from Lisbon and exploring Sintra, Cascais, and Belem. Yes, this in fact is manageable in 2 days and this itinerary will show you how. Ideally I would recommend at the very least - five days in Portugal and to space this out by staying a night in Sintra and Cascais. There is truly a lot to see and experience in this country. You will find the different towns to be unique from one another. It is also quite the romantic place to be!
In this itinerary you will find expenses, lodging tips, reviews, suggestions on what to do/not to do.
Things you should know before visiting Portugal
Is there a visa requirement for U.S. Citizens when entering Portugal?
- There is no visa needed for US citizens when entering Portugal
What style of travel groups are recommended for a trip to Lisbon?:
- Lisbon is great for couples, friends, elderly, and family. Can be especially romantic for couples
What is the recommended length of stay in Lisbon?:
- Depends on your travel plans, if you are attempting to see several cities throughout Europe, leaving in 2 days is a tease. Nonetheless, it’s manageable. I would recommend ample time if you are wanting to see more of Portugal and at least 3 days for the city of Lisbon itself.
What is the language spoken in Lisbon?:
- Most people speak Portuguese in Lisbon. English speakers are few but not uncommon. About 30% of the population speaks English.
Are there any vaccinations required when visiting Portugal as a U.S. Citizen?:
- None required for U.S. Citizens
Is Uber available in Lisbon?:
- Uber is available in Lisbon! Use it!
What is the value of the dollar in Lisbon?:
- Euros are the currency standard of Lisbon
- Portugal prices are on par compared to the U.S.
- Rates fluctuate but $1USD ~ 0.84 Euros (Rate as of October 2017)
- Download XECurrency app to see conversion rates. Great travel app and works offline
- Most establishments will take credit card
Can you drink the tap water in Portugal?:
- The tap water in Portugal is drinkable
Dining in Lisbon:
- Do not expect US Standards when it comes to restaurant service. Meals will take on average 1.5-3+ hours. The service isn't attentive like the states either - If you need a refill/want to order/request the check, you will most likely need to call the waiter over.
Flying within Europe/Portugal:
- Getting around in Europe and Portugal is affordable. Make sure to compare flight prices and times to train. We found the train to be more relaxing, scenic, and affordable in many circumstances. If you are planning your trip in advance, use google flights and apps like hopper to track your flight and get notifications on price increase/decrease and advice to take action and book.
Without further ado, here is the itinerary for 48 hours in Portugal!
Day 1: Traveling from Barcelona → Lisbon
7:10am - 8:10am: Flight from BCN to LIS
- You gain an hour going to Lisboa from BCN
- Price of flight: $112
- Airline: Vueling
- Airline Review: Nothing special
- Flight Duration: Under 2 hours
9:15am: Uber to lodge to drop off luggage
- Lodge: Airbnb in Chiado
- This Euro trip was the first time I’ve done a shared Airbnb. It worked out great. Location was solid and the price for two nights was a total of $135
- Here is the address to give you an idea of the prime location
Lodge: Rua da Misericórdia
Lisbon, Lisbon District 1200
10:00am - 11:00am: grab a bite near the walking tour
11:00am - 2:00pm: Free Walking Tour
- Meeting point: Camões Monument in Largo de Camões. Look for the team in red SANDEMANs Europe T-shirts! There will be a herd of folks gathering here. Great thing about staying in Chiado is that you can walk to the meeting point
- Sites visited on the walking tour:
- Bairro Alto
- The Great Earthquake of 1755
- Baixa Pombalina
- Carnation Revolution
- Rossio Square
- Praça do Comércio
- Portuguese Inquisition
- Carmo Convent
- The Age of Discovery
- Salazar dictatorship
- Santa Justa Elevator
- The Jewish Memorial
- This tour was high energy and engaging. Unfortunately...we lost the group because we got distracted by the meats and wine in Rossio Square….whoops!
2:30pm - 5:00pm: Belem Tour
- You will need to register and pay in advance for this tour
- Cost - 14 Euros
- Meeting point: the monument at Praça do Comércio
- Towards the end of this tour, we were exhausted from walking around. If you have more time in Portugal, I would recommend spacing this one out for another day
- One of the highlights of this tour was trying the famous Belem pastry from the original shop
- This tour is densely focused on the history of Belem and Portugal. If you’re into that, book it. If not, go bike Belem instead and make sure to get the famous pastry - they’re addicting and only 1 euro - see photo below -
6:00pm - 8:00pm: Downtime
8:30 pm: Reservation at Cantinho do Avillez Lisbon
Made by Mariana Marques
R. Duques de Bragança 7, 1200-162 Lisboa, Portugal
Distance from lodge: 4 mins by foot from Airbnb
- The chef of this restaurant is a Michelin Star Chef
- The restaurant is small, intimate, and affordable - we thoroughly enjoyed the experience!
- If you order the cheese item for dessert, it’s actual cheese, not a cheesecake
11:30pm - Hit the Bars in Chido!
There’s a bunch of European bars in Chido. You’ll find the young crowd hitting the streets hard any night of the week during the summer.
Day 2: Lisbon --> Sintra --> Cascais --> Lisbon
9:00 am - 6:00pm: Tour of Sintra and Cascais
- Cost: $128 for two people - totally worth it
Photo of what you can expect to see in Sintra:
Photo of what you can expect to see in Cascais:
If you’re on a time constraint, this tour is PERFECT to get a fix of both places. Now if you have more time..DEFINITELY spend at least a night in Sintra and a night in Cascais.
On our way to the palaces of Sintra, we passed several adorable bed and breakfasts. Research ahead and make a reservation to stay at one of these special places.
Cascais is an eclectic European town by the water and HELLA boujie. Some of Portugal’s wealthiest people live in Cascais. We wanted more time to walk around than the tour could allow for. Spending at least a night there can be worthwhile. Found the energy to be great during the day on Saturday!
6:00pm -8:00pm: Downtime
8:00pm: Reservation at Topo - rooftop bar
Commercial Center Martim Moniz, Praça Martim Moniz, 1100-341 Lisboa
Distance from lodge: 8 mins by car
- I would recommend arriving here before sunset. The have great music and a lively crowd.
- This bar is slightly confusing to find - you will need to take an elevator in a random building to arrive here, ask around if you get lost
- The food was DELICIOUS. We weren’t planning to have dinner here and ended up doing so because the little snacks we had were so good
- Check out the instavideo here to get a sense of the vibe
Day 3: Follow the journey as we go from Libson → Marrakesh
Pre-Flight breakfast: McDonald’s
Don't shy away from a McDonald's in other countries, they tend to have a unique menu tailored to the local cuisine . This below is a Tosta Mista - popular breakfast item in Portugal that tastes like a ham and cheese sandwich.
Please leave your experiences, highlights, and suggestions below! Share the wealth with the world!