Who doesn’t love a city break? Us lucky Europeans (let’s all pretend Brexit isn’t a thing) have so many diverse destinations practically on our doorstep. Our city of choice for a short break back in November was Lisbon. With temperate weather year round and under 3hrs flight time from London, a long weekend in Lisbon is always a good idea – especially if you can get a cheap flight deal!
Where to Stay?
If you’re only planning on spending a long weekend in Lisbon, or a few days midweek, being centrally located is key to seeing all the sights in a short space of time. We prioritised nightlife when looking at accommodation. I prefer to walk that little bit further during the day and know that restaurants & bars are on my doorstep so I don’t have a long journey ‘home’ late at night.
So if you’re planning on heading out during the evenings the Bairro Alto area of Lisbon is where you’ll want to be. We stayed in a gorgeous 2 bedroom apartment that we booked on AirBnB. I’ve linked our exact apartment and couldn’t recommend the place enough. Our host was amazing and helped us plan our entire itinerary, the apartment was clean & well maintained and there were plenty of bars and restaurants nearby (without being too noisy).
Things to do…
Lisbon is a beautiful city. Vibrant architecture, brilliant blue skies and a shimmering waterfront. We spent our time exploring the city on foot, just wandering and soaking in the atmosphere.
However, we did have a rough plan which I’ll share with you below. Throw in plenty of pit stops for tapas & wine and you’ve got a winning itinerary for a long weekend in Lisbon
We arrived late in the afternoon, so our itinerary didn’t get going until day two…
– Start your day in Estrela. The walk there from Bairro Alto is around 30 minutes and gives you a good chance to just wander and take in the city. Jardim de Estrela is a lovely park, well worth grabbing breakfast around here and people watching outside a cafe. Alternatively, grab some food to go and take a walk through the park.
– From Estrela pick up the iconic No.28 tram. You really can’t spend a long weekend in Lisbon without riding this famous tram. Ride the no.28 all the way to Largo das Portas do Sol. It’s a 30 minute trip so take in views of the city along the way!
– At Largo das Portas do Sol there are plenty of restaurants, some even have terraces with views out to the waterfront. Once you’ve refueled take the uphill walk to Castelo de S. Jorge. An absolute must see in Lisbon. Atop the highest hill in Lisbon this castle is not only a site filled with history, but also offers uninterrupted views across the city.
– Estrela, no.28 tram and exploring Lisbon’s iconic castle will take up the best part of a day. With sore feet, head back to Bairro Alto to freshen up, grab dinner and hit the bars
The next day…
….with rested feet (but sore heads) we crossed the water to Cacilhas.
– Pick up the ferry from the Cais do Sodré terminal, be sure to grab a window seat and take in the views of Lisbon from the water.
– Over in Cacilhas there are several charming (& cheap) cafes, bars & restaurants.
– For my favourite view of Lisbon, you’ve got to put in the steps. 3km (mostly uphill) from the ferry terminal is the National Sanctuary of Christ the King. On a hot day, or any day to be perfectly honest, it’s a workout but the views from the top make it worth it.
– After catching the ferry back, enjoy sunset on the waterfront. We drank far too many jugs of sangria at Vestigius Bar, right by the ferry terminal.
Bairro Alto is the place to be when it comes to nightlife in Lisbon. There are plenty of happy hours, cheap and cheerful joints as well as live music. We found most of our favourite spots by wandering the cobbled lanes and popping into anywhere that looked to have a good atmosphere.
One place you definitely should not miss: Pavilhão Chinês. Even if you just grab the one drink, be sure to visit this eclectic bar/museum during your long weekend in Lisbon. With several rooms, all differently themed and filled to the brim with toys dating back to both World Wars.
So how long should you stay in Lisbon? We spent four days here, arriving on day 1 and departing day 4. I think this was just enough time to see a good amount of the city. However, if you have more time you certainly won’t be bored!
If you’ve spent a long weekend in Lisbon too drop your recommendations in the comments – sharing is caring 🙂
Abbie May Travel