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A Weekend in Lisbon: How to see Lisbon in 2 days

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So you’ve decided – you want to take a trip to Lisboa. Excellent choice! Portuguese coastal capital city is the place on everyone’s lips. It’s a perfect place for a city break because it is rich in history, and has stunning architecture, sea views and sunny weather. If you plan to spend a weekend here and you are wondering how to see Lisbon in 2 days, you are in the right place. While it may not feel long enough, this itinerary makes the most of your time. Yes, you are right, you can easily cover the top attractions on your visit during 48 hours in Lisbon.

weekend in Lisbon

Portuguese capital is a walkable city. Many of its attractions are in the same areas.


48 hours in Lisbon: The best things to do in Lisbon in 2 days

If you plan to spend 48 hours here, this detailed guide will show you how to see Lisbon in 2 days. We have cherry-picked some famous attractions and some funny activities to do once in this gorgeous city. Here is how we recommend you spend a weekend in this pretty city.


2 days in Lisbon – Day 1

You will spend your first 48 hours exploring the famous Alfama, Baixa and Bairro Alto districts. In these three neighbourhoods, you will find plenty of attractions to keep you occupied for a day. They are Lisbon’s historical centre and some of the most gorgeous districts of the city.


1. Praça do Comércio

2 days in Lisbon - Praça do Comércio

One of the first attractions you should head to is the Praça do Comércio, and there is a reason for that. This large harbour-facing plaza is one of the most famous landmarks in the city. The Praça do Comércio, surrounded by 18th-century symmetrical yellow buildings and a massive arch in the middle, looks across the Tagus River. Today, it is one of the largest squares in Portugal, but it was not always like that.

2 days in Lisbon itinerary - the Praça do Comércio

Maybe you don’t know, but the locals refer to this large square as Terreiro do Paço or Palace Yard in English. It’s because this large plaza was the site of the royal palace for 400 years. The Great Earthquake destroyed it, together with other fine buildings, churches and homes by the river. 


The Praça do Comércio

The Praça do Comércio has dimension of 175 by 175 m (574 by 574 ft). It was completely remodelled as a part of the rebuilding after the earthquake and tsunami. 



Before the earthquake, this square was once the finest gateway to the city. Royalty and ambassadors would arrive at the palace from the river. Find a grand marble staircase at the southern end of the plaza at the water’s edge. Two columns, known as the Cais das Colunas, mark the start of the marble steps, which once led straight into the Ribeira Palace.

the Cais das Colunas


You can find the city’s main tourism office (the Lisboa Welcome Centre) in one of the buildings on the northwest side of the square. In the opposite corner is city’s oldest café – the Martinho da Arcada. Also, do not miss a 14-metre-tall statue of King Jose I on a horse in the centre. He was King of Portugal during the Great Earthquake in 1755. 


2. Rua Augusta Arch

48 hours in Lisbon - The Rua Augusta Arch

Many tourists leave once they see the Praça do Comércio, but it’s worth staying here a little longer. Make your way to the Rua Augusta Arch on the square’s north side. This impressive triumphal arch leads into Rua Augusta – the city’s main pedestrianised shopping street. It is also the gateway to the Baixa neighbourhood.

The 19th-century Rua Augusta Arch is much younger than the rest of the square. The Portuguese architect designed it as a victory of the city against the 1755 earthquake. If you look closely, you can see this stone arch has numerous statues of important Portuguese figures, such as Vasco da Gama or the Marquis of Pombal. It even has a viewing platform at the top of the arch.

Lisbon in 2 days - Climb to the top of the Rua Augusta Arch for the best views

Did you know that you can climb the Rua Augusta Arch?


Climbing to the top of the Rua Augusta Arch is one of the best things to do in Lisbon in 2 days because it offers unique views of the city. The viewing platform offers 360 views of the Baixa district and the Tagus River. 



Buy a ticket and take an elevator to the top of the terrace. You will also need to use a spiral staircase to reach the terrace. Opening times of the Rua Augusta Arch are every day, 10 am until 7 pm. The ticket to the Rua Augusta Arch costs €3.50, included with the Lisbon Card.


3. Lisboa Story Centre

48 hours in Lisbon - Lisboa Story Centre and learn about the city's history

If you want to soak up the city’s rich past, the Lisboa Story Centre is one of the best places to visit when spending 48 hours in Lisbon. The Lisboa Story Centre is an interactive museum. It helps you travel back in time to discover the city’s history from its origins until today. It’s one of the city’s newest museums, and it is well worth a visit. 

During your visit, you will learn more about the darkest day in Portugal’s history– about the morning of All Saints Day on Saturday 1st of November 1755. The 1755 Lisbon earthquake reached a magnitude 9 and turned over half the city to rubble. After that, a tsunami flooded the lower part of the city, and the fire continued for seven days. Thousands of people lost their lives. 

Lisboa Story centre

Multimedia applications in 6 zones and the short 4D movie depicting the 1744 earthquake help you to understand the city’s history.


Visiting the Lisboa Story Centre is one of the best things to do in Lisbon in 2 days because you can learn more about the history of the Portuguese capital. In fact, it is the first place you should visit when exploring this city for the first time. 



The Lisboa Story Centre is open every day from 10 am until 7 pm (the last entry is at 6 pm). The visit to the museum lasts about 60 minutes. The entry fee to the Lisboa Story Century is €3,00, free with the Lisbon Card.


4. Alfama district

explore Alfama district

Afterwards, explore the streets of the Alfama district, which you can find just a short walk from the Praça do Comércio. This neighbourhood, which spans from the Tagus River all the way up to the São Jorge Castle, is one of the most beautiful districts in the city. It has small squares and steep, narrow streets with traditional houses and shops selling traditional crafts. The historic tram number 28 also winds through Alfama on its way to the castle. 

Strolling through the Alfama district is one of the best things to do in Lisbon in 2 days because this is the oldest district in the city. Moreover, the Alfama district was once the most desirable quarter of the city. The buildings survived the 1755 earthquake, and their viewpoints offer the best city views.

The layout of Alfama has remained pretty much unchanged, and that is why you feel like you have travelled back in time. 


5. Lisbon Cathedral

48 hours in Lisbon - Lisbon Cathedral

Sé, built by the first king on the site of the old mosque


Your next stop should be Lisbon Cathedral, or the Sé de Lisboa, as the locals call it. You can find it on the main road from Baixa to the Alfama neighbourhood. This cathedral lies at the junction between two streets, where the famous tram 28 runs along. Because of that, this cathedral is one of the iconic photo spots in the city, and many tourists visit it when they spend 48 hours in Lisbon.


About the cathedral

But there are other reasons why we put this cathedral on the list of the best things to see when you spend a weekend here. Probably you do not know, but this Roman Catholic Cathedral is one of the most iconic religious buildings in the city. Lisbon Cathedral is, in fact, the oldest church in the city. It dates back to the 12th century.

You are quite right to think that this pretty church survived many earthquakes. Because of that, it has different architectural styles. The locals partially rebuilt it at the beginning of the 20th century. Today, it’s a National Monument.

2 days in Lisbon - explore the Sé de Lisboa

The 1755 earthquake largely destroyed this cathedral.


The highlights are beautiful stained glass windows, the Gothic cloister, an impressive organ and a 14th-century baptismal font. Also, see remains of its Roman and Arab past.


Lisbon Cathedral is open from 9.30 am – 6 pm Monday – Friday. You can visit it from 10 am on Saturdays (closed on Sundays). There is no entry fee to the cathedral, but if you want to see the cloisters, you pay €2.50. Expect to spend 20 minutes at the cathedral with an additional 20 minutes for the cloisters.

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6. Ride Lisbon’s Tram 28

48 hours in Lisbon - Ride the famous Tram 28

You cannot spend a weekend in this city without riding the city’s famous Tram 28. This iconic yellow tram route winds through the narrow and curvy streets and passes the most scenic corners of the city. That is why Tram 28 has become popular with tourists and is on the bucket list of everyone who visits it.

The starting point of the Tram 28 route is Martim Moniz, and the terminal station for everyone coming from the opposite direction (Campo Ourique). The major attractions on the route include churches and numerous viewpoints. The entire trip takes between 48 minutes and one hour (depending on traffic).

A ride on the number 28 tram to see the most scenic corners of the city.

 A ride on the number 28 tram is one of the highlights of Lisbon in 2 days. The Tram 28 follows this route: Martim Moniz – Graca – Portas de Sol (Alfama) – Se Cathedral – Rua Conceição  (Baixa) -Chiado -Sao Bento – Estrela – Campo Ourique.



Tram 28 is the most popular tram, and the queues for this tram can be very long. If possible, plan your ride for the early morning or after the evening rush hour. The first tram 28 starts just before 6 am. The last one departs at 10.30 pm on weekends or at 11 pm on weekdays.  

You can buy a single ticket for 3 euros from a driver. If you want to save money, buy a Viva Viagem card at a metro station for €0.50 and top this up during your stay. You can ride tram 28 and other trams for free if you have a Lisbon Card. Alternatively, get a 24-hour public transport ticket at any metro station for €6.60.


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2 days in Lisbon


7. Miradouro de Santa Luzia

2 days in Lisbon - Miradouro de Santa Lucia

Did you know there are numerous viewpoints in the city? One of our favourites is the Miradouro de Santa Lucia, which is only a 7-minute walk from the cathedral. Why you should come here? Because it has a beautiful landscaped terrace. It is also one of the most romantic spots in the city. The rooftop terrace has gorgeous views of the old Alfama district and the Tagus River. This viewpoint is a perfect place to relax and try some drinks and food before you continue exploring the city. The Miradouro de Santa Lucia is an ideal place to watch a sunset. It gets super busy in the afternoon. 


You can find the Miradouro de Santa Lucia next to the church with the same name. You can walk here from the cathedral, or take tram number 28 or 12 (Lg. Portas Sol stop). Alternatively, take the bus 737 that stops at the corner of this viewpoint.


8. Miradouro das Portas do Sol

2 days in Lisbon - find Miradouro das Portas do Sol for gorgeous city views

If there is one more viewpoint you should visit when exploring this part of the district, it is the Miradouro das Portas do Sol. The Miradouro das Portas do Sol is very close to the Miradouro de Santa Luzia – it will take only one minute to get there. 

The Miradouro das Portas do Sol is a mandatory stop for everyone who wants to take perfect pictures. This viewpoint offers gorgeous views of the old town and of the water. From here, you can see the Monastery of St. Vincent and the National Pantheon. Do not miss this viewpoint when you spend 48 hours in Lisbon.


Lisbon viewpoints to visit


9. São Jorge Castle

Lisbon in 2 days - São Jorge Castle

In the late afternoon of the first day, visit the São Jorge Castle, which you can find on Lisbon’s highest hill. The history of Saint George’s Castle dates back to at least the 8th century BC, but the oldest fortifications are even older.

The Saint George’s Castle has played a significant part in the city’s history. After the Portuguese recaptured this city from the Moors in the 12th century, King Alfonso I of Portugal transformed their citadel into a Royal Palace. Since then, the castle has served as a theatre, prison and military barracks. After the 1755 earthquake, the defensive walls remained in the ruins for almost 200 years. 

Even though the São Jorge Castle is not authentic, it is well worth a visit. The 20th-century recreation of the São Jorge Castle is today one of the most famous tourist sites in the city. It is a national monument with an archaeological museum within its castle grounds. 


Take a tram 28 to the top of the hill. Don’t miss Torre de Ulisses – it has a camera obscura that projects views of the city onto the tower’s inside. 


São Jorge Castle offers gorgeous views of the city.

Visiting the São Jorge Castle is one of the best things to do when you spend 48 hours here because it offers beautiful views over the city. In fact, the São Jorge Castle is one of the best sunset spots because it has a large shaded observation terrace. Climb the towers and walk along its reconstructed castle walls – they offer gorgeous views. 


Allow yourself at least 1 hour and a half to fully explore the castle grounds and enjoy the views. The entry ticket to the São Jorge Castle costs 15 euros for an adult (not included in the Lisboa Card). Do not forget to buy skip-the-line tickets to avoid long lines during the busy months.

The opening times of the São Jorge Castle are every day from 9 am – 9 pm. The castle closes at 6 pm if you visit between November and February. 


10. Santa Justa Lift

The Santa Justa Lift

If you have any energy left, find the Santa Justa Lift in the historic centre. This Neo-Gothic lift connects the lower streets of the Baixa district with the higher streets of the Largo do Carmo area. An apprentice of Gustave Eiffel designed this iconic lift at the turn of the 20th century. The Santa Justa lift, made from iron, measures 45 metres (147 ft). It is one of the most famous features of the Baixa neighbourhood

Lisbon in 2 days - The Santa Justa Lift

The Santa Justa Lift is one of the most popular attractions in the city, and it gets super busy very quickly. The main reason why tourists flock here is that the Santa Justa lift has a viewing platform that offers gorgeous views of the city. 



Arrive early in the morning, otherwise expect a long queue. The opening times of the Santa Justa lift are from 7 am – 11 pm (7.30 pm – 9 pm winter). A ride costs €5.30 for the return ticket, which you can buy at the foot of the lift. The Lisboa Card gets you a free ride, but you pay €1.50 for the viewing platform. 



If you don’t want to wait in a long queue, walk up to the viewing platform instead. Head to Largo di Carmo and look for a small street passing around the Carmo ruins. Follow it, and you will get to the viewpoint where you can enjoy the same views. 


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11. Bairro Alto Neighbourhood

The hilltop Bairro Alto is one of the most picturesque districts in the city, and you need to visit it when you spend a weekend here. It is hard to believe that this beautiful district became a run-down area with prostitutes in the 19th century. Today, the Bairro Alto is a peaceful area with cobbled streets, centuries-old buildings and vibrant street art. This area is the most famous for the best food and nightlife scene, so if you are a night owl, this is a place to go. 


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48 hours in Lisbon


2 days in Lisbon – Day 2

what to do in Lisbon in 2 days

As you already know, you will spend your first 48 hours exploring its city centre. We recommend you wake up early to beat the crowds on your second day. 

On your second day, you will explore the gorgeous Belem district, where you can find famous landmarks. Some of these attractions are UNESCO sites. You can’t miss them during your 2 days in LisbonBelem lies about 6 km west of its city centre. You will need to take the tram number 15 from Praça do Comércio. Alternatively, take the train which departs from Cais do Sodré Station to Cascais every 20 minutes (Belem stop).


12. Belem Tower

Lisbon in 2 days - Belem Tower

One of the best attractions you can explore in Lisbon in 2 days is the Belem Tower, and there is a reason for that. Belem Tower is a symbol of Portugal’s great Age of Discovery during the 16th century. The locals built it in the 1500s as a fortress with watchtowers in the middle of the river. Belem Tower was once the starting point for the navigators who set to discover the trade routes. 

Today, the Belem Tower is one of the best things to see in Lisbon because it is a UNESCO World Heritage site. One of the reasons why you should visit it is that it has beautiful Manueline architecture and beautiful views from the tower. 

The Belem Tower is one of the most visited attractions in the city, and it can get hectic. Hence, don’t forget to visit early in the morning. Make sure you buy your skip-the-line tickets before visiting. 


The Belem Tower is open every day from 10 am until 5.30 pm (6.30 pm in the summer) except Mondays. The ticket to the Belem Tower costs 6 euros (free with the Lisboa card). Don’t forget to go to the ticket office first, even if you have a Lisboa card. You can find it in the gardens in front of the tower. 


Arrive before 10 am in the morning. Otherwise, you will need to join a long queue. Also, visit the tower first (also a long line) and then explore the terrace and the dungeon.


13. Jerónimos Monastery

48 hours in Lisbon - Jerónimos Monastery

Your next stop should be the Jerónimos Monastery, which you can find 15 minutes walk away from the Belem Tower. The Jerónimos Monastery is also one of the most visited attractions in the city. Therefore, it must be on your itinerary when exploring Lisbon in 2 days

Maybe you do not know, but the 500 years old Jerónimos Monastery is also a UNESCO World Heritage site. King Manuel I commissioned its construction after Vasco da Gama returned from his historic voyage from India. The Jerónimos Monastery is a symbol of the wealth of the Age of Discovery. Its construction took over 100 years, and it survived the infamous 1755 earthquake.

Seeing the Jerónimos Monastery is one of the best things to do when you spend a weekend in Lisbon because it has one of the most beautiful churches in Portugal. The highlights are the tomb of Vasco da Gama in the Church of Santa Maria and the beautifully decorated cloister.



The Jerónimos Monastery is open every day from 10 am. until 5 pm. (closed on Mondays). You do not need to pay a fee if you want to visit the Church of Santa Maria. If you plan to see the rest of the monastery, you pay 10 euros per person (free with the Lisbon card). 

Expect to spend around 2 hours here as there is a lot to see. Also, the Jerónimos Monastery has long queues during the summer months.


14. Pasteis de Belem

Pasteis de Belem

When you spend 48 hours in Lisbon, chances are you will realise that almost every bakery sells Pastel de nata. This Portuguese egg custard pastry tart is one of the most famous tarts in the country. What you do not know is that the monks in the Jerónimos Monastery created its original recipe in the 19th century. 

Your next stop should be the famous bakery Pastéis de Belém, which you can find only a short walk from the monastery. This popular bakery with blue tiles sells around 20,000 tarts every day. They use the original recipe from the monks.

2 days in Lisbon - visit the famous bakery Pastéis de Belém


Pastéis de Belém is open every day from 8 am until 9 pm. The lines can be very long, but they move very quickly.


15. Monument of Discoveries

Lisbon in 2 days - Monument of Discoveries

If there is one more thing you should see, it is also the Monument of Discoveries. This massive monument commemorates the 500th anniversary of the death of Henry the Navigator. The locals built this 52-metre (170 ft) tall monument in the 1960s on the banks of the Tagus River. 

When you look closely, you can see statues of the greatest explorers in Portugal in the 16th century. There is also a massive pavement compass in front of it. This large mosaic map of the world shows the locations and dates of each new land discovered. 

a massive pavement compass shows the locations and dates of each new land discovered.


Take a lift to the viewing platform at the top of the monument and see beautiful views. From here, you can see the pavement compass, the Belem Tower, the Jerónimos Monastery and the 25 April Bridge. 


The entrance fee to the museum and the viewing platform costs 6 euros. The opening times of the monument are 10 am until 7 pm every day during the high season. If you visit between October and February, the Monument of Discoveries closes at 6 pm (not open on Mondays). 


16. Sailing tour on the Tagus River

Sailing tour on the Tagus River

We also recommend you go on a sailing tour on the Tagus River. A Tagus boat tour lasts approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes. During this time, you can see the city’s main monuments, such as the Belem Tower and the Monument of Discoveries. You will also see the Christ the King Statues on the south bank and sail underneath the long 25 de Abril Bridge. 

Do not worry – the waters here are calm, so you can relax and enjoy stunning views. If you opt for the sunset option, you can witness the sunset over the city’s skyline. This sailing tour is perfect for couples.


17. Other things to do in Belem

If you want to explore Belem for a little longer, you should know that this district has many museums, parks and gardens. If you want to know what else you can see in Belem, read our article about things to do in Belem.


best things to do in Belem you shouldn't miss


18. Ribeira das Naus

On your way back from Belem, catch a train and get off at Cais do Sodre Station. When you disembark the train, go to Ribeira das Naus. It is a riverfront promenade between Praça do Comércio and Cais do Sodré and is one of the must-visit places. 

Ribeira das Naus has a beautiful landscaped promenade with a river beach and a large grassy area. Even though you can’t bathe here, this area is well worth a visit. Largely pedestrianized Ribeira das Naus is one of the popular places to see because it offers beautiful views. It is a popular spot for sunset views.


The sun disappears behind the bridge during the early winter months, and in the autumn.


19. Pink street

48 hours in Lisbon - Pink Street

If you want to capture a perfect Instagram spot, find Pink Street. Maybe you do not know, but this street was once the city’s Red Light district with dodgy places and shady bars. It’s not a place of crime and prostitution anymore. 

Today Pink Street has numerous bars and restaurants and is bustling with nighttime activities. If you want that perfect Instagram shot, visit Pink Street early in the morning unless it is off-season. 


Pink Street is easy to find – it is only a short three-minute walk from the Cais do Sodre train station. The Bairro Alto District and the Santa Justa Lift are only about a 10-minute walk away from here.

Pink Street


20. Elevador da Bica

 It’s easy to see why many tourists put the Elevador da Bica high on their bucket list. The Elevador da Bica is the most photographed funicular in the city. This vintage funicular railway line connects the steep streets of the Bairro Alto district and the Bica neighbourhood. 

48 hours in Lisbon - Elevador da Bica

The Elevador da Bica offers perfect photo opportunities. Tourists flock here to spot a yellow tram ascending one of the steepest hills in the city. The Elevador da Bica is so popular that it became a national monument in 2002. 


The Elevador da Bica railway line is about 250 metres (820 ft) long and connects Rua de São Paulo and Largo do Calhariz via Rua da Bica de Duarte Belo. If you plan to take the Elevador da Bica, you should know that the lower station hides behind an arch of a building on the Rua de Sao Paulo 234. It has the inscription “Ascensor da Bica” (no. 234).


Now you know what to do in Lisbon in 2 days!


Is 48 hours in Lisbon enough?

48 hours in Lisbon will give you a good taste of what this city has to offer. Since it is fairly compact, you can see all the main attractions in Lisbon in 2 days. However, if you want to explore Sintra or Cascais, you will need to add one more day.


Spending longer than 2 days in Lisbon?

If your answer is yes, you should know there are numerous beautiful places to see nearby. If you have spare time during your stay, consider visiting Sintra or nearby Cascais.


What to do in Sintra


a day trip from Lisbon to Cascais


Where to stay

where to stay for 2 days

Not sure where to stay for 48 hours? If you have only 2 days, it’s wise to stay in the city centre. This way you will be able to walk almost everywhere you want. Baixa, Chiado, Alfama and Bairro Alto are centrally located districts. They are the perfect home base if you want to explore Lisbon in 2 days. 

There are plenty of hotels and Airbnb’s to choose from, varying in cost, depending on the location and attractions nearby.


How to get to the city centre from the airport

how to get from the airport to the city centre

Lisbon’s airport is only 10 km (6 mi) from the city centre. So even if you have only 48 hours in Lisbon, you have plenty of time to explore the city. There are numerous ways to get to there from the airport:


The Lisbon Airport has a metro station. It has a direct line (red line) to the city centre. The metro runs between 6.30 am and 1 am, and it is the cheapest way to travel. It takes approximately 20 minutes (Baixa) to get to the centre from the airport.

A single ticket cost €1.45 from a ticket machine. It is for the entire journey, even if you need to change on two metro lines. You can also buy a 24-hour unlimited public transport ticket for 6.30 euros. Alternatively, use your Lisbon Card or buy the reusable Viva Viagem card, which costs 50 cents. After that, you can top up the card for the metro and the bus network. 



You can also take a bus from the airport to the city centre. Company Carris operates this shuttle service between the airport and the city centre. They stop at the main hotel and have the same prices as the metro. However, you should know they have a luggage limit. 

There are two lines to choose from. Line 1 serves only the historic centre and the Baixa neighbourhood. You can use this line if you travel to Praça da Figueira, Praça do Comércio, aka Terreiro do Paço, Cais do Sodré, and Rossio.

Alternatively, use line 2, which goes to Avenida José Malhoa (via Entre Campos, Saldanha, and Marquês do Pombal). It also goes to the Sete Rios bus terminal before it turns and goes back to the airport. 


You can also take a taxi from the airport (Terminal 1), but it is the most expensive option. The journey to the centre usually takes 15 – 20 minutes, but expect long queues. Expect to pay around 25 euros if you go to the city centre.


Lisbon Card

The Lisbon Card is worth it if you plan to see a lot of attractions during your stay. This card allows you to travel free, and you get free access to the best 35 museums and attractions. You also get a discount on other attractions.

There are three cards to choose from, depending on how long you stay in the city. You can choose between a 24-hour card (€21), a 48-hour card (€35) and also a 72-hour card (€44 for an adult).


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48 hours in Lisbon

Have you been here? Did we miss anything? Please let us know in the comments below. If you like our post about 48 hours in Lisbon, save it also to Pinterest.


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Last updated: 05/05/2024

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