Lisbon

For other places with the same name, see Lisbon (disambiguation).

Lisbon (Portuguese: Lisboa) is the capital of Portugal situated on seven hills at the wide mouth of the river Tagus (Tejo) where it meets the Atlantic Ocean. A port city, an economic centre, a cultural powerhouse and a thriving mix of Portugal's rich history and vivid contemporary culture, Lisbon enchants travellers with its white bleached limestone buildings, intimate alleyways, and an easy going charm that makes it a popular year round destination.

Lisbon is also the capital of the Lisbon Region, comprising many other splendid tourist destinations such as the UNESCO World Heritage site of Sintra, the seaside resorts of Estoril and Cascais, or Almada famous for its hilltop Cristo Rei statue, all of which are connected with Lisbon by excellent public transportation links.

Central Lisbon seen from a plane landing at Portela, looking south; the green strip is Parque Eduardo VII terminating at Praça Marquês de Pombal

Understand

Lisbon is built on seven hills, so getting around Lisbon can be a workout. Numerous slopes and few really flat areas is one of Lisbon's trademarks. This is also a city of enchanting contrasts: The elegant squares, broad avenues, monumental buildings and rectangular layout of the lower areas quickly gives way to the hilly, narrow, winding, unpredictable and cramped streets of districts such as Alfama and Bairro Alto. The elegant dining rooms and smart rooftop bars of expensive hotels seems like a different world compared to the excellent restaurants disguised behind an inconspicuous façade in a modest Bairro Alto street. Quality patisseries and restaurants thrive side by side with late night bars and noisy discos. The old, tiny squeaky trams (one of the city's trademarks) is no less of a contrast to the efficient metro network.

Climate

 Climate Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
 
Daily highs (°C) 14.8 16.2 18.8 19.8 22.1 25.7 27.9 28.3 26.5 22.5 18.2 15.3
Nightly lows (°C) 8.3 9.1 11.0 11.9 13.9 16.6 18.2 18.6 17.6 15.1 11.8 9.4
Precipitation (mm) 99.9 84.9 53.2 68.1 53.6 15.9 4.2 6.2 32.9 100.8 127.6 126.7

Source:w:Lisbon#Climate
Portugal may be a Southern European country, but Lisbon is a port on the Atlantic coast, so be prepared for wind and rain

Lisbon enjoys a Subtropical-Mediterranean climate, with mild winters and very warm summers. Strongly influenced by the Gulf Stream it is one of the mildest climates in Europe. Among all the metropolises in Europe, here are the warmest winters on the continent, with average temperatures above 15.2°C (59.4°F) during the day and 8.9°C (48.0°F) at night in the period from December to February. Snow and frost are unknown. The typical summer's season lasts about 6 months, from May to October, with an average temperature of 25°C (77°F) during the day and 16.2°C (61.2°F) at night, although also in November, March and April sometimes there are temperature above 20°C (68.0°F) with an average temperature of 18.5°C (65°F) during the day and 11.2°C (52.2°F) at night. Rain occurs mainly in winter, the summer is very dry.

Lisbon is very close to the ocean and that brings windy and fast-changing weather, so you'd better bring a jacket or an umbrella with you, at least in winter, spring and autumn.

Following the Great Earthquake, Marquis Pombal led the effort to redesign and rebuild the lower town in an organized fashion

Orientation

The city stretches along the northern bank of the river Tejo as it flows into the Atlantic Ocean. As the terrain rises north away from the water, steep streets and stairways form the old tangled neighbourhoods or give way to green parks in the western suburbs. Basic navigation is easy by learning the main axis from the Praça do Comércio (the waterfront) through Rossion (main square) and Avenida da Liberdade (main street) to Praça de Marques de Pombal and Parque Eduardo VII on the top. Each neighbourhood (such as Alfama or Bairro Alto) is distinct and easy to recognize. The hilltop castle and the waterfront are clear reference points, landmark structures such as the Santa Justa elevator, the Rossio station façade, the massive Cathedral (Sé de Lisboa), the white dome of Santa Engrácia and Augusta street arc (Arco da rua Augusta) also adds to the sense of direction. Also look out for the two huge bridges across the Tejo. Navigating the winding, hilly and narrow streets can challenging however, only the most detailed map gives the precise location.

It is often said that Lisbon lacks a defined "downtown", but tourists will find most of their points of interest in relatively compact area centred around the vast Praça do Comércio, facing the river. This is the starting point of the pedestrianized grid of Baixa (lower town), which immediately borders other historic quarters of Alfama, Chiado and Bairro Alto. Further northwest from Baixa stretches Avenida da Liberdade, a broad boulevard resplendent in leafy trees, chic hotels and upmarket shops, terminating at the circular Praça de Marques de Pombal. The financial centre, however, is further removed (hence the notion of "no downtown") up north towards the hills, and not directly connected to the historic districts.

Other districts of interest to the tourists are generally those by the riverside - the historic Belem in the southwest, the modern Parque de Nacoes in the northeast and the gentrifying Alcantara by the Bridge of April 25.

Baixa

Districts

Rossio square linking the Baixa to Avenida de Libertade

Since December 2012, Lisbon was reorganised into five zones (zonas), which are further divided into 24 civil parishes (freguesias). While the zonas reflect the actual characteristics of each area well, which also aids orientation for the tourists, freguesias serve mostly administrative purposes and are of little interest to tourists. More important are the unofficial bairros (neighbourhoods), which lack administratively defined boundaries, but are entrenched in local tradition and referred to in most tourist guides and even official publications. The main characteristics of each zone and most prominent bairros are outlined below.

Centro Historico

The historic centre of Lisbon is the river-front belt formed by the hills of Bairro Alto and Alfama and the flat area of Baixa between them. It contains the following bairros:

The grand Praça do Marquês de Pombal is perhaps the most central place in Lisbon, where three major Avenidas meet.
Centro

The geographic centre of Lisbon is also its economic and civic centre, with the main shopping and leisure boulevard of Avenida da Libertade, the large parks and prominent museums, as well as modern office towers scattered across Avenidas Novas and the hills of Campolide.

Head to the east to Belem to better understand Lisbon's relationship with the Atlantic Ocean
Ocidental

Zona Ocidental, or the western zone, extends west of the historic centre along the riverside and encompasses the following bairros, which here actually coincide with official fregusias:

The modern Parque de Nacoes is in the east of Lisbon
Oriental

Zona Oriental is the eastern zone, following northeastwards from the centre. Most of the area are residential districts and industrial docklands of little interest to the tourists, with the exception of the Parque de Nacoes - the ultra-modern district built at the easternmost end of Lisbon for the 1998 World Expo, making the most of its river-front location.

Norte

The North of Lisbon is of precious little interest to the tourists, except perhaps for the Jardim Zoologico (zoo) and the Sete Rios long-distance coach and train station, both at the very southern tip of the zone.

Tourist information

  Lisboa Ask Me Centre, Pç. do Comércio,  +351 21 031-2815. open 09:00-20:00 daily. The sparkling new centre will help you find accommodation and the staff are happy to dispense advice, maps and brochures. Smaller Ask Me Lisboa kiosks are dotted about the Rossio district and airport and their multilingual staff also have maps and brochures.

The Lisboa Card, which can be purchased from tourist information outlets, offers free use of all public transport in the city and free or reduced price tickets to many museums, galleries and tourist attractions. They can be purchased in 24 hour adult €17, 48 hour €27 and 72 hour (€33 denominations. They are not very good value unless you plan to visit a lot of museums. Especially so if you are a holder of a student identification card (international or national) since the student discounts to these attractions are often the same as for the Lisboa Card.

Get in

As one can see when landing, the Portela Airport is basically inside the city of Lisbon and minutes from the shores of the river Tagus

By plane

Main check-in area at Terminal 1

Portugal's largest international airport is the Aeroporto de Lisboa (Aeroporto da Portela) (IATA: LIS). It's between Loures and Lisboa and just 7km (4 mi) from the city centre.

The airport has two terminals. All flights arrive at Terminal 1, while Terminal 2 is used for departures by low-fare carriers. The metro station, bus stops and main taxi rank are at Terminal 1. Terminal 2 is physically separate and quite distant from Terminal 1. There is a free shuttle bus between the terminals running at around 10 minute intervals. If you depart from Lisbon on a low-fare flight operated by Easyjet, Norwegian, Ryanair or Transavia, do add the extra time needed to make sure you catch the shuttle and transfer to Terminal 2 in time for your departure.

Connections

The airport is dominated by Portuguese national carrier TAP Portugal, a Star Alliance member airline that covers an extensive network throughout Europe, Africa and the Americas, usually in codeshare with local Star Alliance partners. This is complimented by SATA International, the airline of the Azores, who connect Lisbon not only to the archipelago but also the East Coast of North America. Canadian and US-based carriers also offer seasonal and year-round direct flights to Lisbon.

Other European flag carriers, especially those allied in SkyTeam and Oneworld, as well as independent, also operate direct flights from major European cities to Lisbon. Portela airport is also well served by low-fare European carriers EasyJet and Ryanair, for whom Lisbon is a base, as well as others such as Norwegian, Transavia and Vueling.

On balance, Lisbon Airport sees very few direct connections to Asia. TAP has no Asian destinations, so travelling to or from Far East requires changing at one of the European hubs or Dubai, from where Emirates, as the singular Middle Eastern carrier, offers a direct service.

Landing approach

The approach to the airport most often used for landings takes the plane on a majestic sweep over the city. Grab a window seat on the right side for a free show as you float over the Tagus and both bridges, the statue of Cristo Rei in Almada, the old aqueduct and the football stadium of Benfica; further out you'll easily be able to discern the castle, the streets of Baixa, the old quarters of Alfama and Mouraria, and right before touchdown - the Oriente train station and Parque das Nações.

With the station directly underneath Terminal 1, the Vermelha (red) line of the Lisbon metro offers a direct underground connection to many destinations in Lisbon, but getting to the historic centre requires at least one transfer

Getting from/to the airport

Lisbon's efficient and dense public transportation network provides links form the Portela airport to almost every point in the city, so unless you have heavy luggage or some other reason not to, do take advantage of the public transit options. They're not only cheaper, but taxi drivers in Lisbon also have a somewhat tarnished reputation for poor service and frequent overcharging attempts, even among the locals.

The unmistakeable roof of Gare do Oriente is a sight to behold

By train

Santa Apolonia is Lisbon's historic train station right at the riverside

There are two main stations,   Santa Apolónia in the city centre and the   Gare do Oriente, a bit further out and used by the high-speed trains. However, if you are entering Lisbon from the south, you may want to get off at the smaller stations of Entrecampos or Sete Rios. Their metro stations are closer to the historic centre than Oriente (you need to change metro lines to get to the centre from there).

The domestic high-speed line Alfa Pendular connects Braga, Porto and Coimbra with Lisbon from the north and Faro from the south. Prices between the major cities starts at €40 in second class. All trains call at Oriente, only some in Apolonia. The travel times on Alfa Pendular from Lisbon are around 1h45 to Coimbra, 2h45 to Porto, 3h25 to Braga and 3h sharp to Faro. Regular Intercidade trains are also available, and by stopping at intermediate stations they add 20 to 40 minutes to each route. Train tickets may be booked directly with the train company, Comboios de Portugal.

Two international services are available, the overnight Sud Express leaves Irun on the border between Spain and France every day at 18:50 (6:50PM). The train calls at Oriente station at 07:20 the next morning before arriving in Santa Apolónia just ten minutes later. There is also a daily sleeper train from Madrid named Lusitania leaving Chamartin station at 21:50 (9:50PM), arriving early next morning at 07:20 in Oriente and a few minutes later at Apolónia. Prices on both trains vary and can be heavily discounted to less than €40 for "cama turista" (a sleeping berth in a four berth shared compartment) if you watch the Renfe booking site a month or two in advance.

By car

Vasco da Gama Bridge

Lisbon can be accessed from six main highways. Coming from the south (A2) or east (A6 - the main route from Madrid), there are the two bridges:

From/to south: The A2 goes all the way to the 25 de Abril bridge, which usually has lots of traffic getting into Lisbon, especially on weekday mornings. This is the best option if you want to go to the centre of Lisbon or to the west (A5 - Estoril, Cascais, Sintra).

To north / to east: If you branch from the A2 into the A12, you'll get to the Vasco da Gama bridge, the longest bridge in Europe, it usually has less traffic than the older 25 de Abril bridge (but a more expensive toll). This is the best option to go to the eastern/northern section of Lisbon (to the airport and to the Parque das Nações - the former Expo 98 site), and also to take the A1 or A8 going north.

From/to north and the airport: Coming from the north, there is the A1, that connects Lisbon to Santarém, Fátima, Leiria, Coimbra, Aveiro, Porto. The A1 ends near the airport. There's also the A8, which goes to Torres Vedras, Caldas da Rainha, Alcobaça, Leiria.

From the west, there is the A5, which connects to Estoril, Cascais, and the IC19 that crosses all the suburbs and ends near Sintra.

Lisbon has three ring roads: The 2ª circular, which connects the A1 to the IC19; the CRIL IC17 (still incomplete), which connects the Vasco da Gama bridge with the A1 and A8; and the CREL A9, which connects the A1 with the A8, IC19, A5, and goes all the way to the Estoril coast.

By bus

All nearby cities and most major cities in Portugal have direct buses to Lisbon. The main bus terminal is at   Sete Rios (Metro: Jardim Zoológico). The main operator for long-haul buses is Rede Nacional de Expressos.

By boat

Lisbon is a major port on the Atlantic coast both for cargo and cruise traffic. Most major cruise ship operators include Lisbon in their itineraries, so it should be reasonably easy to find a cruise route that would take you there. That said, regular shuttle ferry traffic is limited to joining the banks of the Tagus river, i.e. there are no ferries to Lisbon other than the small ones from neighbouring municipalities.

The cruise terminals are at:

For those coming in by smaller boats, the Port of Lisbon operates four marinas - Alcantara, Belem, Bom Successo and Santo Amaro. You can find all the details at the Port of Lisbon website. Alternatively, you may moor at Marina Parque de Nacoes, which is operated as a separate entity.

By bicycle

Cycling outside Lisbon can be a challenge, as Lisbon offers far easier cycling than what you may find outside of the city. The further you get from Lisbon however, the easier the cycling gets. You may wish to take advantage of certain regional trains that take bicycles in a separate luggage carriage, allowing you to start your cycling some 50 or 100km outside of the city.

More Below at Getting around by bicycle

Get around

By public transport

Lisbon has a very efficient public transport network that covers the entire city in addition to the surrounding areas. It consists of a bus and tram network operated by Carris, the separately-run Lisbon Metro underground rail, as well as commuter trains and ferries which connect Lisbon to its neighbouring suburbs. Additionally, Carris operates no less than four unique funiculars and one public elevator that both function as parts of the public transportation system.

An electrico climbing the streets of Ribeira
Map of tram lines in operation in Lisbon

Tram

While numbering may suggest otherwise, Lisbon retains only five of the 28 tram lines it became famous for.

At stops and on timetables, the five tram lines are marked with an "E" for electrico (which stands for "tram" in Portuguese) i.e. 12E, 15E, 18E, 25E and 28E to distinguish them from bus services. Buses and trams generally use the same stops.

Lines 12, 15, 18 and 28 are still operated using the "historic" tram cars - despite their appearance, though, they are quite modern creations, all built in mid-1990s to resemble the 19th century trams by combining bodies from the 1935-1940 with modern electrical and mechanical components. Line 25 is operated using modern articulated trams that are not any different than modern trams in other cities.

Instead of paying for a ride on one of the costly tourist buses, try line 28, which winds its way through the "Old Town" of Lisbon beginning in Graça then down to the Alfama and to the Baixa then up through Chiado to Bairro Alto, and then down to Campo Ourique, taking you by many of Lisbon's most famous and interesting sites including monuments, churches and gardens. The trip is hilly, noisy and hectic but it affords many beautiful glimpses of the city. And, although the tram can sometimes be overrun with tourists, you will definitely get a flavour of the locals, as many "Lisboetas" commute daily on these historical trams. Tickets cost €1.05 if paid by "Viva Viagem" card and €2,85 if purchased on-board or at a vending machine (note that these machines do not accept bills, and are sometime even out of change, so make sure you have the correct change!). From start to finish the ride takes around 30 minutes. Beware of pickpockets!

A trip on one of the ascensores should be on your list when planning your Lisbon trip

Funiculars and a lift

Or Ascensores e elevador as they call them. The Viva Viagem card is accepted on these routes as well.

Lisbon Metro Map

Metro

Lisbon's recently refurbished metro system is clean, quick, and efficient. While metro announcements are made only in Portuguese, signs and ticketing machines are generally bilingual in Portuguese and English. Every line shares at least one station with each of the other lines, so once you are in the system, you can go pretty much everywhere the system reaches to, which is most of the important locations in Lisbon.

No metro line goes to Belém. You need to take a train from Cais do Sodre, tram line 15E or a bus to get there.

Most of the metro system is a free art gallery. You'll find art by contemporary artists inspired by the stations' surrounding area. Check the subway webpage for more details on this curiosity. The red line is the newest one and has the best pieces of art.

The first metro of each line leaves the terminal stations at 6:30 daily, the last metro leaves the terminal stations at 1:00 daily. Some secondary station halls close earlier, some are closed completely on weekends.

Public buses, just like trams and ascensores, are all painted in the yellow Carris livery

Bus

Carris operates a dense network of buses. Bus lines operating in the day start with a "7" (save for the "400" line that runs within the Parque de Nacoes), and those starting with "2" operate at night (00:01-05:00) when no daytime lines operate.

On the maps and in publications, bus and tram lines are colour-coded with reference to the directions they go to. Orange lines stay within the central area, pink go to the east (Belem and Ajuda), red to the north (Parque de Nacoes and Portela), while blue and green to the northeast. This is more or less where each of the corresponding metro lines (red, green and blue) go. Grey-coded buses move between the outer districts and do not stop in the historic centre. Do note that the buses themselves are all in standard yellow Carris livery and do not carry such indications.

Two of the popular bus lines now offer complimentary NetBus Wi-Fi service - line 736 from Cais do Sodre via Avenida da Libertade and Avenida da Republica (stops at Campo Grand, Campo Pequeno and Entrecampos), and line 783 from the Portela Airport to Amoreiras shopping and office centre via Avenida da Republica and Praca Marques de Pombal. Using those two bus lines you can get to most of the important tourist attractions while enjoying Wi-Fi - simply log in to the "CARRIS-TMN" network while on the bus.

Numerous ferries cross the river Tagus to help commuters and travellers get to Lisbon

Ferries

Ferries connect Lisbon to the suburbs across the Tejo river in the south. Taking a ferry to Cacilhas is a good opportunity to see Lisbon from the water. A ferry is paid for just like a metro trip; you can even use your zapping (using this system will give you a €0.05 to €0.10 discount on the single ticket) Viva viagem card.

The ferry boat takes you to Cacilhas (the journey takes 10 minutes) or Trafaria (Almada) (€1.15), Seixal (€2.30), Montijo (€2.6) or Barreiro (this journey takes half an hour) (€2.25). The boats are operated by Transtejo.

Fares and tickets

The Viva Viagem transport smartcard.

The best and, in many cases, the sole way to pay for city transport is by buying the rechargeable green "Viva Viagem" smartcard (also referred to as "7 Colinas"). It's valid on the metro, trams (electricos), urban trains, most buses and ferries. The exception is buses run not by Carrisother bus companies have their own tickets. The card itself can be purchased for €0.50 (this price doesn't include any tripsadd as many trips as you want), and remains valid for a year.

The Viva Viagem card can be charged in three different modes:

There are ticketing machines located at the train or metro stations, which also provide instructions in English. You can also buy the ticket from the driver or machines on board (the latter only available in some new trams). Tickets purchased from a driver will not include a Viva Viagem card, and will cost more (€1.75 for bus and €2.85 for trams instead of €1.15 if you use the rechargeable card), so it makes more sense to buy the ticket before starting the trip.

When using suburban trains, your tickets are charged onto the same kind of Viva Viagem cards. You cannot have more than one kind of ticket on one card, however, so you will probably need at least two of them, one for zapping (regular bus and metro use), one for suburban travel. The TransTejo (TT) ferries can make you buy yet another "Via Viagem" card with white stripe in the bottom, claiming that CP or Carris "Via Viagem" cards are not valid for them.

If you plan to be in Lisbon for an extended time (1 week and more), you can purchase an unlimited pass that covers buses, metro, and funiculars. It takes 10 days, or if you need it quicker you can pay an extra €5 for next-day delivery at the Carris station in Santo Amaro or at the subway stations in Marques de Pombal, Alameda and Campo Grande. The base price is €12 for the Lisboa Viva card, plus €29 for a one-month unlimited pass. Bring a photo ID (passport), passport photos (the stations also have photo vending machines that take passport photos), and cash.

By bicycle

Cycling within the city is now much easier because of the work the municipality has been putting in with bike lanes, slowing car traffic, changing car traffic patterns and adding speed bumps etc but, of course, parts of the town will always be part of the surprisingly hilly terrain of Lisbon. If you plan to cycle, some of these streets do have tram lines, potholes and an absence of designated bicycle lanes, so visitors wishing to venture into city traffic by bicycle should be used to urban riding. Riding on the footpaths is not recommended. It is advisable to get advice at local bikeshops.

Although better than in recent years there are still bike lanes in town the newest, nice and safe stretches from Baixa to Belem along the beautiful river Tejo water front aptly known as the Poetry Bike Lane

These days car drivers are often weekend cyclists and way more careful with cyclists, more than ever before. Good spots for anyone to cycle safe are along the flat riverfront area streching from Parque das Nacoes, to the central area of Cais Sodre, where you can rent bikes look below for bike iberia, and particularly from here to Belem. Must do for all travelers or cycling enthusiasts: A scenic and safe bike ride on bike lane from Baixa along waterfront to the historical area of Descobertas-Belem-Jerónimos.

Just outside of Lisbon -you can take a free bike (but often in poor condition and limited offer) on trains or ferries- along the coast from Estoril towards the beautiful beach of Guincho, reach Sintra, Cascais or Costa da Caparica. If traveling from Lisbon (and back) you should consider renting a bike there as there are no restrictions, nor additional charges, on travelling with bicycles on commuting trains.

If you take a bicycle in public transportation beware of the following:

Bike shops in Lisbon town center are rare. You can find a SportZone near Rossio or in major shopping malls. Ask there for specialist shops, shop assistants are usually very helpful.

By car

Think twice before using a car in the city unless you are prepared to spend hours in traffic jams and looking for parking space. The busy traffic and narrow streets with blind corners can be overwhelming to tourists. Also, due to lack of space and overcrowding, parking is difficult and annoying, as well as potentially dangerous - check the "Stay Safe" section below, regarding potential problems with criminals and homeless people who stand near parking spaces to "help" you park your car and then attempt to extort money from you.

Just walking up the hills of Lisbon is a delightful experience, but bear in mind the steep grade of many of the streets

By foot

If your accommodation is in the center of the city, walking is a great alternative. Many of the attractions of the city, such as the Castelo and the Alfama and Bairro Alto districts, are within easy walking distance of the Baixa. Central Lisbon is very intimate and walking is very nice way to get around. Note however that the city is very hilly, a constant up and down everywhere, and streets/sidewalks are largely covered in cobblestone (some slippery when wet). For visitors with mobility issues, central Lisbon can be challenging.

If you become lost or cannot find the location you are looking for, try to locate the nearest Carris bus or tram stop. Most of these stops (not all) have a very good map of the city with your current location clearly marked on the map. All the prominent tourist sites in Lisbon are also shown along with an index at the bottom of the map. A quick consultation with one of these Carris maps should point you back in the right direction.

You may also use the funiculars and elevadores. Day passes for public transportation are also valid for those.

Tours

Hop-On, Hop-Off Tours are also a good option to get to know Lisbon. Carristur is operating with the brand Yellow Bus Sightseeing Tours and have tours in double-decker buses and old tramcars. Lisboa Autêntica, a walking tour company, offers unique, specialised tours in English (and five other languages). English tours are "Lisbon Essential," "Old Lisbon," "Lisbon Wine," "Lisbon Gastronomy," and "Fado of Lisbon."

Talk

As with the rest of Portugal, Portuguese is the main language in Lisbon. However, most younger people know English, and it is possible to get by speaking only English. Spanish is widely understood, though few are fluent in it, and many locals will respond more readily to English than to Spanish. Nevertheless, any attempt to speak Portuguese is always appreciated, and even simple things like basic greetings will often draw smiles and encouragement from locals.

When asking for directions or trying to make out announcements, do note that Portuguese, while similar in writing to Spanish or Italian, has very peculiar pronunciation. In most cases, the letter "j" is pronounced as "zh", thus e.g. the river Tejo is pronounced "tezho" (and not "teho" as Spanish speakers would render it). Portuguese is also very "soft", with a peculiar accent, and many vowel-consonant combinations are pronounced very differently from other European languages. It may be good to memorize the proper spelling and pronunciation of some destinations you intend to visit to avoid misunderstandings or misreading directions.

See

Baixa

Ruins of Igreja do Carmo

Chiado and Bairro Alto

Jardim de S. Pedro de Alcântara

Estrela

View from the Mirador de Santa Luzia in Alfama

Alfama

National Pantheon or Santa Engracia
Monument to the Discoverers in Belem

Belém

This monument-packed area is a must-see place, and it contains Lisbon's two World Heritage Sites; the Belém Tower and the Jerónimos Monastery.

Take bus 28 to the west (Restelo direction), which follows the coast line and provides an express service with few stops. Train Cascais suburban train (line "Cascais todos" or "Oeiras"; the express trains don't stop in Belém) to Belém and walk to the attractions. Tram 15 to the west (Algés direction), which follows the Junqueira residencial line. Check the route map inside the tram: it helps to find a right station for most famous of Belém attractions. The extensive bus network also serves Belém from various departure points around the city and can be less busy than the tram.

Note that to reach the waterfront attractions such as Belem Tower and Padrão dos Descobrimentos from the town centre/tram line, it is necessary to cross over the railway line by the footbridges - there is one at the railway station and another near Belem Tower.

The neighbourhood features:

Belem tower
The sheer size of the Jeronimos Monastery is astounding enough, coupled with the ornate Gothic decoration
Museu Nacional dos Coches
Ponte 25 de Abril seen from the Jardim Botânico da Ajuda

Centro

Parque das Nações

Parque das Nações

Parque das Nações ("the park of nations") is a district built from scratch for the 1998 World Expo (and hence also known as Expo to the locals) in the northeastern end of Lisbon. After the Expo, many of the impressive constructions and decorations were kept, while new residential, commercial and office buildings were added to form a thriving, mixed-use district consisting exclusively of modern architecture and making the most of its river-facing location by offering a number of leisure facilities.

Despite the fact that Parque das Nações is quite removed from downtown Lisbon, it is reasonably easy to get there by metro (red line), train or bus. Look for stops and stations named "Oriente", for the spectacular Gare do Oriente train station in the middle of the district.

Zona Oriental

Do

Go out at night to the central Bairro Alto, or 'High Neighborhood'. Just up the hill from Chiado, this is the place to go out in town. In the early evening, go to a fado-themed restaurant near the Praca Camoes, and head upwards as the evening goes on. If you're in Lisbon on the night preceding a Feriado or public holiday, you have to check this out. Tiny little streets which are empty in the daytime become crammed walkways which are difficult to get through. For more of a clubbing or disco experience, try the Docas district along the marina overlooking the Ponte 25 de Abril.

Theatre

The revista is a kind of theatre that was born in Lisbon. It's one of the things that is essential to see when you visit the city. You can only find it in one place: the Parque Mayer. Nowadays only one of the theatres is working:

Fado

Make sure that you dine at a restaurant that plays traditional fado music. Beware that you'll pay more than in normal restaurants, and the food and drink quality may not be up to the price, you're paying for the music experience.

The pedestrianized Rua Augusta may be touristy, but nonetheless can be a good start for a shopping trip of Lisbon

Buy

Shops are open a little later than other places in Europe, usually around 9:30AM-10PM, and the lunch breaks can be quite long, usually from 1PM to 3PM.

You can buy a Lisbon Shopping Card, which gives you 5% to 20% discounts at about 200 major stores in Baixa, Chiado and Av. Liberdade for a period of 24 hours (card costs €3.70) or 72 hours (card costs €5.70).

Shopping streets

Vasco Da Gama shopping mall

Malls

While most stores are closed on Sundays, many malls are open 7 days a week. They usually open around 9:30AM and close by 11PM or midnight, although the film theaters within them usually run a late session starting after midnight.

The rectangular street grid of Baixa is full of elegant shop fronts

Souvenirs

Groceries and markets

Grocery stores are closed on Sundays after 1PM, except (a) those smaller than 2000m2 or (b) from November 1 to December 31.

Flea markets

Eat

Portuguese dining rituals tend to follow the Mediterranean siesta body clock.

Most restaurants are very small, family run and generally cheap. Some of them have a sheet on the door with the "pratos do dia" (dishes of the day) written on it. These dishes are usually cheaper and fresher than the rest of menu there, and unless you're looking for something specific, they're the right choice.

During the dinner the waiter will probably bring you some unrequested starter dishes (called couvert): as those are not free, feel free not to touch them and they will not be charged on your bill (but check it!).

Never ask a taxi driver about which restaurant you should go to, they will take you to an expensive tourist-oriented restaurant, where they will receive a commission.

For an (expensive) cup of coffee in the heart of Lisbon, head to the pedestrianized Rua Augusta

Where

For Portuguese traditional cuisine at its finest, head to the area of Chiado. Tour groups primarily feel at home in Alfama. Traditional Portuguese restaurants are in Bairro Alto, scattered abundantly through its quirky narrow streets.

Tourist traps with laminated menus and meal deals are mostly concentrated in the Baixa area. It has an exception, however: Rua das Portas de Santo Antão (north-east from Praca dos Restauradores, parallel to it)--it's the seafood strip, and home to the best greasy spit-roasted chicken this side of Louisiana at the Bonjardim restaurant (Travessa (not Rua!) Santo Antão, 11 - it's in two buildings across a small side street), appropriately nicknamed Rei dos Frangos.

For a familiar taste at one of the many chain eateries, head to Doca de Santo Amaro (train/tram 15 station Alcantara-Mar) and Parque das Nações (metro Oriental). All the culinary and clubbing kudos is right now concentrated in Doca de Jardim de Tabaco (piece of river waterfront right under Castelo de Sao Jorge). Quality dishes for a high price are in well-to-do Lapa.

There is absolutely no way you can leave Lisbon without tasting the Pasteis de Belem

Pastelarias

Try the magnificent pastéis de nata at any pastelaria; or better yet, visit the Antiga Confeitaria de Belém (Casa Pasteis De Belem) (Rua de belem 84; +351 21 363 74 23; take eléctrico #15 from Praça do Comércio, or the Cascais suburban train line from Cais do Sodré station, to Belém stop). They are served right out of the oven there, with the side of confectioner's sugar and cinnamon; as you navigate through the azulejo-decorated labyrinthine passages of the expansive shop, stop to look at the workers behind glass panels turning the endless stream of these delicacies, just baked, each in its own little ramekin, over onto the waiting trays. These are absolutely a must eat and you can't possibly regret it.

Budget

You will find traditional meals served in small coffeeshops/restaurants, especially in the old parts of town. Some will be better than others, just check if there are a lot of locals eating there! They will be very cheap (as low as €5 for a full meal) and home-style cooking. The owners probably won't speak English and the menu will probably be in Portuguese only!

Mid-range

Alfama

You will not run out of choices in the Baixa

Baixa and Chiado

Bairro Alto

Western suburbs

Be prepared for some fine dining delights while in Lisbon

Splurge

Drink

Lisbon is known for its lively nightlife. For going out, stroll around the old neighborhood of Bairro Alto for an after-dinner caipirinha or ginjinha and people-watching. Its small streets, full of people, are packed with a high variety of bars. On weeknights bars close at 2AM, weekends at 3AM. The party continues in a night-club after that. Just follow the hordes of people down the hill - people have been doing that for hundreds of years.

Alcântara, Santos, Parque das Nações, and the castle area are all neighborhoods with a thriving nightlife. The whole area near the river/Atlantic, known as the docas, is a huge hub for nightlife, as Lisbon has never lost its ties to the sea.

Sleep

Câmara Municipal (City Hall)

Choosing location: If you are in Lisbon for sightseeing (especially for your first visit), the best location is along the route of tram #28 (see official map of the route ). This especially works if you are with a baby stroller, as it will save from huge part of hill-climbing.

Finding accommodation when you arrive: Finding a decent sleeping place in the centre should not be a big problem. There is a tourist service centre in the airport, where the nice ladies will book a room for you. Expect to pay between €45 and €60 for a double room.

Budget

Chiado (Old Town)

Alfama (Old Town)

Anjos (Old workers town)

Bairro Alto (Old Town)

Baixa (Old Town)

Graça

City Center (Marques Pombal to Campo Pequeno)

Mid-range

Splurge

Stay safe

Lisbon is generally safe but use common sense precautions, especially at train stations and on public transport.

Some areas are best avoided late at night because of the risk of mugging: Bairro Alto, the alleys, Cais do Sodre. Some night clubs in Lisboa have a poor reputation.

Crime

The most common crime against tourists is pickpocketing and theft from rental cars or on public transport. The metro carriages can become crowded and opportune for pickpockets but simple precautions are enough to maintain your safety while travelling on them.

Violent crimes

There are some episodes of violent crimes (eg robberies) and some drug related crimes in places such as Bairro Alto and Santos, especially at night. Chances are you'll be approached at least a few times by certain types offering 'hash' or 'chocolate', especially in the downtown area on and around Rua Augusta. If you are of fair complexion or obviously a tourist you are more likely to be approached. Also, due to soaring house prices, the Baixa area is not inhabited by a lot of people - as soon as the shops and offices close at night, the area sometimes becomes fair ground for muggers - caution is needed in back streets, and walking alone is not advised unless you know the area well.

It's also encouraged to be wary of the Intendente-Martim Moniz area. Intendente is a well known area for prostitution and drug trafficking, and even though the situation has changed in the past couple of years (police now regularly patrol the area), it is still problematic. Martim Moniz is also notorious, at night the area occupied by shifty crowds that more often than not will cause some trouble. During the day, however, Martim-Moniz is quite safe and pleasant.

Also be careful with bank machines in the city center. Groups of adolescents occasionally stay close to the multibanco and wait until you have entered your pin. They then force you away from the machine and withdraw the maximum amount from the machine (€200 maximum per withdrawal; however, two withdrawals of €200 per day per bank card are allowed). Try to withdraw money earlier in the day and try to avoid some of the train stations late at night, especially Cais do Sodre station.

Scams

Criminals in Lisbon are very quick and witty and think of scams about how to get money from you (like pretending that they need to "borrow" money from you promising to pay you back in a few hours). In cases they might work in pairs, one offers drugs, while a second approaches you and the first pretending to be a cop, and asking you to pay a "fine" if you don't want to go to jail. Just walk away and avoid any interaction from the first moment, if you are approached. Young tourists should be advised as they will likely be approached by many people especially near the Chiado Plaza. A firm 'no thank-you' ("não, obrigado" - if you're a male / "não, obrigada", if you're female) should be enough to deter them.

Arrumadores

Also, if you are driving a car, you should be on the lookout for one of Lisbon's greatest plagues: "arrumadores" ("ushers"). These are drug addicts, petty thiefs or homeless people who stand near vacant car parking spaces and "help" you to park your car even though no help is obviously needed. As soon as you step out of the vehicle, the "arrumador" will try to extort money from you as payment for the "service". They might also pretend to be "official" parking space guards or security and promise to keep an eye on your car - obviously they will leave as soon as you give them money and walk away. If you ignore them or don't pay them, there is a slight risk of having your car robbed or damaged (scratched, windows broken, etc.).

Although "arrumadores" are not excessively dangerous, caution is always needed: many have been known to use this scam to attack or rob people, and instances of car jacking have been reported, specially when unescorted female drivers are concerned. Generally, you should always avoid "arrumadores" and simply look for another parking space (preferably in an area where more people are around) or just park in a private parking lot, which is a bit more expensive but a sure way to avoid this hassle.

Walking and Driving

Lisbon has one of the highest rates of car accidents in the European Union, so be extra careful when crossing the streets. Drivers don't usually respect pedestrian crossings unless there is a red light for them to stop. Driving can be tricky without a GPS system as there is poor signalling in the streets. Drivers overall are not too aggressive compared to other European capitals, although this is disputed by (mostly Spanish) tourists.

In case of Emergency

Ambulance, fire brigade, police: call 112.

Same number is used with both land line and mobile phone. The number works on any mobile phone, whether it is keylocked or not and with or without SIM card.

Portugal has two main police forces - the Republican National Guard (GNR) and the Public Security Police (PSP). Both can be contacted, but the PSP is the main urban police force.

Connect

Private international call centers and public telephone booths are common throughout Lisbon. Be warned, however, public phones can be less generous than slot machines: many times they'll swallow your change and give you no credit. You're better off purchasing a Portugal Telecom pre-paid card you can insert into the phone, or even a discount calling card which connects you via a toll-free number. These can be purchased from street kiosks and convenience stores. Most payphones also allow you to pay by credit card, although support for this feature is somewhat expensive.

Internet cafes are also abundant in the Rossio and Restauradores districts as well as in the Bairro Alto (opening late there). Expect to pay between €2-3 per hour.

Cope

Embassies

Vasco da Gama bridge in the morning mist

Go next

South of Lisbon(south of the Tagus river/rio Tejo):

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Friday, February 12, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.