The capital of Portugal, Lisbon (Portuguese: Lisboa) has experienced a renaissance in recent years, with a contemporary culture that is alive and thriving and making its mark in today's Europe. Perched on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, Lisbon is one of the rare Western European cities that faces the ocean and uses water as an element that defines the city. Lisbon enchants travelers with its white-bleached limestone buildings, intimate alleyways, and an easy-going charm that makes it a popular year-round destination.
Lisbon enjoys a warm 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 very rare. The typical summer season lasts about six 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, sometimes in November, March and April there are temperatures 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 and the summer is very dry.
Lisbon is very close to the ocean, which brings windy and fast-changing weather, so you'd better bring extra outerwear or an umbrella with you, at least in winter, spring and autumn.
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 districts or give way to green parks in the western suburbs.
In the city centre, the vast Praça do Comércio, facing the river at the base of the pedestrianized grid of Baixa (lower town), occupies a central position. Further northwest from Baixa stretches Lisbon's "Main Street", Avenida da Liberdade, a broad boulevard resplendent in leafy trees, chic hotels and upmarket shops, terminating at the circular Praça de Marques de Pombal. To the east are old districs of Mouraria and Alfama, both relatively spared during the Great Earthquake (as they are on a firmer rock) and therefore both retaining the charm of the winding alleys and azulejo-covered crumbling walls (further north lie relatively boring residential quarters). To the west the hill rises steeply into Bairro Alto (upper town; prepare to trek up, or take one of the elevadores, or funiculars); still further west are the rapidly gentrifying former docks of Alcantara, dominated on the western end by the supports of the gigantic new bridge over the river, and the suburbs of Santo Amaro and Belém.
Portugal's largest international airport is the [url=http://www.ana.pt/en-US/Aeroportos/lisboa/Lisboa/Pages/HomeLisboa.aspx]Aeroporto da Portela[/url] located between Loures and Lisboa. ☎ +351 21 841-3000, Fax: +351 21 841-3675
It is the main air hub for [url=http://www.flytap.com] TAP Portugal[/url], a [url=http://www.staralliance.com]Star Alliance[/url] member airline that covers an extensive network throughout Europe, Africa (Morroco, Algeria, Senegal, Guinea Bissau, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Angola, Cape Verde, S. Tome e Principe) and the Americas (US, Venezuela and Brazil). [url=http://www.sata.pt]SATA (Air Açores)[/url] provides regular service to eastern North America (Boston, Montreal and Toronto).
There are also several other airlines flying into Lisbon, such as United Airlines, US Airways, Emirates, Easyjet, British Airways, Brussels Airlines, Aigle Azur, Air Berlin, Air France, Air Transat, German Wings, TAAG Angolan Airways, STP Airways, Swiss, Transavia, Turkish Airlines, Lufthansa, Finnair, Iberia, Vueling and KLM, amongst others.
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 a few stops closer to the central and old town. Also, local trains connecting with the resort [wiki=d78ac6070973fd4e65ef9c6b2f685c3e]Cascais[/wiki] on the Estoril coast use Cais do Sodré station. Train tickets may be booked directly with the train company, Comboios de Portugal [http://www.cp.pt].
Two international services are avalible, the overnight Sud Express leaves [wiki=07a1502b84c4acb285199f123f21be4e]Irun[/wiki] on the border between Spain and France every day at 18:20 hours. There is no physical connection with the TGV train from [wiki=e20d37a5d7fcc4c35be6fc18a8e71bfa]Paris[/wiki] which only goes to Hendaya at the French border. The train calls at Oriente station 07:22AM the next morning before arriving in Apolónia just ten minutes later. There is also a daily sleeper train from [wiki=6314044c3803213e9fd3f3ecf8c90d65]Madrid[/wiki] named Lusitania leaving Chamartin station at 10:25PM, arriving early next morning 7:30AM in Oriente and a few minutes later at Apolónia. Prices starts at €90 for a single-journey in Turista-class.
The domestic high-speed line Alfa Pendular connects [wiki=7153e0185271817667370dab891cf95c]Braga[/wiki], [wiki=8493f398f200c8dffe60d46439dd3360]Porto[/wiki] and [wiki=7afb01c9f1acf1db40831e738bc2d079]Coimbra[/wiki] with Lisbon from the north and [wiki=11f7b1f5fd42a9b03a4f8de3bdbae7f2]Faro[/wiki] from the south. Prices between the major cities starts at €40 in second class. All trains call at Oriente, only some in Apolonia.
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 center of Lisbon or to the west (A5 - [wiki=9f9a6298a43db71c7c4f905d133aff02]Estoril[/wiki], [wiki=d78ac6070973fd4e65ef9c6b2f685c3e]Cascais[/wiki], [wiki=877df04b7bb600041f4ce7978061406e]Sintra[/wiki]).
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 [wiki=a1fad4279ef5de980c4cf13e931622d8]Santarém[/wiki], [wiki=3df038d128839d519efe557fad726044]Fátima[/wiki], [wiki=9716560415209c7683898db025d910ad]Leiria[/wiki], [wiki=7afb01c9f1acf1db40831e738bc2d079]Coimbra[/wiki], [wiki=0209f7dc328fa69ab87bca5c7e1f561e]Aveiro[/wiki], [wiki=8493f398f200c8dffe60d46439dd3360]Porto[/wiki]. 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 [wiki=9f9a6298a43db71c7c4f905d133aff02]Estoril[/wiki], [wiki=d78ac6070973fd4e65ef9c6b2f685c3e]Cascais[/wiki], 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.
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-course buses is Rede Nacional de Expressos [http://www.rede-expressos.pt/default.aspx]
You can get a boat to Lisbon from the following stations: Barreiro; Trafaria; Montijo; and Cacilhas. It's an excellent sightseeing opportunity crossing the river Tagus to Lisbon.
Many cruise ships dock at several places along the river on the Lisbon side, with variably good access to public transport throughout the city. Many lines offer shuttles to key points nearby.
From airport: Due to the relative proximity of Lisbon's airport to the city center, it is quite easy to cycle from the airport to the center, and could be recommended if you arrive for a cycling trip.
After leaving the airport and negotiating a roundabout, merge onto the long and straight dual-carriageway Av. Almirante Gago Coutinho (you should be able just to follow the "Centro" ("Downtown") signs.) After merging, the route to Baixa is simple and straight. This street later turns into Av. Almirante Reis, and then Rua de Palma, at the end of which you will be right in Baixa.
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
Lisbon has a very efficient public transport network that covers the entire city in addition to the surrounding areas.
Lisbon's recently refurbished [url=http://www.metrolisboa.pt/eng/]metro system[/url] is clean, quick, and efficient. While metro announcements are made only in Portuguese, signs and ticketing machines are generally bilingual in Portuguese and English.
The extensive bus and electrico (tram) network is run by [url=http://www.carris.pt/en]Carris[/url].
The best and, in many cases, the sole way to pay for city transport is buying a rechargeable green-coloured card [url=http://www.metrolisboa.pt/eng/customer-info/viva-viagem-card/]7 Colinas[/url] (Viva Viagem). It's valid for metro, trams (electrico), urban trains, most buses and ferries.
The exception is buses not run by Carris-other bus companies have their own tickets. The card itself can be purchased for €0.50 (this price doesn't include any trips-add as many trips as you want), and remains valid for a year.
The Viva Viagem card can be charged in three different modes. You choose the mode when you charge the card. For example, you can choose the "single ticket" mode, and put €1.40 on a card (the machine will give change), and ride the tram to your hotel. Next day you wake up, and put €6 on the same card and choose the Day pass mode, making your card "Day pass" now. The modes are as follows:
*Single tickets for bus (€1.40; €1.80 if bought on the bus) or metro (€1.40). You put this exact amount on this card. Unlike Zapping mode, this ticket allows free transfers within one hour.
* Day pass for metro and buses (€6)
* Zapping. This is a 'stored value' mode, similar to the Oyster card in London. This mode also gives you slightly more credit than you pay for if you recharge more than €5 (for example, you will have to pay €10.00 for €10.75 of credit). The rates are also cheaper comparing to single ride: every journey costs €1.25, but the transfers are not free - although you get a small discount for two contiguous journeys, e.g., if you change from metro to bus. If you have a bit of unused money, it is wise to go to the ticket desk and there they do zapping for any amount. This way you can fully utilize your money on the card before going back to your country. You won't be able to get the refund, so make sure you don't put way more than you intend to spend.
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 (€1.80 for bus and €2.85 for trams instead of €1.25 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 at the Carris station in Santo Amaro, or at the Metro stations Alameda, Marques do Pombal and Campo Grande. It's €12 for the Lisboa Viva card, plus €29 for a one-month unlimited pass. Bring a photo ID (passport) and cash.
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 outlet of Lisbon. If you plan to cycle these, 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 footpath is not recommended. It is advisable to get advice at local bike shops.
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 river-front area stretching 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 travellers 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 travel with a bike on trains or ferries - along the coast from Estoril towards the beautiful beach of Guincho, reach [wiki=877df04b7bb600041f4ce7978061406e]Sintra[/wiki], [wiki=d78ac6070973fd4e65ef9c6b2f685c3e]Cascais[/wiki] or [wiki=9d80657be0891ceb6c6cb7ea49802319]Costa da Caparica[/wiki]. Although there are some bikes for free use in Cascais they often in poor condition and are limited offer. If travelling from Lisbon (and back) you should consider renting a bike before going as there are no restrictions, nor additional charges, on travelling with bicycles on commuting trains.
If you take a bicycle on public transport beware of the following:
* Metro: During working days you are allowed to carry bicycles in the metro only after 20:00. On weekends, it's allowed and it's free of charge.
* Commuting trains: You are allowed to carry bicycles in the trains for free, everyday of the week just be reasonable and avoid rush hour passenger patterns.
* Ferries: Bicycles travel for free, you are allowed but there are strict limitations on the number of bikes allowed depending on ferry lines and ferry boat type, arrive early and you shall avoid disappointment.
* Bike Buses: There are 6 lines of the public bus company "Carris" in which you can put your bike inside. Up to 4 bicycles per bus can be carried.
Bike shops in Lisbon town centre 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.
For guided bike the sights in Lisbon, Sintra, Arrabida or Cascais, and bike rentals, you can always check out [url=http://bikeiberia.com/]Bike Iberia[/url] ☎ +351 96 963 0369, located in Baixa-downtown, next to Cais Sodre and the Praca Comercio square; they are professional, friendly and very helpful on providing Lisbon Bike Tours, bike rentals with delivery to your hotel doorstep, touring equipment, mountain biking gear, very family friendly and native insider's knowledge.
Riding a scooter is always a great and affordable way to get around Lisbon, one of the "must do" things. You may also venture into beaches, riding around Caparica, Cascais, Sintra or Cabo da Roca. Also the only way to cross over the bridges in Lisbon on two wheels.
Quality scooters are available for renting at affordable prices (you need to be at least 18, have your passport and a valid driving licence). Riding around is generally safe, relaxed and lots of fun!
Companies operating in Lisbon include [url=http://scooterlisbon.com/]Scooter Lisbon[/url] ☎ +351 96 963 0369) located in Lisbon's city centre right off the train station of Cais Sodre (end of the line from Cascais train station) on Largo Corpo Santo, 5. They're open Monday to Sunday from 09:30am offering quality 125cc vehicles with automatic transmission. Check with them for Scooter Guided Tours or Rentals from only a few hours to multi day rentals.
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.
If you choose to return a hire car near your hotel, don't rely that the agent comes exactly at the agreed-upon time: for an agreed 12:00 return he can easily arrive at 09:00 (and will come again upon your call).
If your accommodation is in the centre 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.
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 [wiki=b80bed24ba9f21abde53780f885b155e]#Speciality transport|funiculars and elevadores (Santa Justa's)[/wiki]. Day passes for public transportation are also valid for those.
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 [wiki=5e2403632cee93b37d0a074f9623a745]Cacilhas[/wiki] (the journey takes 10 minutes) or [wiki=36574bddec2e9d0f60503be497222e82]Trafaria[/wiki] ([wiki=9a0aa33bbb40e96b0b504eb941fd6885]Almada[/wiki]) (€1.15), [wiki=a92bf0c9cc963c0276ddeef6061c0a42]Seixal[/wiki] (€2.30), [wiki=2079d27999be1de628e0f64cdc25d46c]Montijo[/wiki] (€2.6) or [wiki=090441a60533b1fe61b9d86998117475]Barreiro[/wiki] (this journey takes half an hour) (€2.25).
The boats are operated by [url=http://www.transtejo.pt/pt/horarios_tarifarios/tarifario_bilhetes.html]Transtejo[/url].
Instead of paying for a ride on one of the costly tourist trams, try Tram 28. Tram (or "Eléctrico" in the Portuguese) Line 28 is one of only three traditional tram lines that still operate in Lisbon. These trams, which until the late-1980's ran all through-out Lisbon, were manufactured between 1936 and 1947. Tram 28 winds its way through the "Old Town" of Lisbon (dating from the 17th century) 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 notes, 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!
Located up the hill, with a great view over the city and the river. If you have the energy, get there by walking from downtown, going through the fantastic old neighbourhood of Alfama. The ticket office is way before the entrance (where the line is), make sure you buy the ticket first, or you'll be turned back when you eventually reach the entrance.
*Along the way from downtown to St. George's Castle.
*This sister bridge of the San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge was designed by the same architect in 1966 to connect Lisbon with the Setubal peninsula across the Tagus (Tejo) River. Formerly known as the Salazar Bridge, it was renamed after the Carnation Revolution, which on April 25, 1974 ended the dictatorship!
*It is the longest bridge in Europe (including viaducts), and ninth longest in the world, with a total length of 17.2 km (10.7 mi), including 0.829 km (0.5 mi) for the main bridge, 11.5 km (7.1 mi) in viaducts, and 4.8 km (3.0 mi) in dedicated access roads.
*This is a historic aqueduct in the city of Lisbon, Portugal. It is one of the most remarkable examples of 18th-century Portuguese engineering, including the largest stone arch in the world. The main course of the aqueduct covers 18 km, but the whole network of canals extends through nearly 58 km. The Mãe d'Água (Mother of the Water) reservoir of the Amoreiras, the largest of the water reservoirs, was finished in 1834. This reservoir, with a capacity of 5,500 m³ of water, was designed by Carlos Mardel. It is now deactivated and can be visited as part of the Museu da Água (Water Museum).
Rossio is the main square in Lisbon, the equivalent of Madrid's Puerta del Sol, Tokyo's Shibuya or London's Trafalgar Square, which is a common meeting place for locals. This is a must visit for all visitors to Lisbon to experience city life.
* The trendy district with all the fancy shops is just a 5 minutes walk from Bairro Alto
*Take a stroll along the historical streets of this elegant shopping district, stopping for a cup of coffee with the statue of Fernando Pessoa, Portugal's great Modernist poet. Head uphill to Bairro Alto, for stunning views of the city and some wild partying in Lisbon's most popular nightclub district.
*This part of the city was completely rebuilt after the 1755 earthquake by the Marquês de Pombal. The planned layout, greatly different from what you will see in the more ancient neighborhoods, is a testimony to the ideas of the Enlightenment.
*This neighborhood still bears signs of the Moorish presence in the city, with the buildings very close to each other, and very irregular streets.
It's very atmospheric and a great spot in which to wander around.
*This magnificent plaza, facing the river, is the beginning of Lisboa's downtown. It is also known as 'Terreiro do Paço', meaning 'Grounds of the Palace', relating to its function before the Great Earthquake of 1755.
Most of Lisbon's museums and monuments (especially those in Belem) close on Mondays.
*Portugal's impressive national art collection, including 14-19th century European painting, artefacts of Portuguese contact with the East and Africa and a collection of ecclesiastical treasures. Highlights include Dürer's St Jerome, Hieronymus Bosch's Temptations of St Antony, Nuno Gonçalves' Adoration of St Vincent, and 16th century Japanese paintings of Portuguese traders.
*Created from the personal collection of Calouste Gulbenkian, an Armenian who longed to see all his treasures displayed in a museum. A nice assortment of Egyptian artifacts, along with paintings by masters such as Rembrandt, Manet, Monet, Renoir, and Cassat. The museum's gardens are worth a visit in and of themselves, as a little oasis in the middle of downtown Lisbon.
*This museum is installed in the restored 18th-century former Royal Silk Factory. It permanent collection covers a wide time period of the works of 20th-century painters Arpad Szenes and Maria Helena Vieira da Silva, and regularly hosts exhibits by their contemporaries.
*Excellent interactive exposition in a building of former power station, an example how a perfect museum should look.
*Entrance fee of €1.5 to €2.5, depending on age or discount cards you may use.
*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.
*Museu Nacional do Azulejo is one of the most important national museums, for its singular collection, Azulejo (Tile), an artistic expression which differentiates Portuguese culture, and for the unique building where its installed, former Madre de Deus Convent, founded in 1509 by Queen Dona Leonor.
*The Berardo Collection Museum is a museum that houses modern and contemporary art, together with modern, temporary exhibits. The permanent collection of the museum consist of the Berardo Collection, which is made up of modern en contemporary art, with major art movements like abstract expressionism, Abstraction-Création, action painting, body Art, constructivism, cubism, De Stijl, digital art, experimental art, geometric abstraction, kinetic art, minimal art, neo-expressionism, neo-plasticism, neo-Realism, op art, photography, photorealism, pop art, realism, suprematism, surrealism. The collection also consist of many important artists like Piet Mondrian, Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Pablo Picasso and Jackson Pollock.
*The interesting Maritime Museum is one of the most important in Europe, evoking Portugal's domination of the seas. Its colossal 17,000 items are installed in the west wing of Jerónimos Monastery, and include model ships from the Age of Discovery onward. The oldest exhibit is a wooden figure representing the Archangel Raphael that accompanied Vasco da Gama on his voyage to India.
*The Pavilion of Knowledge - Ciência Viva is an interactive science and technology museum that aims to make science accessible to all, stimulating experimentation and exploration of the physical world.
A zoo that is fairly pricey, but has a variety of exotic animals featuring sea-lions and dolphins.
*Built for the 1998 World Expo, the eastern side of town (take the Metro to Oriente) is a change from downtown. It includes:
** One of the world's largest oceanariums. The oceanarium is divided between the permanent and temporary exhibition. The permanent exhibition is centered around a huge aquarium with a variety of fishes and surrounded by a number of smaller regionally-themed aquariums.
*The botanical garden of Ajuda is one of the oldest gardens in Europe and is considered the first in Portugal. After the earthquake that occurred in 1755, the homeless Portuguese royal family decided to build a new royal residence at Ajuda but also gardens around it. This 10 acre garden was laid out in from 1858-1873.
* A hidden gem. It was created several hundred years ago, by a King of Portugal at the time of the Discoveries. The story goes that this King wanted one of every type of plant in the world, and although that's unlikely, there is a huge collection dating back by three or four centuries which is worth checking out. Also some weird and wonderful bizarre grafted trees - the roots hang down like fingers and toes where one tree has been grafted onto another, sometimes completely different, species. And there's something quite eerie about seeing plants or huge trees from completely different climates growing next to each other in apparent harmony. A great place to take a picnic - this green oasis is completely surrounded by city but even the city sounds filter out.
Armazéns do Chiado shopping mall (see details in Buy): top floor restaurants and cafes have fantastic city views.
There is a splendid view of the city from the castle. Jardim de São Pedro de Alcântara also provides a great view over the east of Lisbon, part of the Baixa district, and the south bank of the Tagus river.
Baixa: From Praça do Comércio (aka Terreiro do Paço) to the Restauradores, the Baixa is the old shopping district in the city. It includes pedestrian Rua Augusta which has the most boring and mass-visitor tourist stores, and several European chain clothing stores like Zara, H&M, Campers.
* Chiado: home to a number of independent shops and services and well known brands such as Hugo Boss, Vista Alegre, Tony & Guy, Benetton, Sisley, Pepe Jeans, Levi's and Colcci. The area is also teeming with cafés, restaurants, bookshops and a dedicated shopping area "Armazéns do Chiado".
* Avenida da Liberdade: Louis Vuitton, Calvin Klein, Timberland, Massimo Dutti, Armani, Burberrys and Adolfo Dominguez are just some of the shops you'll find across this avenue, which is not just one of the most beautiful and wide in the city, but also one of the fanciest with splurge hotels and restaurants.
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.
* One of the largest malls in Europe, this shopping and leisure complex also houses dozens of restaurants, a bowling alley, health club, multiplex cinema, funfair with rides including a roller coaster, and a go-cart track.
* A massive mall that draws a young hip crowd shopping for books, CDs, and DVD.
* A large mall in the Parque Expo.
* The city's oldest mall in eye-catching post-modern towers housing international chains.
* Big department store with cinema and supermarket, a bit pricey but with good quality items.
* One of the biggest Shopping Mall in Europe.
A good selection of designer eyewear from a dozen of brands (Lindberg, DSquareD etc).
Vintage and nostalgic products and brands.
* Locally handmade ceramics with beautiful designs and colors. Shop staff is friendly, helpful and speaks great English.
A lively out door market offering both new and used products. Markets of this type have pleased bargain hunters since the 12th century in Lisbon and the Feira da Ladra name has been around since the 17th century.
For Portuguese traditional cuisine at its finest, head to the area of Chiado.
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 (Santo Antão, 11), 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.
Tour groups primarily feel at home in Alfama.
Traditional Portugese restaurants are in Bairro Alto, scattered abundantly through its quirky narrow streets.
Try the magnificent pastéis de nata at any pastelaria; or better yet, visit the Antiga Confeitaria de Belém (Casa Pasteis De Belem) [http://www.pasteisdebelem.pt/] (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.
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 wont speak english and the menu will probably be in portuguese only!
* A good and selected combination of cheap and mid range dishes. The owners are very friendly and speak English, as well as Portuguese. (It is a good restaurant if you want to eat South American grilled meat.)
* What used to be a Nepalese curry house is now a very friendly African eatery with authentic food. In the evening musicians play for an even more atmospheric setting. Very reasonably priced - total of about about 8-12 euros per person.
* The west wing of this market is a food hall run by Time Out Lisboa, with around 30 dining outlets. There is a large selection of seafood, gastronomic dishes, desserts, and of course wine to choose from.
*A traditional restaurant offering an interesting mix of Portuguese, Indian, and Cape Verdean flavours. The lunch-time buffet offers excellent value for money and great quality food. Staff are patient with English speakers.
*Great pizzas, cheap Portuguese wine and very helpful friendly staff who have given lots of tourist information to customers in the past.
Under the French culinary concept of “bistronomy”, the restaurant combines bistrô and haute cuisine into high-quality food at affordable prices. This innovative concept is served in a relaxed atmosphere, with a simple menu and market produce. Bistrô4 is the five-star PortoBay Liberdade hotel's restaurant
If you really feel like splurging, this is the place. The restaurant was recently awarded a Michelin Star, although the basis on which the award was made are disputable.
* An elegant restaurant serving fashionable gourmet Italian with a big price tag.
*Superb views over Lisbon and food with a good quality/price ratio.
*Superb views over Lisbon and food with a good quality/price ratio.
Gorgeous and luxury full-equipped apartments with free Wi-Fi in an 18th Century building typical of Bairro Alto that was renovated in 2012. The price includes free groceries welcome pack.
*Nice hotel located right in the center of the city.
* A brand new hotel that sits in the heart of Av. Almirante Reis. Just five minutes away from Lisbon International Airport and with underground station at doorstep. Online booking
* The hotel basically stands right by the Tagus River. Adjoins Lisbon’s Congress Centre and the lively nightlife of Lisbon’s Docas area. Online booking
*Was totally reconstructed in 2006 on a historical building, keeping only its original façade, contrasting with its modern interior, equipped with 60 comfortable rooms of different typologies.
*Voted as the best 3 star hotel in Lisbon .
*Strategically located d in the centre of Lisbon near Praça Marquês de Pombal. Free Wi-Fi
*Strategically located d in the centre of Lisbon near Praça Marquês de Pombal. Free Wi-Fi
Contemporary Cosmopolitan Charming Confortable and with Charisma ... This is the Mercy Hotel!A new 5 star hotel in Lisbon, with a premium location between the Chiado and Bairro Alto districts.This project is signed by Architect Miguel Saraiva. Quality, Design, Comfort and elegance define the Mercy Hotel.
*Located in the emblematic Restauradores Square, in the heart of the city, The Avenida Palace Hotel is a symbol of charm and elegance in more than one hundred years of its story. This neoclassical, imposing building and its first class refined service turned it into one of the most selected destinations of high society and prominent individualities all over the world.
*Property of Orient-Express Hotels, Trains & Cruises. A luxury palace hotel in one of Lisbon's seven hills, with gardens and pools, heated all year long. Member of The Leading Hotels of the World. With one of the best spas in Lisbon, gourmet food (its restaurant is considered by the Zagat Guide as one of the best in Lisbon) and one of best Concierge services in the country.
*Located in an old Palace, has a wonderful garden and luxury spa. Extremely comfortable, and well worth the €220 per night if you book in advance and online.
*A new, modern hotel situated in the central Rato district. Despite its five-star rating, double rooms can be had for a very reasonable rate if booked in advanced. The hotel offers free wireless internet for guests along with two laptops with internet access. The hotel is very well situated - one street away from Avenida de Liberdad, a few minutes from the Avenida metro station and a short walk from Baixa / Chiado.
The most common crime against tourists is pickpocketing and theft from rental cars or on public transport, i.e. crowded cable cars, trains or buses. Simple precautions are enough to maintain your safety while travelling on them.
Violent and/or drug related crimes are known to take place in areas 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, or near the Chiado Plaza. If you are of fair complexion or obviously a tourist you are more likely to be approached (young tourists out for drinks are also very likely be approached). These approaches are usually done by drug dealers and scammers and may degenerate into mugging. Also be aware that more often than not the substance they claim to be "hash" is just pressed bayleaf.
Due to soaring house prices caused by speculation, the "Baixa" area has become depopulated. Its back streets are often fair ground for muggers, although Terreiro do Paço and Chiado are relatively safe due to their status as night spots. The Intendente and Martim Moniz were formerly known for prostitution and drug trafficking, but after a recent renovation and the opening of several new bars and nightspots, they have become much safer.
ATM / bank machine muggings are commonplace in the city center. Groups of adolescents occasionally stay close to the ATM / "multibanco" and wait until you have entered your PIN. They then force you away from the machine and withdraw the maximum amount (€200 maximum per withdrawal; however, two withdrawals of €200 per day per bank card are allowed). Try to withdraw money earlier in the day.
Car jacking is rare, but ahs increased in frequency. Usual targets are luxury/top brand vehicles or unescorted female drivers. Make sure your car doors are locked even during daytime.
Criminals in Lisbon are witty and continuously come up with new scams. Examples include:
- someone approaches you for no apparent reason and distracts you with conversation or begging, while someone else pickpockets you;
- someone pretending they need to "borrow" money from you, promising to pay you back in a few hours;
- another well known scam involves one person offering you drugs, while a second person will suddenly approach you pretending to be a police officer, and asking you to pay a "fine" if you want to avoid "jail".
A firm 'no thank-you' or "não, obrigado", if you're a male; "não, obrigada", if you're female should be enough to deter them. Another possible option is simply walking away and avoiding any interaction from the first moment.
Car parking scammers - Finally, when driving, be on the lookout for one of Lisbon's greatest plagues: "arrumadores" - "ushers" or illegal parking "assistants". These are drug addicts, petty thieves or simply 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 so-called "service", through begging at best or physical abuse in the worst situations (rare). They might also pretend to be "official" parking space "guards" or "security" and promise to keep an eye on your car - naturally, they will disappear as soon as you give them money.
If you are not in a isolated area (i.e. other people / witnesses are around) and decide not to give them money at all you may simply ignore them and walk away after parking your car - should you do so, however, bear in mind there is a risk of having your car damaged or broken into once you are gone, but most times the "arrumador" will just move on to other targets.
Although "arrumadores" are not usually dangerous, caution is always needed: many have been known to use this scam to attack or rob people (especially when they act in groups), and instances of car jacking have been reported, especially when unescorted female drivers are concerned.
Generally, the best course of action is to park somewhere else (preferably in areas that are not too isolated) or just pay for a place in an official parking lot - a bit more expensive, but hassle-free.
Lisbon drivers are somewhat unreliable, with a tendency for speeding and disregarding basic traffic rules during rush hour or near night spots. Taxi drivers are notorious for aggressive and even violent behaviour towards other drivers. Motorbike riders also tend to indulge in speeding and skipping lanes without warning. Also, drinking and driving is a common offence in Portugal and Lisbon is no exception.
Although most Lisbon drivers will be cautious and polite with pedestrians, they are generally very disrespectful and intolerant towards cyclists and will frequently heckle them and display aggressive behaviour. Situations where cyclists are assaulted or even thrown off the road by car drivers are common.
Cycling in Lisbon is pleasant and danger-free in parks and near the river, but it is generally a dangerous activity elsewhere in the city centre and other areas where bike lanes are still not available.
In any case, there are still quite a few areas safe good for cycling and do not be put off by Lisbon's hills. For 7(Seven) EUR, a [url=http://LisbonBikeMap.com/]Lisbon Bike Map[/url]
is available with valuable information, provided by some of the local and experienced cyclists.
Start by riding up hill on the pleasant Monsanto Forest Park and west part of the city.
In some other areas you find the new city bike lanes, many of which are located along over the river waterfront.
Just outside Lisbon, Sintra, Cascais and Arrábida are all great and normally safe place where drivers are used to local cyclists often out riding.
Ambulance, fire brigade, police: call 112. English-speaking operators are available 24/7.
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.