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Lisbon is the capital and the largest city of Portugal, with a population of 552,700. Its urban area extends beyond the city's administrative limits with a population of around 2.7 million people, being the 11th-most populous urban area in the European Union.
It is continental Europe's westernmost capital city and the only one along the Atlantic coast. Lisbon lies in the western Iberian Peninsula on the Atlantic Ocean and the River Tagus.
Lisbon is recognised as a global city because of its importance in finance, commerce, media, entertainment, arts, international trade, education and tourism. It is one of the major economic centres on the continent, with a growing financial sector and one of the largest container ports on Europe's Atlantic coast.The city is the 7th-most-visited city in Southern Europe, after Istanbul, Rome, Barcelona, Madrid, Athens and Milan.
Lisbon is one of the oldest cities in the world, and the oldest in Western Europe, predating other modern European capitals such as London, Paris and Rome by centuries. Julius Caesar made it a municipium called Felicitas Julia, adding to the name Olissipo.
|POPULATION :||City: 552,700 / Metro: 2,821,876|
|FOUNDED :||c. 1256|
|TIME ZONE :||WET (UTC0) Summer: WEST (UTC+1)|
|LANGUAGE :||Portuguese (official), Mirandese (official - but locally used)|
|RELIGION :||Roman Catholic 84.5%, other Christian 2.2%, other 0.3%, unknown 9%, none 3.9%|
|AREA :||100.05 km2 (39 sq mi)|
|ELEVATION :||2 m (7 ft) - 199 m (653 ft)|
|COORDINATES :||38°42′50″N 9°8′22″W|
|SEX RATIO :||• Male: 48,44% |
• Female: 51,56%
|AREA CODE :||(+351) 21|
|POSTAL CODE :||1149-014 Lisboa|
|DIALING CODE :|
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.
Like Istanbul, Amman, Rome, and San Francisco, Lisbon is built on seven hills. 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 and rectangular layout of the lower areas quickly gives way to the hilly, narrow, winding and unpredictable streets of districts such as Alfama and Bairro Alto. The spacious layout and monumental buildings of Belem is surprising contrast to the cramped streets of Alfama og 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.
Lisboa Ask Me Centre, Pç. do Comércio, . 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.
Lisbon is one of the oldest cities in the world, and the oldest in Western Europe, predating other modern European capitals such as London, Paris and Rome by centuries. Julius Caesar made it a municipium called Felicitas Julia, adding to the name Olissipo. Ruled by a series of Germanic tribes from the 5th century, it was captured by the Moors in the 8th century. In 1147, the Crusaders under Afonso Henriques reconquered the city and since then it has been a major political, economic and cultural centre of Portugal.
Most of the Portuguese expeditions of the Age of Discovery left from Lisbon during the 15th to 17th centuries, including Vasco da Gama's expedition to India in 1497. The 16th century was Lisbon's golden era: the city was the European hub of commerce between Africa, India, the Far East and later, Brazil, and acquired great riches by exploiting the trade in spices, slaves, sugar, textiles and other goods. This period saw the rise of the exuberant Manueline style in architecture, which left its mark in many 16th century monuments (including Lisbon's Belém Tower and Jerónimos Monastery, which were declared UNESCO World Heritage Sites).
During World War II, Lisbon was one of the very few neutral, open European Atlantic ports, a major gateway for refugees to the U.S. and a haven for spies. More than 100,000 refugees were able to flee Nazi Germany via Lisbon.
Lisbon was the site of three revolutions in the 20th century. The first, the 5 October 1910 revolution, brought an end to the Portuguese monarchy and established the highly unstable and corrupt Portuguese First Republic. The 6 June 1926 revolution would see the end of that first republic and firmly establish the Estado Novo, or the Portuguese Second Republic, as the ruling regime. The final revolution, the Carnation Revolution, would take place on 25 April 1974 and would end the right-wing Estado Novo and reform the country as the current Portuguese Third Republic.
Lisbon enjoys a Subtropical-Mediterranean climate with mild winters and warm summers.
The average annual temperature is 21.5 °C (70.7 °F) during the day and 13.5 °C (56.3 °F) at night. Average annual temperature of the sea is 17.5 °C (63.5 °F).
In the coldest month – January – the high temperature during the day typically ranges from 11 to 18 °C (52 to 64 °F), the low temperature at night ranges from 3 to 13 °C (37 to 55 °F) and the average sea temperature is 15 °C (59 °F).
In the warmest month – August – the high temperature during the day typically ranges from 26 to 33 °C (79 to 91 °F), the low temperature at night ranges from 17 to 21 °C (63 to 70 °F) and the average sea temperature is 20 °C (68 °F).
Generally, a summer season lasts about 6 months, from May to October. Three months – March, April and November – are transitional, often the temperature exceeds 20 °C (68 °F), with an average temperature in these three months of 18.9 °C (66 °F) during the day and 12.0 °C (53.6 °F) at night. December, January and February are the coldest months, with an average temperature of 15.5 °C (59.9 °F) during the day and 8.9 °C (48.0 °F) at night.
Climate data for Lisbon
|Record high °C (°F)||24.1|
|Average high °C (°F)||14.8|
|Daily mean °C (°F)||11.6|
|Average low °C (°F)||8.3|
|Record low °C (°F)||1.0|
|Source: Instituto de Meteorologia|
Lisbon is situated at the mouth of the Tagus River and is the westernmost capital of a mainland European country.
The city occupies an area of 84.94 km2 (33 sq mi), and its city boundaries, unlike those of most major cities, are narrowly defined by its historical centre.
The Lisbon region is the wealthiest region in Portugal and it is well above the European Union's GDP per capita average – it produces 45% of the Portuguese GDP.
Lisbon's economy is based primarily on the tertiary sector. Most of the headquarters of multinationals operating in Portugal are concentrated in the Grande Lisboa Subregion, specially in the Oeiras municipality. The Lisbon Metropolitan Area is heavily industrialized, especially the south bank of the Tagus river (Rio Tejo).
The country's chief seaport, featuring one of the largest and most sophisticated regional markets on the Iberian Peninsula, Lisbon and its heavily populated surroundings are also developing as an important financial centre and a dynamic technological hub. Automobile manufacturers have erected factories in the suburbs, for example, AutoEuropa.
Lisbonite industry has very large sectors in oil, as refineries are found just across the Tagus, textile mills, shipyards and fishing.
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, freguesiasserve 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.
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:
- Baixa - 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 neighbourhoods, is a testimony to the ideas of the Enlightenment.
- Chiado - 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.
- Alfama - this neighbourhood 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. Thanks to the firmer rock it was built upon, it was relatively spared during the Great Earthquake and therefore retains the charm of the winding alleys and azulejo-covered crumbling walls.
- Bairro Alto - head uphill to Bairro Alto and give your legs a good workout, or take one of the elevadores (funiculars) for stunning views of the city and some wild partying in Lisbon's most popular nightclub district.
- Principe Real - the trendy district with all the fancy shops is just a 5 minutes walk from Bairro Alto
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.
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:
- Alcantara - rapidly gentrifying former docks, dominated on the western end by the supports of the gigantic new bridge over the river
- Ajuda - the hilltop district known for the royal Palácio Nacional da Ajuda and adjacentJardim Botânico da Ajuda
- Belem - Lisbon's westernmost district is its portal to the sea, with rich historic heritage and a sweet topping
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.
The North of Lisbon is of precious little interest to the tourists, except perhaps for theJardim Zoologico (zoo) and the Sete Rios long-distance coach and train station, both at the very southern tip of the zone.
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.
Prices in Lisbon
MARKET / SUPERMARKET
|Beer (domestic)||0.5 l||€0.90|
|Bottle of Wine||1 bottle||€4.00|
|Dinner (Low-range)||for 2||€22.00|
|Dinner (Mid-range)||for 2||€30.00|
|Dinner (High-range)||for 2||€39.00|
|Mac Meal or similar||1 meal||€5.50|
|Beer (Imported)||0.33 l||€2.00|
|Beer (domestic)||0.5 l||€1.50|
|Coctail drink||1 drink||€8.00|
|Men’s Haircut||1 haircut||€11.00|
|Mobile (prepaid)||1 min.||€0.26|
|Pack of Marlboro||1 pack||€4.70|
|Toilet paper||4 rolls||€1.40|
CLOTHES / SHOES
|Jeans (Levis 501 or similar)||1||€78.00|
|Dress summer (Zara, H&M)||1||€29.00|
|Sport shoes (Nike, Adidas)||1||€72.00|
|Local Transport||1 ticket||€1.40|
41 € per day
Estimated cost per 1 day including:
- meals in cheap restaurant
- public transport
- cheap hotel
131 € per day
Estimated cost per 1 day including:
- mid-range meals and drinks
Transportation - Get In
Portugal's largest international airport is the Aeroporto de Lisboa (Aeroporto da Portela) (IATA: LIS). It's between Loures and Lisboa and just 7 kilometres (4 mi) from the city centre.
- Aeroporto de Lisboa (Aeroporto da Portela), Alameda das Comunidades Portuguesas, , e-mail:aeroport[email protected].
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.
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.
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.
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.
- Metro - Lisbon Airport metro station opened in July 2012 and is the new final destination of the red line (Linha Vermelha) of the metro. The journey to the central Saldanha station takes about 16 minutes and less than 25 minutes are enough to get from the Airport to Baixa-Chiado with a change to the green or blue lines. A single journey can cost as little as €1.25 using the zapping functionality of the Viva Viagem card.
- Aerobus is a special service by Carris with two routes to main spots of the city.Aerobus 1 running every 20min follows Av. da Republica and Av. da Liberdade to the historic city center (Rossio, Praça do Comércio, and railway/ferry terminal at Cais do Sodré). Aerobus 2 departs every 40 or 60 minutes, depending on daytime, and goes towards the financial centre of the city in the northwest, stopping at Entrecampos, Praça de Espanha and Avenida José Malhoa. Aerobuses operate generally 08:00-23:00, check their website for particular information. Tickets start at €3.50 and are valid on all public transportation lines, such as buses and surface trams (but not for metro) for 24 or 48 hours. You can get a discount when buying the ticket online beforehand, as well as when travelling as a group.
- Bus lines 22, 44, 83, 705, 708, 744, 745, or night bus line 208. Bus 44 takes you to the Oriente railway station in about 10 minutes, where you can change for metro and continue to the city centre. Board fare is €1.80. 7 Colinas transport card can be used which can be bought at the airport post office. Note that you are not allowed to take large pieces of luggage on these buses.
- Taxis cost about €10.00 from the airport to the city centre. Charge is according to the meter, adding €1.20 per item of luggage. Taxis are required to have working meters (it is illegal to drive without one) and fares posted to the window in the rear seat. Be sure to ask the taxi driver if he has a working meter before getting into the taxi, and be careful of drivers trying to grab your bags and usher you into the taxi before you can make these inquiries. As with many cities, watch out for dishonesty and if you think you are being charged significantly more ask for their number and a receipt, and make it clear you plan to complain.
- Bike - Due to the relative proximity of Lisbon's airport to the city centre, it is quite easy to cycle from the airport to the centre, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
- Alcantara Cruise Terminal.
- Santa Apolonia Cruise Terminal.
- Jardim do Tabaco Quay.
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.
Transportation - 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 three unique funiculars and one public elevator that both function as parts of the public transportation system.
While numbering may suggest otherwise, Lisbon retains only five of the 28 tram lines it became famous for.
- line 12 - the shortest line does a loop between Praça de Commercio in Baixa and Alfama
- line 15 - the longest line connects the Centro Historico to Belem and beyond
- line 18 - follows the route of line 15 along the coast until Santo Amaro, where it goes uphill to Ajuda
- line 25 - goes from Praça de Commercio through Chiado, along the foot of the Barrio Alto hill and then to Estrela
- line 28 - takes you on a veritable tour of the hills of Lisbon, starting at Campo Ourique, then going through Estrela, Bairro Alto, Chiado, Rua da Conceição in Baixa, then all the way around the hills of Alfama up north to Graca while ending in Praca Martim Moriz
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 "Remodelado" tram cars. These were built in the 1930s and their motors and brakes were replaced in the 1990s.
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!
Funiculars and a lift
Or Ascensores e elevador as they call them. The Viva Viagem card is accepted on these routes as well.
- Ascensor da Glória (Gloria Funicular), Praça dos Restauradores - Bairro Alto. Inaugurated on 24 October 1885, this funicular was the second to be placed in Lisbon. It is the most visited one in the city. On 2002 it was classified as National Monument. Lower station exactly where Avenida Liberdad connects to Restauradores.
- Ascensor da Bica (Bica Funicular), Rua de São Paulo (Rua Duarte Belo) - Largo de Calhariz. This funicular was inaugurated on 28 June 1892 and its route is known as the most typical of the city. In 2002 it was classified a National Monument. Ticket price is €3.50 for a round trip.
- Ascensor do Lavra (Lavra Funicular), Largo da Anunciada - Travessa Forno Torel. The oldest funicular of Lisbon was inaugurated on 19 April 1884 and on that day it worked for 16 consecutive hours, carrying more than 3,000 passengers free. In 2002 it was classified a National Monument.
- Elevador de Santa Justa (Santa Justa Lift), Rua Aurea & Rua de Santa Justa, . Located downtown, this elevator was designed by a follower of French engineer Gustav Eiffel and connects downtown to Trinidade, located many metres uphill. Inaugurated on 10 July 1902, it is the only street lift in Lisbon for public service. It was built by the architect Raoul Mesnier du Ponsard in cast iron enriched with filigrana details. In 2002 it was classified a National Monument.
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.
- The blue line (linha azul) has perhaps the most tourist-friendly route, starting at the Santa Apolonia train station and stopping at Terreiro do Paco, Baixa/Chiado, (Praca do) Restauradores, Avenida (do Libertade), (Praca do) Marques do Pombal, Parque (Eduardo VII) and Jardim Zoologico.
- The green line (linha verde) stops at Baixa/Chiado as well, and goes to Cais do Sodre, from where you can take trains to Belem, Cascais and Estoril or the ferry to Almada, as well as at Rossio, from where you can take a train to Sintra
- The red line (linha vermelha) starts directly at the Lisbon Airport and stops at Oriente (for long-distance trains and the Parque des Nacoes). That said, one needs to change to another metro line to get to the historic centre.
- The yellow line (linha amarela) is of perhaps least use to tourists as it mostly connects the northern residential districts with the city.
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.
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.
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 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 Carris—other bus companies have their own tickets. The card itself can be purchased for €0.50 (this price doesn't include any trips), and remains valid for a year.
The Viva Viagem card can be charged in three different modes:
- Single tickets for bus or metro (€1.40 - as from 1 January 2013)
- Day pass for metro, buses and trams (€6 for unlimited use for 24 hours from time of purchase and can be re-charged each day).
- Zapping. This pay-as-you go mode gives you additional credit (for example, if you pay €10.00 you receive €10.75 of credit). It also offers flexible rates: every journey costs €1.25 (as from 1 January 2013), and you get a small discount for two contiguous journeys, e.g., if you change from metro to bus. The downside is that zapping in ticket machines can be done with round amounts only: €5, €10, €15. If you have a bit of unused money, it is wise to go to the ticked 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.
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 Viagemcards. 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 Viva card with white stripe in the bottom.
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 a hard plastic 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. The plastic card can hold up to 4 different tickets at a time.
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:
- Metro: During working days you are allowed to carry bicycles in the metro only after 8PM. 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.
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.
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 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.
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."
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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).
- 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: 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, which makes Chiado, together with Avenida da Liberdade, one of the Top 10 places to shop in the world. Some informal brands like Crumpler are also there.
- 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.
- Armazéns do Chiado, Rua do Carmo 2 (Metro: Baixa-Chiado Station). This upscale and trendy shopping centre was developed inside Lisbon's historic grand department store which burnt down in 1988. The food court on the top floor has a terrace with a brilliant view over Baixa and Chiado.
- Centro Comercial Colombo, Av. Colegio Militar (Metro: Take the Blue Line to Colegio Militar/Luz Station), . 9AM - 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.
- Centro Comercial Vasco da Gama (Metro: Oriente Station). A large mall in the Parque Expo.
- Centro Comercial Amoreiras, Av. Eng. Duarte Pacheco (Metro: Marquês de Pombal Station). The city's oldest mall in eye-catching post-modern towers housing international chains.
- El Corte Inglés, Av. António Augusto Aguiar, 413 (Metro: Sao Sebastiao Station). The Spanish department store chain invaded Lisbon, armed with cinema and supermarket. It can be a bit pricey but with good quality items.
- Dolce Vita Tejo, Avenida Cruzeiro Seixas,Amadora (Metro: Take the Blue Line to Amadora Station, and take a bus from there as the mall is beyond walking distance.). One of the biggest Shopping Mall in Europe.
- Avida Portuguesa, Rua Anchieta, 11 (Chiado), , e-mail:[email protected].Vintage and nostalgic products and brands.
- Lisbon Souvenir - Handicrafts and Textiles, Rua dos Remédios 61 (In the center of Alfama, the old part of town), e-mail: [email protected]. 10:00 - 00:00. Typical tablecloths, tee towels and wool jackets, all made in Portugal. from 1€ to 50€.
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.
- Mercado da Ribeira, Avenida 24 de Julho (Cais do Sodré). 7AM-1PM except Sunday. A large indoor farmer's market open in the mornings. This is a great place to buy snacks for the day while traveling on a budget. Pick up nuts, fruit, veggies, cheese, bread or meat or delight your travel mate with some beautiful flowers. Go early! as the stands tend to close down in the early afternoon.
- Mercado de Campo de Ourique, Rua Coelho da Rocha (Tram 28 to its Western terminus at Prazeres). An indoor market selling wide selection of fruits, vegetables, meats, fish, and jewelry. A perfect break while Tram 28 turns around, it's calmer and less crowded than other markets listed.
- Feira da Ladra, Campo de Santa clara (Take Tram 28). 6AM-5PM Tuesday and Saturday. 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.
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.
Try the magnificent pastéis de nataat any pastelaria - or better yet, visit the Antiga Confeitaria de Belém:
- Pasteis De Belem, Rua de belem 84 (take eléctrico #15E 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.
For Portuguese traditional cuisine at its finest, head to the area of Chiado. Tour groups primarily feel at home inAlfama. 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 2 Bonjardim restaurant, Travessa [not Rua!] Santo Antão, 11 (It's in two buildings across a small side street off Rua Santo Antão). 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.
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!
- Café Buenos Aires, Calçada Escadinhas do Duque No. 31, . 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.)
- Mestiço, Arco das Portas do Mar, 9 (Near Casa dos Bicos), . 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 €8-12 per person.
- Mercado da Ribeira, Cais do Sodre (Opposite the train station, on the Marginal). Lunchtime all-you-can-eat buffet (soup, main course, dessert). Unlike much of Lisbon's restaurants, offers a good selection of salads. A bargain at €7.50.
- Rosa da Rua Restaurant, Rua da Rosa, 265, Bairro Alto (Metro: Rossio), . 12:30PM to 3PM, and 7:30PM to 11:30PM. Closed all day Monday and lunchtimes Saturday and Sunday. 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.€10 for buffet lunch; €25 for 3-course dinner.
- Restaurant Santa Rita, Rua de S. Mamede 24. Authentic, cheap Portuguese dishes in a very busy, shared-table restaurant. €5–9 for main entrees.
- Mamma Rosa Ristorante Pizzeria, Rua do Gremio Lusitano, 14 Barrio Alto, . Great pizzas, cheap Portuguese wine and very helpful friendly staff who have given lots of tourist information to customers in the past. approx €9 a pizza.
- Communist Party Restaurant, 170 Avenida da Liberdade. Open lunch time. Basic (not exciting, but good) food in a good location. approx €10 for a full meal (including soup, salad, main and desert), or cheaper for less. 33ml beer is 0.95€.
- A Tasquinha (from donwtown, turn left near Igreja de Santa Luzia to Rua do Limoeiro; then turn right to Rua de Santiago. Pass Camidas de Santiago. Look for outdoor red chairs and tables, white umbrellas), Largo Contador Mor 5/7. Great food; owner and guest signers perform fado on Fri evenings without charging extra for it; many outdoor tables; great red Sangria. Try bacalau with potatoes and onion in cream sauce--excellent change from ubiquitous "rice/chips with grilled everything".
- Chapito. Dinner: from 7:30PM. Great views are the main feature if you reserve terrace seat in advance. Good atmosphere; international-menu food is tasty but nothing special.
- DeliDelux, Avenida Infante D. Henrique Armazém B - Loja 8, , e-mail: [email protected]. Tue-Fri: 12PM-12AM; Sat 10AM-12AM; Sun 10AM-8PM. Breakfasts in a contemporary setting; pleasant views. Average bill: €20.
- Farol de Santa Luzia, Largo de Santa Luzia, 5 (near 28/12 tram stops), , fax: 218 885 356, e-mail:[email protected]. Mon-Sat: 11AM-23pm. Great place to have typical Portuguese food before climbing to Castelo S.Jorge. ~ 20€/p.
- Malmequer Bemmequer, Rua de Sao Miguel 23-25, . Closed on Mon.. Friendly and inexpensive; long menu of traditional Portuguese dishes.
- Pois Cafe, Rua S. João da Praça N. 93-95 (on the side street of cathedral Sé), , e-mail: [email protected].11AM-8PM, Tue-Sun. It's a place to relax, read a book, drink a coffee and plan you way around Lisbon. Also offers toasts, pastas, quiches and salads; features (late) breakfasts.
Baixa and Chiado
- Cervejaria da Trindade, R. Nova da Trindade 20C (Chiado neighbourhood), , e-mail:[email protected]. Everyday : 10AM-1:30AM.Excellent restaurant-brewery that has several kinds of Sagres beer and also Guinness. Beware with the appetizer that is charged for each item that is consumed separately. Nice codfish plates. €15-25.
- Leitaria Camponeza, Rua dos Sapateiros, 155 (Baixa neighbourhood, 1 minute off the main walking street), , e-mail: [email protected]. Everyday : 7PM-11:00PM. On the location of a historical caffe (the "leitaria"), this place focuses on only a short number of dishes (meats, fish & seafood) but makes up for this in quality and portion size. For an atmospheric presentation ask for one of their "espetada"s. The wines compliment the dishes and you can end the meal with a dessert. For someone looking for great value for their buck (no compromises on quality), it's a good place to start (or end) an evening. €15-30.
- Néctar WineBar, R. dos Douradores, 33 (Baixa Pombalina neighbourhood), , e-mail: [email protected]. Lunch: Mon-Sat 12:30PM-3PM; Dinner: Mon-Thu 6PM-11PM; Fri-Sat: 6PM-12AM. Features daily lunch menu; Portuguese and Mediterrenean cuisine. A place dedicated to the promotion of Portugal's wine and gastronomic culture. The wine list comprises - in its vast majority - a selection of Portuguese wines which best represent the country. Wine can be bought by the glass, and it is served at the appropriate temperatures and in suitable glasses. Dishes - served in portions for 2 - easily replace a main course meal. Homemade-style desserts, for which sweet wines can be suggested. A modern and cosy atmosphere. €25-35.
- Tamarind, Rua da Gloria 43-45 (near Elevador da Glória), . Small Indian restaurant. Avg bill per person: €30.
- Os Tibetanos , . Monday to Friday 12h15 to 14h15 and 19h30 to 22h00, Saturday 12.45h to 15h and 20h to 22.30h, closed Sunday. Vegetarian restaurant affiliated with a Buddhist center. Vegan friendly. Juice bar. Inexpensive.
- Terra, Rua da Palmeira 15 (near Jardim do Príncipe Real), . Probably the best vegetarian restaurant in Lisbon and also the nicest in terms of ambience and service. They have a menu in English and will help with vegan choices or people with other dietary restrictions. Reservations are recommended, especially on weekends but you will always be served even if you arrive with the place full and have to wait for a while. Weather permitting try to get a table "outside", which means a wonderful and secluded back terrace. €15-20 (Vegetarian Buffet plus drink and/or dessert).
- Sul, Rua do Norte 13, . Delicious Mediterranean and South American food. Good wine and drinks list. Helpful staff will translate the menu, which is written on the blackboard, and happily cater for vegetarians. Gets packed in the evenings so bookings recommended if you're eating from 9PM onwards. No outdoor tables. €30 (2 courses with wine and cocktail).
- Brasuca, Rua Joao Pereira da Rosa 7, . Great Brazilian food served by friendly staff.
- Lisboa à Noite, Rua as Gaveas, 69, , fax: . A restaurant with a variety of traditional Portuguese dishes very appreciated by the tourists. Friendly environment, great service. Make sure you try the appetizers.
- Ali a Papa, Rua da Atalaia 95, . Dinner only: 7PM-4AM. Mediocre quality and rude service, but has veggie options. €20 (two courses with house wine).
- Calcutá, Rua da Atalaia 28, . Decent Indian food, but far from the best. The location is great though for starting a night out on the town. Ask for the shoot drinks! €25 (two courses with house wine).
- Imperio dos sentidos, Rua da Atalaia, 35, Bairro Alto, . A popular restaurant that offers a diverse menu of traditional Portuguese, international and vegetarian cuisine. The difficulty will be in choosing what to eat as this mid-range restaurant’s menu is both broad and deep in terms of tantalising dishes on offer. The solution for a couple is to agree on the dishes and swap over half-way in order to double the gastronomic experience. Their speciality “Champagne” Sangria is a must do. The opening hours accommodate those that like to eat before 9PM and for those that dinner is an after 10PM affair. The waiting staff speak English and will humorously and patiently (with one raised eyebrow) assist you navigate your attempts to order in Portuguese. If you have the funds, there are various works of art on the walls available for purchase. Open from 7:30PM to 2AM; Closed on 2nd Wednesday
- Sacramento, Calcada Do Sacramento 40, , e-mail: [email protected]. A popular locals place. The atmosphere and the food are excellent. Service was very good and the receommendations by the staff were outstanding. The writing on the menu is very small and difficult to read in the subdued lighting. €40 (appetizer, main, wine and desert).
- Arroz Maria, Doca de Sto Amaro (take train from Cais do Sodre, ride to Alcântara-Mar station), . Spanish food restaurant with fabulous seafood with a great view of the Tejo river and the Ponte de 25 Abril. Excellent service and really fresh food. Don't miss the tamboril (monkfish) with the tomato and asparagus sauce. Really worth the effort to get there, the Docas area is fairly newly developed, and the railway line makes it hard to find a way across the main road, but with determination it's a great spot to go to. It's one of a number of restaurants of varying types along this stretch of the quayside, but it stands out for quality and value. Check it out before it gets 'trendy'. €25 (two courses with wine and port).
- Come Prima, Rua do Olival, 258 (near «Museu de Arte Antiga» between the historic quarter of «Madragoa» and Docks of Lisbon.), , e-mail: [email protected]. Traditional style fresh pasta dishes, various starters, risottos, meats and wood-oven pizzas are produced from a wide selection of prime quality fresh ingredients. Extensive wine list procured from both national and Italian producers and a delightful choice of desserts carefully picked from the Italian classics.€18.
- Afonsos Restaurante, Av. General Norton de Matos, 67 A - Miraflores, .
- Eleven, Rua Marquês da Fronteira, . 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.
- Il Gattopardo, Av. Eng. Duarte Pacheco, 24 (3rd Floor of the Dom Pedro Palace hotel). Lunch: 12:20PM - 3:30PM, Dinner: 7:30PM-11:30PM. An elegant restaurant serving fashionable gourmet Italian with a big price tag.
- Panorama, Rua Latino Coelho 1, . Superb views over Lisbon and food with a good quality/price ratio.
- Bica do Sapato, Avenida Infante Dom Henrique Armazém B, Cais da Pedra à Bica do Sapato, . Superb views over Lisbon and food with a good quality/price ratio.
- Gambrinus (restaurant / bar / brewery), Rua das Portas de Santo Antao, 23 (Four Seasons Hotel Ritz), , e-mail:[email protected]. 12:30PM-1:30AM. One of the most chic places in the city. Highly recognized in Lisbon as something of an institution, it attracts an eclectic crowd where the appeal is food and a great selection of beers, wines and spirits. Features smoking room, private parking with a doorman.
Sights & Landmarks
- Ponte 25 de Abril. This sister bridge of the San Francisco – Oakland Bay 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 25 April 1974, ended the dictatorship.
- Ponte Vasco da Gama. It is the longest bridge in Europe (including viaducts), and ninth longest in the world, with a total length of 17.2km (10.7 mi), including 0.829km (0.5 mi) for the main bridge, 11.5km (7.1 mi) in viaducts, and 4.8km (3.0 mi) in dedicated access roads.
- Cristo Rei statue — This statue of Christ the King overlooking Lisbon is across the river but is clearly visible from Lisbon. The monument was inspired by the similar statue in Rio de Janeiro.
- Praça do Comércio (Take the metro to Terreiro do Paço Station). 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.
- Rossio station.
- Palacio Foz.
- Praca dos Restauradores.
- Museu de Sociedade de Geografia.
- Casa do Alentejo.
- Praca dom Pedro IV (Rossio).
- Praca da Figueira.
- Nossa Senhora da Conceicao Velha.
Chiado and Bairro Alto
- Igreja do Carmo, Largo do Carmo (Elevador Santa Justa or a short uphill hike from Baixa or Rossio), .M–Sa 10:00–18:00, or until 19:00 June–September. The hilltop church of the former convent of Carmo is a towering memorial of the 1755 earthquake, which made the roof of the church collapse, but the Gothic arches of the nave survived. The church was preserved that way and now serves as the Museu Arqueológico in the extant parts of the building. The museum houses a hodgepodge of archaeological artifacts from around Portugal and the world including mummies from South America, tombs of Portuguese rulers, and the Stations of the Cross on 18th century painted tiles. The assorted artifacts are not well explained, but the church itself is a sight to see and visitors come to relax in the grassy nave of the church, and draw or photograph the spires.€3.50.
- Santa Justa elevator, Largo do Carmo - Rua do Ouro. 8:30-20:30 (viewing platform). Excellent vertical view of the Baixa streets, next to Igreja do Carmo. The line can be quite long, you may want to consider walking up and riding it down instead. €1.50.
- Mirador/Jardim de S. Pedro de Alcantara, Rua S. Pedro de Alcântara. Excellent panorama from the lovely terrace/garden on top of Elevador da Glória and northern corner of Bairro Alto.Free.
- Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga, Rua das Janelas Verdes. Tu 14:00-18:00; W-Su 10:00-18:00; closed M. 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.
- Museu da Marioneta.
- Basilica da Estrela.
- Jardim da Estrela.
- Palacio de Sao Bento.
- Cemitério dos Prazeres, Praça São João Bosco (Tram 28 to its Western terminus), .daily 09:00–16:30. This large cemetery is packed with majestic gravestones and mausoleums, separated by wide, pedestrian, tree-lined "streets". Many graves are marked with icons telling something about the person's role in historical Lisbon. A beautiful respite from the busy city.free.
- Castelo de São Jorge (St. George's Castle) (Walk up the hill from Alfama or take bus 37), . Mar-Oct 09:00-21:00; Nov-Feb 09:00-18:00. 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 neighborhood of Alfama. €7 with student discount available.
- Panteão Nacional (Igreja do Santa Engrácia), Campo de Santa Clara (Santa Apolonia station, hike uphill. Tram 28). 10:00-17:00, platform 10:00-18:00 (closed Mondays, shorter hours in winter). This is one of the most striking buildings in Lisbon. It's tall dome and white facade makes it a real landmark in Alfama/Eastern Lisbon. Excellent views from the rooftop terrace. Construction began in 1681, then halted until the dome was added in 1966 and then converted to the National Pantheon. Amalia Rodrigues, queen of fado, is buried here, and fresh roses can be seen on the tomb.
The church also has wide viewing platform on the rooftop all around its dome. Excellent panorama of the river and surroundings. No elevator. 3 €.
- Alfama mirador, Largo Portas do Sol (walk uphill from Sé (Cathedral), tram 28). Good viewpoint in Alfama uphill from the cathedral along tram route. Lovely view over rooftops and river. Free.
- Museu do Teatro Romano (Roman Theatre Museum). Along the way from downtown to Saint George's Castle.
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 (Torre de Belém). Open 10AM-5PM in winter, 10AM-6:30PM in summer (with the last entry allowed 30 minutes before closure). A ticket package for both the Belem Tower and Jeronimos Monastery is offered for €10. Entry fee for the tower only is €6 adults, €3 reduced rate.
- Jerónimos Monastery, Praça do Império, 1400-206 Lisboa, . Open 10AM-5:30PM from October to May, 10AM-6:30PM from May to September (last admission 30 minutes before closing. Closed on Mondays, January 1st, Easter Sunday, May 1st, June 13th and December 25th. Free entry to the church, €10 for the rest of the monastery.
- Monument to the Discoveries (Padrão dos Descobrimentos). Entry fee €4.
- Statue to Afonso de Albuquerque. In front of the former Royal Palace of Belém, now the Presidential Palace, there is a massive statue looking out to sea, representing Afonso de Albuquerque, second ruler of Portuguese India in the early 16th century.
- Museu da Marinha (Maritime Museum), Centro Cultural de Belém, . Open 10AM-5PM in winter, 10AM-6PM in summer. 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. Entry fee €4.
- Museu Nacional dos Coches (National Coach Museum), Praça Afonso de Albuquerque, Belem (Tram or train to Belem). 10:00-18:00.Housed in the former riding school of the palace, don't miss the world's largest collection of horse-drawn coaches and other royal vehicles. One of Lisbon's many unusual museums. Located in the "Museum street", Belem. €5.
- Museu Colecção Berardo, Centro Cultural de Belém. 10AM - 7PM. 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. Includes artists like Piet Mondrian, Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Pablo Picasso and Jackson Polock. Free admission.
- Museu Arte Arquitetura Tecnologia (Museum of Art Architecture and Technology), Av. de Brasília, Central Tejo, , e-mail: [email protected]. We-Mo 12PM-8PM. Various exhibits, including one on the topic of electricity in the building of a former power station.5€.
- Ajuda Botanical Gardens(Jardim Botânico da Ajuda). Daily 9AM - 8PM (Summer) 9AM - 6PM (Winter). 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. €2.
- The Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, Avenida de Berna, 45A (take the metro to São Sebastião or Praça de Espanha Stations), . 10AM-5:45PM; closed Tues. Created from the personal collection of Calouste Gulbenkian, an Armenian who longed to see all his treasures displayed in a museum. The *Gulbenkian Antiquities Museum* is a nice assortment of Egyptian artifacts, along with paintings by masters such as Rembrandt, Manet, Monet, Renoir, and Cassat. There is also a separate *Gulbenkian Modern Art Center (MAC)*. The *Gulbenkian Gardens* which surround the museums and foundation building are worth a visit in and of themselves, as a little oasis in the middle of downtown Lisbon. €5 (permanent+temporary exhibition); half price for students under 25 with ID, holders of the European Youth Card (Euro26) and those aged 65 or over; free entry on Sunday, free for under 12.
- Fundação Arpad Szenes / Vieira da Silva, Praça das Amoreiras, 56/58, , fax: , e-mail:[email protected]. Mon-Sat 11AM-7PM, Sun 10AM-6PM. 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. Adults €2.50, students €1.25, kids under 14 free.
- Museu da Água (Water Museum). 10:00-12:30; 13:30-17:30.Free.
- Aqueduto das Aguas Livres. 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).
- BES Arte & Finança, Praça Marquês de Pombal, 3, . Business days from 9AM to 7PM. Multifunctional space dedicated to contemporary art, especially Photography Free.
- Jardim Zoológico, Estrada de Benfica 158-160 (Metro:Take the Blue Line to the Jardim Zoológico. Buses: A variety of buses stop here including 16, 31, 54, 58, 701 and 755), . 10AM - 8PM (21st March - 30th Sept.) and 10AM - 6PM (1st Oct. - 20th March). A zoo that is fairly pricey, but has a variety of exotic animals featuring sea-lions and dolphins. €15.
- Lisbon Botanical Gardens (Jardim Botânico), Rua da Escola Politécnica, 58 (between the Avenida da Liberdade and Bairro Alto). 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. 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. Entrance €2 adults, discounts for kids, OAPS and students.
- Parque Eduardo VII.
- Praca Marques de Pombal.
- Centro de Arte Moderna.
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.
- Oceanarium, . One of the world's largest oceanariums. Built by American architect Norman Foster, it hosts thousends of marine species of the oceans, such as sea otters,penguins and sharks. The main tank is huge, representing the atlantic environment, with hundreds of small fishes, sharks, barracuda, snappers and a huge sunfish. Ideal for children. Adults €17, Children & Seniors €11.
- Pavilhão do Conhecimento (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.
- Museu do Azulejo (Tile Museum). One of the most important national museums, for its singular collection, Azulejo, 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.
Things to 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.
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:
- Teatro Maria Vitória, . ,
- Theatro Nacional Dona Maria II.
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.
- Cine Theatro Gymnasium, Rua da Misericórdia nº 14, 2º Andar 1200-273 Lisboa, . Fado In Chiado - Daily show (except on Sundays) with a duration of 40 minutes. Voices that sing the Fado to the sound of Portuguese guitar.
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.
- Garrafeira Alfaia, Rua Diário de Notícias 125,, e-mail: [email protected]. Nice wine bar with an impressive selection of good wines and appetizers. Good place to spend the late afternoon, before going out to dinner.
- Chafariz do Vinho, Rua da Mae d'Agua., . Perfect place to linger over a glass of wine at this wine bar that is under the arches of the city's former acquaducts. With a great selection of appetizers that are matched perfectly with the wine, it's a pleasant way to spend an evening.
- Ritz Bar, Four Seasons Hotel, Rua Rodrigo da Fonseca, 88, . Designed by Pierre Yves-Rochon, you'll enjoy deep, sumptous sofas and an impressive collection of contemporary art displayed on the walls. And with decorated bartender Paulo Costa serving you drinks, its a great place to peruse a crowd of sophisticated clientele.
- Bar Trobadores, Rua de São Julião, 27, . Medieval bar in downtown with a cozy atmosphere and a diverse range of traditional Portuguese delicacies. National and international beers.
- Tivoli Hotel rooftop cafe/bar, Av. da Liberdade, 185. passed midnight.The superbly located rooftop bar of Tivoli Hotel is a small secret. On warm evenings one of the best places to have an overpriced late drink. Youngish music late night. Drink or meal.
Things to know
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.
Safety in Lisbon
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.