Just came back from a city-break in Lisbon and beside great things to do that you could find all over the web I want to share with you the absolute travel don’ts about this city. Feel free to contribute in the comments bellow.
So, let’s get started:
1. do not come with fancy shoes. On the google map you can’t realize that this is a city on some steephills paved with cubic stone, only cubic stone.
2. do not walk more than 3 km a day if you want to come back home functional, not exhausted and in need of a day off. Take public transport although it is quite expensive for such a poor country and city.
3. do not walk with jeweleries and expensive accesories, especially in the center of the city as it is full of pickpockets and drug dealers. Rememeber it is a poor country. It may be of an incovenience to continously be harassed by the last of them.
4. avoid eating in touristic areas as it is overpriced and over rated.
5. as a consequence do not avoid eating in local taverns at lunch, just out of the city center. Eye for those with locals and especially blue collars as they know the best food and best prices.I recommend you a small tavern at this adress – 39 Rua do Conde de Redondo, great cook and great service with a good knowledge of english.
6. in the evening don’t drink too much even if beer is cheap compared to other european cities, and especially if you’re alone. Too many pickpockets and drug dealers. Go out with copies of papers not the original ID or passport. leave the phone at the hotel and take a simple map.
7. museums are overpriced and overrated. Visit instead the famous miradouros and gardens. I especially recommend the Santa Caterina Miradouro for the local vibe and Jardim da Estrela.
8. local hotels tend to be outdated so pick an international chain although personally I found great studios on airbnb with a great portuguese interior design and the famous azuleijos.
9. for great views of the river, the bridge and for the local crowd, do not avoid Passeio Maritimo de Alges, formal docs transformed in leisure activities.
10. do not pay a lot of entrances as Lisbon is a living museum: houses covered in azuleijos, fado in local taverns and churches heavily decorated.
11. do not look for the cheapest souvenirs, they are almost the same price everywhere. But really stop buying fridge magnets. Choose a local business like A Loja do Gato Preto and buy a portuguese home deco object.
12. do not eat sandwiches as local taverns are so cheap and good. You can however have some groceries from local supermarkets like DIA%. Wine is so cheap and great quality.
At the end some tips for enjoying this city as its best:
1. travel light bagage as weather is constant, no surprises, and the locals are not fashion addicted but quite laid back.
2. taxis are a hole in the buget so use public transport, it can be a great local experience and get to see the population. although quite expensive for such a poor country. Take a look at different fares and choose that who suits you best.
3. rent a car in the summer as the surroundings are amazing and beaches are a plus.
4. cross the river to Porto Brandao and eat at Restaurante Porto Sentido.
5. bring some cash if you are not from eurozone. Some local businesses do not accept credit cards to avoid bank transaction fees. Having some cash helps you avoid exchanging money at the airport or use the atm machines as they usually charge you a transaction fee.
6. taste pasteis de Belem although it is too sweet for my taste.