Lisbon's unique mixture of tradition and modernity, of small town and metropolis, captivates visitors from near and far. Excellent shopping, ornate architecture, late and safe nightlife, and restaurants with some of Europe’s best fish dishes are just a few of the reasons to visit this magnificent city.
Lisbon’s heart lies beside the river, even if the city has grown in all directions. Sit down at a pavement cafe on Rossio Square and you will see the Baiza, the flat city centre that dates from the 18th century, between yourself and the river bank. Look up in one direction and you will see the São Jorge on the top of a hill. Look in the other direction and you will see the ruin of the Carmo Church on another hill. Walk, or take a tram to one of them and you will discover the quarters of old Lisbon, most of them with a magnificent view of the rest of the city and the river.
Wander north from Rossio, you will soon end up on a stately 19th century avenue, in the part of the city which is still called "Avenidas Novas". Further north, the buildings become really new, with the city’s two large football grounds, Luz and Alvalade, and, lastly, the airport which is twenty traffic-jam-free minutes in a car from Rossio. Most of the best sights, restaurants and nightlife are situated along the river. Shopping is good along the Avenidas Novas, but otherwise the rule is to keep close to the river to get the best out of your visit.
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In Lisbon, you can find both modern and sophisticated restaurants as well as simple and very traditional ones. As you can expect, you will find the strongest Portuguese ambience in the simple and traditional places. Small and unpretentious restaurants can be found all over town and do not require booking. At most of the restaurants below, however, it is safest to book a table. Many restaurants are closed on Sundays or Mondays.
After a day of sightseeing, a great place sit down is at a pavement café on Rossio Square. From there, you will see the Baixa, the flat city centre that dates from the 18th century, between yourself and the river bank.
Lisbon is a city that takes its nightlife quite seriously. Shortly after midnight, it is best to move down towards the river and the larger clubs along Avenida 24 de Julho, the Docas area and Alcântara, where the coolest dance floors are never filled before two in the morning.
A lot of the shopping in Lisbon is now housed in enormous shopping centres such as Colombo and Amoreiras, or in smaller gallerias. The city’s old centre, Baixa, retains its identity as a traditional shopping district, where you walk on the streets (some of them traffic-free) and drop into the shops. Go in for cork designs, gourmet food, crafts, soaps, shoes and if your wallet allows, gold.
Chiado is close to Baixa, and has the reputation of being the city’s finest shopping district. Chiado successfully manages to combine the gallery model with open shopping, blending the best of both worlds.
Passport / Visa
Portugal can be visited visa-free for up to 90 days by citizens of Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia, Israel, UAE and most countries in America. If you are unsure whether or not you need to apply for a visa, we recommend contacting the embassy or consulate in your country. International (non-Schengen) travelers need a passport that is valid for at least 3 months after the end of their intended trip in order to enter the Schengen zone. Citizens of Schengen countries can travel without a passport, but must have a valid ID with them during their stay.
Lisbon Airport is located very close to the city centre. So it is quick, easy and cheap to get to and from the airport.
There is one airport bus (Aerobus) with two lines that operates from 7:30 - 23:00. Aerobus line 1 connects the airport and Cais do Sodré, departing every 20-25 minutes. Aerobus line 2 links the airport with the financial centre, Av. José Malhoa, also departing every 20-25 minutes.
Public transportation such as metro and public buses are also available. The underground train takes about 21 minutes.
A taxi to the city centre takes between twenty minutes and half an hour. The traffic is also somewhat higher during nights and weekends.
Address: Lisbon Airport, Lisbon
Phone: +351 218 413 500
Best Time to Visit
Lisbon enjoys a pleasant climate year round, with mild winters and very hot summers. During the summertime people head for the seaside for vacation and the beaches can get very crowded, especially during high season (July-August). Being located on the ocean means that the temperatures never get too high, and there is often a gentle breeze coming from the Atlantic.
The best time to visit Lisbon is definitely mid to late spring, when the weather is nice and warm and the city is not yet packed with tourists. The most important festivities are held in early June, when the whole city celebrates the patron saint, St. Anthony (on June 13th), and other revered saints. During the celebrations the city is full of people, with music, street dancing and traditional grilled sardines sold at kiosks along the streets.
Lisbon is well provided for with public transport, including buses, underground, local trains, ferries, trams and funiculars. The latter two are the least efficient but most entertaining. Tickets can be purchased both at ticket offices and on board with an extra charge. The fares range from 1.50 € to 3.00 € with the tram being more expensive. Funiculars can be even more expensive but are worth it nonetheless.
Buses and the underground stop running around 1 am, there are night buses but it is easiest to take a taxi for late night journeys.
Website: www.metrolisboa.pt / www.carris.pt
Taxis can be stopped on the street, taken from stations or phoned. In central Lisbon, empty taxis circulate frequently, except during rush hours or when it rains. Tips are not mandatory, but are appreciated even if they are small.
+351 217 932 756
Retalis Rádio Táxis
+351 218 119 000
+351 218 111 100
Phone: +351 218 111 100
Post offices are generally open from Monday - Friday 9:00 and 18:00. The main post office at Praça dos Restauradores has longer opening hours.
Main Post Office:
Address: Praça dos Restauradores, Lisbon
Phone: +351 707 262 626
Each suburb has a 24 hour pharmacy (farmácia, with a green cross) according to a schedule posted in the windows of closed pharmacies.
Address: Rua do Alecrim 125, Lisbon
Phone: +351 213 241 670
Country code: +351
Area code: 21