Lisbon is Portuguese capital and the biggest city in the country. It is located on the Iberian Peninsula within the infusion of Tegus in the Atlantic Ocean. It’s the most western capital on the continental part of Europe. Although a bit more than half a million of people actually live in the city, in Lisbon’s residential area the population is around 3 million of people.
- Area – 100.05 km²
- Population – 600 000 people
- Visits – 3 320 300 people per year
- Official language – Portuguese
- Airport – Umberto Delgado
When’s the best time to visit Lisbon?
Lisbon is a true heaven for tourists who prefer warn and sunny weather. Here, the sun is shining around 290 days per year while the temperature rarely falls under 5 °C. The best time to visit the city is in the beginning of summer season, if you prefer more pleasant weather, but peaceful environment, too. If are, though, up to some noise and crowds, welcome in Lisbon at the height of the season in July and August:
- Minimum temperatures – around 9°C
- Maximum temperatures – around 34°C
- The hottest months – July and August
- The coldest months – January and February
- Possibility for rains – during autumn and winter
- Subway – The subway has 4 lines and 56 stations. It’s one of the most modern and reliable, as well as extra fast one on the entire European continent. The subway is a convenient way to get around the city, if you are accommodated in the suburbs, but desire to reach the city’s historical center. You can also use it on and from your way to the airport, as well as to reach the Lisbon’s Zoo or to visit Oriente district.
- Buses – You have 80 bus lines at your disposal here. As a matter of fact, using a bus is the easiest way to get around the entire city, especially the districts of Belem and Agud. The ticket price is extremely affordable. Plus, there are night lines, too.
- Trams – The tram line in Lisbon was established back in 1901 year and currently there are 5 tram lines – 12, 15, 18, 25 and 28. This mean of transportation has turn into an attraction for the tourists, especially the tram line 28 which passes by the top popular attractions in the city’s historical center.
Tip: Please, have in mind that the ticket for the tram is comparatively expensive, though. It’s not the most convenient mean of transportation, but at least it will bring you one fantastic experience.
- Funiculars – They are national historical monuments. However, since 1902 they have been still in use, but recently turn into top tourist attractions
- Trains – There are 4 train lines that depart from Lisbon. This is a reliable and fast transportation, which is also at an affordable price. The main railway station is called Gare de Oriente.
Tips: I strongly recommend you to buy Card Lisbon. You can use any public mean of transportation with it (subway, bus, tram, train from and to Sintra and Cascais). It also provides you free entrance to 26 attractions around the city, as well as discounts in some museums and traditional craft shops. You can buy such a card in any tourist office located in Lisbon.
Rent a car
If you will get around the city, but nowhere else, it’s not worth it to rent a car, because the public city’s transport is fast, reliable and cheap enough to meet your needs. Rent-a-car service is suitable for those of you who want to visit the nearby beaches or some other attraction placed outside of Lisbon.
They are two-floor buses with opened rooftop. They provide panoramic view of the Portuguese capital. It’s convenient to use them, because you can get on and off the bus whenever you want – for instance, if you want to see the top main attractions in the city. The ticket is valid 24 hours after purchase. The buses have three routes and offer audio guides.
Bikes and scooters for rent
They are extremely popular for getting around Lisbon. The reasons are the following: they are available at affordable prices and accessible at key spots within the city from where you can rent the specific mean of transportation, plus – it’s so easy to move on two wheels around Lisbon!
In difference to many European capitals, the taxis in Lisbon are very affordable. If you travel with 3-4 people, the taxi becomes an excellent alternative, because it will cost you less than traveling with the subway. The Lisbon’s taxis are in black-green colors (sometimes in plain beige nuance) and they have lighting signs. Note that if you see a taxi in other shades or / and without a lighting sign, it’s a fake one.
Tip: If the taxi driver offers you fixed rate per route, it means it’s fake, too.
Lunch in Lisbon is served around 13:00 o’clock, while the dinner – around 20:00. Most of the restaurants close early, so if you want to eat something, make sure to go out early, too. If you look for places with authentic local cuisine, where you can listen to Fado music (traditional Portuguese music) go to Bairo Alto or Alfama. The most popular Portuguese meal is called bacalhau (salted cod fish) and you can try it in the family restaurant Varina da Madragoa. There are plenty of variations of this meal and the best place to have one is Clube do Bacalhau. If you want to see a real palace from 17th century, where you can have tasty Portuguese dish, come to Casa do Alentejo. The hosts will welcome you with wine, bread, cheese and deserts in a very peaceful atmosphere. I also strongly recommend you one cool place, called A Maria Nao Deixa, where green beans fried in eggs and bread crumbs are served, as well as great beef with garlic accompanied with octopus salad. To try some of the best meals with seaside food, go to LOB Lobster & Secrets. If you look for something even more exotic like homemade food from Azorean Islands, on mandatory visit Espaco Acores.
There are 8 restaurants with Michelin stars in Lisbon. Alma and Belcanto have 2 stars each. Alma serves exquisite Portuguese cuisine in two sample menus, while in Belcanto we meet a totally new way for traditional food preparation, serving and consumption. In Miniri you can enjoy 7- or 9-course meals. If you prefer seasonal foods and meals, come to Eleven, while in Fortaleza do Guincho you can have amazing seaside foods.
Things to do
See the tiny narrow streets in Lisbon either by tram, or by funicular. Go for a walk around the district, the local markets, listen to traditional Fado musical performances right on the street or enter any authentic restaurant for the purpose. You can also get on a boat trip while enjoying the city’s night lights. On mandatory try yourself in any local seaside sport at the nearby beaches and have fun like a real Portuguese man.
Quite close to Lisbon you can discover beautiful sandy beaches. The easiest for access are these: the coastal line of Cascais-Estoril and Costa de Caparica. You can reach them either by bus, or by train. If you want to visit the nearby wild beaches on the shore of Cera de Cintra and Cera de Arrabida, you need rent-a-car service.
Nightlife and entertainments
Lisbon’s nightlife starts in the bars right after dinner, around 23:00 o’clock. Right after midnight most of the clubs are opened and the best ones are in Bairo Alto district. The entertainment here is guaranteed right up to the morning hours and the best thing is that the entire city is extremely peaceful at nights, so there’s nothing to worry regarding your personal safety on your way back to your hotel.
The best bartenders in the city can be found in Red Frog. If you want an amazing tropical cocktail, then, visit Money Mash, while if you look for some elegant place with excellent music sound, your place is Le Consulat. If you are more of an underground electronic music type, bar Lounge will suit your needs as it’s always full with youths. The party can later go on in MINISTERIUM Club where the best contemporary techno DJs have their gigs. LUX is another must visit place and I’ll tell you only thing about it to assure you how great it is – John Malkovich is the owner of the club. Plus – it has amazing opened terraces for unforgettable summer parties. There are summer emotions with music and all night long dancing in Lust in Rio. If you, on the other side, love hip-hop and R&B, Docks Club is the right place for you. Last, but not least, those, who look for more various music styles for having a fun night out, as well as super live concerts, should go to MUSICBOX.