Lisbon is one of the gems of Portugal and is a seaside city perched atop several large hills. While it certainly doesn’t get the same press as European superstar cities like Paris or London, it can be the source of unforgettably wonderful vacations nonetheless.
Before heading out, drop your bags at one of the many great options for luggage storage Lisbon has, and get ready to enjoy the city unencumbered. This is everything you need to know for your trip to Lisbon.
Know When Is Best To Visit
Most travelers find that the ideal time to visit the city of Lisbon is in the spring or fall, from March to May and from September to October. During this time you’ll be exempt from the occasionally searing heat of the summer, as well as from the choking crowds that occur during that peak season.
In the spring and fall, the weather will be pleasantly warm, the prices of accommodations will be lower than in the peak tourist season, and you can still manage to grab a few days at the beach in most cases. For those that are looking to experience a winter getaway, Lisbon has warmer winters than most of Europe with the daily low temperatures only hitting around 40 degrees Fahrenheit. November through February are also the wettest months by far.
Learn Some Basic Portuguese
While the people in Lisbon are as warm as the Atlantic breezes, and a large portion speaks English as a second language, they will often be delighted that a visitor to their city has made the effort to learn some Portuguese basics. It could even earn you some bonus points with servers and bartenders who may even be caught off guard when you engage them in their native language for a moment.
You don’t have to go overboard, but some very basic vocabulary is always useful. You can start out with thank you, which is “Obrigado” when speaking to men, and “Obrigado” when speaking to women. Just as in Spanish, “de nada” means you’re welcome, just as “por favor” means please. Some of the terms for ordering coffee and wine are just as simple, and can generally be picked up in a few minutes of practice.
Try Not To Drive
While you may think that driving would be the ideal way to get around the city, you may be in for a surprise when you experience Lisbon city traffic. You will likely be in for an even bigger surprise if you manage to avoid the traffic but subsequently need to park, well, anywhere.
With only about 200,000 parking spots for more than 600,000 vehicles, things can get frustrating very quickly. If you need to get somewhere that your own feet won’t or can’t go, request an Uber or hail a taxi, and your stress level will thank you.
Bring Good Shoes
You will undoubtedly be doing a lot of sightseeing, and unless you’re trekking to the top of one of the giant hills for a spectacular view, you’ll likely be walking a lot. Make sure you have good, comfortable walking shoes before you set out. There are options for public transportation like buses and trams, but they don’t reach every nook and cranny of the city, so be ready to ride the two-shoe express during at least part of your visit.
Be Aware Of Your Surroundings
Like many tourist-heavy cities in Europe, Lisbon has incredibly low violent crime, but the instances of theft and pickpocketing can be off-putting sometimes. No matter where you go or what you do, try not to stand out as a clueless tourist and be sure you stay aware of your surroundings. This will be particularly important in crowded areas like trams or rail stations, even some local attractions will have crowds that may make it easy for a thief to hide.
Don’t wear a backpack since they are very easy to steal from without even removing it, and if you do need one, wear it backward so the pouches are on your chest so you can see them. When sitting at outdoor cafes and bistros, keep your belongings close, and don’t just sling them over the back of your chair.
Enjoy Your Lisbon Holiday
Lisbon may seem like a lot to take in, and while it’s a robust mix of laid-back and hectic, it remains one of the more accessible vacation hotspots in western Europe. Be sure you keep our guide handy and keep your phone charged up to access crucial transportation apps, and you’ll be ready to enjoy a relaxing stay in Lisbon, no matter how long you’re in town.