Lisbon is a magical city and you will encounter many a traveler who boasts it’s beauty and charm. This traveler is no different. I loved this city. It’s chaotic and interesting and there is so much to do (outside of museums and churches!)
I put together tips on your 1st trip to Lisbon so you can avoid some of the mistakes I made here. I would not recommend staying less than 3 full days here. The city is full of interesting neighborhoods you want to explore and get lost in. Chiada, Bairro Alto and Alfama come to mind immediately. Hundreds of trendy restaurants, cafes and shops await the curious plus countless antique and outdoor markets spring up on the weekends. You won’t be bored here and won’t get enough if you only stay 2 days.
Avoid a Car in Lisbon
Unless your hotel or apartment has private parking. Street parking is hard to find and it usually costs 5-10 euro a day to keep feeding the meter. Nice note, most street parking is free on the weekend.Tip: If your trip calls for a car, take a taxi from the airport to your hotel for about 16 euro and then go back to the airport to pick up your taxi when it’s time to leave Lisbon.
Bring an Extra Suitcase
Trust me, there is so much you are going to want to buy from the wine to the tins of brightly colored sardines and handcrafted chocolate. The amount of beautiful and well made handicrafts will blow your mind.
Heading to Porto as Well?
Prepare Yourself for Walking and Lots of Hills
You can’t go anywhere in Lisbon without a hill. It’s actually a nice little exercise after eating countless custard tarts from Pastéis de Belém, which are considered the best of the best in Lisbon. Tip: It’s easy to walk 10+ miles in Lisbon, wear good shoes.
Book a Hotel on or Adjacent to the #28 Tram
This is the charming tram you have seen in countless photos. It’s old world style trudging up the steep hills. Plus this route is the real workhorse of Lisbon transportation. It cuts the city in half and you can see almost 1/2 the best sites w/o leaving it. You’ll love taking it. Tip: This tram has only 1 car and can fill up quickly, expect to stand and watch your valuables, pick pockets are rampant on it.
Take a History and/or a Food Four
Going to a city like Lisbon is like going back in time. There re centuries of history here and Lisbon is the 2nd oldest capital in Europe after Athens. A history tour is a great way to orientate yourself with Portugal’s role in the modern world and a food tour is a wonderful way to learn about it’s culinary treasures from pastéis de nata (custard tart) to bifanna (pork steak sandwich). I can recommend Taste of Lisbon & Sandemans Free Walking History Tour.