Hassles from people on the street, Lisbon

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    young man and his accordian
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  • Gypsies

    by BleedOrange Updated Jan 26, 2005

    More properly called Roma, are abundant in Lisboa and can be a nuisance to travellers. Whether outside restaurants or hanging around outside the metro station, groups playing songs on accordions and tambourines often approach tourists in search of a charitable donation. The Gypsies are often overly persistent in this persuit, and getting away from them can be a hassle. Gypsies will sometimes approach you and grab your hand without warning to give you a "palm reading," at the end of which they will demand payments as high as 10 Euro. Refusal to pay leads to further harassment.

    Related to:
    • Backpacking

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    Don't give money

    by Nelson1979 Written Jun 7, 2004

    If you are in Lisbon get used to the fact that there are a lot of people begging for money. They will try to ask friendly, then it can get more rude. They also send their children, you feel sorry and give them some money... suddenly all cousins, brothers, sisters and friends come up to you for money. They will show their diseases like once one showed me his skin (he had skin cancer) while i was having a drink and a bite on a terrace. When you want to park your car they will jump on your parking spot (or they were allready standing there) and pretend they are helping you to park your car and at the end you have to give money (if u dont they will scratch your car when you are gone) etc etc. The best tip is to be rude and consequent and just say NO and walk on, ignore them and thats it. If you feel sorry you will spend a fortune on them and they still will be rude. Sometimes it can be very confronting, while you are on holidays siting in the subway going from place A to B to see something there are blind people in the subway the whole day walking up and down the tube asking for money.... It's sad but it's reality.

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    by porteda Written May 20, 2004

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Be aware that you're likely to encounter some beggars in the metro, train and outside some stations. Also, I've noticed some beggars in the Rossio square - so if you sit at a table outside a cafe, they'll probably approach you. If anybody approaches you at night or in a deserted area, think twice before picking your wallet.

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  • SonOfLusus's Profile Photo

    Safety and annoyances in Lisbon

    by SonOfLusus Written Dec 30, 2003

    4 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Lisbon is still one of Europe's safest capitals, but as in any other capital city, be aware of petty crime. Pickpocketing is rather common in the most popular trams such as the 28. However, with common sense you should have a trouble-free visit.

    A common harmless annoyance downtown (especially in Rua Augusta, Rossio, and Comercio Square) is being constantly approached by Gypsy or Moroccan immigrants trying to sell you sunglasses and then drugs. They can be annoying, but they are harmless. They go away when you show no interest and say no.

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    Drugs & Other Things Sold on the Streets

    by myrtle Written Nov 22, 2003

    I can't tell you how many times we were offered drugs in Lisbon. More than any other city in Europe that we visited. I didn't think we looked like the type that does drugs, but maybe it was just because we are American. We also had people trying to sell us sunglasses, and they wouldn't leave us alone. Just try your best to avoid these people selling things on the streets because they are a real annoyance.

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  • chris_i79's Profile Photo


    by chris_i79 Updated Sep 12, 2003

    While walking around Lisbon, I was amazed how often people approached me to try and sell me drugs. They seemed to come in waves, as I got rid of one another was approaching. I have heard from other travellers similar experiences.

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  • Keep moving

    by Ritac Written May 22, 2003

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Avoid to stay stoped at the corners of Teatro D. Maria building, in Rossio. You will noticed large concentrations of ethnical groups from africa, and as soon as they spot you they will come to sell drugs. Some tourists robbed time to time, or undercover police could come and you're in a trouble. However you should not avoid Rossio it's a safe place during daytime, just don't stay on this corners for long time. Because this is a high tourist concentration area, expect to have a lot of beggers bugging you for money. Stay alert.

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  • Just use your common sense......

    by dogwoman Written Apr 29, 2003

    As a tourist you are an easy target for drug dealers who will offer you stuff on the street.
    Many people will try and sell you goods, some of it is so obviously stolen,just say no,(preferably in Portuguese!)
    Often you'll see women with children. Sometimes the children are drugged to make them sleep while the women ask for money.
    As in all big cities,be aware of who's around you ,of pickpockets and enjoy this beautiful city. Despite this caution, I still feel this is a very safe city compared to London.

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  • Intendente area

    by Ritac Written Apr 28, 2003

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    You should avoid this area of the city. It's located in the middle of Avenida Almirante Reis nad it's a really dirty zone in all aspects that you could imagine - drug dealers, prostitution, ethnic confrontation. Also is, in my opinion, one of the ugliest places in the city. Don't waste your time going there.

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  • kimmo_v's Profile Photo

    Well, on Baixa(Lisboa) are...

    by kimmo_v Updated Nov 20, 2002

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Well, on Baixa area(Lisboa) there are drug-dealers on the shopping streets. First they try to sell you sunglasses(even you are wering a pair of them...). If you`re not interested, they offer you hash/marijuana/coke.
    Take a chance?
    Not recommended. I am not sure is this a warning or a tip...

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  • You’ll get offered lots of...

    by eurotravels Written Sep 8, 2002

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    You’ll get offered lots of drugs. We were there before the relaxation of the drug laws and found that the pushers all went through the same weird ritual. They would offer you a tablecloth, and then a piece of gold jewellery, and then if you didn’t want any of those the drugs would come out. Just walk away.

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  • Granite's Profile Photo

    not just in Lisbon you will...

    by Granite Written Aug 25, 2002

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    not just in Lisbon you will find several people trying to help you to park your car. There isn't any special danger but you must be careful with two things. Give them a coin (0.5 Euros - 50 cents) and see if they indicates you a nice place to park the car. They will say every place is ok...just watch the signs.

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  • There are loads of people...

    by G_Butler Written Aug 24, 2002

    There are loads of people trying to sell you sunglasses. If you don'y buy sunglasses they will try and sell you hash. Beware, the police are lurking round the corner and have employed these people to trap unsuspecting tourists.

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  • DrewV's Profile Photo

    Lisbon is a fairly safe city, BUT...

    by DrewV Written Aug 24, 2002

    0.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Lisbon is a fairly safe city, but be on the lookout for beggars. They tend to drop by while you're eating or drinking. The worst thing I ever saw was this guy sitting on the sidewalk of the Praça des Restauradores. He had this immense tumor covering his entire face -- truly horrible. Then I saw the streetlight catch a little white band running around the back of his head... It was a mask!!! I've got very little patience for this sort of thing.

    Above all, though, be on the lookout for mimes, particularly around the Chiado area. These fiends multiply as the night progresses, so be very cautious. Anyone who paints their face and pretends to be inside a box can only be dangerous. *smirk*

    Portugal is cursed by whom?

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  • drmorf's Profile Photo

    Beware of communist...

    by drmorf Updated Aug 26, 2002

    Beware of communist revolutionaries and sympathizers! Gosh-I had more hair and less mass back then ;-)

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