Annoyances for tourists, Lisbon
get used to the smells of feces and sardines (particularly in the summer) on the streets of lisboa. I now have the unique capability to distinguish the smell of sardinhas from kilometers away. and i have developed the quick maneuvering skills required to dodge in and out of piles of crap lying around the sidewalks.
Arriving in Lisbon, you will be excited about your trip and probably not realize that the airport you have arrived in is one of the most confusing places on earth, so just take care on the trip home to give yourself plenty of time and be prepared for long lines and confusing directions or none at all. When we arrived at the airport for our long flight back to the states, there were no signs pointing us in the right direction to our airline. We were flying TAP, which you would think being the major Portuguese airline would be prominently placed in the airport, but you would be wrong. TAP was all the way in the corner and it took us a while to find it. When we did find the check in line, we were blown away by what a line it was. Don't expect to do your last minute duty free shopping- you might not have time. We spent close to an hour in line just to check in and when we finally did check in, there was 15 minutes left until our flight was to depart and at least 100-200 people still left to check in. If you have read this far, perhaps you get the point so I will just conclude here saying, give yourself time and if you are impatient about waiting like I am, take a deep breath and prepare yourself. P.S.- I suppose peoples' experiences will depend on whether or not they are travelling at a peak time.
Unless you are studying Portuguese tiles, or visiting Madre de Deus church, or having plenty of time, I think you could skip this museum.
It's interesting and well organized, but Lisbon is, for itself, a large tile museum, and standing so apart from everything...
However, don't misunderstand me: its a serious institution, and if you're a tile lover it may be your place.
love them or hate them (now I doubt many people love them), pigeons abound the central areas of the city. Walk around Rossio, Restauradores, Avenida de Liberdade, and they're more abundant than people. Don't you just love when they s*** on you? There's no better way to start the morning than with fresh sludge falling down from the sky on your freshly cleaned shirt. Coo cooooo, coo coooo cries the wretched ones.
My wife and I ate at a restaurant near the Praca Dom Pedro IV square just by the Rossio Metro station. The food was quite good and the service was excellent.
We decided to eat inside rather than outside to enjoy the air conditioning. It was then that I found out that if you eat inside some of these restaurants you'll pay one price for the meal and if you eat outside it'll be a different price.
The seats and tables are usually very crowded on the walkways outside, but of course it's much pleasanter as well, and the restaurants want to maximize their revenue potential from them. I've included a picture that shows, by the food ordered, the price in Euros they were asking if you ate inside versus what they wanted you to pay if you ate outside.
I have read this on other peoples' Lisbon pages so it shouldn't come as any surprise to anyone doing research for a vacation in Lisbon but I thought I would re-echo the sentiment anyway. Despite the many spectacular views throughout the city, always try to keep one eye on the street to avoid stepping in one of the many piles of dog poop that you will encounter in the course of your day. This is really no joke- the hills in the city are steep and slipping on your way down or up for that matter could spell disaster.
In the Rossio area, where our hotel was located, we were spoken by many many, too many drug smugglers. No matter how old you are, how you look, if you are alone or not, just say no in a possibily polite way. As they ask to everyone, do not be surprise if the same smuggler will ask you the same thing after 10 minutes, if you are on they way back.
If you happen to stay in the Bairrio Alto as we did, and you head down to the waterfront then you need to be mindful of the time. Parque do Nacoes is far from the Bairrio Alto, and if you can't explain to a cab driver where to go then you need to get to the subway before it closes. If you can't explain to a cab driver where to go then you're screwed. We didn't end up getting stuck, but we ended up having to hurry to the subway. Check the time schedule. I believe it closes at 12:45 in the morning.
Unfortunately, as with every other major city I've visited in the last few years, Lisbon has a graffiti problem. The main monuments seem to be free of it, but many of the side streets, and walls in the Alfama area have been ruined by the spray painters, which is a shame, especially when you've gone out your way to see something that's covered in the crap.
Lisbon has beautiful streets, pavements, nice architecture - still the inhabitants in
my opinion do not really seem to appreciate it. Many of them appeared cold, reserved
and even moody to me, which I really find
very, very sad. Maybe Portuguese should
live down their past and enjoy the sun and
the beautiful area around Lisbon...and treat
tourists a bit more respectfully.
Another problem is drugs in Lisbon: I just had arrived on the main street (Avenida Augusta and Prace do Commerco) in the
Old City Center, when 3 persons came up
to me offering me Hashish. Not very nice
for tourists. The police does not seem to
care. Then I was even offered Hashish
when sitting in a café (!)...
people who sell drugs are usually searching very touristic places, such as the lovely "praca de comercio" which is located at the northern bank of the "rio tejo". it doesn't matter what kind of drug they might offer you, don't react and keep walking. firstly: touristic locations are usually surveyed by the police. secondly: the drugs they sell is of inferior quality as I was told by a portuguese student. most of the dealers pretend to sell sunglasses and they usually ask you first, if you want to buy sunglasses. if you deny, you will be offered drugs.
Yeah well, this was one aspect of Portugal that was unfortunatelty remarkable. We were out early in the morning, as in before 8am, and we had to be very very careful about where we were stepping.
Honestly - they must have big dogs in Portugal. Not that we saw the big dogs. But we did see their droppings, and I'm here to tell you: they're in a good paddock.
We noticed that later in the day, the same problem wasn't quite as evident, so maybe the locals hose off the footpath. They certainly called warnings to us, where necessary!
Do not stare at them while they are getting ready to...because they may aim at your direction...and get your new Portugal Tshirt all messed up...
As Lisbon is built on hills, visiting the city involves some climbing.
Going to the hilltops with public transport (tram or elevador) and decent on foot is the way to go.
Lisbon is like many other cities. There are good sides and bad sides. Vagabonds looking for alcohol are just better to avoid.