Lisbon is a beautiful city to visit, which happens to be quite affordable. Here are the best tips for an unforgettable journey!
1 – Hostels are your friends
In none other country have I found a hostel better than those in Portugal and Spain. You will rapidly find the hotels in the Portuguese capital are not that affordable, so don’t look down on these practical rooms, just because you have to share a bathroom (or a room, if you decide to stay in a dormitory type of accommodation). Having said that, you can also check Airbnb for nice flats, which happen to be ok-looking and usually in quite central areas.
2 – Public transport is a nightmare
(Uber you way out of a messy situation!)
I have spent over 30 minutes in a huge queue just to buy a ticket to get on a train from Cais do Sodré to Belém and ended up giving up. Why? Because being there meant I lost two trains and the next one would come in 20 minutes. I hate waiting, so I decided to trust an UBER driver to get me there in 4 minutes. I ended up paying only 4 euros for the whole trip. In addition, buses are often delayed and might not come at all. Thereby, I strongly advise against relying on them. When it comes to trains, well, Lisbon underground might make you wait for up to 10 minutes until you get the next train… However, you can always walk everywhere – it’s a great workout!
3 – Plan your days
Lisbon has a huge range of stuff to see, ranging from historic monuments to interesting museums. You should pay attention to the closing hours, which are usually in between 6 and 7 p.m., alongside with the time it will take you to get from one place to another. Keep in mind that the most well-known places usually have a line of people waiting, which might prevent you from getting inside the said site if you join it too late.
4 – Comfortable shoes are a must
Lisbon sidewalks can be indeed very beautiful and enchanting, but “slippery” is their middle name. In addition to the geographical conditions of the city, which makes it go up and down constantly, these endearing sidewalks make it difficult to wear anything other than sneakers or sandals.
5 – Try the food
I can’t stress this enough: food and restaurants are cheap in Lisbon, especially if you avoid the touristic areas (e.g. Baixa Chiado, Rossio, etc.). Just go deep into the old streets of Alfama and find a good place there (like “Restaurante Barracão de Alfama”). You can get a full dish for 5 euros or less. Coffee is also cheap and quite good. Don’t forget to try the famous “pastel de nata”, not only in Belém, but also in other places, like “A Fábrica da Nata”. Finally, Lisbon is home to the best chocolate cake in the world – that is literally its name, so do try it as well.
6 – Relax in Lisbon
My boyfriend said to me once that he felt that the most relaxing big city he has ever been to is Lisbon. I could not agree more. The people seem fairly relaxed and it’s so sunny that you can’t help but feel like that as well. Don’t miss out on the opportunity of visiting Bairro Alto, home to various entertaining bars and restaurants, and just drink a beer while thinking about everything and nothing.
7 – Don’t become a lobster
If you are pale, use sunscreen. No, really, use it all the time. Don’t forget your ears. Reapply it every two hours. This is the only way you can ensure you won’t become a lobster during your time in Portugal. I’m not joking.