Lisbon Airport (LIS) - Lisbon Airport, also known as Lisbon Portela Airport, is a relatively compact & efficient airport located just 4 miles north of the centre. The airport has 2 terminals. Terminal 1 processes all arrivals and handles many international flights from Europe and beyond. Terminal 2 handles mainly low cost carriers departing to European destinations. A unique quirk at Lisbon Airport is passport control is located after the duty-free shops. Don't fall into the trap of thinking you have plenty of time in the duty free shops and risk potentially missing your flight being stuck in the lengthy passport control queues just before your gate.
Lisbon's public transportation system is comprehensive and offers good value. The city can be difficult to navigate given its hilly geography and labyrinth of streets in the older districts however a variety of transportation options are available.
Tram - The famous Lisbon trams are one of the best ways to navigate the heart of Lisbon with a network of five routes - 12E, 15E, 18E, 25E, 28E (the ‘E’ stands for electrico), the majority of the trams are charming, old fashioned cars that rattle up and down the hills (except for trams on route 15 which are larger and more modern). The older vintage cars are very small as they need to be nimble enough to navigate the steep narrow streets. A single journey on any route is €2.90 (approx $3.30) or a 24 hour pass is €6.40 (approx $7.20). Single tickets must be purchased onboard the tram (difficult when overcrowded and moving around) and the 24 hour ticket must be purchased from a metro station. Board at the front of the tram and exit at the rear. Pickpockets do target unsuspecting tourists on the trams so be alert and keep your valuables safe at all times.
Subway metro - The Lisbon Metro (Metropolitano de Lisboa in Portuguese) is a fast and efficient way to navigate the city and the surrounding area. Services run between 6:30am to 1:00am with departures every 6-12 minutes. A single fare is €1.50 (approx $1.70) or a 24 hour pass can be purchased for €6.40 (approx $7.20) which covers the entire network including trams, buses and funiculars. Subway entrances are marked with a large red 'M'.
Lisbon Metro map
Taxi - Taxis (black and green coloured) are numerous throughout the city. They can be hailed from the street or found at taxi ranks in popular areas such as Rossio. Taxis can add an additional charge if you're carrying a lot of luggage. As mentioned earlier, some taxi drivers take much longer routes in order to charge tourists more. Uber also operate extensively in Lisbon.
Scooters - Love them or loathe them, dockless electric scooters are everywhere in Lisbon. Lime, Hive and Voi all operate scooters in the city. In the case of Lime, you pay €1 (approx $1.10) to unlock a scooter and €0.15 (approx $0.20) for each minute of use. The scooters are popular and very convenient for certain journeys though many of Lisbon's historic streets are uneven cobbled roads making for a sometimes bumpy and uncomfortable ride.
Jan-Mar - January is the coldest and wettest month. Night time lows can drop to 5°C (41°F) but day time highs can reach 15°C (59°F). February and March are somewhat similar, with highs of up to 19°C (66°F) and lows hovering around 9-11°C (48-52°F).
Apr-Jun - Spring is pleasantly warm and still considered low season before an influx of visitors arrive in the summer months. Lisbon experiences around twelve rainy days in April, eight in May and five in June. Conversely, as the days draw longer average temperature steadily climb from 15°C (41°F) in April, to 18°C (64°F) in May and 21°C (70°F) in June.
Jul-Sep - Lisbon is one of the warmest cities in Europe and August is the hottest month. Daytime temperatures sometimes exceed 35°C (95°F) though an ocean breeze near the waterfront helps somewhat. Night time low temperatures hover around 18-19°C (64-66°F).
Oct-Dec - Atlantic winds drive cool air and rain but temperatures are still moderate and the city still experiences three times more sunshine hours than northern Europe. October maintains warm days with high temperatures up to 22°C (72°F) but drop to highs of around 15°C (59°F) by December. Expect around fourteen days or so of rain in the months of November and December.
The standard voltage is 230V/50Hz. Portugal use Type F plugs which are two round pins, the same as used across mainland Europe. So if you are travelling from the U.S. or outside of mainland Europe you will need to bring a Type F plug adapter.
The official currency of Portugal is the Euro (EUR), abbreviated to €. One Euro is subdivided into 100 cents. Cards are commonly accepted in Lisbon, its rare for a merchant to not accept card, though some establishments may require a minimum purchase of €20 (approx $23) or so. ATMs are also plentiful around the city.
Portuguese is the main language of Lisbon and Portugal. Basic English is widely known too so visitors will rarely have a communication problem. The majority of people in the service sector (waiters, hotel staff etc) have a good understanding of English as they often deal with many tourists. Due to the geographic proximity to Spain and the common language characteristics of Spanish, some Spanish is known by the local population.
Hills - Lisbon is known as the city of seven hills. It is difficult to overstate just how steep some of the streets are. Whilst it can make walking the streets a difficult task (especially in the summer heat), it does allow for some great photo opportunities with the streets below you and the city on the horizon.
Trams - The number 28 tram is particularly popular with visitors because of the beautiful streets of the Alfama District. It is a victim of its own popularity, at the height summer there are often hour long queues just to board and once onboard it is hot and uncomfortable. If you are able to board at the first stop (Martim Moniz or Campo do Orique) and outside of peak hours you might be lucky enough to land yourself a window seat.
Tiles - The exterior of many of Lisbon's buildings are decorated with elaborate geometric and ornate tiles. These tiles, known as azulejos, are a part of Lisbon's cultural heritage first introduced in the 15th century under Moorish rule and popularised during the Age of Discoveries in the 17th and 18th century.
Pastel De Natas - These delicious Portuguese custard tarts are commonly found in bakeries and coffee shops across Lisbon. Pastel de natas originated in the 18th century by Catholic monks in the Belém area who began selling them when the monastery was in need of money. Today you can visit Pastéis de Belém, an incredibly popular cafe just a short walk from the monastery and taste the original centuries old recipe.
Bon voyage 👋
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