This post on tips for a trip to Lisbon came about because the article on what to do in Lisbon was getting too long and I guess the tips would have been “lost.” Instead, they are very very important and I wanted to make sure they were read and were useful to those who want to spend a nice weekend in the capital of the Portugal.
Tips for a trip to Lisbon
Lisbon is a city that has captivated me. A city with a bland pace that I visited during the Christmas season. The illuminations made it even more beautiful.
Like all travel, a trip to Lisbon has some pitfalls to avoid and needs advice.
Purchase the Lisboa card
I will never cease to tell you: buy the Lisboa Card and you will only keep thanking me. Modesty aside, the Lisboa card is essential to enjoy the city to the fullest and take advantage of the many discounts at various establishments and/or attractions. It is incredibly convenient.
It includes almost all museums, but most importantly, transportation, including even the 28 streetcar and even the trip from Lisbon to Sintra.
This is the first of the tips for visiting Lisbon. The card can have a duration of 24-48-72 hours. CLICK HERE to access and purchase it in advance. I recommend that you do this directly online, so that you can pick it up already at the airport and also use it for the metro ride to downtown Lisbon.
I would say it is almost “mandatory.” It saves a lot of time because you don’t have to buy a metro/tram/bus ticket every time. In addition, at some attractions in Lisbon you can also gain access by skipping the line.
Here’s what it includes (click to expand image):
I bought the 72-hour card because I stayed in Lisbon for 4 days. Actually the actual days were 3, because on the fourth I did the excursion to Sintra. Consider that these are“actual hours” calculated from the time you stamp it for the first time.
Lisbon transportation tickets
Should you need to make additional transportation tickets because the validity of the card has expired, just ask at any counter in the metro for the green card.
What it is It is a magnetic card the thickness of an ordinary ticket, which can be reloaded by simply placing it on the self-service machines after selecting the reload option.
Getting on tram 28 and being able to sit without a line
It is not exactly true that there is no queue. You may queue, but you will surely find the streetcar empty at the stop.
How to do that? By getting on at one of the end of the line.
From Rossio in a few minutes walk you can get to Martim Muniz. (HERE find the coordinates on Google Maps). With due patience, you will wait your turn to get on, but, beware…there are only 25 seats.
Here is the route of tram 28. I remind you that it is included in the Lisbon Card, alternatively the ticket costs 3 €.
Avoiding the queue at the Elevator de Santa Justa
Queue, queue and more queue…this is the situation you might find at the foot of theElevafor de Santa Justa. And so here comes the suitable advice for this occasion as well.
Instead of using the elevator, go up to the Convento do Carmo and, keeping the convent on your left, head for the panoramic restaurant “Bellalisa Elevador.” There you will be able to access the terrace (which would be reached by elevator) by paying €1.5 (if you do not have the Lisboa Card) and not standing in line.
Tips on experiences to have in Lisbon
Let us now come to the culinary aspects. So far I have barely told you about museums and various attractions, but I know that gastronomic tips are always appreciated.
Eating Pastéis de Nata
Pastéis de Nata are those puff pastry tartlets with cream filling and a sprinkling of cinnamon (optional) that you would eat endlessly. A few days after your return to Italy after your trip to Lisbon, you will still be craving pastéis for breakfast. La Confeitaria Nacional in Praça da Figueira, 50 meters from Praça do Rossio has been my regular stop to start the day off right.
Eaten slightly warm they are something exceptional.
Eating Pastéis de Belem
I have already recommended to you pastéis de Nata, what difference do they have with pastéis de Belem. Eh, good question, and yet tasting them I have to tell you that they are different, by a little bit but they are different. Only in Belem do they make the eponymous pastéis, the others are all pastéis de Nata.
The first recipe for pastéis de Belem dates back to 1837 and was made by the monks of the Monastero dos Jerónimos. Since then the recipe, as it should be, has been secret.
In Belem you can eat them at the pastry shop pasteis de Belem, not far from the monastery. You may have to wait in line before you can taste them, but I guarantee they are absolutely worth it. The question that arises is: are Nata’s better or Belem’s better?
Personally I preferred the Belem ones, they seemed less sweet with a more intense flavor. De gustibus. Come back and comment on this article by letting me know the ones you preferred. Belem is one of the lisbon neighborhoods best known (click to read the article) and I definitely recommend you devote a good half day to it.
Taste the Ginjinha
Thirty meters from the Igreja de São Domingos, at the far north end of Praça do Rossio, in a very small 4-square-meter (I exaggerate) establishment, according to the guidebook you can taste one of the best ginjinhas in Lisbon.
This is a liqueur made by infusing black cherries in alcohol. It is served in the “drink by the drop” mode, but you can also taste it leisurely. What you will have to pay attention to is the skill with which they pour it to you. Try to request it with black cherry, they will pour it straight from the bottle into your tiny shot glass without wasting a single drop….
Listening to a Fado performance
I had told you about fado at the my visit to Porto; a folk music/song composed of guitar and voice. A tradition of Lisbon, but also of all of Portugal. If you have never attended a Fado show, you really need to make arrangements to see one in Lisbon CLICK HERE to purchase one in the Chiado district.