Country: Portugal
Currency: Euro (EUR)
Peak Season: June-September
Shoulder Season: April-May, October
Median Temperature: 16.60 C / 61.88 F
Main Languages: Portuguese, English
Primary Modes of Transportation: Metro, tram, bus, funicular, taxi
Recommended Duration of Stay: 4 days
Recommended Pocket Money: $120.00/day
Tourist Passes: Lisboa Card
Show your love by linking to us

Lisbon is one the most beautiful cities in Europe. The convergent architecture that spans more than two millennia, its coastal location overlooking the Atlantic sea, the Mediterranean climate, and the plethora of sandy beaches – all of these contribute to making Lisbon an ideal getaway spot. But Lisbon is not just for mere recreation – it’s the one of the biggest business hubs in Europe, focused primarily on finance and logistics industries, making it a viable (and growing, as evidenced by its stellar GDP) city for international trade and investment at present and in the years to come.

The Islamic Moors handed the reins of Portugal over to Alfonso I in 1147, thereby making it a Christian country for the remainder of its history. This shift in power was met with a proliferation of Christian converts, further conquests, an undeterred zeal for knowledge, and a dramatic spread of hillside churches and monasteries following the establishment of the University of Lisbon in 1288. Under the rule of Manuel I, the early 16th century saw the rise of Gothic architecture and the steep climb of the city towards bona fide urbanization by way of proliferation of residential and commercial neighborhoods, businesses, government offices, and public works. Up until the present, Lisbon has had its share of insurgencies and foreign warfare, most notably against Spain in the 16th century, France in the 19th century, and the end of monarchy in the early 20th century. Since 1976, Portugal has been a democratic republic.

Packing List

  • An ATM card, or a credit card if you intend to go shopping; ATM kiosks are by the dozen in the city, but it’s important to bring local currency in smaller denominations for taxis and meals
  • A light sweater, smart clothing for the nightlife, good walking shoes, and a backpack (cobblestoned streets will break trolley wheels); it also gets chilly at summer, so bring layers
  • Beachwear, sunglasses, a parasol and anything to keep the sun from your skin; if you’re a bit generous on luggage fees, try to bring a lounger, since the shores aren’t that congested
  • A decent camera (an SLR is great), zoom lenses, a tripod and a decent amount of battery and memory; since you’ll be doing a lot of shooting at distant places in the city, come prepared
  • Essential medication and toiletries, especially for cough and a few other ailments caused by night chills; bring some sunscreen, moisturizer, as well as first aid kits

Things to Do

  • Seeing diverse (and near-extinct) marine species inside Lisbon Oceanarium; its resident wildlings include sharks, stingrays, barracudas and eels, all enclosed in very habitable, large water tanks
  • Appreciating the 15th century Manueline architecture of the Monastery of St. Jerome, contended to be greatest feat of Portugal; Vasco de Gama’s successful voyage India catalyzed its construction
  • Visiting Belem Tower, having been relocated to the shore of the Tagus River after the 1755 earthquake; it served as a fortification against the Spanish, Portugal’s archrival at the time
  • Visiting St. George’s Castle, overlooking Lisbon on top of a high hill; the strategic position of the castle, as well as its citadel-like appearance, successfully preempts invaders of the country
  • Engaging in the nightlife around Bairro Alto, the city’s cramped-yet-classy residential and entertainment venue; the area is also a congregation of many subcultures and specialty shops

DON'T

  • Bring your precious items along if going shopping; always be cautious of people (especially small children) following you and avoid crowded and otherwise “desert” areas
  • Linger long in nightlife districts like Rossio, Bairro Alto and downtown—dress like the locals and keep your sobriety in check; paying the nightly premium for cab is safer than walking on foot
  • Expect most people to reply in English, so make it a point to learn common phrases and restaurant menu items; don’t waste time arguing with the locals and don’t mistake Spanish for Portuguese
  • Expect everyone to be punctual or bending to your requests; Portuguese have a rather laid-back, relaxed attitude towards life and dress quite conservatively, preferring pants over shorts
  • Go home without meeting a couple of acquaintances; Portuguese are easy to get along with, as long as you are tact, patient and respectful of their values, religion, and of course, family