Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Tips for Lisbon, Portugal

Here are some ideas and tips for Lisbon beyond the famous tour sites. Keep in mind if you do choose the famous sites you may stand in line for several hours to get in. If you are staying in the flat area of Lisbon (Parque das Nacoes) and you want to go to Belem it will take 45 minutes by taxi or 1 ½ to 2 hours by public transit.

Taxi
Prices are very inexpensive and you will find them clean, safe and anyone in hotels, shops or restaurants can call you a taxi.
Tuk-Tuk's are all over the city. There is no need to book in advance, just talk to them and agree on a price for the time and places you want to go.

English
You will not have many issues with the language because most people in the tourist industry, restaurants, and shops speak either a little or fluent English. If they don't, they will find someone who does to help you.

Toilets
Casa de Banho (baan yo) ? They will know you are asking for the bathroom. If you are near shops that sell snacks, coffee, drinks, just go in and buy a coffee or water or something and use the bathroom. Otherwise you may have to pay .50 or 1 Euro to use the public restroom.

Coffee
In most cafes the price of an espresso is between .50 and 1 Euro. The coffee culture in Portugal is strongly rooted and they have delicious beans. However, if you like Starbucks there are 8 spread throughout Lisbon. Portuguese coffee shops do not do latte art or have syrups.

Breakfast
There are not many restaurants that serve a British or American breakfast. Cafes have pastry, rolls, bread and all types of lovely goodies anytime of the day. It would be wise to have a breakfast at your hotel before heading out if they offer it.

The Metro
The trains are clean and on time by a couple of minutes of their schedule. The stops are all over the city and there are customer service windows with a person to help you get your swipe card (Viva Viagem Card) You tap in and tap out.

Going outside of Lisbon by train
If you are going to be here for a couple of days it is very easy to see sites outside of Lisbon. The country is small. The trains are clean and easy and there are always taxis at the stations. By the high speed train Alfa Pendular you can get from Lisboa to:
Porto 2 hrs 35 minutes
Fatima 1 hr 10 minutes (Intercidades train)
Coimbra 1 hr 30 minutes
Evora   1 hr 30 minutes  (Intercidades train)

Castles of Portugal

Pork
Portugal does pork extremely well. Porco preto or Iberian Pork (black pork) and is very famous and only available in Portugal and in some parts of Spain.

Wine
Portuguese wines are delicious and inexpensive. If you like port, I would suggest picking up a bottle of Tawny Port 20 years or older of any brand. We have had 20 and 40 year old Tawny Port. If you take a bottle on the ship once it is gone you will wish you bought another one!

Easy Walking
The flattest area in Lisbon is in the Parque das Nacoes area. There you will find the Vasco da Gama Mall with good food choices on the 3rd floor, shops and a very large grocery store on the bottom level. We recommend the restaurant called La Parrilla. They cook porco preto ribs (Black Iberian Pork) while you wait, it comes with fries, salad and a drink. They will give you a beeper and you can grab a table outside or inside while you wait. It is worth it! Here is their menu. https://www.zomato.com/grande-lisboa/la-parrilla-parque-das-na%C3%A7%C3%B5es-lisboa/menu

The National Tile Museum
It costs 5.00 Euros entry. It is not on the tours for ships so you will not feel crowded. Take your time and explore the large building and have some food and coffee at the cafe in the building. You will be seeing tiles over 2,000 years old! Remember, they are all hand painted. We stayed over 3 hours!

Lisbon Winery
Try some Portugal wines, cheeses and cured meats. Stop in for a glass and a bite or book a wine tasting.

Time Out Market
The food at any of the spots inside are all good because this place is the love of chefs from around the city. It will be loud but you will not be disappointed.

Butchers Steak House
Is located in the flat part of the city in the Parque das Nacoes walking distance from the Vasco da Gama Mall. This was one of the best steaks we have ever had.

Pizzeria Casanova Restaurant
It is located right next to the cruise ship dock. We arrived just before lunch and the doors where still closed but locals were lined up waiting for them to open. We were one of the first in the door and by the time we were finished with our meal, the place was packed and there was a line outside waiting to get in. We had Wood Fired Prosciutto and Mushroom Pizza and the Tenderloin with mustard sauce and rocket. It was amazing!

Google Maps
For the flattest area of Lisbon is in Parque das Nacoes. I think most of you probably know how to use Google Street View, but if not, open the map and drag the little man in the lower right corner and drop him on any blue line. We use street view during our research before we visit a city and when we get there it feels nicely familiar. You can see how flat and easy the area is.

Vasco da Gama Mall

Hotel Ibis Lisboa Parque das Nacoes

Myriad Hotel
The green strip you see on the map is flat walking next to the river

Park Jardim do Passeio

Butchers Restaurant

Casino Lisboa

Lisbon Oceanarium