What can one say about Lisbon that is not an understatement? Perhaps one can start by describing its sunlight… a golden light that each day, whether Summer or Winter shines over the white buildings, or plunges into the dark blue of the Tagus river.
Another possibility is to think of its seven hills, where you can stroll along the narrow streets discovering the secrets of this ancient town lying beside the waters that once allowed the Portuguese people to dream and sail away in a quest for new worlds…
Better yet is to talk about its continuing renewal, ever since it was first destroyed by an earthquake in 1755, and it's subsequent rebuilding, Lisbon has never stopped evolving. It is now a modern metropolis of the 21st century and yet retains its small and cozy atmosphere of the past.
In order for you to taste the ambience of the city we suggest taking one of the most ancient means of transportation in Lisbon, the tram, and discover the town for yourself... Let the sun bathe you as you travel to the castle hill and enjoy one of the most beautiful views over Lisbon. If this does not catch your breath just walk along the river-side, preferably by sun set, and then try to get to Belém, the ancient quarter from where the sailors embarked on their often historic journeys. There you can experience the harmony between the future and the past, just by looking at two masterpieces of modern and ancient architecture; Belém Cultural Centre and Jerónimos Monastery.
If you still are not convinced… just take a walk to the city centre and let yourself go… discover the lifts, the tiles, the balconies, the colours, the light, the people...
What can one say about Lisbon that is not an understatement? Come and tell us...
The official language is Portuguese. English is widely spoken.
Mainland Portugal is 1 hour behind European Standard Time [GMT] and the same time as the UK.
As a member of the European Monetary System the € [Euro] is the Portuguese monetary unit. At present, the bills in circulation are:
€ 5; € 10; € 20; € 50; € 100; € 200 and € 500.
The coins are:
€ 0.01 cent; € 0.02 cents; € 0.05 cents; € 0.10 cents; € 0.20 cents; € 0.50 cents; € 1.00 and € 2.00.
Tipping is optional, but normally 10% is customary in taxis, restaurants and bars.
Major credit cards are accepted in most hotels, shops and restaurants. Traveler’s cheques and currency can be changed at hotels or at a bank - these are open Monday to Friday from 08:30 to 15:00. Automatic changing and cash dispensing machines linked to international networks are also widely available.
Post and Telecommunications
Automatic direct dial telephone services are available to and from most countries in the world.
Public phones accept either a pre-paid card, or coins (see signs on the booth). Credit systems such as AT&T are also available. Post offices are open Monday to Friday from 08:30 to 12:00 and 14:00 to 18:00.
Clinics and hospitals provide round the clock emergency service. The national emergency phone number is 112.
European type 2 pin sockets with 220 volts AC at 50 cycles are used. The phase 380 volt current is normally available in meeting and exhibition rooms.
Shops are open from 09:00 to 13:00 and 15:00 to 19:00 Monday to Friday, and 09:00 to 13:00 on Saturdays. In major town centres and in most shopping malls, shops stay open during lunch hours, but close later at night, including weekends.
Main Shopping Areas (Lisbon Centre)
The Pombaline section at downtown, bordered by the magnificent Praça do Comercio, facing the river Tagus, the Rua do Ouro, Rua Augusta and Rua da Prata finishing at Rossio Square, Avenida da Liberdade, and the Chiado leading to Bairro Alto. Some of the main Shopping Centres are Colombo (one of the biggest in Europe), Vasco da Gama, Amoreiras, El Corte Ingles.
Sales TAX (VAT) is included in prices quoted. For non E.C. residents, tax free shopping schemes are available in many shops, which give substantial savings to visitors.
Vehicles drive on the right side of the road. The use of safety belts is compulsory, and children under 12 must ride in the back seats.
Portugal has a large freeway network crossing the whole country from the North to the Algarve in the South, and from the Atlantic Ocean to the border with Spain. Valid driving licenses from EC countries, the EUA, Canada and other major countries are acceptable for use in Portugal up to 6 months stay.
There is a wide inexpensive network in all towns and cities. In Lisbon, city of the seven hills, you can choose between bus, underground metro, elevators, and electric trams, within the city or to the suburbs. Trains and express bus services also link the main towns within the country.
Breakfast is normally served between 07:30 and 10:00, lunch from 12:30 to 15:00 and dinner from 19:30 to 22:00.
There are a wide variety of restaurants and cafes in Lisbon ranging from the elegant and sophisticated to the casual and inexpensive. Take-away and fast food is also available from many outlets.
Restaurants, bars, some with live shows and discos along the river Tagus, at Rocha Pier and at the Expo 98 site, are very popular, especially at weekends.
Lisbon has a variety of theatres and venues catering for most tastes. Opera, ballet, plays, concerts, etc, take place on a regular basis all year round. Portuguese Fado and Folklore shows are popular, and an international show at Casino Estoril, with a glittering cabaret complements the many discos and other nightspots.
Excellent golf courses, tennis and squash courts, water sports and horse riding tempt the energetic delegate. The more relaxed might choose from the many noteworthy museums and monuments, sunny beaches and interesting cities to explore.
Portugal is predominantly Catholic, but a wide number of other faiths are also followed. Please inquire at hotel reception desks for times and places of services.
The climate in Lisbon is temperate, offering the best of both Atlantic and Mediterranean sea breezes all year round.