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Review: Lisbon

City/Town/Region/Island

Lisbon, Portugal

Great for walking if you can manage the hills

  • By SilverTraveller Myrrhanda

    17 reviews

    Ribbon

  • April 2016
  • Adult family

36 people found this review helpful

I’m just back from a week in Lisbon with my daughter. She was studying at a language college in the mornings, so apart from the weekend – when we visited Sintra (I’ve reviewed a couple of the sites there, it’s a great day trip) – we were limited to half days of sightseeing.

In contrast to some other reviewers, I thought Lisbon was a beautiful and very clean city. There was a lot of restoration work going on so perhaps some had already been done and that’s why I gained a more positive opinion than reviewers from a year or two ago.

Our apartment was located at the top of a hill in the Principe Real area. Great views and we liked the area, but of course metro trains don’t climb hills so our nearest station was 15 minutes’ walk away. We purchased a travel card – a bit like an Oyster Card for those of you who know London – which we loaded up with a few Euros at the start of the week, and which we could then just use as and when required on trains / buses / trams / elevadors (funicular railways or lifts to help you up the steeper hills).

But in practice we walked almost everywhere. We did make use of the elevadors because my knees aren’t that great these days and Lisbon is very hilly, but once down in the city centre it’s flat. I even managed some of the hills eg up to the Castle of St George, they’re not too bad if you take it slowly. Walking is also a wonderful way to see some of the narrow alleys and stepped areas in the older parts of the town, just make sure you take good walking shoes. Almost all of the pavements consist of cobbles of various sizes so take care, especially if it has been raining as they do become slippery.

I know a few people on here have mentioned the Lisbon Card which includes free transport and admission to a lot of sites. As of April 2016 it’s E18.50 per day and I’m sure it would be worth it if you visited several of the sites in one day but with only half days to play with we didn’t bother. I’m not sure what access to the transport is like, there was a lady in our building who used a wheelchair and she took taxis everywhere, but the taxis are quite inexpensive so that’s a realistic option for shorter journeys.

Apart from Sintra, the longest trip we made was to Belem: we took a tram there and a bus back. The tram / bus were both incredibly crowded and very uncomfortable, we were standing in both directions and on the return journey I think I had the local pervert pushing himself up against me :-(. Definitely watch out for pick-pockets! But I did think the trip was worth it, Belem is really beautiful with several attractions worth visiting.

Food was excellent but the Euro was strong at the time of our visit so it wasn’t particularly cheap. We were paying around E20 for 2 people for a very light lunch with soft drinks, and E30 for a single course with soft drinks in the evenings.

I think my favourite part was the Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara, a viewpoint 10 minutes walk from our apartment and right next to the elevador / steps to the town centre so we went passed it every evening. On fine evenings a fado singer stationed himself there and the sound of him singing and playing his guitar while you gaze at the view toward the castle and harbour on a warm evening must be one of the most romantic experiences ever – too bad I was with my daughter rather than my husband (I will take him next time). Another lovely experience was sipping a glass of port while sitting on the Castle battlements gazing across the city, a bit more expensive than down in the town but it’s an experience my daughter and I will remember. If you like a sweet tipple try a glass of “ginja” (cherry brandy) served in a small cup made of chocolate and available all over the place from about £1 per cup.

Within Lisbon itself we visited: Castle of St George, modern art museum at Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, Rua Augusta Arch, botanic gardens and the Lisbon Story. We skipped the multitude of religious buildings because we’ve seen so many elsewhere and didn’t have time to do everything. I would like to go back sometime and do a bit more.

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This review is solely based on the opinion of a Silver Travel Advisor member and not of Silver Travel Advisor Ltd.

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Other Members' Thoughts - 2 Comment(s)

  • Adventurer
    about 4 years ago
    I have not been to Portugal Looks really good. Love to go there
  • discerning-traveller
    about 4 years ago
    This sounds very interesting. Beware anyone who is thinking of driving the main road from Lisbon to the Algarve. I've never been so terrified as cars coming towards us drove deliberately at us if they wanted to overtake. we had not realised that the driver is supposed to drive onto the hard shoulder if this happens!