Lisbon has fast become a major tourist destination. If you’re planning to visit Lisbon, make sure you are aware of these 3 mistakes first time tourists in Portugal can make.
Renting a Car
Like many European cities, Lisbon has narrow, winding cobblestone streets that can make even the most surehanded driver sweat. Besides the labyrinthine streets, parking is nearly impossible to find. The good news? Public transit is widely available in the city center, including the charming and famous trams of Lisbon, and Uber rides are generally less than €5 one way. Walking is my favorite way to get around the city, but make sure you’re wearing proper footwear to tackle the 8 hills the city is built on.
Not Learning Any Portuguese
Nearly all Portuguese people, especially in the tourist areas, speak very good English, French and Spanish, but as I discovered in my month there, they all appreciate if you approach them in their native tongue first. Start with these 12 Easy Phrases in Portuguese. Additionally, unless you’re a native Spanish speaker, don’t use Spanish here. It comes off as rude and locals might assume you don’t know the difference between Portuguese and Spanish.
Assuming Bread is Free
If you’re American, you might assume that plate of bread and olives set on your table is complimentary, but in Portugal (and most of Europe), these starters are added to your bill at the end of your meal. They are usually around a euro each, but if you’re budget-conscience or simply not going to eat them, politely signal no to your server before the plates are placed on your table.
Those are my top three tips for first time visitors to Lisbon. It’s hard to go wrong in Portugal, but hopefully these help you have an even smoother trip. Do you have travel tips about Lisbon? Leave them in the comments.