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What not to do in Lisbon

Every guidebook will tell you what you should do in the capital, but no one tells you what you shouldn’t do. Learn it from the locals:

Don’t think that two days is sufficient to see Lisbon

Spoiler alert: it’s not! Lisbon is big, and you should spare four days for the city and, at least, one day trip to Sintra or Cascais. 

Don’t speak Spanish with Portuguese!

Everyone speaks English or at least knows enough to help you. Take some time to learn a few Portuguese expressions that can reach the heart of a local, such as Bom Dia (good morning), Obrigado (thank you), and Por Favor (please).

Respect the crosswalks. 

Cross when it’s green, stop when it’s red. We know this is a standard rule, but the locals don’t always do this, and visitors tend to copy it. Imagine a group of 20 people looking at maps and crossing a red light – it can end badly.

Do not ride the electric scooters/mopeds on the sidewalks. 

Remember those lovely cobblestones we mention in our other blog posts? They are already tricky by themselves. Also, you don’t want to run over a local who just got their shopping done at the supermarket.

Do not leave your belongings unattended

Portugal is one of the safest countries in the world, indicating our crime rate is very low. However, there are pickpockets! Always pay attention to your belongings and don’t carry large sums of money with you. Keep your belongings close to you, particularly on the trams, at viewpoints, and in lines for monuments.

Don’t feed the pigeons

There are municipal actions to feed the pigeons, and you don’t want to contribute to a dirty city.

Don’t swim in the river

The course of water you see in Lisbon is the Tagus river, not the ocean! We have plenty of beaches just 20 minutes from Lisbon where you can go for a splash, which is a healthier, safer alternative to the river.

Do not assume that driving is the best way to explore

Some people call the Portuguese crazy drivers – we don’t know why! 

There have been several changes in the city over the last few years – chances are when you use Google Maps, it will guide you to a one-way street or to a local road that you shouldn’t be driving on. 

If you want to rent a car, make sure to go on the highways and freeways rather than the narrow city streets – it will not be a fun experience! Also, think twice when driving up those hills.

Do not count your calories

There are so many pastry shops in Lisbon and such diverse pastries and sweets to chose from that you must try more than just the “Pastel de Nata”!

With all the walking you will do, those calories will be gone in no time.

Don’t assume that “typical” is, in fact, typical

Our experience says that if it says “typical,” it will probably be a tourist trap! Extra tip: paella is not a Portuguese dish!

Do not pass in front of a local in a line

Whether on public transportation or shop. Remember that they’re probably not on vacation and are carrying out their daily routines.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help from the locals

Portuguese are very welcoming, and they will go out of their way to assist you. You can ask for help on the streets or in the shops, and everyone will be willing to support out.

Do not leave your trash behind 

There are plenty of trash containers in the city, so don’t forget that old map, mask, or bottle of water on the ground.

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