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Ooaj Travel Guide, tourism, hotel reservation, residence, plane, cheap pension for you holidays in lisbon
Free Travel guide Ooaj.com A free travel guide for holidays. Hotels in lisbon, Bed and Breakfast!
Lisbon (Lisboa) is the capital of Portugal.
Lisbon's tourist information infrastructure received a shot in the arm in the leadup to EuroCup 2004. The sparkling new Lisboa Ask Me Centre (Pç. do Comércio, 21 0312815, open 09:00 - 20:00 daily) will help you find accommodation and is happy to dispense advice, maps and brochures. Smaller Ask Me Lisboa kiosks are dotted about the Rossio district and airport and their multilingual staff also have maps and brochures.
The Lisboa Welcome Card, which can be purchased from tourist information outlets, offers free use of all public transport in the city and free or reduced price tickets to many museums, galleries and tourist attractions. They can be purchased in 24 hour (adult / child: ?13.25 / ?5.90), 48 hour (?22.50 / ?9.10) and 72 hour (?27.50 / ?11.90) denominations.
Portugal's largest international air hub is the Aeroporto da Portela (Alameda das Comunidades Portuguesas, Tel: 21 841 35 00, Fax: 21 841 36 75, web: http://www.ana-aeroportos.pt/) which is linked to the city centre by an Aerobus (line 91) every 20 minutes from 07:00 - 21:00 and bus lines 5, 8, 22, 44, 45, 83.
There are two big train stations in Lisbon: S. Apolónia and Orient Station
Lisbon can be accessed from six main highways.
Coming from the south (A2) or east (A6 - the main route from Madrid), there are the two bridges:
The A2 goes all the way to the 25 de Abril bridge, which usually has lots of traffic getting into Lisbon, specially weekday mornings. This is the best option if you want to go to the center of Lisbon or to the west (A5 - Estoril, Cascais, Sintra);
If you branch from the A2 into the A12, you'll get to the Vasco da Gama bridge, the longest bridge in Europe, it usually has less traffic than the older 25 de Abril bridge (but a more expensive toll). This is the best option to go to the eastern/northern section of Lisbon (to the airport and to the Parque das Nações - the former Expo 98 site), and also to take the A1 or A8 going north.
Coming from the north, there is the A1, that connects Lisbon to Santarém, Fátima, Leiria, Coimbra, Aveiro, Oporto. The A1 ends near the airport. There's also the A8, which goes to Torres Vedras, Caldas da Rainha, Alcobaça, Leiria.
From the west, there is the A5, which connects to Estoril, Cascais, and the IC19 that crosses all the suburbs and ends near Sintra.
Lisbon has three ring roads: The 2ª circular, which connects the A1 to the IC19; the CRIL IC17 (still incomplete), which connects the Vasco da Gama bridge with the A1 and A8; and the CREL A9, which connects the A1 with the A8, IC19, A5, and goes all the way to the Estoril coast.
Regarding toll highways - Portugal has a unified electronic toll paying system - it's usually on the one or two left most lanes of the toll booths, marked with a green "V" (Via Verde - "Green Lane"). If you don't subscribe to the system, pay the toll at the manned booths (cash and most debit and cr cards accepted). If you by chance get distracted and go through the Via Verde lane, you have 48 hours to go to a Via Verde office and pay the toll without a fine.
Due to the relative proximity of Lisbon's airport to the city centre, it is quite easy to cycle from the airport to the centre, and is probably to be recommended if you arrive for a cycling trip. Cycling in Portugal is pretty hairy, but to be honest Lisbon is childs play compared to once you get out of the city, where it gets very scary indeed. It gets easier the further you get from Lisbon, and certain regional trains do take bicycles in a seperate luggage carriage, so later on it is a good idea to get one of these to somewhere perhaps 50-100km from Lisbon and start your trip from there.
Anyway, after leaving the airport and negotiating a roundabout, you want to get onto the long and straight dual-carriageway Av. Almirante Gago Coutinho (you should be able just to follow the centro signs.) Once you are on that it is very simple and pretty much dead straight all the way to Baixa. This street later turns into Av. Almirante Reis, and then Rua de Palma, at the end of which you will be right in Baixa.
Lisbon's recently refurbished metro system (http://www.metrolisboa.pt) is quick and efficient. Single trip tickets within Zone 1 (which covers most of the city) cost ?0.70, although you can buy a 10 trip card for ?6.50.
Be sure to check out the public transport one- and multiple-day tickets, as most likely you will save a lot of money using them. You can buy a 7 Colinas card for 0.50 euros and charge it for unlimited trips either on one day (3 euros) or for five consecutive days (12.10 euros). The 7 Colinas card is rechargeable.
If you plan to be in Lisbon for an extended time, you can purchase an unlimited pass that covers buses, metro, and funiculars at the Carris (http://www.carris.pt/en/index.php) station in Santo Amaro. It's 10 euro for the Lisboa Viva card, plus 25 euro for a one-month unlimited pass. You can also get them in week-long or two-week unlimited denominations. Bring a photo ID (passport) and cash.
Think twice before using a car in the city unless you are prepared to spend hours in traffic jams. Parking in certain areas can also be a pain.
If your accommodation is in the centre of the city, walking is a great alternative. Many of the attractions of the city, such as the Castelo and the Alfama and Bairro Alto districts, are within easy walking distance of the Baixa.
You may also use the funiculars and elevadores. Day passes for public transportation are also valid for those.
Instead of paying for a trip in one of the tourist trams, try line 28. It takes you by many of Lisbon's most famous sites, and although it is overrun with tourists, you still get a flavor of the locals.
Shops open a little later than other places in Europe, and the lunch breaks can be quite long. They are usually closed on Sundays, but you'll find that some decide to open for a couple of hours. Most malls, however, are open on Sundays such as Colombo (http://www.colombo.pt/mainsite/common/default.aspx) and the Armazens do Chiado (http://www.armazensdochiado.com/). Grocery stores close around 1pm on Sundays, though, regardless of location.
You can buy a Lisbon Shopping Card, which gives you discounts at major stores around the city for a period of 24 hours.
The Praca do Comercio is the best shopping district in the city. Stroll along the pedestrian Rua Augusta, with everything from tourist stores to European chain clothing stores like Zara, H&M, and Campers.
Eat dinner out one night at a traditional Portuguese restaurant at the Bairro Alto, preferably one that has traditional fado music.
If it's traditional Portuguese that you're after, then the area of Alfama is the place to go. There, you have plenty of choice, with a street full of restaurants. Try the seafood rice (arroz de marisco).
Try the magnificent pastéis de nata at any pastelaria or the even better, pastéis de Belém (http://www.pasteisdebelem.pt/) next to the Jerónimos Monastery in Belém. Have them warm and profusely showered in cinnamon... Huummmm
Lisbon is known for its lively night. For going out, stroll around the old neighborhood of Bairro Alto ('high neighborhood')for an after-dinner capirinha or mojito and people-watching. It's located on the top of one of the hills and you can get there by subway (Baixa/Chiado station) or by taking the marvelous cablecar from the Restauradores plaza. Its small streets, full of people, are packed with high variety of bars. Thursdays nights are the busiest, but the Bairro is rocking every night until dawn.
Alcântara, Santos, Parque das Nações, and the castle area are all neighbourhoods with a thriving nightlife. The whole area near the river/atlantic is a huge hub for nightlife, as Lisbon has never lost its ties to the sea.
If you are in the center, finding a sleeping place should not be a big problem. There are many small, unlisted hostels that will offer you enough comfort, and offer a fair price. Expect to pay between ?45 and ?60 for a double room.
There is a tourist service center in the airport, where the nice ladies will book a room for you.
Private international call centres and public telephone booths are common throughout Lisbon. Be warned, however, public phones less generous than slot-machines: many times they'll swallow your change and give you no cr. You're better off purchasing a Portugal Telecom pre-paid card you can insert into the phone, or even a discount calling card which connects you via a toll-free number. These can be purchased from street kiosks and convenience stores. Most payphones also allow you to pay by cr card, although support for this feature is somewhat expensive.
Internet cafes are also abundant in the Rossio and Restauradores districts. Expect to pay between ?2 - ?3 per hour.
Although Lisbon is a relatively safe city by European standards, crime rates are on the up. The most common crime against travellers is pickpocketing and theft from rental cars. Lisbon has also seen some gang related nightclub violence in recent years.
A lot of the hash and marijuana smuggled into the EU from Morocco is channelled through Lisbon (actually most is through the huge and not well garded Portuguese coast, from the Algarve, where most of it gets in, to the very north). Chances are you'll be approached at least a few times by shady types offering 'hash' or 'chocolate'. A firm 'no thank-you' should be enough to deter them.