"Lisboa: elegant, romantic and unforgettable" Lisbon by el_ruso
Lisbon Travel Guide: 5,235 reviews and 12,986 photos
The city is quite different from both the Northern and Southern Portugal, and you might feel like you came to a different country if you travel first to Porto or Algarve. This is the largest city in the country, its biggest port, its political and economic heart, the home for its museums and monuments. Most planes arrive at the local airport, which is modern and efficient. Presence of many immigrants from the former colonies contributes to diversity of the city and its cousine. Most younger people, especially those who work in services, speak English. Also, if you speak Spanish you will be able to understand directions, or at least written signs without any problems.
The city has a lot of sites to see that will satisfy any interest you might have. There is an art museum, museum of archeology and history, naval museum, museum of royal coaches, and many more. The oceanarium is the biggest one in the world, or at least was so until very recently. And you will be able to enjoy miles of XVIII century architecture, even though much of it is not in a superb condition. There is also a well-restored castle on top of the city, as well as many elegant plazas. The Chiado district will satisfy those with an urge to buy expensive clothes or jewelry or visit a theater.
The city is probably the most affordable major destination in Europe, and thus offers a great value, especially if you come in winter. That said, there are some things to be aware of. Much of architecture is not well-preserved, and oftentimes the decay does not appear romantic. Many areas, especially Bairrio Alto, are plagued with graffiti. Robbery and especially break-ins into parked cars are common; however, actual random violence is virtually improbable to encounter during a normal tourist trip. And if you rent a car, tolls and gas are extremely pricey. Roads also get dirty when wet, because of the grout in the sidewalk.
I do believe that the positives of visiting this city far outweigh the negatives, but I want you to know what to expect, so that you will not be disillusioned.
- Pros:affordable, beautiful setting, many old buildings and castle, great number of museums
- Cons:many buildings are not maintained, too much graffiti. dirty roads, widespread petty crime
- In a nutshell:definitely worth a visit, but is second to Porto in my opinion
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