Travel advice & practical information for travelogue:
'City Trip Lisbon'
Portuguese Consulate General
3 Portland Place,
London W1B 1HR
CONSULATE GENERAL OF PORTUGAL
630 Fifth Avenue, 8th Floor, Suite 801
New York, NY 10111
Tel: (212) 246-4580
Fax: (212) 459-0190
6/8, rue Georges Berger
Courriel : email@example.com
Tel: 01 56 33 81 00 (Standard)
Tel: 01 56 33 81 02 (Chancellerie)
Tel: 01 56 33 81 06 (Service Social)
Fax: 01 47 66 93 35
Heures d'ouverture : 9h00 à 12h30 et 13h30 à 17h00
The offial Portuguese Tourism web site: www.portugal.org
Turismo (Tourist Information), Praça dos Restauradores (between Rossio and Avenida de Liberdade).
Has lots of information: an English/Portuguese guide book "Follow me, Lisboa" with addresses of museums, (expensive) hotels and a few city walks.
Even though in Lisbon you can manage with English, French or German, it is very much appreciated if you at least try to speak a few words of Portuguese. Even if it's only saying "hello", "please" and "thank you." If you like to visit places like neighborhood bars and restaurants, it is a good idea to be able to order food and drinks in Portuguese. So, bring a phrase book.
Lisbon has accomodation in every price category, from 5 star hotels to budget bed & breakfasts. It's a popular city, so if you visit during vacation season, it may be necessary to book in advance. In May and June, when we were visiting, we had no problem finding accomodation on the off chance.
We had a good experience at Pensão Luar, Rua das Gàveas 101. A simple and clean B & B in the center of Bairro Alto, in a quiet part of the street, but near to lots of restaurants and bars.
Lisbon has many special coffeehouses, which often date from the 19th century. These are a few of them:
Café Suiça, Rossio 102 èn Praça Figueira 3. This coffeehouse reaches from one square to the other. They have a big assortment of chocolates, pastry and pies. A sandwich is also possible.
Casa Chineza, Rua Aurea 274 (Baixa). Apart from sweets of every kind, also different kinds of "sumos naturais," freshly squeezed fruit juices.
A Brasileira, Rua Garrett 120 (Chiado). The most famous coffeehouse, whose interior seems unchanged since it opened. The only things that change are the art exhibitions. It was one of Pessoa's favorite hangouts. The poet sits, cast in bronze, at a table on the terrace.
Antiga Confeitaria de Belém, Rua de Belém 84 (Belém). Here you should try the original "pasteis de Belém," in a maze of rooms with azulejos. The waiters know the way and are really quick. Quick enough for the freshly baked patties to be still luke-warm.
Solar do Vinho do Porto, Rua de São Pedro de Alcântara 45 (Bairro Alto). Not a coffeehouse, but still special: the city palace of the Port Institute. Their wine list has hundreds of kinds of port wine. You can taste them in the lazy chairs and if you wish you can order a bottle to take home. If you dare to order beer in these atmospheric surroundings, you are punished with extra steep prices.
TIP: Fado restaurants in Lisbon
Alfama is renowned as the birthplace of Fado. A more than reasonable Fado restaurant in this neighbourhood is: Lautasco, Beco do Azinhal 7-7A
If you're looking for a good Fado restaurant, you can also find those in Bairro Alto, where you have a better chance at finding a really good one. I recommend Canto do Camoes, Travessa da Espera 38. Most of the clientele here is Portuguese.
A general rule is that there only is an entrance fee in Fado restaurants that cater almost exclusively to tourists. The performances here are slick shows that have less to do with Fado then with ripping off tourists.
Never, ever ask a cab driver to take you to a Fado restaurant if you don't know exactly to which one you'd like to go. The worst ones pay cab drivers to bring them customers; hotel staff sometimes also gets paid for sending people to certain restaurants.
Plan your trip to Portugal online
Through online reservation systems like À la Carte Vacations you can book airline tickets, hotels, rental cars and holiday houses. You can build a fly-drive itinerary with maximum flexibility, book a flight plus a hotel hotel for a night or weekend. Without the limitations of package deals from travel organisations and most times for a much better price.
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