Three small tips for visiting Lisbon

March 29, 2013

Walking around Lisbon on our first day here, I learned three lessons that helped during the rest of our stay.

Look both ways before crossing the street

Some crosswalks in Lisbon mark the names of victims who have died in pedestrian-motor vehicle accidents. Though the city has initiated the Safe Street Walk campaign, crossing the street can still be a concern.

Though a crosswalk may be green, that doesn’t mean you should blindly prance across the road. Some crosswalks only call for cars to yield for pedestrians rather than stopping at a red light. Use extreme caution and look both ways multiple times.

Don’t sweat your speaking

Because Portuguese is a fairly isolated language, most people, especially those who work in the tourism industry, speak English. Many American movies only have Portuguese subtitles, so even average citizens have some knowledge of English. Getting around with little to no knowledge of Portuguese is fairly simple.

Want to fit in with the locals? Here are some basic Portuguese phrases to help you throughout your trip:

Olá – Hello

Obrigado – Thank you

Banheiro – Restroom

Sinto muito – I’m sorry

Desculpe – Excuse me

Adeus – Goodbye

Take the subway

Even if you’re directionally challenged, it’s nearly impossible to get lost on the metro in Lisbon. With only four lines – red, blue, green and yellow – it’s fairly simple to navigate around the city. Trains come every couple of minutes, so you won’t waste time in the train station.

You have to purchase a reusable metro card when you enter the metro station. They cost about 50 cents and visits cost 1.50 euro.