Lisbon is Portugal's capital and the hub of a multifaceted area that appeals to different tastes and senses.
In a city that has been influenced by many different far-off cultures over time, there is still a village feel in each historic neighbourhood. Stroll through the Pombaline grid of streets in the Baixa district that opens on to the Tagus in Praça do Comércio, then follow the river to discover some of the city’s most beautiful parts: the monumental area of Belém with its World Heritage monuments, the mediaeval quarters and the latest contemporary leisure spaces, such as the Parque das Nações.
If you continue to the mouth of the river, you'll understand why we say that Lisbon is the centre of a vast resort. Along the coastal road you’ll find beaches and beach resorts that combine villas and hotels from the beginning of the 20th century with marinas, terraces and excellent golf courses. Further along the coast you’ll come across world-renowned surfing beaches, but also the palaces scattered across the cultural landscape of Sintra, a World Heritage Site.
The wide variety of landscapes and heritage is always close by, whether to the north or south of the capital. With beaches, natural parks, cultural routes and accommodation for all tastes, it is hard to escape the Lisbon region on a visit to Portugal.
Fado is another expression of what it is to be Portuguese that has also been awarded World Heritage status. You can hear it at night in a fado house or in a traditional neighbourhood. But go, as well, to the lively bars and nightclubs, to find other types of music. From reggae to African music, new wave, indie or electronic, there’s a great diversity of sounds and environments, but all are good excuses to have a drink and dance the night away.
(GMT/UTC GMT/UTC +1 in Summer)
• Buses: Every day - 24 hours
• Underground: Every day 6.30 a.m. - 1 a.m
• Banks: Mon-Fri. 8.30 a.m. - 3 p.m
• Shopping Centers: Every day 10 a.m. - 12 midnight
• Shops: Mon -Fri. 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. - 7 p.m. Sat. 9 a.m. - 7 p.m.
• Embassies: Mon. - Fri. 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.
• Post Offices: Mon. - Fri. 8.30 a.m. - 6.30 p.m.
• Pharmacies: Mon. - Fri. 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. - 7 p. m.also: 24 hour (night) service
• Meal times: Lunch: 12 mid-day - 2 p.m.
• Dinner: 8 p.m. - 10 p.m
112 is the European emergency phone number, available everywhere in the EU, free of charge. It is possible to call 112 from fixed and mobile phones to contact any emergency service: an ambulance, the fire brigade or the police.
Portuguese is Latin in origin and the third most widely spoken European language in the world. It is the mother tongue of about 200 million people. Portuguese is the official language in several countries: Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, São Tomé e Príncipe in Africa, and Brazil in South America. In Portugal there are lots of people who are able to communicate in English, French and Spanish.
The majority of Portuguese are Catholics, but the Portuguese Constitution guarantees religious freedom and there are a number of different religions in Portugal.
Portugal has a population of about 10 million. Approximately 600,000 people live in Lisbon. However, if one includes the various satellite towns, the population of Greater Lisbon rises to approximately 1.9 million people.
Due to the influence of the Atlantic Ocean, Lisbon has a pleasant climate throughout the year. The agreeable temperatures in the summer months are an open invitation for a walk by the river, or to spend an afternoon in one of the many street cafés to be found all over the city. Although the temperatures may fall somewhat in the autumn and winter months, sunshine is almost always a constant feature.
The unit of currency in Portugal is the Euro €. You can exchange money at banks, which are open from 8.30 a.m. to 3 p.m. five working days a week; at bureaux de change; and at automatic currency exchange machines.
International credit cards are accepted at ATMs, hotels, restaurants and most shops, as well as car rental agencies. The most common credit cards are VISA, Euro card, MasterCard and American Express.
The food in Portugal is very good and deserves its worldwide reputation. Prices could vary between 10€ (modest, traditional restaurant) to 50€ (luxury restaurant). Lisbon is renowned for its gastronomy, from the simplest and most typical fare to fine cuisine. There are restaurants for all tastes and pockets.
This is customary in restaurants and taxis. Tipping up to 5-10% of the bill is acceptable.
Getting around: public transportation
Public transport in Lisbon is reliable and good value. The transport network includes Carris (buses, trams, funiculars and lifts) and the Metro. Possibly the cheapest way to get around is to buy a ‘Via Viagem’ prepaid card, available from Metro ticket offices. There is an initial cost of 0.50 cents. It can be used on Lisbon buses, trams, ferryboats and the Metro. Each trip currently costs €1.25 when using the card.
The congress is accessible through metro Yellow line at ‘Cidade Universitária’ stop.
Getting around: taxi
Taxis in Lisbon are beige, and generally fairly inexpensive. Journey prices start with a standard price of around 2 Euros, and are metered from then on. Taxis will cost roughly 10 Euros to make any trip within the city to the centre. Drivers are also allowed to charge up to 50% for extra luggage, depending on the luggage weight.
Voltage: 220/380 volts at a frequency of 50 Hertz. All sockets follow European standards. To use American-type plugs, a 220-volt transformer should be used together with an adapter plug.
A valid passport (or identity card for EU citizens) is a necessity when entering Portugal. For visitors from some countries a visa may be needed. To confirm visa requirements you are advised to contact the Portuguese embassy or consulate. A list of countries with visa requirements for Portugal can also be found at http://www.secomunidades.pt/vistos/.