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Some great tips for first time visitors

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Lisse, The...
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Some great tips for first time visitors

We are visiting Lisbon in three weeks time. It will be our first time in Lisbon. We have 4 days to discover the city. Does anybody has some good tips for us? Maybe you know some good restaurants or places where we can listen to the fado music. We prefer the places where the Portugese are coming, not the ones for tourist.

Thanks for your awnsers, CeesTT

Lisbon, Portugal
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1. Re: Some great tips for first time visitors

A place to hear Fado in a non touristic manner it's hard. True fado outside main auditoriums just happens to happen.

There may be a "tasca" (modest wine house) that at a given night as fado but it probably wont be announced even to regulars until the actual day. Announcements written in English saying something like "Fado hear tonight 9 pm" are a sure way of finding yourself into a tourist trap.

When I want to hear fado I go to "Adega Machado" in Bairro Alto. Touristy? Of course, but that is fado and of high quality. The meal that goes with the fado although not outstanding it's perfectly fine.

Restaurants that I use... I actually don’t usually have meals in the main touristic areas but when I do: Restaurante 1º de Maio in Bairro Alto, Solar dos Presuntos rua das Portas de Santo Antão (both are used by tourists but they are very nice).

Here are some tips that are almost universal on how to find a genuine local restaurant instead of a tourist's only place:

avoid any place that has menus in any other language than the local one;

avoid like the plague those that have people on the streets showing you the menu;

get out of the main streets and into alleys or narrow streets as far as you can from touristic attractions;

If you don't understand a word other costumers are saying (and you don't speak Portuguese) you are probably in the right place.

Sydney, Australia
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2. Re: Some great tips for first time visitors

This:

"avoid any place that has menus in any other language than the local one;

avoid like the plague those that have people on the streets showing you the menu;

get out of the main streets and into alleys or narrow streets as far as you can from touristic attractions;

If you don't understand a word other costumers are saying (and you don't speak Portuguese) you are probably in the right place."

is excellent advice. There are many places to eat in the Bairro Alto which are wonderful and have great atmosphere and food. I'd add As Barrigas (tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g189158-d104…) and A Primavera to Alface's list - we have had some wonderful meals at both of those.

We have also had wonderful meals at Flores (which is in the Bairro Alto Hotel) and Yasmin (tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g189158-d1…).

We also never miss the chance to have a drink in the Terrace Bar on top of the Bairro Alto Hotel - great drinks and a stunning view over the river, especially late in the afternoon.

Sydney, Australia
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3. Re: Some great tips for first time visitors

More generally, I'm going to cut and paste a post I posted in response to a "What should I do in one day" query on here, which should give you some ideas about what you absolutely must do and see...

"After sleeping in until about 9.30am, we start the day with a quick coffee or three (espresso, of course) sitting in the shade outside A Brasileira in the Chiado, watching people rushing off to work, waving off the sunglass sellers, and soaking up the atmosphere of being back in Lisbon...

A very short metro/train trip later, we arive in Belém, where we spend an hour or so wandering around the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos - the most beautiful building in Lisbon. With any luck, mass will be on in the Church of Santa Maria, which is attached to the Monastery. There are few churches more beautiful than this one when it is filled with music and the swirl of incense smoke in the light streaming through the windows facing the Tejo. (Even better, when mass is on there are less tourists in the church, and you can get in as long as you know how to genuflect properly.)

After that, it's time for more coffee, accompanied by two perfect Pastéis de Belém (portuguese tarts) from Casa Pastéis de Belém just down the road. Hot from the oven, dusted with cinnamon and icing sugar, these are the best pastries in the world (but unfortunately, mean that you will never be able to stomach the inferior lumpy versions made anywhere else). Perhaps we should order two more?

Next we hop on the tram outside Casa Pastéis, and trundle back to the city, walking back up the hill to the Chiado to burn off those pasteis. At this point, we can either visit the charmingly odd Museu Arqueológico do Carmo (with its roman and renaissance artifacts randomly stuck all over the walls of an earthquake ravaged ruin, and a wonderfully chilly museum space with some highly disturbing South American mummies - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carmo_Convent_(Lisbon)), or wander the shops in the Chiado, slowly making our way up to the little shops in the Bairro Alto (which are just now reopening after their mid morning break).

Once we are a little bored with shopping, it's a quick taxi ride to the Gulbenkian Museum in order to see its astounding collection of medieval books, asian pottery, european furniture, a particularly fine Turner canvas and the finest collection of Lalique jewellery anywhere. Lunch is in the cafeteria in the Modern Art museum just next door, after a wander in the grounds.

Time for a nap! Awaking refreshed, we go for a drink at the rooftop bar in the Bairro Alto hotel (http://www.bairroaltohotel.com/), where we can drink cocktails, while watching the sunset and the river with Lisbon's beautiful people.

Dinner will be at about 9pm at the tiny As Barrigas in the Bairro. The food is wonderful, and the owner is quite lovely, always happy to offer wine suggestions, and (with typical Portuguese hospitality) she usually throws in a complimentary aperitif if you try to speak Portuguese to her.

Stuffed from our late dinner, it's time for us to walk down the hill to the bottom of Rua da Atalaia - it will be full of happy, friendly people standing in the street and drinking. After a few capirinhas, and a lot of crowd watching, we can stumble home from our perfect day, and sleep."

Thread here: tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g189158-i203-k2448…

With four days, I'd also make sure you don't miss the Oceanario. You may have seen aquariums before, but the Lisbon one is huge and truly world class.

Porto, Portugal
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4. Re: Some great tips for first time visitors

As redgards tips for restaurants, here's a few tips (and a bit of humour) from a previous thread:

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g189100-i201-k2105…

Lisbon, Portugal
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5. Re: Some great tips for first time visitors

For those wishing to eat truly like a Portuguese person and knowing Lisbon out of the postcard:

take the tube at Baixa- Chiado (or any other tube station) until Alvalade station. Get out and walk along Avenida de Igreja (oposite direction of Campo Grande) seeing the shops, cafés, a fabulous italian icecream shop (Conchanata) ask for a Conchanata ( house ice cream).

…blogspot.com/2008/08/conchanata.html

Go all the way until the end of the avenida da igreja see the church , turn left to Av Rio de Janeiro explore the area around the market, and the market, and find yourself a restaurant. I personally like the Tico Tico on the righ end of Av da Igreja corner with Av. Rio de Janeiro but you have many.

You wont see a tourist you'll eat and shop like the locals (much better for less money) and you'll get to know true Lisbon.

Lisse, The...
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6. Re: Some great tips for first time visitors

We want to thank you all for your tips and advice. It will be very helpful when we are visiting Lisbon. We will print all the informatuion and take it with us on our trip.

Thanks again, CeesTT

Lisbon
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7. Re: Some great tips for first time visitors

Hi,

if you´re in Lisbon on a Sunday or Wednesday, you can listen to Fado at Tasca do Chico in Bairro Alto.

It´s non tourist.

Enjoy

Lisse, The...
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8. Re: Some great tips for first time visitors

Wednesday we came back from our great trip to Lisbon and Nazare. We used a lot of your tips when we were visiting Lisbon. We have done a lot of walking and that was very tyring with all the hills in the city. The first day we explored the city by foot. The second day we went to the wonderful Oceanium (one of your tips). The third day we took the train to Sintra, where we visited the palace and some beautiful gardens. The fourth day we went to Belém for the Jeronimus Monastery, the Torre de Belém and of course the Pasteis de Belém (sweet but very tasty). The weather was about 20 degrees and half cloudy when we were visiting Lisbon. This was great for exploring a city.

We had a good dinner twice in As Barrigas (one of your tips). The owner was very friendly and she helped us with getting a table in the Tasco do Chico on the fado evening. Her twin sister runs this nice place. This Tasco do Chico was a very good tip because we had a wonderful fado evening overthere. We stayed ther till midnight and heard a lot of good fado music.

We also went twice to the rooftop bar of the Bairro Alto hotel. It was a little windy on their terrace but we had a very good Porto overthere with a beautiful view.

So thanks again for your help. We realy would have missed some great thing in Lisbon without your tips.

CeesTT

Saint Paul
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9. Re: Some great tips for first time visitors

CeesTT,

How about a full-blown trip report? inquiring minds want to know!

Thanks,

tptr

Lisse, The...
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10. Re: Some great tips for first time visitors

Dear TPTR,

We were visiting Lisbon as tourists for 5 days, so we are no Lisbon experts. If you have some special questions about our experiences you can allways ask them.

Everybody has is own way of traveling and his own opinion about his trips. To our opinion Lisbon was a real European city with only a few tipical Portugese spots. We had expected a more Portugese atmosphere bud could'nt find it. But beside that it's a nice city to visit with good public transportation, friendly people and reasonable food for a good price.

CeesTT