First Time in Lisbon: Top 7 Tips

Rossio Square in Lisbon under the bright sun, showcasing the wavy-patterned cobblestones, central fountain, and the towering Column of Pedro IV, with people enjoying the lively urban space.

Is it your first time in Lisbon?  I have got my top 7 tips for first-time visitors to the city.  

I love love LOVE Portugal and would love to spend even more time in Lisbon

After beginning my Portugal trip in Lisbon, these are the top 10 things I wish I had known before my trip that I would recommend to visitors:

Top 7 Tips for Your First Time in Lisbon

1. Wear your sturdiest shoes

By Iena Enz via Unsplash

They don’t call it the City of Seven Hills for nothing.  The uphill walking in Lisbon is intense to say at the least.  

I love cobblestone roads, like a lot, but in Lisbon, the cobblestones all go steeply uphill or steeply downhill. 

I was out of breath by the time I arrived at just about any cafe, and had to determine the best routes of each neighborhood to take when I woke up in the morning to give myself the lowest chance of an ankle roll.

I do not recommend sandals here.  Sturdy gym shoes are my go-to recommendation.  

2. Use Bolt

I had never heard of Bolt before, but during my visit in 2022, they had some of the most competitive rideshare rates.  Don’t fully rely on this app, as apps have glitches and mine briefly stopped working at some point during the trip.  

Besides Lisbon, Bolt is also available in other cities across Portugal, including Porto, Amadora, and Braga, so you can hop around the country with ease.

And it’s not just in Portugal; you can use Bolt in many other European countries such as Spain, Latvia, and Estonia.

So, if you’re traveling through Europe, Bolt can be a super handy travel buddy in loads of different places!

3. Carry cash

By Dom J via Pexels

….I ran out of money in Lisbon.  I maxed out the cash I had brought quicker than expected.  

When I went to the ATM to take out cash, it didn’t work.  But no ATMs worked.  Apparently, there was something wrong with the chip on my card and no bank machine would recognize the card at all.  

Lisbon has an old-school feel and most businesses either accept cash only or greatly prefer it.  Do not plan to rely on your credit card here.  

I always recommend taking out cash before your trip (either your home bank, a currency exchange, etc).  Wherever works best for you where you can skip the high rates. 

Airports are notorious for having the highest exchange rates.  So why not skip this all together by taking out cash before you leave? 

I’m sure some people have feelings about why this is not their preference, but for me personally, things have gone far more seamlessly every time I have done this.  

4. No AC

By Wan Salahuddin Wan Ismail via Unsplash

Again, Lisbon is an old-school town.  Love the feel, but with that comes very limited air conditioning. 

The apartment I stayed at had no air conditioning at all and this made very some hot summer evenings.

When visiting Lisbon during the summer months, it is wise to plan accordingly for the heat. Many cafes and public spaces offer shaded terraces and cool indoor areas.

Additionally, the proximity of Lisbon to the Atlantic Ocean means that a short trip to nearby beaches like Cascais or Estoril can provide a breezy escape from the city’s warmth.

5. Caution with electric appliances

By Markus Winkler via Unsplash

The washing machine, shower fan, a few things charging, and the dishwasher were on at the same time one evening in the apartment.  

10 minutes later, the power went out.  The kitchen flooded full of washing machine water, my clothes were drenched, and I was leaving Lisbon the next day. 

Don’t be like me, and limit your appliances to one at a time.  And be careful how many charging devices you are using during this.

In Lisbon, old buildings often have delicate electrical systems, so it’s important to take it easy and not use multiple appliances at once. 

To avoid any inconvenience, especially if you’re charging your gadgets after a day of exploring, run appliances one by the other, not all at once.

This way, you’ll spend your time enjoying the sights instead of looking for the circuit breaker! (….again, like me).  

6. Pack a Charging Adaptor

Speaking of electrical appliances… bring the right type of plug adaptor! 

Lisbon, like many places in Europe, uses two kinds of wall outlets: Type C and Type F.  Both have two round prongs.  

Most American devices have flat prongs, so they won’t fit in these outlets.

You’ll need an adaptor that says it’s for Europe or even better, one that has multiple settings so you can use it in other countries too! 

Tip: Purchase one before you leave.  If not, you can buy one at the airport, but it’s way more expensive here.  

7. There are lovely weekend markets

Vibrant flower market set up in a vintage van, with an array of colorful plants and bouquets, at the LX Factory in Lisbon, offering a unique shopping experience for a Lisbon itinerary.

For a vibrant slice of local life, immerse yourself in Lisbon’s markets.

As a first-time visitor, you can’t miss the excitement and charm they offer.

  • Feira da Ladra– A treasure trove of antiques, handcrafts, and unique finds.

    Open every Tuesday and Saturday from dawn till early afternoon, this market is both touristed and beloved by locals.
  • LX Factory Market– Industrial complex turned creative hub hosts a dynamic market where local artisans and designers showcase their handiwork.

    I think they also have one of the best Lisbon Instagram spots!

    Amidst the old factories, you’ll find a plethora of unique gifts, clothing, and jewelry that exude a blend of vintage and contemporary styles.  Open Sundays only.


Whether you are spending 1 day in Lisbon or 4 days, these first time tips have got you covered.

Please be mindful, that this is not an exhaustive list of the reasons you shouldn’t visit Lisbon! 

This is a list of the things I wish I had known before visiting Lisbon so that you can learn from my mistakes and have as fun of a trip as possible!  (Not that a little challenge here and there isn’t fun!)

These first-time Lisbon tips were created for you to get your trip started on the right foot!

Don’t forget your European outlet adapter to keep your gadgets charged and the Bolt app to zip around the city hassle-free.

Bolt isn’t just your reliable and affordable ride in Lisbon, it’s your perfect travel companion across Portugal and Europe!

With these clever hacks, get ready for an unforgettable journey through Lisbon’s charm and vibrant culture. Bon voyage!

Spread the love

Related posts


As a full time employee who loves her job, learn how I honor my wanderlust while working a 9:00-5:00 (because I want to!) This blog welcomes all, and specifically provides resources for those seeking travel intertwined into a busy schedule (3 days to 5 weeks).