Is Lisbon worth a trip?

Old Aug 9th, 2009, 01:26 PM
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Is Lisbon worth a trip?

Posts like this make me chuckle, and here I am making one. My husband is going to Lisbon for work in September, and I have an opportunity to go along. It would be for five nights. Neither of us has ever been to Europe, but we have traveled out of the country to Mexico and Costa Rica. Lisbon certainly hasn't been on my trip radar, so I know very little about it. I"ve done a little bit of researching on this forum and the internet, but haven't had much time, and I need to make a decision.

I would be on my own during the day. I've tagged along on my DH's business trips to New Orleans (loved it) and Vegas (no desire to return), and had a ball exploring on my own, but there was no language barrier.

I enjoy being outside, interesting scenery and buildings, the beach, and good food - not art museums, spas or shopping.

So, is Lisbon conducive to a solo wanderer with no experience traveling in Europe? Is it worth the long flight, time changes, my kid's anxiety about Mom being gone (I've left them before, they hate it, but survive), the language barrier, and the money for 5 nights?

Are there any good website suggestions for me to research to get a better feel for what it is like? Appreciate any help and opinions!
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Old Aug 9th, 2009, 01:36 PM
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You might start your research on Lisbon at: http://www.visitlisboa.com/

The website has an English language page.

You'll see that there is a lot to do and see in the city. I'd say if you have the opportunity, then by all means, go and enjoy yourself.
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Old Aug 9th, 2009, 01:37 PM
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Lisbon is a wonderful city - good museums, interesting areas to wander round, great views, good food (and port!), and easy access to Belem and Sintra, both worth day trips. See my TR - http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...-lisbon.cfm?44 - for my six days in Lisbon.
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Old Aug 9th, 2009, 01:39 PM
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Yes, go for it !
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Old Aug 9th, 2009, 01:45 PM
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Click on my name and you will find my Portugal-Galicia trip report of which the last section is on Lisbon. You might find it interesting.
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Old Aug 9th, 2009, 02:24 PM
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Well, in May we took 8 days off just to go to Lisbon. Why don´t you just think that you will take your first sniff of Europe.
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Old Aug 9th, 2009, 03:02 PM
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Sounds like the perfect occasion for your first European trip. The hotel is paid for, your husband's flight is paid for, and you like to explore on your own. Lisbon meets your criteria of interesting scenery and buildings and good food. And there are beaches nearby.
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Old Aug 9th, 2009, 04:13 PM
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Wow, you guys are fast! Thanks! I am not sure why I am hesitating, usually I am always up for an adventure. Do you think it is relatively easy to navigate and get around the language barrier?

I'm going to check out your links right now.
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Old Aug 10th, 2009, 01:59 AM
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It's too bad you can't stay longer. Some not-very-well-known facts about Lisbon.

Pastries: I would rate them right up there with French Pastries; especially from a top-of-the-line Pasteleria such as Pasteleria Versailles (Avda Republica @ Duque de Avila).

Mariscos: best in the Ground Floor of Cervezaria Sagres building.

MetroLisboa: a unique infrastructure component; each Linea has a theme that it maintains throughout. My favorite is the linea de Oriente, opened in 1998 in conjunction with Expo'98

As far as 'language barrier' goes: Most young Portuguese speak some English and jump at an opportunity to practice it. Don't try your Mexican (or Costa Rican) Spanish there. When I did that, a (female) Taxista asked that I speak English.

See Belém, Cristo Rei (in Almada, across the bridge), the Expo'98 site including Oceanarium; enjoy the food & wine (I like Vinho Verde), and bring back some azulejos.
P.D.
Take a daytrip to Sintra or Cascais.
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Old Aug 10th, 2009, 08:56 AM
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Thursdaysd, your trip report and photos have me convinced that I would be crazy to miss this opportunity!

Robert, great website, thanks.

Nedsireland, I have an acquaintance from Brazil, maybe she can teach me a couple of phrases for polite attempts, but good to know I won't be in too much trouble language-wise.

Am sure I will be back with more questions!
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Old Aug 10th, 2009, 09:05 AM
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Definitely! My first overseas trip was to Lisbon, and it was due to my husbands work. He was military and they were making a port stop there. We had less than 2 weeks notice, and like I said I had never been overseas. I really didn't know a thing about Lisbon, so wasn't all that excited about it. I packed up the kids and we went. I remember being on the plane thinking "WTH am I doing?", lol! But it was the best decision and we had a ball! Lisbon is great for exploring on your own, and Cascais and Sintra are close enough for a day trip as well. Enjoy it, and please let us know how it goes
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Old Aug 10th, 2009, 09:11 AM
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ttt
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Old Aug 10th, 2009, 09:56 AM
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janenicole - great! I'm sure you'll have a wonderful time. Buy yourself a good guidebook, and it will have a language section. I usually learn at least hello, goodbye, yes, no, please, thank-you and the numbers 1-10. I think I bought the Streetwise map for Lisbon, as well.
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Old Aug 10th, 2009, 11:30 AM
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janenicole:

It's high time for you to visit Lisbon as your first foray into intriguing Europe. Having literally been to every country in Continental Europe (big and tiny alike), we finally scheduled Portugal as the one remaining one a year ago spring. We were elated with it and found it to be a gem of a place.

My guess is that you'll find Lisbon to be very inviting. There is much to see and it will engulf your senses from the first minute. As Thursdaysd says, don't be overwhelmed about the language. I have friends who have eschewed Europe for that very reason...how sad. You will get along fine...fingerpointing always works well.

Please go...the kids will once again learn to appreciate their mom and dad.
Have fun!

Thursdaysd is much more of a photographer than I am, but here are some additional pics..the Lisbon/Belem ones come first and the Sintra, Cascais pix come last...with a lot of Portugal's countryside in the broad middle. Just pick the thumbnails you want to see or use "slide show"

http://picasaweb.google.com/stuarttower/Portugal2008#

stu tower

Awaiting your report!
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Old Aug 10th, 2009, 11:57 AM
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Nice one of the Elevador, stu! And I didn't get to the synagogue at all, or try the jinginha. Aargh! Looking at these pix I want to go back, but I already have my next trip booked and it isn't Lisbon.
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Old Aug 11th, 2009, 05:26 AM
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Stu - thanks for the picture link - they are great!

Michael - sounds like I will experience some interesting dining!

Mms - love your story!

Thursday - besides obviously a Fodors guidebook , are there any other good ones you would recommend?
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Old Aug 11th, 2009, 07:22 AM
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janenicole - lol! I usually travel with Lonely Planet, and check out the picture guides like Eyewitness and Insight (and Fodor's Exploring) and sometimes Rick Steves, plus websites, before I go.
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Old Aug 11th, 2009, 07:58 AM
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Time Out Lisbon was very helpful to me.
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Old Aug 11th, 2009, 08:00 AM
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Janeni...are you a history buff? do you like spy thrillers?

If so take a few minutes to visit the Hotel Avenida Palace (next to the train station). It has the ambiance (and the antique mahoghany elevators) of the WWII base for the espionage community it once was. Rumour has it there was a tunnel through to the train station to make it easy for covert exits it things got tough...gorgeous little bar too.
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Old Aug 11th, 2009, 01:42 PM
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Well. since I am at this very moment sitting in Lisbon and catching up on the Forum, I guess I would say YES.
I would be very surprised if you don't like this city.
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