Cheap Flights to Lisbon (Lisboa)
- Area Metro : 3,015 km² (1,164 sq. mi)
- Area Codes : +351 21 xxx-xxxx
- Currency : Euro
- Population Metro : 2,821,876 (2011)
- Official Language : Portuguese with English widely spoken
- Time Zones : WET (UTC) Summer (DST): WEST (UTC+1)
- Airport : Lisbon Portela Airport (LIS)
LIS opened in October 1942 and is Portugal’s gateway and main airport. It comprises luggage storage facilities, duty-free shops, a currency exchange service, ATMs, restaurants, cafes, a post-office, conference and disabled person’s facilities. To reach nearby Lisbon, passengers can hire a vehicle, taxi or take a bus. Car hire companies based at LIS include Hertz, Europcar, Avis and others.
Travellers flying from Johannesburg, South Africa to Lisbon Portela Airport (LIS) can choose from airlines that include:
- South African, TAAG (via Luanda) 12h 15m+
- TAP Portugal (via Accra) 13h 0m+
- Iberia (via Madrid) 13h 55m+
- Lufthansa (via Franfurt) 14h 55m+
- Virgin Atlantic (via London) 15h 25m+
- British Airways (via London) 15h 35m+
- Swiss (via Zürich) 16h 10m+
- KLM (via Amsterdam) 16h 30m+
- Air France (via Paris) 16h 40m+
In addition to the above, numerous international airlines touch down at LIS that include:
- Aer Lingus
- Air Transat
- Royal Air Maroc
- Ukraine International
- US Airways
Reasons to Visit Lisbon
- Nicknamed the City of Seven Hills, The City of the Light, Queen of the Sea amongst others, Lisbon is capital to Portugal, the second oldest city globally and falls into the top twenty world travel destinations. It has a fascinating history of Romans, Visigoths, Islamic Moors and Christians with a plethora of spectacular olden buildings, monuments, churches, palaces, fortresses, bridges, parks and gardens, all worth visiting including a wealth of museums and galleries showing off displays and artefacts related to health, warfare, puppets, ancient, classical and modern art and more.
- The cultural centre of the country, Lisbon is a bustling metropolitan city that’s maintained its old-world charm but has an exciting nightlife with clubs, live music venues, theatres and superb restaurants. Daytime excursions offer stunning beaches, parks, movie theatres and colourful festivals to get lost in.
- Summers are long and hot with spring and autumn most pleasant while winters are mild but variable. Peak tourist season runs from June to the end of August with packed beaches including locals on their summer vacation during July and August. For lower rates, fewer crowds and still lovely warm weather, March to May and September and October are ideal.
- Accommodation comprises luxury, budget and boutique hotels, apartments, B&Bs and some excellent hostel/backpacker establishments.
Places to Visit in Lisbon
- Take eléctrico (tram) no. 28 for a wonderful journey through Lisbon’s rich history. The eléctricos replaced horse-drawn carts in 1903 and have become a major tourist attraction.
- With a range of fantastic beaches to decide on, Portinho Da Arrábidas waters are ideal while Guincho is possibly the most scenic of all beaches.
- Open daily is the magnificent Moorish Castelo de São Jorge that overlooks Lisbon’s historic centre and the River Tagus. It served as a seat of power for more than 400 years.
- Jerónimo’s Monastery is a fabulously grand late Gothic Manueline-design structure that took about 84 years to build, finally opening in 1601 and today on the UNESCO World Heritage list.
- The fortified medieval Belém Tower of St Vincent that opened in 1519 is located on a small river island, its height of 30 metres and rooftop terrace afford lovely views of the estuary.
- One of Lisbon’s famed landmarks the Lisbon Cathedral was founded in 1147 and is an imposing and solid structure with two bell towers and thick-set walls and the city’s oldest church and seat of the Archdiocese of Lisbon.
- The 17th century Baroque-style Church of Santa Engrácia was converted during the 20th century into the National Pantheon, now home to late Portuguese celebrities.
- The heart of the city is Baixa or downtown Lisbon that was rebuilt after the Great Earthquake of 1755. Spend a few hours meandering along its pedestrianized streets with restaurants, cafes, shops, street performers and vendors selling items of all kinds. Take in three most popular sights, namely Comercio and Rossio Squares and the Santa Justa Elevator, a landmark tower affording splendid views of the city. Relax in Edward VII Park, the largest in the city and if you’re craving seafood, the pedestrian Rua das Portas de Santo Antão is lined with seafood eateries.
- Plan your day well to squeeze in as many spectacular palaces as you can that include amongst others, Palace of Ajuda, Palace of Quelux, Belém Palace and Seteais Palace.
- Take a train journey to Sintra from the Rossio Railway Station, built around 1886/87 with its Neo-Manueline façade and visit Pena Palace Sintra, definitely worth the ride.
- The Campanhã Railway Station located in Porto opened in 1875 and provides connections and services around Porto.
- The districts of Bairro Alto and Chiado afford an experience of alternative and classic culture, charming streets with stylish shops, great restaurants and a pulsating nightlife.
- The Lisbon Oceanarium is the 2nd largest in Europe, perfect for families with children. Since opening in 1998 it’s had over 17 million visitors.
- The Lisbon Zoo has over 2,000 animals, 300 species including dolphins and animals from around the globe.
- There are oodles of restaurants to choose from but one that’s maintained its popularity is Bica do Sapato. Located on the river it has a wonderful large patio and serves excellent traditional Portuguese dishes.
- Fábrica do Gelado is the place to be for a delicious ice-cream on a super-hot day with a total of 18 flavours that include lime and mint!
- For a night of food, drink and dance, Rio Maravilha located on the top floor of a building in the LX Factory complex provides wonderful views of the city and river and serves superb cocktails. There’s live music, DJs and a cuisine created by chef Diogo Noronha.
- One of Lisbon’s best nightclubs is Lux Frágil with two dance floors, one for lounging and one for sweating, it also comprises a roof terrace that affords great views over the river.
Getting Around Lisbon
Due to radically hectic traffic, exploring central Lisbon is best done on foot and it’s the only way to experience areas like Alfama that offers many sights.
CARRIS operates a system of trains, funiculars, buses and subways in the city. Visitors must produce their passports to purchase one-day passes sold in CARRIS booths (from 08h00 to 20h00) and at Metro and most network train stations.
Metro stations are recognisable by their large M signage and operate from 06h30 to 01h00.
Buses & Elétricos (tram):
The city’s system of trams and buses is one of the cheapest in Europe and within city limits, is divided into zones from 1 to 5. Running daily from 06h00 to 01h00 fares are determined on how many zones are traversed. A stand detailing schedules and routes is located at the foot of the Santa Justa Elevator on Áurea with tickets purchasable from the driver.
This system links all towns and villages along the Portuguese Riviera and with only one available class, its cheap and comfortable. Trains can be boarded at the Cais do Sodré Station in the city and travel up the coast to Cascais. To travel to Sintra, go to the Estação do Rossio Station.
Lisbon’s trio of funiculars comprise the Glória from Praça dos Restauradores to Rua São Pedro de Alcântara, the Bica from Calçada do Combro to Rua da Boavista and the Lavra from the east side of Avenida da Liberdade to Campo Mártires da Pátria with one-way tickets purchasable.
Many locals take the ferry to avoid heavy traffic over the bridge during peak hours. Ferries depart from the city virtually every 15 to 20 minutes with most boats heading for Cacilhas, from Cais de Alfândega (Praça do Comércio) and Cais do Sodré that affords fabulous vistas. Tickets can be purchased that include the train connection for visitors wanting to reach Costa Azul or the Algarve.
Mostly diesel-run Mercedes vehicles, taxis are popular and cheap. There’s a basic rate for the first 153 metres plus a minimum amount for every additional 162 metres and from 22h00 until 06h00, a 20% surcharge. If your baggage weighs over 66 pounds the drivers entitled to add 50% to your bill. Tips of around 20% of your fare are acceptable.
Driving oneself is not recommended as its nerve-racking, dangerous and the city has an exceptionally high accident rate, besides finding a parking is virtually impossible. Car rentals located in the city include Budget, Hertz, Avis and others.