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.
As a member of the European Monetary System the € [Euro] is the Portuguese monetary unit. At present, the bills in circulation are: € 5,00; € 10,00; € 20,00; € 50,00; € 100,00; € 200,00 and € 500,00.
The coins are as follows: € 0,01 cent; € 0,02 cents; € 0,05 cents; € 0,10 cents; € 0,20 cents; € 0,50 cents; € 1,00 and € 2,00.
There are a wide variety of restaurants and cafes in Lisbon ranging through the elegant and sophisticated to the casual and inexpensive. Take-away and fast food is also available from many outlets.
Restaurants, bars, some with living shows and discos along the river Tagus, at Rocha Pier and at the Expo 98 site, become very popular, especially at weekend nights.
Vehicles drive on the right side of the road. The use of safety belts is compulsory, and children under 12 must ride in the back seats.
Portugal has actually a large freeway network crossing the whole country from the North to the South in Algarve, and from the Oceanfront to the border with Spain. Valid driving licenses from EC countries, the EUA, Canada and other major countries are acceptable for use in Portugal up to 6 months stay.
European type 2 pin sockets with 220 volts AC at 50 cycles are used. The phase 380 volt current is normally available in meeting and exhibition rooms. To use American-type plugs, a 220-volt transformer should be used together with an adapter plug.
Lisbon has a variety of theatres and venues catering for most tastes. Opera, ballet, plays, concerts, etc, take place on a regular basis all year round. Portuguese Fado and Folklore shows are popular, and an international show at Casino Estoril, with glittering cabaret complements the many discos and other nightspots.
Major credit cards are accepted in most hotels, shops and restaurants. Traveller’s cheques and currency can be changed at hotels or at a bank – these are open Monday to Friday from 08:30 to 15:00. Automatic changing and cash dispensing machines linked to international networks are also widely available.
The official language is Portuguese. English is widely spoken.
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 itself a considerable number of people can understand and communicate in foreign languages.
Mainland Portugal is 1 hour behind European Standard Time [GMT]
Main Shopping Areas (Lisbon Center)
The Pombaline section at downtown, bordered by the magnificent Praça do Comercio, facing the river Tagus, the Rua do Ouro, Rua Augusta and Rua da Prata finishing at Rossio Square, Avenida da Liberdade, and the Chiado leading to Bairro Alto. Some of the main Shopping Centres are Colombo (one of the biggest in Europe), Vasco da Gama, Amoreiras, El Corte Ingles.
Clinics and hospitals provide round the clock emergency service. The national emergency phone number is 112.
Breakfast is normally served between 07:30 and 10:00, lunch from 12:30 to 15:00 and dinner from 19:30 to 22:00.
Post and Telecommunication
Automatic direct dial telephone service is available to and from most countries in the world.
Public phones accept either a pre-paid card, or coins (see signs on the booth). Credit systems such as AT&T are also available. Post offices are open Monday to Friday from 08:30 to 12:00 and 14:00 to 18:00.
There is a wide inexpensive network in all towns and cities. In Lisbon, city of the seven hills, you can choose between bus, underground metro, elevators, and electric trams, within the city or to the suburbs. Trains and express bus service also links the main towns of the country.
Excellent golf courses, tennis and squash courts, water sports and horse riding tempt the energetic delegates. The more relaxed might choose from many noteworthy museums and monuments, sunny beaches and interesting cities to explore.
Portuguese culture is greatly influenced by religion. Although Catholicism predominates, other religions may be freely practiced. (Protestant, Christian, Moslem, Jewish and Hindu, among others) are also followed. Please inquire at hotel reception for times and places of services.
Sales tax (VAT) is included in prices quoted. For non E.C. residents, tax free shopping schemes are available in many shops, which give substantial savings to visitors.
Opening hours in Portugal are similar to those in the rest of Europe. The visitor has access to all normal services at any time of the day and on all days of the week – not only in Lisbon, but also in the rest of the country.
Pharmacies keep the same opening hours as the rest of the shops but, in order to guarantee 24-hour service, some stay open after 19:00. Generally speaking, restaurants are open for lunch from 12 mid-day to 15:00 and for dinner from 19:00 to 22:00.
Cinema showings begin at around lunch-time, and at some cinemas there are sessions until 2 a.m.
Theatres and other shows usually start between 21:00 and 22:00.
Shops are open from 09:00 to 13:00 and 15:00 to 19:00 Monday to Friday, and 09:00 to 13:00 on Saturdays. In major town centres and in most shopping malls, shops stay open during lunch hours, and close later at night, including weekends.
In terms of telecommunications, Lisboa offers state-of-the-art technology and can supply a large number of phone lines and other communication equipment in the shortest possible time. Portugal Telecom, the Portuguese telecommunications group, operates with a wide range of technological networks for telephone services, data communications, international and satellite connections, mobile communications and cable TV, thus ensuring ease of contact with the rest of the world.
Buses: Every day – 24 hours.
Underground: Every day 6.30 – 13:00
Banks: Mon-Fri. 8.30 – 15:00
Shopping Centres: Every day 10 – 12:00 midnight
Shops: Mon -Fri. 9:00 – 13:00 and 15:00 – 19:00. Sat. 9:00 – 19:00
Embassies: Mon. – Fri. 9:00. – 15:00
Post Offices: Mon. – Fri. 8.30 – 18:30 p.m.
Pharmacies: Mon. – Fri. 9:00 – 13:00 and 15:00 – 19:00 also: 24 hour (night) service
Meal times: Lunch: 12:00 mid-day – 14:00
Dinner: 20:00 – 22:00