We have the key to turn you into a true Lisboeta. You will mingle, speak and act like a true local, in your new life in Lisbon, so just pay attention to us. These are the 8 essentials you need to know:
1. Dinner isn’t served before 8 p.m.
Between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m., depending on whether it is a weekday or weekend, you can have dinner pretty much everywhere. Earlier than that you can only have a snack or lanche, unless you need to go to bed super early or you work until very late. Meals are also meant to be enjoyed slowly and thoroughly, so don’t think about rushing through dinner.
2. Normally, Lisboetas dine at restaurants or tascas
Alfama, Bairro Alto, Rossio and Chiado are the perfect neighbourhoods for having a traditional meal and listening to live music. But don’t think Lisboetas are fooled by tourist prices, they will find the best deal for their money, finding great spots that serve a full meal for 10 euro or less. For a small meal, or a more traditional dish they go to tascas, smaller restaurants that have an old, vintage feel and which usually serve the most delicious food for a very low price.
3. Cooked snails and beer are the perfect summer snack
“Há caracóis” – “We have snails”, is the sign you need to look for if you want to have the most Lisboeta snack. It usually consists of boiled snails flavoured with butter, garlic, oregano and olive oil and the sauce is a delicacy perfect for loads of bread dipping. And to wash it all down, nothing better than a cold beer or imperial.
4. Feel free to talk in English because Lisboetas love to practice it
The truth is, you can visit or even live in Lisbon without speaking Portuguese. It's great if you can learn the native language but don’t worry, the locals love to talk in English and get into contact with different cultures. Also, most movies and TV-shows from English-speaking countries are in English (with subtitles) so you can feel more at home.
5. Say, "yes" to comfortable shoes
Lisbon is also known as the city of the seven hills, so appropriate footwear is required. Women still wear heels when they go out on the town or on special days and occasions but, in their day-to-day life, if it includes a lot of walking around, sensible, comfy shoes like sneakers are a must. Trust us, Lisbon’s cobblestone streets aren’t very heel friendly.
6. They love to be out
In Lisbon you won’t feel the need to stay at home, even in the winter. There are hundreds of new events and exhibitions, new cafés and restaurants and people always out and about living their lives to the fullest.
7. Feira da Ladra can be the perfect place to find a treasure (even if it takes a few tries)
Feira da Ladra is the most famous flea market in the city, perfect if you're looking for real bargains. Clothes, jewellery, books, pots, pans, antiques, paintings… you can find a little bit of everything here, and with a good comb through of the market you might even find great products for a very small price.
8. You don’t have to like football to be a fan
Just in case someone asks you, you must decide on which side you are on: Benfica or Sporting? These are Lisbon’s two major football teams and football is a very important part of the country’s culture. So, if you want to be a true Lisboeta you must choose a side and support a Lisbon soccer team, even if you don’t watch the games.
There you are, now just put all of this into practice and you'll be a true local in no time!