In this post I am going to give you some important warnings for you to be aware before coming to Lisbon.
These are based on the main complaints and mistakes I’ve seen from my friends when they are visiting Lisbon for their first time.
1. When you sit at a restaurant, the bread, butter, cheese, olives or other delicious things they put in the table without you asking… They’re not free!!!
It is as it is. It is not scam. It is a different formula in the restaurants, which works smoothly, if you know the rules.
In many other countries, if a waiter puts something on the table without you asking for it, it means it’s free. Not in Portugal. But you’ll pay only what you eat. The things you don’t touch aren’t billed to your account. Check you bill at the end, just to make sure.
2. There is an extra charge on taxis to carry luggage in the trunk
If on top of the value indicated on the taximeter the taxi driver adds sums extra 2€, it is probably because you have put some luggage in the trunk. You are not being ripped off 😉
What is scam is if the taxi driver takes you more than 12-15 € for a trip from the airport to downtown Lisbon. Of course that if you are going to Estoril or Cascais the cost will be much higher, because it is much farther away.
One tip that I also give regarding the taxis at the airport is that you pick a taxi in the departures area, not the arrivals ones. There’s also a line of taxis at departures, and they tend to be more serious than the ones at arrivals, so less probability they will try to take the long way to your hotel.
One last warning about taxi drivers, if your taxi is driving like a madman at full speed and jumping red lights … it is “normal”! 😉 That’s the way of 90% of the taxi drivers in Lisbon. Of course you can always tell them to slow down… Or just choose to use a different transport, as you can see here other options.
3. If you are asked 200€ to enter a nightclub … they do not want you to go in!
In most clubs arround the world, the normal procedure is that you wait in line and pay what you pay to enter the club when it comes your turn. But not in Lisbon… Many clubs here will “discriminate” you based on what you are wearing, with whom you are, etc…
Regular customers, or people who the bouncer believes have a “style” that matches the club culture, pay nothing. And will probably just cut the line. The remaining clients will depend on the bouncers judgement. They can ask for a minimum consumption of 15€ or 20€, this would the normal situation. But if they don’t want you to go in, they will ask you up to 200€ or 300€. This is just a way of saying “go away”!…