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Lisbon – How to avoid tourist traps

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You are in Lisbon and in such a touristy city you fall easily into some traps. Would you like to avoid them? Follow our tips and be a true traveler!

The 28 tram

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We know, it’s cute and it covers most of the historical center, but to get the opportunity in having a ride you might wait for more than an hour and when you finally get inside you might not be that lucky in finding a seat.
This is the most popular mean of transport in the city and it has been a nuisance for the locals who need to use it daily. However, there are other alternatives as the tram 25 or the renovated 24. They do different routes, but they are also yellow and cute. But if you still want to have a 28 tram experience, our advice is to take it really early in the morning or later at night. Or why not doing the 28 tram itinerary on foot? It is the best way to discover the city, you can stop when you want and you can see much better than inside a crowded tram.

Santa Justa elevator

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The elevators are other mean of transport which have facilitated people going up and down the hills. Nowadays the Lisbon’s elevators – Bica, Lavra, Gloria and Santa Justa are more popular among tourists. The Santa Justa elevator has a unique architecture, which reminds a smaller version of Eiffel Tower. However, is it worth waiting in line for so long and going up for just a few seconds? How about walking up to Carmo square and find the passage that leads you to the elevator, without staying in line, without paying to get there. You can still enjoy the views from up there or choose a rooftop bar and have a glass of wine. It is a more pleasant option!

Fado Clubs

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Since you are in Lisbon, it is probably on your things to do in Lisbon list going to a fado show. But be careful! You have to pick the right place. Some fado restaurants are overly expensive. We like simple places which captures the authentic fado spirit. If you have the opportunity, follow our recommendation. Go to places such as Tasca do Jaime, with a very much authentic atmosphere and it is our personal favorite.

Restaurants

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If you find restaurants that show paella on the menu, as if it is something typical from Portugal (NOT), or spaguetti, pizza, hamburgers and fries, just run! We have our fast food! The tasty bifana (pork meat sandwich) or prego (beef sandwich), that has a perfect relationship with a cold beer.  Besides that, we have so many good restaurants who serve real food Made in Portugal. Follow our advice: avoid the mains streets with restaurants showing international menus with pictures. If you find that in a restaurant most of the customers are tourists and not locals and you are looking for something more authentic, then that is not the right place for you. In case you would like more tips you can always ask your tour guide for the best options. Bon appétit!

Alfama, Castelo, Belém…where you find more tourists.

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We are not trying to tell you not to visit the famous Alfama and Belém neighborhoods or even the Castle. We don’t deny that Alfama has its own charm, but today it is a territory of souvenir shops, restaurants, fado clubs, some to avoid. Belém has its unique heritage, but can you enjoy its beautiful architecture when the tower or the monastery are so crowded? Plan one or two days for the most touristy sites if it is your first time in Lisbon and you would like to see them, and the remaining days to discover other neighborhoods as Mouraria, Graça or Madragoa, just to name a few. If you like to have a more local experience, away from tourists, we recommend Campo de Ourique neighborhood or why not going further away from the historical center and venture yourself in other places with a local life, different and varied architecture and more tranquility?

Guiding Visits

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Of course following this topic we don’t want to mention the competition. As a traveler you probably would like to avoid guiding visits in large groups. It’s impossible to hear and pay attention to what the guide says and you might feel that you are not having the best experience. Nowadays, you have so many guiding tour offers that it’s difficult to choose the best. Have you tried a private or small group tour with a local guide? It is a total different experience!  You won’t feel as if you are in an official tour. It’s like walking with a friend and you will feel at ease to learn much more about the city, its culture, its life, from a local perspective. That’s what we offer! True Travel, Real People.

See our offers and book a tour with us. Fora da Rota Tours.