Lisbon, or Lisboa as it is known in Portuguese, is located near the estuary of the Tejo River in western Portugal. It is a large port and the capital of the nation. The name Lisbon has ancient etymology, having been derived from Ulysses by Homer.
With a population of just over a half a million people, it is the westernmost large European city. The old town was largely destroyed by an earthquake in 1755 and was rebuilt by Marques de Pombal. At one time the seat of the Portuguese Empire that stretched from Brazil to Malawi, the city is now a bustling metropolis and trading center.
Lisbon is a dream destination for many travelers, so make sure you're prepared before you go. Consult this guide for things to do, tips to keep in mind, and information about purchasing
travel medical insurance or
Things to Do for Travelers in Lisbon
Castelo de São Jorge
St George's Castle is a medieval castle located on top of one of the seven hills that make up the city. This impressive monument is the most visited tourist site in the country. Almost 10 centuries ago, the Moors were the first to build a castle here. Later it was conquered by Dom Afonso Henriques, the first king of Portugal. In the 16th century, it was converted to a prison and barracks. The chief attraction is the huge camera obscura inside the Tower of Ulysses that offers a unique way to observe Lisbon. Parts of the ancient Moorish castle are open to tourists.
Pastéis de Belém
Portuguese cuisine is world famous. If you have a sweet tooth, drop in at Pastéis de Belém for its famed egg tarts. The bakery began its operations in 1837 and has acquired a rare reputation. The recipe for the tarts comes from the adjoining Jerónimos Monastery and is followed exactly to this day. Unlike other famous bakeries, you are not allowed to visit the Oficina do Segredo (secret room), where the pastries are prepared.
The Belem Tower is an iconic landmark of Lisbon. Built in 1515 to guard the entrance to the port of Lisbon, it is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Designed by famed architect Francisco de Arruda, it was heavily influenced by Moorish style. The four-story tower is made of white limestone that has ornate filigree carved into it. As you ascend the stairs, you emerge onto the bright sunlit terrace that has several large-bore cannons on display.
The oldest district of Lisbon is also its hippest. Since it is hilly, many prefer to take the tram. The neighborhood has dozens of narrow cobblestone streets that are dotted with quaint restaurants and Fado Clubs, where traditional music is played. It is worthwhile to visit the Miradouro de Santa Luzia for a vantage point that offers excellent views of the surrounding area.
The burial site of famed explorer Vasco da Gama is the main attraction of this monastery. Constructed in the 16th century, it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983. The sheer size of the cathedral and adjoining seminary is overwhelming. It took a century to build and reflect the Manueline style named after King Manuel, who ordered its construction.
Travel Risks for International Travelers in Lisbon
Lisbon is a very safe city. However, it is important to keep a few things in mind in order to make your experience in Lisbon as enjoyable as possible.
- Remember that the national language in Portugal is Portuguese. It could be considered impolite to attempt to speak to locals in Spanish. Instead, just speak English, as it is understood by most people involved in tourism.
- Get a Lisboa Card. It will allow you entry to many museums and public places at a discounted price.
- Time your meals right. It's common in Lisbon for dinner to be served well after 8:00 P.M. If you eat an early lunch, consider having a mid-day snack to tide you over if you have dinner plans.
- Drink local. Portugal has numerous delicious local wine varieties. If ordering at a bar or restaurant, ask your server for local recommendations.
Lisbon Travel Medical Insurance for International Travelers – FAQs
The public healthcare system in Lisbon is robust, but hospitals can be crowded. The best option for timely treatment is a private facility. However, private hospitals and doctors can be quite expensive. This is why it's very important to purchase travel medical insurance prior to your trip to Lisbon.
Do I need travel medical insurance for Lisbon?
If you require a Schengen visa to enter Portugal, you are required to have compliant health insurance. This insurance must cover a minimum of €30,000 in medical benefits, and provide coverage for emergency medical evacuation and repatriation of remains.
However, considering the cost of private medical care in Portugal, even if you do not require a Schengen visa, it just makes sense to be a prepared traveler and carry the right insurance for your trip.
Why buy travel medical insurance for Lisbon?
Lisbon is fascinating, but too much seafood or a bad case of the flu might require you to be hospitalized. If you cannot secure admission to a government-run facility, there is no choice but to opt for a private clinic. This can be immensely costly. To avoid being saddled with medical bills that could damage your finances for years to come, travel medical insurance is your best option.
Lisbon Trip Cancellation Insurance for International Travelers – FAQs
Though it is unfortunate, sometimes canceling your trip just can't be avoided. The sudden sickness of a loved one or your own health issues might cause you to call off the trip. To protect your finances from cancellation charges or nonrefundable expenses, it's highly advisable to buy trip cancellation insurance.
Why buy trip cancellation insurance for Lisbon?
Flights and hotels are major expenses of any trip, and they're usually paid for far in advance of your travel. In many cases, getting the best deal on a reservation or ticket includes stipulations that it cannot be refunded, or will charge a significant fee in case of cancellation.
In cases such as these, trip cancellation insurance is like a financial safety net. If your trip must be canceled for a covered reason, your insurance can give you an avenue to be reimbursed for these nonrefundable expenses or fees. If you have no choice but to cancel, it can save you some of the biggest expenses of your trip.
What can be covered by trip cancellation insurance for Lisbon?
One important aspect of most travel insurance plans is trip cancellation coverage. Depending on the plan you select, there can be many other coverage options available.
There are even plans available that can give you the option to cancel your trip for any reason. Whatever issues you may run into while traveling, there is a travel insurance plan that can likely offer coverage. Examine the plans available to you and select the one that fits your needs best.
Before You Travel to Lisbon - Do This
Before you set off to experience the sights and sounds of Lisbon, remember this:
- Ensure that your travel documents are safe. Your hotel receipts and flight tickets should be kept separately in a folder.
- Bring comfortable shoes. Lisbon is a hilly city and you'll be doing a lot of walking while you see the sights.
- Get the right
travel medical insurance or
to cover yourself and your loved ones.