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What Not To Do In Lisbon You Need To Know

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When visiting Portugal, it’s important to be aware of local customs, etiquette, and common pitfalls to ensure a respectful and enjoyable trip. However Portugal is like all others European country to follow the rules and regulations, Here are some key things to avoid doing in Portugal:

1. Don’t Disrespect the Local Culture and Customs

  • Etiquette: Portuguese people are known for their politeness and formalities. Always greet people with a smile and a friendly “Bom dia” (Good morning) or “Boa tarde” (Good afternoon).
  • Churches and Religious Sites: Dress modestly and be respectful when visiting churches and other religious sites. Avoid loud conversations and taking photos where prohibited.

2. Don’t Ignore Dining Etiquette

  • Restaurant Customs: In Portugal, it’s common to receive bread, olives, and other appetizers when you sit down. These are not free, so if you don’t want them, politely decline.
  • Tipping: Tipping is appreciated but not obligatory. A tip of 5-10% is usually sufficient in restaurants.

3. Don’t Underestimate the Weather

  • Sun Protection: Portugal can get very hot in the summer, especially in the south. Always use sunscreen, wear hats, and stay hydrated.
  • Winter Weather: Winters can be cold and damp, particularly in the north. Pack accordingly with warm clothing and waterproof gear.

4. Don’t Rely Solely on English

  • Language: While many Portuguese people speak English, especially in tourist areas, learning a few basic Portuguese phrases can go a long way in showing respect and making your trip smoother.
  • Common Phrases: Basic phrases like “Por favor” (Please), “Obrigado/Obrigada” (Thank you), and “Desculpe” (Excuse me) are very useful.

5. Don’t Forget to Validate Public Transport Tickets

  • Transport Tickets: In Lisbon and other cities, you must validate your public transport ticket before boarding trams, buses, or trains. Failure to do so can result in fines.
  • Travel Cards: Consider getting a Viva Viagem card in Lisbon or an Andante card in Porto for convenient travel across public transport networks.

6. Don’t Be Impatient with Service

  • Service Pace: Service in Portugal, especially in restaurants, can be leisurely. Don’t expect fast service; instead, embrace the relaxed pace and enjoy your meal.
  • Payment: It’s common to ask for the bill at the end of your meal, as waitstaff won’t rush you. Simply ask for “A conta, por favor” when you’re ready to pay.

7. Don’t Dress Inappropriately for the Occasion

  • Beach Attire: It’s perfectly fine to wear swimsuits and beachwear at the beach, but always cover up when leaving beach areas.
  • City Attire: Casual attire is acceptable, but avoid overly revealing clothes in urban areas and religious sites.

8. Don’t Drive Aggressively

  • Driving Habits: Driving in Portugal can be challenging due to narrow streets and different driving customs. Drive defensively and be mindful of pedestrians.
  • Parking: Parking can be difficult in cities. Look for designated parking areas and avoid illegal parking to avoid fines.

9. Don’t Assume All Beaches Allow Dogs

  • Pet-Friendly Beaches: Not all beaches in Portugal are dog-friendly. Always check if pets are allowed before taking your dog to the beach to avoid fines and ensure a pleasant experience for all beachgoers.

10. Don’t Forget to Secure Your Belongings

  • Pickpocketing: Like in many tourist destinations, pickpocketing can be an issue in crowded areas. Keep an eye on your belongings, especially in busy places like trams, markets, and tourist attractions.
  • Safety: Use a money belt or a secure bag to protect your valuables.

11. Don’t Be Disrespectful at Markets

  • Local Markets: Markets are a great place to experience local life and buy fresh produce or souvenirs. Always ask before touching the merchandise and be respectful to the vendors.
  • Haggling: While haggling is not common in grocery markets, it may be acceptable in some tourist markets. Do so politely and with a smile.


By being mindful of these tips and respecting local customs, you can ensure a more enjoyable and culturally immersive experience in Portugal. Whether you’re exploring bustling cities, relaxing on beautiful beaches, or delving into the country’s rich history, Portugal has something to offer every traveler.

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