Why go to Lisbon?
The seaside city and its outskirts are a playground for foodies, culture lovers and history buffs
Lisbon's hilly cobblestone streets, especially where there's decorative pavement, can get slippery
Unlike many capital cities, Lisbon maintains a noncommercial, timeless feel
Lisbon Cruise Port Facilities?
The Alcantara terminal at the commercial port has shops, taxi ranks, a few restaurants, cafes and other facilities.
Santa Apolonia's port has a more modern terminal building. There are few services inside, but once out of the secured dock area, there are restaurants, cafes with Wi-Fi, ATMs and stores for necessary sundries. It is close to the city center.
Good to Know?
Pickpockets are stealthy and omnipresent, especially on public transit or along busy sidewalks and pedestrian-only streets. Leave your valuables onboard, and secure any credit cards and money you take along.
On the positive side, nearly every museum gives a free entry or 50 percent discount to seniors older than 65, making it a better deal for this age group than the Lisboa Card. You will have to show an ID card when purchasing tickets with a discount.
Some cruise lines offer a shuttle service to Praca do Comercio, an elegant 18th-century square facing the riverfront near the Baixa (central business district in the lower town). From the square, many of the major tourist attractions are within walking distance as well as "Main Street," Avenida da Liberdade, which lies to the northwest and is a broad boulevard with upmarket hotels and chic shops.
From Santa Apolonia, a Blue Line Metro stop is located across the street from the terminal entrance alongside the Santa Apolonia railroad station. It's just two stops to the city center at Baixa-Chiado or three to Restauradores Square just north of the Rossio, the main plaza.
The metro, buses and trams are relatively easy to navigate, with unlimited-use daily passes available at ticket machines. In addition, the Rossio train station offers frequent service to the out-of-town destination of Sintra (40 minutes). Cais do Sodre station, just downriver from the city center, runs frequent trains to the riverside towns of Estoril (30 minutes) and Cascais (35 minutes), stopping near the Alcantara cruise terminal en route. From Santa Apolonia, trains run to Fatima (1.5 to 2 hours).
Currency & Best Way to Get Money?
Portugal's currency is the euro. For current exchange rates, check www.oanda.com or www.xe.com. You'll find plenty of ATMs and exchange bureaus in town. Be sure to change some money if you plan to pick up snacks or ride the buses, trams or metro.
Where You're Docked?
Cruise ships dock in four locations along the Tagus River.
The commercial port of Doca de Alcantara, with its traditional passenger liner terminal, lies just east (upriver) of the 25th of April bridge (a dead ringer for San Francisco's Golden Gate). It's about a 90 minute walk from here into town, but some cruise lines provide shuttle services into the center. Also, there is an efficient rail, bus and tram system -- or take a taxi to the center and to Belem.
The port of Rocha Conde Obidos is also a bit of a distance from the city center; about an hour walking distance. There's no metro or subway nearby.
A newer port with three berths, Santa Apolonia (or Alfama) is near the city center and conveniently sits next to Alfama, a neighborhood popular with visitors. Nearby, Jardim Tabaco Quay is the closest to the main city center and is the best port for walking downtown. It can take one ship.