Everyone has that friend, you tell them you’re going to Lisbon, and despite them having never been, they are more than willing to give you various warning about the perils and pitfalls of the city.
While there are some things to be aware of here, which I’ve covered in other articles, there are many myths about the city that need busting, and I’m here today to do just that, so let’s get into it.
The Economic Crisis Ruined Everything
The economic crisis hit everywhere hard, but Portugal famously took a real pasting, and for many, the assumption is that they never recovered.
The truth is, not much has changed here, crime rates haven’t gone up, in fact, the country is in the top five in every peace and safety index around, and everyone is still happy and friendly.
The wages are appalling, there is no denying that, and if you intend to work for a Portuguese company it’s something worth being aware of, but for the most part you won’t see any affects from the credit crunch here.
In fact, Portugal has risen up, and Lisbon especially, through a thriving start-up scene. There’s a reason so many digital nomads decide to set up here, and it certainly isn’t the house prices anymore!
Cod is the Big National Dish
Cod is a signature dish in Portugal, and therefore in Lisbon, but it’s actually mainly for the tourists. Cod is not caught in Portuguese waters; it is shipped from Scandinavia.
Salted cod is a treasured dish here, but many don’t eat it, and there are a lot of fresh seafood options that could be better choices.
There’s No Music Except Fado
I hear this one a lot, even from expats who live over here, and it simply isn’t true. While the expat and digital nomad scenes don’t tend to cross paths with local music outside of Fado, preferring to run their own events, there is a lot of music to be found here.
From big touring bands, to a hose of different music venues, check out my list here.
Nobody Speaks English
This is one of the weirdest ones, but some people are intent that when you come to Portugal, if you don’t speak Portuguese, you’re in trouble.
Languages are a big thing here, most people you speak to will be able to handle at least basic English, and it isn’t rare for them to be more than capable of holding their own in French and Spanish too!
Everyone Will Try and Con You
This is a reputation that most of Europe has picked up over the years. While there are no doubt some people who will try to take advantage of tourists for a little bit of extra money in their pocket, most Lisbon locals will actually be more than happy to try and help you save money and get where you need to be.
They’re a friendly bunch here, and they love to talk!
Any more myths that you’ve heard about Lisbon? Or maybe some things you’ve been told that you’d like to have fact checked? Just let me know, I’ll be happy to discuss them with you!