Plane ticket purchased, accomodation rented and packing almost set. This should be your actual scenario if you’re coming to Lisbon for the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest. But do you know how to behave as guest in your “new” city?
2018 will be the very first time Portugal will be hosting the Eurovision Song Contest and with this being said, it will also be the very first time many Eurovision fans will visit the country. While the country’s capital Lisbon is quite open-minded and welcoming of everyone, you should always rely on a few guidelines on how to be polite and respectful in the city.
1. Careful when speaking in your own language
While many Portuguese people know and understand English, they surely don’t understand other languages – unless you’re Spanish. With this being said, be careful when speaking in your own language during an interaction with Portuguese people as they can easily think you’re saying nasty things about them in a language they don’t speak or understand.
2. Be careful when talking about Portugal
Portuguese people are some of the most nationalistic human beings. They’re highly proud of their achievements and won’t take a foreign person trashing the country even once. This applies for every aspect: history, football and even Eurovision success. Focusing on football, as it is a huge topic in Portugal, please avoid arguments about it as it can get violent and quite disrespectful.
Also, Portugal is NOT Spain and even as a joke, people will find it offensive.
3. When to say thank you or please
It’s safe to say that Portuguese people are quite sensitive and say “thank you” very often. With this being said, don’t ask for directions and leave without saying it, as they may find it a bit rude. The same applies when leaving a coffee, restaurant or even a small grocery shop… Even if you purchased nothing. Say goodbye and thank them for their time.
As for “please”, there’s records of places where they charge you more if you don’t say “please” (e.g. “A coffee, please!”) so do it, as no one is your slave.
4. Respect minorities and other cultures
While not everyone is accepting of minorities, it’s safe to say most people in Lisbon are open-minded and accepting of others so don’t discriminate. On top of that, remember that Lisbon agglomerates various cultures and, therefore, any sort of racism or xenophobia is not tolerated.
5. Garbage in the can
Lisbon can get quite nasty during the weekends as people who go out will leave their cups or bottles anywhere. Nonetheless, don’t be one of those, and always try to leave your garbage in the can, not in the middle of the street.
6. Avoid interaction with drug dealers
Sadly, it’s common that in centre of Lisbon, a few people will try to sell you drugs in the middle of the street. This is not allowed and can get you in trouble if a police officer catches you doing so.
7. Avoid public transportation in busy hours
In the morning, from 08h until 09:30h catching a bus, train or the subway can be a nightmare. The same applies from 17h until 19h. If you don’t feel like being squeezed in a train or feel nasty smells, avoid using Lisbon’s public transportation during that time. Take advantage to explore the city perhaps.
8. Avoid smoking in closed spaces
While some places have proper areas for you to do so, in most closed spaces you’re not allowed to smoke: restaurants, cafes… On top of that, do not throw smoke in people’s faces when smoking in public space.
9. Avoid loud music or screaming in public places
It is quite bothering and people do not appreciate it especially in closed spaces such as in a public transport. Earphones are your best friends for those occasions and you can always chat with your friend or talk on the phone without screaming.
10. Don’t be afraid of having fun and interacting
Even though some of those may retract you to do a few things, Portuguese people are very nice, easy going and talkative. With this being said, do not be afraid of having fun, sharing experiences, taking photos and interacting. You’ll have a blast and you’ll get to know more about the city.
In the video below, Stefan from ZiBBZ has a special tip for what to eat when you are in Lisbon.