I came upon a post in a travel site asking about what a teenager should see and do in Lisbon. According to the picture on the post, this request is made by a parent. So, I´ll first address the main concern: Safety.
Lisbon is a safe city. I´ve walked around what are supposedly ‘difficult’ areas in Lisbon during the night and I´ve never had a problem. Luck is a factor, of course. Also, I´m an adult, a male and a local. The problem in Lisbon for tourists is mainly theft (in the 38 tram and other heavy tourist areas), but these types of crimes are property and not physical crimes – you won´t know you were robbed until after the fact. So, if you´re travelling take the necessary precautions: don´t keep all your money in the same place, carry around a copy of your passport and leave your original in the safe at the hotel.
Here are my top 5 for teenagers in Lisbon:
- Where to stay: The Independente is a hostel is in the Bairro Alto area of Lisbon (where all the bars are) and is a great place to stay if you want to meet people and enjoy the Lisbon nightlife. A lot of locals frequent the hostel´s restaurant and bar, so it´s a great way to get into the local nightlife. If you´re more into Lisbon during the day, though, I recommend Travellers House, which is located in the center of Baixa (Baixa gets a little deserted at night, so not the ideal place if you plan to go out at night a lot).
- Walk around Lisbon: I´ve said this in many of my posts, but the best way to see Lisbon is just to walk around – get lost and find your way again. If you start from here, you should walk around the this area and then go towards the ‘Castelo de São Jorge’. From the castle, walk down towards Alfama. You´ll find a lot of restaurants and other places to see. If you´re a photography fan, you´ll find plenty to show your friends back home.
- What to see 1: Colecção Berardo is the best modern art collection in Lisbon, with many famous painters from the modern school (Bacon, Rothko, Rauschenberg, etc..), including Paula Rego, the most famous living portuguese painter. This collection is housed in Centro Cultural de Belém, which hosts many festivals during the summer, and is next to Mosteiro dos Jerónimos, which houses a beautiful church. You can reach this area by taking the 15 tram from Praça da Figueira or Praça do Comércio, both in Baixa. When you come back, though, I recommend walking along the river, it´s just beautiful.
- What to see 2: Bairro Alto is a great place to just walk around, have lunch and do some shopping. Many shops are from local artisans, and although prices are steep, the quality and the originality of the stores make it worthwhile. This is also the place where you´ll find a lot of nightlife, so don´t go too early if you don´t want to walk around piles of plastic beer glasses.
- Day Trip to Sintra. If you are adventurous and feel ready to take a day trip on a budget, you should head to UNESCO World Heritage site, Sintra. Check out a youtube video about it here. You can catch the train in Entrecampos (get there using the Metro). Please be aware, though, that this train stops at ‘rougher’ neighbourhoods outside Lisbon. You can also talk to your hostel/hotel and ask them about day trips to Sintra.