Does only speaking English cause a problem while visiting Lisbon? Vacationing in Lisbon is something we've wanted to do for a while and hope this won't be a holdback for us.
learning a few phrases wont do any harm ! in the hotels and tourist spots english is widely spoken,also many of the shops and restaurants but the taxi drivers generally "play dumb"..just make sure you can see the metre.! there is a city bus from the airport which can be a good idea and cheaper but once you are downtown everything is within walking distance when you have time to take it easy and look around.have fun, its a wonderful city.
It never hurts to learn a few pleasantries. We have friends currently visiting from Yorkshire and staying at a hotel near the Marques de Pombal Monument. They are true Yorkshire ladies, over 80, and have managed to circumnavigate the whole of Lisbon on the trains, buses and metro without a word of Portuguese. Unfortunately, they were charged double the expected taxi fare from the airport to central Lisbon, they didn't realise the taxi had a meter! So beware. The Aerobus offers a great service and only costs €3.50 for a trip into Central Lisbon with a final destination of Cais do Sodre Train Station. Enjoy Lisbon and the many many great things it has to offer.
I've lived and visited Lisbon and agree with both replies above mine. Get a phrase book even just for thank you, please and how to ask for prices, etc., It cannot hurt. It took me a little time when I first arrived in Lisbon to learn basic phrases and build vocabulary, not because it was so difficult - most people would tell me it was OK to speak English because they needed to practice!
Greatly relieved thanks to everyone's answers. We do have a phrase book and practice with each other daily. We also found a free language program, BYKI, where we get help with pronunciation. All great stuff!
Will post separately with some additional questions. Thanks again
You do not need to know a single word of Portuguese when visiting Lisboa as a tourist. Okay, maybe Puxe and Empurre so you know which way to open a door! But otherwise, saying Obrigada and other pleasantries are nice gestures but no one will mind if you say thank you instead. In fact, most people you come in contact with as a tourist will speak to you in English before you even open your mouth :-)
It's true about not needing to speak Portuguese as a tourist. And, in fact when I first decided to move here, people did tell me not to worry - they wanted to practice their English!
Not at all, in general people speak very good english here and are very hospitable, you will have no problems not speaking Portuguese. enjoy