If you have been following me recently, you probably already know by now that I recently went a week trip to Lisbon and Barcelona. If you haven’t, don’t fret! You can read them about it here: Food – Adventures – Market
As I have probably mentioned before, this was my first time in Europe hence it was a very foreign place to me. After being a first timer in Europe, we learned some important things and I hope these would be of help to you first timers as well 🙂
We saw more of these evil things in Lisbon. I repeat, do not – DO NOT bring rollable suitcases because we did and it was an awful mistake. We didn’t know the damages cobblestone did to our wheels as my friend’s wheels was gradually disappearing by the time we reached our airbnb. The roads and paths can be very uneven and bumpy, leading onto my next point!
I highly recommend, no, you MUST bring a pair of comfortable shoes because it is a very walking city; not to mention there’s a lot of uphills + cobblestone. Anything with a sharp or somewhat of a wheel will probably kill your ankles and feet.
To make this clear, tap water is safe to drink however it definitely will taste a lot different than what you might be use to back at home; due to the different mineral content as well as the chemicals used to purify it.
We were more on the wary side as we had friends that previously went to Portugal and Spain told us not to drink the tap water thus we ended up buying 5L bottles from the supermarket which is fairly cheap.
On the house? No such thing.
Personally, I am used to being fed food before we even get our actual meal and usually without a cost. We were warned before about having food that we haven’t ordered, being placed on the table. However, that awareness was quickly forgotten when the sight of bread and cheese was placed in front of hungry eyes. When it came to the bill, we wondered what the extra cost was for but soon remembered that there was such thing as free.
Anything that is placed on your table which you haven’t ordered, will be charged. Also, restaurants do not provide free water, you will usually have to pay for bottled water; it is smart to just bring your own water as they tend to charge a lot more compared to what you get from the supermarket.
In Toronto there is a tipping culture. For us, it’s usually 13%+ depending on the service and this is often placed on top of the total. But it’s a little different in Europe as what you see on the bill is the total; gratuity (I believe it was 23%) is already added onto the total for you.
I am always wary about taking taxis from the airport as of course like anywhere else, scamming the foreigners is always an easy money maker, most of the time.
It was already late in the evening by the time we arrived in Lisbon from Barcelona and we decided to take the Taxi back to our airbnb. Keep in mind, we took the taxi from our airbnb to the airport which costed around 10 Euros and our host told us from the airport to the airbnb at most, should cost 15€. But this driver ended up charging us 26€ and we didn’t know until he started driving off.
When we asked if he could drop us off on the street so that we could take another taxi, he said there was going to be a charge of 16€ as start up fee, there shouldn’t be such a thing. Often there are stickers posted on the windows of the windows, stating what type of charges are there. Just be wary!
Important things to note:
- before even getting in, ask the driver how much it should cost
- if the driver pulls out a chart with prices listed on it -> BIG INDICATOR that it’s a scam
- there is a day and a night rate. I believe the night rate is usually more expensive after a certain time (I think it was 9pm?)
- take down the driver number/id and license plate as a precaution. Also get a copy of the recipient and make sure the name and important information is filled in
Do you have any tips that you may think might be useful in Europe? Leave a comment down below!