Lisbon: surprises in store ....
Mixing history and hospitality, Lisbon is a weekender’s delight. Luckily, the airport also manages to satisfy expectations after recent improvements.
- Terminals: 2 (T1 & T2)
- Shops: Terminal 1 - 30
- Restuarants, Bars, Cafes (T1) 26
- Shops: Terminal 2 - 26
- Restaurants, Bars, Cafes (T2) 3
- Airport Code: LIS
- Currency: Euro (€)
- International Code: +351
Portugal has not had an easy time of it since the financial crisis of 2008. While bailed-out Greece and Ireland have had the bulk of media attention • almost entirely negative • Portugal, like its neighbour Spain, has struggled and it shows.
On the bright side you may think this means that passenger terminals might be less congested, well think again; the two at Portela remain quite busy. National airline TAP Portugal dominates the gateway, the most westerly for a European capital city, and a TAP flight is a strong possibility for anyone in Europe travelling to South America, and Brazil in particular, as connections to Latin countries are better here than from other airports in Europe apart from Madrid.
Portela has seen improvements for passengers. A new Terminal 2 in 2007, now used for domestic flights, helped to ease over-crowding while the main Terminal 1 is the international hub and has also been extended. From the 2011 winter season, EasyJet, already the second largest airline in Portugal, has a base at Portela bringing another one million passengers a year to the city via T2.
Shopping is limited in some ways: there are less branded boutiques than you would expect, but still a lot of browsing possibilities. The main duty free stores are called Just For Travellers and there are four where you can choose from the full range of drinks, tobacco, perfume and cosmetics, gifts, fashion accessories, chocolates, wines and some choice regional products. For the kids Imaginarium is a treat, packed with games, toys and cuddly animals, plus more grown-up things like watches and arts & crafts.
Even more grown-up is the Just For Travellers - Luxury store, pared down from the main duty-free outlets to sell just fashion accessories, watches and writing instruments. More ticking timepieces can be found at the Swatch store, and if you want something in a higher price bracket plus fine jewellery, head for specialist H Stern or Stone By Stone where fashion accessories fuse natural stone with silver.
Lacoste has two stores in departures and landside, but for a wider fashion choice there is Grupo Brodheim’s eclectic mix from United Colors of Benetton and Timberland to Furla, Hugo Boss and Trussardi, while urbanites can find popular labels at Fashion Gate. Brands include the likes of Fly, Diesel, Nike, Melissa, Pepe Jeans and Andy Warhol. While clothing and footwear are the focus, the store also carries accessories such as handbags, hats and watches. Travel & Business by I SANTI has bags too, but of the lug around variety from Samsonite, Tumi, Delsey, Rimowa, Buggati and Traveller. Sunglass Hut has its usual wide choice of eyewear, and for slightly more unusual brands Chilli Beans also sells some mean shades, claiming it has a new style every week at an “irresistible design and amazing price”.
For Portuguese specialities. Try Casa dos Sabores de Portugal; Portfolio; Just Taste of Portugal; or Gourmet Dreams for food and drink. For anything else you have one option: the nicely fitted Alma Lusa which sells some lovely jewellery and other products from Portuguese designers.
In the public areas of the airport there are more stores that at typical hubs. Sports fans are well catered for with Football Corner where everything related to European soccer clubs is for sale and if you are into aeronautics, check out AirMarket in the public arrivals area for flight simulation software, gadgets and pilot apparel. Also in the public departures area is Divers, for last minute news and snacks or that extra suitcase if your bags are at bursting point. Chocolates, but nothing too sophisticated, as well as popcorn and cookies await you at two Cores Doces stores set out like a pic’n’mix. Completing the landside line up is a Tie Rack and Accessorize.
One more thing • leaving the best to last • there is an overwhelming selection of eateries at the airport, clearly a priority for the Portuguese. Close to 30 cafés and restaurants are present from upscale Harrods Café and La Pause to the wine and tapas Cockpit bar. Bon Appétit!
- Passenger traffic 2011: 14.8m
- Airlines: More than 40 of which the hub carriers are EasyJet, Portugália, SATA International, TAP Portugal and subsidiaries, White Airways
- Recent developments: EasyJet officially announced that it will open a new hub at Lisbon airport, exclusively using Terminal 2.