Lisbon is one of the oldest cities in Europe with a huge cultural and historical heritage.
It’s built along the north bank of the Tagus River and characterized by its seven hills and unique light. With a beautiful location, it’s a coastal and a river city, it is easy to enjoy a sunny evening along the riverside or at its innumerous “miradouros” (belvederes) and terraces.
The city has an incomparable mix of classic and contemporary that offers centuries of story with a modern and cosmopolitan atmosphere. With an exceptional urban landscape, stunning architecture and its famous luminosity, it is “one of Europe’s most fashionables cities” (American Express guide) and “one of the top 10 destinations for 2016” (Condé Nast traveller).
There are many interesting monuments to explore in Lisbon, (Belém Tower, Jerónimos Monastery, the Castle of St. Jorge, Roman and Moorish ruins and museums to name a few) that allow a good understanding of Portuguese history and culture. If you have the opportunity to stay 2 or 3 days more, you must go to Sintra (World Heritage by UNESCO), Cascais or to Arrábida.
Lisbon was named European Entrepreneurial Region of 2015 (the first city, not a region, that receive the EER) and it’s recognized as a “startup city”, a hub for entrepreneurship and a bridge to Brasil, Angola and Mozambique, countries with more than 250 million Portuguese-speaking residents.
It’s also a true Atlantic Business hub with excellent relations with Latin America, Africa, USA and Asia. The wide availability of support and resources, low taxes and good infrastructures has led Lisbon to the top of dynamic and modern European business cities. It’s also a popular conference destination and several hotels that offer special facilities for business events and congresses.
The city is particularly attractive for its friendly people, competitive prices, mild climate, security, developed infrastructures, socio-cultural environment and geographical location, so is a perfect place to work or study.
5 FACTS ABOUT LISBON
- One of safest European large city
- Europe’s sunniest capital
- Beaches, surf and golf resorts at 15 minutes from the city centre
- Fine and healthy Mediterranean gastronomy
- One of the best cities in the world for entrepreneurship
local BUSINESS ETIQUETTE AND customs
RELATIONSHIPS & COMMUNICATION
- Initial greetings are reserved. The handshake accompanied by direct eye contact and the appropriate greeting for the time of day is the most common
- The proper form of address is ‘senhor’ and ‘senhora dona’ with the name and surname.
- Anyone with a university degree is ‘doutor” or “doutoura” (doctor male /female) or “engenheiro” or “engenheira” (engineer male/female) with or without their surname. Wait to be invited before moving to a first name, in particular with older people.
- We prefer face-to-face meetings rather than written or telephonic communication. The communication is formal.
- In Portuguese society, appearance matters. Most people believe that clothes, watches, cars etc. indicate social standing and success (this is changing among the younger generations)
- Portugal is a hierarchical culture that respects position and age.
- Some Portuguese have a relaxed attitude towards time and do not see deadlines as crucial
- We have good skills to solving things at short notice
- Most people do not appreciate direct criticism, so be careful with the words even when you are right
BUSINESS MEETING ETIQUETTE
- Appointments are mandatory and should be made weeks in advance and then reconfirm the meeting a few days before.
- Since most of us take vacation during August, it is not the best time of the year to schedule meetings. It is also recommended not to plan meetings during the week between Christmas and New Year.
- You should arrive on time. A fair amount of ‘getting to know you’ conversation may take place before the business conversation begins.
- Agendas usually serve as starting points for discussions; they do not serve as schedules.
- If the Portuguese have questions or want clarification during a presentation, they generally will wait until you have finished speaking, so allow time for questions and answers.
- Presentations should be well thought out, thorough and backed up with charts and figures .
- Maintain eye contact when speaking.
- Relevant decisions are not usually reached at meetings.
- Meetings are taken at a leisurely and very friendly ambiance so it is better not to schedule too many consecutively.
- We put great importance on the character of the person with whom we do business, so we will take time to get to know you.
- If it is the case, wait for your Portuguese colleagues to bring up business. Don’t try to rush the relationship-building process.
- Portuguese are thorough and detail oriented (and technology oriented).
- Business is conducted slowly. You must not appear impatient.
- Have printed material available in both English and Portuguese.
- Do not use high-pressure sales tactics. We don’t reacted well at aggressive techniques.
Information adapted from kwintessential.
TRAVEL AND TRANSPORT
Lisbon can be visited using the public transport network (tram, in particular the 28, funicular, metro, bus and boat) or the tourist transport options (hop-on hop-off tour buses or bikes). But if you want something more original take a tuk-tuk or the amphibian tour bus for a land and river experience, with a fabulous view to the city.
The Airport is in the city, so it’s fast and cheap to reach the centre by metro, aerobus shuttle, bus or taxi.
dining and bars
The “lisboetas” (people from Lisbon) love to eat and to go out to dinner with friends. There is great enthusiasm with the re-popularised Portuguese cuisine, trendy restaurants and a new generation of international award winning chefs. There are a lot of restaurants, cafes, terraces and bars serving small plates and national wines or beers for any taste, occasion or price.
Use the links below to get a list based on characteristics and location;
Lisbon hosts one of Europe’s liveliest nightlife with many spots to go to for a glass of wine, live music or simply to chill out. Bars and nightclubs are located largely in Bairro Alto, Docks and Cais do Sodré. Next summer Lisbon will receive, as usual, a wide range of outdoor performances and concerts, one of them “RockinRio”. The city has also a typical ancient bohemian night with Fado (World Heritage by UNESCO) that’s usually enjoyed with Portuguese food and wine in a traditional neighbourhood.
WOMEN’S NETWORKS AND EVENTS
PWN Global is a dynamic fast-growing offline and online networking and leadership development platform for professional women of all sectors and industries. With over 3,500 members and more than 90 nationalities, our volunteer-led organisation delivers over 600 events a year in our community of 25 city networks. We welcome you to our events; as a mentor or mentee; to explore our rich knowledge and resources; to learn, grow and leave your legacy, whilst volunteering across the Federation and our City Networks. Find out more about our city networks, here ; join our mission, here ; or, sign up for our monthly event mailer and quarterly newsletter, here. If you want to find out more from a ‘live’ person, don’t hesitate to contact Rebecca Fountain, PWN Global’s Head of Global Marketing and Communication.
Other networks include:
BEAUTY AND FITNESS
Many hotels, for example, the Myriad Hotel, Four Seasons Ritz Hotel, Pestana Palace, Epic Sana, Altis Belém and BessaHotel, have excellent fitness centres, spas, indoor pools, gyms, rooftop running tracks and more. Others recommended spas: City Spa, Le Spa and Spatitude.
Shopping is a pleasurable and diversified experience, with a large range of shops: traditional (Baixa/Chiado), trendy (Bairro Alto/Príncipe Real), alternative (LX Factory), luxury (Av.da Liberdade) and shopping centres (Colombo, Vasco da Gama, …). It’s possible to buy anything from international to Portuguese products: brand shoes and clothes, ceramics, tills, cork design, embroidery, luxury soaps and local gourmet such as the cheeses and the canned fish in charming retro packaging and, of course, the wine.
In Lisbon it’s common to keep fit through outdoor activities such as walking, running, cycling or skating. The best place is the riverfront between Praça do Comércio and Belém. Parque das Nações riverfront and lawns is also recommended for jogging and working out.
SAFETY and emergency services
Your greatest risk is becoming a target of opportunity, such as pickpockets and purse-snatchers, particularly at popular tourist spots or on public transportation.
Taxis are a reliable means of transportation, though you should be alert to possible discrepancies between the meter fare and the amount requested by the driver.
ambassador: MARIA MIGUEL PERLICO
I was born in, live in and love Lisboa, but I look at my city with open eyes and a critical spirit. I’m interested in the opinion of those who visit us or lived and worked here for a while. I’m experienced in travel, for business and vacation, and therefore have the sensibility to understand what is important when providing the best experience and what kind of information can really make the difference.
As head of Human Resources of an International Company, I had the responsibility to welcome and integrate foreign professionals. I was also in charge of the expatriate policies and programs for the Portuguese employees namely to Africa, Asia and Brazil. I’ve about a 30-year career dedicated to the management and development of people and organizations, and I am currently focused on the implementation of initiatives specifically aimed at executive women and to the creation of equal opportunities between genders, through women’s associations, conferences, meetings and networking.
I also belong to a Spanish business club nonprofit, that in Portugal is headquartered in Lisboa, which aims to create a professional, social and cultural networking to it’s members in Portugal and worldwide.
I would be happy to help you with any questions you may have, so feel free to email me directly.
Networking: See who is networking in Lisbon now
Read the doing business in Portugal guide.