The gig is being held in a beautiful circular central venue, very close to several stations – mainline and local Metro – and the main airport. The closest mainline station is Entrecampos and Metro is Campo Pequeno.
The venue is set alone in its own gardens and is a striking circular red brick building with several entrances, the main one being off Av. Republica.
Many James fans will be upset and disappointed to discover that the venue is often used for bullfighting and will find this disturbing and against what many of us find acceptable. Although many see this as a cruel and unnecessary ‘sport’, it differs in several ways in Portugal than in Spain. The main difference being that the event is more of a show and the bull is not killed – although it is often injured. There are no bullfights currently in the venue’s calendar for the rest of this year.
The venue is also a huge shopping mall, with lots of restaurants and a cinema, so there will be plenty to keep fans occupied if you do not want to stray too far from the venue. There are also more shops and restaurants in the streets opposite the venue, along with several hotels.
There are lots of food options, from local Portuguese seafood to pizza places, a KFC and a Burger King, burritos, Chinese and kebabs too. Most of the shops and restaurants open until 10-10.30pm.
Portuguese culture for concerts is very different to ours. They tend to start their shows later, and go out for a meal prior to the show, rather than our “get tanked up by 8pm and fight your way to the front” that we are all too familiar with! You will see very few drinks within the arena and there’s not the emphasis on going to and from the bar all night, and very little jostling or people trying to edge into the barrier, if you are able to get near the front.
Assuming most people are not fluent in Portuguese, I have found an Amazon owned App called “Say Hi” to be really useful and better translator than Google – you can speak or type into it and also take photos of text for translation.
Getting around Lisbon
Arriving from the Airport
The airport is only a 20 minute Metro journey from the City centre – follow signs to the Metro, buy a Viva Viagem card (see below) and either load it with individual journeys or buy a 24 hour ticket and get onto the Red line to Saldanha and walk or change to the Yellow line to Campo Pequeno.
Arriving by Train from Porto
If you are arriving by train, it is most likely you will arrive into the striking Oriente station – if you can, have a wander around there before heading into the city – there is a shopping centre there and it is right by the coast, and last time I was there, there was a market and record fair in the main concourse.
To get to the venue/city centre, buy a Viva Viagem card and load it with journeys or buy a 24 hour ticket (see below) and get on the Red Line of the Metro towards S. Sebastio and either change to the Yellow Line at Saldanha to Campo Pequeno or it is walkable from Saldanha in about 10 mins.
If you have booked your ticket from Porto direct to the Entrecampos mainline station, you will need to change at Oriente to another mainline train that will go straight to Entrecampos. Head towards Av. Republica, turn right and look for the green dome of the venue on the left.
Getting Around The City
Like Porto, Lisbon has a contactless ticket system, Viva Viagem, where you buy a card for €0,50 and load it with either a 24 hour ticket or a number of individual journeys. The Metro here is more like the London Underground, where you need to tap your card to a barrier to let you through, rather than the more trusting tap to validate on entry to the station that Porto has. The ticket machines will have a button for you to change the language to English to buy and load your card – a 24 hour card is probably the easiest and most convenient at €6,45 and covering the Metro and Carris buses.
The Metro runs until 1am, so should be fine if you need to get it back to your hotel following the show.
Metro Map and User Guide – https://www.tunneltime.io/en/lisbon-portugal/metro
How to use the Metro https://www.lisbonguru.com/how-to-use-public-transport-in-lisbon/
Google Maps is a very good way for finding your way around – if you put your destination in and ask for Directions, it will give you both a walking route and the best bus and train options too.
Uber is also operational in both Porto and Lisbon, and often the easiest way to get somewhere if your Portuguese isn’t very good! The Uber app works just like at home, and will charge you automatically too.
If you have some time in Lisbon, the Tourist Hop On Hop Off Sightseeing Buses are also a really good way to get around, and may be an alternative to getting the Metro Card. The Viva Viagem tickets work for Metro and Buses but not the Funicular or trams, or the private tour buses, but the tour buses are great to get your bearings, get to all the sights easily and as a bonus, stop close to the venue! They won’t be operational after the gig though.
This is an article from the end of March 2022 regarding the latest restrictions in Portugal. Note that masks are mandatory in most indoor settings and take enough to last you. They may also be mandatory in the venue, so be prepared.
If you are fully vaccinated, you will only need to complete a passenger locator form to enter the country. You can also provide proof of recent infection (within 180 days) or if you are not vaccinated, you will have to provide a LFT result, done by a professional body NOT a self administered one.
You will need to show your vaccination status or proof that you are not Covid positive. In your NHS App, if you click on the NHS Covid Pass tab, you will see a Travel section, where you can download all your vaccination records to a pdf, or Google Pay or Apple Wallet to show at the airport or anywhere needed.