Lisbon Rossio Square: cafe/restaurant Suíça, shoeshine boys, street traders & begging hands

The beautiful and very popular tourist attraction Rossio Square, the popular name of the Pedro IV Square (Praça de D. Pedro IV), is located in the Pombaline Downtown of Lisbon and has been one of its main squares since the Middle Ages. It has been the setting of popular revolts and celebrations, bullfights and executions.

Rossio Lisbon Shoe shine boy

Rossio, December 2008

Nowadays Rossio is a preferred meeting place of Lisbon natives and tourists alike and the most congested area for traffic in the city center.

Lisbon Rossio Square

Rossio Square Lisbon

This square has been a meeting place for people of Lisbon for centuries. Some of the cafés and shops of the square date from the 18th century, like the Café Nicola, where Barbosa du Bocage , a Portuguese poet, used to meet friends.

Lisbon cafe Nicola Rossio Square

Famous Café Nicola, Praça Dom Pedro IV 26 (founded in 1929).

It was here that the first Portuguese women dared to break the male stranglehold on cafe-going.  Rossio’s cafes are popular for sitting and watching the world go by.

Lisbon Rossio Pastelaria Suica inside

Pastelaria Suíça, Praça Dom Pedro IV 101

Traditional Portuguese cafe/restaurant, famous for its huge variety of delicious cakes and pastries.

Lisbon Pastelaria Suica delicious cakes

Pastelaria Suíça, Praça Dom Pedro IV 101

Most locals prefer to sit inside. During World War II this place (Suíça means Switzerland) was the meeting point where those in exile negotiated their tickets to freedom.

Lisbon Patelaria Suica Rossio

Pastelaria Suíça terrace, Praça D. Pedro IV 96/101.

Be aware of pickpockets

Locals appreciate this cafe/restaurant just as much as tourists. The waiters are not always very nice. Being a tourist, be aware of pickpockets: while enjoying a delicious cálice de vinho do Porto (a glass of Port Wine), somebody tried to steel my friend’s bag from under her chair. Happily a friendly waiter warned us just in time! Be aware when you visit touristical attractions and terraces.

Nearby you can taste a Ginjinha, a liqueur made of a cherry-like berry, a typical Lisbon spirit.

Kisbon Praca da Figueria view from terrace Suica

From cafe/restaurant Pastelaria Suica ‘s terrace at the back a view of the square Praça da Figueira (English: Square of the Fig Tree) and the São Jorge Castle.

Lisbon Suica Pastelaria street performance living statue

Street performances (‘living statue’), newspaper vendors, street traders (offering cheap watches or ‘jewellery’), lottery ticket sellers, ‘psssst drugs’ sellers and begging hands……….also some lovely shops, like the unique hatmakers shop Chapelaria Azevedo Rua (opened in 1886)

And, of course, in wintertime, the unmistakeable smell of roasted chestnuts (castanhas assadas)

Lisbon Rossio lottery ticket sellers

Lisbon Rossio lottery ticket seller 

Safety in Lisbon: watch out for sneaky pickpockets, be aware! especially on 28 and 15 (to Belém) electric trams!

Watch out for pickpockets, especially on 28 and 15  electric trams!

Tram 28 pickpockets

Tram 28 is increasingly as popular with pickpockets as it is with tourists

Violence against tourists is very unusual, but be aware of people that brush up close to you or jostle you and don’t leave bags and camera equipment unattended for even a moment! Also be aware when you visit touristical attractions and terraces.

Lisbon is a very safe city, you’ll only have to be careful with people selling drugs in the downtown area. And some sell bay leafs instead of hash, so don’t buy anything from them. When you hire a car and you leave it overnight in the street, take care not to leave any of value in it (even locked) or in your hotel room.

Police in Lisbon

Take a taxi at night: it is cheap in Lisbon

Be always very careful with your things and never carry large amounts of money with you. When leaving the nightclubs take a taxi, you’ll have to pay a bit more (10 euro in the city) but sometimes it’s the best.

Lisbon Safety Police Praca do Commercio

Praça do Comércio: friendly policemen on electrical Segway steps

More information Lisboa Card

It you are the victim of theft, and you want to make an insurance claim, you have to report it to the police and get a report copy. If your passport is taken, you must contact the consulate to get a replacement issued.

Police in June 09 near Rossio Square

Police: COMETLIS – Esquadra de Turismo, phone 00351213421623, mail lsbetur@psp.pt