A Dog-Friendly and Accessible Guide to Lisbon
There are more than 140 million cats and dogs in Europe. It is clear Europeans love their animals and Portugal is no exception. In 2017, 36% of households in Portugal owned a pet dog. The treatment of said dogs is, however, debatable. It was only 3 years ago Portugal finally recognised animals as sentient beings and abandoned dogs is a constant issue.
Yet, Lisbon compared to London, is one of the most progressive cities when it comes to pet ownership as you legally can’t be turned down for a lease for having a dog!
Lisbon is hands-down one of the most dog-friendly cities I have ever visited. Dougie had the most wonderful time. He was constantly fussed over by strangers in the street and was often bought treats or water by waiters in cafes. There are quite a few things to consider though, so I hope this blog helps you plan your city break with your furry buddy.
I visited the bustling city of Lisbon with my Mum to celebrate her (ahem), 71st birthday, and who with two metal hips has reduced mobility. As Lisbon is built on seven hills it’s not the easiest city to walk around when your hips are not your friend, so this blog will also provide tips on how to enjoy the city when you have reduced mobility because, my friends, travel isn’t just for the young and able.
Finding a place to stay
As Lisbon is so forward thinking on pets finding a rental apartment was not a problem. However, many apartments are old, character-filled properties that have lots of stairs and no lifts.
More modern buildings that have services suitable for those with reduced mobility tend to be outside the city towards either the airport or the coast. We decided to choose an apartment close to the airport but near the modern marina for its’ secure parking and convenience to both, the airport and city. It worked perfectly.
We booked our apartment via AirBnB.
2. Getting Around
There is plenty of public transport in the city BUT to travel with a dog on the underground or trams, no matter its size, you will need a carrier. For my stubborn (and quite heavy!) Jack Russell this wasn’t an option.
Disappointingly Lisbon could do a lot more to make their transport system accessible for everyone. I couldn’t even find a map of the stations that had wheelchair access.
Uber completely saved us. Not only did the sheer convenience and speed of the app remove a lot of stress when navigating the city, but I was able to message the driver in advance (in Portuguese) about having a dog with me. We were only rejected once by a driver who had an “allergy” but it doesn’t much matter when another Uber is mere minutes away.
This is obviously a more expensive way of getting around the city but sometimes paying more so you can all enjoy the trip is worth it.
There are the classic hop on and hop off tour buses that take you all over the city. I would recommend this for those with reduced mobility as they are a fabulous way of exploring a place without lots of walking but if you’re not travelling with a pet they sadly, don’t accept dogs onto tours.
3. Tuk Tuk Tours
The ultimate tacky tourist thing to do, but oh my, they are so much fun! Their little electric motors whizz you through the city’s tiny cobbled, heart-attack hills at breakneck speed. As you bob along the driver tells you facts about the city which you can barely hear over the roar of the bustling city as it whizzes past you. You can’t help but laugh at the absurdity of it all, but the tuk tuk tours ticked all our boxes;
✔️Perfect for anyone with reduced mobility
✔️Great way to see a lot in a short amount of time
✔️No hill walking
We landed the best tour guide who was brilliant at helping Mum in and out of the tuktuk. We loved her so much we booked her for the next day for another tour.
4. Eating Out
Luckily with its European cafe culture you can eat almost anywhere with a dog if they have an outside area. We were able to enjoy meals out during the day and in the evening by sitting outside. I can recommend;
Great outside seating area right on the Commercial Square. Perfect for lunch, coffee and people watching. Waiters gave Dougie water and a good scratch behind his ears.
Delicious, fresh sushi with a lovely terrace where you can sit happily with your dog.
But if you’re feeling tired after a day of sight-seeing you can’t go wrong with Uber Eats who deliver right to your door.
5. Arrange some time apart to explore
Mum and I found this really important to schedule some alone time into our trip so we can enjoy different things. For example, Mum loves museums but that’s not possible with a dog in tow and I enjoy mindlessly walking which isn’t possible when you’re with someone who struggles to walk long distances.
Allowing each other to have the space to do what we each wanted to do meant no one missed out.