Access to Lisbon's iconic Cristo Rei will also be 'conditioned' during World Youth Day celebrations

Exodus from Lisbon as World Youth Day approaches

Hundreds of ‘Lisboetas’ plan their escapes

For all the PR hype about the wonder of World Youth Day, and the miracle of the love of God, hundreds if not thousands of everyday ‘lisboetas’ are taking the opportunity to get out of town.

Residents particularly in the Bairro Azul, located right next door to the Eduardo VII Park – where one of the main stages is being erected – have already made their plans. This weekend will see the start of the exodus, and everyone who can will be requesting a week-10-days of remote working from a location far from the madding crowds.

The largest issue will be parking/ traffic control.

Residents have been telling Lusa that this can be chaotic even without World Youth Day. They cannot imagine how it could be anything less in the coming days.

“It will be a nightmare for those who want to enter the neighbourhood”, said one of the Bairro Azul stalwarts, who admitted to having her escape plan already well-devised.

She admitted that some people may have no choice but to remain in their homes “but I think those that can, will avoid it”.

Others interviewed by Lusa believe the event will be a marvellous way of promoting Portuguese culture – and they are hugely proud that the capital is being graced by the Pope (Pope Francis will be in Portugal from August 3-4, according to the official schedule).

This first World Youth Day event since the pandemic will see ‘main events’ taking place in the Eduardo VII park and Tagus Park, north of Parque das Nações, on land owned by the municipalities of Lisbon and Loures.

Main roads in the centre of Lisbon will be closed to traffic on three of the days of the event (August 1, 3 and 4).

The ‘mobility plan’ describes “constraints mainly between Eduardo VII Park and Terreiro do Paço, covering roads like Avenida da Liberdade, Avenida Infante D. Henrique, Avenida Fontes Pereira de Melo, Rua do Carmo, Rua Castilho, Rua da Prata and Restauradores and Rossio squares”. 

Meantime, border controls are in force until August 7, with over a quarter of a million people already screened, of which 52 were refused entry on the basis of insufficient documentation.

[email protected]