2020 Tourist Season Disaster – Lisbon

Was strolling around Lisbon the other day with the aim of capturing what has become of the peak tourist season in 2020. Happy to share with you some of my experiences during these extraordinary times!

Normally packed Alfama district in Lisbon, Portugal

2020 Tourism season is a disaster

Despite Portugal having considerably fewer cases, even in proportion to population, to the UK, Portugal was controversially excluded from the UK’s quarantine travel exemption. This unilateral decision dealt a huge blow to the already struggling Portuguese tourist sector, which accounts for approximately 19% of GDP and 400,000 jobs

Even the petty local drug dealers were struggling for clients at the Baixa!

Tourists, where are you?!

I spotted some tourists, particularly from France and Germany but few in comparison to previous years. In fact, the centre of Lisbon was eerily quiet and had the feeling of a small provincial town, not a capital city.

Lisbon, Portugal. August 9, 2020: Almost deserted Augusta Street in Baixa, Lisbon, Portugal during the Coronavirus Covid-19 outbreak as many tourists decide to stay at home
Lisbon, Portugal. August 9, 2020: Almost deserted Augusta Street in Baixa, Lisbon, Portugal during the Coronavirus Covid-19 outbreak as many tourists decide to stay at home

Showing wide angles + landmarks

On the day I opted for my go-to travel lens, the 24-70mm F2.8. I really wanted to show the wide spaces, alongside the city’s main landmarks.

Lisbon, Portugal – August 9, 2020: Monument to the Restauradores at Restauradores Square Lisbon, Portugal

When I wanted to include more people, I would wait until someone was wearing a face mask (not obligatory in Portugal in public spaces).

Lisbon, Portugal – August 9, 2020: Rua do Carmo, Lisbon tourist route, normally busy pedestrian way, connects Rosario Square in downtown Lisbon to Chiago, Santa Justa elevator
Lisbon, Portugal – August 9, 2020: View of theatre and fountain monument on Rossio square of Lisbon. Rossio square is one of main Lisbon squares since the Middle Ages

Most scenes accompanies by videos (4K)

I always carry my Panasonic Lumix with me and when the scene lends itself, I’ll capture the footage. It’s super easy to upload both at the same times since the keywords are similar. Above are some of the same scenes in videos:

Empty restaurants and sad waiters

There was a particular sidewalk with half a dozen or so restaurants lined up that were almost empty. In some of them, there were more waiters trying to usher customers in than customers! I’m afraid that many of these businesses won’t survive the coming months.

Lisbon, Portugal. August 9, 2020: Waiters standing in front of empty restaurant terraces waiting for clients. Many tourists have decided to stay at home during the Coronavirus Covid-19 outbreak

Some cafes/restaurants chose not to open altogether, such as the one below in a normally busy Alfama (just in front of the Fado Museum). Sad scene.

Removed all logos to license this image commercially everywhere

Potential book covers

The above are fun but this day in age I don’t expect many sales. More of a personal project. In terms of running a business, what I was really looking after were book covers and the day didn’t disappoint. On a positive note, more streets meant more freedom.

One did sell on 12 August at SS for 10cents! lol


In the end I ended up uploading the following batch from the day to Arcangel. See my latest post on creating and licensing book covers.


By the of the month, when I’ll publish my August 2020 earnings report, I’ll go into detail which of the above were accepted. That’s when I’ll be back next.

All the best and stay safe!

About Alex

I’m an eccentric guy, currently based in Portugal (fled Madrid to escape the brunt of this nasty Coronavirus), on a quest to visit all corners of the world and capture stock images & footage, when things go back to normal (August??). I’ve devoted eight years to making it as a travel photographer / videographer and freelance writer (however, had recently go back into full-time office work to make ends meet, although been recently let go, although they got me back in at the last minute!). Anyway, I hope to inspire others by showing an unique insight into a fascinating business model.

I’m proud to have written a book about my adventures which includes tips on making it as a stock travel photographer – Brutally Honest Guide to Microstock Photography


  1. Thanks for the sharing. Sadly it’s a worldwide phenomena, there is a shopping mall near where I live, more than half of the shops are still closed on these days. My question here: I have many editorial images wait for me to upload, may I ask, in your experience, for editorial usage photos, which one is better, Shutterstock or Alamy or both?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Many thanks for the prompt reply and insights, also thanks for the beautiful and unusual images, the weather looks so tempting!


  3. Interesting. As an average tourist I always complain about other tourists, but after seeing almost empty streets I want the crowds back.


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