Tram, metro, bus, taxi, boat : choose your transport in Lisbon and get around
We are talking here about transport in Lisbon. In the Portuguese capital and its suburbs, it will be very easy for you to move. The transport offer is varied and dense and will allow you to go close to all points of interest. The important thing is to have in possession the maps and transport plans of Lisbon that you want to use, so as not to get lost in this rather complex transport system. In Lisbon, it is possible to travel by metro, tram, bus, funicular, train but also by boat and taxi. As far as transport tickets are concerned, you will see that it is possible to make your life easier with the purchase of a pass that runs on all transports in the capital. And be aware that most of Lisbon’s transport remains relatively inexpensive compared to other European capitals. So do not even think about wanting to defraud because the controls in transport are frequent and the rating may be very very high! The fines range from € 140 to more than € 200.
To better understand Lisbon transport system, here is a quick summary of the different transport companies operating in the Portuguese capital :
- Carris, the company that runs buses, trams, funiculars and the Santa Justa lift (Elevador de Santa Justa)
- Metro de Lisboa, the company that manages the 4 Lisbon metro lines
- CP, the company that manages trains in Portugal and manages the 4 suburban train lines in Lisbon
- Transtejo et Soflusa, the companies that manage the boats and ferries making the sea connection between Lisbon and the suburban cities located on the other side of the Tagus River
1. CHOOSE YOUR TRANSPORT TITLE IN LISBON – Opt for magnetic tickets
As transport tickets, the best choice for tourists is to opt for one of these 2 tickets :
– Lisboa Card : with this ticket, you will be able to take any kind of public transport from Lisbon (metro, bus and tram, trains to Sintra and Cascais). Free admission to 26 museums and monuments in Lisbon and discounts at some traditional craft stores and discounts on sightseeing tours. This ticket is sold by Lisbon Tourist Office.
- Price :
- 24h card : € 19 for adults and € 12 for children from 4 to 15 years old
- 48h card : € 32 for adults and € 18 for children from 4 to 15 years old
- 72h card : € 40 for adults and € 21 for children from 4 to 15 years old
- Where to buy it ? In advance on the Get Your Guide website >>> HERE
- Where to recover ? At the airport on your arrival (between 7am and midnight – Arrivals Hall) or on 2 other collection points in the city center : the Ask Me Lisboa tourist reception center next to the Praça do Comércio or the Palácio Foz on the Praça dos Restauradores (between 9am and 8pm).
- Is it worth it ? If you do not intend to visit at least some museums in a day or a few days, the purchase of the Lisboa Card is not advisable because it will not be profitable.
– Ticket “Viva Viagem” or “7 colinas”: these tickets are valid for one year, it is about individual rechargeable magnetic cards.
- Price : € 0,50 for the magnetic ticket plus the price of the formula you choose
- 3 choices :
- 24-hour pass >>> valid for 24h from the first use for € 6.15 per person, operating exclusively in the metro, buses, trams, funiculars and the Santa Justa lift. Is it worth it ? Yes if you take several different transports in the same day.
- Zapping >>> works on all public transports in Lisbon (buses, trams, funiculars, Elevador de Santa Justa, trains and ferries). You simply load the amount of your choice on the card and each time you use a means of transport, the balance of the card is charged the amount of the ticket. For most transports, the unit price on the card will be cheaper than buying the ticket at normal fare. You can charge at least € 2 and up to € 15, the maximum balance of the card is € 20. Is it worth it ? Yes, if you want to take several different transports during your visit in Lisbon and especially the boat.
- Tickets >>> it is also possible to use the card to buy tickets for all means of transport from Lisbon but beware, it is not possible to accumulate tickets of different companies on the same card. Is it worth it ? Not at all because it is more expensive than buying single tickets to the unit and it is not practical.
- Where to buy and reload ?
- At the ticket office in the metro stations of the city center and the metro stations of Lisbon Airport
- At the automatic terminals of metro stations, railway stations and ferries
- In the Carris company’s points of sale, which manage Lisbon’s buses, trams and funiculars
- At CTT post offices
- In some tobacconists
- Tip : Always keep proof of reloading your card in case of demagnetization
2. LISBON TRAM – Very touristy
The tram network was created in 1901. Currently, there are 5 tram lines in Lisbon bearing the numbers 12, 15, 18, 25 and 28. Apart from some trains of the line 15, modern and air-conditioned, the other lines are small trams with old motors able to sneak up and down the narrow streets of the historic center. Rare in Europe, these old trams are restored old trains. They give their authentic side to Lisbon and are one of the most famous attractions of the city : real celebrities of postcards and souvenir photos as above. This authentic side has disadvantages : the tram ticket is expensive (€ 2.90 one way), there is only few seats and it is an uncomfortable means of transport. The tram 28 is a real tourist attraction, visitors to Lisbon rush in mass because it allows to cross the main points of interest of the historic center of Lisbon. Apart from the tourist discovery routes, this remains a means of transportation to avoid.
Interesting alternative, the red tourist tram makes a great tour of the city through exclusive routes that are no longer used by public tram lines.
- The tram comes in neighborhoods not served by the metro or the big buses because of the narrow streets and the steep slopes
- Authentic, vintage and postcard
- Price of a ticket
- Often very busy and uncomfortable
- Watch out of pickpockets on line 28
Price on board : € 2.90 one way
Do not miss :
- Make the full journey of tram line 28
- Make the trip with the tourist tram to discover the 7 hills of Lisbon
3. FUNICULAR / ELEVATOR IN LISBON – For the fun
Between 1884 and 1893, three funiculars were built in Lisbon to make it easier to cross some hills of the city and to connect more easily neighborhoods between them :
- Elevador do Lavra to reach Jardim do Torel
- Elevador da Glória (picture above)to reach São Pedro de Alcântara belevedere
- Elevador da Bica to reach Santa Catarina belvedere
In 1902, the Elevador de Santa Justa (the Santa Justa lift) has also been built to connect the Baixa district to the Chiado district. These means of transport are all classified as historical monument and are more for tourist attraction and folklore. Few real Lisboners use it except for people with walking difficulties.
+ : Vintage and unique aspect
– : The price of the ticket and some funiculars deteriorated by tags
Price on board : € 3.70 round trip in the funiculars / € 5.15 round trip for the Elevador de Santa Justa
Do not miss : The Elevador de Santa Justa, at least to admire in the heart of the Baixa
IN HISTORICAL TRAMWAY WITH GUIDE >>> HERE
4. LISBON METRO – Safe, fast and comfortable
Lisbon subway has 4 lines and is one of the most modern, reliable and fast in Europe. Trains and train stations are safe, clean, neat and air conditioned. All practical information (map, rates, schedules, lines, stations) are available in my article on Lisbon metro. This means of transport will be useful if your hotel or apartment is not located in the historic city center. In this case, it will be convenient for you to reach the center in a few subway stations. You will also find it useful if you want to take the metro at Lisbon airport, go to the Benfica or Sporting Lisbon stadiums, visit Lisbon Zoo or go to the Oriente district (to visit some of the attractions such as Lisbon Oceanarium, museums, the cable car on the banks of the Tagus or to see the Vasco da Gama bridge).
+ : Safe, fast, comfortable and air-conditioned metro
– : All districts are not served by the subway
Price : € 1.45. More information on all rates and passes available in my article about all the practical information on Lisbon metro.
Do not miss : many stations are beautifully decorated with azulejos.
Website : http://metro.transporteslisboa.pt/eng/
5. BUSES IN LISBON – An effective way to get around
80 lines make up the Lisbon bus network. The buses of the company Carris occupy a route of 670 kilometers of which 65 kilometers are reserved bus lanes. In Lisbon, buses are excellent means of transport, especially when the area where you want to go is not served by the metro. This is the case for example, when you want to go to the neighborhood of Belém or Ajuda. Important information, several lines work at night on major roads. If you want to travel cheaply to go in the evening, this is the means of transport to adopt.
+ : Convenient and fast, buses allow to appreciate the beauty of Lisbon
– : Not easy to find yourself among all these bus lines and to identify that you are at the right stop that goes in the right direction
Price on board : € 1.80, all rates available here >>> http://carris.transporteslisboa.pt/en/base-fees/
Do not miss : go to the Colombo shopping center at the Colégio Militar station in the Benfica district, starting from the city center. Buses will allow you to explore the city through its larger squares and appreciate the different neighborhoods other than those of the historic center, very touristy.
6. LISBON TRAIN – For Sintra and Cascais
There are 4 train lines in Lisbon serving the city center and its suburbs. If you want to visit Sintra, Cascais or Estoril, it is very likely that you will use the train to get there (the trips will take about 45 minutes). For Sintra, trains depart from Rossio station (in the historic center), Alcântara Terra, Campolide, Roma-Areeiro, Entrecampos, Sete Rios and Benfica. For Cascais, departures are from Cais do Sodré, Santos, Alcântara Mar and Belém. It is the ideal means of transport to reach Cascais, Sintra and Estoril.
Two other train lines could also be mentioned : the line connecting Azambuja do Mar to Santa Apolónia and the line connecting Barreiro (a city located in front of Lisbon) to the beaches of Sado.
Note finally that it is also possible to reach Porto by train from Oriente or Santa Apolónia. Below is the map of train lines and subway lines in Lisbon and its suburbs (click on the image to enlarge or print it).
Map of train and metro lines on Lisbon and its suburbs
+ : Useful to get to Sintra, Estoril and Cascais
– : The route is pretty long for Cascais and Sintra (about 45 minutes)
Price : from € 1.30, all rates available here >>> https://www.cp.pt/passageiros/en/train-times/Prices
Do not miss : the route of the Estoril-Cascais line is very pleasant by the sea
7. TAXIS IN LISBON – Economical and fast
Piece of advice on Lisbon taxis
Unlike many European capitals, taxis in Lisbon are a very affordable means of transportation. Indeed, a taxi in Lisbon will cost approximately between 6 and 9 € for the trips you want to make in the city. So, if you are more than 2 people to move in Lisbon, taxi is a great alternative because this means of transport will be cheaper than taking 3 or 4 subway or bus tickets. Obviously, the trip will be faster.
However, I advise you to be careful about taxis, some may want to rip you off if they find you are a tourist. So check out the following points about taxis, tips that I already gave you in my article about the route airport – downtown Lisbon.
- Lisbon taxis are black and green or beige and nothing else. Other vehicles that will solicit you are clandestine ones.
- All Lisbon taxis have a luminous sign on the roof indicating “Taxi Lisboa”. Other vehicles that will solicit you are clandestine ones.
- The taxi must turn on the counter when it starts its race. A taxi that offers you a flat rate to go to downtown, and without triggering the counter, is a hustler.
Taxi rides are also great if you are visiting in the evening or at night. The price remains affordable and the number of taxis cruising Lisbon during the night is quite important. The taxi ride at night is however 20% more expensive than during the day.
Trips in taxis or private vehicles from Lisbon Airport
If you want to book a private taxi or a private vehicle for your journey from the airport, you can do it via Taxi Leader website. The race will be paid in advance and no additional amount will be required. In addition, you have the option to book your return to the airport at the same time. The rates are quite good and the journeys more comfortable than in traditional taxis.
You must also know that there is a “Taxi Voucher”, it is a service allowing you to move from Lisbon airport and to any address in town. This “Taxi Voucher” is available from the tourist office counter of Lisbon, located at your arrival at the airport. This avoids scams because the rates have been pre-negotiated, whether they are day or night trips. All information available here, the voucher can be purchased in advance >>> http://www.askmelisboa.com/web-store/taxi-voucher.html?mode=list
+ : an economical and fast way to move if you are more than 2, especially at night
– : some taxi drivers will try to rip you off and others drink alcohol, especially at night. When you can, choose private drivers or taxis.
Price : between € 7 and € 15 for trips in Lisbon
Do not miss : the huge lines of taxis that are formed near the lively nightlife : Bairro Alto, Cais do Sodré, Alcântara and the exit of some clubs in Lisbon.
8. MOVING BY BOAT IN LISBON – Book a cruise on the Tagus
Lisbon is on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, so you will have the opportunity to take the boat. A boat trip to Lisbon can be interesting for taking pictures of the city from another point of view or enjoying a sunset. It is also a fast means of transport to reach cities on the other side of the Tagus. 5 boat lines connect Lisbon to the cities located in front of the Portuguese capital :
- Terreiro do Paço (Lisbon) – Barreiro
- Cais do Sodré (Lisbon) – Cacilhas
- Cais do Sodré (Lisbon) – Montijo
- Cais do Sodré (Lisbon) – Seixal
- Belém (Lisbon) – Porto Brandão – Trafaria
Please note that it is also possible to enjoy cruises on the Tagus to discover Lisbon differently and enjoy its exceptional location by the sea. All the information can be found in my article about the best cruises on the Tagus in Lisbon.
Lisbon and suburban boat line plan
- Useful to get to the other side of the Tagus if you do not have a vehicle or taxi to cross bridges
- Ideal for photographing the city and its monuments and enjoy the sunset
– : It is still transit ferries, not very glamorous. For more privacy, I recommend cruises on the Tagus.
Price : from € 1.20, all rates here >>> http://transtejo.transporteslisboa.pt/clientes/tarifario/viagens-ocasionais-bilhetes-e-zapping/#1456426341408-8f22e4b9-df48
Do not miss : a cruise to discover the capital of Portugal differently, you can even book some cruises on the Tagus in advance
Website : http://transtejo.transporteslisboa.pt/
9. MOVING BY BICYCLE OR SCOOTER
There was still a transport alternative that we have not talked about yet, it’s a two wheels one. Indeed, it is quite possible to travel by bike or scooter in Lisbon. For this, several companies propose to rent them. If you want to enjoy Lisbon by bike, scooter or motorcycle, I invite you to check out my following articles :
- Rent a bike in Lisbon : the best addresses
- Rent a motorcycle or a scooter in Lisbon : the best deals