Airport and Air Travel, Lisbon
Lisbon has a small airport with only one terminal that services all domestic and international routes. Located 7 km from the city center, the airport is well serviced by public transportation.
My synopsis of this airport is that it is a fairly lively place, very airy feeling with very high ceilings and expansive check-in areas. Once you have used this airport I think it would be fairly easy to navigate…but…on this initial use it took us too long to figure out where the correct flight check-in windows were actually located. Then after we’d stood in line for 30 minutes we discovered that they wouldn’t check us in as our flight was not yet into their computers. So we had to go to the back of the line and start all over again. It was pretty frustrating. The airport did have some nice shops and easy to use ATM machines. I found the restaurants to be pretty crowed and it was difficult to find a place to sit.
Inexpensive luggage carts are available for rental at the entrance doors.
Restaurants open 24 hours are available in the airport, with Harrods providing a buffet and coffee shop. Passarola offers international cuisine while Iberusa has a wide range of local specialty dishes.
Duty-free shops and a selection of regular shops selling local delicacies, fashions, electronics and many other products are also available. Casa dos Sabores offers local Portuguese delicatessen produce.
A bank, 24-hour bureau de change and several ATMs are located in the terminal.
Ramps, lifts and specially designed telephones and toilets are available for disabled passengers. Airline staff can provide wheelchairs and assist wheelchair passengers through customs and immigration. Spaces for disabled drivers are available in the airport car parks.
The information desks located in the arrivals and departures halls and boarding lounge are open from 08:00 to 00:00. A tourist information desk can also be found in the arrivals hall (open from 06:00-02:00). Information hotlines are located throughout the terminal.
Also know as Portela Airport.
This is the country's most important airport, and plays an important role in the city's economic development and that of the entire Lisbon Region.
In 1998, Lisbon Airport posted the world highest passenger growth rate. The increase in airport capacity, the efficiency and quality of services provided are evident to all its users.
There is a variety of shopping available.
You might want to check on flights into Madrid first. Sometimes you'll find a better deal by flying to Spain and then into Portugal, but not always. I took this photo in front of the Gulbenkian Museum in northern Lisbon. Ever since September 11, 2001 when I was sitting in my highrise office building in Charlotte watching the unfolding of horrible events in New York, I can't help but remember that day when I see a low flying plane. Fortunately, this plane was safely descending into Lisbon on a beautiful, clear day.
Because of a major ice and snow storm on the east coast of the United States, we were forced to fly from our hometown of Charlotte to MIami instead of to Philadelphia, which was our scheduled route. This change of plans would cause us to arrive late in Madrid, but better late than never!
Because of the inconvenience, we were upgraded on our Iberia flight (US Airways endorsed our ticket on Iberian, a Spanish carrier) to Business Class. The seats were much wider than Coach Class and they reclined to almost horizontal, which enabled me to get some good sleep. When we boarded, the flight attended immediately asked us, "Quiere un jerez?" (she wanted to know if we would like some sherry).
Of course, this was an offer we were not about to refuse, and the drinks and comfortable seats made for a great flight.
On our way to Lisbon, we also had a slight mishap when Pav's luggage was temporarily lost! Fortunately, there are many flights between Madrid and Lisbon each day and his bag arrived in a couple hours.
Lisbon's airport is the largest and by far the busiest in Portugal and offers connections all over Europe. I flew in on the Portuguese carrier, TAP Air Portugal. When you fly out of Lisbon, there is a tax that is charged, but it will be included in the price of the ticket.
This is a photo of the airport information booth in which you can get all kinds of information, including free street and metro maps and well as hotel and transportation info. The lady that was working when we arrived hooked us up with our hostel and it turned out great!
There are a couple of daily flights to the most important European cities. Lisbon, unfortuantely, is one of the most expensive destinations in Europe if you consider the average fares. “Aeroporto de Lisboa” is conveniently connected to the city by Aero-Bus #91 (every 20 minutes). The fare includes the day ticket for the public transport in Lisbon already!
The company “Carris” is managing buses and tramways and “Metropolitano” is offering a small but well enough underground system. Together that makes a very good network to discover the whole city. Fares are rather cheap but check the latest on the web because I only know the old Escudo-based ones. For the cable cars you also need the bus tickets. Please queue up at the bus stops or you will cause angry reactions by the Portuguese! Even if you don’t want to use the underground, just visit the very nice stations with magnificent painted tiles (azulejos) everywhere. On the page on the left you see the Elevador da Gloria.
Airport: nice and recently restructured, close to the city centre.
Train: Santa Apollonia railway station, along the river bank, in the heart of Alfama, the traditional area.
The airport is so close to the city centre tehre are lots of public buses passing through just in front of the arrival lounge. Tickets may be bought at the CARRIS point, across the street, or else you may buy them on the bus, but they will cost twice the normal price.
Taxis may also be used, and they are quite cheap: around 1,200 escudos (6 Euro) to reach the opposite site of the city centre.
The public transport network is quite good in Lisbon, you may check the map of public services at www.carris.pt/mapas/e.htm .
From the UK BMIbaby and Go are doing flights to Faro from around £50 return inclusive of taxes. Try www.bmibaby.com or www.go-fly.co.uk
The trams are very useful but the timetables seemed a bit of a mystery. For anyone staying a few days the best bet is to buy a tourist pass.
If you arrive to Lisbon, by air Portela, Portugal's international airport, lies on the north-eastern fringes of the city, within sight of the Ponte Vasco da Gama. An airport shuttle bus departs every 20 minutes, taking passengers to Praça do Comércio for (430$00). A cheaper alternative is to take the 5 bus to Areeiro, where you can catch the metro, the 8 or 22 bus to Martim Moniz, or the 44 or 45 bus to Rossio. Maps are available at the tourist information office. It is a short drive into town down the Avenida Almirante Gago Coutinho and Avenida Almirante Reis. A taxi into downtown should not cost much more than 1,500$00, with a 250$00 charge for luggage added on to the basic fare. Some of the city's dodgiest operators work this route, so watch the meter. The airport has a 24-hour telephone information service (841 3700), and there are both automated and staffed bureau de change services.
By rail - Trains from Spain, France or the north of Portugal arrive at Santa Apolónia station (888 4025); ticket office open 6am-11.30pm. The station is beside the river near the central Praça do Comércio. It has its own tourist information booth and bureau de change.There is a taxi rank outside and a range of bus services. A Metro station is due to open here in late 1999, though few who know Lisbon expect construction to meet that deadline.
Buses - Lisbon's yellow and orange buses provide good services way out into the outer areas of greater Lisbon. There are some night buses, but the relative cheapness of the taxi service means most late revellers will prefer this option. Information can be obtained from Carris's administrative headquarters at Santo Amaro (363 2044). There are smaller information offices and ticket booths all over the city, including at: Praça da Figueira; Areeiro; Alcântara; Cais do Sodré (near the railway station); Campo Pequeno; Santa Apolónia; Santa Justa; Alvalade; and Campo Grande.
Tickets can be bought from the driver and cost 160$00 per trip. A two-trip ticket bought from a Carris kiosk before you travel allows two journeys for 155$00, and is valid on both trams and buses. These tickets must be punched in the machine by the driver to validate each journey.
Carris booths also sell travel cards allowing unlimited travel: 430$00 for one-day; 1,000$00 for three-days. Other companies operate bus routes beyond Lisbon. These include Stagecoach (483 0388) along the Estoril coast and across to Sintra, and Transporte Sul do Tejo (726 2740), which operates routes south of the river. Key stops include Areeiro, Praça de Espanha, Cacilhas and the central bus station (rodoviária nacional) on Avenida Duque d'Ávila in Saldanha.
Car hiAll the major companies are present in Lisbon. Hertz offers some of the cheapest rates, Avis is more expensive.
Avenida Praia da Vitória 12-C (356 1176;
Reservations: 346 2676).
Branches: Portela Airport (849 4836), Santa Apolónia train station (881 0469), Hotel Ritz (383 1521).
Rua Castilho 167B (386 0516/fax 383 0978; Reservations: 994 0443/fax 994 0209)
Branches: Airport (847 8803/fax 849 1605)
Airport (840 1176/fax 847 3180; Reservations: 940 7790/fax 942 5239)
Rua Castilho 72 A-B-C (381 2430/fax 387 4164; Reservations 941 5541/fax 941 6068/freephone 0800 201231)
Branches: Airport (840 1496); Avenida Visconde Seabra 10 (797 2944/fax 797 0371); Hotel Atlântico Estoril (467 5705/fax 468 5115).
Metro /Subway -
The speediest way to travel in Lisbon is via the greatly- improved Metro system. Travel cards are sold in the following stations: Entre Campos; Saldanha; Marquês de Pombal; Restauradores; Rossio; Arroios; Areeiro; Alvalade; Sete Rios; Colégio Militar; and Pontinha.
The metro runs from 6.30am to 1am daily and trains leave every two minutes during rush hours and every five minutes during the rest of the day. Tickets are sold in the station ticket offices and vending machines. Validate the ticket by inserting it into the small boxes next to the barriers until it engages. The fine for not having a valid ticket is 8,000$00, though inspectors are fairly thin on the ground.
A single ticket costs 100$00, a daily ticket costs 250$00 and a caderneta of ten tickets 800$00. Better value for frequent travellers is the seven-day pass, costing 900$00 or the one-month pass, at 2,070$00. There are also four- and seven- day integrated passes, allowing use of Metro, trams, buses and elevators for 1,640$00 or 2,320$00 respectively. There are public telephones in all Metro stations and a lost and found office at Marquês de Pombal.
The Metro now has four lines:
The green line runs from Cais do Sodré to Campo Grande. This will be extended as far as Telheiras.
The blue line runs from Pontinha to Baixa-Chiado. By the end of 1999, this line will run along the river to Santa Apolónia.
The yellow line runs from Rato to Campo Grande. This will be extended as far north as Lumiar.
The red line runs from Alameda to Oriente. This will extend as far east as Campolide, and as far west as Moscavide
Taxis - Taxis in Lisbon are thick on the ground and inexpensive. Newer cabs are cream coloured, the older variety are black with a green roof.
The standing charge is 250$00, and the fare is supposed to be 10$00 per 135 metres, and each 30 seconds when stopped. At night, from 10pm-6am, weekend and holidays, the rate is for every 109 metres.
Tipping is optional and a moderate amount will be appreciated. It must be said, however, that many of Lisbon's taxi drivers have a serious attitude problem, and are all too ready to take out their own frustrations - heavy traffic and poor wages - on the paying customer. Sometimes this is just a display of gruffness, and can be easily ignored or soothed away. But sometimes they are downright rude. Patience is the only effective tactic.
In the early hours and when it's raining, taxis are not so easy to come by, but you are rarely very far from a taxi stand.
Some of the busiest and most reliable are those at Rossio, Largo do Chiado and Largo de Trindade Coelho (also known as Largo da Misericórdia) in the Bairro Alto.
There are 24-hour dial-a-cab services on 811 9000 (Radio Taxis de Lisboa), 793 2756 (Autocoop) and 811 1100 (Teletaxis) with an additional rate of 150$00
Local train services are also getting better. Trains run along the Estoril line from Cais de Sodré station as far as Cascais every 20 minutes for a fare of 190$00.
Escaping to the beach has been easier since the opening of the Cais de Sodré Metro station. Another busy line links Sintra to Rossio station.
Cross-city links will soon be improved by new stretches linking the Sintra line with the Oriente station, and the showcase engineering job that will provide a train link under the Ponte 25 de Abril, hopefully easing the traffic jams in the process.
We flew into Lisbon Airport on TAP, the Portugese airline. From the airport, a taxi is probably the best way to get to your hotel. You can purchase a taxi voucher at the information desk which will ensure a set fee and there is no need to tip the driver.
The subway can take you to, or get you within walking distance of many attractions. The end of the green line on the subway will drop you off right in the Cais De Sodre train station. From there, you can take the train to Belem or even further to the seaside resort towns of Cascais and Estoril. The red line takes you out to the Parque das Nacoes, where Expo 98 took place, and the stops along this route are works of art. Pictured above is a mural on the wall of the final stop, Oriental.
Trams are another way to get around. The maps at the stops are somewhat confusing so ask for directions. Trams are especially busy during rush hour and sometimes you end up waiting for trucks to unload or traffic to get out of your way.
Plane. Lisbon International Airport and a Eur. 5-6 ride to the center.
If you come by car, there is a highway linking Lisbon to the spanish border in Elvas/Badajoz (+- 200 Kms) or from the North, you have the highway from Valença to Oporto, and then to Lisbon (+- 300 Kms)
In the city center you can use the subway. Taxis aren't very expensive. There is also a good bus network, but try to avoid rush hour, as the traffic is intense.
Best way to go to Lisbon is by plane. You can fly to Lisbon from very big city in Europe and its also possible, as much as I know, to fly form America and Africa to Lisbon
To get around in Lisbon its best to go by metro, by bus or on foot! Most things are possible on foot only if you want to visit places outside the center you have to use public transport. It's also very easy to go outside of Lisbon, for example if you want to go to Sintra or Estoril. Public transportation is very good there. Best way to go there is by train (its the fastest and cheapest way) Don't use a car in Lisbon! You'll hate it - the traffic is extrem.
Lisbon has a small modern airport, with all the facilities. Almost all European destinations, and some to the Caribean.
Taxis are extremely cheap by most standards. A journey from the airport to the centre of Lisbon takes 15-20 mins when the traffic is not busy and only costs 1000-1500 Esc ($4-7)The train is not very popular in Lisbon but one service worth a mention is the line which runs from the centre of Lisbon to Estoril where you can spend time on its beaches! There is also a service travelling up to Porto in the north of Portugal but I would recommend flying instead since it is only 45 mins in the air.
The metro is a very quick, fast, clean service which only costs 100 esc per journey (less than 50 $c!) Do remember to stamp your ticket before you board like on the French and Dutch metro.
When you are at the airport get a taxi voucher at the tourist desk.
What the voucher enables you to do is pay for the taxi in advance on you credit card so when the taxi takes you to your hotel the driver can not rip you off.
It is also good because you do not have to exchange your money at the airport. I like to exchange my cash at a bank (better exchange rate).
GET A LISBOA CARD !!!
you can pick them up at the airport or at the tourist info stands in town.
24h. 48h. 72h. cards. These card cover all your mass transit (metro-trams-buses-trains) not taxis
This card can get you into most tourist spots for FREE or at a discounted price.
I got a 72h. card for about $20.00+ USD.
The card pays for itself, it is worth every penny.
We flew to Porto originally and drove down to Lisbon. I used Lisbon Airport quite a lot and the taxi fare one way to the centrum should be no more than 1500esc (5 pounds). I personally never had trouble with the fares, only with the speed of the ride. There is one trick though as at the airport the taxi driver will jump out of the car and open the boot for your luggage even if it only a small bag. This is because he can charge 300esc for anything carried in the boot.
I stayed almost exclusively on the metro. You buy 10 tickets for the price of 8 (850esc). The tickets are single use meaning you can go 1 stop or change lines and go twenty stops, it's all on 1 ticket. Just remember to stamp it before you go down the stairs to the platform as inspectors are around especially on the EXPO line. There is an extensive bus service but, I never used it. Buying a ticket at the train station was a bit difficult. If you speak French it's an advantage. I was warned off trying to speak Spanish as some of the locals would be offended.
Many of the attractions are accessible by tram. A metro ticket will not be accepted on a tram as it is operated by another company CARRIS however, if you think you will be travelling a lot over two or three days, it's worth buying a LISBOA CARD (24hours or 72hours). You can use it on all public transport except trains and provides free or discounted access to many attractions. There are strategically located trolley cars on some hills. Two of them are near Restauradores, one goes up to the Castle and the other goes up to the Belvedere (viewing area) on the other side. The Lisboa Card is now being taken in over 200 shops to get a discount.