Tram Electrico, Lisbon
An easy way to explore Lisbon is to take tram 28. It passes all highlights of the city, besides it brings you where other cars can't come. The narrow streets in Alfama are a must to travel with this tram. It drives from Basílica da Estrala to Graça.
Tram no 28 is the one most popular with tourists. Not only does it go to the Barrio Alto in the west, but runs past the cathedral and the castle to the east. There are up to ten trams an hour in each direction, so you won’t have to wait long, but even in early October they were pretty crowded, so you might have trouble squeezing on. It is well worth taking the round trip from one end of the line to the other to get your bearings, and a feel for the different areas.
Do note that at the end of the line, you will have to get off the tram, even if you are returning straight away. You then walk a few yards forward to the stop, queue up, and then get on again. One of my pictures shows the terminus at Campo Ourique.
Lisbon used to have a wide tram network, but now has trams running on only five routes, nos 12, 15, 18, 25 & 28. There are 10 modern articulated trams and 40 of the older, traditional trams, as well as 8 light trams. The two most useful routes for tourists are route 15, out to Belem, and the renown Route 28 which runs from Campo Ourique in the west through the Barrio Alto and the city centre, and up past the Se and Castelo San Jorge to Graca.
Route 15 is operated by modern, articulated trams, and runs for part of its route along dedicated lines alongside the main road and railway heading west. There is a stop right outside the Monsteiro dos Jeronimos, a journey of some 25 minutes from the centre of the city.
Route 28 is operated by the original, small, four-wheeled trams, and follows a twisting route up and down hills – but more of that in another tip.
The trams are operated by Carris, and for more information see their very informative website.
This tram will take you on Estrela hill. Then it will head for Alfama, Baixa, Barrio Alto and Chiado.
It is like a touristic bus, but it is cheaper; in fact you only need an ordinary ticket to have a ride on it.
Take Tram no 28 to see most of the city. Tram will take you up to Alfama district, you will see most of the city in a joyfull ride. Sometimes it can be a littlle crowded but it is someting you should not miss in Lisbon.
Buy a ticket on it/or buy a day pass for Lisbon/or buy a 3 day pass for 10 Euros/ buy watever it takes, but get on this tram and sit through its journey through the old city, from start to finish. twice over if you want, twenty times over, like i did, because here you see the old Lisbon lifestyle go by, you can play voyeur and travel under clothes overhanging the streets, from windows that look into warm kitchens that bring a portugese families together. Here the tram takes you through the narrowest, steepest alleys all the way upto the Castle overlooking the city.
For cheap fun catch the Tram 28 from centre of town up to the top of Alfama (where the castle is) and back. It's like being a on ghost train in a fair, it rattles along sometimes at death defying speeds so close to the walls you could crab something from peoples houses! Tourists of foot have to jump out of the way and suck their stomachs in on the pavement when it goes past- not kidding!
It goes all the way to the western suburbs of the city but we caught it from Rua de Sao Juliao in the Baixa, 3 streets up from Praca do Comercio.
It goes past the "Se" church, past the "Miradoure de Santa Lucia" view point (great views towards the river), past the "Sao Vicente de Fora" church (where you can hop off and follow the signs for the "Feira da Ladra" street market (Tuesday mornings and Saturdays 7-13.00) and all the way to the top.
They'll chuck you out, but all you have to do is walk about 20 meters to other side of the square and hop on again for a journey down the hill.
Great fun! It's part of the Carris network so best thing to do is to buy a "7 Colinas" travelcard (from any Metro station) which is valid on the Metro, Carris buses and the Carris trams. One day's unlimited travel is 3.30 Euro (November 2006)
Please note: It's not valid on the white buses which are operated by another firm. Carris buses and trams are yellow.
More info on the tickets:
The old yellow trams are propably one of most representative things of the city.
I would recomend to take nº 28 tram in downtown and go to Cidade Baixa. Then come back walking around the narrow streets.
A traditional public transport in Lisbon is the tram. Originally introduced in the 19th century, the trams were originally imported from the U.S. and called americanos.
Bus, funicular and tram services have been supplied by the Companhia de Carris de Ferro de Lisboa (Carris), for over a century.
All around the city & beyond it too, you will see the familiar yellow trams & the tram lines on & above the ground. Inexpensive & fairly efficient (we generally waited much longer than the stated 10 minutes though - then 3 came together like the proverbial London bus!)
All the tips & guide books tell you to take the #28 tram to enjoy a complete round trip of the city! Unfortunately, the tram we were on just for this purpose suddenly stopped, seemingly miles from the city centre & the driver got up & promptly told the tram full of people that that was the end of the journey! Everyone begrudgingly got off only to witness it continue on it's way 5 minutes later while we all patiently waited for a bus 50 yards away!!
Good fun though, & it has to be done!!
Wherever you are staying in Lisbon, on your first day, find the nearest Electrico 28 tram stop. Hop onto it, either direction, it doesn't matter. Then do the whole route, back and forth, once. Then, you'll understand how the neighborhoods connect. It helps to have a "Lisbon Card" or a Day's Pass, so that you can hop on and off, sometimes just for one or two stops. Electrico #28 will spare you a lot of climbing up and down hills, and it is absolutely delightful. I didn't see pickpockets, but I saw warning signs everywhere...
One of my favourite things about Lisbon was the cute trams & elevadors (like a funicular but cuter).
There are 4 elevadors in the city that just basically transport you up steep hills. They are ideal for ensuring you don't get too tired when you are on a hectic site-seeing schedule. And they are really adorable. You can't help but smile when you first see Elevador da Gloria.
Elevador da Lavra, which travels up to the Torel district, was opened in 1884. It was actually the worlds first funicular and was amazingly originally powered by water!
The trams whiz all over the city. Some of them, like the faux tourist tram No.28, consist of just one small carriage that clanks up and down the hills. Others, such as the No.15 that travels down the river to Belem, are long, modern trams with electronic signs advising the name of the nest stop etc.
Of course the old little ones are the most fun, make sure you ride one during your visit....and hold on!
A single trip is around 1.20 euro (you can pay the driver), but if you purchase a day travel card (valid on all transport) you can just jump on and off when you like - just hold the card against the 'reader' and take a seat.
Bus and tram tickets cost 1,20 Euro if bought on the bus. However, you can get them almost at half price (1,40 Euro for 2) if you manage to buy them in advance, from one of the few points in Lisbon where they are available, such as E28 stop in Estrela, where the tram makes the turn.
Combined and tourist tickets are available and useful for those who use transpotrs a lot. If you'd rather walk, just make sure you have a few tickets in your pocket for emergency cases and enjoy Lisbon as much as you can.
It is best to explore Lisbon on foot and to take the metro/subway to the attractions out of the center such as the Gulbenkian Museum. But a good way to get to the old quarters faster without having to climb the hills is by taking an old tram. They remain the best way to go up the hills, and Lisbon just wouldn't be the same without them and their sounds. Take tram #15 to the Belem district, and ride #28 through Alfama.
Lisbon is built on 7 hills: do not think in walking up and down if you are not an olimpic medal! Better to use either metro or bus or electrico. I would prefer electrico because you see everything from it. There are trams ("electrios" in portuguese) going everywhere.