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.
If you're visiting the city and want to travel around the tourist circuit easily, but without a guided bus tour, I would recommend taking trams (eléctricos) #15 or 28. These antique style trams run circuits around the city and make it easy on the legs if you don't feel like trekking the hills.
Tram 28 is special.
Crossing most of the old town, you may enter it at Chiado and it takes you westbound to Sta Catarina (sightseeing), S. Bento (Parliament and PM residence), and Estrela (Church); eastbound to Praca do Comercio (descend at R. Vitor Cordon), the Cathedral, Santa Luzia (sightseeing, and best place to start Alfama visit), the castle of S. Jorge (exit at Lg. Portas do Sol), S. Vicente (church, national pantheon, and flea market two times a week), and Graca (church).
Beware of pickpockets
There are still 4 tram lines operating through the narrow streets of Lisbon (in the old times they were dozens) .
# 15 - from the heart of the town, Praça da Figueira, stretching along the river serving Alcântara (Docas) and Belém area going until the outskirts of the city - Algés (from 5am – 1 am)
# 18 - from the heart of the town, Praça do Comércio, stretching along the river serving Alcântara (Docas) then going up to Santo Amaro and Ajuda (serving Ajuda Palace) (from 6am – 8 pm)
# 25 - from the heart of the town, Praça do Comércio, stretching along the river serving Alcântara (Docas) and Santos then going up to Estrela and Campo de Ourique -Prazeres (from 6:30am – 8:30 pm, not saturdays)
# 28 – the most appealing for tourists as it crosses several of the interesting tourist points: departs from the heart of the town, Praça do Martim Moniz, right up through the jumble of streets towards the heights of Graça, Largo das Portas do Sol (belvedere), and the castle area. Then starts to going down to the cathedral crosses the Baixa and go up again to Chiado area. Then proceeds to the parliament area and from there to Estrela and Campo de Ourique -Prazeres (from 6am – 11:30 pm)
To get on the trams use only the front door and validate your 7 Hills or ZAPPING card at the little yellow machine behind the driver. If you don’t have a valid ticket you can buy it directly from the driver (which will cost you much more). To stop the tram you have to press the button before.
Beware of pickpockets as they know that this will be full of potential targets.
The public transportation in Lisbon consists of trams, buses and funiculars which are operated by the company Carris. Apart from that Lisbon has an extensive metro network.
The most unique way to explore Lisbon is by its yellow traditional trams. Tram #28 is probably Lisbon's greatest ride as it runs through the narrowest and steepest streets of the Alfama district.
Line #15 is mostly served by new superfast trams. This line runs near the waterfront to places like Alcantara, Belem and Alges.
The single on-board fare is 1,20 Euro (2006), but of course other ticket types are available at kiosks as well. Please read my "Explore Lisbon by bus" and "Explore Lisbon by metro" for more information about the public transportation and the fares.
Although you may not get a chance to ride on of these segways, excellent public transport makes getting around Lisbon a breeze. The city centre is small enough to walk between many sights, but the steep hills can play havoc with the legs which is when the trams and elevadores really come into their own. They may not be the speediest method of getting around, but they do cope with the hills and narrow, twisting streets very well. They're also a lot of fun.
As well as the trams and elevadores, an efficient Metro system and extensive bus network means there's really nowhere you can't get to by public transport. It's also very good value.
We bought a 3 day Bilhete Turtistico (available for other durations) at our local metro station and good for use on the metro, trams, elevadores and buses. They cost 11 euro each and, especially as we were staying a short metro ride out of the centre, we really got our money's worth out of them. Remember to tag on when you go through the barrier or get on the tram or bus.
The metro runs from 0630-0100. Trams and buses stop running at midnight and the elevadores at 2100.
If lots of museum visiting on your itinerary, the Cartão Lisboa will give you all the public transport options and either free or discounted entry to most museums. It's available as a 1,2 and 3 day option. Buy it at any tourist information office.
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...
Well I didn’t take the tram, but it seems an excellent way to visit lots of beautiful places in Lisbon. The tram 28 is the main tourist attraction, it reaches the Castle of St George and others points of interest in Lisbon, offering amazing views of the city and out over the River Tagus (rio Tejo).
You can take it at Campo Ourique–Martim Moniz .
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.
There are two trams that I consider useful in Lisbon: tram 28 is the one I missed. It zigs-zags through the Alfama district and it follows a very panoramic route through narow lanes and past great churches and monuments. However I love walking rather than being driven arouns - I walked along ts lines often. Tram 15 is a much more modern tram and it's the one which takes you to the district of Belem, which is definitely too long a walk, and too unattractive. It's best to use the tram and save your energy for exploring the area's many monuments and attractions
If you want to reach St.George Castle the best way to do do it ,is to take the tram.Old tramways sneaking on the narrow streets.Everybody inside the tram are like acquaintances: impressions changed between the pasengers and the people on the street, establishing appointments.Old charming peoples always ready to guide you.
From time to time the tram stops and the driver removes the car`s mirrors ,so that the tram can continue its road.I found that so funny!
If you're staying in Estoril, getting into proper Lisbon is easy: take the electric train from Estoril station all the way to Cais do Sodre, the last stop which puts you right into central Lisbon. From here it's an easy 5-10 minute walk following the main street from Cais do Sodre to the Praca do Comercio (also referred to as Tereiro do Paco), enter thru the massive triumphal arch on Rua Augusta which is the pedestrianized aspect of this part of the shopping district of Lisbon. Two or three blocks into the center of the city on a street (sorry can't remember the street name off hand) traversing Rua Agusta, you'll find several stops on your right for Tram 28 which will take you up to the Alfama district. Just asks around and you'll find it in no time.
The Alfama is a short walk actually from Rua Agusta. I'd just walk it if I were you, far more interesting and fun doing this stopping by several wonderful churches (the Se catedral and Igreja de Santo Antonio 'St. Anthony's church') as well as quaint little shops and antique stores) - this way you avoid the usually interminable long wait for Tram 28 to come around and then also almost always usually packed already to the gills where as other VT members have previously suggested is where and when the danger of pickpocket does tend to occur. I've never had any problems as far as being victimized in all the many many years I've visited Lisbon but it's sometimes a matter of bad luck, I suppose. Be forever cautious would be a good rule and do make sure to sling your pocketbook over and across your chest making sure your pocketbook is at your front always; better yet, remove your wallet from your pocketbook or backpocket and into the safer front pocket.
Happy trails and enjoy fantastic Lisbon.
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.
Tram 28 is the most famous of all Lisbon trams. Probably because it’s the most picturesque one. It goes all around from Campo Ourique to Martin Moniz passing by districts like Estrela, Chiado, Alfama, … It’s nice to do the whole ride once to see Lisbon life go by. But this is not the fastest way to go somewhere. You’ll see all along the way, cars tend to mistake tram lines for parking spots, so every now and then you have to wait until the car driver moves before continueing.
A ticket costs 1,10 euro. The Lisboa card (see general tips) is not valid for this tram.
Be careful: this is not a hop on/hop off service, so if you get off at a stop, you have to pay again to board!