Like the trams, the funiculars of Lisbon are a must see in themselves. There are tree in the city: Bica, Gloria and Lavra. These sloping trams will drag you up the steepest of Lisbon's embankments to some of its higher districts, like Bairro Alto. They are slow, often cramped, and with long queues even in the evening, but you will probably want to take them rather than getting one of the boring buses. The one pictured here is the Gloria Funicular that leaves from Restauradores to Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara in Bairro Alto.
One of the most overlooked transport options in Lisbon is the well hidden lift up to the castle. Most people seem to either walk the steep hill or take the overcrowded Tram 28, but there's another way - and it's completely free. It also drops you off at one of the best views in the city. The lift is hidden at the back of the building that hosts the big Pingo Doce hypermarket.
The Elevador St. Justa is a public transportation elevator. There are two cabins capable to transport 20 people each from the Santa Justa Street 45 upwards to the Carmo Square at Bairro Alto. Unlike the two other funiculars type elevadores, the St. Justa is a real vertical travelling means of transportation.
On top of the elevator there is a lookoff terrace that can be reached by two helicoidal staircases.
Since February 2, 2002, at its 100 year anniversary the elevator became a National Monument.
This iron elevator has been built in the 19th century to connect the Baixa area with the higher located Barrio Alto district. This peculiar elevator is one of the most popular attractions in the centre of the city. The elevator was built by Raoul Mesnier du Ponsard, a student of Gustave Eiffel. If you want to have a ride, prepare for a queue, infact not so many people can enter together and it is not so fast. I took it to go to the Camoes convent which is just a fe steps away from the exit in Barrio Alto. Price is 5€ for a return ticket and you can pay with Viva Viagem card or cash when you enter.
5€ dalle 7 alle 22 Rua de Santa Justa, Baixa
Metro Stop Rossio
There are four elevators operating in Lisbon :
Santa Justa is the best known, a vertical elevator built upon Eiffell's plans, and linking the street with its name to Chiado. Is a touristy "must see" and useful to use.
Operating time 7 AM to 9 PM in winter,7 AM (9 Am on Sunday and holidays) to 11 PM in summer
Glória is a special tram linking Restauradores to Bairro Alto, also very useful to locals and tourists.
Operating time 7 AM (8 AM on Sunday) to 12 PM (4.30 AM on Friday and Saturday)
Lavra is also a special tram, linking Largo da Anunciada to R. Câmara Pestana, "out of the beaten path".
Bica is technically identical, but linking a high place to a higher one, in the steepest hill of Lisbon. It starts in Bica, near Chiado, and goes up to S. Paulo.
Operating time 7 AM (9 AM on Sunday and holidays) to 9 PM
Since August 2013 there is a 5th elevator in Lisbon. This one is FREE (so far) and links Rua dos Fanqueiros (building number 170-178) to the castle. Interesting solution, that I didn't try... yet!
One of the means of transport in this hilly city are the "Elevators," which have been bringing passengers up and down hills with ease since 1885. Other than the Elevador de Santa Justa (which actually is an elevator), these vehicles are actually funiculars, which look very much like trams, only on a steep slope. The one we used was the Elevador da Gloria, which brought us from our hotel in the Bairro Alto down to Restauradores Square. Minifrosch pitched in immediately, inspecting the funicular's braking system and making sure the bell worked.
The various travel cards (including the Viva Viagem Card) are valid on the elevators. If you don't have a travel card, you can buy a ticket from the driver for a slightly higher fare.
It's easy to forget that Lisbon's 4 funicular elevadores, plus the wonderfully ornate cast-iron Santa Justa elevator (1902), were initially put in place for purely pragmatic reasons...to help residents get around their city...and still fulfil this function. They may be hugely popular with visitors, including me, but the fact that they run from the very early morning until late at night (after midnight on Fridays and Saturdays) tells you that they are still well-used (and presumably needed) by locals.
On my first visit I was astonished by how close to houses, front doors and windows the elevadores pass, let alone how near to the pedestrians walking up and down the steps which run alongside. I can absolutely see why they still need drivers (though I think it must be a rather boring job)...even if the technology didn't need human input avoiding random dogs, children, drunks and tourists-taking-photos certainly does!
I've ridden all the elevadores now except the Santa Justa lift. I don't like lifts, not even beautifully ornate cast-iron ones!.
Da Bica (climbs 200m built 1892) goes from near the Ribeira indoor market up to Bairro Alto, with some superb views over the water on the way.
Da Gloria (265m, built 1885) is a shorter run, from Placa Restauradores up to Bairro Alto and terminating by Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara, a shady 'park' (mostly stone and concrete) with wonderful views across the city and a very pleasant refreshment booth with deckchairs.
Do Lavra (188m and the oldest, dating from 1884) takes you from Largo da Anunciada, near Restauradores, up to Travessa do Torel. Walking down from here to Largo Martim Moniz takes you through a warren of steep streets, with tiny shops, even tinier eating-places and a great deal of washing hanging out to dry.
Regardless of the exterior graffiti, all of the elevadores are beautiful inside with their glossy wooden interiors and slippery bench seats. Although powered by electricity, rather than their original water-power, an elevadore ride is definitely evocative of times past.
A return ticket for any elevador cost 3.60 euro in April 2014, but a 6 euro dayticket will allow you to try them all out much more cheaply. All are within reasonable walking distance of each other and easy to find during a day spent exploring the heart of the city.
..........and use it to the full. Go up (or down) all the elevadores, take the Santa Justa 'ascensor' (lift), ride tram 28 from terminus to terminus, take tram 12 around Alfama, use tram 15 to go to and from Belem...all brilliant fun.
You can buy a day ticket from Metro stations and from various agents (showing the 'Mob' sticker), and use it for trams, buses, Metro and elevadores. For 6 euro plus 50 cents for the re-chargeable card (April 2014) it's still a real bargain.
You can just pay the elevadore or bus driver, but that will work out more expensive of course. Elevadores charge 3.60 for a return trip.
On my first visit I really enjoyed the elevadores. I hadn't realised that they ran through 'ordinary' streets with pedestrians and children and dogs and just a few inches from front doorways. The same applies to the trams, especially when travelling through Alfama. And I did see some near-misses by trams and elevadores on both visits.
Using the elevadores and trams really is an absolute 'must' for Lisbon...you'll see such a lot more of the city.... although unfortunately they are not easily accessible for those with mobility difficulties.
The second funicular is "Bica" in Lisbon and the departure is from a basement of a building in commercial district if you have a carefull eye you can find this place.Otherwise impossible to ride this avesome transport unit.
The quick way to get up to the Carmo church and surrounding area. Worth the trip just to ride on this unusual mode of transport. Good views over the city from the top as you'd expect!
Day tickets on the transport system are valid here.
At April 19, 1884 the Elevador de Lavra started. The mix of tram and elevator travels along a narrow and steep (almost 30 degrees of inclination at one point) track to take its passengers to an altitude of 188 meters.
The Elevador became a National Monument in 2002, but the service was stopped at February 17, 2009 because of a dangerous situation along the route.
At October 24, 1885 the Elevador da Glória started. The mix of tram and elevator travels along a narrow and steep track from Baixa (Praça dos Restauradores) to Bairro Alto (Jardim / Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara).
Mo-Fr: 7AM - Midnight
Sa: 7AM - 4.30AM
Su: 8AM - Midnight