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How To Get Around Lisbon


by Jacquie Pace



Welcome to Lisbon, the vibrant capital city of Portugal! With its rich history, stunning architecture, and breathtaking views, Lisbon is a top destination for travelers from around the world. As you embark on your journey to explore this enchanting city, it’s essential to have a good understanding of the various modes of transportation available to navigate its many attractions. From the efficient metro system to historic trams, buses, ferries, and even bikes, there are plenty of options to choose from to get around Lisbon.


Understanding the public transportation system in Lisbon is key to maximizing your time and experiences in the city. Not only will it help you save time and money, but it will also allow you to immerse yourself in the local culture and explore lesser-known spots. Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or a first-time visitor, this comprehensive guide will provide you with the necessary information to make the most of your transportation options in Lisbon.


In this guide, we’ll take a closer look at the metro, buses, trams, ferries, bikes, taxis, rideshares, and walking as means of transportation in Lisbon. We’ll discuss how to navigate the metro system efficiently, which bus and tram lines to take to reach popular landmarks, and how to experience the city’s stunning waterfront views by ferry. We’ll also delve into the option of exploring Lisbon by bike, walking and sightseeing, and renting a car for those who want the flexibility to venture beyond the city limits.


Additionally, we’ll provide insights into taking day trips from Lisbon, as the capital serves as a gateway to many other fascinating destinations in Portugal. From the historic town of Sintra to the picturesque coastal town of Cascais, there are numerous opportunities for exploration just a short distance away.


By the end of this guide, you’ll have a comprehensive understanding of the various transportation options available in Lisbon, allowing you to make informed decisions and create memorable experiences during your visit. So, let’s dive in and discover the best ways to get around Lisbon!


Understanding the Public Transportation System

Before you start exploring Lisbon, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the city’s public transportation system. The public transportation network in Lisbon is well-developed, efficient, and affordable, making it an excellent choice for getting around the city and its surrounding areas.


The main modes of public transportation in Lisbon include the metro, buses, trams, and ferries. Each mode has its own advantages and is suited for different types of journeys.


The metro system in Lisbon is clean, reliable, and easy to navigate. It covers the main areas of the city, including popular tourist spots. The metro consists of four lines – blue, yellow, green, and red – which connect key areas, such as the city center, airport, and major train stations. It operates from 6:30 am to 1 am and offers a convenient way to travel quickly and efficiently around the city.


In addition to the metro, Lisbon’s bus network is extensive and covers areas not served by the metro. Buses are a great option for reaching destinations not easily accessible by other modes of transport. The buses are comfortable and provide a scenic way to explore the city. Most bus routes operate from 6:30 am to 12 am, and night buses are available for late-night travel.


If you’re looking for a nostalgic and charming way to travel through Lisbon, hopping on one of the historic trams is a must. Trams in Lisbon are a symbol of the city and offer a unique experience. Tram 28 is particularly popular among tourists as it takes you on a picturesque route through the old neighborhoods of Lisbon. It’s advisable to hop on early in the morning to avoid the crowds.


For a different perspective of Lisbon, consider taking a ferry ride along the Tagus River. The ferry network is extensive, connecting Lisbon to other areas such as Cacilhas, Seixal, and Montijo. This is an excellent way to enjoy the beautiful waterfront views and explore neighboring towns.


To use the public transportation system in Lisbon, you’ll need a reusable card called the “Viva Viagem” card. This card can be purchased at metro stations, and you can top it up with single or multiple trips. Some tickets even include unlimited travel for a specific duration. Remember to tap your card on the validators at the beginning and end of your journey.


Now that you have an understanding of the public transportation system in Lisbon, you’re ready to dive into the details of each mode of transport to enhance your exploration of the city. In the following sections, we’ll guide you on how to navigate the metro, take buses and trams, ride the ferries, and even explore Lisbon by bike.


Navigating the Metro

The metro system in Lisbon is a reliable and efficient way to get around the city. It covers a wide area, including the city center, major attractions, and even extends to the outskirts of Lisbon. Navigating the metro is relatively straightforward, even for first-time visitors.


The Lisbon metro consists of four lines: blue, yellow, green, and red. Each line has its own specific route and connects different parts of the city. The stations are well-signposted, making it easy to find your way.


To use the metro, you’ll need to purchase a “Viva Viagem” card, a reusable smart card that can be loaded with single or multiple trips. The card itself costs a small fee, and you can top it up with trips or a 24-hour unlimited travel pass. You can purchase and top up the card at any metro station ticket machine or ticket office.


Once you have your card, you’ll need to validate it at the entrance gates by tapping it on the card reader. Make sure to keep your card with you during your journey, as you may need it to exit the metro station at your destination.


Inside the metro stations, there are clear signs indicating the direction and platform for each line. Pay attention to the line color and name as you navigate the station. Trains usually arrive every few minutes, but during peak hours, there may be a slightly longer wait time.


When the train arrives, allow passengers to exit before boarding. The trains are spacious, clean, and well-maintained, offering a comfortable ride. There are also designated areas for passengers with reduced mobility or those traveling with strollers.


As you travel on the metro, pay attention to the station announcements and electronic displays, which indicate the next station. Many stations also have digital maps displaying the entire metro network, which can be useful for planning your journey.


If you’re unsure about which stop to get off at, don’t hesitate to ask fellow passengers or metro staff for assistance. Most people in Lisbon are friendly and willing to help.


The metro operates from 6:30 am to 1 am, with trains running less frequently late at night. If you plan to stay out past midnight, be sure to check the last train times to avoid being stranded. Alternatively, you can opt for other modes of transportation, such as buses or taxis, for late-night travel.


Navigating the metro in Lisbon is not only convenient but also a great way to experience the city like a local. It allows you to reach popular attractions quickly and efficiently, saving you time and energy to explore Lisbon’s many wonders.


In the next sections, we’ll dive into how to take buses and trams in Lisbon, ride the ferries, explore the city by bike and use taxis and rideshares to get around.


Taking Buses and Trams

When it comes to exploring Lisbon, buses and trams are an excellent way to navigate the city’s streets and discover its hidden gems. Both options offer a unique perspective and allow you to soak in the vibrant atmosphere of the city.


Lisbon’s bus network is extensive and covers areas that are not served by the metro. There are several bus routes that operate throughout the city, connecting various neighborhoods and landmarks. Buses in Lisbon are identified by their numbers and can be easily recognized at their designated stops. You can find bus stops throughout the city, marked by signs displaying the bus numbers and destinations.


To board a bus, wait at the bus stop and wave to the driver as the bus approaches. Make sure to have your “Viva Viagem” card or a valid ticket ready to validate upon boarding. The bus drivers in Lisbon are known for their friendliness and are often willing to provide assistance if you’re unsure about your destination or the right bus to take.


Trams, on the other hand, offer a nostalgic and picturesque way to explore Lisbon. The historic trams are an iconic symbol of the city and provide a unique experience that takes you back in time. Tram 28, in particular, is a popular choice among tourists as it winds its way through the charming neighborhoods of Lisbon, passing by major landmarks such as Alfama and Graça.


To ride the trams, you’ll need to have a valid “Viva Viagem” card or purchase a ticket from the ticket office or a nearby kiosk. Keep in mind that Tram 28 can get crowded, especially during peak tourist seasons. If you want to avoid the crowds, consider taking the tram early in the morning or later in the evening.


Both buses and trams in Lisbon operate from early morning until midnight, with some night buses available for late-night travel. It’s always a good idea to check the schedules and frequency of the buses or trams you plan to take to avoid any inconvenience.


Whether you choose to explore Lisbon by bus or tram, these modes of transportation offer a convenient way to reach different areas of the city and enjoy the scenic views along the way. They also allow you to immerse yourself in the local culture and observe the daily life of Lisboetas.


In the next section, we’ll explore another mode of transportation that offers breathtaking views and a unique waterfront experience – riding the ferries in Lisbon.


Riding the Ferries

One of the best ways to experience Lisbon’s stunning waterfront and enjoy scenic views of the city is by riding the ferries. Lisbon’s ferry network connects the city to various destinations along the Tagus River, offering a unique and refreshing mode of transportation.


The ferries in Lisbon provide both a practical transportation option and an enjoyable sightseeing experience. They operate regularly and are a great way to explore neighboring towns and areas that are not easily accessible by other modes of transport.


The ferry routes in Lisbon cover destinations such as Cacilhas, Seixal, and Montijo, allowing you to venture beyond the city center and discover different landscapes and local cultures. Cacilhas, in particular, is a popular choice among tourists as it offers stunning views of Lisbon’s skyline and is home to numerous seafood restaurants.


To ride the ferries, you can use your “Viva Viagem” card, just like you would for the metro and buses. This reusable card can be topped up with single or multiple trips, depending on your needs. The fare for the ferry varies depending on the distance traveled, but it is generally affordable.


Once on board the ferry, find a comfortable spot and settle in for the ride. The ferries are spacious, and many have outdoor areas where you can enjoy the fresh air and take in the breathtaking views of Lisbon’s landmarks along the waterfront.


During the ride, you’ll have the opportunity to see iconic sights such as the Belém Tower, the 25th of April Bridge, and the Christ the King statue from a unique perspective. The slower pace of the ferry allows you to appreciate the beauty of these landmarks and capture memorable photos.


Whether you’re using the ferries for practical transportation or seeking a leisurely excursion, riding the ferries in Lisbon offers a wonderful way to enjoy the city’s maritime charm. Make sure to check the schedules and plan your ferry trips accordingly to optimize your time and experience.


Next, we’ll explore an active and eco-friendly way to get around Lisbon – biking through the city’s streets and parks.


Exploring Lisbon by Bike

If you’re looking for an active and eco-friendly way to explore Lisbon, biking is a fantastic option. Lisbon’s bike-friendly infrastructure and the city’s relatively flat terrain make it an ideal destination for cycling enthusiasts and casual riders alike.


There are several options for renting bikes in Lisbon, whether you prefer traditional bicycles or electric bikes for an easier ride. Many bike rental shops are available throughout the city, particularly in popular tourist areas. You can rent a bike for a few hours or a full day, depending on your preference.


The city of Lisbon has made efforts to improve cycling infrastructure, with dedicated bike lanes and paths in various areas. These designated lanes make biking in the city safer and more enjoyable, allowing you to navigate through Lisbon’s streets with ease.


One of the highlights of biking in Lisbon is the opportunity to explore beautiful parks and green spaces. The Parque das Nações, for example, offers a lovely cycling route along the waterfront, with stunning views of the Tagus River and modern architecture. You can also ride through the Edward VII Park, a lush green space in the heart of the city that provides a peaceful escape from the bustling streets.


When biking in Lisbon, it’s important to follow traffic rules and ride defensively. Be mindful of pedestrians, especially in busy areas, and always use hand signals to indicate your intentions. While Lisbon is generally a bike-friendly city, it’s essential to remain vigilant and aware of your surroundings.


Biking in Lisbon allows you the flexibility to explore at your own pace and discover hidden corners of the city that may be missed by other modes of transportation. You can easily reach popular attractions like Belém Tower, Alfama, or the charming neighborhood of Bairro Alto.


Be sure to bring along a water bottle, sunscreen, and a map or GPS to navigate the city. Remember to lock your bike securely when making stops, especially in crowded areas or when leaving it unattended for an extended period.


Exploring Lisbon by bike offers a unique and invigorating experience, allowing you to connect with the city while staying active and eco-conscious. So, grab a bike, put on your helmet, and pedal your way through the charming streets and scenic landscapes of Lisbon.


Next, we’ll explore other transportation options, such as taxis and rideshares, for convenient and accessible travel in Lisbon.


Using Taxis and Rideshares

Taxis and rideshares are convenient and efficient options for getting around Lisbon, especially when you’re looking for a quick and hassle-free way to reach your destination. Both taxis and rideshares provide a door-to-door service, making them a popular choice for travelers.


In Lisbon, taxis are readily available and can be hailed on the street or found at designated taxi ranks throughout the city. The taxis are typically white or beige in color and have a green roof light that indicates their availability. You can also book a taxi through a phone app or by calling a local taxi company.


When using a taxi, it’s important to ensure that the taxi meter is on and running from the beginning of your journey. The fare is calculated based on distance and time traveled. While most taxi drivers in Lisbon are honest and reliable, it’s always a good practice to keep an eye on the meter and ask for a receipt at the end of your trip.


Rideshare services like Uber and Bolt are also available in Lisbon. These services provide a convenient and often more cost-effective alternative to traditional taxis. Simply download the app, register, and request a ride to your desired location. The app will display the estimated fare, driver details, and expected arrival time.


Using rideshares in Lisbon offers added benefits such as cashless transactions, tracking the driver’s location, and receiving upfront pricing information. It’s worth noting that rideshare services are especially useful in areas where it may be more challenging to hail a traditional taxi.


Both taxis and rideshares are regulated in Lisbon, ensuring that drivers are licensed and vehicles meet safety standards. It’s always a good idea to double-check the license and identification of the driver before getting into the vehicle for your safety and peace of mind.


Taxis and rideshares are particularly useful for late-night transportation or if you’re carrying heavy luggage or shopping bags. They offer a convenient option to get to and from the airport, and they can also be a time-saving solution when you’re short on time or have a tight schedule.


Now that you’re familiar with using taxis and rideshares in Lisbon, you have even more options to choose from when planning your journeys around the city. From the flexibility and convenience of taxis to the ease and affordability of rideshares, these services can enhance your overall transportation experience in Lisbon.


Next, we’ll explore another enjoyable and budget-friendly way to get around the city – walking and sightseeing on foot.


Walking and Sightseeing

Walking is not only a budget-friendly option but also a fantastic way to truly immerse yourself in the beauty and charm of Lisbon. The city’s compact size and pedestrian-friendly streets make it an ideal destination for exploring on foot.


Lisbon’s historic neighborhoods, such as Alfama, Baixa, and Chiado, are filled with narrow streets, colorful buildings, and hidden alleys waiting to be discovered. By walking through these neighborhoods, you can admire the unique architecture, stumble upon quaint cafes, and soak in the local atmosphere.


One of the highlights of exploring Lisbon on foot is the chance to stumble upon surprising viewpoints known as “miradouros.” These panoramic viewpoints offer breathtaking views of the city, the Tagus River, and the surrounding hills. Miradouro da Graça, Miradouro da Senhora do Monte, and Miradouro de Santa Catarina are just a few examples of the many viewpoints worth exploring.


As you navigate Lisbon’s streets, be prepared for some uphill and downhill walking, especially in the hilly neighborhoods like Alfama. Comfortable shoes and a bottle of water are recommended, especially during the warmer months.


Consider joining a guided walking tour to gain deeper insights into Lisbon’s history, culture, and architecture. These tours are led by experienced guides who can share fascinating stories and insider knowledge about the city’s landmarks and hidden gems.


Sightseeing by foot allows you to discover significant landmarks such as the stunning Belém Tower, the grandeur of the Jerónimos Monastery, and the vibrant streets of Rossio Square. You can take your time to admire the intricate details of the buildings, stop for a coffee or a pastel de nata (a traditional Portuguese custard tart), and truly appreciate the beauty of Lisbon.


While walking and sightseeing in Lisbon, it’s essential to keep an eye on your belongings and be cautious in busy areas, as pickpocketing can occur in crowded tourist spots. Avoid displaying expensive jewelry or carrying large amounts of cash with you.


Aside from the main attractions, be sure to make time for exploring the lesser-known streets and neighborhoods. These hidden corners often reveal the true essence and local charm of Lisbon.


By experiencing Lisbon on foot, you have the freedom and flexibility to create your own itinerary and discover the little details that make the city special. So put on your walking shoes, grab a map or use a GPS application on your phone, and get ready to embark on a memorable journey through the streets of Lisbon.


Next, we’ll explore the option of renting a car for those who desire more independence and want to venture beyond the city limits.


Renting a Car

If you’re looking to explore beyond the city of Lisbon and have the freedom to venture into the surrounding areas, renting a car can be a great option. Renting a car allows you to discover the stunning landscapes, charming towns, and coastal beauty that Portugal has to offer.


There are several car rental agencies available in Lisbon, both at the airport and in the city center. You can choose from a variety of car types, depending on your needs and preferences. It’s advisable to book your rental car in advance, especially during peak travel seasons.


Driving in Lisbon and throughout Portugal is generally straightforward, although it’s essential to be aware of local traffic rules and regulations. It’s worth noting that traffic in the city center can be congested during peak hours, so planning your routes and allowing for extra travel time is recommended.


Portugal has a well-maintained and extensive network of highways, making it easy to travel between cities and regions. Toll roads, known as “autoestradas,” are common, and you may need to pay toll fees at some points. Most rental cars provide an electronic toll tag, which automatically registers the tolls and charges them to your rental agreement.


When parking in Lisbon, be aware of parking regulations and restrictions. Some areas may require payment at parking meters or using a parking app, while other areas may have time limits or designated resident-only parking. It’s advisable to familiarize yourself with the parking rules of the specific area you plan to visit.


Venturing outside of Lisbon gives you the opportunity to visit incredible destinations such as Sintra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its fairytale-like palaces and enchanting forests, or the coastal town of Cascais, with its beautiful beaches and charming historic center. Exploring the stunning landscapes of the Arrábida Natural Park or the wine regions of Alentejo are also possibilities with a rental car.


Before you rent a car in Lisbon, it’s important to check if your driver’s license is valid in Portugal and if you need an international driving permit. Additionally, familiarize yourself with the insurance coverage provided by the rental company and consider purchasing additional coverage for peace of mind.


Renting a car in Lisbon provides you with the freedom and flexibility to create your own itinerary, explore at your own pace, and venture into areas that may be harder to reach by public transportation. It allows you to make the most of your time and discover the diverse beauty that Portugal has to offer.


Now that we’ve explored the option of renting a car, let’s delve into some exciting day trip ideas from Lisbon that can be easily accessed by various modes of transportation.


Day Trips from Lisbon

While Lisbon has plenty to offer in terms of attractions and experiences, taking a day trip from the city allows you to explore even more of the beautiful country of Portugal. Whether you’re interested in cultural heritage, natural beauty, or coastal escapes, there are several enticing destinations that can be easily reached from Lisbon.


One popular day trip option is Sintra, a picturesque town located about 30 kilometers west of Lisbon. Sintra is known for its stunning palaces, romantic gardens, and fairytale-like architecture. The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Pena Palace, along with the enchanting Quinta da Regaleira and the Moorish Castle, are must-visit attractions in Sintra. The town’s charming atmosphere and surrounding natural beauty make it a favorite among travelers.


Another recommended day trip is Cascais, a coastal town located just a short distance from Lisbon. Cascais offers beautiful sandy beaches, a vibrant marina, and a delightful old town filled with shops, restaurants, and cafes. You can also visit the nearby Boca do Inferno, a dramatic cliff formation where the waves crash against the rocks, creating a breathtaking sight.


If you’re a wine lover, consider taking a day trip to the picturesque region of Alentejo. Known for its rolling vineyards and scenic landscapes, Alentejo offers the opportunity to visit wineries, taste regional wines, and learn about the winemaking process. The towns of Évora and Monsaraz are worth exploring, with their rich history, impressive architecture, and delicious local cuisine.


For nature enthusiasts, the Arrábida Natural Park is a perfect day trip choice. Located south of Lisbon, this protected area boasts stunning cliffs, hidden beaches, and crystal-clear waters. You can take scenic hikes, enjoy panoramic viewpoints, or simply relax on the pristine beaches.


Closer to Lisbon, the town of Obidos is a charming medieval town that can be visited in a day. With its cobblestone streets, colorful houses, and a well-preserved castle, Obidos feels like stepping back in time. Walking along the fortified walls offers panoramic views of the town and surrounding countryside.


These are just a few examples of the many incredible day trip options from Lisbon. Whether you’re interested in history, nature, or simply want to experience more of Portugal’s diverse landscapes and culture, exploring the surroundings of Lisbon will enrich your travel experience.


Make sure to plan your day trips in advance, consider the best mode of transportation for each destination, and check the schedules to optimize your time. Whether you choose to take a train, bus, guided tour, or rent a car, each option offers its own advantages and will allow you to create memorable experiences outside of Lisbon.


As your time in Lisbon comes to an end, you can reflect on the wonderful memories you’ve made exploring the city and its surrounding areas. From the historic neighborhoods to the stunning viewpoints, the delicious food to the lively street culture, Lisbon has truly captured your heart. Until the next adventure!


Please note that the information provided in this article may be subject to change. It’s always a good idea to double-check transportation schedules, ticket prices, and any restrictions or regulations before planning your day trips from Lisbon.



As your time in Lisbon comes to a close, you can reflect on the rich experiences and wonderful memories you’ve made exploring this captivating city. From navigating the efficient metro system to taking buses, trams, and ferries, you’ve discovered various ways to get around and immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of Lisbon.


Walking through the charming neighborhoods, riding bikes along the riverfront, and enjoying the convenience of taxis and rideshares have provided you with unique perspectives and unforgettable moments in the city. Additionally, renting a car has allowed you to venture beyond the city limits and embark on exciting day trips to discover the cultural heritage, natural beauty, and coastal charm of Portugal.


Throughout this comprehensive guide, you’ve gained insights into the public transportation system in Lisbon, understanding the intricacies of the metro, buses, and trams. You’ve experienced the joy of riding the ferries and explored Lisbon’s streets and landmarks on foot. You’ve also learned how to utilize taxis and rideshares for quick and convenient travel, and the option of renting a car for more independence and exploration.


Furthermore, you’ve discovered incredible day trip options from Lisbon, allowing you to venture into nearby towns and regions, satisfying your wanderlust and expanding your understanding of Portugal’s rich culture and picturesque landscapes.


As you leave Lisbon with a sense of fulfillment and a deeper connection to this enchanting city, you can carry the memories of its winding streets, breathtaking views, and warm hospitality with you. Lisbon’s unique blend of history, architecture, cuisine, and laid-back charm has left an indelible mark on your travel journey.


Remember, the information provided in this guide is meant to serve as a reference, but it’s always a good idea to double-check details and stay updated with any changes that may occur. Lisbon is a dynamic city, constantly evolving with new offerings and transportation options.


Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or a first-time visitor, Lisbon has captured your heart with its irresistible charm and beauty. So, until your next adventure, carry the spirit of Lisbon with you, and let the memories of this remarkable city inspire your future travels. Happy exploring!