A very common question when preparing your trip to Lisbon is: which is the best way to move around town?
Here I comment the several available options.
Metro, Buses and Tram
The metro is the fastest and most comfortable way, but has the disadvantage of not reaching all the areas of the city. Also, in my opinion, when visiting a new place is much better to travel above the ground, to get to know the city.
So you need to complement the metro with buses and, the so typical, Lisbon trams.
The most famous tram for sightseeing, is the number 28 (the one on the picture on the right), it runs through several historic neighborhoods: Bairro Alto, Chiado, Baixa, Alfama, Graça… passing near the Cathedral and the S. Jorge Castle. The problem is that this tram is always packed with tourists, having big queues to get in. Still… I think it is worth the experience.
But there are many other trams that will also serve to move you around the city.
Here you can see the maps of the transport network:
Buses and trams – www.carris.pt/en/network-map/
Metro – www.metrolisboa.pt/eng/customer-info/diagrams-and-maps/
But the best way to know how to get from one point to another is to use the fantastic Google Maps, choosing the option of public transport, which gives you various combinations of metro, buses, trams, with estimated travel times and everything. Example: www.google.com/maps/dir/Lisbon+Portela+Airport/Chiado,+Lisboa,+Portugal
You have to buy a reloadable travel card per person, the card is called Viva Viagem or 7 Colinas (is the same), it costs 0.50€, and you can get it at any subway ticket machine. This is the card you can use every day that you are in Lisbon, across the transport network: metro, buses, trams. In the same machines where you buy the card, you have charge it with money to travel.
2 charging options:
– Daily ticket, it costs 6€, lasts 24 hours after the first trip.
– Money value (called Zapping): you can load the money you want into the card, between 3€ and 40€. That money stays on the card, and then for each trip you take on any transport it is discounted 1.30€. The advantage is that it does not expire, so you can use it throughout the days you are in Lisbon.
Therefore, if you intend to do more than 4 journeys on the same day, then it does compensate to choose the daily ticket. If not, better load money, and then you’ll use it only when you need it. Another advantage of the Zapping option is that it is also valid for regional trains, for example to go to Cascais or Sintra, and in this case it discounts 1,85€ per each journey.
Important: Don’t choose the option of loading an X number of trips to the card. Because if you do that on a metro ticket machine, then it won’t be valid to travel by bus or tram. Always choose to load an amount of money or the daily ticket. Those are the modalities that will be valid for all transports.
There is also the option of the Lisbon Card, a touristic card that allows you to travel throughout the network of subways, buses and trams, and also includes trains to Sintra and Cascais, and on top of that gives you free access to 23 museums, historical buildings and many discounts on tours, restaurants, bars, etc…
There are cards for 24h (18.5€), 48h (31.5€) or 72h (39€).
Here you have more detailed information on the card, and you can even pre-buy it on this web:
It is a very comfortable option, but more expensive than public transport of course. Still if we compare with taxis in other European or US cities, it is much cheaper in Lisbon.
If you arrive by plane I recommend you to take a taxi to your hotel / apartment (I always do), because the airport is within the city, and is a journey of 20 minutes and about 10€ -15€ to downtown Lisbon. Unless you get a scammer taxi driver that takes you around the city… which unfortunatly happens sometimes.
To move between the central neighborhoods of Lisbon, the ride should not be more than 8€ -10€, so if you are 3 or 4 people, it ends up being cheaper then public transport sometimes.
2 warnings regarding taxis, which you can also find in the post Warning! To read before you visit Lisbon:
– If you put suitcases in the trunk of the taxi, there is an extra charge of about 2€.
– Taxi drivers in Lisbon drive very fast, and sometimes jump redlights… normal! 😉
A very good alternative to taxis, the innovative and highly controversial Uber platform. There have been organized protests by taxi drivers against this service that they consider as unfair competition, and in several countries it is prohibited.
But the truth is that it is very comfortable, the app works very well, service is excellent, and the price is equal to a taxi, with the advantage that… you never get scammed, because the Uber App is the one that defines the route by GPS.
For those who do not know Uber, in short, it is an App that is installed on the phone, in which you must register with a credit card, and then using the App you can request a private car with driver at any time. Your phone shows your location so you do not have to worry about explaining where you are, and you enter the destination address in the same application. It shows you a photo of the driver, how many minutes it will take him to get to you, reviews from previous travelers, and you can also see an estimate of the cost of the trip.
You should select the UberX service which is the most economical, with fares similar to taxis. The cars are not identified, because in the end it is a private transfer. They are mostly new black cars in midrange (Eg. Volkswagen Golf, Renault Megane, Seat Leon).
Then you have the Uber Black service, with top range cars (Mercedes E, BMW 5, Audi A6), which costs about 2x the UberX. It’s a good option for business or to impress your girlfriend 😉
If you register through this link, you get a 10€ offer to use in your 1st trip with Uber: www.uber.com/invite/f37p4
And here you can see more information about Uber in Lisbon: www.uber.com/cities/lisbon
Private Airport Transfer
If you fly to Lisbon, an alternative transport to or from the airport it is to hire a private transfer. There are several companies that provide this service. One is BeDriven that charges 18.5€ for a private car carrying up to 3 people from the airport to any point in the center of Lisbon. On this link you can see prices and make online reservation: www.getyourguide.com/lisbon-l42/lisbon-airport-private-arrival-transfer-to-city-hotel-t71703/
Other companies have a shared shuttle service where the company can fit other passengers that they are picking up on the same schedule. This is the case of the service provided by the company Lanebus, that charges 5€ per person, for connection between the airport and Lisbon center. So, it can compensate if you do not mind sharing the ride with others.
Here you can see more details about this service and you can also book it online:
Renting a car has the advantage of being able to go independently to some special places that are difficult to reach in public transports: the beaches of Costa da Caparica, the Sintra area, go to Arrábida-Sesimbra-Tróia, among other sites around Lisbon.
But it has the disadvantage of the headaches to find a spot to park in Lisbon downtown, and the parking meters – about this I recommend reading the post Where to park in Lisbon.
How much does it cost to rent a car in Lisbon? Quite similar to any other European city. You’ll find prices from 15 to 30€ per day for economic range cars.
You can search for the best option in this website: www.pepecar.com, which aggregates and compares many different rent-a-car companies.
Warning: read carefully all the terms and conditions to see all possible additional costs: insurance, additional driver, gps, etc…
(The picture above is the beach of Portinho da Arrábida, one of the places that are difficult to reach without a car)
Tourist Bus “Hop-on Hop-off”
You can find information about this option in my post of Tours and Activities, but I also include it here.
You have this in every touristic city around the world, and Lisbon is no exception. The famous “hop-on hop-off” buses, 2 story, with audio-guides, for which you can buy a ticket of 24h, 48h or 72h, and during that time use the buses at your convenience, to go on your own rhythm to the main tourist sites.
There are 3 large companies offering similar services: Yellow Bus, City Sighseeing and Gray Line.
In these links you can look at the reviews from other users, and make the online reservation if you want.
Yellow Bus: www.getyourguide.com/lisbon-l42/lisbon-premium-4-in-1-bus-tours-t15122
City Sightseeing: www.getyourguide.com/lisbon-l42/lisbon-hop-on-hop-off-tour-24h-ticket-t4273
Gray Line: www.getyourguide.com/lisbon-l42/lisbon-sightseeing-hop-on-hop-off-tour-t1021
More “weird” ways to get around Lisbon …
If you want to move around the city in more original ways, you can find information on Segways, GoCars, Amphibian Bus, Sidecar, Tuk Tuk and more here in the post of Tours and Activities in Lisbon!