Public transport in Lisbon is pretty easy to use, but it still always takes a while to figure this out in a foreign city. That’s why we put together this handy overview of everything you need to know.

Lisbon is a compact but hilly city. At the end of the day, you might even be glad you can take the tram to 1 of the amazing viewpoints above the city to enjoy the sunset.

The well-known and iconic yellow trams are often stuck in traffic and don’t always run as punctually as you might like, but generally speaking, Lisbon public transportation is set up pretty well.

Most tourist attractions are very accessible by both tram and metro and you can even do some beautiful day trips by train.

We also discuss a few discount cards so you can use public transport in Lisbon without spending a lot of money, while also enjoying free entry to the most famous tourist attractions.

Here is everything you need to know about getting around Lisbon by public transportation.

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Lisbon tips

We recommend checking Momondo to find cheap flights to Lisbon.  Here’s an overview of other flight comparison sites.  Make sure to check the website of TAP to see their latest promotions, they offer direct flights to Lisbon from many countries.

Lisbon has countless impressive monuments and palaces.  The Lisboa Card, the official tourist pass of Lisbon, offers free access to dozens of these sites and allows you to ride free on Lisbon’s public transport.

Buy your skip-the-line tickets for Lisbon’s 2 most popular attractions online in advance. With these skip-the-line tickets, you can bypass the waiting lines at the Jeronimos Monastery and the Belém Tower.

Lisbon tram Portugal

The iconic yellow trams of Lisbon are one of the best ways to travel in Lisbon

How to get from Lisbon Airport to the city center

Most people arrive in Lisbon by plane.

When traveling to Lisbon by plane, you always arrive at Portela Airport, also known as the Humberto Delgado Airport, and usually just simply as Lisbon Airport. Both the ‘normal’ and low-cost airlines fly to this airport.

Lisbon Airport has 2 terminals.

All flights arrive at terminal 1, while terminal 2 is used only for departures of the low-cost airlines.

A free shuttle bus operates every 10 minutes between the 2 terminals.

The city center of Lisbon is approximately 7 km from the airport.

There are various options to travel to the center of Lisbon.

You can use public transport from Lisbon airport, ride the aérobus or opt for a shared or private taxi. 

We list all the different possibilities below.

Lisbon airport public transport

The least expensive way is to take public transport to the city center. If you’re planning multiple rides on the Lisbon public transport system, it’s a good idea to purchase a Viva Viagem card or 7 Colinas card.

You can use these cards in 2 ways: as a prepaid card where you pay per ride, or as a 1-day pass where you can ride unlimitedly for 1 day for a fixed amount. We will discuss both options in more detail below.

The metro operates between 6.30 a.m. and 1 a.m. Every 6 to 9 minutes, a metro departs for the city center. The red metro line (Lina Vermelha) takes you to the Lisbon city center in about 30 minutes.

There are also various buses (705, 722, 744, 783 and the night bus 208) between Lisbon Airport and the city center. You can use the Viva Viagem card for this, too.

A downside is that you can only take these buses when you travel with carryon-size luggage.

Aerobus, a private or shared taxi

Another possibility is taking the Aerobus. This bus runs daily, from 7.30 a.m. to 11.00 p.m. and large suitcases are allowed on these buses.

Line 1 goes to the city center, while line 2 goes to the financial district. All stops are announced in English so you can’t miss your stop.

Here you can find an overview of all the stops: 

Aerobus Line 1: Airport – Arrivals, Areeiro – Av. Alm. Gago Coutinho, Alameda DA Henriques, Pç. Chili – Av. Almirante Reis,  Av. Almirante Reis – R. Angola, Igreja Anjos, Martim Moniz,  Pç. Figueira,  Pç. Comércio, Cais Sodré, Pç. Comércio, Rossio, Restauradores, Avenue Liberdade, Mq. Pombal – Av. Fontes P. Melo, Picoas, Saldanha, Campo Pequeno – Av. República, Estação Entrecampos, Luchthaven – Terminal 1, Airport – Terminal 2, Airport – Arrivals.

Aerobus Line 2: Airport – Arrival, Estação Entrecampos, Campo Pequeno – Av. República,  Av. República, Saldanha, Picoas, Marquês Pombal, Avenue José Malhoa ( municipality Polícia),  Avenue José Malhoa, Sete Rios (Expressos), Airport – Terminal 1, Airport – Terminal 2.

The Aerobus might be more expensive than a regular bus, but it has the big benefit of being more comfortable. You can take your suitcases on board and the stops are announced. Moreover, the stops are located close to many popular hotels.

This is an excellent solution when you’d like to be dropped off as close to your hotel as possible.

Read reviews and purchase your Aerobus tickets here: Aerobus Tickets 

If you’re traveling with large and heavy suitcases or if you simply want to be in the city as quickly as possible we recommend booking a private driver or a shared transfer from and to the airport.

Here you can find more info and purchase your private transfer: Lisbon Private Transfer 

Here you can find more info and purchase your shared transfer: Shared Airport Transfer 

Of course, you can also take a taxi to your hotel. Because the airport is relatively close to the city, the price isn’t too high. For about € 15 you can get a taxi from the airport to the city center.

If you have luggage, you pay € 1,60 extra. (This is a fixed price, so not per piece of luggage.)

We somewhere read that the taxis at arrivals would be cheaper than those at departures.  Not sure if this is correct as they’re all supposed to use a taximeter.  If they do not use the meter you should insist on it unless they quote a fare significantly lower than € 15.

 

Jeronimos monastery Lisbon, Portugal

You can visit the Jeronimos monastery for free with a Lisboa card

Lisbon discount cards

The Viva Viagem or 7 Colinas card

This card is valid on the metro, buses, trams and even on certain train journeys to, for example, Sintra, Cascais, etc.

Besides the view and the name, there’s no difference between the 2 cards. They both work in the same way and you can use them in the same places.

You can purchase these cards at payment terminals at the metro or at newsagents. A card costs € 0,50.

A Viva Viagem card is in your name, so you have to purchase 1 per person. Additionally, you can put 1 product at a time on the card. If there’s zapping credit on the card, you cannot charge a day pass or vice versa.

Always take the receipt when you charge the card. In case the card stops working for whatever reason, you can take your card and this receipt to a staff member to request a new card.

Using Viva Viagem as a multi-ride card (zapping)

Before you can use the card, you have to charge it with at least € 3 and a maximum of € 40.

With this Viva Viagem card, you will then pay € 1,35 euro per metro ride and € 1,8 per train ride.

This is significantly less than what you would pay if you bought separate tickets. In that case, you would pay almost double that amount per ride.

This is called “zapping” credit.

Using Viva Viagem as a 1-day pass

You can also load 1-day passes on your Viva Viagem card. With these passes, you can use public transport in Lisbon unlimitedly for a whole day.

There are 3 different 1-day tickets.

  • For 6,40 euro you can take unlimited rides on the metro and the bus
  • For 9,55 euro you can, in addition to the metro and bus, also take the ferry to Cacilhas
  • For 10,60 euro you can, in addition to the above, also take the train from Lisbon to Sintra, Cascais, Azambuja, and Sado

Here is an overview of these different ticket options on the website of the public transportation company Metro Lisboa.

Belem tower Lisbon, Portugal

You can visit the Torre de Belém for free with your Lisboa card

Lisboa Card

The Lisboa Card is the official tourist pass of the city and is available for 1, 2 or 3 days.

With this card, you can use Lisbon public transport (the train to Sintra and Cascais, tram, metro, and bus) for free and you get free access to various museums and monuments. (Some of the most important of those are Mosteiro dos Jerónimos, Torre de Belém, Elevador de Santa Justa.)

Additionally, with this card, you don’t have to queue at places to which you have free access. You can bypass the waiting line and you just need to show your Lisboa Card at the ticket booth.

There are dozens of places that offer free access and, on top of that, there are many more places in and around Lisbon where you can enjoy a discount of 10 to 50 percent thanks to this card.

You can save a lot of time and money with this card while visiting Lisbon!

This overview shows all the benefits of the card.

 

3-day public transport pass for tourists

This 3-day pass is a great all-round solution for a Lisbon city break. The Aerobus that you can take from the airport to the city is also included.

During those 3 days, you have unlimited use of the trams and buses. Also, the funiculars and the Santa Justa Lift are included. (The metro is not included.)

You can also take the hop-on-hop-off buses of Yellow bus. These buses run along 3 different routes throughout Lisbon.  There is also a special tourist tram that you can ride for free.  This tram follows roughly a similar route as tram 28.

Lastly, you can also admire Lisbon from the water with the included boat ride to and from Belém.

Lisbon Metro Portugal

The best public transport in Lisbon is the metro

Public transportation in Lisbon

The metro

You can explore the city in all directions with the metro.

The metro is not only able to quickly take you from the airport to the Lisbon city center but is also a great way to get to some of the attractions in Lisbon, such as Baixa and Cais do Sodré, from where you can continue your journey to Cascais. 

Metro Map Lisbon Portugal

Public transportation in Lisbon: map showing an overview of the Lisbon subway system

There are 4 different lines that all take you to a different part of the city. Each metro line has its own color.

The red line runs between the airport and the city center. With the green or blue line, you can get to the historic heart of the city (Baixa). As a tourist, you probably won’t really use the yellow line.

Everything is clearly indicated at the metro, and you’ll also see maps all over the place. If you’d like to get prepared, you can download a handy map in PDF format.

Once you’ve arrived in the historic center, you can easily get around on foot to visit all tourist attractions in Lisbon. Here you can find a great Lisbon itinerary for 3 days. 

The metro is especially useful if you’d like to visit one of the attractions or museums outside of the historic center.

When you’re going to take the metro often, it’s best to do this with a Viva Viagem card. You can use this card as a prepaid card or a 1-day pass. You can find much more information about this above.

Lisbon tram Portugal

The iconic old remodelado trams of Lisbon are a great way for getting around Lisbon

The trams

The tram network in Lisbon consists of 6 lines and is a great addition to the metro network. The historic inner city is serviced by the lines 12, 18, 24, 25 and 28.

All these lines have those famous iconic little trams. These yellow trams have become a symbol of the city and have been thoroughly restored in the past years, but always with respect for their original appearance.

Especially the route with tram 28 is popular among tourists because it chirps and moans its way through the narrow and steep alleys of the Alfama neighborhood, passing lots of attractions and points of interest.

If you’d like to go for a ride on this tram, it’s best to do this from either one of its terminuses.

Oftentimes, it’s not possible to board the tram on the way.

If you’d like to take a ride on tram 28 in comfort and without having to wait in line, you can do that with a ride on the special hop-on hop-off tram.

This tram mainly follows the same trajectory of tram 28, from Praça Do Commercio to Portas do Sol and back. On the way, you can listen to the commentary of the audio guide, which is also available in English.

The hop-on-hop-off description is, however, fairly misleading. It is always possible to get off, but there’s only 1 official stop and that’s at Portas do Sol, not far from the São Jorge castle.

Read reviews and purchase your tickets here: 24h Hop-on-hop-off Tram Ticket 

Tram 15 is the only line in the city that has a modern tram. 

This route takes you from Praça do Comércio to Belém. Tram 15 lacks the charm of the other trams, but it is a handy way to get to the Belém neighborhood.

In those classic trams, you need to board using the front entrance, which is also where you’ll find the box to validate your Viva Viagem card. Whether you’re riding with zapping credit or a day pass, you have to validate your card at the device either way.

You can use all doors to board the modern trams riding on line 15. Each door has a device to validate your card.

You can buy tickets from the driver in the front of the classic trams, while tram 15 has a ticket machine onboard. Since these tickets are twice as expensive as the Viva Viagem, we don’t recommend this. Additionally, the machine also doesn’t return any change.

Lisbon Funicular Portugal

You should definitely ride with a historic tram while you are in Lisbon

Many cities boast that they’ve been built on several different hills, but there are few cities where you’re confronted with that fact as often as in Lisbon. The city has numerous public elevators as well as the cable cars that are pictured above.

Although these cable cars, called funicular or ascensor in Lisbon, are not unique, there are only a few cities where you can ride a cable car through the streets. Therefore, this is definitely something you should do if you’re tired of exploring the city on foot.

The funicular connects Baixa and Bairro Alto. There are three different cable cars that run across this elevation: the Ascensor da Bica, the Ascensor da Glória and the Ascensor da Lavra.

These aerial trams run every 15 minutes from the bottom to the top or vice versa.

A ride lasts about one minute and costs 3 euros. These aerial trams are included in your Viva Viagem card, either as part of your day pass or by payment of the usual price of € 1,35 with zapping credit.

The hop-on-hop-off bus

The hop-on-hop-off bus is a comfortable way to discover Lisbon and Cascais.

Several companies exploit hop-on-hop-off tours in Lisbon.  Below is an overview of the tours offered by Gray Line and Yellow Bus.

Gray Line busses are red, and you probably have no problem guessing the color of the busses operated by Yellow Bus, the latter of which is managed by Carris, the company that also operates the trams and buses in Lisbon.

Note that they’re 2 competing companies, so you can’t get on one bus with a ticket for the other.

We describe both options below.

Gray Line hop-on hop-off bus in Lisbon

With 1 ticket, you can use 55 stops distributed across 4 different routes.

  • The ‘Castle Line’ takes you to the tourist attractions in Alfama and Castelo, including stops at the cathedral, Avenida Liberdade and Marquês de Pombal.
  • The ‘Belém Line’ goes from the historic center to Belém, passing Jeronimo’s Monastery and the Torre de Belém on the way.
  • The ‘Oriente Line’ runs along the Tagus River to the modern city center where you can visit the zoo, the Oceanarium or 1 of the other attractions. You pass the expo park on the way.
  • The ‘Cascais’ route runs, as its name suggests, to this beautiful coastal town and stops in Estoril on the way.

You can buy a ticket for 24 or 48 hours to discover the city at your own pace. The bus is equipped with Wi-Fi and has an audio guide in 14 languages, including English.

Yellow bus hop-on hop-off bus in Lisbon

Yellow bus operates 3 different bus tours in Lisbon. The tickets are valid for 48 hours.

A major benefit of these tours is that, during those 2 days, you can also use the trams, cable cars, the Santa Justa Lift and the Aerobus for free.

Additionally, you can also use the special tourist tram that roughly follows the route of tram 28. In the peak season, this option allows you to spend less time waiting in line and you won’t feel like sardines in a can either.

An audio guide in 12 languages, including English, is available on the bus and the tram.

Here are the different routes:

  • The ‘Modern Bus tour’ goes from Lisbon to Parque das Nações, the previous expo park. You can visit the Oceanarium, the Azuleo Museum or one of the other top attractions.
  • The ‘Belém bus tour’ takes you past many beautiful buildings and monuments in this neighborhood. There are stops at Jerónimos Monastery, the Torre de Belém and Padrão dos Descobrimentos, among other popular highlights.
  • The ‘Monumental bus tour’ is an extension of the Belém tour. It departs from the Jerónimos Monastery and takes you to a few other points of interest in this neighborhood, where you can’t get with the Belém tour.
Read reviews and book your Yellow bus hop-on-hop-off tickets here: Yellow Bus hop-on-hop-off tickets 
Padrao dos Descobrimentos Lisbon, Portugal

Padrão dos Descobrimentos on the banks of the Tagus

The taxi

We mainly used public transportation in Lisbon or explored the city on foot. However, taxis are actually fairly affordable in Lisbon.

You can recognize the official taxis by their black-green colors. The cars are black and have a green roof. All taxis are equipped with a meter and the drivers usually speak basic English.

The starting price is € 3,25 and is increased by € 0,47 per kilometer. At night (from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m.), the starting price is € 3.90 and the price per kilometer € 0,56.

There’s a supplement of € 0,80 for a telephone booking and a supplement of € 1,60 if you have luggage. This luggage supplement is a fixed rate, it is not per piece of luggage.

Some taxis accept debit and credit cards by now, but definitely not all of them. If you’d like to pay by card, you should verify with the driver whether this is possible before getting in.

Here is a complete overview of the prices.

 

If you’re traveling with a group of more than 4 people, you can also take a larger taxi.

Those prices are higher, though, and it’s best to reserve these taxis in advance.

Never get into a larger taxi with just 2 people if you don’t have to because you’ll end up paying more.

You can simply flag down the taxis on the street or you can use one of the following apps: MyTaxi/FreeNow (Android & Apple) or TaxiLisboa/izzymove (Android & Apple).

Uber is also available in Lisbon and the price of an Uber ride is comparable to that of a regular taxi.

Because of the huge availability and presence of taxis in Lisbon, using an app to call a taxi is redundant. Often, it’s much easier to just flag down a taxi on the street.

Yacht Ponte 25 de Abril Lisbon Portugal

Een zeiljacht vaart onder de 25 aprilbrug

Sailboat or ferry

Sailboats

From a sailboat on the Taag you can enjoy a magnificent view of the city. The boats depart at Cais Do Sodré or Padrão dos Descobrimentos and on the way you’ll pass the monumental square Praça do Comércio, the Belém Tower, Padrão dos Descobrimentos and the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos.

This is a relaxed way to see Lisbon from a different angle. A ride by sailboat on the Taag takes about 2 hours on average.

Read reviews and book: Guided Sightseeing Cruise 

For a wonderfully romantic experience, you can do this at sunset.

Read reviews and book: Lisbon Sunset Cruise 

If you’d like to make it the ultimate romantic experience, you can book an exclusive 2-hour private sailing with sparkling wine. This is undoubtedly an unforgettable experience!

Read reviews and book: Lisbon Private Romantic Cruise 

Ferries

The classic ferries are a good alternative to the touristic sailboats.

Crossings take only a fraction of the time of a sailing with a sailing boat but still offer you the chance to catch a view of the city from the water.

There are 5 public ferry crossings that depart from 3 locations: Praça do Comércio, the train station of Belém and the station of Cais do Sodré. 

Of these 5 crossings, the one from Cais do Sodré to Cacilhas is the most attractive for tourists. On the way, you can enjoy a wonderful view of the Ponte 25 de Abril, while Cacilhas gives you the opportunity to have a delicious dinner at 1 of the many excellent seafood restaurants.

For the greatest view of the city, you can take bus 101 to the Cristo Rei statue atop the mountain. You can also walk and use the Boca do Vento elevator.

You can buy ferry tickets at the ticket booth where the boats depart. The tickets aren’t expensive. It’s between € 1,25 and € 2,80 for a one-way trip.

The crossing from Cais do Sodré to Cacilhas costs € 1,30 one way and is also included in 2 of the 3 day-pass options.

Lisbon-Tuk-Tuk

Een tuk-tuk in Lissabon

The tuk-tuk

Nowadays, tuk-tuks are common presence in many places around Lisbon.

You can use them for a tour of the city.

The tuk-tuk drivers speak English, French or Spanish and are able to tell you about their city and the attractions on the way.

A tuk-tuk ride is, of course, mainly a tourist activity and is a bit more expensive because of that. It is, however, a fun way to explore the city and a lot less exhausting than getting around Lisbon and its hills on foot.

There are various different tours you can take. Some take you past the attractions in the city center and also stop at the many amazing viewpoints. This saves you a lot of effort climbing up!

From other travelers, we’ve heard that the drivers don’t stick strictly to their fixed routes and are pretty flexible when you ask them to take you to other places.

Below, you can see an overview of the different tours you can choose from.

Read reviews and book: 2h Guided Tuk Tuk Tour 
Read reviews and book: 3h Guided Tuk Tuk Tour 

Additionally, there are also tours that take you to the most beautiful street art in Lisbon, which is spread across the new and old parts of the city.

So, if you’re a fan of street art, we encourage you to check out the tours below.

Read reviews and book: 1h30 Street Art Tuk Tuk Tour 
Read reviews and book: 3h Street Art Tuk Tuk Tour 
Pena Palace, Sintra, Portugal

You can easily reach Sintra by public transport

 

The train

There’s plenty to do in Lisbon to keep you occupied for a few days.

If, however, you have some time to spare or want to leave the city for a while, you can do a couple of great day trips using Portugal’s rail service.

Sintra

Fairy tale-like Sintra lies about 25 kilometers from Lisbon. This village with its famous colorful palace can easily be visited by train as a day trip from Lisbon. In fact, trains are the best option for public transport from Lisbon to Sintra.

The ride takes approximately 30 minutes, departs from the historic Rossio station in the city center, and costs only € 2,25 euro one way and € 4,50 for a round trip.

The palace of Sintra is one of the most visited tourist attractions. If you’re heading to Sintra you shouldn’t miss this architectural masterpiece but there’re often rather long lines to get in.

To avoid those waiting lines, we recommend buying skip-the-line tickets. These tickets allow you to skip the queue at the ticket booth. Moreover, you don’t necessarily have to print your tickets, but can just show them on your smartphone.

Cascais

Another amazing day trip from Lisbon takes you to the enjoyable coastal resort of Cascais. This is definitely recommended on a sunny day in summer if you’d like to wind down on the beach.

Cascais is 30 kilometers from Lisbon.

The train to Cascais departs from the Cais Do Sodré station.

The easiest way to get there is by taking the green metro line.

The train ride to Cascais lasts 40 minutes and costs only € 2,25 one way and € 4,50 for a round trip.

Both rides are also included in the extensive day pass and the Lisboa card.

 

If you’d rather join an organized tour, you should check out the tour below.

This popular day tour takes you to beautiful Sintra and the wonderful coastal resort of Cascais in one day. Additionally, you’ll also visit Cabo da Roca, the westernmost point on the European mainland.

Read reviews and book: Day Tour Sintra, Cabo da Roca, Cascais 
Algarve - Praia Da Marinha

With a car, you could take a trip to the Algarve

By car 

A car is honestly a bit redundant for a city break in Lisbon. You can easily get everywhere on foot and by using the extensive Lisbon public transportation options.

Only if you’re spending more time in Portugal and are planning to visit other destinations as well, we’d recommend renting a car.

From Lisbon, it’s only 2,5 hours to the spectacular coast of the Algarve and 3 hours to Porto by car. The charming town of Obidos is 86 km from Lisbon.

Here is an overview of the most charming towns in Portugal or read our overview of the most beautiful places in Portugal.

 

If you’re planning to rent a car, it’s best to do this before you leave for your trip to Lisbon.

Online prices are always lower than the price they’ll charge at the counter. Sixt was the cheapest option when we did our research, but we suggest always comparing prices before booking.

You can do this easily and quickly with Rentalcars

Take into account that Portugal has a lot of toll roads. Therefore, we recommend getting a via verde toll device for your rental car. You can still pay in cash on some highways, but the highways in the Algarve only have electronic toll gates nowadays.

Most people visit the Algarve in summer, but the Algarve is amazing and visit-worthy in winter, too.

Conclusion 

Public transport in Lisbon is extensive and works smoothly and you’ll quickly get your bearings.

Once you’ve arrived in the city center, getting around in Lisbon can easily be done on foot.

For day trips, taking the train is often a great option, but outside the city center, rental cars are also a convenient way of getting around. Those usually aren’t too expensive either. If you’d like to visit Cascais in summer, it’s probably best to do this by train, since it can be difficult to find a parking spot.

We recommend that you definitely get 1 of the discount cards.

If you’re not planning to visit any museums or monuments, the 7 Colinas card is the one you need.

However, if you’d like to visit one of the beautiful palaces, monasteries, and monuments—and it actually would be a shame not to do this—you can save a decent amount of money with the Lisboa Card.

Categories: Portugal