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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In a hurry, here you can find the most important information on public transport in Lisbon
- Here you can 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 Lisbon’s public transport for free.
- If you don’t like taking public transport, you can also take the hop-on hop-off bus. This is a comfortable way to explore Lisbon. More information about the different options can be found here.
- Are you looking for a nice hotel in Lisbon, then definitely search via Booking.com
- Buy your skip the line tickets for popular attractions such as the Jeronimos Monastery and the Pena Palace in Sintra in advance. With these tickets you can skip the long queues at these attractions.
- If you want to experience Lisbon from the water, we recommend that you book a sailing trip.
- You can easily visit Lisbon city and surroundings by public transport. However, if you would like to rent a car, take a look at the website of Rental cars or Discover cars. Discover cars and Rental cars are sites where you can easily compare the prices of different car rental companies.
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.
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.
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.
This is an excellent solution when you’d like to be dropped off as close to your hotel as possible.
Check prices and availability:
Note that the Aerobus is currently suspended. As an alternative, you can book a shared or private 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.)
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. The 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 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 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 euros you can take unlimited rides on the metro and the bus
- For 9,55 euros you can, in addition to the metro and bus, also take the ferry to Cacilhas
- For 10,60 euros you can, in addition to the above, also take the train from Lisbon to Sintra, Cascais, Azambuja, and Sado
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!
Check prices and availability:
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.
Public transportation in Lisbon
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
Check prices and availability:
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.
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.
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.
Read reviews and book your tickets:
Yellow bus hop-on hop-off bus in Lisbon
Yellow bus operates 3 different bus tours in Lisbon. The tickets are valid for 24-48 hours.
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.
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.
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.
Uber is also available in Lisbon and the price of an Uber ride is comparable to that of a regular taxi.
Sailboat or ferry
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.
Check prices and availability:
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!
Check prices and availability:
Lisbon Private Romantic cruise
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.
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.
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!
Below, you can see an overview of the different tours you can choose from.
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.
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.
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.
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.
If you’d rather join an organized tour, you should check out the tour below.
Check prices and availability:
Dat tour Sintra, Cabo da Roca, Cascais
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.
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.
We wrote a complete post on driving and renting a car in Portugal.
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.