A Complete guide to using Lisbon public transport!

Your Ultimate Guide to Navigating Lisbon Public Transport!

Do you want to explore Lisbon but need to know how you’ll get around? Look no further! Navigating Portugal’s bustling capital doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive with its efficient and affordable public transportation options. With tips on where to buy tickets, what tickets to get and which lines are best for sightseeing, we’ve covered all your Lisbon public transport needs!

This post may contain affiliate links. That means if you click on a link and purchase something I recommend, I will receive a small commission at no extra cost. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. This helps keep my website up and running and is very appreciated. Thank you for your support! You can read my full disclosure policy here.

Your Ultimate guide to Navigating Lisbon Public Transport!

Exploring Lisbon By Foot

One of my favourite ways to explore a new city is on foot, and Lisbon is no exception! Walking through the streets of Lisbon is the perfect way to soak up all the history and charm this beautiful city has to offer.

Taking a stroll through the winding alleyways and hidden courtyards allows you to immerse yourself fully in the culture of Portugal. You’ll stumble upon local markets, traditional bakeries, and artisan shops hidden away from the tourist areas. Not to mention, the breathtaking views of the city’s famous architecture, such as the colourful tiles and pastel-coloured buildings.

However, be warned! Lisbon is famous for its hills, which can make exploring on foot hard work for some, especially during the hot summer months! But if you’re up for a challenge, walking is a great way to see more of Lisbon’s unique neighbourhoods and discover many hidden gems. Just remember to pack your comfy shoes!

I advise exploring as much as possible on foot and utilising public transport to get to places that are further away or if you need to give your feet a much-needed rest.

Read more: 18 Fabulous Things to do in Lisbon!

Is Lisbon’s Public Transport Safe?

If you’re planning to visit Lisbon, you may be curious about the safety of the city’s public transportation system. I’m happy to report that Lisbon’s public transportation is efficient, clean, convenient, and very safe.

As a solo female traveller, I felt extremely safe travelling on the city’s metro, bus and tram network. However, as with any big city, it’s always a good idea to keep an eye on your belongings and be aware of your surroundings, especially during crowded times. But overall, you can feel confident and comfortable riding Lisbon’s public transport to get around and explore this beautiful city.

Should You Use Travel Cards?

The Lisboa Card

The Lisboa Card is a fantastic resource for travellers exploring the city more extensively. It offers free and unlimited travel on buses, trams, and metro services throughout the city, making it incredibly convenient and cost-effective.

Besides transportation, the card provides free or discounted entry to many of the city’s most popular tourist attractions, including the Jerónimos Monastery, the Belém Towel, and the Santa Justa Elevator. Plus, you’ll get discounts at select stores and restaurants.

With options for 24-hour, 48-hour, or 72-hour passes, the Lisbon Card can save you time and money!

Lisboa Card Prices:

24 hours: €22
48 hours: €37 (€18,50 per day)
72 hours: €46 (€15,33 per day)

24 hours: €15
48 hours: €21 (€10,05 per day)
72 hours: €26 (€8,67 per day)

Good to know:

  • The card is activated on the first use, so no need to worry about the card expiring before you arrive in Lisbon. 
  • The pass runs in hours not days so if you arrive in the evening you can use it to get into the city without losing a whole day’s activity.
  • It’s valid for a full calendar year after its purchase date. 
  • Your online ticket must be swapped for the card at one of the five Ask Me Lisboa offices. 
  • There is a free cancellation included! You can cancel it for free until 23:59 on the day before your visit.

The Viva Viagem Card

Getting a Viva Viagem Card is a must for those who don’t want to purchase the Lisboa Card! It is the equivalent of London’s Oyster Card and allows you to travel on all public transport in Lisbon. With this card, you can load money onto it as a pay-as-you-go system. This is perfect for those who are only staying in Lisbon for a short period or if you prefer to have more flexibility with your transportation options.

You can purchase the Viagem Card at any metro station or ticket office, and it only costs €0.50 to buy the card itself. Once you have the card, you can load money onto it at any metro or train station, bus station, or newsagent.

What types of Viva Viagem tickets can you buy?

Zapping Metro journey: €1,35 (valid for a single journey on the Metro network)
Each zapping journey refers to one operator only. Every time you change transport operators, an additional fare is deducted from your card according to the operator’s conditions.
The following amounts can be topped up: 3€, 5€, 10€, 15€, 20€, 25€, 30€, 35€ e 40€.

Day ticket Carris / Metro: €6,45 (valid for unlimited journeys on Carris and Metro networks during 24 hours following the first validation.)

Day ticket Carris / Metro / Transtejo (Cacilhas): €9,60 (valid for unlimited journeys on Carris, Metro and Transtejo (Cacilhas river connection) during 24 hours following the first validation.)

Carris / Metro / CP: €10,70 (valid for unlimited journeys on Carris, Metro and CP (Sintra, Cascais, Azambuja and Sado lines) during 24 hours following the first validation.)

Good to know:

  • Keep the purchase/load receipt with you, as you will need it in case of a card malfunction.
  • You can check your card credit balance at ticket vending machines and the ticket office.
  • The Viva Viagem card is a personal card, i.e. it cannot be used by more than one person at a time, even if topped up with multiple tickets.
  • Simply hold your card over the scanner at the barriers at metro and train stations to pass through. On Lisbon’s buses, validate your journey on the yellow card reader.
  • Once you’ve chosen an option, you cannot change to another type of fare while the previous one has not been used. For example, if you have selected the Zapping option, you must first use all the credit on your card before you are allowed to buy a one-day ticket.

How To Get Around Lisbon

Using The Lisbon Metro

The Lisbon Metro operates from 6:30 am to 1 am, offering a reasonable window for early risers and late-night dwellers. The frequency of the trains during peak hours is approximately every 3 to 9 minutes, ensuring a continuous and efficient service. However, please remember that schedules can vary slightly on weekends and public holidays.

One exciting feature of the Lisbon Metro is that each station has its unique design and theme. For example, the Oriente station is inspired by the sea and has a nautical theme, while the Baixa-Chiado station is decorated with traditional Portuguese tiles. So, remember to keep your eyes open as you travel around the city.

To use the metro system, you can purchase a ticket at the station or use the Viva Viagem card. The Lisbon metro has four lines, colour-coded in blue, yellow, green and red. The lines intersect at various points throughout the city, allowing for easy connections between different areas of Lisbon. All stations have clear signage and maps to help you navigate your way.

  • The Blue Line runs from Santa Apolónia station to Reboleira. 
  • The Yellow Line runs from Rato in the old town to the suburb of Odivelas. 
  • The Red Line goes from the airport to São Sebastião. 
  • The Green Line runs from Cais do Sodré to Telheiras.

Using The Lisbon Buses

The Lisbon bus system, operated by Carris, provides extensive coverage across the city and is especially useful for reaching areas not served by the metro. Buses generally run between 6:00 am and 9:00 pm, with a limited night service operating between 11:30 pm and 5:30 am. To use the bus network, you can purchase a ticket from the driver or use the Viva Viagem card.

To navigate the Lisbon bus system, you must first identify your route. Route maps and timetables are available online, and you will find real-time arrival information at bus stops. However, I found Google Maps the easiest way to plan my journeys in Lisbon.

Using The Lisbon Trams

Lisbon’s iconic trams, operated by Carris, are not just a tourist attraction but also a practical means of transportation, navigating city areas inaccessible to other forms of public transport. The city has six tram routes, the most famous of which is Tram 28, which offers a scenic route through the city’s historic districts.

  • Route 12 tram from Martim Moniz to Miradouro de Santa Luzia in Alfama to Praça da Figueira and back to Martim Moniz in a loop around Lisbon Castle (Circulação Castelo).
  • Route 15 tram from Praça da Figueira to Algés (Jardim) via Cais do Sodre and very useful for sites such as the Torre de Belem, Mosteiro dos Jeronimos and the Museu Nacional dos Coches.
  • Route 18 tram from Cais do Sodre to Ajuda and Jerónimos Monastery.
  • Route 24 tram from Praça Luís de Camões to Campolide.
  • Route 25 tram from Rua da Alfândega near Praça do Comércio, via the Estrela Basilica, to the Prazeres cemetery.
  • Route 28 tram from Martim Moniz via Lisbon Cathedral and Chiado metro station to Prazeres.

To use the tram system, you can purchase a ticket from the driver or use the Viva Viagem card. The trams run approximately every 10-15 minutes, which can vary depending on the time of day and the specific route.

Tram stops are marked with a signpost bearing the Carris logo and the tram number. Route maps and schedules for each tram line can be found at main stops and online. However, remember that trams can get very crowded, particularly Tram 28, so avoid peak times for a more comfortable journey.

Lisbon Funiculars

Lisbon is one of the few cities in Europe with functioning funiculars, or “elevadores” as they are known locally. These cable cars were initially built to help residents navigate the steep hills of Lisbon and have now become a tourist attraction.

Three funicular lines operate in Lisbon, the Glória, Lavra, and Bica funiculars. These can be used with a regular public transport ticket or on the Viva Viagem card. The funiculars run every 15-20 minutes from early morning until late night.

The Santa Justa Lift

Another iconic mode of transportation in Lisbon is the Santa Justa Lift. This iron structure, resembling a giant bird cage, connects the lower streets of Baixa with the upper streets of Bairro Alto and Chiado. It was designed by Portuguese engineer Raoul Mesnier du Ponsard and completed in 1902.

Today, the lift operated by Carris serves mainly as a tourist attraction, offering stunning views of the city from its observation deck. Tickets can be purchased both at the lift or online. The Santa Justa Lift is also included with the Lisboa Card.

Tip: If you want to beat the crowds, you can walk up the steps at the back of the lift, enjoy the views and then enjoy an empty lift back down to the bottom.

Using The Lisbon Train System

While the metro is the most convenient option for travelling within the city, the train system offers a great way to explore the surrounding areas and nearby towns. The train network in Lisbon is well-connected and efficient, providing a faster mode of transportation than buses.

Train stations in Lisbon are well-maintained and equipped with ticket counters, vending machines, waiting areas, and washrooms. Electronic boards display real-time information about departures and arrivals.

Popular train routes for tourists include a trip to the seaside town of Cascais or the charming village of Sintra, home to stunning palaces and castles.

Read More: 5 Must-See Attractions In Sintra, Portugal!

Using Lisbon’s Tuk Tuk’s

Tuk-Tuks offer a unique and fun way to get around Lisbon. Unlike the train and metro systems, which are restricted to fixed routes and schedules, Tuk-Tuks provide a flexible and personalised way to explore the city. These small, three-wheeled vehicles can navigate narrow streets and steep hills, making them ideal for trips around Lisbon’s hilly and historic neighbourhoods.

However, it’s worth noting that while Tuk-Tuks offer the advantage of a private, guided tour, they may not be as cost-effective for longer journeys or regular commuting as the city’s public transportation network.

You will find tuk-tuks parked near most of Lisbon’s famous tourist attractions; expect to pay around €45-70 an hour for up to 6 people.

Here are some of the popular tuk-tuk companies in the city:

Using Lisbon’s Taxis

Taxis in Lisbon offer a convenient and efficient mode of transport, especially for destinations not well-serviced by the public transport network or for late-night travel when other means of transport are less frequent. Taxis are plentiful and can be hailed on the street, picked up at designated taxi ranks, or booked via telephone or mobile app.

Lisbon taxis are black with a green top, metered, and rates are government-regulated. They are generally affordable compared to many other European cities. However, remember that there are surcharges for luggage, late-night rides (9 pm – 6 am), and trips from the airport or major train stations. Taking a taxi outside city limits (like Cascais or Sintra) can also be expensive.

Two leading taxi companies operate in Lisbon, Autocoope – Táxis de Lisboa and Retalis. Moreover, ride-hailing services like Uber are widely used in the city, offering a modern alternative to traditional taxis with the added convenience of cashless payment and trip tracking.

Using Lisbon’s Ferry Services

Lisbon’s ferry services provide a unique and scenic way to explore the city and its surrounding areas. Operated by Transtejo & Soflusa, these ferries serve several routes across the Tagus River, uniting the north and south banks. The most popular route is between Cais do Sodré and Cacilhas, which offers a stunning view of the city skyline and the 25 de Abril Bridge. The trip takes approximately 10 minutes and operates from early morning until late at night.

Another notable route is between Belém and Trafaria, perfect for those looking to visit the beaches on the southern side. Be aware that the schedules might vary, especially on weekends and holidays, so always check the timetable on the operator’s website. Tickets can be purchased at the terminal or through the VIVA Viagem card.

Final Thoughts

As we have seen, Lisbon offers many convenient options for getting around the city. Exploring the scenic sights and sounds of this charming city is made easier with the help of its accessible public transport systems.

From its electrical trams that take you along cobblestoned streets to its metro network, Lisbon’s transportation services are simple enough for everyone, no matter how familiar they are with the city. We hope this guide gives you a better idea of what kinds of transport are available in Lisbon and helps you make your trip all the more enjoyable.

Thanks so much for stopping by; I appreciate everyone who takes the time to read and make it to the end! I have lots of exciting new content in the next few weeks, so make sure you pop back to catch up! 

Remember to follow our social media accounts for more travel inspiration and updates. 

Happy travels!

A Complete guide to using Lisbon public transport!
A Complete guide to using Lisbon public transport!

Sharing is caring!

Similar Posts