I love Lisbon so much – I’ve been there at least 4 times in the last year! It’s a great destination to both travel and live and is cheaper than most other European capitals. Lisbon is extremely well serviced by the metro, buses and trams. There are also National Rail and bus links to connect to other cities in Portugal. Transport in Lisbon is relatively cheap and easy to use. So let’s take a look at your options for Lisbon Public transport.
The Lisbon Metro is easy and cheap to use. It goes all the way to the airport (red line) and so when you fly into Lisbon you don’t even need to worry about getting a taxi as long as your bags are manageable.
There are 4 main lines on the Lisbon Metro colour coded Blue, Yellow, Green and Red:
- Blue (Seagull): Amadora este – Baixa Chiado.
- Yellow (Sunflower): Odivales – Rato.
- Green (Caravela): Cais do Sodré – Telheiras.
- Red (orient): São Sebastião – Aeroporto.
The best way to use the Metro in Lisbon is to use a VIVA VIAGEM card as you can top it up as you go – a bit like the Oyster Card system in London. You can also use that on trams and buses.
Expect to pay around €1.90 for a single journey and around €7 for an unlimited day ticket.
You can buy your ticket from the machines. They are easy to use and have an option for English. You can pay with either cash or card – I use my Mutibanco. There are also stalls with real people behind a counter at the busiest stations.
Read our full Lisbon Metro Guide here.
Residents tip – If you are living in Portugal then enter your NIF when you purchase Metro tickets. It can give you tax allowances and is also proof to SEF that you are living in the country.
Trams and Buses
There is an extensive tram and bus network throughout the city of Lisbon.
The problem with Lisbon is that you think that you can walk somewhere but then you are faced with many steps or steep hills. Introducing the elevator trams! Otherwise known as the funicular railway these beautiful yellow trams will get you uphill quickly and they are a beautiful ride – one of my favourite ways to travel in Lisbon!
There are three main elevator trams in the city:
- Ascensor de Bica – Connects Sao Paulo street and Largo do Calhari
- Ascensor de Gloria – Baixa to Bairro Alto along Calcada da Gloria
- Ascensor do Lavra – Connects Largo da Anunciada and Rua Câmara Pestana
Elevador de Gloria is my favourite because the route is full of street art and Grafitti. Locals use it frequently to get up the hills, but be aware that these trams can attract tourists, and so you might want to get there early to avoid queues.
You can buy a ticket on the funicular tram (€3) but it works out cheaper if you just scan your Viva Viagem card (I think it was around €1.50).
Other trams in Lisbon
You can use your Viva Viagem card or pay on the trams. The flat rate for tram fares in €2.85 and again it works out cheaper to top up your Viva Viagem card and use that. Lisbon is currently Some of the most popular routes are:
- E12 – Martim Moniz to Martim Moniz (Alfama)
- E15 – Praça Figueira to Algés.
- E24 – Praça Luis Camões to Campolide.
- E18 – Cais do Sodré to Belem.
- E28 – Martim Moniz to Campo Ourique (Prazeres)
Doors stay open for the whole trip so you don’t need to worry about operating them!
One of the most popular tram routes for tourists is number 28 tram in Lisbon connects Martim Moniz with Campo Ourique. Jump on it at Martim Moniz to do the full route. Alternatively for the opposite less popular route go in the other direction from Campo Ourique. You will pass some of the most beautiful sites of Lisbon include Se Cathedral and pass through the districts of Graca, Alfama, Baixa and Estrela.
It’s one of the vintage trams from the 1930s and a pleasure to ride. Again it can be busy during high season. It takes about an hour to do the entire route and is a lovely relaxing journey. It’s also a beautiful trip to do at night when the city is all lit up. Find more information about the tram 28 route here.
The Lisbon buses are cheap, quick and efficient. Often they have a system where you board and pay (or scan your Viva Viagem or Lisboa card) at the front with the driver and then disembark via the doors in the middle. It works really well for flow of passengers. The front four seats are usually reserved for disabled, elderly and pregnant women. But if you have a seat anywhere on the bus and an old man or lady gets on and doesn’t have a seat, it’s polite to give up your seat for them. This is the Portuguese way which is a very respectful culture towards the elderly.
Without a Viva Viagem card the flat fair for Lisbon buses is currently €1.80 (as of Dec 2021). It usually works cheaper to top up your Viva Viagem and scan it when you get onboard.
Some of the most popular bus routes in Lisbon include:
Buses nº 208, 705, 708, 722, 731, 744, 750 and 783 – these go from the city centre to the airport
Aerobús – This is a direct link from the city to the airport, although in all honesty I usually just use the Metro (Vermelha line – red)
Buses nº 26B, 400, 708 and 728 – connect the city centre and Parque das Nações (the modern seafront area where the Lisbon Aquarium is).
Buses nº 201, 714, 727, 728, 729 and 751 – These buses go to Belem, but my preferred option to get from the city centre is the tram or boat!
Using Taxis in Lisbon – Uber and Bolt
If you have a lot of luggage or prefer to take a taxi for some reason then you should download UBER and BOLT apps. Uber works well in Lisbon and Bolt is the Portuguese version of Uber which many locals use. The advantage of these apps are that you will know exactly how much you are going to pay and you can also put it on your credit card so don’t need to worry about having cash ready.
National Travel – Getting out of Lisbon
Lisbon is well serviced to get out to different cities in Portugal. There are several main train stations including Santa Apolonia, Steve Rios and Oriente. Sete Rios is also the main bus station and the hub for coaches including Rede Expressos.
National Train Travel
Book your trains in advance online with cp.pt and this often works out easier and cheaper. You can use digital tickets and don’t have to print them out (printed tickets are only required for certain rail networks in Portugal such as the Porto Urban line). Just remember to have a power bank with you incase your phone runs out of battery!
There are different options and different types of trains in Portugal. The AF (Alfa Funicular) are cheap but stop at many stops so will take longer for you to get to your destination. The IC (Inter City) will be quicker but more expensive.
When you book online with cp.pt you will be asked for your ID and if you are not a Portuguese citizen the easiest way to do this is to select passport and put in your passport number. You will then need to make sure that your passport is with you when you travel and readily available to show the conductor – they do check.
Trains have numbers in Portugal which are displayed on the platform notice board and also usually on the front of the train. This makes it easy to know that you are boarding the right one. You will need to stick to your carriage and seat number which will be on your ticket – otherwise passengers or the conductor will probably move you!
Some popular train routes that I have used:
- Lisbon Oriente > Porto Campanha
- Lisbon Oriente > Coimbra
- Lisbon Oriente > Faro
You can even get to Madrid by train from Lisbon! If you would like to read more about travelling by train in Portugal then check out this article on how to book Portugal train tickets.
My preferred way to travel around Portugal is by train as it’s so easy and comfortable, but I use Rede Expressos coaches when I’m getting to a place without a central train station such as Ericeira or Peniche. The Rede Expressos coaches often take longer than the trains but they work out a fair bit cheaper. For example, tickets for main destinations such as Lisbon to Porto start from just €5.