The Ultimate Guide to Getting Around Lisbonby Akshayaa RaniM, 10 July 2023
Olá, event planners! Welcome to our ultimate guide to getting around Lisbon. We know you’ve got enough on your plate planning an extraordinary event. So figuring out how to get from point A to point B should be the least of your worries.
Luckily, public transport in Lisbon is convenient and well-connected. It’s also pretty budget-friendly and easy to navigate. What more could you want from a city, right?
Well, you might not want more from the city, but at Eventflare, we want to give you more anyway. That’s why we’ve put together this handy little guide covering everything you need to know about using public transport in Lisbon like a local.
So, buckle up and get ready to journey through Lisbon!
Riding the Lisbon Metro
Like most metro cities, the Lisbon Metro is a convenient and speedy way to get around the city. These trains are also known as Metropolitano de Lisbos and are a popular choice with both locals and visitors, no matter the time of day or night.
It’s not hard to find a metro in Lisbon - with four metro lines and 55 area stations, all you need to do is keep an eye out for entrances marked with a big “M’, and you’ll find yourself in an air-conditioned and clean metro station. In fact, if you’re lucky, the metro station you’re at may even have some cool modern art displays.
If you need to get somewhere early in the morning or late at night, the Lisbon metro is your best bet. It operated daily from 6:30 AM until 1 AM, although some smaller stations close at 9:30 PM.
Now, let’s talk about fares and tickets. Lisbon’s metro has two fare zones, but don’t worry, all the main tourist spots and the airport fall within zone one. A single trip on the metro usually costs 1.50 Euros, while 24 hours of unlimited travel will set you back 6.40 Euros (we did tell you the Lisbon Metro is cost-effective, didn’t we?)
The 24-hour ticket covers not only the metro, but also all Lisbon buses and trams, so if you’ve got a lot packed in a day, you know which ticket to buy!
Pro-tip: As you ride the metro, keep an eye out for signs like “correspondencia,” which points you in the direction of line transfers, and “saida”, which means exit and will help you find your way back to the street.
Taking the Tram in Lisbon
For a charming and convenient way to get around the city, the Lisbon tram is a lovely way to travel through the city. Nearly 60 trams are running through 5 routes daily.
While locals and visitors hop on trams every day, be prepared for the crowds during peak hours - this can be quite challenging, so if possible, plan your travel on the trams during non-peak hours.
As for locating a tram in Lisbon, you have nothing to worry about. Trams are aplenty in the city and can easily be spotted by their small yellow signs hanging from lamp posts.
But wait, we haven’t even got to the fun part yet! Many of Lisbon’s trams are vintage streetcars that add a nostalgic touch to your experience. In fact, if you have the time, you should definitely try riding the number 28 tram, even if it’s not on your route.
The tram is a hit among visitors since it allows them to soak in the city’s sights and takes you through many picturesque neighbourhoods. It covers about 9.6 kilometres, connecting São Jorge Castle and Bairro Alto. Along the way, you'll pass through charming areas like Alfama, Baixa, Chiado, and more.
Now, let’s talk about tram tickets. If you’ve bought a 24-hour public transport ticket for the metro or the bus, this is valid for tram travel too but if you haven’t, fret not. You can also buy your ticket onboard the tram. It costs 3 Euros for a single journey but if you’re buying your ticket onboard the tram, bear in mind that you’ll be able to pay only with cash so be sure to carry some loose change.
Hop on a Public Bus in Lisbon
Next, let’s cover travelling by public bus in Lisbon, shall we? Several bus options can make getting around the city a breeze but let’s start with getting into the city from the airport.
If you or your event attendees are flying into Lisbon and need a shuttle service to whisk you between the airport and the city, the Aerobus is your best bet. You can conveniently purchase your ticket onboard. A one-way ticket costs 3.60 Euros while a return ticket costs 5.40 Euros, and it’s probably the easiest introduction for visitors to public transport in Lisbon.
Now, if you fancy travelling around the city by public bus, you’ll be happy to know that Lisbon is well-connected through the city’s Carris bus service. They provide buses that connect the airport to downtown (bus number 744) and also serve various destinations within Lisbon.
Catching a bus in Lisbon is also fairly easy. All you have to do is keep an eye out for bus stops scattered throughout the city- they usually have timetables posted for your convenience. Oh! And here’s another little tip- when you see the bus approaching, it’s customary in Lisbon to wave it down to ensure it stops for you.
As for payment, when it comes to Carris buses, you have a couple of options. You can pay using the Viva Viagem card, which is super handy for all public transportation in Lisbon, or you can buy a 24-hour transport ticket, or you can simply pay cash as you board the bus.
Most buses run until 11:00 PM, and there are even night buses that cover specific routes. Just look up the bus timetable online and plan your journey.
Riding the Ferry in Lisbon
Next, let’s dive into the ferry in Lisbon. Currently, there are five ferry routes connecting three terminals in Lisbon with four terminals on the southern banks.
If you’re looking to explore specific neighbourhoods or simply enjoy the scenic views from the water, there are just two routes you need to keep in mind.
The first is from Belem to Porto Brandao. This route provides fantastic coastal panoramas and a breathtaking sight of the iconic Ponte 25 de Abril suspension bridge. The second is the Cais do Sodre to Cachila route, which offers another picturesque journey across the water.
To hop aboard the ferry, a single ticket will cost you 1.25 Euros. Unfortunately, there are no “round trip” tickets available, so you’ll need to purchase two single tickets for a return journey.
You can buy your ticket at the ferry station or use a Viva Viagem card.
Hail a Taxi in Lisbon
Of course, if you prefer a little privacy while using public transportation in Lisbon, taxis are always at your beck and call in the city. You’ll find taxi stations scattered around Lisbon, making it easy for you to flag down a cab right off the street.
They’re also the best bet for those late-night events (or adventures). The Lisbon Metro stops running at 1:00 AM but if you still need an option for getting around Lisbon after that, book a taxi.
If you prefer to use an app to book a taxi in Lisbon, here are some helpful apps to download:
- Uber: The widely-recognised ride-hailing app also works in Lisbon. Simply request a ride using the Uber app, just like you would anywhere else in the world.
- Bolt (formerly Taxify): This is another popular ride-hailing app available in Lisbon. It's similar to Uber and provides a hassle-free way to book a taxi in Lisbon with competitive pricing.
Both Uber and Boly provide estimated fares, real-time tracking of your driver, and secure payment options within the app, but that’s not to say that hailing a yellow cab off the streets of Lisbon is expensive.
Taxis here are generally cheaper than in most of Europe. It shouldn’t cost you more than 10 Euros to travel anywhere in the city so while they may be more expensive than the metro or public bus, it’s not a large price to pay for the additional comfort!
Get a Car Hire in Lisbon
When it comes to exploring the city, getting a car hire in Lisbon can be a fantastic option. Several car rental companies in the city offer a range of vehicles that suit your needs.
The most popular car rental companies in Lisbon include Europcar, Hertz, Avis, and Budger. You can easily compare prices and book your vehicle online in advance or book it directly from their office.
Rental rates vary depending on factors such as the car type, duration, and any additional services you may require. On average, you can expect to pay around 30-50 Euros per day for a standard car.
However, keep in mind that fuel costs and any additional insurance coverage will be an additional charge. You’ll also need a valid driver’s license from your home country. If your license is in English or another widely spoken language, it is generally accepted in Portugal.
P.S. If you’re hiring a car in Lisbon, make sure you check out some of our favourite hotels in Lisbon to have a comfortable trip.
Other Helpful Tips for Getting Around Lisbon
- Paying on Public Transport in Lisbon
You can buy metro, bus, and train tickets from either ticket offices or automated machines. It’s not only convenient and easy to use, but they also operate in multiple languages including English.
Alternatively, you can buy a Viva Viagem card. A reusable transportation card in Lisbon. It costs only 50 cents to get starters, and it can store various metro tickets, including multiple single fare tickets, the 24-hour pass, or even “zapping” credit.
However, each passenger needs their own Viva Viagem card so if you’re travelling with someone else, make sure each of you gets your own card.
It’s also helpful to note that if you’re planning to use public transport several times during a day in Lisbon but you’re not keen on a 24-hour ticket, you can consider getting a “zapping” ticket.
This ticket allows you to charge credit onto your Viva Viagem card, which can then be used to pay for all public transport. Zapping fares are slightly cheaper, so if you’re on a budget, this is a great idea!
- Public Transport Etiquette in Lisbon
Although public transport in Lisbon is relatively safe, it’s also important to be aware of your surroundings and keep your belongings in front of you all the time. The metro, trams, and buses can get crowded during peak hours and you may want to watch out for the stray pickpocket.
Also, remember that passengers enter buses and trams in Lisbon from the front and exit from the rear. The only exception to this is the Number 15 tram, where commuters can get on and off from any doorway.
You can now unbuckle your seatbelt because we’ve reached the end of our ultimate guide to getting around Lisbon. We hope you’ve found this information helpful and that your event in Lisbon is a smashing success.
Don’t forget if you need an event venue in Lisbon, Eventflare is your best friend. Explore our event venues, insider information on planning an event, as well as our expert advice on things like the best restaurants in Lisbon for a business lunch.
Until next time!
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