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Getting Around in Lisbon

Central Lisbon is relatively compact and easy to navigate. Set on seven hills, the city streets are a mix of wide open lanes and narrower, steep cobblestone streets. With old tram cars rattling past  modern buses, the transportation options are equally diverse. Here’s what you need to know about getting around in Lisbon.

Public Transportation

Carris operates the network of trams, metro, buses and funiculars, in Lisbon. You can buy tickets for each at Carris booths (open from 8am to 8pm daily), in most Metro stations at automated booths, and onboard buses (with change only, no bills) and network train stations. You must show a passport to buy a pass.

Buses, trams and the metro generally run from 6am to 1pm and the fare depends on how many zones you’re traveling. If you aren’t sure, check with the attendant. If you caught with an invalid ticket, you can face hefty fines of over 300 euros. The other main type of transport you’ll see in Lisbon is the funiculars of which there are three that whisk riders up Lisbon’s steep hills. Though the city is quite walkable, these hills are steep and the funiculars serve as a vital part of the transport network. Ferries are also commonly used by locals who take them from the  one side of the Tagus river to the other, avoiding the heavy bridge traffic during rush hour.

Taxis are also an inexpensive and popular option. Fares are very economical and most drivers are honest. You can get just about anywhere in central Lisbon for about 5-6 euros.  Most Lisbon hotels can call you a radio taxi is you have a very early or very late flight, otherwise it’s easy to hail on on the street.


Lisbon’s main departure point for international destinations and central/northern Portugal is Santa Apolónia Station.  All the trains that depart from Santa Apolónia Station also stop at Estação Oriente. If you accidentally get off here, it’s a 15 minute ride on the Metro into Lisbon. High-speed Alfa trains depart for Oporto every and taking less than three hours, so if you are exploring these two cities of Portugal by train, the connection is an easy one.

By car

While a car does come in handy if you want to explore further off the beaten path where train and bus service is not as good, for the most part a car is an unnecessary burden, particularly in cities like Lisbon. Plus, with so many options for what to drink in Portugal, from the delicious port to local ginjinha, you don’t want to have to worry about driving.

Photo by predosimoes7