To get around Lisbon and save money, buy the rechargeable Viva Viagem card and load with a single or 24-hour ticket, or with money using the Zapping option. The card is valid for one year from the date of acquisition.
While you need Viva Viagem to ride the metro, you can buy on board tickets in Lisbon buses, trams, funiculars and Santa Lift lift, but they’ll be more expensive than paying with Viva Viagem.
You can also use Viva Viagem on Lisbon’s commuter train system, for example to get to Sintra and Cascais, and on ferries across the River Tejo.
Here’s what you should know about the various public transport options in Lisbon.
The metro is the quickest and most practical way to travel around the city. The metro network has a total of 4 lines, each identified by a different colour: green (Telheiras – Cais do Sodré), blue (Reboleira – Santa Apolónia), yellow (Odivelas – Rato) and red (Aeroporto – São Sebastião).
The metro service runs from 6.30am-1am every day.
Some metro stations are contemporary art exhibits, decorated with sculptures, mosaics, tiles and paintings, namely Olaias, Marquês de Pombal, Parque and Aeroporto stations.
Here are some useful stations to visit Lisbon’s main sights and around:
- Baixa-Chiado (blue line): Chiado and Bairro Alto neighbourhoods, and also Príncipe Real.
- Rossio (green line): Praça do Comércio, Rua Augusta, Praça da Figueira, Teatro Dona Maria and trains to Sintra.
- Terreiro do Paço (blue line): Praça do Comércio and the Alfama neighbourhood.
- Jardim Zoologico (blue line): Sete Rios, Lisbon’s long-distance bus terminal with connections to several Portuguese cities.
- Cais do Sodré (green line): trains to Cascais and Estoril, trams and buses to Belém and ferries to Almada.
- Oriente (red line): Parque das Nações and national and international train station.
Tram, Funicular and Lift
Lisbon has six tram lines, three funiculars and one vertical lift operated by Carris. While still a valid transport in Lisbon, they are also a fun way to discover the city.
The vintage tram #28 is now a tourist attraction, and the most popular tram line. It runs through some of Lisbon’s most picturesque places such as Alfama, Graça and Chiado. Go early if you want to avoid the the crowds. On summer evenings, you can enjoy the views as the city becomes quiet if you take the tram between 8pm and 10pm.
Other useful lines are tram #12 that goes through the castle neighbourhood from Martim Moniz, the modern tram #15 connecting Praça da Figueira and Belém, tram #18 between Cais do Sodré and Ajuda, and tram #25 between Rua da Alfândega and Campo de Ourique via Santos, Lapa and Estrela.
Three funiculars and Santa Justa lift climb Lisbon’s steepest hills. Of course they also descend them. Provided you have strong knees, you’ll want to catch the ride up (since walking down will be easy). All are National Monuments since 2002.
Yellow buses are a good option to travel to areas that are not accessible by metro or tram. The bus network is also operated by Carris. The service runs generally from 5am to 11pm.
Here are some useful bus routes to travel around Lisbon and visit the main attractions:
- #727 – Runs through Campo Pequeno, Marquês de Pombal Square, São Bento, Santos and Belém.
- #728 – Runs between Belém and Parque das Nações via Santa Apolónia train station.
- #737 – Mini bus going through Praça da Figueira, Sé, Castelo de São Jorge (castle) and the Alfama neighbourhood.
- #744 – Connects Lisbon Airport and Saldanha, Picoas, Marquês de Pombal and Avenida da Liberdade.
- #773 – Runs between Rato and Alcântara, via Principe Real, Estrela and Lapa.
- #201 – Night bus that runs between Cais do Sodré and Santos (until 5am).
Timetables and route details can be found here.
There are night buses that run between the main city areas. Check the Carris Dawn network.
The commuter train operated by CP is the best option to visit attractions around Lisbon, namely Sintra and Cascais.
The train that connects Lisbon and Cascais departs from Cais do Sodré station, stopping at Santos, Belém, Alcântara-Mar, Oeiras, Monte do Estoril, and Cascais. The train station is connected to Cais do Sodré metro station (green line). The journey to Cascais offers beautiful views of the coastline, and it takes approximately 40 minutes.
Train services to Sintra depart from Rossio station, connected to the Restauradores metro station (blue line). Sintra is served by regular trains (every 15-20 minutes), and the trip takes about 45 minutes. From Sintra station, the National Palace in the historic centre is less than a 10-minute walk away. See this page for Getting Around Sintra and Cascais by Bus, Tram and Bike.
Ferries connecting Lisbon and the Tejo south bank are operated by Transtejo. Several connections per day are available from different riverfront terminals.
- Cais do Sodré to Cacilhas (15 minutes), Montijo (30 minutes) and Seixal (30 minutes).
- Terreiro do Paço to Barreiro (30 minutes).
- Belém to Trafaria and Porto Brandão (20 minutes) with bus connections to Costa da Caparica beaches.
Taxis in Lisbon are not expensive when compared to other European capitals. However, depending on when and where you want to go, it may not be an option that will take you there faster (and it may not be that cheap).
If you are going out at night, a taxi ride is probably the best option if you’re returning late to your hotel. The taximeter is displayed during the entire ride, and it includes the start fee (€3.25 from 6am to 9pm, €3.90 overnight).
Although you might have heard about Lisbon taxi drivers ripping off passengers, namely by taking the longer route, most of them are honest and polite. The older ones might not speak fluent English.
Many taxis now take cards, but you should ask in advance. If you stay in a hotel, ask the receptionist to call for a taxi who accepts payment by card.
You can take an Uber in Lisbon. You need to download the smartphone app which allows you to book a car and pay for it without cash exchanged with the driver. In Lisbon, Uber cars are identified by a TVDE sticker placed on the front and rear windows of the driver’s side.