Lisbon has six tram routes, three funiculars, and one vertical lift. They are operated by Carris, the company that also runs buses in Lisbon. Introduced in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, trams, funiculars and lift help make Lisbon’s hills a little more manageable.
Many people assume that Lisbon’s trams and funiculars are just a ride that the tourists go on. While they have definitely become major attractions, locals still use them today, sometimes being their main transport in the city.
Here’s an overview of Lisbon’s trams, funiculars and lift. We give information on fares and how to get tickets, where they go and which one to ride. We describe their routes to help you choose the right line, if you’re going to a specific place or you’re just riding for fun.
Fares and How to Get Tickets
Being part of Lisbon’s public transport network, you can use the Viva Viagem Card on all trams, funiculars, and lift. Choose the ticket that best suits your needs. For example, a Carris/Metro day ticket allows unlimited rides for 24 hours.
You can also buy tickets on board from the driver but they’ll be more expensive.
We assume that you’re in central Lisbon, so all the routes here described are based on your origin around the Baixa area (but they can easily be adapted to the reverse direction). The letter “E” on route numbers stands for “Eléctrico” (the Portuguese word for Tram), and may sometimes be omitted.
- Route 12E: Starting and ending at Martim Moniz, tram 12 makes a kind of circle, climbing from the Baixa to the Castle (Largo das Portas Sol), and glimpsing Lisbon’s Cathedral on its way down back to the Baixa. We could say it’s an abridged, less crowded version, of the popular tram 28 route. The entire ride takes about 21 minutes in light traffic (about 11 minutes if you get off to see the Castle).
Timetable: every 15 – 25 minutes (approx.) 8am – 8.45pm Monday to Friday, 9am – 8.15pm Saturday, Sunday and public holidays
- Route 15E: It’s usually a modern and fast tram (as opposed to the vintage cable car used on the other five lines) that makes the route to reach the Belém area, known for its monuments and museums. Also unlike the other routes, tram 15 runs on a flat area of the city from Praça da Figueira in the Baixa neighbourhood to Belém, and onwards to Algés outside the city limits. The ride to Belém takes about 30 minutes in light traffic.
- Route 18E: The tram 18 route serves Ajuda, a mostly residential area, running between Cais do Sodré and Cemitério da Ajuda. Take this tram if you want the nostalgia of riding on a historic cable car, without the crowds. Of course, the ride is not as scenic as that of tram 28, but still you’ll have the chance to glimpse the River Tejo, especially on your way back while descending Calçada da Ajuda. The ride between Cais do Sodré and Cemitério da Ajuda takes about 30 minutes in light traffic.
Timetable: every 30 minutes (approx.) 6.20am – 8.15pm Monday to Friday, 6.50am – 1.25pm Saturday, the route does not operate on Sundays and in August
- Route 24E: Suspended for 23 years, route 24E reopened on 24 April 2018. It currently runs from Largo do Camões in Chiado to Campolide, crossing the hip and trendy Príncipe Real area. Read More
- Route 25E: Tram 25 route serves Santos, Lapa and Madragoa, three residential historic neigbourhoods. It starts at Praça da Figueira, passing the Estrela Basilica on its way to Cemitério dos Prazeres (tram 28 also terminates here). Cemitério dos Prazeres actually translates to “Cemetery of Pleasures” – a grand and beautiful cemetery, with peaceful avenues and lines of mausoleums, where many Portugal’s eminent personalities are buried. The place also offers very good views of the 25 April Bridge. The entire ride between Praça da Figueira and Cemitério dos Prazeres takes about 30 minutes in light traffic.
Timetable: every 15 – 20 minutes (approx.) 7am – 9pm Monday to Friday, the route does not operate on weekends and public holidays
- Route 28E: The most popular tram route offers a scenic ride through Lisbon’s most typical neighbourhoods. Expect long queues and, most likely, to stand during the entire ride. Read More
Timetable: every 15 – 20 minutes (approx.) 5.45am – 1am Monday to Saturday, 6.05am – 1am, Sunday and public holidays
Funiculars and Lift
Funiculars climb the city’s steepest hills. Of course they also descend them, but you’ll want to catch the ride up (as walking down is easy). So, in what follows we always assume taking the funicular up, rather than down.
- Ascensor da Bica: Connecting Largo do Calhariz and Rua de São Paulo, the nineteenth century funicular ascends one of Lisbon’s steepest hills, crossing the quaint Bica district on its way up towards the Bairro Alto neighbourhood. It’s considered Lisbon’s most picturesque funicular. Read More
- Ascensor da Glória: From Praça dos Restauradores, the funicular climbs up Calçada da Glória towards the Bairro Alto neighbourhood. It’s a fun ride, and in a couple of minutes you’ll be looking at Lisbon’s rooftops. Read More
- Ascensor do Lavra: The Lavra Funicular is the oldest, and least touristy, of all three funiculars still operating in Lisbon. It climbs up Calçada do Lavra in two minutes. At the top, the tiny park, Jardim do Torel, is just a short walk away, offering great views over the Baixa area. Read More
- Elevador de Santa Justa: Unlike trams and funiculars, Lisbon’s only public vertical lift, built in 1902, serves exclusively as a tourist attraction. The view at the top is beautiful, and there’s usually a long queue to ascend it. But if you don’t want to endure a long wait, walk up the hill for five minutes, window shopping on the way, until you reach a square near the Carmo Convent at the top of the lift. Read More
Timetables and routes may occasionally change, check www.carris.pt before you ride.