Lisbon Travel Guide

Getting Around

Metro and Buses

Lisbon has a very efficient public transport network that covers the entire city in addition to the surrounding areas.

Lisbon's recently refurbished metro system is clean, quick, and efficient. While metro announcements are made only in Portuguese, signs and ticketing machines are generally bilingual in Portuguese and English.

The extensive bus and electrico (tram) network is run by Carris .

The best and, in many cases, the sole way to pay for city transport is buying a rechargeable green-colored card 7 Colinas (Viva Viagem) . It is valid for metro, trams (electrico), urban trains, most buses and ferries. The exception is buses run not by Carris—other bus companies have their own tickets. The card itself can be purchased for €0.50 (this price doesn't include any trips—add as many trips as you want), and remains valid for a year.

The Viva Viagem card can be charged in three different modes:

Single tickets for bus or metro (€1.40 - as from 1 January 2013)
Day pass for metro and buses (€6 plus €0.50 for the card the first time. The card is valid for unlimited use for 24 hours from time of purchase and can be re-charged each day).
Zapping. This mode gives you slightly more credit than you pay for (for example, you will have to pay €10.00 for €10.75 of credit). It also offers flexible rates: every journey costs €1.25 (as from 1 January 2013), and you get a small discount for two contiguous journeys, e.g., if you change from metro to bus. The downside is that zapping in ticket machines can be done with round amounts only: €5, €10, €15. If you have a bit of unused money, it is wise to go to the ticked desk and there they do zapping for any amount. This way you can fully utilize your money on the card before going back to your country.

There are ticketing machines located at the train or metro stations, which also provide instructions in English. You can also buy the ticket from the driver or machines on board (the latter only available in some new trams). Tickets purchased from a driver will not include a Viva Viagem card, and will cost more (€1.75 for bus and €2.85 for trams instead of €1.15 if you use the rechargeable card), so it makes more sense to buy the ticket before starting the trip.

When using suburban trains, your tickets are charged onto the same kind of Viva Viagem cards. You cannot have more than one kind of ticket on one card, however, so you will probably need at least two of them, one for zapping (regular bus and metro use), one for suburban travel. The TransTejo (TT) ferries can make you buy yet another "Via Viagem" card with white stripe in the bottom, claiming that CP or Carris "Via Viagem" cards are not valid for them.

If you plan to be in Lisbon for an extended time (1 week and more), you can purchase an unlimited pass that covers buses, metro, and funiculars. It takes 10 days, or if you need it quicker you can pay an extra €5 for next-day delivery at the Carris station in Santo Amaro or at the subway stations in Marques de Pombal, Alameda and Campo Grande. The base price is €12 for the Lisboa Viva card, plus €29 for a one-month unlimited pass. Bring a photo ID (passport), passport photos (the stations also have photo vending machines that take passport photos), and cash.

By bicycle

Cycling within the city is now much easier because of the work the municipality has been putting in with bike lanes, slowing car traffic, changing car traffic patterns and adding speed bumps etc. but of course parts of the town will always be part of the surprisingly hilly outlet of Lisbon. If you plan to cycle these note that some of these streets do have tram lines, potholes and absent of designated bicycle lanes, so visitors wishing to venture into city traffic by bicycle should be used to urban riding. Riding on the sidewalk is not recommended. It is advisable to get advice at local bikeshops.

Although better than in recent years there are still bike lanes in town the newest, nice and safe stretches from Baixa to Belem along the beautiful river Tejo water front aptly known as the Poetry Bike Lane

These days car drivers are often weekend cyclists and way more careful with cyclists, more than ever before.

Good spots for anyone to cycle safe are along the flat riverfront area streching from Parque das Nacoes, to the central area of Cais Sodre, where you can rent bikes look below for bike iberia, and particularly from here to Belem.

Must do for all travelers or cycling enthusiasts: A scenic and safe bike ride on bike lane from Baixa along waterfront to the historical area of Descobertas-Belem-Jerónimos.

Just outside of Lisbon -you can take a free bike (but often in poor condition and limited offer) on trains or ferries- along the coast from Estoril towards the beautiful beach of Guincho, reach Sintra, Cascais or Costa da Caparica. If traveling from Lisbon (and back) you should consider renting a bike there as there are no restrictions, nor additional charges, on traveling with bicycles on commuting trains.

If you take a bicycle in public transportation beware of the following:

Metro: During working days you are allowed to carry bicycles in the metro only after 8:00PM. On weekends, it's allowed and it's free of charge.
Commuting trains: You are allowed to carry bicycles in the trains for free, everyday of the week just be reasonable and avoid rush hour passenger patterns.
Ferries: Bicycles travel for free, you are allowed but there are strict limitations on the number of bikes allowed depending on ferry lines and ferry boat type, arrive early and you shall avoid disappointment.
Bike Buses: There are 6 lines of the public bus company "Carris" in which you can put your bike inside.

Bike shops in Lisbon town center are rare. You can find a SportZone near Rossio or in major shopping malls. Ask there for specialist shops, shop assistants are usually very helpful.

By car

Think twice before using a car in the city unless you are prepared to spend hours in traffic jams and looking for parking space. The busy traffic and narrow streets with blind corners can be overwhelming to tourists. Also, due to lack of space and overcrowding, parking is difficult and annoying, as well as potentially dangerous - check the "Stay Safe" section below, regarding potential problems with criminals and homeless people who stand near parking spaces to "help" you park your car and then attempt to extort money from you.

Walking

If your accommodation is in the center of the city, walking is a great alternative. Many of the attractions of the city, such as the Castelo and the Alfama and Bairro Alto districts, are within easy walking distance of the Baixa.

If you become lost or cannot find the location you are looking for, try to locate the nearest Carris bus or tram stop. Most of these stops (not all) have a very good map of the city with your current location clearly marked on the map. All the prominent tourist sites in Lisbon are also shown along with an index at the bottom of the map. A quick consultation with one of these Carris maps should point you back in the right direction.

You may also use the funiculars and elevadores (Santa Justa's). Day passes for public transportation are also valid for those.

Ferries

Ferries connect Lisbon to the suburbs across the Tejo river in the south. Taking a ferry to Cacilhas is a good opportunity to see Lisbon from the water. A ferry is paid for just like a metro trip; you can even use your zapping (using this system will give you a 0.05€ to 0.10€ discount on the single ticket) Viva viagem card.

The ferry boat takes you to Cacilhas (the journey takes 10 minutes) or Trafaria (Almada) (1.15€), Seixal (2.30€), Montijo (2.6€) or Barreiro (this journey takes half an hour) (2.25€).

The boats are operated by Transtejo.

Tours

Hop-On Hop-Off Tours are also a good option to get to know Lisbon. Carristur is operating with the brand Yellow Bus Sightseeing Tours and have tours in double-decker buses and old tramcars. Lisboa Autêntica, a walking tour company, offers unique, specialised tours in English (and five other languages). English tours are "Lisbon Essential," "Old Lisbon," "Lisbon Wine," "Lisbon Gastronomy," and "Fado of Lisbon."

Renting a car

With Budget: If you choose to return a car near your hotel, don't rely that an agent come right in the agreed-upon time: for an agreed 12pm return he can easily arrive at 9am (and will come again upon your call).

source: Wikivoyage

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