Are you traveling to Portugal? Here are the best tips for your trip to Lisbon!
How To Use Public Transportation In Lisbon
Usually in Europe, public transportation is the best way to get around, and Lisbon is no exception. It’s cheap, and in some areas of the town, public transportation works better than anything else.
Bus, Metro, Tram, And Train Tickets in Lisbon
If you take the bus or the tram, you can buy tickets from the driver. However, it’s more expensive (3€ per trip), and if you take several trips in a day, you’ll end up paying a lot. That’s why I advise you to purchase a 1 Day ticket ( valid for 24h), for 6.45€, 9.60€, or 10.70€, for every day you spend in Lisbon.
- The 6.45€ ticket is valid on all Carris and Metro networks, including buses, trams (including the famous tram 28), elevators, and funiculars, for 24 hours.
- The 9.60€ ticket is valid on all Carris and Metro networks plus Transtejo (Cacilhas river connection).
- Finally, the 10.70€ ticket is valid on all Carris and Metro networks plus trains – CP (Sintra, Cascais, Azambuja, and Sado lines).
You can choose the ticket that best fits your plans. If you’re spending your day in Lisbon, get the 6.45€ ticket, and move around the city by bus, tram, or metro. By the way, this ticket also includes the famous elevators in Lisbon and the ride on the famous tram 28. If you’re going to Sintra or Cascais, get the 10.70€ for the day, as it includes train rides as well.
These tickets can be bought at the machines in the metro stations. First, you will have to get a “Viva Viagem” reusable card (you have to pay a €0.50 fee for it), which you will top-up with the ticket you choose. The 24 hours start after the first validation.
The taxi is another good option in Lisbon because it’s quite affordable, and you can pay with both cash and a card. The basic fare is €3.25 and the kilometer price is €0.47. In many cases, a taxi is cheaper than public transportation, especially if you’re a small group. Know that you will pay extra if you have luggage, between 9 PM and 6 AM, or if you order the cab at a certain location. Also, remember that in Lisbon, it’s not uncommon to hail a cab on the street. Uber and Bolt also work in Lisbon, but their fares are not necessarily lower.
Things To Do If You Travel To Lisbon
In some cities, if you buy tickets for attractions online, they are cheaper. In Lisbon, it’s the opposite. They call it ‘skip the line’, and charge you extra if you choose to buy your ticket online. Personally, I think it’s worth it, considering that for some attractions the lines are huge. However, if you are on a budget and a patient person, just go to the ticket offices at every attraction and purchase the tickets there.
Important info: in Portugal, museums are closed on Mondays.
1. Belém Tower
The Belém Tower skip-the-line ticket for an adult costs 9€, and kids enter for free. They have all kinds of discounts – for seniors, students, or groups – but you will have to buy those at the ticket office which is situated in the park near the tower. The general ticket is cheaper if you buy it there, too. In 2022 it was 6€ if you waited in line. However, the extra 3€ is worth it, because you’ll do a lot of waiting while visiting the tower.
The staircase is very tight, so people wait in line to go to the superior levels, and then again to go back down. The visiting time is about 1 hour and 30 minutes, and a lot of that time is spent waiting to go up or down the stairs. And if you have to spend another half an hour just to buy a cheaper ticket… for some, this could be frustrating.
I do recommend visiting the tower, because it’s an impressive building with nice views, and you’ll take some great pictures there.
Here are the Belém Tower visiting hours:
- From May to September: 10 AM – 6.30 PM
- From October to April: 10 AM – 5.30 PM
- Closed on Mondays, January 1st, Easter Sunday, May 1st, June 13th, and December 25th.
You can buy skip-the-line Belém Tower tickets online here.
2. Tram 28
I’m gonna write an unpopular opinion here, but I’m hoping that someone will learn from my experience. The tram is gorgeous and so well-preserved, and the trip was wonderful. However, the wait was awful. We waited for more than an hour to get on it, and in the beginning, they only allow as many people as there are seats (about 30). Nevertheless, at each station people get on, and it gets very, very crowded. The tram leaves from Praça Martim Moniz and travels for about 40 minutes to Campo Ourique, where everyone gets off.
My tip: Instead of queuing for an hour in the heat at Praça Martim Moniz, you take it the other way around. No one waits in line at the Campo Ourique station, and the tram goes back on the exact same route. You’ll see the same things and won’t waste an hour of your life like I did, waiting in line to get on the tram. Well, two, because I had to take the tram back and made the trip twice. The ticket is included in the daily public transportation pass, but you can also buy it from the driver for €3.
3. Castelo de S. Jorge
Such a nice castle! To get there, we took the famous 28 tram, got down at the Castelo station (at Miradouro das Portas do Sol), and from there we had to walk to the castle. It was during a heat wave, we had to walk up some stairs, and by the time we arrived at the castle, we were exhausted.
TIP: If you want to avoid that, there is another bus (737) that takes you to the gate of the castle.
The castle is amazing. The views from up there are breathtaking and it has a nice park where cute peacocks walk around. It’s really worth the visit. The skip-the-line ticket costs €12.00 and you can buy one by scanning the QR code displayed at the entrance.
Here is the Castelo de S. Jorge schedule:
- From March to October: 9 AM – 9 PM
- From November to February: 9 AM to 7 PM
- Closed on May 1, December 24, 25, and 31, and January 1.
- The castle is open on Mondays, too.
4. Miradouro de Santa Luzia
The Miradouro de Santa Luzia is a romantic spot with a gorgeous panoramic view. There is a beautiful terrace where you can take photos and admire the architecture, the blue ocean, and several pieces of azulejos (the iconic Portuguese ceramic tiles). It’s very close to Castelo de S. Jorge, and it’s a good spot for a cup of coffee.
5. Lisbon Cathedral
I am so happy I visited this iconic landmark in Lisbon. A short walk (5 minutes) down the hill from Miradouro de Santa Luzia, this church is on a lot of postcards from Lisbon. You begin by visiting the museum upstairs and the upper choir, then you go out to a balcony with a nice view over Lisbon, and afterward, you spend some quiet time in the gorgeous church. You’ll love it.
Tickets for Sé de Lisboa cost €5 and can be bought at the entrance, or online, here.
6. Jerónimos Monastery
The Jerónimos Monastery is another must-see attraction in Lisbon. We’ve spent over an hour here because there are so many beautiful details to admire. It was one of my favorite attractions in Lisbona!
Here are Jerónimos Monastery hours:
- From October to April: 10 AM to 5:30 PM.
- From May to September: 10 AM to 6:30 PM.
- Closed on Mondays, 1 January, Easter Sunday, 1 May, and 25 December.
Jerónimos Monastery Online tickets:
Tickets start at €10.00, and you can buy them online here, or at the ticketing machines at the Monastery.
7. Padrão dos Descobrimentos
This monument is an iconic landmark in Lisbon, so you’ll have to see it. The sculpture is a tribute to navigators, cartographers, warriors, colonizers, missionaries, chroniclers, and artists from the age of the Discoveries. 32 important Portuguese characters are portrayed on the monument.
8. Time Out Market Lisbon
Now, this is a nice market! More like a huge food court with local treats, this is a good place to eat and drink in Lisbon. There are so, so many options to choose from. They have traditional Portuguese food, desserts, and wines, but also international options, like burgers, or pizza. In the middle, there are tables and chairs where people just sit down and eat together.
Time Out Market Lisbon hours:
It’s open every day from 10 AM to 12 AM, except Fridays and Saturdays when they close at 01 AM.
9. The famous Lisboa lifts.
The moment you step into Lisbon, you will notice that its beautiful narrow streets are built on hills. The Portuguese had to come up with solutions and accessible ways for people to climb up and down these hills. One of them was by using those short trams that could easily make their way among the buildings. Can you imagine a longer tram turning left and right on those streets? Another way they connected the top and bottom of the hills in Lisbon was by building elevators.
There are a few lifts in Lisbon: 3 funiculars (Ascensor da Glória, Ascensor da Bica, and Ascensor do Lavra), and the vertical lifts:
- Chão do Loureiro and Castelo (two elevators that will take you to the Castelo de S. Jorge)
- Elevador de Santa Justa itself is a tourist attraction.
Elevador de Santa Justa
Elevador de Santa Justa is a neo-gothic vertical lift, 45 meters long, that will take you to Carmo Convent. It is a piece of history, and as I said, it is a tourist attraction itself. The lift can take 20 people upwards, and curiously, only 15 people down. Its capacity is pretty low, which means the queues are usually very long. If you don’t want to waste your time in line, you can just admire it from the bottom, then climb the hill on foot, and access the bridge from the top entrance.
Tip: The queues are a lot shorter riding down, so if you want to see the inside of the elevator, you can just take the trip down, and save a lot of time.
At the top, there is a beautiful platform where you can admire a panoramic view, which will cost €1.5. The elevator rides are covered by the 24 h Carris ticket, or they can be bought at the sight at the ticket office located behind the tower, but they may be more expensive.
Tip: Trust me on this, and get the daily bus/metro ticket.
Elevador de Santa Justa hours:
- May to October: 7 am – 11 pm.
- November to April: 7 am – 10 pm.
Elevador de Santa Justa is right next to Carmo Convent, which is another top attraction in Lisbon.
10. Carmo Convent
Here, you will see the ruins of what once was The Convent of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. It is an archeological museum displaying all kinds of interesting things from Portuguese history, including tombs, statues, fountains, azulejos, and two well-preserved mummies.
Tickets for the Carmo Convent cost €5, and here are the opening hours:
It’s open Monday to Saturday:
- November to April: 10 AM – 6 PM
- May to October: 10 AM – 7 PM
- Easter week: 10 AM – 7 PM
- 26th December to 6th January: 10 AM – 7 PM
- Closed on Sundays, January 1, May 1, and December 25.
11. Praça do Comércio and Arco da Rua Augusta
If you’re in Lisbon, you’ll have to go see the Rua Augusta Arch and the Praça do Comércio. On the impressive arch, you can notice sculptures of historical figures like the Marquis of Pombal or Vasco da Gama. If you visit the Rua Augusta Arch you’ll see them up close, and you’ll have a stunning 360-degree panoramic view of Lisbon and its iconic landmarks.
Rua Augusta Arch opening hours:
The arch is open daily from 9 AM to 7 PM
General access starts at €3.
When I told my friends I was going to Lisbon, everyone who’s ever been there said “YOU MUST GO TO SINTRA.” So, I did, and now I’m telling you the same thing. If you’re ever in Lisbon, take a trip to Sintra. This is a stunning mountain area with lots and lots of castles, palaces, mansions, villas, and other impressive buildings. We dedicated one day of our trip for Sintra and thought we would see a couple of castles, but we only got to visit one, because it took us hours. So, my advice is, if you want to see more than a palace, save a couple of days for Sintra.
We researched the internet for the best castle to visit in Sintra and chose La Quinta da Regaleira. Words can’t describe how amazing this place is. We spent a few hours there and it was a truly magical experience. The huge park is filled with the most beautiful plants and flowers, there are all kinds of hidden spots, squares, towers, an Initiating well, underground tunnels, and a small beautiful chapel.
La Quinta da Regaleira Online Tickets
Tickets cost 10€ and can be bought online here.
La Quinta da Regaleira opening hours:
- JAN – MAR: 10 AM – 6.30 PM – last entrance 05.30 PM
- APR – SEP: 10 AM – 7.30 PM – last entrance 05.30 PM
- OCT – DEC: 10 AM – 6.30 PM – last entrance 05.30 PM
- Closed 1 January, 24, 25, and 31 December.
From Lisbon to Sintra and back, I advise you to take the train. The trip lasts about an hour, it’s comfortable, and the trains come every 10-15 minutes.
Cascais is a gorgeous holiday destination, with elegant villas, cobbled streets, a majestuous fort, museums, nice restaurants and bars, and stunning beaches, of course. It’s just an hour away from Lisbon, by train, and it’s a wonderful destination for a holiday or a day trip.
What to eat and drink in Lisbon.
1. Pastéis de Belém
In Lisbon, you will eat many Pasteis de Natas, but none of them will be like the Pastéis de Belém. It is a delicious egg custard tart pastry, traditionally made in Portugal following an ancient secret recipe.
Pastéis de Belém hours:
The restaurant is open every day from 08 AM to 8 PM.
On 24, 25, 31 December, and 1 January, they close at 7 PM.
They have a restaurant where you can sit down and eat, but there is usually a huge queue. We preferred to buy the pastries and eat them in the park across the street. Pastéis de Belém is right next to Jerónimos Monastery, which is where the secret recipe comes from.
Do your soul a favor, and try some clams in Lisbon. They are so delicious!
You’ll see a lot of kiosks selling food, coffee, and drinks in Lisbon. Feel free to try their products! Even if they don’t look very fancy, their street food is usually good. And if you’re in doubt, you can always check their google reviews.
This is one of my favorite types of fish, and I loved my vacation in Portugal because they have so many recipes containing cod. And they’re all delicious!
Another reason I loved Portugal is the wine. They make really good wines! During the day, especially if it’s hot outside, you can chill with a glass of Vinho Verde. And once it cools down, in the evening, you can try their reds, which are absolutely delicious.
6. Pina Colada
While walking around Lisbon, I notices a lot of carts selling non-alcoholic Pina Colada, made with pineapple juice and coconut water. I tried it and it was delicious!
This meal has a little bit of something for everyone: if you like sandwiches, it’s a sandwich. If you like soup, it has a little bit of soup, too. If you like meat and sausages, good news, it has plenty of that, too. And cheese? Of course. Give it a try when you visit Time Out Market.
There are so many types of Portuguese dishes containing seafood, and they are all so good!
Paired with a glass of Portuguese red wine? Yes, please!
I liked everything I ate and drank in Portugal. Well, except for one thing: the beer. Everywhere you go, you will mostly find local beers, which – sorry, Portugal! – aren’t that good. Luckily, they have good Vinho Verde, which makes up for that.