For other places with the same name, see Lisbon (disambiguation).

Lisbon (Portuguese: Lisboa) is the capital of Portugal situated on seven hills at the wide mouth of the river Tagus (Tejo) where it meets the Atlantic Ocean. With 545,000 residents in the city and 2.9 million in the Lisbon Region (2021) and a thriving mix of Portugal's rich history and vivid contemporary culture, Lisbon enchants travellers with its white bleached limestone buildings, intimate alleyways, and an easy going charm that makes it a popular year round destination.

Greater Lisbon comprises many other splendid tourist destinations such as the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Sintra, the seaside resorts of Estoril, Cascais, the world class museums, or Almada famous for its hilltop Cristo Rei statue, all of which are connected with Lisbon by excellent public transportation links.


Map of the 24 Freguesias (municipal subdivisions of the Lisbon) which are grouped on the map according to the six main regions of the city

This neighbourhood still bears signs of the Moorish presence in the city, with the buildings very close to each other, and very irregular streets. It's very atmospheric and a great spot in which to wander around. Thanks to the firmer rock it was built upon, it was relatively spared during the Great Earthquake and therefore retains the charm of the winding alleys and azulejo-covered crumbling walls.
  Bairro Alto
Head uphill to Bairro Alto and give your legs a good workout, or take one of the elevadores (funiculars) for stunning views of the city and some wild partying in Lisbon's most popular nightclub district. This district includes the main shopping and leisure boulevard of Avenida da Liberdade, Chiado, an elegant shopping district, and Principe Real, the trendy district with all the fancy shops.
This part of the city was completely rebuilt after the 1755 earthquake by the Marquês de Pombal. The planned layout, greatly different from what you will see in the more ancient neighbourhoods, is a testimony to the ideas of the Enlightenment.
Belém, along with Ajuda and Alcântara, forms the city's Zona Occidental (western zone). Here you will find many grand monuments to the country's maritime history and various cultural sights, including a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  Northern Lisbon
Norte covers a huge portion of Lisbon but is of little interest to tourists, except for the airport and a handful of sights concentrated in the district's southern end, such as the large parks, prominent museums, and modern office towers scattered across Avenidas Novas and the hills of Campolide.
  Parque das Nações
The ultra-modern Parque de Nações district was built at the eastern end of Lisbon for Expo '98 (1998 Lisbon World Exposition), making the most of its riverfront location. Many of the sites still exist, most notably the huge Oceanarium. The Parque is in the city's Zona Oriental (eastern zone), mostly residential neighbourhoods and industrial docklands.


Central Lisbon seen from a plane landing at Portela, looking south; the green strip is Parque Eduardo VII terminating at Praça Marquês de Pombal.

Lisbon is built on seven hills, so getting around Lisbon can be a workout. Many slopes and few really flat areas is one of Lisbon's trademarks. This is also a city of enchanting contrasts: The elegant squares, broad avenues, monumental buildings and rectangular layout of the lower areas quickly gives way to the hilly, narrow, winding, unpredictable and cramped streets of districts such as Alfama and Bairro Alto. The elegant dining rooms and smart rooftop bars of expensive hotels seems like a different world compared to the excellent restaurants disguised behind an inconspicuous façade in a modest Bairro Alto street. Quality patisseries and restaurants thrive side by side with late night bars and noisy discos. The old, tiny squeaky trams (one of the city's trademarks) are no less of a contrast to the efficient metro network.

The Portuguese capital is often perceived as less frantic than other million cities, and traffic and barkers are less aggressive than in many other tourist destinations.


The Castle of São Jorge, constructed in the 10th century, crowns the historical Alfama district.

According to legend, Lisbon was founded by the mythical Greek hero Odysseus, during his travels home from Troy. However, most historians believe that the city was founded around 1200 BC by Phoenician settlers, utilizing the calm and fresh waters of Tagus river and the proximity to the sea. The Phoenician name of the city is Alis-Ubo, meaning "safe harbour". Eventually it became part of the Carthaginian Empire. After the Punic Wars, it became the main trading hub of the Roman province Lusitania, under the name Felicitas Julia Olisipo, later Olisipona. During the decline and fall of the western Roman Empire, the Iberian peninsula was invaded by Vandal and Visigothic tribes.

In 711, Lisbon was captured by Muslim forces. During this period, the Castle of São Jorge was expanded. Much of the Moorish heritage is preserved in the nearby Alfama, the oldest standing district of the city. In 1147, a Crusader army en route to the Holy Land helped King Afonso I conquer Lisbon and return it to Christian rule. After the completion of the Portuguese Reconquista some hundred years later, Lisbon was made the capital of Portugal.

Golden Age[edit]

The Golden Age of Portugal, and consequently Lisbon's history, started in the 15th century. In 1415, the young prince Henry "the Navigator" conquered Ceuta, thereby establishing the first European overseas colony. He later founded the Sagres school of navigation in the Algarve region and thereby sparked the age of discovery. During the reign of King Manuel I "the Fortunate" (1495–1521), Portuguese navigators found a way around the Cape of Good Hope, and Vasco da Gama eventually found the Cape Route to India, thereby ending the Venetian monopoly over European-Far Eastern trade. King Manuel gave his name to the "Manueline" architectural style, of which the Tower of Belém in western Lisbon is probably the most well-known example. On marrying princess Isabella of Aragon, Manuel I ordered the conversion or expulsion of the Jewish and Muslim populations. The Portuguese colonial empire grew steadily through the centuries, and eventually came to include the Azores and Madeira in the Atlantic; Brazil in South America; Angola, Cape Verde, Ceuta, Guinea Bissau, Ivory Coast, Mombasa, Mozambique, São Tomé e Príncipe and Zanzibar in Africa; Ceylon, East Timor, Flores, Formosa, Goa, Hormuz, Macau, Malacca and Moluccas in Asia. The Portuguese Oriental trade led to the establishment of the Japanese port city of Nagasaki in 1571.


With the loss of heirless young King Sebastião in 1578, Portugal entered into a period of succession crisis. By 1580 the Portuguese nobility, keen to avoid a civil war that would disrupt the empire, agreed to enter into an Iberian Union under king Philip II of Spain, cousin of Dom Sebastião which becomes Philip I of Portugal. Due to the Spanish disinterest in Portuguese empire matters and belligerence against the English, the union brings deep discontent within Portugal while the Windsor Treaty with England was suspended due to the Spanish Crown's commissioning of Portuguese maritime assets and resources towards the Great Armada's failed invasion of England. The aftermath caused serious setbacks to Portugal's capacity of maintaining such a vast empire. By 1640 the restoration of Portuguese sovereignty is re-established and the marriage of king Charles II of England with Princess Catherine of Braganza was celebrated as a means of reasserting independence and surety.

Following the Great Earthquake, Marquis Pombal led the effort to redesign and rebuild the lower town in an organized fashion

The darkest known natural catastrophe in the history of Lisbon occurred on All Saints Day (1 November) 1755, when one of the most powerful earthquakes in history destroyed two thirds of the city. The earthquake was powerful enough to break windows as far away as London, and may have killed as many as 100,000 people in the Lisbon area. The catastrophe led to disillusion with the optimism in contemporary enlightenment thought, inspiring the French philosopher Voltaire to write "Poem on the Lisbon Disaster" and Candide. However, the reconstruction of the city, organised by the Prime Minister Marquis of Pombal, became an expression of the enlightenment architectural ideal, with broad streets in rectangular street patterns. The reconstructed areas in Baixa are therefore sometimes called "Baixa Pombalina" and the new buildings were designed with an innovative built-in earthquake resistance framework system. Alfama, in the eastern part of the city, was the only part of the city centre which survived the destruction, and is consequently the only area which has preserved its medieval irregular street pattern.

In the early 19th century after being invaded by France, Portugal fought in the Napoleonic Wars on the anti-Napoleonic coalition side. Although on the winning side of the war, the exiled king João VI and his government decided to set up permanent court in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1808. In 1822, Brazil declared independence from Portugal. A few years later, the sons of João VI vied to rule Portugal by hook or by crook, eventually going into a civil war between the two brothers, autocratic prince Miguel and his more liberal brother Pedro IV. Pedro IV won the war, but died only a few months after the victory, thereby leaving the throne to his teenage daughter Maria da Glória. During her reign, the nearby palaces in Sintra were constructed. During this era, fado music was developed in the Lisbon region.

1900 to today[edit]

In 1908 King Carlos I of Portugal and his heir, Luís Filipe, were assassinated by republicans on Praça do Comércio. The young prince Manuel was also wounded, but survived and assumed the throne. However, only two years later, in 1910, he was dethroned and exiled in a republican coup. In 1916 the Portuguese republic entered World War I on the Allied side. The Portuguese democracy didn't last long. In 1926 General Óscar Carmona seized power and imposed a dictatorship. He appointed Prof. António de Oliveira Salazar as finance minister who later became prime minister; he then implemented a corporatist governing style known as Estado Novo (New State), under which the state reorganized all aspects of life from an economic perspective while ignoring civil liberties. During World War II Portugal asserted a neutral position, but ceded the Azores to the Allied cause. After WWII Portugal, becomes a NATO founding member. During the Cold War, Portugal enjoys record levels of economic growth. In 1961 the Indian Union unilaterally annexes Goa and by 1960 the African colonies want independence but Salazar refuses their demands and plunges Portugal into lengthy anti-independence wars while in metropolitan Portugal, civil discontent rises due to the suppression of democracy and civil liberties. State security apparatus PIDE/DGS, arrest, torture, exile and sometimes kill dissents and pro democracy activists. In the early hours of April 25th 1974, a military coup led by leftist junior army officers followed by massive civilian support on the streets of Lisbon, ousted the dictatorship government. Soon after the revolutionary period, Portugal became a democracy and independence was hastily and haphazardly granted to their overseas colonies. Approximately one million overseas, mostly destitute Portuguese, returned to Portugal and become known as retornados. Economically, the country faced ruin but international loans kept it afloat. The new "Constituição" enshrines democracy and everyone's human rights. By 1986 Portugal is accepted into the EEC now EU and gradually begins recovering. In 1998 Lisbon hosted the International World Fair, Expo 98. As part of the fair, the new "Parque das Nações" neighborhood in eastern Lisbon was built, while in the same year the Vasco da Gama Bridge across the Tagus, was inaugurated as the longest bridge in Europe and Lisbon native José Saramago wins the Nobel prize in literature.


Climate chart (explanation)
Average max. and min. temperatures in °C
Precipitation+Snow totals in mm
Imperial conversion
Average max. and min. temperatures in °F
Precipitation+Snow totals in inches
Portugal may be a Southern European country, but Lisbon is a port on the Atlantic coast, so be prepared for wind and rain

Lisbon enjoys a Subtropical-Mediterranean climate, with mild winters and very warm summers. Strongly influenced by the Gulf Stream it is one of the mildest climates in Europe. Among all the metropolises in Europe, here are amongst the warmest winters on the continent, with average temperatures above 15.2°C (59.4°F) during the day and 8.9°C (48.0°F) at night in the period from December to February. Snow and frost are nearly unknown. The typical summer's season lasts about 6 months, from May to October, with an average temperature of 25°C (77°F) during the day and 16.2°C (61.2°F) at night, although also in November, March and April sometimes there are temperature above 20°C (68.0°F) with an average temperature of 18.5°C (65°F) during the day and 11.2°C (52.2°F) at night. Rain occurs mainly in winter, the summer is very dry.

Lisbon is very close to the ocean and that brings windy and fast-changing weather, so you'd better bring a jacket or an umbrella with you, at least in winter, spring and autumn.


The city stretches along the northern bank of the river Tejo as it flows into the Atlantic Ocean. As the terrain rises north away from the water, steep streets and stairways form the old tangled neighbourhoods or give way to green parks in the western suburbs. Basic navigation is easy by learning the main axis from the Praça do Comércio (the waterfront) through Rossio (main square) and Avenida da Liberdade (main street) to Praça de Marquês de Pombal and Parque Eduardo VII on the top. Each neighbourhood (such as Alfama or Bairro Alto) is distinct and easy to recognize. The hilltop castle and the waterfront are clear reference points, and landmarks such as the Santa Justa elevator, the Rossio station façade, the massive Cathedral (Sé de Lisboa), the white dome of Santa Engrácia and Augusta street arch (Arco da rua Augusta) also add to the sense of direction. Also look out for the two huge bridges across the Tejo. Navigating the winding, hilly and narrow streets can be challenging however, only the most detailed map give the precise location.

It's often said that Lisbon lacks a defined "downtown", but tourists will find most of their points of interest in the relatively compact area centered around the vast Praça do Comércio, facing the river. This is the starting point of the pedestrianized grid of Baixa (lower town), which immediately borders other historic quarters of Alfama, Chiado and Bairro Alto. Further northwest from Baixa stretches Avenida da Liberdade (Liberty Avenue), a broad boulevard resplendent in leafy trees, chic hotels and upmarket shops, terminating at the circular Praça de Marquês de Pombal. The financial centre, however, is further removed (hence the notion of "no downtown") up north towards the hills, and not directly connected to the historic districts.

Other districts of interest to the tourists are generally those by the riverside - the historic Belém in the southwest, the modern Parque de Nações in the northeast and the gentrifying Alcântara by the Bridge of April 25.

Baixa (lower town) of Lisbon

Tourist information[edit]

1 Lisboa Ask Me Centre, Pç. do Comércio, +351 21 031-2815. open 09:00-20:00 daily. The sparkling new centre will help you find accommodation and the staff are happy to dispense advice, maps and brochures. Smaller Ask Me Lisboa kiosks are dotted about the Rossio district and airport and their multilingual staff also have maps and brochures.

The Lisboa Card, which can be purchased from tourist information outlets, offers free use of all public transport in the city and free or reduced price tickets to many museums, galleries and tourist attractions. They can be purchased in 24-hour (€17), 48-hour (€27) and 72-hour (€33) denominations. They are not very good value unless you plan to visit a lot of museums, especially so if you are a holder of a student identification card (international or national) since the student discounts to these attractions are often the same as for the Lisboa Card.

Get in[edit]

As one can see when landing, Portela Airport is basically inside the city of Lisbon and minutes from the shores of the river Tagus

By plane[edit]

The Lisbon Airport serves the city. If no flight fits, you can take a plane to Porto or Faro. Both cities have direct trains and buses to Lisbon.

Main check-in area at Terminal 1
  • 1 Aeroporto de Lisboa (Aeroporto Humberto Delgado / Aeroporto da Portela LIS IATA), Alameda das Comunidades Portuguesas (between Loures and Lisbon, 7 km (4.3 mi) from the city centre), +351 218 413 500, . The airport has two terminals. All flights arrive at Terminal 1, while Terminal 2 is used for departures by low-fare carriers. The metro station, bus stops and main taxi rank are at Terminal 1. Terminal 2 is quite distant from Terminal 1. A free shuttle bus runs between the terminals at 10-minute intervals. If you depart from Lisbon on a low-fare flight operated by Easyjet, Norwegian, Ryanair or Transavia, add the extra time needed to transfer to Terminal 2. Humberto Delgado Airport (Q403671) on Wikidata Lisbon Airport on Wikipedia


The airport is a major European hub connection for South America (especially Brazil) and is dominated by Portuguese national carrier TAP Portugal, a Star Alliance member airline that covers an extensive network throughout Europe, Africa and the Americas, usually in codeshare with local Star Alliance partners. This is complemented by SATA International, the airline of the Azores, who connect Lisbon not only to the archipelago but also the East Coast of North America. Canadian and US-based carriers also offer seasonal and year-round direct flights to Lisbon.

Other European flag carriers, especially those allied in SkyTeam and Oneworld, as well as independent, also operate direct flights from major European cities to Lisbon. Portela airport is well served by low-fare European carriers EasyJet and Ryanair, for whom Lisbon is a base, and by others such as Norwegian, Transavia and Vueling.

On balance, TAP has no Asian destinations and Lisbon Airport has few direct connections to Asia. That said, getting in from major Asian and Oceanian destinations requires just one stop in Dubai, Beijing or a major European airport.

Landing approach[edit]

The approach to the airport most often used for landings takes the plane on a majestic sweep over the city. If you come in from North America, grab a window seat on the right side for a free show as you float over the Tagus and both bridges, the statue of Cristo Rei in Almada, the old aqueduct and the football stadium of Benfica; further out you'll easily be able to discern the castle, the streets of Baixa, the old quarters of Alfama and Mouraria, and right before touchdown - the Oriente train station and Parque das Nações.

Getting from/to the airport[edit]

With the station directly underneath Terminal 1, the  Vermelha  (red) line of the Lisbon metro offers a direct underground connection to many destinations in Lisbon, but getting to the historic centre requires at least one transfer

Lisbon's efficient and dense public transportation network provides links form the Portela airport to almost every point in the city, so unless you have heavy luggage or some other reason not to, do take advantage of the public transit options. They're not only cheaper, but taxi drivers in Lisbon also have a somewhat tarnished reputation for poor service and frequent overcharging attempts, even among the locals.

  • Metro - Lisbon Airport metro station is the final destination of the red line  Vermelha  of the metro. The journey to the central Saldanha station takes about 16 minutes and less than 25 minutes are enough to get from the Airport to Baixa-Chiado with a change to the green  Verde  or blue  Azul  lines. A single journey can cost as little as €1.75 using the zapping functionality of the Viva Viagem card (see below).
  • Bus lines 22, 44, 83, 705, 708, 744, 745, or night bus line 208. Bus 44 takes you to the Oriente railway station in about 10 minutes, where you can change for metro and continue to the city centre. Board fare is €2. 7 Colinas transport card (see "Get around" section) can be used which can be bought at the airport post office. You are not allowed to take large pieces of luggage on these buses.
  • Taxis cost about €16.00 from the airport to the city centre (Feb 2024). Charge is according to the meter, adding €1.20 per item of luggage. Taxis are required to have working meters (it is illegal to drive without one) and fares posted to the window in the rear seat. Be sure to ask the taxi driver if he has a working meter before getting into the taxi, and be careful of drivers trying to grab your bags and usher you into the taxi before you can make these inquiries. As with many cities, watch out for dishonesty and if you think you are being charged significantly more ask for their number and a receipt, and make it clear you plan to complain.
  • Ride-hailing: Uber and Bolt serve the airport for about €13 to the city centre (Feb 2024). There is a designated area for "pre-reserved rides". You can hail a ride when you get there. All ride-hailing services must have a visible sign on the outside of the vehicle with the acronym "TVDE" and the request must be made via the mobile application. Unlicensed cars won't be cheaper.
  • Bike - It is quite easy to cycle from the airport to the centre, and could be recommended if you arrive for a cycling trip. After leaving the airport and negotiating a roundabout, merge onto the long and straight dual-carriageway Av. Almirante Gago Coutinho (you should be able to follow the "Centro" signs.) After merging, the route to Baixa is simple and straight. This street later turns into Av. Almirante Reis, and then Rua de Palma, at the end of which you will be right in Baixa.

By train[edit]

The unmistakable roof of Gare do Oriente is a sight to behold
Santa Apolonia is Lisbon's historic train station right at the riverside

There are two main stations, 2 Santa Apolónia in the city centre and the 3 Gare do Oriente, a bit further out and used by the high-speed trains. However, if you are entering Lisbon from the south, you may want to get off at the smaller stations of Entrecampos or Sete Rios. Their metro stations are closer to the historic centre than Oriente (you need to change metro lines to get to the centre from there).

The domestic high-speed line Alfa Pendular connects Braga, Porto, Aveiro and Coimbra with Lisbon from the north and Faro from the south. Prices between the major cities starts at €40 in second class. All trains call at Oriente, only some in Apolonia. The travel times on Alfa Pendular from Lisbon are around 1 hr 45 min to Coimbra, 2 hr 45 min to Porto, 3 hr 25 min to Braga and 3 hr sharp to Faro. Regular Intercidade trains are also available, and by stopping at intermediate stations they add 20 to 40 minutes to each route. Train tickets may be booked directly with the train company, Comboios de Portugal.

An international services is available, the overnight Sud Express leaves Hendaye on the border between Spain and France every day at 18:35. The train calls at Oriente station at 07:20 the next morning before arriving in Santa Apolónia just ten minutes later. Prices vary and can be heavily discounted to less than €40 for cama turista (a sleeping berth in a four berth shared compartment) if you watch the Renfe booking site a month or two in advance. There is no direct service from Madrid.

By car[edit]

Vasco da Gama Bridge

Lisbon can be accessed from six main highways. Coming from the south (A2) or east (A6 - the main route from Madrid), there are the two bridges:

From/to south: The A2 goes all the way to the 4 25 de Abril Bridge (Ponte 25 de Abril), which usually has lots of traffic getting into Lisbon, especially on weekday mornings. This is the best option if you want to go to the centre of Lisbon or to the west (A5 - Estoril, Cascais, Sintra).

To north / to east: If you branch from the A2 into the A12, you'll get to the 5 Vasco da Gama Bridge (Ponte Vasco da Gama), the longest bridge in Europe, it usually has less traffic than the older 25 de Abril Bridge (but a more expensive toll). This is the best option to go to the eastern/northern section of Lisbon (to the airport and to the Parque das Nações - the former Expo 98 site), and also to take the A1 or A8 going north.

From/to north and the airport: Coming from the north, there is the A1, that connects Lisbon to Santarém, Fátima, Leiria, Coimbra, Aveiro, Porto. The A1 ends near the airport. There's also the A8, which goes to Torres Vedras, Caldas da Rainha, Alcobaça, Leiria.

From the west, there is the A5, which connects to Estoril, Cascais, and the IC19 that crosses all the suburbs and ends near Sintra.

Lisbon has three ring roads: The 2ª circular, which connects the A1 to the IC19; the CRIL IC17 (still incomplete), which connects the Vasco da Gama Bridge with the A1 and A8; and the CREL A9, which connects the A1 with the A8, IC19, A5, and goes all the way to the Estoril coast.

By bus[edit]

All nearby cities and most major cities in Portugal have direct buses to Lisbon. The main bus terminal is at 6 Sete Rios (Metro: Jardim Zoológico). The main operator for long-haul buses is Rede Nacional de Expressos.

By boat[edit]

Lisbon is a major port on the Atlantic coast both for cargo and cruise traffic. Most major cruise ship operators include Lisbon in their itineraries, so it should be reasonably easy to find a cruise route that would take you there. That said, regular shuttle ferry traffic is limited to joining the banks of the Tagus river, i.e. there are no ferries to Lisbon other than the small ones from neighbouring municipalities.

The cruise terminals are at:

  • 7 Estação Marítima de Alcântara (Alcantara Cruise Terminal). Estação Marítima de Alcântara (Q10288333) on Wikidata
  • 8 Estação Marítima de Santa Apolónia (Santa Apolónia Cruise Terminal).
  • 9 Novo Terminal de Cruzeiros de Lisboa (Jardim do Tabaco Quay).

For those coming in by smaller boats, the Port of Lisbon operates four marinas - Alcantara, Belem, Bom Successo and Santo Amaro. You can find all the details at the Port of Lisbon website. Alternatively, you may moor at 10 Marina Parque de Nações, which is operated as a separate entity.

By bicycle[edit]

Cycling outside Lisbon can be a challenge, as Lisbon offers far easier cycling than what you may find outside of the city. The further you get from Lisbon however, the easier the cycling gets. You may wish to take advantage of certain regional trains that take bicycles in a separate luggage carriage, allowing you to start your cycling some 50 or 100 km outside of the city.

Read more below under 'Getting around by bicycle'.

Get around[edit]

By public transport[edit]

Lisbon has a very efficient public transport network that covers the entire city in addition to the surrounding areas. It consists of a bus and tram network operated by Carris, the separately-run Lisbon Metro underground rail, as well as commuter trains and ferries which connect Lisbon to its neighbouring suburbs. Additionally, Carris operates three unique funiculars and one public elevator that function as parts of the public transportation system.

Fares and tickets[edit]

The Viva Viagem transport smartcard

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

The Viva Viagem card can be charged in two different modes.

  • Day pass costs €6.80 for metro, buses and trams within 24 hours from the time of purchase (Feb 2024). A pass for €10.80 also includes the suburban rail service to Ajambuda, Estoril, Sintra, and Sado, while a pass for €9.80 includes the ferry service from Cais do Sodré to Cacilhas.
  • Zapping or top up. You fill up the card as you need at the ticket office or machine and every journey will be deducted from your balance. A ride with the bus, metro, and tram costs €1.61 (Feb 2024).

There are ticketing machines 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 (€1.80 for bus and €2.90 for trams), 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 Viva card with white stripe in the bottom. You can however use "zapping" for all transit and then get away with a single Viva Viagem card.

If you plan to be in Lisbon for an extended time (1 week and more), you can purchase an unlimited pass, called Navegante Municipal, 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 €7 (Jan 2021) for a hard plastic Lisboa Viva card, plus €30 (Oct 2022) for a one-month unlimited pass in the limits of the city of Lisbon. For $40 (Oct 2022) you can buy a one-month unlimited pass that also includes buses, trains, and other means of transportation across the entire greater Lisbon area, including Setúbal, Cascais, Estoril, Sintra, and Mafra. To obtain either of the mentioned passes, bring a photo ID (passport), passport photos (the stations also have photo vending machines that take passport photos), and cash.


An elétrico climbing the streets of Ribeira

While numbering may suggest otherwise, Lisbon retains only six of the 28 tram lines it became famous for.

  •  12E  – the shortest line does a loop between Praça de Comércio in Baixa and Alfama
  •  15E  – the longest line connects the Centro Histórico to Belém and beyond
  •  18E  – follows the route of line 15 along the coast until Santo Amaro, where it goes uphill to Ajuda
  •  24E  – connects Chiado to Campolide via Príncipe Real and Rato
  •  25E  – goes from Praça de Comércio through Chiado, along the foot of the Bairro Alto hill and then to Estrela
  •  28E  – takes you on a veritable tour of the hills of Lisbon, starting at Campo Ourique, then going through Estrela, Bairro Alto, Chiado, Rua da Conceição in Baixa, then all the way around the hills of Alfama up north to Graça while ending in Praça Martim Moniz.

At stops and on timetables, the six tram lines are marked with an "E" for elétrico (which stands for "tram" in Portuguese) i.e. 12E, 15E, 18E, 24E, 25E, and 28E to distinguish them from bus services. Buses and trams generally use the same stops.

The "Remodelado" tram cars, built in the 1930s and extensively modernised in the 90s, are used on all lines. The modern low-floor trams are only used on line 15.

Instead of paying for a ride on one of the costly tourist buses, try line 28, which winds its way through the "Old Town" of Lisbon beginning in Graça then down to the Alfama and to the Baixa then up through Chiado to Bairro Alto, and then down to Campo Ourique, taking you by many of Lisbon's most famous and interesting sites including monuments, churches and gardens. The trip is hilly, noisy and hectic but it affords many beautiful glimpses of the city. And, although the tram can sometimes be overrun with tourists, you will definitely get a flavour of the locals, as many Lisboetas commute daily on these historical trams. Tickets cost €1.30 if paid by "Viva Viagem" card and €2.90 if purchased on-board or at a vending machine (these machines do not accept bills, and are sometime even out of change, so make sure you have the correct change!). From start to finish the ride takes around 30 minutes. Beware of pickpockets!

Funiculars and a lift[edit]

A trip on one of the ascensores should be on your list when planning your Lisbon trip.
Elevador de Santa Justa  54E 

Or ascensores e elevador as they call them. The Viva Viagem card is accepted on these routes as well. In 2002 all three funiculars and the lift were classified as National Monuments. Time tables for the lifts in pdf format can be downloaded from the website.

  • 11 Ascensor da Glória  51E  (Glória Funicular), Praça dos Restauradores to S. Pedro de Alcântara (Bairro Alto). M-Th 07:15-23:55, F 07:15-00:25, Sa 08:45-00:25, Su and holidays 09:15-11:55. Inaugurated on 24 October 1885, this funicular was the second to be placed in Lisbon. It is the most visited one in the city. Lower station exactly where Avenida Liberdade connects to Restauradores. Ascensor da Glória (Q99636) on Wikidata Ascensor da Glória on Wikipedia
  • 12 Ascensor da Bica  53E  (Bica Funicular), Rua de São Paulo (Rua Duarte Belo) - Largo de Calhariz. M-Sa 07:00-21:00, Su and holidays 09:00-21:00. This funicular was inaugurated on 28 June 1892 and its route is known as the most typical of the city. €3.70 for a round trip. Ascensor da Bica (Q99630) on Wikidata Ascensor da Bica on Wikipedia
  • 13 Ascensor do Lavra  52E  (Lavra Funicular), Largo da Anunciada to Rua Câmara Pestana. M-Sa 07:50-19:55, Su and holidays 09:00-19:55. The oldest funicular of Lisbon was inaugurated on 19 April 1884 and on that day it worked for 16 consecutive hours, carrying more than 3,000 passengers free. Elevador do Lavra (Q99642) on Wikidata Elevador do Lavra on Wikipedia
  • 14 Elevador de Santa Justa  54E  (Santa Justa Lift), Rua Aurea and Rua de Santa Justa, +351 21 361-3054. Lift: Mar-Oct daily 07:00-23:00, Nov-Feb daily 07:00-21:00; viewpoint: Mar-Oct daily 09:00-23:00, Nov-Feb daily 09:00-21:00. This downtown lift was designed by the architect Raoul Mesnier du Ponsard, a follower of French engineer Gustave Eiffel, and was constructed of cast iron enriched with filigrana details. Inaugurated on 10 July 1902, it connects downtown to Trindade, many metres uphill. It is the only street lift in Lisbon for public service. €5 (round trip ticket purchased onboard), €1.50 (viewpoint only, not including transport); Viva Viagem cards accepted. Santa Justa Lift (Q168001) on Wikidata Santa Justa Lift on Wikipedia


Lisbon Metro Map

Lisbon's metro system (Portuguese: Metropolitano de Lisboa) is clean, quick, and efficient. While metro announcements are made only in Portuguese, signs and ticketing machines are generally bilingual in Portuguese and English. Every line shares at least one station with each of the other lines, so once you are in the system, you can go pretty much everywhere the system reaches to, which is most of the important locations in Lisbon.

  • The blue line  Azul  has perhaps the most tourist-friendly route, starting at the Santa Apólonia train station and stopping at Terreiro do Paço, Baixa/Chiado, (Praça dos) Restauradores, Avenida (da Liberdade), (Praça do) Marquês de Pombal, Parque (Eduardo VII) and Jardim Zoológico.
  • The green line  Verde  stops at Baixa/Chiado as well, and goes to Cais do Sodré, from where you can take trains to Belém, Cascais and Estoril or the ferry to Almada, as well as at Rossio, from where you can take a train to Sintra
  • The red line  Vermelha  starts directly at Lisbon Airport and stops at Oriente (for long-distance trains and the Parque das Nações). That said, one needs to change to another metro line to get to the historic centre.
  • The yellow line  Amarela  is of perhaps least use to tourists as it mostly connects the northern residential districts with the city.

No metro line goes to Belém. You need to take a train from Cais do Sodré, tram line 15E or a bus to get there.

Most of the metro system is a free art gallery. You'll find art by contemporary artists inspired by the stations' surrounding area. Check the subway webpage for more details on this curiosity. The red line is the newest one and has the best pieces of art.

The first metro of each line leaves the terminal stations at 06:30 daily, the last metro leaves the terminal stations at 01:00 daily. Some secondary station halls close earlier, some are closed completely on weekends.


Public buses, just like trams and ascensores, are all painted in the yellow Carris livery

Carris operates a dense network of buses. Bus lines operating in the day start with a "7" (save for the "400" line that runs within the Parque das Nações), and those starting with "2" operate at night (00:01-05:00) when no daytime lines operate.

On the maps and in publications, bus and tram lines are colour-coded with reference to the directions they go to. Orange lines stay within the central area, pink go to the east (Belém and Ajuda), red to the north (Parque das Nações and Portela), while blue and green to the northeast. This is more or less where each of the corresponding metro lines (red, green and blue) go. Grey-coded buses move between the outer districts and do not stop in the historic centre. The buses are all in standard yellow Carris livery and do not carry such indications.

Two of the popular bus lines now offer complimentary NetBus Wi-Fi service - line 736 from Cais do Sodré via Avenida da Liberdade and Avenida da República (stops at Campo Grande, Campo Pequeno and Entrecampos), and line 783 from Portela Airport to Amoreiras shopping and office centre via Avenida da República and Praça Marquês de Pombal. Using those two bus lines you can get to most of the important tourist attractions while enjoying Wi-Fi – simply log in to the "CARRIS-TMN" network while on the bus.

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.


Numerous ferries cross the river Tagus to help commuters and travellers get to Lisbon

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 (€1.20) (the journey takes 10 minutes) or Trafaria (Almada) (€1.15), Seixal (€2.30), Montijo (€2.70) or Barreiro (this journey takes half an hour) (€2.30). The boats are operated by Transtejo.

By bicycle[edit]

Scooters, jump, voi, lime etc.
Scooters, jump, voi, lime etc.

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. Parts of the town will always be surprisingly hilly, however. Some of these streets have tram lines, potholes and an absence of designated bicycle lanes, so if you plan to cycle, you should be used to urban riding. Car drivers are now more often weekend cyclists and careful with cyclists, more than before. Riding on the footpaths is not recommended. Get advice at local bike shops.

There are nice and safe stretches from Baixa to Belem along the beautiful river Tejo water front known as the Poetry Bike Lane. Good spots for anyone to cycle safe are along the flat riverfront area stretching from Parque das Nações, to the central area of Cais Sodre, where you can rent bikes. There is a scenic and safe bike ride on bike lane from Baixa along waterfront to the historical area of Descobertas-Belem-Jerónimos.

Lisbon has a bike sharing program called Gira. Bicycles can be rented using the Gira app for €2 for 45 minutes, or cheaper if with a membership. Electric bicycles are also available.

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 travelling from Lisbon (and back) you should consider renting a bike there as there are no restrictions, nor additional charges, on travelling with bicycles on commuting trains.

If you take a bicycle in public transportation:

  • Metro: During working days you are allowed to carry bicycles in the metro only after 20:00. 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 or Decathlon in major shopping malls. Ask there for specialist shops, shop assistants are usually very helpful.

By car[edit]

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.

In case you decide to travel around Portugal by car, it makes life easier to obtain a prepaid via verde vehicle transponder device, to avoid the hassle and delays of paying for toll charges every time. The procedure to become a via verde "utilizador" is straight forward if one speaks Portuguese; if not, get a local friend to tag along. You need to bring the vehicle's papers, drivers licence and ID. Via Verde offices are in the Loja do Cidadão (Citizen Shop). Local people should be able to direct you to the nearest one; if not, try the internet. On entering the Citizen Shop, be sure to get, from the machines by the doors, a numbered next-in-line ticket for the correct service provider. Without it, you'll not be attended to. When inside with ticket in hand, find out where the Via Verde help desk is, and keep your eye on the TV monitors to see where you are in the queue. Once you are given a device, it must be attached to the interior of the windscreen. Easy-to-follow instructions and a special double sided tape are provided in the kit.

By foot[edit]

Just walking up the hills of Lisbon is a delightful experience, but bear in mind the steep grade of many of the streets

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. Central Lisbon is very intimate and walking is very nice way to get around. However, the city is very hilly, a constant up and down everywhere, and streets and sidewalks are largely covered in cobblestone (some slippery when wet). For visitors with mobility issues, central Lisbon can be challenging.

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. Day passes for public transportation are also valid for those.

Private tour operator[edit]

If it is raining or you looking to explore the city with a guide in a more confort and secure way there are several local certified tour operators that will handle you door2door solution, driving you to the places that the internet doesn't show you and offering some packages for day trips from Lisbon, for example Vipdrive[dead link] and many others.


Tuk tuks are becoming a popular alternative to visit Lisbon. The hills and the narrow streets make them a good option to explore the city. They're easy to find near the points of interest but booking is advisable. Some of the operators are: Tuk Tuk Lisboa, Tuk On Me and Tejo Tourism (which also provides segway tours).


Individual listings can be found in Lisbon's district articles
The grand Praça do Marquês de Pombal is perhaps the most central place in Lisbon, where three major Avenidas meet.
Cathedral of Lisbon and Mouraria
Torre de Belém (Belém Tower), one of Lisbon's most famous landmarks, with Ponte 25 de Abril in the background.
The modern Parque de Nações is in the east of Lisbon

Lisbon is a city on the water—the River Tagus (Rio Tejo)—built on seven hills that are traversed by trams. This has led to comparisons with San Francisco. To provide access from the southern suburbs, Lisbon has two spectacular bridges. The 25th of April Bridge (Ponte 25 de Abril) combines the design of the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge with the color of the Golden Gate Bridge, and it's often mistaken for the latter. The Vasco da Gama Bridge (Ponte Vasco da Gama), Europe's longest, was built in the 1990s for Expo '98. One of Lisbon's great landmarks, Cristo Rei, a 28 m (92 ft) statue of Christ the King on an 82 m (269 ft) pedestal, isn't even in Lisbon itself, but across the river in Almada, big enough to be easily seen from the capital.


Built on the hills east of the Baixa, Alfama survived the Great 1755 Earthquake largely intact. Climbing the narrow ancient lanes provides an excellent workout. You can spare your legs by taking the little historic yellow trams that serve the neighborhood. Major sights include Lisbon Cathedral and St. George's Castle.

Bairro Alto[edit]

The Bairro Alto, or "Upper District" (dare we say "High Neighbourhood"), has become Lisbon's youthful, trendy quarter. The district includes the Chiado neighbourhood, known for its numerous historic landmarks and theatres. Among the district's many sights are the São Bento Palace (where the Portuguese parliament meets), the Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga (a museum of antique art), and the Lisbon Botanical Gardens.


Lisbon's "downtown" was rebuilt in a grid street pattern following the destruction of a 1755 earthquake. The magnificent Praça do Comércio lies on the river, has a tall equestrian statue and is surrounded by lovely yellow buildings. The Baixa has several other noteworthy squares: Praça dos Restauradores, Praça Dom Pedro IV, and Praça da Figueira. The Santa Justa Lift connects the Baixa with Chiado.


Lisbon's western district is packed with famous monuments, especially along the riverbank. These include the Torre de Belém, the Monument to the Discoveries, and Jerónimos Monastery. Museums include the Navy Museum, the Museu Colecção Berardo, and the National Coach Museum.

Northern Lisbon[edit]

This large expanse of Lisbon has a few sights of interest, including Parque Eduardo VII, the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, and the zoo.

Parque das Nações[edit]

The Expo '98 site and its surroundings are now modern residential and commercial areas, maintaining many of the sights from the World Exposition. The Oceanarium is a huge aquarium popular with both kids and adults. The Pavilion of Knowledge features many fun and educational exhibits. The riverside esplanade makes for a lovely stroll, or hop on the aerial cable cars for magnificent views.


Individual listings can be found in Lisbon's district articles

Go out at night to the central Bairro Alto, or 'High Neighbourhood'. Just up the hill from Chiado, this is the place to go out in town. In the early evening, go to a fado-themed restaurant near the Praca Camoes, and head upwards as the evening goes on. If you're in Lisbon on the night preceding a Feriado or public holiday, you have to check this out. Tiny little streets which are empty in the daytime become crammed walkways which are difficult to get through. For more of a clubbing or disco experience, try the Docas district along the marina overlooking the Ponte 25 de Abril.


The Lisbon stage events calendar is a full one all year round. The city presents good quality productions in ballet, modern dance, chamber music, opera and theatre. The Teatro Nacional de São Carlos is a magnificent opera house in the La Scala tradition.

On a light note, there's also "Teatro de Revista", a kind of social/political satire theatre that was born in Lisbon. English-language productions are staged. It's one of the local culture favourite live entertainment shows to see when you visit the city but you can only find it in the Parque Mayer. Due to high demand, you should buy tickets in advance. To do so for any of the shows, ABEP "Agência de Bilhetes para Espétaculos Públicos" (Ticket Agency) is the place to contact.

Recurring events[edit]

  • Moda Lisboa, Rua do Arsenal, 25, +351 21 321 30 00, . March. Lisbon Fashion Week.
  • Peixe em Lisboa. April. A food festival, with focus on fish dishes.
  • Dias da Música em Belém. End of April. A music festival held in Belém in western Lisbon.
  • IndieLisboa, +351 213 158 399, . May. An independent film festival. In addition to screenings there is also a large number of lectures and seminars.
  • Rock in Rio Lisboa. Late May or early June every other year (every even numbered year). A major rock music festival, branched from the famous Rock in Rio de Janeiro.
  • Festas dos Santos. June. A number of large fiestas celebrating different catholic Saints, with parades during the day and fire work shows by night. The first and largest fiesta celebrates Saint Anthony on 13 June. It is followed by the celebration of Saint John the Baptist on 23 June and Saint Peter on 28 June.
  • Jazz em Agosto. August. A annual jazz festival organized by the Gulbenkian Foundation.


Lisbon is home to some famous sport clubs. Scheduled sporting events take place throughout the year with football dominating proceedings, however indoor sports like, basketball, futsal, roller hockey, and handball, also take place, as well as most Olympic codes.

Football: three city teams play soccer in Primeira Liga, the top tier:

SL Benfica play in Estádio da Luz, capacity 64,600, 3 km north of the centre, metro Luz.
Sporting CP play in Estádio José Alvalade, capacity 50,000, 4 km north of the centre towards the airport, metro Campo Grande.
Casa Pia play at Estádio Pina Manique, capacity 2500, to the northwest.

Autódromo do Estoril hosts motor racing. For details contact the ACP Automóvel Clube de Portugal (Portugal Auto Club).

Estoril Open is an ATP sanctioned tennis event played every April/May.


The pedestrianized Rua Augusta may be touristy, but nonetheless can be a good start for a shopping trip of Lisbon

Shops are open a little later than other places in Europe, usually around 09:30-22:00, and the lunch breaks can be quite long, usually from 13:00 to 15:00.

You can buy a Lisbon Shopping Card, which gives you 5% to 20% discounts at about 200 major stores in Baixa, Chiado and Av. Liberdade for a period of 24 hours (card costs €3.70) or 72 hours (card costs €5.70).

Shopping streets[edit]

  • Baixa: From Praça do Comércio (aka Terreiro do Paço) to the Restauradores, the Baixa is the old shopping district in the city. It includes pedestrian Rua Augusta which has the most boring and mass-visitor tourist stores, and several European chain clothing stores like Zara, H&M, Campers.
  • Chiado: a number of independent shops and services and well known brands such as Hugo Boss, Vista Alegre, Tony & Guy, Benetton, Sisley, Pepe Jeans, Levi's and Colcci, which makes Chiado, together with Avenida da Liberdade, one of the Top 10 places to shop in the world. Some informal brands like Crumpler are also there. The Portuguese perfume and beauty products house Claus Porto has a shop in Rua da Misericórdia, well worth it dropping by.
  • Avenida da Liberdade: Louis Vuitton, Calvin Klein, Timberland, Massimo Dutti, Armani, Burberrys and Adolfo Dominguez are just some of the shops you'll find across this avenue, which is not just one of the most beautiful and wide in the city, but also one of the fanciest with splurge hotels and restaurants.

Malls and markets[edit]

The rectangular street grid of Baixa is full of elegant shop fronts

While most stores are closed on Sundays, many malls are open 7 days a week. They usually open around 09:30 and close by 23:00 or 24:00, although the film theaters within them usually run a late session starting after 24:00. Grocery stores are closed on Sundays after 13:00, except (a) those smaller than 2000 m2 or (b) from November 1 to December 31.

Souvenirs and notable stores[edit]

Portugal is the largest producer of cork in the world, and there is a vast range of souvenir cork items for sale in Lisbon. Another typical Lisbon item is the "Azulejo" glazed tile, which dresses many local buildings to protect them from fires.

Locals advise against buying old azulejo tiles at flea markets, as they may have been stolen from buildings across the city.


Time Out Market, in the Mercado da Ribeira
Individual listings can be found in Lisbon's district articles

Portuguese dining rituals tend to follow the Mediterranean siesta body clock. Most restaurants are very small, family-run and generally cheap. Some of them have a sheet on the door with the pratos do dia (dishes of the day) written on it – these dishes are usually cheaper and fresher than the rest of menu there, and unless you're looking for something specific, they're the right choice. During the dinner the waiter will probably bring you some unrequested starter dishes (called couvert); as those are not free, don't feel obliged to touch them and they will not be charged on your bill (but check it!).

Traditional Portuguese restaurants are in Bairro Alto, scattered abundantly through its quirky narrow streets, and for Portuguese traditional cuisine at its finest, head to the area of Chiado. Tour groups primarily feel at home in Alfama. Tourist traps with laminated menus and meal deals are mostly concentrated in the Baixa area; one exception to this is the Rua das Portas de Santo Antão, a 'seafood strip' northeast from and parallel to Praça dos Restauradores. If you feel like eating with the local people, try the Castelo neighborhood, the smaller family run places serve a fixed daily menu and are not expensive, getting up there by foot will open an appetite, or else go in the elétrico. For a familiar taste at one of the many chain eateries, head to Doca de Santo Amaro (train/tram 15 station Alcantara-Mar) and Parque das Nações (metro Oriental). All the culinary and clubbing kudos is right now concentrated in Doca de Jardim de Tabaco (piece of river waterfront right under Castelo de Sao Jorge). Quality dishes for a high price are in well-to-do Lapa. The Pastel De Nata is one of Portugal's most well known foods, with this delightful custard egg tart best found in Belem.

Try the magnificent pastéis de nata at any pastry shop.

Never ask a taxi driver about which restaurant you should go to – they will take you to an expensive tourist-oriented restaurant, where they will receive a commission.

You will find traditional meals served in small coffee shops and restaurants, especially in the old parts of town. Some will be better than others, just check if there are a lot of locals eating there! They will be very cheap (as little as €5 for a full meal) and home-style cooking. The owners probably won't speak English and the menu will probably be in Portuguese only!


For an (expensive) cup of coffee in the heart of Lisbon, head to the pedestrianized Rua Augusta
Fado performance.
Individual listings can be found in Lisbon's district articles

Lisbon is known for its lively nightlife. For going out, stroll around the old neighborhood of Bairro Alto for an after-dinner caipirinha or ginjinha and people-watching. Its small streets, full of people, are packed with a high variety of bars. On weeknights bars close at 02:00, weekends at 03:00. The party continues in a night-club after that. Just follow the hordes of people down the hill - people have been doing that for hundreds of years.

Alcântara, Santos, Parque das Nações, and the castle area are all neighborhoods with a thriving nightlife. The whole area near the river/Atlantic, known as the docas, is a huge hub for nightlife, as Lisbon has never lost its ties to the sea.

Fado (fate) is a type of folk music which developed in Lisbon during the 19th century. The music is often melancholic, capturing the nostalgic feeling of "Saudade". In 2011 fado was added to UNESCO's list of Intangible Cultural Heritages. It's usually sung by a woman in a black dress, accompanied by mandolin and guitar. However, it is not uncommon with male singers or additional instruments. There are plenty of fado bars around Lisbon, offering foods and drinks. They are especially common in the Bairro Alto and Alfama districts, and in Alfama you can also find a Fado museum. Beware that you'll pay more than in normal restaurants, and the food and drink quality may not be up to the price, you're paying for the music experience.


Câmara Municipal (City Hall)
Individual listings can be found in Lisbon's district articles

Finding a decent sleeping place in the centre should not be a big problem. There is a tourist service centre in the airport, where a room can be booked for you. Expect to pay between at least €55 for a double room. If you are in Lisbon for sightseeing (especially for your first visit), the best location is along the route of tram #28 (see official map of the route). This especially works if you are with a baby stroller, as it will save from huge part of hill-climbing.

Lisbon sets high standards for budget accommodation, with numerous clean and active hostels around the city. Prices in the historical center start around €30, and can get cheaper farther out.

Stay safe[edit]

Lisbon is generally safe, but use common sense precautions, especially at train stations and on public transport.

Some areas are best avoided late at night because of the risk of mugging: Bairro Alto, the alleys, Cais do Sodre. Some night clubs in Lisboa have a poor reputation.


The most common crime against tourists is pickpocketing and theft from rental cars or on public transport. The metro carriages can become crowded and opportune for pickpockets but simple precautions are enough to maintain your safety while travelling on them.

Violent crimes[edit]

There are some instances of violent crimes (e.g. robberies) and some drug related crimes in places such as Bairro Alto and Santos, especially at night. Chances are you'll be approached at least a few times by certain types offering 'hash' or 'chocolate', especially in the downtown area on and around Rua Augusta. If you are of fair complexion or obviously a tourist you are more likely to be approached. Also, due to soaring house prices, the Baixa area is not inhabited by a lot of people - as soon as the shops and offices close at night, the area sometimes becomes fair ground for muggers - caution is needed in back streets, and walking alone is not advised unless you know the area well.

It's also encouraged to be wary of the Intendente-Martim Moniz area. Intendente is a well known area for prostitution and drug trafficking, and even though the situation has changed in the past couple of years (police now regularly patrol the area), it is still problematic. Martim Moniz is also notorious, at night the area occupied by shifty crowds that more often than not will cause some trouble. During the day, however, Martim-Moniz is quite safe and pleasant.

Also be careful with bank machines in the city center. Groups of adolescents occasionally stay close to the multibanco and wait until you have entered your pin. They then force you away from the machine and withdraw the maximum amount from the machine (€200 maximum per withdrawal; however, two withdrawals of €200 per day per bank card are allowed). Try to withdraw money earlier in the day and try to avoid some of the train stations late at night, especially Cais do Sodre station.


Criminals in Lisbon are very quick and witty and think of scams about how to get money from you (like pretending that they need to "borrow" money from you promising to pay you back in a few hours). In cases they might work in pairs, one offers drugs, while a second approaches you and the first pretending to be a cop, and asking you to pay a "fine" if you don't want to go to jail. Just walk away and avoid any interaction from the first moment, if you are approached. Young tourists will likely be approached by many people especially near the Chiado Plaza. A firm 'no thank-you' ("não, obrigado" - if you're a male, "não, obrigada", if you're female) should be enough to deter them.


Also, if you are driving a car, you should be on the lookout for one of Lisbon's greatest plagues: "arrumadores" ("ushers"). These are drug addicts, petty thieves or homeless people who stand near vacant car parking spaces and "help" you to park your car even though no help is obviously needed. As soon as you step out of the vehicle, the "arrumador" will try to extort money from you as payment for the "service". They might also pretend to be "official" parking space guards or security and promise to keep an eye on your car - obviously they will leave as soon as you give them money and walk away. If you ignore them or don't pay them, there is a slight risk of having your car robbed or damaged (scratched, windows broken, etc.).

Although "arrumadores" are not excessively dangerous, caution is always needed: many have been known to use this scam to attack or rob people, and instances of carjacking have been reported, specially when unescorted female drivers are concerned. Generally, you should always avoid "arrumadores" and simply look for another parking space (preferably in an area where more people are around) or just park in a private parking lot, which is a bit more expensive but a sure way to avoid this hassle.

Walking and driving[edit]

Lisbon has one of the highest rates of car accidents in the European Union, so be extra careful when crossing the streets. Drivers don't usually respect pedestrian crossings unless there is a red light for them to stop.

Driving can be tricky without a GPS system as there is poor signalling in the streets. Drivers overall are not too aggressive compared to other European capitals, although this is disputed by (mostly Spanish) tourists.

In case of emergency[edit]

Ambulance, fire brigade, police: call 112.

Same number is used with both landline and mobile phone. The number works on any mobile phone, whether it is key locked or not and with or without SIM card.

Portugal has two main police forces - the Republican National Guard (GNR) and the Public Security Police (PSP). Both can be contacted, but the PSP is the main urban police force.


All of Lisbon has 4G from all Portuguese carriers. As of Jan 2023, 5G coverage is quite broad in most popular areas. Deep inside some older buildings, or underground you might find coverage to be spotty.

Private international call centres and public telephone booths are common throughout Lisbon. Be warned, however, public phones can be less generous than slot machines: many times they'll swallow your change and give you no credit. You're better off purchasing a Portugal Telecom pre-paid card you can insert into the phone, or even a discount calling card which connects you via a toll-free number. These can be purchased from street kiosks and convenience stores. Most payphones also allow you to pay by credit card, although support for this feature is somewhat expensive.

Internet cafes are also abundant in the Rossio and Restauradores districts as well as in the Bairro Alto (opening late there). Expect to pay between €2-3 per hour.

Many of the municipal libraries of Lisbon offer free wifi.



Go next[edit]

Vasco da Gama bridge in the morning mist


  • Fátima — the city and the Marian shrine of the worldwide famous apparitions of the Virgin Mary
  • Nazaré — a lovely village that became an international surf spot and entered the Guinness Book of Records for its gigantic sea waves
  • Tomar — the city of the Knights Templar: it is highly recommended to visit the medieval castle and the Convent of Christ
  • Óbidos — a beautiful village dominated by an old medieval castle


  • Mafra — A charming town with a monastery.
  • Ericeira — A gorgeous seaside resort near Mafra, well known to surfers worldwide.
  • Sintra — A beautiful UNESCO World Heritage site town 40 minutes by car/train from Lisbon.
  • Praia das Maçãs — A small and surprisingly calm seaside resort about 30 km (19 mi) to the west of Lisbon, near the towns of Colares & Sintra.


  • Paço de Arcos — A fishing village, where you can find also the Marquis of Pombal Palace and Estate.
  • Cascais — A pretty town on the bay of the same name, on the Estoril coast, 40 minutes by train from Lisbon (Cais do Sodre Station).


  • Almada — A city connected to/from Lisbon via ferry boats at Cacilhas and connected by train at Pragal and roadway via 25 Abril bridge/ponte 25 de Abril. The monument of Christ-King (Cristo-Rei) is in Pragal, Almada.
  • Costa da Caparica — beautiful beaches, easily reachable by bus
  • Setúbal — Capital of the district, and starting point for visits to Arrábida Nature Park, Troia, and the Sado river. Dolphins can be spotted on the bay.
  • Palmela — A hill town with a castle, with amazing views, near the city of Setúbal.
  • Sesimbra — A fisherman's village near the Arrábida mountain, good for scuba diving and fresh seafood, and starting point to visit the Espichel cape and sanctuary.
  • Azeitão — near Setubal, some 30 km (19 mi) south of Lisbon, this small region consists of a series of lovely villages, of which Vila Nogueira de Azeitão and Vila Fresca de Azeitão are the most well known. Azeitão stands between the Arrábida Nature Park and the coast. In the park you'll meet the last remains of the original Mediterranean flora. Also, there is the famous Convent of Arrábida to visit and the stunning views from its hills and at its peak.
  • Vila Nogueira de Azeitão — Visit the beautiful Winery and palace "Quinta da Bacalhoa". Also check out the grand estate and winery of "José Maria da Fonseca". Igreja de São Lourenço with hand painted tile panels, gilded wood chapels and a Lucca Della Robbia medallion. Convent of S. Domingos.
  • Tróia — A lovely peninsula gifted with kilometres of wild unexplored beaches, and with a tourist resort being developed on one of its edges.
Routes through Lisbon
PortoCoimbraFátima  N  S  merges with
merges with  N  S  AlmadaSetúbalFaro

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