Getting Around Lisbon
The best way to get around Lisbon is on foot and by public transport. Your own two feet are a great way to see the sights – just keep in mind that climbing this city's hilly streets on foot can be quite the workout. For a change of pace (and to catch your breath), consider using buses, trams, the metro and elevators. One word of caution: Lisbon's Tram 28 and the Santa Justa Elevator double as attractions, so expect crowds. For a quicker journey, consider a taxi. Just know that during rush hour, you'll be sitting in your cab for a while thanks to all the traffic. Taxis are especially abundant at the Lisbon Portela Airport (LIS), located about 3 miles north of the downtown tourist districts. Rides between the airport and the city center generally cost 10 to 15 euros (about $12 to $19). There is also a subway station at the airport with a direct line to the city center. The Aeroporto – Saldanha line will transport you to downtown Lisbon in about 20 minutes.
Traffic and parking can be a nightmare, especially in the downtown tourist districts, so we don't recommend renting a car. Thankfully, nearly all of the city's best things to do are easily accessible by foot, bus, tram and train. If you're planning on taking a daytrip, you can rent cars from kiosks at the airport and from offices in the city center. You can use your U.S. driver's license, but it may also be a good idea to obtain an international driver's permit from AAA or DMV.org .
You can walk to most downtown attractions if your hotel is located in the Rossio, Baixa and Chiado neighborhoods. Just make sure you're equipped with a good pair of shoes and some stamina. Neighborhoods like Belém are about 6 miles west of the tourist district, and Bairro Alto and Alfama sit on top of some steep hills; it's best to take public transportation.
The subway is more useful for traveling beyond downtown rather than traveling within it. The metro's four color-coded lines serve 55 stations. The metro operates every day from 6:30 a.m. to 1 a.m. Trains run every 6 to 9 minutes. The tourist areas around Baixa and the train station to Cascais are connected via the green line. The red line connects the airport to other lines, as well as Expo Park. Meanwhile, the yellow and blue lines trace Lisbon's main avenues, but are used more by residents than tourists. A single ticket on the underground metro costs 1.45 euros (about $1.80); a day pass, which includes buses, trains and trams, costs 6.30 euros (less than $8). If you purchased a Lisboa Card, you can take advantage of free, unlimited travel by all public transport, including the metro.
|Buses, Trams and Elevators||
Many sites are accessible by bus, tram or elevator. The city's elevators, made national monuments in 2002, provide four alternative ways to skip the hill, but these can be crowded. These modes of transportation have become tourist attractions themselves, especially the Santa Justa Elevator and Tram 28 . Tickets can be purchased on board. A single ticket purchased on board for a bus is 1.85 euros (about $2.25), while the tram is 2.90 euros (about $3.50). Costs to ride the elevators vary. Up to two journeys on the Bica, Gloria and Lavra funiculars (elevators) cost 3.70 euros (about $4.50), while the Santa Justa Elevator is 5.15 euros ($6.30) for up to two rides. Buses offer service throughout the city, but rides can be much slower compared to the metro because of all the traffic.
The city's taxis are a relatively cheap way to get around. Fares start at 3.42 euros (about $4.20) and the fare increases by .47 euros (about $0.60) per kilometer. Fares increase for late night trips. If you're getting a taxi from the Lisbon airport beware, you should know that some taxis try to scam tourists. This has been known to occur at the arrival gates, so instead, try to grab a taxi at the departures gate. Either way, never get in a taxi with no meter, clarify fares before you start driving (surcharges and luggage weight oftentimes increase price) and if you feel like you've been cheated out of a fare, ask for a receipt, which is required to be given upon request by law. The ride-hailing app Uber also operates in Lisbon.
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