Lisboa – A truly cultural and historic experience: A visit to Lisboa offers a variety of flavours and a blend of cultural experiences with endless options of things to see and do in each Barrio (neighbourhood). From the old historic Alfama with its maze of alleys and streets carved into the hill side ….. To the bustling Baixa with it’s wide avenues, open plazas and pedestrian streets lined with cafes and designer shops, the diversity of choices are endless..…
The city has a constant buzz, no matter where you find your self lingering.
How to get there -
Options: Your options for getting to and touring Lisboa are by driving; taking the train; taking the bus; or via a guided bus tour directly from Lagos; your choice should be dependant on your level of comfort roaming around Portugal; for first time visitors, we recommend taking a guided bus tour.
DRIVING: With the modern 4-lane motorways, driving to Lisboa is easy; drive to Lisboa; park at Orient metro; tour around via a combination of metro, train and on foot; this is a quick and efficient way of seeing Lisboa with plenty of independence and freedom to wander at your leisure. This can be a long day trip, but you could stay over in Cascais; alternately you can stay overnight in Lisboa
From Lagos, drive east on the A22 motorway; look for the Blue signs A2 Lisboa; the exit ramp takes you right, up a high ramp and then left over the A22 motorway as you begin heading north towards Lisboa.
Stay on the A2 for approx two hours towards Lisboa until you see an exit for the A12 – Lisboa.
Take this exit and drive for another 10 minutes and you will be on the impressive “Sailboat style” Vasco da Gama bridge; take the 1st exit; the exit ramp leads you to a road running parallel to the river “Avenida D. João II”; this road changes name after a few blocks to “Avenida Principe Perfeito”; drive until you see the Orient metro station on your right.
Drive into the Orient underground pay parking on your right; keep any items left in your vehicle, out of sight to minimize theft. There are pay points to pay for your ticket before returning to your car and leaving the carpark
Driving time from Lagos to Lisboa: 3 hours with short Service Centre stops
TRAIN: Taking the train is a great alternative, as it provides a relaxing view of the countryside lined with cork and olive trees as you cross through the Alentejo region. Part of this enjoyable ride is along the coast, giving you a real feel for the country; treat yourself to first class for more comfort.
The new Lagos train station is behind the Marina. Pick up a time-table of trains to Lisboa. Notice the number of stops and the route as this will impact the duration. The train pulls into Oriente train station, the site of the Expo 98 Worlds Fair. The Oriente metro station is directly across the street from the Orient train station, providing you direct access to the centre of Lisboa.
Train time from Lagos to Lisboa: 3.5-6.5 hours, depending on the stops
Portuguese Railway Network – This is probably the most complicated subject that you will encounter during your holiday; a few important facts will assist you in perhaps slightly simplifying this intricate network.
Lisboa’s inter-city rail services are part of the Portuguese Railway network (CP) “Comboios Portugueses (Portuguese Trains)”
- Lisboa has several railway station terminals
- Each railway station terminal provides service to a different part of the country
- 4 Major Lisboa train station terminals (there are a few others)
Santa Apolónia Train Station Terminal
Location: 1 km east of the Lisboa city centre
Trains Service: Terminus for trains from the north and abroad
Access: Least accessible train station in Lisboa; 15 min. walk from Praça do Comércio; access via bus connection
Nearest Metros: Baixa-Chiado or Martim Moniz; no direct metro connection
Oriente Train Station Terminal
Location: Near the airport; on the north east side of Lisboa; on the River Tagus/Tejo; at Parque das Nações (Expo 98 World’s fair site); adjacent to the Vasco da Gama shopping centre; near the Oceanarium
Trains Service: Terminus for trains from other regions in Portugal; e.g. Lagos to Lisboa
Access: Well served by metro and bus; closest train/metro station to the airport; Avenida de Berlin provides a straight line connection between Oriente and the airport
Nearest Metro: Across the street from the Oriente metro stop
Cais do Sodré Train Station Terminal
Location: 1 km west of the Praça do Comércio
Train Service: Terminus of the Cascais/Estoril line
Nearest Metro: Directly connected to Cais do Sodré metro stop
Nearest Metro: Restauradores; not Rossio
BUS: Taking the bus is another great alternative; the coaches are inexpensive and have comfortable seating; Express bus routes are available. There are two bus companies providing service from Lagos to Lisboa. The best way to get current bus info (timetable and price) is via their web-sites. The web-sites are in Portuguese, but don’t be intimidated, be brave, (or go to the bus station in Lagos)
The Lagos bus station is at the end of the main Avenida, on the left. It is close to the pedestrian bridge that takes you to the Marina; the bus can have a significant number of stops which adds to the duration; take note of the stops and duration when you pick-up the timetable. Look for the express EVA bus routes.
Rede Nacioinal De Expressos:
Web-site is in Portuguese - For Timetable (Horários) and Price (Preço):
Home Page: Select Horários
Horários Page: Select from the Partidas (departure) your departure station e.g. “Lagos”; a list of available destinations are displayed; select Destinos (destination) e.g. “Lisboa”; select “Ida e Volta” (return trip); select Horários; you will see a schedule of all bus departures from Lagos to Lisboa with the price; followed by all departures from Lisboa to Lagos with the price
Address: Rede Nacional De Expressos – Bus Terminal in Lisboa
Praça Marechal Humberto Delgado – Rua das Laranjeiras - 1500-543 LISBOA
Tel: (213) 581 460
Metro Station: Jardin Zoolócico (just outside the metro station)
For Timetable (Horários) and Price (Preço):
Home Page – Timetable Search
From the Drop-down menu, select Origin “Lagos”; Select Destination “Lisboa”; select Procurar (Find); you will see a schedule of all bus departures from Lagos to Lisboa (1-way) with the price; select your preferred departure time and the price is displayed: Simples (one-way) Ida/volta (return)
Repeat the search for a schedule of your Lisboa to Lagos return leg
Address: EVA BUS – Bus Terminal in Lisboa
Eva – Mundial Turismo Terminal Rodoviário de Lisboa:
Rua Professor Lima Bastos – Sete Rios
Tel: (808) 224 488
Tel: (213) 581 466
Metro Station: Sete Rios (just outside the metro station)
Coaches leave from the square in Luz several times a week with ‘My Tours’ (tour operator). They offer 1 and 2 day excursions to Lisbon, Fatima, Sintra and Cascais in comfortable air-conditioned coaches.
Getting Around in Lisboa
Lisboa is well equipped with a comprehensive and modern transportation system which makes getting around very easy. Arm yourself with a detailed map of the city which also shows the metro and rail stops.
Metro: The Lisboa metro system is clean and efficient and connects the entire city. The Lisboa metropolitan area is divided into 4 zones: L, 1, 2, 3; all metro stops (except Odivelas, Alfornelos, Amadora Este) are within the central L (urbano) zone. Tickets are purchased through vending machines at the metro stations
Bus and Tram: The multitude of bus and historic tram cars offer an opportunity to take in the city’s attractions. Ensure you have small change as some trams have automated machines which are the only way to pay; if you are caught without paying, you will be fined.
Foot: Wear comfortable walking shoes, as Lisboa is a city of seven hills and getting around on foot, in addition to using the public transit system, will give you the best of your Lisboa adventure.
Train – Cais do Sodré Train Station: The Cais do Sodré train station is the main terminal and is directly connected to the Lisboa metro system; this makes visiting the “Outside of the City” and costal attractions by train very easy.
Guided Tours of Lisboa (from Lisboa): If you have limited time and are not comfortable getting around the city on your own then there are a multitude of excellent city tours; most city tours start at Praça do Comercio. Praça do Comercio is a beautiful wide expanse of a Plaza embracing the River Tagus/Tejo on one side, and facing the magnificent archway into the Barrio Baixa on the other.
A variety of tours are offered, ranging from a few hours, to half day, to full day.
Tour Buses: Vehicles include opened air double decker busses; to traditional electric trolley cars; to air conditioned coaches
Tour Price Ranges: €15/adult +; €7/child + (price varies based on tour selected)
Tickets: Tickets can be booked from Tour Operators with vending booths on the perimeter of the plaza; from local Portuguese travel agents or from the Portuguese tourist offices.
Lisboa – Tips
Take note of the tips below, several of which are critical to ensure your comfort, your safety and to help you create a memorable Lisboa experience
1) Pick-Pockets: Pick-pockets are prevalent throughout the city and quite well versed at spotting tourists. They seem to have a preference for the busy tramcars/buses/metro, where your hands are tied-up hanging on for balance and your pockets/bags/knapsacks are unprotected. As with any big city, please be street smart and secure your valuables safely when wandering around. If you are parking your car; keep ALL items left in the car out of sight.
2) Guided Tours: Many tours offer “free time” to roam around at your leisure. Quite often this time period coincides with the lunch break (13:00-15:00) when most shops are closed so if you plan to do some serious shopping you will need to schedule in some free time before or after your tour;. Enquire about timing of this “free time” when you book your ticket.
3) Weather: Bring plenty of sunscreen, a hat and bottled water to help you cope with the heat in the warmer months. Bring a warm sweater, wind breaker and umbrella as it is quite cool in Lisboa in the winter months and can rain. It is usually quite windy anywhere along the river front.
4) Parking: Oriente metro is a good place to park if you plan on roaming around Lisboa. The underground car park is directly beside the Orient metro station and is well marked. It offers plenty of paid parking and is easy to get to. It avoids getting into the overwhelming and daunting Lisboa traffic. From the Orient metro, you can easily get around the entire city.
Within the City
There are an abundance of Lisboa guide books with loads of detail to assist you with making the most of your Lisboa adventure.
Most of the favourite sights are accessible by the wonderful metro system; once close to your destination, trekking around on foot is the best way to enjoy the city.
Praça do Commercio: Sit on the promenade wall, overlooking the River Tagus/Tejo and observe the variety of water traffic. Metro: Baixa/Chiado
Alfama: Walk through the maze of hilly streets and staircases that comprise the Alfama. You are suddenly thrown back in time. Metro: Baixa/Chiado; take the historic Tram 28 or 12 on Rua da Conçeicão
Castelo São Jorge (St. Jorge’s Castle): Take the tram car up to the castle. The castle crowns the hill top of the largest of Lisboa’s seven hills. On the outskirts of the Alfama, the panoramic views of Lisboa and the River Tagus/Tejo are colourful and breathtaking. This is the absolute best vantage point to appreciate Lisboa. Metro: Baixa/Chiado; take the historic Tram 28 or 12 on Rua da Conçeicão
Elevador Santa Justa: Historic giant elevator which connects the Barrio Alto (high neighbourhood) with the Barrio Baixa (downtown) and provides a beautiful view of the city. note your Lisboa Card provides a free ride in the elevator. Metro: Baixa/Chiado
Avenida da Roma: Shopping for shoes; Avenida da Roma tantalizes you with great shoe shopping. Take the metro and exit at the Roma station; ensure that you walk the two sides of Avenida da Roma to take in the best shoe shops. Time for a relaxing lunch, this can easily be a day trip, if you love to shop.
Parque das Nações: Roam around the site of Expo 1998, the Worlds Fair, proudly hosted by Lisboa. Plan for a day to take in the attractions, the highlight being the multi-story Aquarium. Metro: Orient.
Rossio Train Station: It’s exterior architecture catches your eye with its enormous arches; worth a quick stop to wander around the multiple floors of this station. Metro Rossio .
People Watching: Every Lisboa experience must include relaxing on an outdoor patio and sipping a fine glass of wine. This is a welcoming pause on a warm day to sit back and take in the hustle and bustle of Lisboa and her people
Estadio da Luz: Home of the Benfica football team; this historic stadium was rebuilt for the 2004 European Cup football championship. Try to see a Benfica game and feel the emotion: no trip to Lisboa is complete without a football experience. Metro: Collegio Militar
Estadio José Alvalade: Home of Sporting football team, this stadium was also built for the 2004 European football championship. Try to get tickets for a Sporting game to get in on the excitement. Metro: Campo Grande
Belém: Just 10 minutes outside of lisboa on the River Tagus/Tejo, this picturesque town is dedicated to Maritime History. Belém was the starting point for Portugal’s caravels as they sailed off to conquer unknown worlds. Most of the attractions are along a wide expanse of riverfront. If you enjoy history this can be an enjoyable day trip; alternately this can be a 3-hour stop on the way to Cascais.
Highlights in Belém:
- Statue of the Discoverers: This giant statue is a rightful tribute to the nations discoverers; take the lift to the top for a spectacular-360 view; look down below at the giant marble compass on the boardwalk below representing the former Portuguese colonies. Notice the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos and the Estadio de Belém. Face the river and notice the very Red April 25th Bridge with Cristo Rei (statue of Christ) in the distance.
- Torre de Belém: This limestone tower is fronted by a mini amphitheatre of stairs; when the tide is in you may get splashed by the waves as you board the walkway into the Tower. The tower offers another tribute to maritime history.
- Wall of War Heroes: Walk past the Torre de Belém to this moving tribute of the Portuguese soldiers who gave their lives to defend their nation. The names of soldiers are inscribed on the wall surrounding a fountain, a peace flame and the tomb of the unknown soldier.
- Marina: The marina offers an entertaining collection of luxury yachts, against a backdrop of colourful buildings.
Highlights – across the boulevard from the boardwalk in Belém:
Antiga Confeitaria de Belém: You simply must head over to this lfamous coffee shop for the original and decadent “Pastéis de Belém” (traditional custard tarts). It serves on average 10,000 per day (to date their record is a staggering 55,000). A speciality made with a secret centuries old recipe—not to be missed
Centro Cultural de Belém: If you have time, wander around one of Lisboa’s main cultural venues, which houses the Museo do Design; a collection of 20th-century mind-bogglers.
How to get there -
3rd train stop on the “Linha de Cascais” from the Cais do Sodré train terminal in Lisboa
Driving time from Lisboa: 15 min.
Train time from Lisboa: 10 min.
Tram time from Lisboa: 20 min.
** Plenty of pay parking in parking lots along the boardwalk.
Outside the City – Docas
Docas – Alcantara Mar : Old warehouses (Docks), brightly painted and converted into restaurants with outdoor terraces and bars; frequented by day time buskers; excellent night life; great place to people watch.
How to get there -
Alcantara Mar is the 2nd train stop on the “Linha de Cascais” from the Cais do Sodré train terminal in Lisboa
Driving time from Lisboa: 10 min.
Train time from Lisboa: 10 min.
** Plenty of pay parking in parking lots along the boardwalk
Cascais: Make a day visit to this picturesque seaside town, with its marble pedestrian streets, affluent villas, beach coves; seaside promenades dotted with fishing boats, restaurants and cafes and elegant boutiques. Shopping and people watching are the things to do here; great night life as well.
How to get there -
Last train stop on the “Linha de Cascais” from the Cais do Sodré train terminal in Lisboa; check the schedule for the train with the least stops and for the last train back to Lisboa, if you plan to enjoy a late night drink
Driving time from Lisboa: 40-60 min. (depending on traffic)
Train time from Lisboa: 30 min. (if limited stops)
** Tough place to find parking. Parking lots and streets are usually full of cars. Avoid driving here and take the train.
Sintra: Sintra makes another great day trip, especially if you would like to visit the impressive Moorish Castle at the top of the hill and the Pena Palace. Sintra is rather touristy in the centre of town and shops are expensive. You can take a 10-minute bus ride up to the castle or try out the gruelling 60-minute steep walk on the paved road, but only if you are in top shape and enjoy the exercise.
How to get there -
Take the “Linha de Sintra” from the Rossio train terminal in Lisboa. Pick-up a train timetable at the train station and note that the timetable is different during the week vs weekends. Check the bus schedule in Sintra centre for times to and from the castle before you start. The bus-ride is treacherous as the poor driver has to negotiate complicated turns, made worse by drivers who park, on both sides of the road.
Train time from Lisboa: 50 min. (if limited stops)