Lisbon Public Transportation: All You Need to Know

Lisbon, Portugal metropolitan area is huge and there are a few different companies serving it. There are many different options for getting around Lisbon (in fact, there are so many that I had to cover them in another post).

However, using public transportation is the cheapest way to get around. In many cases, this is also the most enjoyable way of traveling in Lisbon. You can use scenic trams, iconic funiculars, and lifts, and even ferries for crossing the river, while feeling you are on a city tour!

Lisbon’s public transit has also less glamorous, but fast and affordable network of buses, trains, and an efficient metro. It will take you to almost any corner of the city.

In this post I explain all Lisbon public transport prices, and also talk about advantages and disadvantages of different means of public transport.

Hello, I am Tatiana—an architecture addict fascinated with beautiful old buildings and discovering the gems of Europe. Check out my comprehensive travel tips and reviews of the best European destinations and city breaks. Let's connect on social media!

February 27th, 2024

Highlights of Lisbon's public transport

  • There are 4 different companies serving Lisbon public transport.

  • Lisbon Metro, runs daily and operates from 6:30 a.m. to 1:00 a.m., with some additional night services.

  • Famous tram 28 in Lisbon offers scenic routes through different neighborhoods.

  • There are three funiculars that go up the city's steepest hills and 4 lifts, and they are part of Lisbon public transportation.

  • The Lisbon Metro is mainly used by locals, but it has useful stops for tourists as well.

  • Both the bus and metro have stops at the airport, which is a cheap way and easy way to get there.

  • Use Lisboa Viagem app or Google Maps to navigate.

  • The Navegante card and the Lisboa Card get you discounted or free transportation tickets.

Map of Lisbon public transportation

You can download Lisbon public transportation map on the official website of Metropolitano de Lisboa.

It's useful to get familiar with all public transport options in advance. This way, when you visit the city, you can get around with ease and peace of mind.

Let’s take a look at each public transportation option in details.

4 companies operating public transport in Lisbon

There are 4 different companies serving Lisbon public transport. You need to know this, because they all have different websites you need to visit to plan your trip.

The main companies operating public transport in Lisbon and the modes of transportation they serve:

1. Carris is responsible for operating buses, trams, funiculars, and the Santa Justa lift (Elevador de Santa Justa).

2. Metro de Lisboa oversees the 4 metro lines in Lisbon.

3. CP (Comboios de Portugal) manages the train services in Portugal and operates the 4 suburban train lines in Lisbon.

4. The Transtejo, Lisbon's ferry system.

Lisbon: Metro (subway)

Lisbon has Metro (subway) or Metropolitano de Lisboa.

Lisbon's subway (metro) system, is quick, clean, and perfect for exploring Lisbon further away from the center.

How much is Lisbon metro?

Single ticket costs €1.80 (or €1.61 with the Navegante card) or opt for a 24-hour ticket.

Why use metro in Lisbon

- It's ideal for longer trips. It covers 55 stations over a 43 km route. It is also the fastest public transport.

- Metro is reliable, with daily operation from 6:30 am to 1 am.

- Metro is easy to navigate with marked stations and guidelines. Four clearly marked lines: blue, red, green, yellow.

Something to be aware of when using subways in Lisbon:

  • It is not as extensive as in some other cities in the world. Many destinations are unreachable by metro, especially on the hills.

  • Subway system in Lisbon has limited intersection between lines and smaller metro stations close early, at 9:30 pm.

Lisbon Commuter trains

Trains in Lisbon provide a convenient and efficient way to navigate the city.

Why use commuter trains

  • Services almost every corner of the city. Connected to a variety of services in the main stations

  • Trains run frequently throughout the day, from 5 am to 1 am regularly.

  • Tickets are relatively cheap.

  • Night service is available and operates from 12:30 am to 5:30 am, but the night service is not extensive.

  • Popular routes include waterfront Cais do Sodré Station to Cascais and Rossio to Sintra.

Cons of commuter trains in Lisbon

  • Some train lines are operated by a private company and you need separate tickets. So, tickets purchased from private companies aren't valid on state-run trains, and vice-versa.

  • There are only a few stops for intra-city travel.

Lisbon Inter-city trains

Inter-city trains connect major areas in Lisbon and are an essential part of the city's transportation system. They are operated by Comboios de Portugal (CP).

What to know about inter-city trains in Lisbon

  • Inter-city trains provide good coverage, including suburbs. They offer connections to main regions like Cascais and Sintra, and other popular tourist spots.

  • Inter-city trains are reliable, with frequent runs. They have convenient boarding stations, like Cais do Sodré Station.

  • Commuter trains offer affordable fare. A train to Sintra (45 minutes away), for example, costs 2.50 euro (or free with Lisbon card).

Important. You don't need to buy a physical ticket, just scan your Navegante card. I did this mistake my first time in Lisbon, trying to figure out where to buy a ticket, and I saw many people searching for the same. But you don’t need to buy it, just scan the card.

Cons of using inter-city trains in Lisbon

There are some things to be aware of about buses in Lisbon.

  • Limited night service.

  • Certain routes can get crowded and they are not the most comfortable to ride. That is especially true for the first or last train of the day. The first train headed to Sintra and from Sintra will be full.

However, inter-city train in Lisbon are a great and cheap way getting to the suburbs!

Read my other post to learn more about trains in Portugal

Buses in Lisbon

Lisbon's bus system, operated by Carris, is both effective and extensive. It also reaches the hilltop and other destinations, where metro can't go.

Why use buses in Lisbon

  • Buses in Lisbon reach even remote corners with 750 buses running, covering 670 KM of the city. They also go to popular tourist spots like Belém, Alfama, St Jorge Castle, and the airport.

  • Certain bus lines run all night: night bus service (Rede da Madrugada).

Cons of using buses in Lisbon

  • Buses can be crowded, especially during rush hour. Prepare to stand.

  • It can be confusing. If you are a first-time visitor to Lisbon (or a repeat visitor), you might initially struggle to understand the system.

  • Buses run every 20-40 minutes on average, so, prepare to wait.

  • Limited late-night service : Not all routes run 24/7.

Despite the limitations, buses are great way to get around Lisbon.

How to pay for bus in Lisbon

Use Navegante card, either zip for a single ticket, or scan your stored a 24-hour ticket.

Single ticket costs €1.80, but only €1.61 will be deducted from your balance with the Navegante card.

Trams in Lisbon

Trams in Lisbon are something very special and fun to use! Lisbon has six tram routes serving the city, including the historic districts and they are operated by Carris - Transportes Públicos Lisboa.

No trip to Lisbon would be complete without riding in the iconic yellow trams, especially the tram 28 Lisbon route (running as 28E route). Most tourist use it for a cheap city tour, along as the way to get to many major attractions.

Some highlights about trams usage in Lisbon

  • Trams reach most key tourists’ attractions and areas, including the tops of the Lisbon's hills.

  • Tickets for trams can be purchased on-board with cash, or you can scan you Navegante card with pre-loaded balance (the cheaper way with reduced trams fares).

  • Tram can be crowded, especially during rush hours. Because trams are less modern (read about trams history in Lisbon  here), they make for a bumpy ride at times.

  • Tram tickets are higher compared to other means of transportation in Lisbon (but less than the Elevator Santa Justa ticket).

  • In addition to the popular Tram 28, there are other scenic tram routes in Lisbon.

Other than tram 28 popular tram routes in Lisbon

- Route 121,  the shortest tram route, taking only 20 minutes to complete a loop around the tourist districts of Baixa and Alfama. It starts at Praça de Figueira, a lively square in Baixa.  

- Route 15E, starting at Praça de Figueira, connects the busy tourist spots with the Belem. Belem district is known for its famous landmarks, like Jeronim’s Monastery, the National Coaches museum with the largest collection of horse-drawn carriages in the world, and Belem Palace, and the Belem Tower among others.

Belem is not accessible by metro, so the tram is a popular choice for reaching this area from the city center. This route is also known as the E15.

How to pay for pay for trams in Lisbon

You can either pay cash to a tram driver for the ticket (more expensive) or you can just scan your Navegante card, or Lisboa card.

Where to buy tram tickets in Lisbon

There are different places where you can buy tram tickets in Lisbon.

1. Onboard the Tram. You can buy a ticket directly from the tram driver for €3.20.

2. Using the Navegante card costs €1.61 for a ride.  You can purchase and reload this card at metro stations, designated kiosks, or post offices. The card can be topped up with the credit you need.

3. Day Pass: You can also purchase a day pass for unlimited travel on the Carris and Metro networks for 24 hours from the first use and you need to load it to you Navegante card.

Trams are fun way to get around in Lisbon! Don't miss a tram ride! If you would like to learn about other fun ways to get around Portugal, I have a post about it as well. 

Red and yellow tram stopped at a tram stop in Lisbon while doing its regular route
Red and yellow tram stopped at a tram stop in Lisbon while doing its regular route

Lisbon Ferries

Would you like to use another unique and fun way to explore Lisbon? Take the ferry – it's a fun, affordable, and you will enjoy great views around the city.

Here what to know about ferries in Lisbon.

  • Lisbon features five ferry routes and seven terminals, three in the city and four on the southern banks. Ferry services are frequent.

  • Using ferry service in Lisbon is a great way of sightseeing with great views, especially across the river Tagus. The most scenic ferry routes are Belém to Porto Brandão and Cais do Sodré to Cacilhas. And if you are a beach town explorer, don't miss routes to Cacilhas, Barreiro, and Montijo.

  • Ferries don't just serve the tourists but also function as a regular commuting for locals. The Transtejo, Lisbon's ferry system, connects the city to several south bank destinations.

  • Tickets are 1.25 euros for each one-way ride (no round-trip tickets available). They can be purchased at the terminal, you can swipe your Navegante card or buy a ticket for the ferry via the Viagem mobile app.

At the same time, be aware:

  • The Navegante card has a one-ticket policy, meaning it can only hold one type of ticket.

  • You can't buy the round-trip ferry ticket, you can only buy a one-way ticket. But you can go around this by buying 2-3 different Viva Viagem cards and refilling them with corresponding tickets.

  • Longer routes, such as Terreiro to Paco, may require more time compared to other transportation options. But this can also be a good thing, if you use the ferry for the sightseeing.

  • Some ferry routes are more geared towards tourist attractions and may not provide comprehensive service to residential areas.

Funiculars Lisbon

There are three different funiculars: Elevador do Lavra, Elevador da Glória, Elevador da Bica.

Funiculars, or elevators, in Lisbon are a great attraction for tourists. But you know what else they are great for? It's a great way to get up the hills, such as Bairro Alto.

Funiculars in Lisbon were designed by the Portuguese engineer Raoul Mesnier de Ponsard.

Thing to know about Lisbon's Funiculars:

  • Funiculars run every 10-15 minutes on most days, so be prepared to wait, even if the carriage is there. Weekday hours may vary.

  • Tickets cost €3.20 per ride ( 1.61 with Viva Viagem card, free for Lisbon Card holders),

Bica yellow funicular is climbing the hill in Lisbon
Bica yellow funicular is climbing the hill in Lisbon

Lisbon lifts

Lisbon is a hilly town and lifts are lifesavers for getting up or down the hills

Santa Justa lift

Santa Justa Lift is a famous tourist attraction in Lisbon. It is 147 ft (45m) tall and designed in the style of the renowned architect Gustave Eiffel. The elevator was built by Raoul Mesnier de Ponsard, who admired Eiffel's work and used similar techniques seen in some of France's funiculars at that time.

The Santa Justa Lift, one of the icon attractions of Lisbon, is located in the downtown Pombaline and it connects the Baixa to the Rua do Carmo.

At the top of the lift, there is a beautiful observation deck that provides great views of Baixa - one of Lisbon's most popular viewpoints.

Ticket price


A single trip cost €3.80, : €5.30 (approximately US$5.70) for a return trip, unless you have a Lisboa Card, which offers free funicular rides.

Top platform viewpoint:

Viewpoint (elevator not included): €1.50 (approximately US$1.60),

Besides being used as a means of transport, transport, the Santa Justa Lift also is a great viewpoint, even if you don’t go to the top platform.

Elevador Castelo

Elevador Castelo is a free lift. It's also a well-kept secret, maybe because there are already long lines of locals to get in?;)

Elevador Castello is somewhat hidden and hard to see for tourists. From the outside it looks like a normal house, covered with blue checkered azulejos. When in fact it is a historic elevator.

It also makes reading maps of this block confusing. You think you need to walk around a long monolith block of the buildings to get to another street. When in fact, you need to take this elevador to make you trip short.

Aerobus to Lisbon airport (or from airport)

There are two lines of buses to airport.

Line 1: Runs every 20 minutes from 07:30 to 19:00 and every 25 minutes from 19:00 to 23:00. It has stops close to major hotels in the historical center and the Marques de Pombal area. Also stops at Cais do Sodre station (for trains to coastal areas).

Line 2: Runs every 20 minutes from 07:40 to 19:00 and every 25 minutes from 19:00 to 22:45. Serves the Marques de Pombal area and stops at Sete Rios bus terminus and rail station.

Aerobus Price:

Single 24-hour ticket for unlimited trips withing 24 hours period: €4.00 for adults, €2.00 for children (ages 4 to 10).

Return ticket (2 x 24 hours): €6.00 for adults, €3.00 for children.

Alternatively, you can take a metro, or a bus. 

So, here is everything to know about Lisbon public transport. I hope this information was useful for you. I put it together from my own experience, so I know what people are looking for. 

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