Getting Around Lisbon
Discovering : Best Adventures Lisbon Portugal

How to maximize your day in Lisbon

Maximize your day in Lisbon using the Day Pass and Public Transport
Day pass benefits

As mentioned in our last Blog & Video, we decided to buy a 3 Days pass from the Lisbon airport. Since we planned to stay in Lisbon for the next 72 hours, we maximized the use of the pass !  Stay tuned to find out how.

We selected the option which allowed us to get around by: Carris & Metro. Once the pass is validated, it runs for an unlimited amount of journeys over the following 72 hours. We visited in October 2019 (to give perspective and since prices may vary) and it cost us $18.00 Euros per person.

Feel free to use the following website to runs various simulations : https://www.metrolisboa.pt/en/

Below you'll find our recommendations and best practices for maximizing the use of the Lisbon day pass !  Read on.

Best ways to get around Lisbon

Here are some tips & suggestions to better enjoy and maximize your time in Lisbon. Check out our suggestions below to make the best of the day pass (should you choose to get it).  Check below for details on Google Maps, Ascensors (elevators, Street cars, Metros and day trip busses.

Tips & Suggestion 

We highly recommend using Google Maps

We've been a huge fan of using Google Maps for local use and more importantly, while travelling.  A few years ago, we discovered that Google Maps helped us navigate in a new city, even in airplane mode!  Then we discovered that we could also use the app for our travel itinerary, so we pegged a bunch of places we wanted to discover. Now we find it so useful to get a acquainted in any new city. Below are a few examples of how we use Google Maps to get from Point A to point B, door to door !

1st image (far left)

In the first image is our example of a short walk from Point A to Point B in Lisbon.  For this to work, you will need to first connect to Wifi in order to 'actualize' the Maps. Then you can set your current location and destination. Next, you follow the dotted line or the blue dot, as you make your way to your destination.

*Pro tip

It's also possible to 'download' the city maps of your choice, while you have internet. (more on that later)

2nd image (middle)

The image in the middle is a description of when we used Streetcar #28E to get to Sao Jorge Castle from our Hotel. Again, it's super easy to navigate, because Google Maps gives the next departure based on your arrival time (by foot).

3rd image (far right)

The last image is from our day trip to Belém. We wanted to visit the Jeronimo Monastery, Pasteis de Belém bakery and Belém tower !  In a well developed city such as Lisbon, Google Maps gives a detailed description of various buses running to and from your location !

*Pro tip

You can forecast the bus/metro schedules for your return trip by selecting 'depart at'.  This is especially useful when you know you won't have internet access until you get back to the city !

1. By Metro

The Metro in Lisbon is very clean, fast and efficient. We used it to navigate from the airport to the city center and a few other isolated times. We felt very safe every single time and felt all destinations were properly indicated.

You can also return to the airport using the metro. We needed to check in for our return flight at 5am, and the metro doesn't run that early. Since we couldn't use public transport, we resulted too Uber.

2. Bondinho / elevators
Lisbon elevator
Lisbon elevator
Lisbon elevator
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Save your legs

Do not underestimate the city of Lisbon.  It is known as the city with the 7 hills. We suggest a smarter way to get around the city. When the opportunity presents itself, take a street car or Ascensor (elevator).

Local tip

There appeared to be a 5 à 7 during sunset at the top of the Ascensor da Bica. Once we got the the very top, many people were sitting on the stairs with a drink in their hands !  In case you fell like participating !

3. By street cars for street views

Instead to pay a Hop on Hop off, consider using the street car.

After a little research, Tram #28E is the most recommended since it travels through the city's historic centre, which means it's quite scenic.  We used it to visit the São Jorge Castle and after a nice ride in the historic old streets of Lisbon, the 28E got us to the Santa Luzia church and lookout !  Check out the pictures to see if this is somewhere you would like to visit...

Street Car
Santa Luzia church
Santa Luzia lookout
Santa Luzia view
Santa Luzia lookout
Santa Luzia lookout
Santa Luzia lookout
Santa Luzia lookout
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4. Use the pass for the Santa Justa elevator !

The “Carris” includes: Trams, Elevators (which are really useful in the Old historic town in Lisbon, that is knowing by the city of 7 hills) and finally Buses.  There are two types of elevators in Lisbon, the ones that run up and down a sloping slant and the traditional type that runs up and down.

Santa Justa Elevator
Santa Justa Elevator
Santa Justa Elevator
Santa Justa Elevator
Santa Justa Elevator
Santa Justa Elevator view up top
Santa Justa Elevator view up top
Santa Justa Elevator view up top
Santa Justa Elevator view up top
Santa Justa Elevator top view
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Which brings us to the Santa Justa Elevator, and yes, the day pass includes this one ! Before long, you will recognize this famous touristic attraction that connects the “Baixa district” to “Bairro Alto”.

A couple of important Tips:

  1. The “Day” pass will allow you to get the Elevator Santa Justa to the top of Bairro Alto, however, if you want to visit the “Top Terrace” and walkway of the lift, with observation deck, you will need to pay a small fee, we believe it was around $ 3.00 euros for both of us. CASH ONLY.
  2. The Santa Justa elevator is a popular attraction, so beware of lines and try to visit early if you can !
  3. It's a spiral staircase all the way to the Observation deck, just bear that in mind for those with disabilities. 
5. By Bus - Use the pass for a day trip to Belem or LX Factory

You can take a public bus to get to Belém and visit the most beautiful attractions around including the Jerónimos Monastery, the Tower of Belém and eat the famous “Pastéis de Belém” (which is quite different from the traditional “Pastéis de Nata”).

Getting around Lisbon
Arches view of the monastery
layers of monastery
Boardwalk view
The monument
Boardwalk with Belém tower
Line up at the Belém tower
Close up of the Belém Tower
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Be early and be patient

We recommend that you get there early and try to avoid the Lisbon rush hour if you can. Although the bus is included in the day pass, this is the same bus locals use to get to work. Be mindful when using the same public transport as locals.

Identify the best transportation option according to your location. Feel free to use the Google Maps we mapped out for you in Option #1.

May we also suggest a quick stop at LX Factory ?

If you are visiting “Belem” on a day trip, how about adding a quick stop at the “FX Factory” on your way back for a great Happy Hour ?  It's quite unique and a really cool place to hang !

LX Factory entrance
LX Factory inside street
Street art
great visual effect
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LX Factory is probably not on everyone's list since it’s located outside Lisbon's Historic Centre. But we feel it's a cool addition to discover ! There's a different scenery, great restaurants and pub / bars where you can sit down after a long walking day in Belem and just order a beer or drink while you rest your legs.

6. By Tuk Tuk

It might appear to be a tourist trap or cliché, but when all else fails Tuk Tuk is the next best thing to get you where you need to be.

After a full day walking and sight seeing, it was night and all we wanted was to was crawl into bed. We didn't feel like walking to the metro station or waiting for a bus, which is when we stumbled upon a Tuk Tuk driver. We gave him our destination, he told us the price and we hopped in !  It was that simple.

Tuk Tuk driver
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It was also a nice way to speak with the driver, who was a Lisbon local.

7. By Uber

Yes Uber is active in Portugal and they also run from the city centre to the airport. Luckily they also run in the wee hours of the day. We would recommend using Uber in cases like ours. Otherwise, the city centre gets quite crammed, so public transport is really the way to go !

Most Importantly !

Keep in mind, the locals use the same bus and public transport system and we feel their getting to work on time is more important than our scenic day trips. On that note, be sure to make way for the locals, which will in turn make everyone's journey more enjoyable !

Stay tuned for what's next...

Feel free to check out our growing picture gallery, in chronological order starting in Lisbon and moving across various cities in Portugal !

If you like some of these pictures, we invite you to purchase them at ShutterStock - simply click this link

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