Walking in Lisbon
Air Tap Portugal recently began a stopover promotion in Lisbon or Porto for up to 5 days. On my way to my friend’s wedding in Zurich, we decided to stop in Lisbon for two days. While in Lisbon, we walked around, ate Pasteis de Nata (delicious custard tart) and fish (almost 8 different types), drank local beer, and took multiple modes of transportation. Below are my observations of the transportation system in Lisbon, Portugal.
Our flight arrived in Lisbon at 6:30am, almost midnight for us, but luckily the airport transfer was pretty painless. Usually, there is the Aero Bus that stopped right at our hostel. Unfortunately, it starts running at 7:30am. The metro, which is called the Metropolitana de Lisboa, begins service at 6:30am so we took that. It took 40 minutes with one transfer get to our hostel. Three large suitcases and many stairs was a bit challenging but we managed.
When we saw the famous old yellow tram coming around the corner and we wanted to take it. We were tired from walking all day so it was a nice break. The ticket was pricey, but it was worth it. We didn’t know where it was going, luckily it took us back down to a large square at the bottom of the hill.
In addition to the old yellow tram, there are also yellow buses and a modern yellow tram! Yellow seems to be a popular color. We saw the tram and tram lines all over town but we never took them. We stuck to walking and taking the metro.
There were even yellow buses around town! We saw the smaller buses on the steep and narrow streets of the historic center.
Tickets and Prices
We didn't research the ticket system beforehand, which meant that we bought tickets on board for the trams which ended up being much more expensive (€2.85 for trams). For the Metro, I bought a Viva Viagem metro card for from metro-station kiosks which you could add money too and each trip was €1.40 on the metro.
During our two days we stayed in the center of Lisbon and walking was our main mode of transportation in Lisbon. The old part of Lisbon is very hilly and the roads were narrow and made of cobblestones but the center of town was very walkable. In some sections there were added protection for pedestrians with yellow bollards (which is sometimes used as motorcycle parking) and many pedestrian refuge islands like below in busy intersections.
Barrio Alto is a popular neighborhood with with many bars and restaurants. It has narrow, windy streets with limited car traffic. At the entrances of the neighborhood there are barriers such as below, which lower when there is a delivery truck.
Of course there is the famous “Pink Street”, a pedestrian only street that is painted bright pink. It was right next to our hotel and we walked down it by accident in the morning and it was empty. We visited the many bars along the street at night and it was packed with people.
We mostly spent our two days in the center of Lisbon and didn’t see many bikers. Probably because it was hilly and the roads were made of cobblestones, not excellent biking conditions. We did see seasonal bike-share dock systems, without the bikes (it was February). However, right in front of the main train station there was a protected two-way cycle track!
On our way back to the airport, taking the Aero Bus, which was extremely easy, we were able to see the rest of the city. There were many bike lanes, protected one way bike lanes, two way cycle tracks, even a bicycle lane in a roundabout.