If your hotel is in the centre of the city, the best option is to explore the city on foot as many of the attractions are within easy walking distance of the Baixa. Funiculars and elevators help in getting around the steep city.
For a city orientation tour, take a topless hop-on, hop-off double-decker bus from Praça do Comércio which provides an audio guide as you drive along Lisbon’s main boulevard, the elegant Avenidada Liberdade, and through the streets of Lisbon.
You can buy a tourist pass at Carris kiosks (open daily 8.00-20.00) in most metro and train stations and the airport. The best solution is to buy a microchip “7 Colinas” card which can be credited with a 1-day pass costing €4.00 or a 5-day pass costing €14 for unlimited trips on buses, trams, Metro, elevators and funiculars. The card itself costs €0.50 and is valid for a year.
The Lisboa Card is a City Pass card which entitles the holder to free/discounted entry to more than 80 museums, sights and tours. The card includes free transport on the Metro, buses, trams and elevators. It is valid for a year from the date of purchase. You can select a Lisboa Card for 24 hours for €17.00; 48 hours for €27.00; 72 hours for €33.50. Available from tourist offices and at the airport.
The Lisboa Viva card costs €10.00 plus €25.00 for a one-month unlimited pass. Itis intended for passengers who use the public transport system on a regular, daily basis. The smart-card takes 10 days to process and passports must be produced to buy a travel pass. Depending on age, these smart-cards can be valid for up to 6 years.
Lisbon has an excellent public transport system consisting of buses, trams, trains and a metro system, the stations being free art galleries displaying paintings, tiles and sculptures. Carris (Tel: 361 3054) operates the network of buses, trains, trams and funiculars but not the metro.
A large red M designates Metro stations. A single tickets costs €0.75; a 10-ticket booklet costs €6.65. Buy tickets from Metro ticket offices or machines. Services run from 06.30-01.00.
Lisbon’s buses and trams are among Europe’s cheapest. A basic ticket bought on board a bus or tram costs €1.15 (the ticket machines do not accept notes, so make sure you have coins). The city is divided into five zones and the fare depends on how many zones you cross. Services run from 06.00-01.00.
Take tram 28 from Largo Martim Moniz or tram 12 from Praçada Figueira for a ride through the narrow streets of Alfama, the most historical part of Lisbon. Tram 15, a space-age articulated tram with on-board machines for buying tickets and passes, runs from Praçada Figueira and Praça do Comércio via Alcântara to Belém. Tram 18 runs from Praça do Comércio via Alcântara to Ajuda.
Tram stops are marked by small yellow stop signs (paragem) hanging from the overhead wires or lampposts.
On Rua Aurea at the foot of the Santa Justa Elevator you will find a stand with schedules indicating the zig-zagging tram and bus routes.
There are three in the city: Glória, from Praça dos Restauradores to Rua São Pedro de Alcântara; Bica, from Calçado do Combro to Rua Martires da Pátria; and Lavra, from the eastern side of Avenidada Liberdade to Campo Martires da Pátria. A one-way ticket costs €1.15.
Ferry boats cross the Tagus to Cacilhas every 15-20 minutes and take 15 minutes. Most leave from Cais de Alfândega (Praça do Comércio) and Cais do Sodré. The ferry fare is €0.75 and is well worth the views. The boats arrive at Estação do Barreiro from where trains leave every half hour for the Costa Azul and the Algarve. The train fare includes the ferry.
The electric train system connects Lisbon to the towns and villages along the coast. The fares are cheap and there’s only one class of seat. Board a train at the waterfront Cais do Sodré station in Lisbon and travel up the coast to Cascais.
Taxis are plentiful and an inexpensive way of exploring the city. The basic fare is €2.15 for the first 153m, then €0.05 for each extra 162m, plus 20% from 20.00-06.00. If your luggage weighs more than 30kg, another 50% will be added to the fare.
If you have trouble hailing a taxi, try the ranks at all stations, ferry terminals, deluxe hotels and at Rossio, and Praça dos Restauradores. Call for a Radio Taxi on (21)811-90-00 or Autoscope on (21)793-27-56. Tips are discretionary. Round up to the next Euro or give 10% of the fare for good service.
Driving around Lisbon is not recommended. Obstacles are narrow one-way streets, tram- lines, traffic jams, dangerous driving, lack of parking. Two ring roads avoid the city – the inner Cintura Regional Interna de Lisboa (CRIL) and the outer Cintura Regional Externa de Lisboa (CREL).
Only hire a car if you intend travelling around the country. Major international car-rental companies are represented in Lisbon, with kiosks at the airport and in the city centre.
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Rua Laura Alves, 9,Lisbon,1069-169 Portugal
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