10 Practical Tips for a City Trip to Lisbon

If you’ve booked a city trip to Lisbon, you’ve made a great choice! The vibrant capital of Portugal has everything you need for an enjoyable city break. If you’re visiting Lisbon for the first time, you might find these 10 practical tips helpful. In this article, you’ll find tips on the best time to visit, which neighborhoods are great to stay in, and how to save money in Lisbon. This way, you’ll be well-prepared for your trip and make the most of your city break! If you’re looking for things to do in Lisbon, check out our tips for the 18 most enjoyable things to do in Lisbon.

How to Travel from the Airport to Lisbon City Center

Lisbon has only one airport, and there are several ways to get to the city center from there:

  • The metro is the cheapest option. A single ticket costs $2, and the journey to the city center takes about 30 minutes. You can purchase a ticket at the station or get a card (similar to an Oyster card) that you can use for all your journeys. You can find Lisbon’s metro routes and stations on this website.
  • You can also take the airport shuttle service called Aerobus to the city center. Buses run every 20 to 25 minutes between 8:00 and 23:00. Aerobus Line 1 will take you to the center of Lisbon (Baixa-Chiado station). A ticket costs around $4.
  • The most comfortable and hassle-free way to start your city trip is by taking a taxi to the center of Lisbon. If you book a taxi online in advance, a driver will be waiting for you with a sign bearing your name. This way, you can hop in and arrive at your hotel in no time. The cost for up to 3 people is approximately $25-$30.

Wear Comfortable Shoes in Lisbon

It may sound like a mundane tip, but it’s crucial: bring comfortable shoes for your Lisbon city trip. Unlike cities like Paris and Valencia, where you can get by in flip-flops or sandals, Lisbon is quite different. The key difference? The hills! Lisbon is built on seven hills, and the picturesque narrow streets can be steep, which won’t be pleasant in sandals. If you plan to do a lot of walking in the city, it’s advisable to bring a pair of sneakers or other comfortable shoes to tackle those hills with ease.

Plan Your Lisbon City Trip Outside of Peak Holiday Periods

Each year, approximately 10 million tourists visit Lisbon for a city trip, and especially during holiday periods, the city can get very crowded. If your work or studies force you to travel during these times, that’s one thing, but if not, it’s much better to avoid holiday periods. August, in particular, is a busy month as Portuguese people also take vacations and visit Lisbon. In addition to the crowds, prices also tend to rise during holiday periods.

The best time to visit Lisbon is between May and September, and this period includes the May and summer holidays. So, always check the school holiday calendar for the year before booking. This way, you can save money and expect the city to be less crowded. This also applies to weekends and days around holidays like Easter and Pentecost.

Save Money in Lisbon with the Lisbon Card

If you plan to do a lot during your trip to Lisbon, you can save a lot of money with the Lisbon Card. This card allows you to travel for free on public transport in Lisbon, and it also includes the train to Sintra and Cascais. Furthermore, it provides free access to up to 35 attractions in the city, such as the Jerónimos Monastery and climbing the Belém Tower. You also get discounts on entrance tickets, various excursions, at shops, in the nightlife, and you receive a city guide with practical information. You can purchase the Lisbon Card for 24, 48, or 72 hours.

The Famous Tram 28 and the Alternative

The trams in Lisbon are iconic, and tram 28, in particular, is popular because it passes through the most beautiful neighborhoods in the city. Tram 28 is a well-known tourist attraction, so it’s usually very crowded, which can make the experience less enjoyable. Especially if you have to wait a long time at the stop and then can’t get a window seat, it might feel like a waste of time. Therefore, the tip is to take the ride early in the morning, preferably before rush hour because locals also use this tram.

The alternative is to board tram 12. This tram follows a large part of the same route as tram 28 but is much less crowded. You can also take tram 12 from the Martim Moniz stop, so if the line for tram 28 is too long, you can try tram 12.

Taxi Services like Uber are Very Affordable in Lisbon

In Lisbon, you have taxi services like Uber, Bolt, and Kapten, and the prices for these taxis are affordable. A 20-minute ride in the city center costs about $7. Especially if you’re traveling with multiple people on a city trip, taking a taxi can be just as economical as the metro. Of course, the metro may be faster for longer distances because you won’t have to deal with the city’s traffic.

Nothing is Free in Restaurants in Lisbon

Some things work a bit differently in Portugal than in other parts of the world. You pay for the bread and the snacks on the table, so if you don’t want them, you can ask the waiter to take them away. This may feel a bit like a tourist scam to make extra money, but it’s not because it happens everywhere in Portugal. So, don’t dig in immediately when the snacks arrive; first decide if you want to pay for them. Also, check their prices because these snacks can sometimes be quite expensive.

Stay in the Best Neighborhoods of Lisbon During Your City Trip

Lisbon has some very cool neighborhoods to choose from. Bairro Alto is often considered the most enjoyable neighborhood to stay in during a city trip because it has many picturesque narrow streets. Especially in the evening, this neighborhood comes to life. It’s full of great restaurants and cozy bars with live music. The Baixa neighborhood is also a fun place to stay. Baixa is the heart of Lisbon, located right in the center of the city, making it an excellent base for visiting all of Lisbon’s attractions. Unlike the rest of the city, the streets here are mostly wide and straight. Alfama is right next to Baixa. In this charming neighborhood, fado music originated, so you’ll naturally find many fado houses where performances take place in the evening. If you want to learn more about these neighborhoods, check out our article on the best neighborhoods in Lisbon + hotel tips.

Here Are the Coolest Things to Do in Lisbon

In Lisbon, you’ll never be bored because there’s so much to do and see. We’ve written an article with 18 tips for the coolest attractions in Lisbon. We cover our favorite restaurants, share our favorite hotels, and, of course, highlight the must-visit places for your city trip to Lisbon!