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Excursions

Lisboa (Lisbon)

Good preparation and planning will assist you in making the most of your Lisboa experience. Review our Lessons Learned and select from our favourites. Plan the trip that right for you!.

Lisboa - Within the City
Lisboa - Outside the City - Belém
Lisboa - Outside the City - Docas
Lisboa - Outside the City - Cascais
Lisboa - Outside the City - Sintra
Lisboa - Getting there from Lagos
Lisboa - Getting Around in Lisboa
Lisboa - Tips
Other Excursions

 

Lisboa - Overview

Lisboa - A truly cultural and historic experience: A visit to Lisboa offers a variety of flavours and a blend of cultural experiences with endless options of things to see and do in each Barrio (neighbourhood).

From the old historic Alfama with its maze of alleys and streets carved into the hill side .....

To the bustling Baixa with it's wide avenues, opened plazas and pedestrian streets lined with cafes and designer shops, the diversity of choices are endless.....

As you explore the city, remember to look up and observe the impressive architecture, intricate carvings and the wrought iron work that is prevalent in every Bar rio.....

We have personally found that a trip to Lisboa is never quite enough. Of the countless times we have roamed around this charming city, it continues to draw us back for yet another intriguing experience. The city has a constant buzz, no matter where you find your self lingering.

History: We can share with you our many personal adventures in Lisboa. For a taste of Lisboa's history, it is best that we refer you to other experts. Wikipedia's encyclopedia provides an in-depth and easy read of the historic essentials.

Lisboa Map and Attractions: Lonely Planet's - Lisboa Map provides a quick snapshot of Lisboa's highlights; simply click on the attractions listed in Red; click on other areas of the map for an overview of Lisboa.

Get a printable map of Lisboa here: This map will allow you to zoom into and print a desired area of Lisboa


Lisboa - Within the City

Our favourite 'Things to do" in Lisboa: There are an abundance of Lisboa guide books with loads of detail to assist you with making the most of your Lisboa adventure;
our favourites highlight some of them.

Access: Most of our favourites are accessible by the wonderful metro system; once close to your destination, trekking around on foot is the best way to enjoy the city

Praça do Commercio: Sitting on the boardwalk wall, overlooking the River Tagus/Tejo, observing the variety of water traffic; metro Baixa/Chiado
Alfama: Walking through the maze of hilly streets and staircases that comprise the Alfama; you are suddenly thrown back in time; with dwellings in such tight quarters, you truly feel the sensation of "a day in the life" of the residents of this Barrio; metro Baixa/Chiado; take the historic Tram 28 or 12 on Rua da Conçeicão

Castelo São Jorge (St. Jorge's Castle): Taking the tram car up to the castle; the castle crowns the hill top of the largest of Lisboa's seven hills, on the outskirts of the Alfama; the panoramic views of Lisboa and the River Tagus/Tejo are colourful and breathtaking; this is the absolute best vantage point to appreciate Lisboa; metro Baixa/Chiado; take the historic Tram 28 or 12 on Rua da Conçeicão
Elevador Santa Justa: Historic giant elevator which connects the Barrio Alto (high neighbourhood) with the Barrio Baixa (downtown), provides a beautiful view of the city; note your Lisboa Card provides a free ride in the elevator; metro Baixa/Chiado
Avenida da Roma: Shopping for elegant shoes; Avenida da Roma tantalizes you with great upscale shoe shopping; endless shoe stores with unique designs; take the metro and exit at the Roma station; ensure that you walk the two sides of Avenida da Roma to take in the best shoe shops; with time for a relaxing lunch, this can easily be a day trip, if you love to shop
Parque das Nações: Roaming around the site of Expo 1998, the Worlds Fair, proudly hosted by Lisboa; plan for a day to take in the attractions, the highlight being the multi-story Aquarium; metro Orient
Rossio Train Station: Peeping into this historic building is enormous; it's exterior architecture catches your eye with its enormous arches; worth a quick stop to wander around the multiple floors of this station; metro Rossio
People Watching: Every Lisboa experience, must include relaxing on an outdoor patio, sipping on a fine glass of wine; this is a welcoming pause on a warm day to sit back and take in the hustle and bustle of Lisboa and her people
Estadio da Luz: Home of the Benfica football team; this historic stadium was rebuilt for the 2004 European Cup football championship; we took in the Euro 2004 "Portugal vs. Greece" Final; what a memorable, spectacular and emotional atmosphere; a memory of a lifetime; try to see a Benfica game and feel the emotion; no trip to Lisboa is complete without a football experience; metro Collegio Militar

Estadio José Alvalade: Home of Sporting football team; this stadium was also built for the 2004 European football championship; we saw the exciting "Portugal vs. Holland" semi-final victory; try to get tickets for a Sporting game to get in on the excitement; metro Campo Grande

A Taste of Lisboa!!


 

Lisboa - Outside the City - Belém

Our favourite 'Things to do" : Most of our favourites outside the city are accessible from the "Cais do Sodré - "Estação do Combio" (train station); take the "Linha de Cascais" with Estoril as its last stop; the train station connects directly with the metro system making getting around quick and efficient

Belém: Just 10 minutes outside of lisboa on the River Tagus/Tejo, this picturesque town, is dedicated to Maritime History; Belém was the starting point for Portugal's caravels as they sailed off to conquer unknown worlds; most of the attractions are along a wide expanse of riverfront boardwalk; If you enjoy history this can be an enjoyable day trip; alternately this can be a 3-hour stop on the way to Cascais


Highlights - along the boardwalk in Belém:
Statue of the Discovers: This giant statue is a rightful tribute to the nations discoverers; take the elevator to the top for a spectacular-360 view; look down below at the giant marble compass on the boardwalk below representing the former Portuguese colonies; notice the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos and the Estadio de Belém; face the river and notice the very Red April 25th Bridge with Cristo Rei (statue of Christ) in the distance
Torre de Belém: This limestone tower is fronted by a mini amphitheatre of stairs; when the tide is in you may get splashed by the waves as you board the walkway into the Tower; have fun timing your attempts; the tower offer another tribute to maritime history
Wall of War Heroes: Walk past the Torre de Belém to this moving tribute of the Portuguese soldiers who gave their lives to defend their nation; the names of soldiers are inscribed on the wall surrounding a fountain, a peace flame and the tomb of the unknown soldier
Marina: The marina offers an entertaining collection of luxury yachts, against a backdrop of colourful buildings

 

Highlights - across the boulevard from the boardwalk in Belém:
Mosteiro dos Jerónimos:
I continue to be mesmerized by this Manueline masterpiece, with its intricate architecture; the monastery houses a historic naval museum
Antiga Confeitaria de Belém: You simply must head over to this little famous coffee shop for the original and decadent "Pastéis de Belém" (traditional custard tarts).
Centro Cultural de Belém: If you have time, wander around one of lisboa's main cultural venues, which houses the Museo do Design, a collection of 20th-century mind-bogglers.

: 3rd train stop on the "Linha de Cascais" from the Cais do Sodré train terminal in Lisboa

Driving time from Lisboa: 15 min.
Train time from Lisboa: 10 min.
Tram time from Lisboa: 20 min.

: Plenty of pay parking in parking lots along the boardwalk


 

Lisboa - Outside the City - Docas

Docas - Alcantara Mar : Old warehouses brightly painted and converted into restaurants with outdoor terraces and bars; frequented by day time buskers; excellent night life; great place to people watch

: Alcantara Mar is the 2nd train stop on the "Linha de Cascais" from the Cais do Sodré train terminal in Lisboa

Driving time from Lisboa: 10 min.
Train time from Lisboa: 10 min.

: Plenty of pay parking in parking lots along the boardwalk


 

Lisboa - Outside the City - Cascais

Cascais: Make a day visit to this picturesque seaside town, with its marble pedestrian streets; affluent villas, beach coves; seaside board walks dotted with fishing boats; restaurants and cafes and elegant boutiques; shopping and people watching are the things to do here; great night life as well

: Last train stop on the "Linha de Cascais" from the Cais do Sodré train terminal in Lisboa; check the schedule for the train with the least stops and for the last train back to Lisboa, if you plan to enjoy a late night drink

Driving time from Lisboa: 40-60 min. (depending on traffic)
Train time from Lisboa: 30 min. (if limited stops)

: Tough place to find parking; parking lots and streets are usually full of cars; we tend to avoid driving here and prefer to take the train


 

Lisboa - Outside the city - Sintra

Sintra: Sintra makes another great day trip; especially if you would like to visit the impressive Moorish Castle at the top of the hill and the Pena Palace; Sintra is rather touristy in the center of town and shops are expensive; you can take a 10-minute bus ride up to the castle; or try out the grueling 60-minute steep walk on the paved road, if you are in top shape and enjoy the exercise; I once make the mistake to letting my cousin convince me to hike up the steep mountainside through the woods, to the castle; I barely made it to the top and was covered in cuts and bruises

: Take the "Linha de Sintra" from the Rossio train terminal in Lisboa; pick-up a train schedule at the train station and note that schedule is different during the week vs weekends; check the bus schedule in Sintra centre for times to and from the castle before you head-up; the bus-ride is treacherous as the poor driver has to negotiate complicated turns, made worse by drivers who park, on both sides of the road

Train time from Lisboa: 50 min. (if limited stops)


 

Lisboa - Getting There from Lagos

Options: Your options for getting to and touring Lisboa are by driving; taking the train; taking the bus; or via a guided bus tour directly from Lagos; your choice should be dependant on your level of comfort roaming around Portugal; for first time visitors, I recommend taking a guided bus tour

Driving (our favourite way to see Lisboa): With the modern 4-lane motorways, driving to Lisboa is a breeze; we drive to Lisboa; park at Orient metro; tour around via a combination of metro, train and on foot; this is a quick and efficient way of seeing Lisboa with plenty of independence and freedom to wander at our leisure; we often make this a long day trip, but occasionally stay over in Cascais; alternately you can stay overnight in Lisboa

: From Lagos, drive east on the A22 4-lane motorway; look for the Blue signs A2 Lisboa; the exit ramp takes you right, up a high ramp and then left over the A22 highway as you begin heading north towards Lisboa; stay on the A2 for approx two hours towards Lisboa until you see an exit for the A12 - Lisboa; Take this exit and drive for another 10 minutes and you will be on the impressive "Sailboat style" Vasco da Gama bridge; take the 1st exit/Expo 98 sign; the exit ramp leads you to a road running parallel to the river "Avenida D. João II"; this road changes name after a few blocks to "Avenida Principe Perfeito"; drive until you see the Orient metro station on your right

Drive into the Orient underground pay parking on your right; keep any items left in your vehicle, out of sight to minimize theft

Driving time from Lagos to Lisboa: 3.5 hours with short Service Centre / bathroom stops

Train: Taking the train is a great alternative, as it provides a relaxing view of the countryside lined with cork and olive trees as you cross through the Alentejo province; part of this enjoyable ride is along the coast, giving you a real feel for the country; treat yourself to first class for more comfort

Portuguese Railway Network - Need to Knows: This is probably the most complicated subject that you will encounter during your holiday; a few important facts and visuals will assist you in decomposing and perhaps slightly simplifying this intricate network; patience will be your saving grace!!

1) Lisboa's inter-city rail services are part of the Portuguese Railway network (CP) "Comboios Portugueses (Portuguese Trains)"
2) Lisboa has several railway station terminals
3) Each railway station terminal provides service to a different part of the country
4) Major Lisboa train station terminals (there are a few others)

Santa Apolónia Train Station Terminal
Location: 1 km east of the Lisboa city centre
Trains Service: Terminus for trains from the north and abroad
Access: Least accessible train station in Lisboa; 15 min. walk from Praça do Comércio; access via bus connection
Nearest Metros: Baixa-Chiado or Martim Moniz; no direct metro connection

Oriente Train Station Terminal
Location: Near the airport; on the north east side of Lisboa; on the River Tagus/Tejo; at Parque das Nações (Expo 98 World's fair site); adjacent to the Vasco da Gama shopping centre; near the Oceanarium
Trains Service: Terminus for trans from other regions in Portugal; e.g. Lagos to Lisboa
Access: Well served by metro and bus; closest train/metro station to the airport; Avenida de Berlin provides a straight line connection between Oriente and the airport
Nearest Metro: Across the street from the Oriente metro stop

Cais do Sodré Train Station Terminal
Location: 1 km west of the Praça do Comércio
Train Service: Terminus of the Cascais/Estoril line
Nearest Metro: Directly connected to Cais do Sodré metro stop

Rossio Train Station Terminal: Is closed 2004-06 due to structural problems in the tunnel leading to its platforms; due to reopen June 30, 2006 ; during this closure services from Rossio have been diverted to several other train stations in Lisboa
Nearest Metro: Restauradores; not Rossio

5) Overview of Lisboa Train Station Terminals: Useful overview of the Lisboa Train Station Terminals; scroll down to the Overview description

6) Railways Stations in Relation to Metro System: Handy combined visual of the Lisboa Train and Metro stations

7) Schematic of Lisboa's suburban railway system: Helpful diagram showing connectivity between train lines

8) Trains Service - Schedules - Price: CP "Comboios Portugueses (Portuguese Trains)" has a practical web-site to assist you in understanding the train network, getting schedule/price info and booking your ticket on-line

Tips:
1) Avoid trying to make sense of the entire train network; focus on your specific travel route of interest
2) Navigating the CP web-site: Web-site is bilingual (Portuguese/English); all pages have an option at the top right of the page to select English via the British Flag
3) The CP site does not keep the link back to SimplyLagos, so will need to re-launch SimplyLagos to get back

For Train Service coverage and map of the routes:

Home Page: Select "Traveling in Portugal - Viajar em Portugal", from the menu list on the left; a useful map of all Train Services in Portugal is presented; return to the Home Page to select your desired route

For Schedule (Horários) and Price (Preço):

Home Page: Select Horários/Timetable, from Menu CP List on the left; select your desired route for schedule info

: The Lagos train station is behind the marina; pick up a schedule of trains to Lisboa; notice the number of stops and the route as this will impact the duration; the train pulls into Oriente train station, the site of the Expo 98 Worlds Fair; the Oriente metro station is directly across the street from the Orient train station, providing you direct access to the centre of Lisboa

Train time from Lagos to Lisboa: 3.5-6.5 hours, depending on the stops

Bus: Taking the bus is another great alternative; the coaches are inexpensive and have comfortable seating; express bus routes are available

Options: There are two bus companies providing service from Lagos to Lisboa; the best way to get current bus info (schedule and price) is via their web-sites directly; the web-sites are in Portuguese, but don't be intimidated, be brave; we will assist you

1) Rede Nacioinal De Expressos: Web-site is in Portuguese

For Schedule (Horários) and Price (Preço):

Home Page: Select Horários
Horários Page: Select from the Partidas (departure) your departure station e.g. "Lagos"; a list of available destinations are displayed; select Destinos (destination) e.g. "Lisboa"; select "Ida e Volta" (return trip); select Horários; you will see a schedule of all bus departures from Lagos to Lisboa with the price; followed by all departures from Lisboa to Lagos with the price

Address: Rede Nacional De Expressos - Bus Terminal in Lisboa
Praça Marechal Humberto Delgado - Rua das Laranjeiras
1500-543 LISBOA
Tel: (213) 581 460
Metro Station: Jardin Zoolócico (just outside the metro station)

2) Eva Bus:
Web-site is available in English; select English Version; as soon as you enter your destination selection the web-site quickly switches back to Portuguese; just re-select English Version

For Schedule (Horários) and Price (Preço):

Home Page - Timetable Search
From the Drop-down menu, select Origin "Lagos"; Select Destination "Lisboa"; select Procurar (Find); you will see a schedule of all bus departures from Lagos to Lisboa (1-way) with the price; select your preferred departure time and the price is displayed: Simples (one-way) Ida/volta (return)
Repeat the search for a schedule of your Lisboa to Lagos return leg

The Eva site does not keep the link back to SimplyLagos, so will need to re-launch SimplyLagos to get back

Address: EVA BUs - Bus Terminal in Lisboa
Eva - Mundial Turismo Terminal Rodoviário de Lisboa:
Rua Professor Lima Bastos - Sete Rios
Tel: (808) 224 488
Tel: (213) 581 466
Metro Station: Jardim Zoológico (just outside the metro station) ***Note this metro was previously called Sete Rios.

: The Lagos bus station is at the end of the Town Waterfront boardwalk, on the left, just off the main Avenida; it is in close proximity to pedestrian bridge that takes you to the Marina; the bus can have a significant number of stops which adds to the duration; take note of the stops and duration when you pick-up the schedule; look for the express EVA bus routes

Bus time from Lagos to Lisboa: 4+ hours, depending on the stops

Guided Tour of Lisboa (from Lagos): From Lagos MegaTur (tour operator) offers a multitude of excursions in comfortable air-conditioned coaches, departing from Lagos; you can purchase tickets at the Lagos Tourist Office; the pickup point closest to our two apartments (Vila Dona Ana and our apartment at Vilabranca) is the Golfinho Hotel; the tour bus stops in various towns to pickup other tourists along the way; Ken's parents took the 2-day "Lisboa/Sintra/Cascais" tour in February 2005 and really enjoyed it; note that the Lagos Tourist Office does not take visa, so bring enough cash or you will have to dash out to find a banking machine

"Lisboa/Sintra/Cascais" -Tour Highlights Feb. 2005 (from Ken's parents):

  • Day 1: Bus picked us up at Golfinho Hotel around 05:00; then spent 2 hours driving into every small village almost to Albufeira
  • By 07:00 we headed north to Lisboa; lovely sunny day
  • About 08:00 we turned off the highway and drove 15 minutes to a village called Mimosa where we had breakfast at a small restaurant; a lot more agriculture here!
  • On the bus by 09:00 and around 11:30 we enter Lisboa; crossed the April 25 bridge
  • First stop in Belém: the Tower of Belém; the Monument to the Discoverers; had a Bachalau (cod fish) lunch in Belém
  • On the bus again through the sea-side towns of: Oeiras; Estoril; Cascais
  • Stopped in Sintra at 14:30; shops expensive; lots of wind; not too comfortable
  • Back on bus to lisboa; passed the Estadio da Luz (Stadium of Light) on the way, home to the Benfica football team;
  • Stayed at the Hotel Mundial; checked into our rooms; rested for an hour; then back on bus to Fado Night; food was OK and entertainment was interesting
  • 22:30 back at hotel
  • Day 2: Up at 5:30AM; lots of excitement outside the hotel; Federal election last night; Socrates of the Democratic Party won
  • Very nice breakfast in hotel dining room
  • Tour guide assembled 40 guests for a Tram ride to Alfama (oldest part of city); tour guide takes first Tram with 20 guests; we wait 1 hour before next Tram arrived; an accident disrupted the tram schedule
  • We walked the old city, churches, very narrow & hilly alleys; 4-storey apartments, straight up and narrow; need to have mountain climbing experience to live in some of those buildings; very unique area though
  • Lunch of Cod & Chips; had some roasted chestnuts; stopped in some small shops
  • Back to Hotel at 14:30; bus leaves at 15:00 over the Vasco De Gama bridge; uneventful trip back to Lagos
  • Arrive back to Vila Dona Ana apartment at 20:30

 

Lisboa - Getting Around in Lisboa

Options: Lisboa is well equipped with an encompassing modern transportation system which makes getting around a breeze; arm yourself with a detailed map of the city which also shows the metro and rail stops.

Metro: The Lisboa metro system is clean and efficient and connects the entire city; the Lisboa metropolitan area is divided into 4 zones: L, 1, 2, 3; all metro stops (except Odivelas, Alfornelos, Amadora Este) are within the central L (urbano) zone; tickets are purchased through vending machines at the metro stations

Metro + Carris buses and trams: Offer Single Ticket; multi-ride pass; Day Pass; 5-Day-Pass; Monthly Pass
Useful Links: Lisboa Transit System

Bus and Tram: The multitude of bus and historic tram cars offer a opportunity to take in the city's attractions, if you have more time on your hands; Tram car (eléctricos) #15 or 28 are antique style trams with run circuits around the city; they provide a great alternative to a guided tour and make it easy on the legs if you are not up to navigating the hills; #28/#12 old antique tram makes its way through the Alfama and the #15 modern/fast tram takes you to Belém; both trams can be picked up at Praça de Figueira (adjacent to Rossio) and Praça do Comercio; other tram stops are marked by little stop signs ("paragem") and the fares are inexpensive (approx €1); ensure you have small change as some trams have automated machines which are the only way to pay; if you are caught without paying, you will be fined

Foot: Wear comfortable walking shoes, as Lisboa is a city of seven hills and getting around on foot, in addition to using the public transit system, will give you the best of your Lisboa adventure

Train - Cais do Sodré Train Station: The Cais do Sodré train station is the main terminal and is directly connected to the Lisboa metro system; this makes visiting the "Outside of the City" and costal attractions by train a no-brainer; the Linha de Cascais is our favourite way to see the seaside towns in comfort and to make stops along the way at the numerous attractions

Guided Tours of Lisboa (from Lisboa): If you have limited time and are not comfortable getting around the city on your own; there are a multitude of excellent city tours; most city tours start at Praça do Comercio; Praça do Comercio is a beautiful wide expanse of a Plaza embracing the River Tagus/Tejo on one side, and facing the magnificent archway into the Barrio Baixa on the other. Most Lisboa city tours start from this plaza.

Types of Tours: A variety of tours are offered covering the full breath of city attractions to a small subset; for an example of tours offered, check out http://www.footprintguides.com/lisboa/Tours-and-Attractions.php
Tour Duration: Tours range from a few hours; to half day; to full day
Tour Buses: Vehicles include opened air double decker busses; to traditional electric trolley cars; to air conditioned coaches
Tour Price Ranges: €15/adult +; €7/child +(price varies based on tour selected)
Tickets: Tickets can be booked from Tour Operators with vending booths on the perimeter of the plaza; from local Portuguese travel agents; from the Portuguese tourist offices


Lisboa - Tips

Take note of the tips below, several of which are critical to ensure your comfort, your safety and to help you create a memorable Lisboa experience

1) Pick-Pockets: Lisboa has a population of 2 million plus; with any big city comes poverty and associated street crime; stay Street Smart; pick-pockets are prevalent throughout the city and quite well versed at spotting tourists; they seem to have a preference for the busy tramcars/buses/metro, where your hands are tied-up handing on for balance and your pockets/purses/knapsacks are unprotected; as with any big city, please be street smart and secure your valuables safely when wandering around; if you are parking your car; keep ALL items left in the car, out of sight.

2) Guided Tours: Many tours offer "free time" to roam around at your leisure; quite often this time period coincides with the lunch break (13:00-15:00) when most shops are closed; so if you plan to do some serious shopping, you will need to schedule in some free time before or after your tour; inquire about timing of this "free time" when you book your ticket

3) Weather: Bring plenty of sunscreen, a hat and bottled water to help you cope with the heat in the warmer months; bring a warm sweater, wind breaker and umbrella as it is quite cool in Lisboa in the winter months and can rain; it is usually quite windy anywhere along the river front

4) Parking: Oriente metro is where we park when we plan on roaming around Lisboa; the underground parking lot is directly beside the Orient metro station and is well marked; it offers plenty of paid parking; it is easy to get to; it avoids getting into the overwhelming and daunting Lisboa traffic; from the Orient metro, you can easily get around the entire city

5) Rossio: The Rossio train station was under construction; check to see if construction is complete before you head there


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