For tourists and locals alike, Lisbon is best enjoyed aboard its iconic trams.
Whether you come to Portugal’s capital city for its boutique shopping, to sample the local food, to hear the traditional Fado musicians or simply to explore the city’s unique labyrinth of winding narrow streets, you will soon spot Lisbon’s enigmatic mascot: the tram.
(photo by: Sami73)
Once drawn by horses, the now electric trams reached their peak in prominence during the 1950s, when there were some twenty-seven lines across the city. Now only five remain, but it still possible today to enjoy a glimpse of that era, with some trams even featuring early 20th century fittings.
An ideal way for the first-timer to discover the sights of Lisbon’s historic centre and dauntingly steep streets is aboard the number 28 tram. With its characteristic yellow and white livery, this line runs from Martim Moniz to Prazeres, covering much of the Alfama district, including streets that pass by some of the city’s best known monuments, churches and gardens. This area is also home to the beautifully appointed Hotel Olissippo Castelo Lisbon, offering panoramic views, including that of the medieval Castle of São Jorge.
The city’s trams are not only for tourists, however, and are still a popular form of transportation for Lisbon’s residents. A single ticket costs EUR2.85 on-board, or a day pass is also available for frequent use within 24 hours, at EUR6. This can be put to great use on the number 25 tram, which covers a less touristic part of the city between the hilly Buenos Aires district and the elegant downtown area, Pombaline Baixa. Shopping enthusiasts can hop on and off along the route, visiting bespoke tailors, high-end shoe stores, long established leather glove purveyors, and some of Lisbon’s finest patisseries, popular for their exquisite custard tarts, known locally as pasties de nata.
Within the Baixa district, full of attractions, sits the Altis Avenida Hotel Lisbon. Here one can enjoy 5-star luxury design and comfort, which in keeping with the rich history of Lisbon’s trams, reflects the glamour of of the 1940s.