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Trams are at the heart of Lisbon’s public transportation system. Its bright yellow trams have been made famous all over the world by travelers who have visited the city. There are presently a total of six tram lines in Lisbon: The 12, 15, 18, 24, 25, & 28. Of these, a couple are of particular use to visitors. Tram 15 travels from the city center to Belém & features modern trains. Tram 28 is the tram that you will have undoubtedly seen in many photos of Lisbon. The route circles around the center of Lisbon through neighborhoods such as the Bairro Alto & the Alfama. A ride on Tram 28 makes for the quintessential Lisbon experience.
The guide to Lisbon’s trams
The guide to Tram 28 in Lisbon
No trip to Lisbon is complete without a ride on Lisbon’s famous Tram 28. Here are some tips for getting the most out of your experience.
Buy a ticket ahead of time
As of now, individual ride tickets cost €2.90. However, by using a prepaid card, you can lower this cost to €1.30. Alternatively, if you plan on hopping on-and-off a lot, a day pass is €6.30. Visit the Carris site for the latest fare information.
Get on the Lisbon Tram 28 at either the start of a line, or at a place where lots of people are getting off
This gives you the best chance of getting a window seat with a nice view, but even this can be difficult as tourist crowds pack the Lisbon trams.
Be patient, & wait for another tram if necessary
Due to the nature of trams, they are prone to delays. This means that the trams can get stacked up. They can’t pass each other, so what happens is the first tram in the line will be packed. If it’s been a while before a tram, look up the road to see if a 2nd one is right behind it. This tram will be much emptier.
Watch out for pickpockets
Unfortunately, as is the case in any crowded place full of tourists, the Lisbon trams are infested with pickpockets. Be especially careful if you are standing near a door. This is another benefit to being able to grab a seat.
Other unique ways to get around Lisbon
Be sure to also check out Lisbon’s funiculars & elevators to see more unique ways to get around the city.
Now, here’s my experience taking a loop around Lisbon on Tram 28.
After getting a bifana and a beer at O Trevo, I boarded Tram 28 at Praça Luís de Camões. I waited there for almost 15 minutes, then there were 2 trams in a row. As I recommended above, I had seen the 2nd one behind it, so I waited.
This proved to be an excellent idea. Not only was I able to get a seat, the tram was actually so empty that I could swap to the other side of the tram as we rode through Lisbon’s winding streets. The driver whistled “Wonderwall” as we made our way.
There are plenty of places along the way that are worth checking out.
The Park Rooftop Bar has excellent views of Lisbon. It also has good cocktails. It’s hard to find, but it’s accessed via the roof of a parking garage along the Tram 28 route in Bairro Alto.
Heading up the hill from Bairro Alto, you’ll pass the Portuguese Parliament building.
There are several churches along the route, including Basilica da Estrela.
Tram 28 ends this part of its run just past Igreja de Santo Condestável at Campo de Ourique / Prazeres.
Here you will have to get off the tram and reboard, as there will likely be people waiting in a queue. In my case, there wasn’t much of a wait. I got on the 2nd tram in the line and was able to get a seat again.
This didn’t last for too long. As we headed through the narrow winding streets toward the center of Lisbon, more and more people got on the tram. The line continues due east toward the Chiado neighborhood.
Eventually, Tram 28 reaches the Alfama, Lisbon’s historic medieval neighborhood. Here you will see the Lisbon Cathedral & the Museum Aljube of Resistance & Liberty.
Beyond this point, the tram continues a very winding route. It’s not the fastest way to get around, but it’s a nice way to see the Alfama. You can make a note of places to return to later, such as some of the overlooks & museums.
The tram begins to empty out at the back side of the Alfama. The streets are even narrower, so sudden stops are frequent due to traffic. Lisbon’s trams have only two speeds: stop and go. As a result, it’s not the most comfortable ride.
Finally, Tram 28 turns back towards its original starting point near Intendente. It passes Cervejaria Ramiro, an excellent seafood restaurant, then the line ends at Martim Moniz. Of course, you can get right back on and continue, if you haven’t finished the whole loop to where you started.
There used to be many more tram lines in Lisbon, but they were removed over the years. Today an effort is actually being made to expand the system again.
Lisbon’s trams aren’t the fastest way to get around the city, but they are a unique experience. In addition to being pretty, the trams are a fun, albeit slow way to get around. While there are other transportation options, a visit to Lisbon wouldn’t be complete without at least one ride around the city on the historic Tram 28.