When other European cities replaced their charming old trams with modern metro systems in the 1950s and ‘60s, Lisbon chose to keep the vintage cars with their varnished wood-paneled interiors. These atmospheric and historic cars, which run on tracks in the street, can negotiate Lisbon’s steep hills and narrow streets with ease. And they save weary feet from some long, hard climbs.
The Tram 28 Route
For a good sense of the city’s layout, ride almost the entire route of Tram 28 from Praca Martim Moniz (take the outbound car, heading away from Rossio), through the Alfama, across the Barrio Baixa, up into the Chiado and as far as Estrela. It’s easy to tell that stop because it is in a wide, level square with a big church on the left and a green park on the right. While there, see the church and stroll in the park before returning by the same route for an entirely different perspective and set of views.
Budget Lisbon Transit Passes
Before catching the tram in Praca Martim Moniz, stop at the Carris kiosk in nearby Praca da Figueira for a transit map and to buy a day “7 Colinas” card for E 3.70 (about $5 US/Canadian), which is good for 24 hours of travel on any tram, bus, metro or elevador (funicular). Swipe the card on the meter behind the driver when entering each time.
On the way back, stop at Praca Luis Camoes to explore the Chiado (leaving the uphill Bairro Alto to do later from the Elevador Gloria), then re-board to the flat grid of streets below known as the Baixa. Get off to explore these, heading two blocks to the right on Rua Augusta, through the massive arch onto Praca do Comercio. This elegant square overlooking the Tagus (Tejo) River was built on the site of the royal palace, much of which was destroyed by a devastating earthquake in 1755.