Lisbon inside city tips: ‘hop on hop off’ bus, Red Tram tour, hotspots, breathtaking views & nightlife

Planning a short trip to Lisbon? My inside (cheap) tips and trip ideas!

‘Hop on and hop off’ open-topped double decker bus tours are a popular way for tourists to view Lisbon city. The “River Tagus tour” offer you the the opportunity to view the areas in which most of its monuments may be found, such as the crown jewels of the Portuguese architecture in Belém.

Lisbon sightseeing the yellow double decker1 city

Lisbon ‘Hop on and hop off buses’: the yellow open-topped double decker tourist bus & the “River Tagus Tour’

Short term rentals: my 3bedroom authentic apartment (110 m2) in the historical part of Lisbon with a lovely patio

Famous Praça da Figueira (Square of the Fig Tree) and the bronze equestrian statue representing King John (1357-1433). This lively square is nowadays an important traffic hub, with bus and metro stops, cafes and restaurants, very popular with tourists, like cafe restaurant Pastelaria Suíça, located at the nearby Rossio Square

Lisbon sightseeing the yellow double decker Praca do Comercio

The famous Praça do Comércio (Commerce Square) near the river Tagus

This square is also the starting point for a ‘hop on hop off” historical ‘Red tramcar tour (the ‘ 7 Colinas‘ hills) route . The Carristur’ company has faithfully restored the interior of the trams dating from the thirthies and fourties, preserving their charm and original character. Ticket € 18, children (4-10) € 9, Lisboa card reduction € 13,50″.

ViniPortugal, free wine tasting & tourist information Sala Ogival, Lisbon, Praça do Comércio Commerce Square)

At the same square (Praça do Comércio) you can taste fine Portuguese wines for free: a very pleasant and interesting way to learn more about history and culture of Portuguese wines. More about ViniPortugal

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Campo Pequeno, a monumental Moorish-style bullring, built in 1892

Bullfights, cinema, restaurants and shopping mall (seen from the yellow ‘hop on hop off’ tourist bus “River Tagus Tour’)

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Park Eduardo VII  (the yellow tourist bus “River Tagus Tour’)

This beautiful park is not worth a visit for itself, but the view from here is wonderful! Fabulous blue sky and light, and the Tagus river in the background. Situated right in the middle of the city, close to Avenida da Liberdade, a lovely and luxury shopping ‘avenue’, the Portuguese equivalent of the Champs Elysees in Paris. Brands like Luis Vuitton, Emporio Armani and Escada fashionable boutiques.

Lisbon yellow tourist bus 25April Bridge

Hop on hop off bus (HOHO Lisbon)

On the background: the famous April 25 Brigde (Ponte 25 de Abril), connecting the Lisbon city (the yellow tourist bus “River Tagus Tour’)

Lisbon view from Cristo Rei statue how to get there by cheap ferry

Lisbon old town and April 25 Bridge, view from the Cristo Rei Statue

How to get there? A wonderful idea for a trip to the other side of the river is to take a cheap ferry to Cacilhas, (very good and cheap restaurants!) and a 20 minutes walk along the river to reach the elevator of the famous Cristo Rei statue. Amazing views on downtown Lisbon!

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Belém, the Monument to the Discoveries (Padrão dos Descobrimentos)

Although most have already been said about this momument (and Belém): this place is definitely a must see! You can go up to the top of the monument (by elevator) where you enjoy wonderful views around, like the mouth of the Tagus river, the April 25 Bridge, the Jerónimos Monastery, as well as the famous Tower Torre de Belem. a UNESCO World Heritage Site, one of Lisbon’s most photographed landmarks. All the sights are near each other (more information GoLisbon).

Pasteis de Belem Lisbon3

Pasteis de Belém (Lisbon’s famous custard tarts, always warm and delicious!)

No trip to Lisbon can be called a success without visiting Belém, where Portugal’s Age of Discovery began, and without enjoying a few of Lisbon’s most celebrated custard tarts in the nearby famous Pasteis de Belém, Antiga Confeitaria, Rua de Belém 84-92.

GoCar Rob and Julie2

An adventurous idea for a trip to explore Lisbon is to rent a two seater GoCar.

As part of the GPS Tours Network, several exciting tours in Lisbon are available: the Baixa, for Belém (like we did), the Castelo São Jorge (Castle of Saint George), or to the Expo (Park of the Nations). More information and rental rates:  website GoCar Tours

Lisbon sightseeing the yellow double decker Praca da Figueira

Starting point ‘hop on hop off’ city cruise bus at Praça da Figueira . Ticket: bus driver

Or join the yellow bus at Praça do Comércio . Official Lisbon yellow tour buses, operated by Carris (Lisbon’s bus public company). Duration tour 1,2 hours.

Departures hop on buses: every 30 minutes to join the River Tagus Tour or Olisipo Tour : you can visit the most important museums, have fun at Parque das Nações, the leisure area of Lisbon, especially for children, or visit the ZOO.

Lisbon Largo do Carmo church museum 1

Largo do Carmo (via Santa Justa Lift), entrance to the famous Archeological Museum

Your ‘hop on hop off’ ticket is also valid on trams, the famous Santa Justa Lift to reach the wonderful Largo do Carmo,  my favorite square in Lisbon), funiculars and public buses during 24h. Adult € 15, children (4-10) € 7,50. Lisboa Card € 11.

Expo aerial cable cars Parque des Nacoes

Parque das Nações. (Park of the Nations). Yellow ‘hop on hop off’ city  tour bus Olisipo Tour). Picture: Christel Leenen

Cablecars at Expo 98, looking towards the Vasco da Gama Bridge over the River Tagus

Cais do Sodre Lisbon train to Cascais

Cais de Sodré, train to Cascais (and to Belém)

A cheaper way from the city center to g0 to Belém is by getting tram 15 (from Praça da Figueira (watch out for pickpockets!) and from Praça do Comércio ), or by train from Cais de Sodré on the Cascais Line; get out at Belém station. All the trains pass through Belém, but not all of them stop there.

Good & cheap trip idea: the legendary old and funny tram 28, a ‘must do’ tourist attraction

If you wanna get a good impression of the historical city of Lisbon, a very good and cheap idea is taking this typical little trolley, ‘elétrico 28′. This legendary tram 28 is a tourist attraction in itself. It goes all around town. Of course you can hop on and hop off.

Tram electrico 28 Alfama

Tram 28 in Alfama, one of the oldest areas in Lisbon.  Nearby Lisbon’s legendary flea market Feira da Ladra’

These small yellow trams are extremely old and funny, they go up and down through the narrow streets of Lisbon. The electric tram No. 28 departs from Largo Martim Moniz in Lisbon’s historical heart.

(5 minutes walk from my authentic 3- bedroom apartment with sunny patio (30 m2) in Mouraria)

Lisbon tourist attraction river Tagus viewpoint Portas do Sol

Lisbon, tourist attraction Portas do Sol , a famous river Tagus viewpoint (miradouro)

Old tram 28 stops in the most picturesque sights of Lisbon, like this famous river and old town viewpoint. Nearby a lovely lounge terrace, restaurant, trendy and stylish bar, (weekend DJ’)s Portas do Sol

Lissabon Castle of St George old tram 28 stop

Lisbon and the Castle of Saint George

..…….and this old tram 28 also stops close to the entrance of the wonderful Castle of Saint George , for the most breathtaking views on the river Tagus and Lisbon! More……

Flower Power Hotspot Lisbon Bairro Alto healthy food and flowers

Lunch idea: trendy hotspot  in the legendary Bairro Alto area ‘FlowerPower’ , café/restaurant .

Healthy eating amid the hustle and bustle of Lisbon’s bohemien haunt of artists and writers ‘Flowerpower’, close to the most photographed street in Lisbon and Bica funicular (from 1892)

Noobai cafe restaurant wonderful river views

Nearby Bairro Alto: trendy cafe/restaurant (also open for lunch) Noobai, amazing river Tagus views!

Certainly one of the favorite places of many Lisbon locals and visitors of the city. Relaxed ambience and very nice people!

Lisbon Adamastor gathering place Tagus River5

‘Adamastor’ near the river Tagus

Nearby ‘Adamastor’ is a popular viewpoint (miradouro) and gathering place in Lisbon.

From this vista point you have the most breathtaking views on the Tagus river, the 25th of April Bridge and the Cristo Rei monument.

Kiosks in Lisbon Camões Square

Kiosk (quiosque) Camões Square (Praça Luís de Camões)

The Moorish influence in Lisbon is still present, like the lovely designed old kiosks serving old-fashioned Portuguese refreshments and snacks. More about kiosks near beautiful viewpoints, favorite tourist attractions, some recommended restaurants and how to get there.

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Bar Pavilhão Chines, bizarre and ‘one of a kind’

Going out & nightlife in Lisbon: 1900s ‘one of a kind’ bar Pavilhão Chines close to the legendary Bairro Alto area. One of the most interesting bars I’ve ever seen and a good start to Lisbon’s nightlife.

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The legendary Bairro Alto area in Lisbon

A Capela’ is one of the most popular bars in Lisbon’s heart of funky bars and restaurants.

Lisbon for children: the Oceanarium & the Science Museum: see, do & learn!

Lisbon is a very children-friendly city and a perfect destination for a few days with the family. The mild climate makes it ideal to explore the city, with places of interest and a lot of fun for children!

Lisbon Oceanarium a wonderful experience

Who’s watching who? Picture: Abilio Leitao

The famous Oceanarium (Oceanário) in Lisbon is the largest aquarium in Europe, with over one million visitors per year. The main tank contains approximately 5000 litres of water! A remarkable but hidden world with creatures weird and wonderful. The guided tours are a powerful educational tool that covers a broad range of scientific knowledge and stimulates learning about the oceans.

Lisbon Oceanarium Himantura uarnak Honeycomb stingray

Picture: Carla Robalo Martins. Himantura uarnak (Honeycomb stingray)

The Lisbon Oceanarium website (also in English) includes all the info you need about opening hours, exhibiotions, prices and how to get there. Located in Parque das Nações (Park of the Nations), at the south end of Doca dos Olivais, a wonderful area for children! The Oceanarium Center also promotes a range of sporting activities, like canoing, windsurfing and sailing for children and adults.

There’s lots of possibilities to bike, roller skate, skate or walk by the river, and there are many green spaces for playing ball.  More information and highlights

Lisbon Pavilhao do Conhecimento Parque das Nações

Pavilion of Knowledge. Picture Fernanda Sampaio

Also located in this Park is The Pavilion of Knowledge (Pavilhão do Conhecimento), an interactive science and technology museum that aims to make science accessible to all, stimulating experimentation and exploration of the physical world. There are interactive blocks as well as recreation and formative areas reserved for children.

See, do and learn!

Lisbon Parque dos Indios fun for children

Parque dos Índios (Indians Park) , located in Benfica

One of the best parks for children in Lisbon is Parque dos Índios (Indians Park) with scenic views and two different areas: for younger children, aged up to 5, and for those aged 6 to 12. This is a park with a pretty landscape, offering a good place for adults to rest at the outdoor cafe. The space is wide, allowing you to watch the kids having fun.

High-speed train Alfa Pendular from Lisbon Oriente station & online reservation

Station Oriente is a very beautiful and very famous station, the hub for the various networks of public transportation serving the eastern area of Lisbon, with a metro station, trains, buses, taxis and easy airport links.  The station was created by master architect Santiago Calatrava with a roof of glass and steel.

Oriente Station

Station Oriente. A ticket from Lisbon Oriente Station to Faro (or vice versa) cost about 19 euro.

Alfa Pendular train

The Alfa Pendular is a very comfortable, fast and luxury train.

Address station: Ed. Gare do Oriente, piso 1 – Av. D. João II. You can buy a ticket via internet, also from International station Santa Apolonia. The best thing to do is to reserve a ticket (and a chair number) from 30 days to at least one day before your journey.

Alfa Pendular connects the cities of Braga, Porto, Aveiro, Coimbra, Santarém, Lisbon, Albufeira and Faro, among others.

Website Alfa Pendular (online ticket reservation, from 30 days to at least one day before your journey.)

Aquaduct Lisbon

View from train Alfa Pendular

You can overlook the fine views (picture: Aquaduct in Lisbon) during the 3 -hours trip, or work: sockets for laptops are at many of the seats.

Public transport Alfa Pendular train view 25 April Bridge Lisbon downtowm

View from train Alfa Pendular : April 25 Bridge on Lisbon downtown

In the Alfa Pendular train there’s also a buffet car, mini bar, audio and video channels (ear-phones are distributed), toilets and special places reserved for reduced mobility passengers.

Alfa Pendular view Alcantara Lisbon

View from Alfa Pendular train

Alcantara Lisbon cruise port just beyond the April 25 bridge.