Lisbon is the capital of Portugal since the mid-13th century, which makes it one of the oldest in the world, and the largest city in the country. It is located in the region known as the Tagus Valley named after the river with the same name. Lisbon has over two million habitants, and its citizens enjoy good climate conditions with more than 200 days of sun per year.
Legend tells that it was founded by Ulysses. Most likely it was founded by the Phoenicians. The name comes from “Olissipo”, which has its origins in the Phoenician words “Allis Ubbo”, meaning “enchanting port”.
The city is constantly named as one of the greatest cities in the world and has become a popular tourist destination in recent years. It was recognized as the ‘Best European Destination’ at the 2017 Travel Awards. It takes around three days to discover the city, which makes it the ideal destination for a weekend city-break. However, if you have the opportunity to extend your trip to seven or ten days you’ll be able to include all of the enjoyable day trips in the surrounding region (all of which can be visited using public transport).
Lisbon offers lots of amazing things to experience. You will find a constant mix of traditional culture and modernity in every street, with picturesque neighbourhoods like Alfama or Bairro Alto and streets filled with heritage monuments mixed with a rising amount of technological and service companies that are coming to the city. You will also be able to experience one of Portugal’s most important heritages – Fado. There are a lot of places where you can listen to Fado, some more touristic and some more typical, from sessions with renowned singers to some good old fashioned fado vadio singers (fado sung by amateurs)… eitherway you can’t miss it!
From the hangouts at the unique viewpoints such as Miradouro da Graça to the nights in Bairro Alto, catching waves in Caparica or the charm of getting lost in the city’s labyrinth-like streets, you will probably think of Lisbon as your second home by the time you leave.
We hope you enjoy your time here to the maximum – and we truly believe you will!
Find more information about the city here.
Travelling to Portugal
Lisbon Airport is the main gateway to Portugal but you can also fly to one of the other two international airports: Faro and Oporto. The three airports cover the entire country and provide numerous international and domestic routes.
Moving around Lisbon
Lisbon Transport pass
After arriving to Lisbon, you may want to get a Viva Card (view Website for more info).
Viva Viagem is the ideal card for occasional users of public transport, as it may be topped up with tickets or money (pay as you go ‘zapping’ credit).
This card is valid for all member operators.
Lisbon transport system
Within Lisbon, there are 5 main types of transportation:
- Suburban Trains
- Taxi and Uber/Bolt
Maps available for download here:-
The metro is very efficient and reaches most of the city center, many campuses and most touristic attractions. It has a network of 4 color-coded lines:
- Green: From Telheiras to Cais do Sodré
- Yellow: From Odivelas to Rato
- Blue: From Amadora Este to Santa Apolónia
- Red: From São Sebastião to Aeroporto (Airport)
Bus and tram also serve the Airport and cover a larger area than the metro. The bus system is divided into five lines.
There is both a daily and a night bus service, with slightly different routes. The night bus serving the city center departs from Cais do Sodré and Rossio Square, and they are a good option to get back home after a night out.
Comboios de Portugal, the national railway company, has a special subdivision for trains serving the Greater Lisbon Areas. The company has a network of four lines:
- Linha da Azambuja (stops at Santa Apolónia train station)
- Linha de Cascais (Starts at Cais do Sodré, stops in Belém, Carcavelos and finishes at Cascais)
- Linha de Sintra (Starts at Rossio)
- Linha do Sado (goes across the river to Setúbal)
- Fertagus (starts at Areeiro, crosses the Tagus river and finishes in Setúbal)
To go to Lisbon’s nearby regions, across the country or to Spain, there are other lines by the same company (Comboios de Portugal).
Boats connect Lisbon to its Southern suburbs.
There are 5 routes:
- Terreiro do Paço – Barreiro
- Cais do Sodré – Cacilhas
- Cais do Sodré – Seixal
- Terreiro do Paço – Montijo
- Belém – Trafaria
Taxi and Uber/Bolt/Kapten
There are now several taxi apps in Portugal including Bolt (Taxify), Free Now (My Taxi), Uber, etc. The newest, Kapten, is one of the most affordable.