The best independent guide to Lisbon
The best independent guide to Lisbon
Belem is a picturesque district located to the west of Lisbon, and is home to many of the city's most celebrated tourist attractions.
Belem makes for an enjoyable excursion, and a whole day could be easily spent here discovering its rich collection of historical buildings, cultural landmarks and waterfront parks.
Although Belem is a wonderful area of Lisbon to visit, it is some distance (6km) from the historic centre of the city (such as Alfama or Baixa), so you will need to take some form of public or private transport to travel here.
Fortunately, there are many different transport options, and this guide aims to outline the best methods for your trip to Belem.
Related articles: Guide to Belem
There are many options for travelling to Belem, and the best choices are:
1) Ride-hailing app (Uber or Bolt)
2) Tram (route E15)
4) Bus (route 728)
6) tuk-tuk (or other tourist transport)
Note: There are no metro lines to Belem or the western side of Lisbon.
The E15 tram passing the Mosteiro dos Jeronimos
Note: Full details of each method are explained later in this guide.
The ride-hailing apps (Uber or Bolt) are the quickest and most convenient method of travelling to Belem. They remove the hassle of finding bus/tram stops or trying to buy tickets from impatient bus/tram drivers. Also, the journey time by Uber/Bolt is half that of the tram, and in a car you're guaranteed to have a seat!
The typical Uber/Bolt fare to Belem from central Lisbon is €6 (for up to 4 people), which is the same price as two adult tram tickets.
If you don't have the Uber or Bolt apps installed on your phone, then the E15 tram is the best public transport option. This tram route provides regular departures to Belem, but due to the ongoing construction work in central Lisbon, the tram now only departs from the Cais do Sodré train station. There is a bus replacement for the first section of the E15 route, which departs from Praça da Figueira and travels through Praça do Comércio and Cais do Sodré before continuing to Belem.
The train from Cais do Sodré station is also a viable option to travel to Belem. The train is faster and more spacious than the tram, so it could be considered more comfortable. The issue with the train is that the station will be extremely busy during the summer, as this is the railway that serves all of the beaches.
There are many bus routes to Belem and western Lisbon, and the fastest cross-city route is the 728. This is the best option if you are based in the Alfama district.
A more flexible approach is to wait at the E15 tram stop at Cais de Sodre (where all buses also stop) and just take the first tram or bus service that passes through.
A taxi ride will be more expensive than Uber or Bolt, but is a sensible option if you haven't installed one of the ride-hailing apps on your phone or are unfamiliar with them.
A tuk-tuk or other gimmicky tourist transport will always be significantly more expensive than every other option. They can be a fun way to see the city, however they are not the best option for travelling around Lisbon.
The train to Belem waiting Cais de Sodre station
How about a small group tour?
One of the best ways to discover Lisbon and meet fellow travellers is to join a guided tour. We have worked with Getyourguide.com for the last six years, and some of their best tours of Lisbon include:
The tram was the recommended means of travel to Belem before the endless construction work began in central Lisbon. However, it is still the next best option after Uber or Bolt.
The number 15 tram departs from outside Cais do Sodré train station (GPS 38.706, -9.145). The tram replacement bus departs from Praça da Figueira (GPS 38.713, -9.138), passing through the northern side of the Praça do Comércio (GPS 38.708,-9.136) and Cais do Sodré before heading to Belem.
Note: The amount of construction work means these routes are subject to change. Always consult the Carris website before your journey: https://www.carris.pt/
The tram journey takes 35 minutes from Cais do Sodré to Belem, but the route is very scenic as it passes beneath the suspension bridge and through many traditional areas of Lisbon.
A single fare purchased when boarding the tram costs €3 and must be bought using cash.
A more cost-effective alternative is to use a 'zapping' ticket, which lowers the fare to €1.47. To use this option, credit is preloaded onto a 'Navegante' card – the card used by all public transport in Lisbon. The only issue is that you can only preload credit at a metro station. Conveniently, there is a metro station at Cais do Sodré (or at Rossio for the E15 replacement bus).
The E15 tram line terminates at Algés, and this will be displayed on the front of the tram.
In Belem, the best stop for sightseeing is the 'Mosteiro Jerónimos' stop (GPS 38.697, -9.204), which is close to the monastery and Praça do Império. The 'Belém' tram stop (GPS: 38.697, -9.198), is convenient if you wish to begin your sightseeing at the Museu dos Coches.
Warning: The E15 tram can get very packed and is frequently targeted by highly-skilled pickpockets. When on busy trams, always be cautious with your valuables, especially if you are stood by the door (thieves snatch items just as the doors are closing).
There are two ride-hailing apps in Lisbon, Uber and Bolt, with both offering very similar services.
If you have either app already installed on your phone and have used them before, Uber and Bolt are the recommended means of travel to Belem.
The roads to the west of Lisbon are comparatively fast and free of traffic, and the journey from Cais do Sodré to Belem will take 15 minutes. The fare for this ride will cost around €6, but the exact fare will depend on demand.
For the drop-off point, choose the road just to the south of the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos, which is also close to the tram/bus stop (GPS 38.697, -9.204).
If you've never used Uber or Bolt, it is recommended to download and set up the app in the comfort of your accommodation (or even at home before your trip to Lisbon). Trying to do this over mobile networks can be frustrating.
Note: Fares are charged in Euros, so ensure you have a bank card or account that does not charge conversion fees, otherwise these can quickly rack up.
Advice: When ordering an Uber or Bolt, always try to choose a pick-up point free from heavy traffic, and somewhere the driver can easily see you. There are many complex one-way systems in central Lisbon, and if the driver misses you they may have to take a long route to return to you.
Train travel to Belem is a viable option, especially when the trams and buses are crowded at peak hours.
There are three departures every hour to Belem, and the train journey is faster than the tram or bus, as it does not need to contend with Lisbon's traffic.
The train departs from Cais do Sodré station and terminates at Belem station (GPS 38.696, -9.197). This station is to the east of Belem, 750m from the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos (and the tram stop) and 1.5km from the Torre de Belem.
The train fare to Belem requires a 'Zone 1' ticket and costs €1.35. The fare is charged to the Navegante card, which costs €0.50 for the initial purchase.
The real issue with catching the train to Belem is that the train station can get very busy in the summer as everyone heads to the beaches. There can be long queues at the ticket office, while the ticket machines are old and overly complex.
You can skip these queues by paying for the train using the 'zapping' ticket. This can be purchased from the metro station, which is on the lowest level of the train station complex.
Insight: Having a zapping ticket with at least €15 credit is extremely useful while sightseeing in Lisbon. This allows you to board any bus, train or metro without the hassle of purchasing individual tickets.
Belem train station
There are many bus routes to western Lisbon that pass through the Belem district.
The most useful is the number 728 route, which displays Restelo when heading westward to Belem. This is a fast, circular route that conveniently stops at the southern side of the Praça do Comércio (GPS: 38.706, -9.137) and Alfama (GPS: 38.711, -9.126). The 728 bus is the only option to travel from Alfama or the eastern side of Lisbon to Belem.
A bus fare purchased on board costs €3 (cash only) but is reduced to €1.47 when the 'zapping' ticket is used.
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