The best independent guide to Lisbon
The best independent guide to Lisbon
Lisbon has a single airport that handles all international and domestic flights. The airport comprises of two terminal buildings and is conveniently located within the city limits, being only 7km from the historic centre of Lisbon. The main terminal (T1) dates from 1983, and its age and lack of capacity is beginning to show, especially at peak times.
This insufficient capacity is evident in the long queues for passport control, general passenger confusion in the main waiting areas, long walks to the gates and dreadful traffic around the site. These issues are no worse than with any other older European airport, and most passengers who leave enough time and are patient will travel through relatively hassle free.
Lisbon Airport has two terminal buildings: Terminal 1, which handles all arrivals and most international departures, and Terminal 2, which serves as the departure terminal for the low-cost airlines.
Terminal 1 is older, but is generally fine for travelling through, whereas Terminal 2 epitomises everything that is bad about budget flying. There are massive queues for everything, the facilities are basic, and the terminal is unbearably crowded at peak times. If you are departing from Terminal 2, always leave yourself sufficient time to navigate the many long queues – be that for bag drop off, security, passport control, or even getting food at McDonald's.
This article will provide an independent tourism guide to Lisbon Airport, and aims to help you pass through as easily as possible.
Info: The IATA airport code for Lisbon airport is ‘LIS’.
Related articles: Airport to the city centre – metro guide
Terminal 1 is the main terminal at Lisbon Airport and is where you will fly into
Terminal 2 handles departures for the low-cost airlines.
There are two unique aspects of Lisbon Airport that could impact your departure, which are:
1 -Passport control is located after the duty-free shops. If your flight is departing the Schengen free travel region of Europe (such as the UK, USA or Brazil) you will need to pass through passport control, which is situated after the duty-free area and before the gate. Many visitors have missed their flights by spending too long in the duty-free or food court areas, subsequently getting caught in the lengthy queues for passport control. Therefore, as soon as your gate is called, it is advisable to proceed directly to it.
2 - Many of the low-cost airlines depart from Terminal 2. This terminal is situated 1km to the west of Terminal 1 and has no metro connection. A free shuttle bus service runs between Terminal 1 and Terminal 2, departing every 10 to 20 minutes. When travelling to T2 by metro, always factor in this additional stage (which can take 15 to 20 minutes) and always verify your departure terminal before heading to the airport.
Related articles: Terminal 2 guide
The shuttle bus to Terminal 2 waiting outside of departures.
There can be very long queues to pass through immigration on entering Portugal from outside of Europe at peak times – always try to exit the plane as quickly as possible.
Lisbon Airport is located 6km from the city centre, and there is excellent public transport for onward travel. There are three methods for you to choose from: the metro, a taxi, or a ride-hailing app (such as Uber or Bolt).
The metro provides the best option for most visitors, as it is inexpensive, safe, and there are stations located throughout the entire city. Metro services depart every 5 to 10 minutes, and the airport is connected to the Red Line. A single ticket to anywhere in the city costs €1.80, which is charged to the re-useable ‘Navegante’ card (€0.50 for the initial purchase).
Another choice is the zapping ticket, which loads money onto the ‘Navegante’ card and can be used for all public transport in Lisbon. This is a good choice, as fares are slightly cheaper (€1.47 for the metro) and it means you don't have to be fumbling with cash when boarding trams and buses (as they do not accept card payments). We always recommend having a ‘Navegante’ with €15 of ‘zapping’ credit for a short stay in Lisbon.
The majority of tourists have accommodation close to the historic centre of Lisbon, and within the Baixa, Alfama and Chiado districts. To travel to these areas, you will need to change to either the blue or green metro line at the São Sebastião or Alameda metro stations.
The single metro ticket covers the entire journey, and connections are well signposted - making it a hassle-free experience.
Related articles: Lisbon Metro
The Alameda metro station with a red line metro train pulling into it
Ride Hailing Apps
There are two ride-hailing apps in Portugal, Uber and Bolt, and their fares are much cheaper than regular taxis. There is a single, designated area where passengers get picked up, which is located in the short-stay car park (referred to as P2). This pick-up point is to the north of the arrivals building, just past the Starbucks coffee shop.
The entrance to the Uber/Bolt pick-up area
The issue with both Bolt and Uber at peak times is the heavy traffic around the airport. This means pick-ups can take a long time, and drivers will even reject rides. If you find your app continuously requesting drivers and nothing is connecting, it may be easier to take a taxi.
The pick-up area has been converted from the short-stay car park.
If you are in a hurry, a taxi transfer provides the fastest means of transport, and Lisbon's taxis have some of the cheapest fares in Europe. Unfortunately, taxi drivers have a reputation for overcharging tired or unsuspecting tourists. All fares should be based on the taximeter, but some drivers insist on a set fare. If the driver requests a set fee, make sure this is agreed upon before leaving the airport. At peak times, there can be long queues for taxis, but there will always be a constant flow of taxis arriving.
The basic Lisbon taxi fare is €0.47 per km, with a minimum fare of €3.25. The taxis charge €14.80 per hour for waiting (or €0.25 per minute stuck in traffic!), and there are additional supplements for luggage (€1.60). At night (9pm to 6am), the fares increase by 20% (€0.56 per km), and 7-seater taxis are 20% more expensive.
Expect to pay between €10 and €15 to travel from the airport to the historic centre (such as the Baixa district) in a 4-seater taxi at the daytime rate.
Advice: If you are travelling outside of the city limits, a taxi will be very expensive; a pre-booked private transfer is a better option.
The taxi pick-up zone in front of the arrivals hall
Terminal 1 can be a confusing terminal to travel through, due to the numerous minor expansions and alternations that have been made to maximise the usage of every single area. This is a terminal where you must follow the signs (of which there are many) and not the masses of often-lost tourists.
The only real logical thing about Terminal 1 are the gates; the northern gates (designated by an N) are for flights leaving the Schengen region, while the southern gates (S) are for flights within Europe. If you have an N gate, you will have an extra passport control check to go through after the duty-free and shopping area, so always leave enough time.
The entrance into the arrivals hall.
The departures wing is to the south of the terminal, and the arrivals area is on the eastern side on a lower level. They are connected, but feel like completely different airports - with arrivals being modern and spacious, while departures is older and claustrophobic.
The facilities of Lisbon Airport are typical of a major international airport, with numerous duty-free shops, overpriced restaurants and decent (paid) lounges. It should be noted that there is a huge difference in services and quality between Terminal 1 and the low-cost Terminal 2.
Lisbon Airport is managed by ANA (which is part of the Vinci group), and details of flights, arrivals, and delays can be found on their website: https://www.ana.pt
The food court inside departures
Terminal 2 was originally constructed for domestic flights, but its role has since changed and it now handles departures for the low-cost airlines.
The building consists of two giant rooms connected by a subterranean security area, and is as basic as you can get for a terminal. Terminal 2 suffers with major queues for everything (often self-inflicted by the low-cost airlines themselves) and a total lack of space once through security. Always give yourself plenty of time and expect a lot of standing around. Once through security, there is a McDonald's for inexpensive food and drinks.
It is not possible to walk from Terminal 1 to Terminal 2, and a free bus service connects them. If you are travelling by metro to Terminal 2, do factor in this extra bus ride as it can add 15 to 20 minutes to the total journey.
The check-in at Terminal 2 on a quiet day. In summer, expect the whole hall to be packed.
Internet access: There is free Wi-Fi throughout the airport buildings, but it is often slow (from over demand), especially in Terminal 2. The free Wi-Fi network is called ‘VINCI Airports wifi’ and it requires an email address for the sign-up process. Further information can be found on the ANA website:
Currency Exchange: This is located in the Terminal 1 arrivals hall if cash is urgently needed. It is much wiser to exchange currency back at home for better rates.
ATMs: There are multiple ATMs in the arrivals and departure halls, but always check the fees that are associated with withdrawing your cash when using them. Euronet ATMs charge significantly higher fees than regular bank ATMs such as Santander.
Insight: It is always advisable to have some cash with you while in Portugal, as there are many places that won't accept card payments.
Duty-Free: There is a good duty-free area in Terminal 1, but Terminal 2's shopping area is very limited.
Left luggage and lockers: In front of departures are automated left luggage facilities, which cost €9 for 3 hours or €16 for 24 hours.
Vat refund: If you reside outside of Europe, you may be entitled to a VAT refund on items costing more than €50 (such as a camera, phone or expensive gifts) from shops that participate in the scheme (called Tax Free Shopping). Further details can be found on the ANA website:
Airport lounges: There are three airport lounges in Terminal 1 and none in Terminal 2. The three options are ABC Airport Business Centre (before security), ANA Lounge and Blue Lounge (both after security). The entry for them is €30, and the ANA Lounge (€35) has shower facilities.
There is no airside transfer from Terminal 1 to Terminal 2, so always plan sufficient time when connecting flights.
To transfer from Terminal 1 to Terminal 2, you must pass through immigration, collect luggage, pass through customs, ride the bus from T1 to T2, check luggage in, then pass through security and immigration.
This can be a very slow process, so always allow plenty of time for flight connections. If you miss your flight, the low-cost airlines will not put you on the next flight and you will have to purchase another ticket.
Lisbon Airport is the main international and domestic airport of Portugal, handling 14 million passengers a year.
It is one of the most congested airports in Europe and one of the only major airports to have a landing flight path directly over the city. There have been plans for a new airport on the opposite side of the Tejo Estuary at a disused airbase near Montijo or at Santarem for years, but barely any progress has been made.
Discover more of Lisbon with our most popular guides
We really appreciate you visiting our website, but the digital world is changing for the worse.
Independent publishers like us face many new challenges. Search engines now prioritize ads over organic content, and AI replicates our hard work.
If you enjoyed our work, please bookmark our website to easily find us again or share it on social media with your friends and family.
We aim to keep our 1,600+ pages accurate and fully updated. If you spot any errors or outdated information, please contact us at: [email protected]
A complete list of all of our Lisbon articles
Please help us
The digital landscape has shifted, squeezing small publishers like us. Between search engine biases and AI plagiarism, we're feeling the heat.
All we ask is that you bookmark us for quick access and share the articles you love.
Spotted an error? Let us know - with over 1,600 pages to maintain, we always welcome your vigilance.
Please contact us at: [email protected]