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Lisbon Tram 15
The number 15 tram route connects Praça da Figueira with Algés (Jardim), but more usefully for tourists connects the Baixa district with the Belem district. Belem is a wonderful section of the city, which lines the banks of the Tejo Estuary and is filled with many of Lisbon’s most iconic buildings; for a complete guide to Belem please click here.
The number 15 tram is the most popular means of public transport to travel from central Lisbon (Baixa) to Belem, as the Belem district is not connected to the metro system. The trams which operate along the E15 route are modern "Articulado" trams (not the quaint trams that travel through Alfama), and are often very crowded and plagued with pickpockets. This guide will provide an overview of the Lisbon 15E tram, the route and fares.
Pickpockets and the 15E tram
It is very sad that the first section of this article must deal with pickpockets, but they are very prevalent on crowded trams and tourists should be wary of them. These pickpockets are only ever opportunists and almost exclusively target tourists who are failing to use common sense or simply being careless. Always place valuables in bags, don’t leave expensive cameras dangling from shoulders (cords can be cut) and wear backpacks or bags on your front.
One of the tricks they use is to snatch handbags or wallets as the tram doors are closing, so an easy method to avoid them is not to stand close to the door. The pickpockets have learnt to dress to blend into the crowd and are as equally likely to be men as women.
Tickets, fares and better options….
A single tram fare on the E15 costs €2.90 and is purchased from the onboard ticket machine. In practise, this is much more difficult than it sounds, as the tram will be crowded and lurching around, and the machine needs exact change. There are no return fares, so for a day trip to Belem two onboard fares must be purchased at €5.80.
The 24-hour unlimited public transport ticket is a much better option costing €6.30 and includes the metro, all buses and trams. Annoyingly this ticket cannot be purchased on the tram and can only be bought from a metro station. For visitors planning to use the E15 tram head to Rossio metro station, which has an entrance in the Praça da Figueira (GPS 38.71398, -9.13825), and is the same plaza where the E15 tram departs from.
Insider Tip: This 24-hour public transport ticket includes the Elevador de Santa Justa, Elevador da Glória and the number 28 tram. Three great tourist attractions, almost free!
The E15 Tram Route and Timetable
The main stops along the E15 route are:
Praça da Figueira – Praça do Comércio – Cais do Sodré – Santos - Alcântara-Mar – Calvário - Santo Amaro – Belém – Algés (Jardim)
Most visitors traveling to Belem from Baixa will board at Praça da Figueira or Praça do Comércio. We recommend boarding the tram at the Praça da Figueira stop, as this is the start of the route and there is a higher chance of securing a seat. Cais do Sodré is the main train station to the west of Lisbon so expect lots of people to board here. It takes approximately 30 minutes to travel the 6.5km from Praça da Figueira to Belem.
The E15 is an important public transport link and the tram services start early in the day (6am) and continue late into the night (1am), with five hourly departures between 7am-10pm (this is four on Sundays and public holidays). At all of the major tram stops, information boards accurately display the time of the next departure, these are much more useful than the printed timetables, which can be seen on the Carris website:
To Belem - http://www.carris.pt/en/tram/15E/ascendente/
To Baixa - http://www.carris.pt/en/tram/15E/descendente/
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Other interesting places along the E15 route
The Lisbon tram 15 is the main public transport route to the west of Lisbon and for much of the journey it follows the estuary. Other interesting stops include:
Cais do Sodré – A recently rejuvenated district that is now the nightlife centre of Lisbon. The train station of Cais do Sodré connects Lisbon to Cascais and the beaches of the Estoril coastline. Generally, Cais do Sodré is easier to get to by the metro. - Click here for a guide to Cais do Sodré.
Av. Infante Santo – A fashionable section of Lisbon that has transformed old docks into stylish restaurants, bars and clubs, which overlook the Doca do Espanhol marina and the golden suspension bridge. For a dose of culture visit the Museu do Oriente, or alternatively for banging late night clubs head to Kings & Queens or K Urban Beach (closer to Santos).
Calvário - This stop is close to the LxFactory, an abandoned factory that has been converted into an artisan hub and contemporary centre. Found in the former warehouses are trendy restaurants, independent artists stalls and uber-cool bars. To understand why Lisbon is become such a popular destination for tech start-ups, global wanders, or digital nomads this is the place to head to.
Santo Amaro – Location of the Carris tram and public transport museum - €4 (GPS: 38.70231, -9.18066)
Alternatives to the E15 tram
The E15 tram can get very crowded and, as a modern tram, is not the same enjoyable experience as the classic trams that rattle and screech through Alfama.
Another suitable alternative to the E15 tram is the number 728 bus service (unhelpfully labelled as Portela to Restelo). This very useful bus service follows the entire Tejo estuary from Belem (in the west) to the Parque das Nações (in the north east) and passes the Baixa and Alfama districts.
There are at least three departures every hour and a ticket costs €1.85 (or is included in the 24-hour public transport ticket). In Belem, the 728 bus departs from the same stop as the tram (GPS 38.69733, -9.20380) while in Baixa it departs from just to the west of Praça do Comércio (GPS 38.70788, -9.13858). The entire bus route can be seen here:
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