The best independent guide to Lisbon
The best independent guide to Lisbon
Lisbon airport is conveniently located within the city limits, and it is relatively easy to travel from the airport to the city centre. The airport is connected to the Lisbon metro network, there is special bus services (called the Aerobus) to the city centre, along with regular taxis.
For travel outside of the city limits (such as to Sintra, Cascais, Sesimbra or Estoril) it is recommended to pre-book a transfer, as journeys by public transport can be time-consuming and taxis are expensive.
This article will focus on travelling from Lisbon airport to the city centre (such as the Chiado, Baixa, Alfama districts). For other destinations, please see our other articles:
• Lisbon airport to Sintra
• Lisbon airport to Cascais
• Lisbon to Sesimbra (with airport details)
Lisbon has a single airport, which is 7km to the north of the historic centre. The airport has two terminal buildings; all arriving passengers pass through terminal 1, but when departing from Lisbon they can do so from Terminal 1 or Terminal 2. Generally, all of the low-cost airlines leave from Terminal 2, and a guide to this very basic terminal building can be found here.
There are three options for travelling from the airport to the city centre; the metro, the Aerobus and a taxi (or Uber). Each has its own advantages; a taxi/Uber journey is the fastest but the most expensive, the metro is the cheapest but requires a connection, while the Aerobus is direct but is twice the price of the metro.
Our advice: If it is late at night or you are tired after a long flight take a taxi, and for all other occasions choose the metro. The Aerobus is convenient if you are travelling with heavy luggage and you don’t want the hassle of stairs and connections.
The following sections detail each of the onward travel methods in-depth.
A taxi from Lisbon airport to your accommodation will be the simplest method of onward travel. Lisbon’s taxis are safe, modern and comparatively inexpensive. A typical journey from the airport to central Lisbon will cost €12-15, and there is an additional luggage surcharge of €1.60 (all luggage, not per piece).
All journeys are calculated using a taximeter, which must be used by law. On entering the taxi insist that the metre is used, as non-metred journeys will be much more expensive. The taxi rates will be displayed within the taxi, and the current 2021 fares are: €0.47 per km with a minimum fare of €3.25, the waiting charge is €14.80 per hour (or €0.25 per minute stuck in traffic).
At night (9:00pm-6:00am) taxis fares are 20% more expensive, while large taxis (7-seater) cost 20% more (irrespective of the number of passengers). At peak hours there can be considerable queues at the taxi rank outside of the arrivals building, if this is the case, we would advise taking the Aerobus.
Warning: Never take a taxi outside of the city limits, as it will become significantly more expensive due to different fare rates.
Advice: Have the name of the hotel or address (if a rental room) written down on a piece of paper, as many older taxi drivers do not speak English and as this eliminates communication misunderstandings.
Advice: If you have problems or are grossly overcharged, note the taxi number and demand the (legal) complaints book (Livro de Eclamacoes). Asking to see this red book will often resolve most issues. If you do wish to file a complaint it can be completed online at: www.livroreclamacoes.pt
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.
Related article: Lisbon’s taxis
One of the best ways to discover Lisbon and to meet fellow travellers is to join a guided tour. We have worked with Getyourguide.com for the last six years, and some of the best tours of Lisbon include:
Uber is popular in Portugal, but their drivers are not allowed to pick up outside of the arrivals building (where the taxi rank is). The Uber pick up is at the “Kiss & Fly Parking Lot” (GPS: 38.76855, -9.12919), which is in front of the departures building (see the second image in this article). To reach departures from arrivals, head up the escalators at the southern end of the hall and then exit the doors on the left.
Note: Lisbon’s taxis are surprisingly cheap (if the meter is used!!) and there is not much price difference between a regular taxi and Uber.
Lisbon’s metro is modern, safe and inexpensive, and for most tourists it is the best means of travel from the airport to the city centre. The metro is open from 6:30am-1:00am and a single fare costs €1.50. This fare is charged to the re-usable Viva Viagem card, which costs €0.50 for the initial purchase.
Advice: The 24-hour unlimited ticket (€6.40) is exceptional value, as it includes all of Lisbon’s metros, buses and trams, and also the Elevador de Santa Justa and Ascensor da Glória.
Tickets are purchased from a ticket machine, which has instructions in English and all major Europe languages. Metropolitano de Lisboa (official Metro company) has created a very useful PDF showing all of the screens and stages to purchase a ticket from the vending machine, which can be seen here:
(link opens new tab and as its 1.4mb it may take a while to open…)
The airport is the first station on the red metro line, while the popular tourist areas (Alfama, Baixa, and Chiado) are close to the green or blue lines and the Baixa-Chiado, Rossio, Restauradores, Martim Moniz or Santa Apolónia metro stations. This means that most tourist will have to make a connection at Alameda (for the green line) or São Sebastião (for the blue line). These connections are not difficult, there is clear signage, and escalators or elevators for all changes in levels.
Note: The single metro fare covers the entire journey, even if it involves travelling on two metro lines.
Related articles: Lisbon metro guide
Before the airport was connected to the metro in 2012, the Aerobus was the best means of travel from the airport to central Lisbon. Today most tourists just head to the metro, but the Aerobus is still an equally good alternative, and it’s particularly useful if you are traveling with heavy luggage.
A single ticket costs €4.00/€2.00 (adult/child), which includes 24-hour use of all public buses. The Aerobus operates from 7:30am to 11:00pm and the bus departs from outside the arrivals’ hall, close to the main taxi stand.
If your hotel is in the Alfama district, consider taking a taxi. Alfama is a very hilly district and has almost no public transport, the nearest metro station (Santa Apolónia), is found at the bottom of the steep hill. The Aerobus does not pass through the Alfama district
If your hotel is in the Belem district again consider taking a taxi (which will be €15-€20) as the metro network (and Aerobus), do not extend past the Cais do Sodré train station. If you wish to use public transport, catch the metro to Rossio metro station (green line) and then board the E15 tram, which departs from Praça da Figueira (GPS: 38.71343, -9.137568).
Related article: Guide to the E15 tram – Belem guide
Airport to Oriente train station
Oriente is the main train station of Lisbon, with intercity express trains heading north to Porto and south to the Algarve. Oriente station is very close to the airport (2.4km), so a taxi (€5-7) is probably your best option. If you still wish to use public transport, take the red metro line three stops to Oriente metro station. Oriente station is spread over four levels with the metro on the lowest level and the railway station on the highest.
Airport to Sintra
Take a taxi (or the metro) to the Oriente train station and then catch the regional train to Sintra (€2.25 adult single); you’ll find a full guide here
Airport to Cascais
Take the metro (or Aerobus) to Cais do Sodré train station and then catch the train to Cascais (€2.25 adult single); you’ll find a full guide here
Airport to Estoril
This is very similar to travelling to Cascais; take the metro (or Aerobus) to Cais do Sodré train station and then take the train to Estoril (€2.25 adult single)
Airport to the Santa Apolónia cruise ship terminal
The Terminal de Passageiros de Santa Apolónia is the new cruise terminal of Lisbon and is on the edge of the Alfama district (GPS: 38.71370, -9.12151). To head there catch the metro to the Santa Apolónia station, which is the final stop on the blue line.
Airport to Parque das Nações
The Parque das Nações is the modern side to historic Lisbon and is the location of the Altice Arena and the Feira Internacional de Lisboa (which hosts many conferences including Web Summit) - The airport is so close that Parque das Nações can be seen from the arrival’s buildings! Either catch a taxi (€7-10) or take the metro to Oriente metro station (red line)
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