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The Lisbon tram route 12 provides a circular route through the districts of Baixa and Alfama and is a pleasant way for visitors to view both districts. This tram route is the shortest of Lisbon’s network covering just 4km, with a full circuit completed in 20 minutes.
The number 12 tram as it whizzes through the Alfama district
Trundling along the route are 2 classic single carriage Remodelado trams that average only 12km/hour due to the steep inclines, sharp corners and narrow gaps between buildings. The appeal of these trams combined the scenic route makes the Lisbon tram 12 route a pleasant alternative activity while based in the capital.
The number 12 tram is Lisbon’s third most popular tram route with tourists and a portion of this popularity is due to the tram sharing the same rails as the number 28 service. The number 28 tram is a favourite with tourists as it transports visitors from central Baixa up through Alfama and to the castle.
Most of the eastern side of the number 28 service is shared with the number 12 tram. The Lisbon Tram 12 is a more sensible choice for visitors to experience Lisbon’s trams as it significantly less busy than number 28 and departs/terminates close to central Lisbon. An additional advantage of tram 12 is that passengers who board in Baixa are generally seated before the busy tourist section close to the Se Cathedral.
Eléctrico is the Portuguese word for tram. A single ticket purchased from the driver costs €3.00. The overpriced ticket is to encourage passengers to use a pre-paid Viva Viagem card, which makes the journey €1.50, or to purchase the 24hour public transport pass at €6.40. The Viva Viagem card is bought from any metro station ticket machine and this is the easiest place for the day pass.
Yellow tram passing through the Alfama district
The first tram of the day is at 8:00 and the last service is at 20:45 and there are either 4-5 departures per hour. Due to the short length of the route there are only two Remodelado trams that provide all of the services. Unfortunately, pickpockets are found on the busy tourist sections so keep an eye on bags and wallets
The Lisbon tram 12 route performs a clockwise circular route to the east of down town Lisbon and covers 4km. This side of Lisbon does not have great public transport due to the narrow streets and steep hills.
The departure location for the Tram route is from the Praça da Figueira and then heads in a northeasterly direction via the square of Martim Moniz and the nondescript Avenue Almirante Reis. The tram turns east and climbs into the pleasant Graça district before squeezing into Alfama. It is here in Alfama that the number 14 tram passes many of the main tourist sights of Lisbon including the Se Cathedral, Saint Anthony church and the Santa Luzia viewpoint.
The Lisbon tram 12 service was initially created in the massive expansion of the Lisbon network during 1936 to 1940. This pre-war era was when all of the Remodelado trams were constructed. The Remodelado trams which operate today have had upgrades to engines, brakes and electronics but all interior features are original.
After the decline of the Lisbon trams in the 1960s, due to the metro, route 12 was fully established as a service from Baixa up the hill to Sao Tomé and Graça. The tram investment program of the 1990s altered the 12 tram route into a complete circular line by using the tram 28 rails as the return section.