Find out how to conveniently get to some of the most popular places in Lisbon’s city center. First tip: stay away from taxis!
I recommend that you stay at least 3 days in Lisbon. Any less and you’ll be missing out on some of the most quirky and special sights and places.
Also unlike most European cities, Lisbon airport is very close to the city center. In spite of this, many travelers take the easy decision of hopping in the first taxi they see. Find out why this might be a bad idea in the bottom of the post.
But no worries. You can still get to Lisbon city center by bus, taxi, metro or private transfer – sadly the traditional cute yellow trams don’t pass here.
The “best” way will depend on where exactly are you going, how many of you are traveling and the time of the day. Here are my tips for anyone arriving Lisbon.
Lisbon Airport to City Centre: Distance & Options
There are plans to build a second airport farther away, but for now all commercial planes land in the Humberto Delgado Airport, in the Portela area. It is located about 7km from the heart of the downtown (Baixa).
Here’s a breakdown of some areas of the city and the corresponding best way of getting there, as well as much time you can expect to get there.
|Where||How||How much (in Euros, 2017 prices)||How long|
|Cais do Sodré||Aerobus||From 3,15 (or 4,95 return)||25min|
|Marquês||Aerobus||From 3,15 (or 4,95 return)||20min|
|Parque das Nações||Metro||1,95||10min|
|Rossio||Aerobus||From 3,15 (or 4,95 return)||25min|
Let’s go in further detail for some of these ways of transport.
Lisbon Airport to City Center: Metro
Metro is by far the cheapest way to get to downtown Lisbon. The metro station “Aeroporto” was recently built and is conveniently located just at the right at the arrivals hall.
It’s part of the red line going to São Sebastião and has several connections with the remaining lines, making it easy to get pretty much anywhere in the city center.
A journey from the airport to São Sebastião or Saldanha takes about 20 minutes.
You’ll need to buy a Viva Viagem card in the ticket machines (0,50EUR) and top it up with either individual trips or money (Zapping) option. This card can also be used in the yellow public buses of Carris.
From Lisbon Airport to Downtown by Metro
- Specially recommended if: you’re on a budget or heading to the areas of Saldanha, Parque das Nações or São Sebastião.
- Not recommended if: you carry heavy luggage or traveling in rush hour
- Price: a ticket costs 1,45EUR (+0,50EUR for the Viva Viagem reusable card)
- Metro Lisboa website
Lisbon Airport to City Center: Aerobus
Aerobus is a special bus service is operated by Carris/Yellowtours and offers 2 distinct lines to Lisbon center:
- Line 1 – City Center (every 20min): stops in Entrecampos, Campo Pequeno, Avenida da República, Saldanha, Picoas, Avenida Fontes Pereira de Melo, Marquês de Pombal, Avenida da Liberdade, Restauradores, Rossio, Praça do Comércio, Cais do Sodré
- Line 2 – Finantial Center (every 40min): stops in Entrecampos, Sete Rios, Avenida Columbano Bordalo Pinheiro, Praça de Espanha, Avenida José Malhoa.
This is a very good option to travel from the airport to many places in Lisbon.
Aerobus conveniently stops near some of the major hotels of the city as well in some of connecting hubs like the bus terminal of Sete Rios and the train stations of Entrecampos and Cais do Sodré.
Buses depart from the platform just in front of the arrival hall and include a special place to store luggage.
From Lisbon Airport to Downtown by Aerobus
- Specially recommended if: you’re heading to one of the most busy places in Lisbon like Marquês, Avenida da Liberdade, Rossio or Cais do Sodré
- Price: a one-way 24h ticket costs 3,50EUR and a return 5,50EUR. There are discount prices for children and if you buy online.
- Aerobus website
Lisbon Airport to City Center: Uber
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll know what Uber is. In Lisbon they completely changed a market dominated by greedy and rude taxi drivers with old vehicles. Uber service in Lisbon is very reliable, cars are impeccably clean and often new.
There is a Uber picking up point in the departures terminal. This means that instead of you exiting the building when arriving outside, you’ll need to go to your right (still inside the airport) and climb up the escalators to the upper level. The designated area is located in the parking lot just outside when exiting the doors.
Fares obviously depend on where you’re going, but should be somewhere between 7-15EUR for an UberX ride. Click here for your free first ride (up to 5EUR).
There’s also a competitor who works on a similar way called Cabify, but I’ve never really used it so can’t comment on that one.
From Lisbon Airport to Downtown by Uber
- Specially recommended if: you are in a rush, arriving late in the night or going to areas not well served by public transport. I’m talking about places like Alfama or anywhere in the suburbs.
- Not recommended if: you don’t have data on your phone/tablet.
- Price: ranging from 7-15EUR (UberX ride).
- Uber website
Lisbon Airport to City Center: Bus
There are several buses from Carris which stop in the arrival terminal of the airport. These go to various places in the city.
- 705: Oriente-Aeroporto-Roma/Areeiro
- 722: Praça de Londres-Aeroporto-Portela
- 744: Marquês-Aeroporto-Moscavide
- 783: Amoreiras-Aeroporto-Portela
- 208: night bus going to Cais do Sodré and Oriente
However, be aware that buses in Lisbon are not known for its reliability and you might have to wait considerably. Plus, it’s only allowed to take luggage with max measures of 50x40x20cm.
For these reasons, unless you are going to specific destinations served by the bus network, buses are not a very convenient option to get to Lisbon’s city center. In any case for more details and schedules, check Carris’ bus route planner.
From Lisbon Airport to Downtown by Bus
- Specially recommended if: going to more uncommon destinations (e.g. Amoreiras) and you’re on a budget.
- Not recommended if: you carry large luggage or traveling in rush hour
- Price: the onboard fare is 1,85EUR, but if you buy your ticket through a Viva Viagem card, it’s only 1,45EUR.
- Carris website
Lisbon Airport to City Center: Private Transfers
Some private companies offer shared transfers departing every 15 min from the arrivals hall. Compared to the Aerobus, the benefit here is they offer door-to-door transfer to many hotels in Lisbon.
One of these companies is 100 Rumos. You can buy tickets in advance on their website.
From Lisbon Airport to Downtown by Bus
- Specially recommended if: going to more uncommon destinations or in a large group
- Not recommended if: you are traveling alone and on a budget
- Price: starts at 6EUR.
- 100 Rumos website
Lisbon Airport to City Centre: Avoid Taxis!
My last experiences using a taxi in Lisbon were dreadful. Everything from the driver smoking with the windows closed, dropping me in a random place just because it was more convenient for him or bitching because my “destination was too close”.
So if they are like this to locals, what happens with tourists? Well this and worse. They’re often rude, greedy and drive old vehicles. They also often take pointless detours to trigger the meter up or might charge you for a crazy luggage fee. Oh and don’t expect them to speak good English.
Thankfully there are still professional and honest taxi drivers around, but I still don’t recommend a taxi to anyone arriving Lisbon. No one wants a stressful first experience of a trip!
If you still prefer getting on a taxi to get to Lisbon downtown, the taxi fare should never be more than 20 euros. Here are some other tips:
- Write down your destination name to avoid any miscommunication (intentional or not).
- Use MyTaxi. This app is for “normal” taxis, but they pre-filter the drivers based on car safety, cleanliness and use of English language.
- Head to the “Departures” section of the airport and hop in a taxi there. Not only you don’t have to queue, but the taxis there have just dropped off clients and don’t expect to take back anyone. Result: they’ll be much nicer.
- Ask the price beforehand.
Extra: Renting a car in Lisbon Airport
Right in the arrivals terminal you will find the desks of all major car rental companies (e.g. Europcar, Guerin, Hertz, etc). Make sure you compare the prices online in advance to grab the best deal.
💰 My value-for-money hotel recommendations in Lisbon 💰
Or… find your own!
Use this list of quality hotels and guesthouses I’ve put together to get you started. ALL of these are located in the best central areas of Lisbon, with WiFi and with a rating of 8 or higher. Just pick your favourite!
How did you get to Lisbon city centre from the airport?
Share your experience below!