Getting around Lisbon

Public transport

Lisbon's continually expanding metro system, the Metropolitano de Lisboa (tel: (021) 3500 115; www.metrolisboa.pt), is an efficient way to get around the city. There are four lines (A-D or Blue, Yellow, Green and Red) and trains run every three to 10 minutes daily.

Single tickets and carnets are available from station ticket office and self-service machines. Passes can be purchased from the special offices at certain stations including Cais do Sodré, Campo Grande, Marquês de Pombal, Oriente and Restauradores.

Complementing Lisbon's metro is the city's network of buses, trams and elevadors (funiculars/street lifts), which are run by the Companhia Carris de Ferro de Lisboa (tel: (021) 361 3000; www.carris.pt). Most bus and tram services operate daily. There are also eight night bus routes, which converge at the Cais do Sodré. Tickets for buses and funiculars are available on board or at kiosks.

Passes valid for bus, tram and metro services are available for one day, three days, four days and seven days. These are all available for purchase at Carris kiosks. The Lisboa Card tourist pass offers unlimited travel on public transport.

If you want t take the ferry to Lisbon, most cross-Tagus ferries are operated by Transtejo (tel: 808 203 050; www.transtejo.pt) and arrive at Belém, Cais do Sodré and Terreiro do Paço. CP (Portuguese Railways) runs the ferry link from Barreiro (where the CP trains terminate) to Praça do Comércio - the fare is included in the ticket price for rail travellers. You can buy tickets at the ferry pier.

Taxis

Taxis can easily be hailed on the street, at ranks or by telephone from Rádio Táxis (tel: (021) 811 9000) and Teletáxis (tel: (021) 811 1100). Caution should still be exercised with regards to overcharging. Taxis are metered. A supplement is payable for luggage carried in the boot or on the roof. A tip of 10% is expected and appreciated.

Driving

Driving in Lisbon should be avoided unless absolutely necessary. Not only do you have reckless motorists to contend with but also inadequate road signs. The A9 outer ring road, known as the CREL (Cintura Regional Exterior de Lisboa), and the inner ring road, CRIL (Cintura Regional Interior de Lisboa), move traffic efficiently around the city, except during rush hour weekdays from 1700-1900. Despite the arrival of the Vasco Da Gama bridge across the River Tagus, the Ponte 25 de Abril can still take an hour to cross during rush hour and summer weekends. Over the last few years, increasing pedestrianisation and traffic calming measures in the city centre have added to the trauma of driving in Lisbon.

Pay-and-display parking is in effect Monday to Friday 0800-2000 in many areas of central Lisbon with a four-hour maximum stay. Parking is also available at the larger shopping centres. A network of underground car parks is currently being built - these are indicated by large blue 'P' signs and are far more expensive than metered street parking, although convenient, seeing as all-day and 24-hour parking is available.

Car hire

Drivers must be at least 21 years old to hire a car and a valid national driving licence is required. Insurance is mandatory. Third party liability is always included in the hire price with reputable operators, although visitors should always check. Comprehensive insurance is essential.

Car hire companies include Avis (tel: (021) 843 5550; www.avis.com) and Europcar (tel: (021) 353 5115). Both have branches at the airport and downtown.

Bicycle hire

Bicycles are available for hire at Bike Iberia (tel: (021) 347 0347; www.bikeiberia.com). Lisbon is not a cycle-friendly city but Bike Iberia leads guided tours around picturesque, safe locations.

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