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Yellow tram number 28 is a classic Lisbon tourist attraction and a working symbol of the city. If you’re planning a city break in the Portuguese capital, make sure you take some time for a ride on this historic tram, alongside all the regular sightseeing and a couple of stops for delicious coffee and Pasteis de Belem!

Lisbon is knowns as theEuropean San Francisco due to its uniquely hilly geography. Anyone who has walked up and down its steep city-centre streets can attest to the value of the local network of trams and elevators. Among these is Elétrico 28 – Lisbon’s most famous tram route.

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Colorful Lisbon street © iStock
Colorful Lisbon street © iStock

Tram 28 through the years

Tram 28 has serviced Lisbon’s city centre for over a century, with the first tram setting off along line 28 back in 1914. Today, the route is served by “remodelado” carriages, that is, wooden carriages painted in the line’s characteristic yellow that were renovated in the 1990s. So why were the trams not upgraded to newer models? Interestingly, only these historic carriages can withstand the extreme slopes of Lisbon’s terrain, which can reach up to 14%! The trams have special brakes and sanders that throw sand directly under the steel wheels for added traction. When the “28s” climb the steep, narrow streets of Alafama with its sharp turns, it is impossible to take your eyes off them.

Woman making a photo of Lisbon tram © iStock
Woman making a photo of Lisbon tram © iStock

Tram 28 – the ideal tourist route

Tram 28 covers a route 7 km long, connecting Praça Martim Moriz with Campo Ourique and crossing popular neighborhoods including Graça, Alafama, Baixa and Estrela. Line 28 once connected Praça de Camões with Estrela, however today the route is shorter, ending at Praça de Camões. A longer route was launched in 1984 – from the centrally-located Martim Moniz square to the Prazeres district. It takes about 50 minutes to cover the entire longer route, however this can often be extended due to traffic jams and badly-parked cars!

Woman posing on the tram view © iStock
Woman posing on the tram view © iStock

What to see from Tram 28?

Route 28 passes through the city centre’s historic districts and you can hop on and off the tram in order to see all the area’s attractions. The route runs near the Cathedral of Sé and the Castelo de São Jorge. There are also plenty of viewpoints in the area, such as Miradouro das Portas do Sol, Miradouro Nossa Senhora do Monte, Miradouro da Graça and the Miradouro de Santa Luzia. Don’t miss the Praça da Figueira and Martim Moniz squares and the atmospheric Alafama district, with its narrow streets and laundry hanging overhead. Taste Lisbon’s nightlife in the Bairro Alto and enjoy unforgettable experiences as you ride one of the historic Elevador da Bica, Elevador de Santa Justa, and Elevador da Glória elevators to the top of the city.

For more information on what there is to see and do in Lisbon, check out our article about the most interesting places in and around Lisbon.

Woman in the Bairro Alto district © iStock
Woman in the Bairro Alto district © iStock

Where to board Tram 28?

The best location to board the team depends on how you prefer to spend your time. Do you prefer to ride the route in its entirety or hop on and off for sightseeing along the way? If you’re planning a city break in Lisbon in the busier spring and summer seasons and want to secure a seat on the tram, board at the initial stops – Martim Mariz or Campo Ourique. With trams arriving every 15 minutes, it’s easy to wait for the next if the first is too crowded. A timetable and route map can be found at each stop as well as online at carris.pt.

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When is the best time for a tram trip?

Pick your timing carefully as the yellow trams are not only used by tourists, but mostly by Lisbon’s residents l. Tram 28 is the least crowded early in the morning or late in the evening. During the summer season, tram service commences from Martim Moniz before 6 am. and continues through the day until after 11.30 pm. Outside of the main tourist season, trams run between 6 am and 10 pm. Do pay attention to the destination of the evening trams as they often run a shorter route at night.

Colorful tram on the Lison street © pexels
Colorful tram on the Lison street © pexels

Savoir-vivre on Tram 28

As with other tram and bus lines in the Portuguese capital, you enter the tram through the front door and exit at the rear. Prior to boarding, wait in line at the tram stop for the tram to arrive. On entering, touch your ticket to the yellow reader located next to the entrance, just behind the driver’s seat. You can also buy tickets from the driver, but only using the correct cash. You should be aware that yellow trams attract pickpockets, so keep your camera, wallet and phone in a secure place and avoid standing by the doors where thieves most often take their opportunity. When riding the tram standing up, hold on tight as starting and stopping may be jerky!

Tram in the narrow street © iStock
Tram in the narrow street © iStock

How much is a tram ticket in Lisbon?

Happily, Tram 28 is not an expensive tourist attraction, with a single ticket costing €3. Using a Viva Viagem card cuts this price in half, however, a good choice for a city break in Lisbon is the 24-hour ticket. It costs €6.45, but allows unlimited journeys by any means of transport in the city, including the historic elevators! It also enables you to hop off and on the tram at will – something that is not possible with a standard €3 ticket.

Where and how to buy a tram ticket in Lisbon?

Lisbon has a well-developed public transport ticketing network. For a single €3 journey, simply pay the driver when boarding the tram. You can also buy these from representatives of the Carris carrier throughout the tourist season, and throughout the year at the post office or in yellow Carris booths or MOB points located on larger streets throughout the city. Viva Viagem cards are also available at Carris points, while 24-hour tickets are sold exclusively at metro stations, such as Martim Moniz Square.


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