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Please don’t ride Lisbon’s Tram 28 (do this instead)!

If you read any blog post about what to do while visiting Lisbon, you’re sure to find a commonality among all the posts: Lisbon Tram 28.

Bloggers will tell you that it’s a cheap way to tour the city and see all the sights. And technically, they’re right.

Lisbon Tram 28

But they’re also so so wrong. Lisbon wouldn’t be the same without the iconic yellow trams. But that doesn’t mean you need to ride one.

Trams are a classic part of Lisbon’s charm. The first horse-drawn trams began operating in 1873, followed shortly after by cable-line trams in 1884. The modern era of electric trams began in 1901 and replaced all other trams by 1913.

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Reasons NOT to ride the 28 tram in Lisbon

I’ve lived in Portugal since 2021, and my number one piece of advice for visiting friends and Instagram followers is “STAY AWAY FROM TRAM 28!” And I promise there’s good reason for my warning. Here are the top reasons NOT to ride Tram 28 on your trip to Lisbon.

1. “A disappointing tourist attraction” — NOT! 

Some call Tram 28 a “disappointing tourist attraction,” but it’s not a tourist attraction at all! It’s public transportation— not a cheap city tour.

Tram 28 in Lisbon

2. Because of the abundance of tourists, it’s ripe for the pick(pocket)ing.

Lisbon is a relatively safe city. However, if you’re distracted by monuments in a crowded tram, thieves will see their opportunity and take it.One pick-pocketing victim recounted their welcome to the police station, where the first question was “were you pick- pocketed on Tram 28?” Keep track of your belongings, and don’t give thieves an opportunity to ruin your trip.

3. Hate waiting in lines? You’ll hate this!

You’re likely limited on time in Lisbon. Don’t spend your day waiting in line for a tram! For 18 months, I lived just a few steps from the start of the 28 tram, and would walk past hundreds of tourists waiting in line every day— wasting precious travel moments!

4. No guaranteed view

The tram has a limited capacity of around 30 people (sitting and standing), and you aren’t guaranteed a window seat after all that waiting.

5. All the sights, none of the knowledge

You’ll pass by some of the most impressive sights of Lisbon, and have NO IDEA why they’re important. As an American, I’m always fascinated by the way locals talk about the Earthquake of 1755 as if it’s recent history. But, in a country founded in 1143, I suppose it is!

6. It’s not exactly cheap if you’re traveling in a group

The one-way ticket cost per person is 3€. If you get off the tram, you’ll need to pay again, making this type of travel pricey.

7. Save space for the avós (grandparents)

And, one more time, Tram 28 is public transportation. Save room for those who need it to get around the city, while supporting other local businesses for sightseeing! 

What to do instead of riding Tram 28 in Lisbon

I promise not to burst your Tram 28 bubble without giving you plenty of alternatives that are just as good (and better!) than the 28 tram. 

1. Hop on the tourist tram

Book a 24-hour hop-on, hop-off ticket for the Lisbon Hills Red Tram Tour through Alfama, Mouraria, Chiado, Bairro Alto, and Lapa. Travel the same route as the 28 Tram— with an audio-guided tour in 12 languages.

See something you want to get out and explore on foot? No worries! Your ticket is good for 24 hours, so you can feel free to explore at your own pace.

Plus, these trams are always nearly empty, giving you the best chance for the most epic views possible! Your ticket also includes entrance to the Santa Justa lift, funiculars, public trams, and a Yellow Bus discount booklet with savings at restaurants, bars, shops, and attractions.

Take this tour instead of riding tram 28

2. Take a tuk-tuk ride along the 28 tram line.

These private tuk-tuk tours connect you with a local who will give you firsthand knowledge and answer any questions you might have!

3. Save money with a rideshare

Order an Uber or Bolt to get where you need to go. Rideshares are incredibly affordable in Lisbon, and free up your time to travel around the city.

4. Get a different perspective from a double-decker bus

See the sights from a higher view when you take a hop-on, hop-off double-decker bus tour. Choose one or two bus lines with this tour, where you can enjoy the Belém-Lisbon line with all the famous sites and/or the modern Lisbon line that will drop you at the door of the Oceanarium or top shopping spots in the city.

5. See the sights and make memories with a photoshoot

Book a professional photoshoot that will take you on a walking tour through the coolest streets of Lisbon. Don’t forget to ask for a shot of you and an iconic tram!

I loved my photoshoots with Phelipe and Fabio, who both delivered incredible photos, capturing the essence of Lisbon and adding to my experience here with tangible memories!

 
Photoshoot in front of Tram 28 in Alfama

Tram 28 in Alfama

6. Ride a funicular instead

Want the experience of riding a classic tram with the benefit of skipping one of Lisbon’s 7 hills? Ride the Elevador da Glória up from Restauradores Square to Rua San Pedro de Alcántara in Bairro Alto. It’s one of the steepest hills up to a gorgeous view over the city, so taking the funicular is a win-win!

Elevador da Glória

Take the Elevador da Glória instead of riding Tram 28

Whether you’re visiting Lisbon for the first time and want an itinerary with all the best spots, or you’re visiting again and want to discover off-the-beaten-path gems, I’ve got you covered! Check out my Portugal content to make sure you have the best time (without wasting time or $$ on “disappointing tourist attractions”)! 

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