Faro to Lisbon
The train journey from the Algarve to Lisbon is cheap, easy and enjoyable. The trains are modern with reserved seats, air conditioning, power sockets, a cafe and the option of a hot meal served to your seat. The Alfa Pendular (AC) express train takes approximately 3 hours from Faro to Lisboa, Entrecampos. You can also book from stations in Loulé, Albufeira and Tunes. Prices vary at each station, from Faro the general return price is €41.50, €35 for 13-30 year olds and €23 for children and senior citizens (65+). ID is needed to buy the ticket and also once on board the train.
Entrecampos is the most central stop, with great metro links. The first journey on the metro requires buying a 50cents contactless travel card. Once this is purchased you can top it up, it costs €1.50 per journey for any distance and as many line changes. Navigating the underground is straight-forward, there are four colour co-ordinated lines, all well sign- posted with maps in the carriages and in the stations. You can also plan a journey with the app ‘City Rail Map’; this can direct you from your current location to the nearest metro station, when to change lines and when to exit.
The Lisbon Card
The Lisbon card is perfect for a short trip to the city to see as much as possible. Many of the main attractions are free or discounted; you just need to show it at the ticket desk to receive a ticket allowing entry at the automatic gates. It is €20 for 24h, €34 for 48h and €48 for 72h. It is an easy way to have a quick look in the museums or attractions without having to make the visit worth the entrance fee which is normally between €5 and €10. Public transport is also free with the card; this is especially helpful on the metro as a day pass is €6.40.
For a day trip, the centre of Lisbon has plenty to offer and everything is within walking distance. There are a variety of famous attractions including the Castelo de S. Jorge, Lisbon Cathedral, Arco da Rua Augusta, Santa Justa Lift, The Pink Street, Lisbon Story Centre and The National Museum of Contemporary Art. The centre also has unlimited shopping options, street performers and tuk tuk rides throughout the narrow and sloping streets. This method of transport can be expensive but it is worth it to experience a private tour of the city. You can find plenty of cafes, restaurants and rooftop bars with amazing views of the city nestled amongst the busy crowds. Take the number 28 tram to explore the quirky cafes and shops of the Alfalma district for an authentic Lisbon experience.
If you have the time and want to explore further out there are the well know attractions of Lisbon Zoo, Amoreiras shopping centre, Eduardo VII park, Tile Museum, Lisbon Oceanário and cable cars. These are all easy to access via the metro and train routes.
The attractions in Lisbon are spread out, but with careful planning and time saving travel methods, a lot can be achieved in only one day. If you take a train to the furthest attraction of the west side in Belém, you can walk back along the river, taking in the amazing views of the Ponte 25 de Abril suspension bridge and the National Sanctuary of Christ the King statue. The train to Belém is €1,35 or free with a Lisbon Card. Once off the train it is a short walk to Belém tower, the starting point for the tour. From here to central Lisbon there is lots to see and do. Popular attractions along the way include; National Archaeology Museum, Monument of Discovery, Coach Museum, MAAT, Carris Museum, 7 Pillar Experience, the Marina, LxFactory and the Ancient Art Museum. There are also several bars, cafes and restaurants including the famous Pastéis de Belém, where you can buy the traditional Portuguese Pastel de Nata.
There is so much to do, making a priority list is essential. How much you can fit in the day will depend on when you start the visit, how many attractions you want to see and how long you want to spend at each. It is important to allow time for any queues and travel to each destination. To speed up the journey from one place to another there are bikes and electric scooters to hire. These can be picked up at designated parking spots around Lisbon. They are simple to use, only requiring the download of an app and registering a debit/credit card. Once you have unlocked it you can reserve it for the whole day meaning it will be waiting where you parked it outside each attraction. Prices can vary with different companies and it is all down to time and distance. There are also plenty of taxis you can flag down or download one of many apps like ‘Kapten’ where you select a destination and it gives you a set price before the journey begins. Alternatively the hop-on-hop-off bus, travels around the city on specific sightseeing routes making stops to the main attractions along the way.