Day 4. Riding Lisbon’s trams and funiculars

Our stay in Lisbon was drawing to an end but we still had a few hours left on our final day for exploring more of this beautiful city.  After one final hearty breakfast in our hotel we took the metro to the Praca Restauradores for a ride on the Elevador da Gloria which links the Baixa district up to Bairro Alto.

Elevador da Gloria, Lisbon
Riding the Elevador da Gloria

All three of Lisbon’s funiculars were designed by an engineer from Porto who was an apprentice of Gustave Eiffel famed for designing the world famous Eiffel Tower in Paris.  The Elevador da Gloria was originally water powered when it opened in 1883, becoming steam powered the following year and then converted to run on electricity in 1915.

Elevador da Gloria Lisbon, Driver's cab
The driver’s cab on the funicular

It still retains its original characteristics with polished wood bench seats and driver’s cab.  Travel on the funicular is included in the Lisbon Card and with one day travel tickets.  Near the top station there are some splendid views over the city as far as Alfama and the Lisbon Castle.

On board the Elevador da Gloria, Lisbon
On board the Elevador da Gloria

After enjoying our ride on the funicular we decided to take a look at the Rua de Carvalho now better known simply as Pink Street which was five minutes walk from Cais do Sodré.  This part of the city lying close to the river was once popular with sailors passing through the port and gained a bad reputation as the city’s red light district.  Since 2011 the dilapidated area has been completely redeveloped attracting both locals and tourists alike to its bars, restaurants and clubs.

Pink Street, Lisbon
Pink Street, Lisbon

Despite many people objecting to the idea of gentrifying the district and to painting the street pink it has become a sought after location.  As we visited late morning it was very quiet but I’m sure that it would have looked very different if it had been later in the day.

Vasco da Gama Tower, Lisbon
The Vasco da Gama Tower

Moving on, we boarded one of Lisbon’s bright yellow trams and then took a metro train to Oriente station which lies in the eastern part of the city close to the airport.  The district is home to the Parque das Nacöe, the former site of the 1998 World Trade Fair.  This event was planned to coincide with the 500th anniversary of Portugal’s greatest seafaring expedition of Vasco da Gama’s arrival in India in 1498.  We began a tour of the riverside area starting at the Torre Vasco da Gama.  This 140m high tower is constructed of steel and represents the sail of a caravel which was a 15th century Portuguese sailing ship.  It’s not open to the public but a feature of the park that can be seen from afar.

Ponte Vasco da Gama and the Oriente Cable Car, Lisbon
The Ponte Vasco da Gama and the cable car line

We followed a pleasant tree lined esplanade along the water’s edge from where we could see the Ponte Vasco da Gama.  This bridge is 17 km (11 miles) long and connects Lisbon with Montijo.  It is Europe’s longest bridge and has been designed to withstand earthquakes and strong winds.  The bridge opened to coincide with the 1998 World Trade Fair and is named in honour of the great explorer.  Running along the length of the park is the Telecabine cable car which glides 30m above the River Tagus between the Vasco da Gama Tower and the large oceanarium, another popular attraction on the site.

Tree lined esplanade at Oriente, Lisbon
The tree lined riverside esplanade

Continuing, we wandered through the gardens which are designed to represent Brazil, Goa, Mozambique, Indonesia and the Azores all of which were discovered by Portuguese explorers.  There was little in flower during our winter visit but the gardens must look beautiful during the summer months with planting reflecting the different countries.

The Vasco da Gama Tower and cable car, Lisbon
The Vasco da Gama Tower and cable car

To conclude our visit we had lunch in the food court on the second floor of the Centro Vasco da Gama which is a large shopping mall continuing the maritime theme as it has been designed to represent a cruise liner.  The shopping centre contains a mix of the usual high street brands, cafes and restaurants with a large supermarket in the basement.

Centro Vasco da Gama shopping mall, Lisbon
The Centro Vasco da Gama shopping mall at Oriente

It was then time to return to the airport for our flight back to Bournemouth.  Our short break in sunny Lisbon had been the perfect winter destination to escape the damp cold days back home and an opportunity to explore this fascinating capital city at a quiet time of year.

Our visit was supported by Visit Portugal and as always all views and opinions are entirely my own.


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A week in Porto, northern Portugal

 A week in the Algarve


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Lisbon Funiculars & Parque Das Nacoes


56 thoughts on “Day 4. Riding Lisbon’s trams and funiculars

  1. I have thoroughly enjoyed this series of posts featuring Lisbon and beyond. Although I have enjoyed family holidays to the Algarve, I’m sadly ignorant about the rest of Portugal and I would love to experience more of this beautiful country. The more I read about Lisbon. Porto, Sintra, the higher these places move up my travel list. I would definitely enjoy riding on the trams and funiculars of Lisbon! Loved this post, Marion. Thank you!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words and for taking an interest in this series of posts June. I’m certain you would enjoying spending time in both Lisbon and Porto at some point in the future. Hope the week progresses well for you and it warms up a bit! M.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Pingback: Day 4. Riding Lisbon’s trams and funiculars – Jackanori, (MPD)

    1. Thank you Hannah, it was a lovely little trip and a chance to get some winter sunshine. It’s surprising how quickly we re-adapt to our cold, damp winters but saying that, apart from the strong wind, it’s been relatively nice recently. Hope your week is progressing well. Marion


  3. I took the historic tram once while in Lisbon for the experience. Compact, rickety, and slow, the tram ride wasn’t the wild ride I expected, but it was still an appreciative moment to experience first-hand a piece of history!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I don’t think any visit to Lisbon can be complete without a ride on one of its bright, yellow trams. Definitely a piece of history with their traditional wooden interiors. Thank you for coming along on my short break in Lisbon Rebecca, it’s most appreciated.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. The clattering mustard-yellow trams are one of Lisbon’s most iconic symbols and the city’s most photographed public transportation and Lisbon tram 28 is the star among them! Every time we visit Lisbon, I stop and turn to the sound of a tram squealing its way on the rails through traffic as it’s nothing short of amazing 🙂 Thanks for sharing and have a good day 🙂 Aiva

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I agree Aiva that those iconic yellow trams with their wonderful old polished wood seats are a true symbol of Lisbon. It was a splendid trip and an escape from the cold, damp days back home. Thank you so much for joining me on my trip to Lisbon it’s much appreciated. Marion xx

      Liked by 3 people

  5. Love the old tram, it gives off lots of charm. Pink Street also looks like a really atmospheric place to hang out. Lisbon seems like a great idea for a winter break. From our experience in the Portuguese restaurant in Kampot, the cuisine is amazing.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. We love riding the old trams and street cars wherever we go, Melbourne, Kamakura, San Francisco and even Edmonton has a few old street cars. The pink street is real EYE catching. The whole place looks beautiful. Thanks for sharing Marion. Allan

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Thank you for this winter sun, it feels good, and this blue sky, so attractive. I hope to be able to come back to Portugal this year, my previous visits date back to the other century and your photos show me that I have some catching up to do.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Thank you for taking such an interest in my short break in Lisbon. We enjoyed a lovely few days wandering around, visiting museums and soaking up some warm sunshine. It’s good to read that my posts have inspired you to think about returning there too. Best wishes, Marion

      Liked by 2 people

  8. We never got around to go for a ride on the Funicular – but it looks like a lot of fun! I can now confidently say that you walked (part) of the Portuguese Camino 😊. On our first day on the Camino we walked through the Parque das Nacoe and saw the very same beautiful sights that you captured here! If you do have the time, you can read about this day here:
    Thank you Marion for a great series about Lisbon and for bringing back wonderful memories – I’ve very much enjoyed this!

    Liked by 5 people

    1. It’s exciting to read that we actually stepped on the Camino if not actually making the epic trek. Visiting Lisbon was such a treat and to escape our cold, damp winter weather an added bonus. I’ll definitely be following your link, thanks for bringing it to my attention Corna!

      Liked by 2 people

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