Tram 28

Discover fascinating facts about Portugal’s best known yellow trolley

See the original article in Enjoy the Algarve – magazine February 2017

Picture by Daniel Ascencao

 

Horsecar history

  • Lisbon’s tramway network has been in operation from 1873, when the carriages were still pulled by horses. The first electric tramway in Portugal’s capital commenced operations in 1901. In 1959, the tram network was at its most extensive, with 27 lines. As the Lisbon Metro was built and the bus system expended, the tram network slowly declined.
  • Nowadays only five lines remain: 12, 15, 18, 25 and the historic 28, a tourist attraction which has become one of Lisbon’s symbols. The reason for this? Taking a ride on the elétrico 28 is described in nearly every guidebook as a ‘must do activity’.

 

Elétricos

  • Known as ‘elétricos’ in Portuguese, the trams run on 600 volt DC (direct current) overhead lines. The remaining lines operate in the southern centre and the west of Lisbon, along 48km of track in total. All trams are operated by Carris.
  • One-way prices are €2.90 on board (but only €1.40 if you’ve got a rechargeable Viva Viagem ticket). If you’re planning on using the tram loads, get a 24h ticket (€6.15) which enables you to hop on and off whenever you please. Tickets are available from kiosks, metro stations, and on board from a ticket machines or the driver. More info about fares here.

 

See the city

  • The no. 28 shuttles between the Martim Moniz square and the Prazeres district, which makes it an excellent way to see Lisbon (it also saves you on muscle ache – those cobbled streets are steep). It’s a bumpy ride with hills and tight corners.
  • Points worth getting off include Graça (good views over the city), Sé (for the Santo António Church), Chiado (for shopping and restaurants), Estrela (Basílica) (for the Estrela park) and Campo Ourique (Prazeres) (for the Cemitério dos Prazeres, the final resting place of many famous Portuguese). For a complete list of stops along the route, click here.

 

Tourist trap?

  • The vintage-looking wooden tram 28 is popular with tourists. Unfortunately, this makes it also popular with pickpockets. Other negatives include long queues and no free seat once you get on. Each tram can fit about 30 people and they usually set off at 15 minute intervals, so if there’s a long queue, it might be quicker to walk.
  • An alternative is the official sightseeing tram, which offers a tour commentary in English and Portuguese. This red tram is way more expensive (around €20), but less packed and leaves from Praça do Comércio. Another possibility: take the green tram, which departs from Praça da Figueira.

 

See the original article in Enjoy the Algarve – magazine February 2017

Posted in Typical Portugal.