Lisbon airport to the city centre: Using the Lisbon airport metro
Portugal’s capital city, Lisbon, is a destination which is beginning to make its mark on the popular tourist trail.
Located halfway down Portugal’s western coastline, Lisbon has it all: big city hotels and shopping, beautiful buildings, traditional music and more history than you can shake a stick at. But if you are planning your own trip to the Portuguese capital, what will it be like to arrive in Lisbon? This guide will take you from the runway to your hotel, and all for just a few euros. Interested? Read on.
The information below is based on arriving into Lisbon Airport Terminal 1, the main terminal of the airport. If you arrive into Lisbon Airport Terminal 2, take the free shuttle to Terminal 1 to access the metro. The shuttle takes 3 minutes and runs from 03:30 am to 01:30 am the next day.
Getting from the plane to the terminal
The majority of Lisbon’s flights will end on the tarmac, away from the terminal building. Buses wait at the foot of the airport to transfer you to the Lisbon arrivals hall; for a seat, head towards the back of the bus.
Arriving in the terminal
Once you arrive in Lisbon’s gleaming modern terminal, follow the floor signage to Immigration and Baggage Reclaim.
As an EU country, Portugal’s immigration lines are divided into 3. If you are a non-EU national, head for the appropriate lane. If you are an EU citizen, you have a choice between conventional counters and a self-service electronic reader which will scan your passport or ID card. When I visited, queues were not long, although this will depend on the number and size of aircraft arriving.
There are clean and modern washrooms located in the baggage reclaim area: just turn left
ATMs and money exchange
While you are waiting for your suitcase, take the opportunity to get some local euro currency. There is an ATM by belts 9-13 (a fee is charged for withdrawal). By belts 1-8 there is another ATM and a bureau de change; if your case is being delivered on belts 9+, you will still have to pass the bureau de change on the way out, so head there after collecting your bag.
Customs and exit: Lisbon Airport transportation
From baggage reclaim, head through the customs area and turn right. You are now in the Lisbon Airport arrivals hall.
For the cheapest and simplest method of getting to the city centre, head for the metro. You will see
Entering the metro
Descend into the metro via the escalator which is directly ahead of you as you exit the terminal. At the bottom of the escalator you will find the ticket machines (there is also another ATM here if you didn’t pick up cash in the terminal).
Purchasing your ticket
Approach a vacant machine and touch the screen to activate. Look at the bottom left of the screen and you can just make out a small British flag – it is not very clear. Press this flag to change the language to English.
Select the option to buy a new card and ticket, choose the number of tickets required and press the button to continue. In April 2019 tickets cost €1.50, but with a compulsory €0.50 surcharge for the ticket itself making a total of €2. These tickets are not reloadable, so the fare is effectively €2 for adults.
Child fares exist, and there are also multi-trip card available if you will be staying a while: see the Lisbon metro website for details.
Reaching the platform
Approach the turnstiles, and tap your ticket on the contact pad on top of the console. The gates will slide open. Note that you will need to repeat this process to exit the metro, so keep your ticket safe until your journey is completed.
Descend the several levels of escalators to the platform. Lifts (elevators) are also available if you have pushchairs, wheelchairs or bulky luggage.
There are no maps visible as you approach the platform, but this is for a good reason – the Airport is a terminus station, and all trains run on the red line in the direction of São Sebastião.
Getting to your destination
Lisbon has 4 metro lines: red, blue, green and yellow. Signs are written in
If your journey involves a connection, descend at the connecting station and follow signs for the new line. You will need to know the name of the last station on the line, as this will be used to indicate the correct platform. Check out the metro map and a city map to identify the best station to use.
Accessible (and suitcase-friendly) stations
Note that not all stations in Lisbon are accessible, meaning that there may not be escalators. If you are not able to carry your luggage up a number of steps, you will need to use a station which is accessible. These are marked with a wheelchair symbol, and normally have lifts (elevators) as well as escalators.
Lisbon departures: Returning to the airport
At the end of your trip, take the Lisbon airport metro back to the airport. As you exit the metro via the escalators, the entrance to Terminal 1 is right in front of you. Check-in desks are located up the escalators in front and to the left, and are divided into zones A-E; check the display board first to make sure you are heading in the right direction.
Alternative forms of Lisbon airport transfer
In addition to the metro, there are other options for getting from Lisbon airport to downtown. Taxis are widely available outside the terminal, and are metered. Driving time from Lisbon airport to the city centre is approximately 15 minutes.
If you are looking for a Lisbon airport shuttle bus, head for the Aerobus which runs from 8am to 9pm (line 1; shorter hours for lines 2 and 3). Outside of these hours, head for the city buses and night bus.
More resources for your Lisbon visit
If you are looking for activities in Lisbon, check out the following post:
One Day in Lisbon: Exploring Lisbon Castle
Accommodation in Lisbon
Check out the link below for all the best accommodation options in Lisbon!