Read any list of things to do in Lisbon and “Ride Tram 28” is almost guaranteed to appear somewhere. The ride follows what’s probably one of the most beautiful public transport routes in the world – and, you get to do the entire route in a beautiful, rickety old wooden tram.
Unfortunately, as Lisbon has boomed in popularity, Tram 28 has become too popular. For local Lisbon residents, Tram 28 isn’t a sightseeing bus but a way to get to work or to other parts of the city. It’s a necessity rather than a luxury, and many are now unable to use the tram for its normal purpose.
But even for people visiting Lisbon, Tram 28 can be a bit of a letdown. It’s not unusual to see queues of more than 200 or more people waiting to get on Martim Moniz and, once they do get on, everyone is crammed in like tinned sardines. The journey itself is over in 40 minutes, which means you never get much more than a glimpse of all the beautiful sights along the way.
So, should you take Tram 28?
- My personal recommendation would be to walk the route instead (see below).
- If you want to experience a traditional wooden Lisbon tram, take another tram route instead (tram routes 12, 15e, 18, 24, and 25 all use the iconic Lisbon trams).
- Alternatively, consider taking the hills tram tour. It’s more expensive (around €20), but it’s going to be a lot more comfortable. You can also hop on and off easily, and the ticket is valid for 24 hours.
- Alternatively again, consider hiring a tuk-tuk and asking the driver to take you on the route.
If you still want to take Tram 28, read the next section. Alternatively, jump down to the walking guide.
Taking Tram 28
- Tram 28 begins in Praça Martim Moniz (although you could begin it at the end in Praça São João Bosco in Campo de Ourique either).
- If you want a seat, you’ll need to get on at one of the starting points (Praça Martim Moniz or Praça São João Bosco).
- It can be less busy at the end point (Praça São João Bosco) as most tourists start at Praça Martim Moniz.
- The whole trip takes around 40-45 minutes but can be faster if there’s no traffic.
- The tram can rock and shake and, if you get travel sick, you might feel a bit queasy on the journey – especially if it’s hot and you’re crammed in.
- Trams come every 10 minutes or so.
- Pickpockets are known to operate on this particular tram route (and around Praça Martim Moniz) so watch your stuff.
- A ticket can costs around €1.50 with the rechargeable Viva Viagem card (which itself costs around €0.50). Alternatively, you can buy a ticket onboard for around €3.00.
- If you want to get on and off, you’ll need to get a 24-hour metro ticket. This isn’t hop-on, hop-off tour, however, and you may not want to give up your seat.
- There’s Wi-Fi on board.
The Tram 28 Walking Route
Walking a tram route might seem crazy to some people, but there are plenty of reasons to walk this route rather than take the tram.
- You can stop and properly experience each landmark (and get those all-important photos).
- You actually get to stop at the miradouros (viewpoints) rather than zoom past them.
- You’re not crammed into a tight space.
- There’s no need to join a queue (or get out of bed early).
- There’s less chance of getting pick-pocketed.
Well, now that all the benefits are covered, let’s begin. Let’s head to where most people start the route: Praça Martim Moniz.
Praça Martim Moniz
Praça Martim Moniz is an area of Lisbon that has been in the process of being gentrified for a few years now. It still can feel a little shady, and pickpockets are known to operate in this area, so do keep an eye on your belongings.
You should be able to spot the queue for Tram 28 over on the eastern side of the square. Be thankful that you don’t have to join that today, and simply walk past them, then past the white church (Capela de Nossa Senhora da Saúde), and up to Rua Palma at the top of the square.
The route continues along Rua Palma, which will eventually become Avenida Almirante Reis. This area is home to a lot of Asian supermarket and restaurants, as well as a few marisqueiras (seafood restaurants) like Cervejaria Ramiro. Just about every TV chef that comes to Lisbon goes to Ramiro’s including the late Anthony Bourdain, Rick Stein, and Phil Rosenthal from Netflix’s Somebody Feed Phil.
The Asian supermarkets are fun to visit but otherwise there isn’t a lot to see in this area apart from the Chafariz do Intendente ou do Desterro monument.
Avenida Almirante Reis
Although it’s still the same straight street, you’ll notice that Rua Palma has become Avenida Almirante Reis.
Look out for Beautique WC hotel on the left-hand side, a hotel that’s themed around toilets. Nobody really knows why, but the hotel is well-reviewed so the concept must work.
Rua Maria Andrade
The tram takes a turn to the right now, coming off Avenida Almirante Reis and onto Rua Maria Andrade. This is the first hill of the day, and it’ll take you all the way up into Lisbon’s Graça neighbourhood.
Rua Maria da Fonte
The route takes a left at the crossroads, turning onto Rua Maria da Fonte. At the T-junction at the top of the street, take a right onto Rua Angelina Vidal before turning right onto Rua da Graça.
Just before you turn you’ll see the Mercado de Sapadores across the street. This is a traditional Portuguese market where you can buy things like fresh fruit and vegetables, meat, and fish.
Alternatively (or also),
Rua da Graça
As you walk along Rua da Graça, you’ll start to get deeper into the Graça neighbourhood. Although this is quite a popular neighbourhood with tourists, there’s still a very good ratio of locals to tourists here. You’ll find plenty of traditional pastelarias and tascas, as well as small, independent businesses.
Largo da Graça
Rua da Graça soon becomes Largo da Graça, which eventually forks into two roads: the continuation of Largo da Graça and Rua da Voz do Operário. You’re going to go down Rua da Voz do Operário, but first take a detour and continue along Largo da Graça instead. This will bring you to one of the most beautiful squares in Lisbon, where you’ll find the Igreja e Convento da Graça and the Miradouro de Nossa Senhora do Monte.
Next: retrace your footsteps back to the fork in the road, and cross over the square to get into Rua da Voz do Operário.
Rua da Voz do Operário
Continue down this hill where you’ll get glimpses of the River Tejo below. You’ll probably see quite a few Tram 28s coming past, and this is normally a good place to get a photo of one of them.
Rua da Voz do Operário becomes Calçada de São Vicente.
Calçada de São Vicente
There’s quite a lot to see just off of Calçada de São Vicente. You’ll pass Igreja da Sao Vicente de Fora on your left-hand side, which is one of the most beautiful churches in Lisbon.
Then, slightly off-route but directly behind, is the Panteão Nacional. On Tuesday and Saturday mornings, the area around the Panteão Nacional also hosts the famous Feira da Ladra flea market as well.
All of these are worth stopping off to take a look at. Then, when you’re done, go back onto Calçada de São Vicente and take the right-hand turn onto Escolas Gerais.
Rua das Escolas Gerais
Along with Rua da Graça, which you walked along earlier, this is one of the narrowest streets in Lisbon. If you hear a tram coming along behind you, be sure to tuck yourself into the wall.
Travessa São Tomé
As Escolas Gerais finishes it becomes Travessa São Tomé, which bends around to the left and up to Largo Portas do Sol. If you take a little detour and head up to steps onto the street above that runs parallel (Rua São Tomé), you’ll see the Monumento a Amália Rodrigues. This is a mural to one of Portugal’s favourite musicians, the late fado singer Amália Rodrigues.
Turn back the way you came and continue along Rua São Tomé and you’ll soon see the Largo Portas do Sol where you’ll find the Miradouro das Portas do Sol.
Largo Portas do Sol
It’s almost impossible not to stop at Largo Portas do Sol. The miradouro offers some fantastic views over the rooftops of Lisbon, and there’s normally a busker or two playing some live music as well. If you’re feeling tired, head to the quiosk for a quick coffee before continuing down the hill.
Largos Santo Luzia
As you walk down Largo Santo Luzia, you’ll pass another great miraroudo: Miradouro de Santa Luzia.
If you want to go up to Lisbon Castle, take Travessa de Santo Luzia.
You probably won’t have noticed it, but Largos Santo Luzia has now become Rua Limoeiro. Look out for the big tree that’s grown so big it almost takes up all of the footpath. You can’t miss it.
Largo São Martinho
Rua Limoeiro becomes Largo São Martinho before becoming Rua Augusto Rosa.
Rua Augusto Rosa
As you go down Rua Augusto Rosa, you’ll pass Sé de Lisboa (or Lisbon Cathedral) on your left. Dating back as far as the 12th Century, this is the oldest and most important church in Lisbon. Entrance into the church is free, but there’s a small fee to enter the cloister and treasury.
Largo de Sé
You’ll also pass another quiosk where you can stop for a coffee (if you haven’t had enough already) as you continue down the hill onto Rua Santo António da Sé.
On the right, you’ll pass the Igreja de Santo António de Lisboa. Santo António (or Saint Anthony) is the partron saint of Lisbon, and it’s said that he was born in this very spot.
Saint Anthony of Lisbon is the patron saint of lovers, so this is the person to speak to if you’re in need of a new girlfriend or boyfriend (or wife or husband). If that sounds like you then head to the statue of Saint Anthony in the square outside of the church and take out a coin. Tradition dictates that if you can toss the coin into the book of Saint Anthony, your prayer for a new lover will be answered.
Rua Santo Antonio da Se
As you turn the corner into Baixa, Lisbon’s downtown district, you’ll pass another church that you can visit: the Igreja da Madalena. Cross the road here onto Rua da Conceição.
Rua da Conceição
Once you get onto Rua da Conceição, you’ll notice a completely different feel to the layout of the city. The streets are organized in blocks, and the roads are much wider. This is because this part of Lisbon was destroyed by the 1755 earthquake and then rebuilt.
As you walk along Rua da Conceição and look along the streets that run perpendicular to it, you’ll get glimpses of landmarks like Praça do Comércio (to your left) and Praça da Figueira (to your right). If you haven’t already seen them, you may want to stop off and explore them (especially Praça do Comércio).
Calçada de São Francisco
The flat and the straight comes to an end, as Rua da Conceição becomes Calçada de São Francisco and the street bends up a hill.
Rua Vitor Cordon
By Lisbon standards, this isn’t much of a hill and it soon quickly levels off. Take a sharp right onto Rua Duques de Bragança, which will become Rua Paivra da Andrada.
Rua Paivra da Andrada
Things get more interesting as you head along Rua Paivra da Andrada and into the heart of Chiado. You’ll pass the statue of António Ribeiro, a former but quite recent Portuguese Cardinal of the Catholic Church. Almost directly behind, outside Café A Brasileira, you’ll find the statue of one of Portugal’s most famous writers: Fernando Pessoa. Continue along Largo do Chiado to the large square (Praça Luís de Camões) in front of you.
Largo do Chiado
As you walk along Largo do Chiado towards Praça Luís de Camões, you’ll pass a church on your right-hand side (Igreja do Loreto). The church isn’t much to look at from the outside, but is very beautifully-
Praça Luís de Camões
Like Fernando Pessoa, whose statue you just passed outside Café A Brasileira, Luís de Camões is another person who holds a special place in the hearts of the Portuguese. He is considered the greatest Portuguese-language poet, and is probably best known for Os Lusíadas (The Lusiads).
Again, if you want to stop for a coffee, you’ll find another quiosk in this square.
Rua do Loreto
Just as you come off Luís de Camões and onto Rua do Loreto, you’ll pass a bakery on your right-hand side called Manteigaria. Although not as famous as Pastéis de Belém in Belém, this is one of the most popular places to get a pastel de nata in Lisbon.
Continue along Rua do Loreto which becomes Calçada do Combro and then Rua Poiais de São Bento, where it bends around to the right and then into Calçada da Estrela.
Calçada da Estrela
Calçada da Estrela goes up the hill, past the Assembleia da República which is the Portuguese parliament.
Praça da Estrela
As you reach the top of the hill, you’ll pass a park on your right (Jardim da Estrela) and a church on your left (Basílica da Estrela). Both are worth taking a look at.
Rua Domingos Sequira
Next, continue along Rua Domingos Sequira before turning left onto Rua Saraiva da Carvalho.
Rua Saraiva da Carvalho
As you continue to the end of Rua Domingos Sequira, to Praça São João Bosco, where the walking route ends, you’ll pass the Igreja de Santo Condestável and, behind it, the Campo de Ourique Market. This market is like a much smaller version of the Time Out Market in Cais do Sodré, and a popular place to go after finishing the Tram 28 route.
Alternatively, you can try to catch a tram from Praça São João Bosco back to Martim Moniz where you started this walk. Congratulations, you’ve just walked route Tram 28.