Riding tourist tram 28 around Lisbon
When you think of Lisbon you might picture its many hills, the associated views across the orange-topped roofs towards the coastline, or you might just imagine the rattly yellow trams, symbolic of Lisbon as they screech up and down the city. Older trams such as the famous “tram 28” go places the more modern trams can’t physically get to. Sometimes older is better!
The most famous way of seeing Lisbon
So you want to hitch a ride but what’s the best way of doing it? We simply went for the “jump on board not knowing” option. We’d just finished a walking tour with highly recommended Lisbon Chill Out which finished to the east near the Miradouro da Nossa Senhora do Monte … so we simply grabbed a tram from there. Check out the marvellous view before you start or just hop off when you get close to it. (BTW – walking tours are a great way of discovering a city. Read about one of them at our Bucharest walking tour post).
Rookie mistake. Going in the wrong direction
That’s where we made our first mistake: reading the tram stops timetable a little too literally, rather than just looking at the name on the top of the tram. We assumed, incorrectly, that as the timetable said Martim Moniz – Prazeres that was the direction our tram was going in! Prazeres is in the west and Martim-Muniz is in the east.
As it happened our tram was in fact Martim-Muniz bound tram so we ended up at the start of the route just 5 minutes later. Doh! The driver asked everyone to alight meaning we had to queue up at the busy start tram stop again to buy another ticket onboard! Don’t make the same mistake, look at what’s written on the tram above the driver instead.
What’s the actual Tram 28 route?
Here’s a map showing the wiggly route through Lisbon. Our intention had been to go from east to west and then walk back to the centre from Campo Ourique. So after our little distration that’s exactly what we did.
Beware of pickpockets!
We’d been warned on our morning’s walking tour about the risk of being pickpocketed and we hadn’t given it much thought until a middle-aged German guy on our tour was pickpocketed! He seemed fairly savvy so it could have easily been one of us. Tram 28 is a particular honeypot for them due to everyone’s close proximity, the noisy rattly nature of the tram itself and a quick escape route by means of the doors at the back. The rear section having a big blue poster reiterating the fact.
CUIDADO COM OS CARTEIRISTAS
BEWARE OF PICKPOCKETS
ATTENTION AUX PICKPOCKETS
The end of the line!
At Campo Ourique to the west (bottom image) everyone is asked to alight with many people deciding to get straight back on again 10m further down the pathway. Instead we bathed in the late afternoon sunshine and sat down at one of a small handful of open-air cafes there. After no more than 20 minutes we re-traced our steps sauntering back along pretty much the same route. Like many forms of transport you can’t really see it while you’re on it so it gave us a nice chance to glimpse at the many Tram 28s going in the other direction.
Someone might get a ticket!
As we got closer back to the main City Centre we saw the amusing situation whereby a whole road was blocked up ahead. Keen to see what the reason was we rounded a few corners to see a BMW X3 ever so slightly jutting out from the (to be fair to him) fairly small parking space. Although he was still jutting out sufficiently to prevent a Tram 28 from passing. A traffic policeman soon appeared on his motorcycle but we never did find out whether the driver got a ticket or not!
Just a small distance after that a another driver brought proceedings to a stanstill while picking up an item from a shop. That’s the thing with trams. They can’t hop off the rails to go around things!
Tram 28 – in conclusion?
So what did we both think of the Tram 28 experience? Well it’s a pleasant way to spend just under an hour or so. We’re glad we went on it, are happy we didn’t get pickpocketed, but we both agreed we got as much pleasure seeing them go past as we did sitting in one of its hard wooden benches.