Flight time to Lisbon from the UK and Ireland ranges from between 2.5 to 3 hours. This is a good length of time with a baby or toddler as it is not too long. See our tips for travel by plane with a baby or toddler for information on handling a flight with very young children.
Lisbon By plane
Portugal’s largest international airport is the Aeroporto da Portela located between Loures and Lisboa. It is the main air hub for TAP Portugal, which covers an extensive network throughout Europe, Africa (Morroco, Algeria, Senegal, Guinea Bissau, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Angola, Cape Verde, S. Tome e Principe) and the Americas (US, Venezuela and Brazil). SATA (Air Açores) provides regular service to eastern North America (Boston, Montreal and Toronto).
There are also several other airlines flying into Lisbon, such as United Airlines, US Airways, Emirates, Easyjet, British Airways, Brussels Airlines, Aigle Azur, Air Berlin, Air France, Air Transat, German Wings, TAAG Angolan Airways, STP Airways, Swiss, Transavia, Turkish Airlines, Lufthansa, Finnair, Iberia, Vueling and KLM, amongst others.
Lisbon – Getting To/From the Airport
In general, if you are arriving by plane in Lisbon and it is still day time, it is almost always better to use public transport – buses or the metro system – to your hotel or final destination. Taxi drivers can rip you off so remember to prearrange a fare if you decide to get a taxi. you are not carrying too much luggage and it is not late in the night, you are better off simply getting a bus or the metro to city center.
- Aerobus operates three routes to main spots of the city. Aerobus 1 running every 20min follows Av. da Republica and Av. da Liberdade to the city center (Rossio, Praça do Comércio, and railway/ferry terminal at Cais do Sodré). Aerobus 2 connects to the Oriente bus/railway terminals with 30min intervals. Aerobus 3 runs every 30min to the central bus station at Sete Rios via the Entrecampos train station. Tickets cost €3.50 (10% discount when bought online and printed). Buses from the city centre to the airport start at about 8am
- The Metro costs about €1.90 from the airport to any place in the city centre. The journey to Saldanha takes about 16 minutes and less than 25 minutes are enough to get from the Airport to Baixa-Chiado (Lisbon city centre). You should avoid riding the metro late at night but generally the Metro system in Lisbon is very reliable and safe, and is usually the best way to quickly get around the city.
- Bus lines 22, 44, 83, 705, 745, or night bus line 208. Bus 44 takes you to the Oriente railway station in about 10 minutes, where you can change for metro and continue to the city centre. Adult fare is €1.75.
- Taxis cost about €10.00 from the airport to the city centre. Caution is required, since Lisbon taxi drivers are notoriously dishonest. Charge is according to the meter, adding €1.20 per item of luggage. Taxis are required to have working meters (it is illegal to drive without one) and fares posted to the window in the rear seat. Any policeman should take care of the situation if there are signs of fraud – if police officers are nearby, you should call them immediately. To avoid fraud, you can buy a taxi-voucher in the airport (€18 – a lot more than the average real meter price) which is good to go anywhere in the centre, with luggage. If you require a car seat it would be best to pre book a taxi in order to ensure availability.
Lisbon By Train
There are two main stations, Santa Apolónia in the city centre and the Gare do Oriente, a bit further out and used by the high-speed trains. However, if you are entering Lisbon from the south, you may want to get off at the smaller stations of Entrecampos or Sete Rios. Their metro stations are a few stops closer to the central and old town. Also, local trains connecting with the resort Cascais on the Estoril coast use Cais do Sodré station. Train tickets may be booked directly with the train company, Comboios de Portugal.
Two international services are avalible, the overnight Sud Express leaves Irun on the border between Spain and France every day at 18:20 hours. There is no physical connection with the TGV train from Paris which only goes to Hendaya at the French border. The train calls at Oriente station 07:22AM the next morning before arriving in Apolónia just ten minutes later. There is also a daily sleeper train from Madrid named Lusitania leaving Chamartin station at 10:25PM, arriving early next morning 7:30AM in Oriente and a few minutes later at Apolónia. Prices starts at €90 for a single-journey in Turista-class.
The domestic high-speed line Alfa Pendular connects Braga, Porto and Coimbra with Lisbon from the north and Faro from the south. Prices between the major cities starts at €40 in second class. All trains call at Oriente, only some in Apolonia.
Lisbon by Car
Lisbon can be accessed from six main highways. Coming from the south (A2) or east (A6 – the main route from Madrid), there are the two bridges:
From/to south: The A2 goes all the way to the 25 de Abril bridge, which usually has lots of traffic getting into Lisbon, especially on weekday mornings. This is the best option if you want to go to the center of Lisbon or to the west (A5 – Estoril, Cascais, Sintra).
To north / to east: If you branch from the A2 into the A12, you’ll get to the Vasco da Gama bridge, the longest bridge in Europe, it usually has less traffic than the older 25 de Abril bridge (but a more expensive toll). This is the best option to go to the eastern/northern section of Lisbon (to the airport and to the Parque das Nações – the former Expo 98 site), and also to take the A1 or A8 going north.
From/to north and the airport: Coming from the north, there is the A1, that connects Lisbon to Santarém, Fátima, Leiria, Coimbra, Aveiro, Porto. The A1 ends near the airport. There’s also the A8, which goes to Torres Vedras, Caldas da Rainha, Alcobaça, Leiria.
From the west, there is the A5, which connects to Estoril, Cascais, and the IC19 that crosses all the suburbs and ends near Sintra.
Lisbon has three ring roads: The 2ª circular, which connects the A1 to the IC19; the CRIL IC17 (still incomplete), which connects the Vasco da Gama bridge with the A1 and A8; and the CREL A9, which connects the A1 with the A8, IC19, A5, and goes all the way to the Estoril coast.
Lisbon by Bus
All nearby cities and most major cities in Portugal have direct buses to Lisbon. The main bus terminal is at Sete Rios (metro: Jardim Zoológico). The main operator for long-course buses is Rede Nacional de Expressos.
Lisbon by Boat
You can get a boat to Lisbon from the following stations: Barreiro; Trafaria; Montijo; and Cacilhas. It’s an excellent sightseeing opportunity crossing the river Tagus to Lisbon. Many cruise ships dock at several places along the river on the Lisbon side, with variably good access to public transport throughout the city. Many lines offer shuttles to key points nearby.