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The creaking yellow vintage trams of the Carris public transportation company look as if they belong in a museum. These are one of the best ways to get around the city. Tram 28 is famous, taking riders on a 40-minute trip up (or down) the hill through old neighbourhoods such as Graça, Alfama and Baixa, along many historical highlights, including the cathedral and the castle. Todos a bordo!
Lisbon is one of the cheapest capitals in Western Europe. However, this does not necessarily apply to transportation: a tour in a touristy double-decker bus costs around 15 euro. The 6 euro day card for the tram is a much better deal and allows you to ride all over the city for an entire day. No wonder line 28 is popular among tourists. Board the old-fashioned yellow tram and sit back for a fast and bumpy ride through Lisbon's winding streets.
After the introduction of the first horse-drawn tram in 1873, Lisbon’s tram network grew enormously. In the 1950s there were 27 tram lines but now there are only five lines left. Tram 28 – called 'Elétrico 28' by the locals – is the most popular line and runs from the Martim Moniz square to the Prazeres district.
According to the timetable, the ride should take 40 minutes, but in reality the wooden tram often takes an hour to negotiate the many curves in the narrow streets with a gradient of up to 14 percent. Along the way the tram passes numerous attractions, such as the Castelo de São Jorge, perched on the highest hill of Lisbon. Disembark here and combine a visit to the centuries-old castle with a cup of coffee on the Miradouro Largo Portas do Sol, a panoramic terrace with fabulous views of the Alfama district and the azure blue Tagus River. Then the tram careens down Alfama’s medieval streets to the old district of Baixa, passing by the Sé Cathedral, another must-see attraction that’s worth a stop.
The ride then continues through the charming run-down Bairro Alto to the artistic neighbourhood of Chiado and concludes at Campo Ourique, its final stop. The daily food market here attracts shoppers who come to buy fresh vegetables, fruit, fish and meat. In the afternoon and evening, the market draws hip thirty-somethings who flock here to eat and drink - the perfect spot for a late lunch. Right across from the end stop is the Cemitério dos Prazeres, the final resting place of many famous Portuguese. It is worth a visit before boarding the tram back to downtown.