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The best way to see central Lisbon is on foot; most points of interest are within the well-defined older quarters. The city's cobblestone sidewalks make walking tiring, even with comfortable shoes, so at some point you'll want to use the public-transportation system, if only to experience the old trams and elevadores: funicular railways and elevators linking high and low parts of the city. Like the buses, they are operated by the public transportation company, Carris.

For all these forms of transport, paying as you board means paying much more (€1.80 a ride for the bus, €2.85 the tram, €3.60 for the funicular, and €5 for the elevator), in cash. It's better to purchase a 7 Colinas or Viva Viagem debit card, both of which can also be used on the metro and ferries. Buy them at ticket offices, at Carris kiosks (there's one in Praça de Figueira), and at the foot of the Elevador de Santa Justa.

Lisbon's modern metro system (station entrances are marked with a red "M") is cheap and speedy, though it misses many sights and gets crowded during rush hour and for big soccer matches. You can charge your card with cash, which are then valid for an hour on metro, buses, and trams.

The Lisboa Card, a special pass that allows free travel on all public transportation and entry into 27 museums, monuments, and galleries, is valid for 24 hours (€18.50), 48 hours (€31.50), or 72 hours (€39). It’s sold at the airport (in well-signed kiosks), across from the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos, in the Lisbon Welcome Centre, at the tourist office in the Palácio Foz, and at major hotels and other places around the city. It comes with a free 72-hour Restaurant Card that gives you discounts to a number of leading restaurants.

Carris’s tourism unit Carristur operates a special Hills Tramcar Tour, tickets for which are €18: it rattles through the most scenic parts of old Lisbon. It also runs two different hop-on, hop-off routes in open-top buses, starting at Praça da Figueira, and costing €15. The Tagus Tour circles downtown and stops at the Belém Tower and the Jerónimos Monastery; the Olisipo Tour heads east to the Military Museum, Ceramic Tile Museum, and Parque das Nações. These special trams and buses depart from Praça do Comércio, starting about 10 am. There is also a minibus in Belém, shuttling between museums and other sites in that area. Avoid using public transportation, especially the 28 tram, during rush hours. Pickpockets ply their trade on crowded trains, buses, and trams.

Carris Contacts

Carris (21/361–3000. www.carris.pt.)

Carristur (96/629–8558. www.carristur.pt.)

Metro Contact

Metropolitano de Lisboa (21/361–3054. www.metrolisboa.pt.)