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Hop on Hop off Bus Tours in Lisbon

The Lisbon tourist bus is perfect to effortlessly explore it up and down, while you enjoy its charming streets and soak in the views of the city. Add in a tram route or a river cruise for an incredible time during your trip!

Ana Caballero

Ana Caballero

7 min read

Hop on Hop off Bus Tours in Lisbon

Views of the city during the tour | ©Fulvio Ambrosiano

When we think of touring a city we imagine walking through its streets, but there is an option that we usually overlook and is designed to see all the points of interest easily and comfortably: the tourist bus.

1. The best tourist buses in Lisbon

Lisbon view from the tourist bus | ©Bernt Rostad
Lisbon view from the tourist bus | ©Bernt Rostad

Lisbon has several sightseeing bus options. You can buy a pass for one or several days to use it as many times as you want and as you want. In Lisbon, in addition, are very popular streetcars or cruises on the Tagus River.

2. Lisbon tourist bus pass with free stops

The Belem Tower | ©dynamosquito
The Belem Tower | ©dynamosquito

This is the most basic option: for two days you can hop on and off the tourist bus that runs through Lisbon as many times as you want (also known as Hop on Hop off system).

You can book your pass online in advance and activate it for the days you want and there are two ways to take advantage of it: on the one hand, I recommend that, at least once, you do the complete routes (there are several routes) to enjoy the city and on the other hand take advantage of this service as means of transport to get quickly and comfortably to places further away from the center such as Belem or Alfama.

How it works

If you have never ridden a tourist bus I will start by telling you how they differ from normal buses. The main differences are two: they have on-board commentary in several languages about the city's points of interest and they have panoramic views so you can enjoy the scenery during your trip (they are designed for that). The tour buses have WIFI and air conditioning.

Another question you may have is why it is worth paying for a ticket, in this case for 48 hours instead of using the city buses in the city. The answer lies in the stops that the different routes have. This type of bus is designed so that the traveler who arrives in Lisbon knows the important points of the city (not only the most touristic ones) and knows how to locate and move between them in a simple way.

Itinerary of the Monumental Lisbon route

  • Jerónimos Monastery
  • Marina Museum
  • Carris Museum
  • Pilar 7 Bridge Experience

Itinerary of the route of Belem

  • Figueira Square
  • Commerce Street
  • Restauradores Square
  • Marquis of Pombal Square
  • José Malhoa Avenue
  • Zoo Garden
  • Plaza de España Square
  • El Corte Ingles Lisboa
  • Eduardo VII Park
  • Amoreiras Shopping Center
  • Estrela Basilica
  • Belém Tower
  • Promenade of Discoveries
  • MAAT
  • Spanish Dock - marlin boat tours
  • Cais do Sodre

Itinerary of the modern tour of Lisbon

  • Figueira Square
  • Rua do Comércio
  • Arameiros Street
  • Lisbon Cruise Port - Jardim do Tabaco Quay
  • Lisbon Santa Apolónia
  • National Tile Museum
  • Oceanarium
  • Portugal Pavilion - Expo 98
  • Vasco da Gama Center
  • Vasco da Gama Tower
  • Campo Pequeno
  • Restauradores Street

Ana's Traveller Tip

You have 48 hours from the time you activate your tourist bus pass, do it first thing in the morning to get the most out of your usage time.

3. Lisbon sightseeing bus with free stops + Tram routes

Tram in Lisbon
Tram in Lisbon

Among the first things that are going to catch your attention during your visit to Lisbon are its yellow trams that are still working perfectly today. These streetcars are one more means of transport in the Portuguese capital, but, in addition to the locals, many tourists use them. This option combines the tourist bus ticket with free stops with the streetcar routes through the center of Lisbon.

How it works

The operation of the tourist bus will be the same: you have 48 hours from the time you validate your ticket to use any of the routes whenever you want and you will travel in buses with sightseeing tours and commentary on board.

The difference of this Lisbon tourist transport option is that it includes, in addition to the advantages such as discounts, use of the funicular or the city map, the use of four streetcar routes during this two-day period.

With this option, you can comfortably move around the neighborhoods of Baixa, Bairro Alto, Chiado, Estrela, and Alfama without having to endure the heat and hills of walking. The city's streetcars are available from 9:30 am to 7:00 pm and a complete route can take up to two hours.

Tram itinerary

  • Commerce Square
  • Quay of the columns
  • Martin Moniz Square
  • Alfama
  • St. George's Castle
  • Santa Maria Maggiore Church
  • Estrela Basilica
  • St. Roque Church
  • Chiado
  • Lapa district

4. Lisbon sightseeing bus with free stops + Tagus cruise

Plaça do Comércio, Lisbon
Plaça do Comércio, Lisbon

In this case, the 48-hour ticket for the Lisbon tourist bus is combined with a cruise on the Tagus River. The boat ride is a very popular activity in Lisbon; the city lends itself to this and it is a way to get a different perspective of the city while enjoying the sights.

Like the tourist bus, the boat also has audio commentary recorded about the main points of interest. Do not underestimate this option because it is not the same to see the city as a simple landscape as to know the stories behind its most emblematic places.

About the cruise

The cruise that you will have access to by booking online this Lisbon sightseeing transport package has a duration of two hours, departs from Cais da Ribeira das Naus and you can choose between 10:00 am, 1:00 pm, 3:00 pm, or 5:00 pm. If you go in summer I recommend the first hour to avoid the heat and, even so, do not forget to protect yourself from the sun during the crossing.

Itinerary of the Tagus Cruise

  • Commerce Square (Terreiro do Paco)
  • Quay of the columns
  • Cacilhas Lighthouse
  • Belem Tower
  • Monument to the Discoveries
  • Jerónimos Monastery

Ana's Traveller Tip

Take advantage of your pass to do at least one complete tour of the city listening to the commentaries; you will learn very interesting things about Lisbon.

5. Lisbon sightseeing boat with free stops

Monument to the Discoveries from the boat | ©Morgaine
Monument to the Discoveries from the boat | ©Morgaine

If what attracts you to Lisbon is the ride on the Tagus River, you can also book online the option to use the tourist boat without adding the bus.

The Lisbon sightseeing boat pass with free stops has a duration of 24 hours and works just like the bus with free stops: you can get on as many times as you want and do the whole tour while listening to the audio commentary or you can use it as a means of transportation around the city and get off or on at any of the stops along the way.

What is included in this pass

  • A range of discounts in stores, bars, and shows in the city that you may find useful during your visit.
  • A map of Lisbon
  • Access to some of the city's landmarks such as the Santa Justa elevator and funiculars
  • Access to Aerobus, the airport shuttle that departs from the city center

Itinerary

  • The Commerce Square
  • The Quay of the Columns
  • The bridge of April 25th
  • The National Sanctuary of Christ the King
  • The Caparica Coast
  • The Jeronimos Monastery
  • The Tower of Belem
  • The Monument to the Discoveries
  • The Museum of Art, Architecture, and Technology
  • The Electricity Museum
  • The Museum of the Presidency of the Republic

6. Lisbon sightseeing bus with free stops + Tram routes + Tagus river cruise

Tour Lisbon and discover its monumentality and beauty | ©janneth
Tour Lisbon and discover its monumentality and beauty | ©janneth

This is the most complete option of all. For a total of 72 hours you can enjoy the tourist bus, the streetcar, and the boat ride on the Tagus. Especially in the hotter months, this option is highly recommended as it will free you from the heat of walking around the city.

If you are going to book this Lisbon transportation option (you can do it online) I recommend that, to make the most of it, you plan your visit to the city day by day. This package also includes several discounts in bars and stores that could be very useful for you, so it doesn't hurt to take a look at them to see if some of them are close to the places you are going to visit.

Regardless of whether you have all the tourist transport at your disposal, don't forget to take a walk around areas such as the Alfama district to get the full experience of what the city has to offer.

Ana's Traveller Tip

A tourist bus will make your visit to Lisbon much easier, but don't forget to walk around certain areas of the city.

7. If you are interested in a sightseeing bus tour in Lisbon, you will also be interested in...

Visit colorful Sintra | ©F Mira
Visit colorful Sintra | ©F Mira

One of the most interesting aspects of using the Lisbon sightseeing bus (apart from the comfort) is the panoramic views you will enjoy during the tour, but another very important one that is often overlooked is the commentaries. The commentaries allow you to put into context all the emblematic points of the city you are seeing during the tour and if you are a curious traveler I'm sure they will spark your interest in Portuguese history and traditions.

Want to satisfy that curiosity? The best way to do it is to complete your visit with a guided walking tour through the most central areas of Lisbon. During these tours, they not only show you the city, but also tell you interesting legends and anecdotes about it. If you want more information about guided tours you can check this article about Best Tours and Day Trips from Lisbon.