Lisbon Region

The Lisbon Region is the region surrounding Lisbon, the capital of Portugal. It consists of municipalities located on both banks of the wide mouth of the Tagus (Tejo) river where it meets the Atlantic Ocean. The region includes a variety of localities, from historic towns and cities, through ports, industrial areas, beach resorts and natural reserves. It therefore offers a varied mixture of holiday opportunities to the travellers, as you can engage both in traditional beach activities, various active sports and do a fair share of inspiring sightseeing.

Portugal has a multi-layered and quite complicated system of administrative divisions, which is not always useful for the tourists. Therefore, for this guide the definition of the Lisbon Region used by the European Union NUTS system is used, which covers most of the territories of Portugal's traditional districts of Lisbon (north of Tagus) and Setubal (south of Tagus).

Location of the Lisbon Region within Portugal

Cities

Talk

It should come as no surprise that the language spoken in the Lisbon Region is Portuguese - it is not much different from Portuguese spoken anywhere else in Portugal, but quite different from the language spoken in e.g. Brazil. Otherwise, Spanish should be widely understood, if not spoken, and most younger people, as well as employees of the service industries geared towards the tourists, should speak English well, given that the United Kingdom has been the premier source of tourist traffic to the region.

Get in

By plane

There are two airports within the Lisbon Region: Lisbon Portela Airport, which handles scheduled and charter passenger flights, and Aeródromo Municipal de Cascais, which is a small airport for general aviation (private planes) in Cascais.

One alternative is to fly to the Francisco Sa Carneiro airport in Porto and then take the Porto Metro to the Campanha station and further take a long-distance train to Lisbon from there. The train alone takes 3 hours in each direction, but you can take advantage of the oftentimes cheaper connections to the Porto airport and include Porto in your trip this way.

By train

In general, long-distance trains calling in the Lisbon Region will stop in Lisbon only. There are trains from the north and south of Portugal, as well as international trains from Spain calling there. You will probably need to change stations from where your long-distance train arrives to your bus or train connection to your destination outside of Lisbon - please refer to our guide to Lisbon for more detailed information.

Schematic map of main public transportation lines and connections in the Lisbon region

Get around

There is an efficient, if a bit complicated, transportation system within the Lisbon Region. At its backbone are the local railways, supported by the light rail systems and the ferries across the Tagus, complimented by bus connections, all of which have several operators.

The railway system consists of four separate suburban railway lines managed by the state-owned Portuguese railway operator, under the name of Serviços Urbanos da CP. The four lines start from different stations around Lisbon and connect to different destinations:

In addition to the normal course of those lines, the red and green line also have trains traversing the railway arc through the north of Lisbon, which includes the Campolide, Sete Rios, Entrecampos and Oriente stations.

The only railway line crossing the Tagus, by means of the Bridge of April 25 in Lisbon, is operated by an entirely separate company called Fertagus, using navy in its corporate identity and commonly identified as such in schematic maps. The Fertagus trains start at Setubal and take a wide arch through the Setubal peninsula, while on the north side of Tagus they follow the abovementioned railway arc of Campolide, Sete Rios and Entrecampos stations, not going to Oriente though.

Complementing and binding together those railway connections are the underground rail systems - the Lisbon Metro, which connects the various Lisbon railway stations (as do the buses and trams operated by Carris, Lisbon's municipal transit company) and the Metro de Sul tramway system in Almada and surrounding municipalities. To close the gap the Tagus poses, a company called Transtejo operates a number of regular ferry connections between various quays in Lisbon and municipalities on the southern side of the river.

See

There is an obvious wealth of historic monuments, museums, galleries and other attractions in the grand old city of Lisbon, which is probably where more tourists will start their visit anyway. Do not miss the UNESCO World Heritage site of Sintra, with numerous royal palaces of fairytale qualities scattered across the lush green hills and magnificent gardens. Head for the beaches of Cascais and Estoril to experience the Atlantic Ocean and some high life of the famous resorts.

Across the Tagus, visit Almada for the magnificent views from the statue of Cristo Rei towering over Lisbon and the region. For a glimpse into the workings of the port and fishing industries that propel the region, visit Setubal and Sesimbra, which also offer a number of more relaxed beaches than those north of the Tagus.

Itineraries

Go from Rossio Station in Lisbon to Sintra by train
Buy the rover ticket for the Greyhound bus that lets you travel in and beyond Sintra (there is a cheaper one for Sintra only)
Use the local bus to see the town and the National Palace, the Castelo dos Mouros and the extraordinary Pena Palace.
Take a bus from the station at Sintra to Cabo da Roca, the westernmost point of mainland Europe
Take a bus to Cascais (and very possibly eat there)
Return by train to the Cais do Sodre station in Lisbon.

You will need to check bus timetables carefully but both train lines are frequent and cheap. if you return from Cascais after dark (avoid the late-night train, for safety reasons), you will get wonderful views in Belem of the floodlit buildings.

Ferry from Lisbon to Montijo
Bus to Setubal
Bus to Sesimbra
Local bus or walk to fishing port (and return)
Bus to Cacilhas, Almada.
Ferry to Lisbon
The Atlantic coast is a great place to go kitesurfing

Do

Given the natural conditions, it is obvious that the Lisbon Region is a great place to practice many sports activities, especially those related to the seaside.

Eat

The Portuguese cuisine is both simple and extremely rich, and there is quite a lot to enjoy year-round. That said, being at one of the largest ports of the Atlantic Ocean, you absolutely need to make sure you experience the fresh fish and other seafood, which come in ample supply.

Drink

The Portuguese way of life and typical organisation of the day places a big emphasis on the nightlife, so you will never be out of opportunities to enjoy yourself in the evenings (and oftentimes also well into the night - or morning!) Lisbon is obviously bustling with those, but it does not mean you will not find bustling nightlife in other towns as well.

Stay safe

The region is for the most part safe. Take common precautions, especially in Lisbon's public transportation. Cais do Sodre station should be avoided late at night as well some parts of Bairro Alto nightclubs. Also avoid dark alleys.

Go next

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