Tourism Culture

Is a Lisbon Card Worth It? A Comprehensive Guide to Help You Decide

Reema Bharti

Reema Bharti

· 7 min read

Yes, the Lisbon Card is definitely worth considering if you plan on visiting Lisbon. This card grants you free access to a variety of the city's top attractions and covers unlimited public transportation. It's designed to help tourists save on both entry fees and travel expenses across the city.

Lisbon, Portugal

From my personal experience, using the Lisbon Card greatly enhanced my visit. It streamlined access to museums like lisboa story centre and historical sites, allowing me to skip long lines and save money. The convenience of not having to purchase separate tickets for buses and trams was a huge plus. At times, people might think that Lisbon is expensive and getting this card is a waste, but trust me neither of these is true, Lisbon is very affordable and so is the Lisbon card. Overall, it made my trip more enjoyable and stress-free, letting me explore Lisbon with ease and comfort.

What Is Included in the Lisbon Card?

Lisbon Card for tourists

The Lisbon Card includes a range of benefits that enhance the experience of exploring Lisbon, making it a practical choice for visitors. It is designed to provide convenience and savings during your stay in the city. And I remember I visited the lisboa welcome center before starting my Lisbon journey, as the welcome center helps in finding the iconic landmarks and makes it easy to navigate across the city. Also, you should definitely go for Lisbon card if you're not sure how many days you will spend in Lisbon or if your stay is short.

Free Public Transport

Lisbon Public Transportation

One of the most significant benefits of the Lisbon Card is the unlimited access to public transportation. This includes all metro lines, buses, trams, and the famous elevators of Lisbon, like the Santa Justa Lift. During my visit, I used the card daily to hop on and off various forms of transport, which made getting around both simple and cost-effective. It was liberating not to worry about buying individual tickets each time.

Free Entry to Museums and Monuments

Museums of Lisbon

With the Lisbon Card, you receive complimentary access to over 30 museums and monuments. I was able to visit the iconic Jerónimos Monastery, which usually has a hefty entrance fee, and the Belém Tower, both a national tile museum of ancient art, which are must-sees. I also explored the Museu Nacional do Azulejo, which showcases the art of Portuguese tiles. Visiting these cultural sites without the worry of entry costs added a layer of enjoyment to my explorations.

Discounts on Attractions, Tours, and Entertainment

The card also offers discounts on a wide range of additional attractions, tours, and entertainment options. For instance, I enjoyed a discount when I visited the Lisbon Oceanarium, one of the largest indoor aquariums in Europe. The savings allowed me to indulge in a sunset sailing tour on the Tagus River at a reduced price, which was one of the highlights of my trip.

Complementary Guidebook

The included guidebook was a vital resource for navigating the offerings of the Lisbon Card. It lists all the participating sites and provides essential tips and maps. I found the guidebook especially useful for its recommendations helpful tips on how to sequence visits to busy attractions and insider tips on quieter times to visit, which greatly improved my overall experience.

First-Hand Recommendations

From my experience, I highly recommend using the Lisbon Card to visit the less crowded yet equally fascinating Museu Coleção Berardo, which houses modern and contemporary art. Also, don't miss out on the discounts at local restaurants and shops listed in the guidebook; they often go unnoticed but offer delightful local flavors ancient art and crafts at a better price.

What are the Benefits of the Lisbon Card?

The benefits of the Lisbon Card are numerous, making it a valuable tool for tourists. This pass not only simplifies your travel experience but also offers significant savings, particularly if you plan to visit multiple attractions. From my own journey through Lisbon, I found that holding this card removed many logistical headaches and made it easier to explore the city extensively.

Free Public Transportation

The Lisbon Card provides unlimited access to the city's extensive network of metro, buses, and trams. This feature is invaluable for tourists who want to explore different neighborhoods without the constraints of ticket costs and purchase times. I personally used the card to travel from the historical center to the modern parts of Lisbon, like Parque das Nações, without any extra charges. It was incredibly convenient not having to buy multiple tickets or worry about exact change.

Complimentary Access to Top Attractions

With the Lisbon Card, you gain free admission to over 30 museums and monuments, which is a major benefit. For example, entry to the popular Jerónimos Monastery and the Tower of Belém, which are must-see landmarks, is included. During my visit, I saved approximately 20 euros by using the card at these two sites alone, not to mention the other museums I visited. This aspect of the card significantly enhances its value, especially for those interested in Lisbon's rich history and culture.

Discounts at Restaurants and Shops

This benefit extends beyond cultural sites, offering savings on dining and shopping in Lisbon as well. Various establishments throughout Lisbon participate in this program, providing discounts to Lisbon Card holders. On my trip, I enjoyed a delightful meal at a traditional Portuguese restaurant and received a 10% discount simply for showing my card. This not only made dining out more affordable but also encouraged me to try places I might not have considered otherwise.

Skip-the-Line Privileges

One of the most practical benefits of the Lisbon city pass is the ability to skip long lines at several crowded attractions. This came in extremely handy at the São Jorge Castle, where queues can stretch incredibly long, especially during peak tourist season. Skipping the line saved me a lot of time, which allowed me to explore more of the city in a single day. It's a simple perk that significantly enhances the sightseeing experience.

Cost Comparison – Lisbon Card vs. Individual Tickets

Deciding whether the Lisbon Card is a worthwhile purchase involves examining the costs compared to buying individual tickets for transportation and attractions. The Lisboa card cost is €27 and it offers convenience and potential savings, especially for tourists planning to visit multiple sites.

Transportation

With the Lisbon Card, I enjoyed unlimited access to the city's public transportation. This includes metro, trams, and buses. Without the card, each metro trip costs approximately €1.50. On a busy sightseeing day, using the card saved me from purchasing multiple single tickets, which would have added up quickly.

Attractions

The Lisbon Card grants free or discounted entry to over 30 museums and monuments. For example, entry to the Jeronimos Monastery, normally €10, is free with the card. During my visit, I saved significantly by accessing the city pass to several top sites without paying extra entrance fees at each.

Overall Value

Overall, the Lisbon Card proved to be cost-effective for my itinerary. The savings on transportation and entry fees, coupled with the travel dates and the convenience of not needing to buy individual tickets, made the card a valuable choice for exploring Lisbon efficiently and affordably.

Drawbacks of the Lisbon Card

The Lisbon Card is designed to enhance the tourist experience in Lisbon by providing free or discounted access to many of the city's museums, public transport, and all the major attractions there. However, before opting for this card, it's crucial to evaluate its potential limitations to determine if it aligns with your travel needs and expectations.

Limited Benefits for Short Stays

The Lisbon Card is often marketed as a cost-saving option for tourists, but its value diminishes if your stay in Lisbon is very brief. For visitors who plan to spend only a day or less, the cost of the card might not be justified by the benefits it offers. During my brief stay last year, I purchased a 24-hour card but found that I could not utilize enough of its offerings to justify the expense. It's more beneficial for those who have at least two to three days to explore the city thoroughly.

Restrictive Venue Access

Another limitation is that the Lisbon Card does not guarantee skip-the-line access at all attractions. In high tourist seasons, this can lead to significant waiting times even for cardholders. For instance, I experienced long waits at the Jerónimos Monastery and Belém Tower, despite visiting early. This can be particularly frustrating for those who wish to maximize their time visiting multiple sites in a day.

Partial Coverage of Attractions

While the card covers many sites, it does not include all of Lisbon's attractions. Some of the newer or less central sites are not covered, which might require additional travel insurance out-of-pocket expenses. On my trip, I wanted to visit a museum house several newer galleries in the Alcantara district, which were not included in the Lisbon Card, leading to unexpected costs.

Break-Even Point

The cost-effectiveness of the Lisbon Card heavily depends on how actively you use it. The card requires strategic planning to reach or exceed the break-even point where the card's cost is balanced by the savings from attraction entries and transport. This planning can sometimes add a layer of complexity to what might otherwise be a spontaneous and leisurely trip.

Where To Buy a Lisbon Card From? 

The Lisbon Card can be purchased from several locations, both before your visit and once you arrive in Lisbon. Here are the primary ways to buy a Lisbon Card. 

  1. Online: The easiest and often the most convenient way to purchase the Lisbon Card is online. You can buy it from the official Visit Lisbon website and other authorized resellers. Buying online allows you to often choose between a digital version or picking up a physical card when you arrive.

  2. Airport and Arrival Points: Upon arriving in Lisbon, you can purchase the Lisbon Card at the Lisbon Airport at the "Ask Me Lisboa" tourism information booths. These are typically located in the arrivals area.

  3. Tourist Information Offices: The card is available at several tourist information offices throughout the city. The main office is usually located in the city center, such as the one at Praça do Comércio.

  4. Train Stations: Some major train stations in Lisbon also have tourist information points where the Lisbon Card can be purchased.

  5. Hotels: Some hotels may offer the Lisbon Card for sale directly to their guests, so it can be worth asking at your accommodation.

How To Make the Most of Your Lisbon Card?

To make the most of your Lisbon Card, it’s crucial to strategically plan your visit around the benefits it offers. The Lisbon Card provides free or discounted access to many of the city's top attractions, along with unlimited use of public transportation. Here's how I maximized the value of my card during my trip:

  1. Start Early: The card activates with the first use. I started my day early to take full advantage of the card's 24, 48, or 72-hour duration.

  2. Prioritize Big Ticket Attractions: I visited the most expensive attractions first, like the Jerónimos Monastery and the Tower of Belém, to ensure significant savings.

  3. Use Public Transport: I utilized the unlimited public transport option to move around the city efficiently without extra costs.

  4. Check for Special Offers: The card includes discounts at selected restaurants and shops. I checked these out for extra savings.

  5. Plan Your Route: I planned a logical route to minimize travel time between attractions, making it possible to see more in less time.

Who Should Consider Purchasing the Lisbon Card?

Those wondering if purchasing the Lisbon Card is a wise investment should consider what it offers. This pass grants free or discounted access to many of Lisbon's top attractions, including museums, historic sites, and public transport. It's designed to enhance your visit, save money, and simplify travel logistics.

1. First-time visitors: The Lisbon Card offers a convenient and cost-effective way to explore the city's must-see attractions.

2. Museum enthusiasts: If you plan to visit a national museum or multiple museums, the card provides significant savings.

3. Families: With free or reduced admissions for as many attractions as, families can save on entrance fees.

4. Public transport users: The card includes unlimited use of Lisbon's metro, trams, and buses.

5. Busy tourists: If your schedule is packed and you wish to see a lot in a short time, the card helps manage time and expenses efficiently.

From my own experience, the Lisbon Card was a great value during my three-day visit, allowing me fast-track entry into busy sites and easy travel across the city.

What are the Alternatives to the Lisbon Card?

When considering whether the Lisbon Card is worth it, it's essential to explore other options that offer similar benefits. I've personally navigated Lisbon using some of these alternatives and can share firsthand insights.

Individual Public Transport Tickets

For those planning fewer trips across the city, purchasing individual tickets for buses, trams, and metro services might be more economical. The flexibility allows you to pay only for the transport you use, which can result in savings if your itinerary isn't packed. I found this option particularly budget-friendly during my short stays in the city.

Go Lisbon Pass

The Go Lisbon Pass is another alternative that offers access to a wide range of attractions along with transport options. Unlike the Lisbon Card, this tourist pass also includes entry to additional top sites and optional sightseeing bus tours. I enjoyed the skip-the-line benefits at popular locations, which saved a lot of time during peak tourist seasons.

Combo Tickets for Specific Attractions

Many of Lisbon's attractions offer combo tickets that provide entry to multiple related sites at a reduced rate. For example, buying a combined ticket for the Jerónimos Monastery and the Tower of Belém can be cheaper than individual admissions. These options are perfect for focused sightseeing without the broader range of the Lisbon Card.

Each alternative has its strengths, and the best choice depends on your travel plans and preferences.

FAQs On Is a Lisbon Card Worth It?

1. Is the Lisbon Card worth purchasing for a short trip?

Yes, the Lisbon Card is worth purchasing for a short trip. It offers free or discounted access to many top attractions and unlimited public transport.

2. How much can I save with the Lisbon Card?

With the Lisbon Card, you can save significantly on entrance fees and transportation costs. The exact savings depend on how many and which attractions you visit with city cards.

3. Can I skip lines with the Lisbon Card?

Yes, the Lisbon Card allows you to skip the ticket lines at several popular attractions, saving you time during your visit.

4. Where can I purchase a Lisbon Card?

You can purchase the Lisbon Card online or at various tourist information points throughout Lisbon.

5. Is the Lisbon Card suitable for children?

Yes, the Lisbon Card is suitable for children, offering free or reduced admission to many attractions that are perfect for young visitors.

Reema Bharti

Reema Bharti

I am a globe-trotter with a passion for exploration. From the sun-kissed coasts of Portugal to the snow-capped peaks of Switzerland, my travels are as diverse as they are inspiring. My journeys through Spain, Finland, Austria, and Germany have fueled my soul and shaped my writing.