Rattling your way through Lisbon

Lisbon has those old fashioned trams that make you feel like you are living during the turn of the 20th century. There’s something enchanting about Lisbon’s rattly little trams, weaving their way up and down the narrow cobbled streets, passing many of Lisbon’s key landmarks and through her fascinating districts.

Trams have been a way of life in Lisbon since 1873. Today, they are part of the fabric of Lisbon, as they rattle through the city’s neighbourhoods across cobble streets. Sitting in them and riding through the historic and well-worn streets of the city was a simple pleasure. Yet, the trams are still useful and popular with locals … they’re touristy, too. We took a ride on the #28, which is known for its breathtaking route past some of Lisbon’s most iconic sights.

Our trip starts in Praca Martim Moniz, and then proceeds uphill into our neighbourhood of Graca. The tram winds it way into the hills behind Alfama, through narrow streets, barely space for the tram and pedestrians to share. The charm of the ride is hearing the grinding of the carriage on the tracks as the driver negotiates tight corners, hearing the ding of the bell as another pedestrian is warned of the approaching tram.

From here, it’s a slow descent past the Castelo de Sao Jorge and the Miradouro das Portos do Sol, where the views over the Tagus are incredible. It further descends into Alfama, past the city cathedral, and then cuts straight through Baixa. After crossing through the downtown area, the tram rumbes up into Chiado and Estrela, where we decide that we have had enough and hop off to catch our connection to Belem.

And here’s the great thing about tram 28, it offers the visitor with the chance to see all of Lisbon’s major neighbourhoods and main sights. A kind of Lisbon orientation tour if you want. And you do it in an old rattler, not unlike the original Melbourne trams.

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