Elevator Trams

Elevator Trams (1B)

On the whole, it is difficult to conceive of the inclines, slopes and steep streets of the ´city of seven hills` from outside. That’s why after a few hours walking around bumpy Lisbon, you will understand that taking one of its famous trams is, apart from being fascinating, an essential experience. That’s to say, if you are not up to full fitness, your legs will thank you.

There are a total of four elevator trams, “Elevadores” in Portuguese, in the city. Three of them are funiculars attached to rails which travel the narrow streets up to the neighbourhoods situated on hill sides above. These are the “Bica”, “Glória” and “Lavra” models. 

These trams were installed in Lisbon after the “Americanos”, animal pulled carriages from the 19th century, failed to solve the problem of the city’s uneven landscape.

If at the beginning of their history the trams worked using a counter-balance water traction system, today they are totally modernised, if you can use that term to talk about trams. Before incorporating their present electronic system, they also relied on vapour machines to function. 

These changes did not only involve engineering, their design varied through the ages too and it was not until the nineteen thirties that they took on their current appearance. That’s why today they may remind you of years long gone with their memorable retro look.

The fourth of Lisbon’s elevator trams is that of “Santa Justa”. This beautifully designed model climbs the steep 32 metres to the upper quarter of Bairro Alto. 

In addition, you can ride on any one of them with the multi-purpose public transport ticket available in kiosks and other authorised outlets.

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