It only takes around 20 minutes to complete the full circuit of Lisbon’s number 12 tram route, but climbing into one of the iconic, yellow Remodelado coaches can be a fun way of getting to see the Baixa and Alfama districts and taking in sights such as the Se Cathedral and St Anthony’s Church.
The tram doesn’t get to build up much speed on the journey; there are quite a few steep inclines in this part of town, and there can be some pretty hair-raising sharp turns and sudden jolts. But this, together with the sound of the brakes shrieking and the people-watching opportunities are, of course, all part of the experience.
The circular route starts at Praca da Figueira, then takes in Martim Moniz Square, before heading through the more touristy Graca and Alfama districts, in which it takes in some of Lisbon’s main sights and viewpoints. If you get on at one of the stops before Graca you have a pretty good chance of getting a seat, unlike on the more popular number 28 tram route which shares part of the same line but can have very long queuing times.
Tickets costing around €3 for a single trip can be bought from the driver, but a much more economical way of getting around is to buy a 24-hour public transport pass or to buy a prepaid Viva Viagem Card for half the price of a ticket bought on board.