The Ascensor da Bica tram runs through Rua da Bica de Duarte Belo and is, together with the Ascensor da Gloria, a popular place for tourists to take a nice picture with the yellow tram.
What makes Ascensor da Bica so special is that it runs straight through a street with houses on both sides. This is different from the streets that Ascensor da Gloria or Ascensor do Lavra drive through.
The Bica through the years
Since the opening of the cable car of Ascensor da Bica, at the end of the 19th century, the rides have not gone without a struggle.
The tram was used as a water ballast with water as a power source. At the top of the route, a tank in the tram was filled with water, which was then emptied again at the bottom. Problems with the water supply often caused the tram not to drive.
At the beginning of the 20th century, the tram was provided with an electric drive. The trams only worked when both wagons were started at the same time.
In 1916 a wagon was dislodged as a result of work and went down at high speed. The car crashed, causing the tram line to be closed for a long time.
In 1927 the tram line was reopened and still functions as an important means of transport in the city today.
Our tip: Buy a day ticket (€ 6.30) (if you don’t have a Lisboa Card) so that you can get on all the lifts up and down in one day. Otherwise it will be a very expensive day: Ascensor da Bica will cost € 3.70 up and down.
Azulejos at the bottom station
When you arrive here from Cais do Sodré, on Rua de São Paulo, pay attention to the beautiful azulejos (Portuguese tiles) at this stop. The atmosphere is truly magical, the azulejos, the tunnel where the charming tram is waiting for the next ride. Everything contributes to you wanting to go up and down again with the Ascensor da Bica.
Cracking and squeaking upwards
When the tram driver starts the journey (up or down) you only hear squats and squeaks. Don’t worry, this is very normal, nothing is wrong!
Get your ticket stamped
If you get to the top of Ascensor da Bica in the Chiado, on the Largo do Calhariz, it is possible that there is no tram driver in the tram. Often he or she is drinking a bica (yes really. A bica is also a Portuguese espresso) in the café overlooking the tram.
If the door of the wagon has been opened, you can sit down, your ticket will be stamped at the downhill station.
Over the years, there have been different types of wagons. A nine-meter long vehicle with a boarding board on both sides to get to the car. Later, the wagons were closed, with side benches and one entrance at the end, as the Ascensor da Gloria and Ascensor do Lavra still have today.
The wagons of Ascensor da Bica have three compartments with a total of 16 seats and six standing places next to the tram driver.
Where to find Ascensor da Bica
Address: Rua de São Paulo, Cais de Sodré and Largo do Calhariz, Chiado
Opening hours: every day from 7 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Free entry with an Lisboa Card.
Otherwise, see www.carris.pt for the current prices