Need a transfer from Praça dos Restauradores in the Baixa to the Bairro Alto!? Take the Ascensor da Gloria! This is one of the steepest rides (20%) that you can take in Lisbon.
If you are a daredevil, don’t wait for the tram and just walk up the hill. I can guarantee you that the top is further away than you think (or hoped)!
Because of the many tourists who want to take the tram for fun, you almost forget that this tram is an important way of transport for many locals. Nice to know is that until the 19th century the tram was illuminated in the evening with real candles.
Bright yellow tram full of graffiti
The tram is not easy to miss. The bright yellow tram full of graffiti and often a queue of tourists who want to go up or down with the tram are very visible at the downhill stop.
Ascensor da Gloria has been the busiest cable car in Lisbon since 1880, the ride does not take long (less than one and a half minutes) but is very welcome if you want to return to your hotel in the Bairro Alto after a day of walking through the city.
The tram wagon consists of one compartment with benches on both sides to sit. There is a control table and switch wheel. When there is not enough space, or if you want to take beautiful pictures, you can also stand next to the tram driver.
Most trams are now full of graffiti, even the windows are completely sprayed. The trams are cleaned regularly, but often without long-term success. The yellow tram is soon covered with the graffiti again.
Designed to drive by gravity
Ascensor da Bica and Ascensor do Lavra this ascensor was built by Raoul Mesnier de Ponsard (the pupil of architect Eiffel who also designed Elevador de Santa Justa)
The wagons were initially powered by gravity, using water and counterweight. Forty years after the opening, the tram was powered by steam. Nowadays, the tram runs on electricity.
There is room for 42 passengers: it has 22 seats and 20 standing spots. The back of the tram is much higher than the front, and the axes are uneven. Otherwise the tram couldn’t make the steep journey.
Our tip: Buy a day ticket (€ 6.30) (if you do not have a Lisboa Card) so that you can ride all lifts up and down in one day. Otherwise, it will be a very expensive day: Ascensor da Gloria will cost € 3.70 up and down.
Steep climb on foot
If you’ve decided to walk upstairs, remember that just after halfway (total 265 meters) you really have to hang in there (that’s where it starts to become very steep too). What helps is counting the streetlights on the right side of the road and focusing on the street art that’s all around. But don’t forget to look very cool and composed when the tram, filled with tourists, passes you by.
We once thought of walking up there with a stroller, we felt it would be just as quick. Spoiler: this is not a good idea. Walking down is not as hard as going up, so if you want to check out the street art, this is a good option.
Discover Bairro Alto
When you’re upstairs, first enjoy the view from Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara. Then cross the road and visit
Instituto Dos Vinhos do Douro e do Porto. At this Port House they have a very extensive choice of port wines.
The upper level of Ascensor da Gloria offers a lot more options. From here the charming district of Principe Real with the wonderful park Jardim Príncipe Real is less than ten minutes away.
Ask-me-Lisboa around the corner
Good to know is that around the corner at Ascensor da Gloria (down in Baixa, at Praça dos Restauradores) is an Ask me Lisboa location. With your back to Ascensor da Gloria walk to the right (direction Rossio) and after 100 meters you will see the ‘i’ on your right.
More about trams and lifts in Lisbon »
Where to find Ascensor da Gloria
Address: Calçada da Glória, Baixa en São Pedro de Alcântara, Bairro Alto
Opening hours: every day from 7 a.m. to 00:00
Free entry with a Lisboa Card.
Otherwise regular public transport prices apply, check www.carris.pt for the current fares