One of the best things you can do as you get to Lisbon is to get into the public transportation system. It works quite great, and if you understand how to use it and have a valid ticket or pass you will for sure enjoy it.
Lisbon enjoy have a metro system with four lines, it has quite some tram lines and a lot of bus lines operating. You can read more about the metro system and see a metro map here. Most of the tram lines are the small and nostalgic kind of trams, but tram line 15 connects the city center to Belem, so if you want to discover the Belem area on your own, then a ride with tram line 15 is perfect. The buses will take you in almost any direction. A popular bus ride is for example line 737 which will take you from Praca Figueira to the Castle (it will not stop by the castle directly, so some walking needs to be done from the end station).
So you have all this information and understand that it is useful to travel using public transporation in Lisbon. But, how do I get hold of the tickets? What ticket should I use? And how much does it cost? Just calm down, we will try to explain how this works in an easy and understandable way.
Tickets and prices for public transportation
First of all you will need to get hold of a Viva Viagem card to use the public transportation such as trams, buses, metro and funiculars in Lisbon. You can buy such a card at most metro stations using one of the ticket machines. Set the language of the machine to English and enter the option that you do not yet have a Viva Viagem card. Once this option has been set you will get the chance of either buying a day pass (24 hour) or buying single tickets. To make things easy we for sure recommend buying a 24 hour tickets which will give you lots of value for your money, and it is really easy to understand and to use. Choose whatever you decide, pay the amount (using cash or card) and your card will be printed and you are good to go.
Once you enter a bus or a metro or a tram you will have to use the card, and if you have money on it or a valid 24 hour ticket it will light green or give a nice sound saying that everything is okay. If you do not have more money left on your card or in case you need a new 24 hour ticket you can just find a ticket machine once more, but since you already have a Viva Viagem card you just need to refill this and you are good to go again.
Since the 24 hour ticket can be used on the funiculars and also the Santa Justa elevator, in addition to tram 28 and all the other cool stuff, that is for sure the best value and we recommend using the daily ticket to everyone. You can also go ahead and buy the Lisbon Card, but that is much more expensive, and it is only worth using in case you plan on visiting loads of museums and sights in addition to using the public transportation.
The price for a single ticket is 1,40 Euro and the price for a 24 hour ticket for public transportation costs 6 Euro.