Arriving at Lisbon Airport?

Featured image airport arrivals

I had previously gone over the (relative) perks of being stuck at Lisbon Airport, but what can you expect when you first land in Portugal’s main airport? Here is Lisbon Airport 101: Arrivals Module.

No jetways: Nine times out of ten, when your plane lands, you won’t exit the plane, walk along the jetway and find yourself in the terminal. You’ll exit the aircraft, go down some steps and get on a bus that takes you to the terminal. If you’re in one of the back rows, you can usually exit through the back doors of the aircraft and get on one of the buses waiting on the runway.

Wifi: You’ve been on a plane for hours without access to your email/Facebook/Instagram/Twitter and you’re desperate to see what could’ve possibly happened during your connectivity hiatus. On the other hand, you’re not sure how the roaming charges will affect your vacation budget. What to do?… There is free wifi at Lisbon Airport which you can use when you arrive. Simply connect to “VINCI Airports wifi” and your dilemma should be resolved. You do need to create an account the first time you use it. The next time you connect to it, it should redirect you automatically.


Information center airport

Information center at the airport; Vodafone in the background

Arrivals: When you get your suitcases and pass customs, you’ll find yourself at the arrivals lounge. There, you can immediately do what Portuguese people do best: eat. There’s a bakery called Padaria Lisboa with fresh bread, sandwiches, baked goods (muffins, croissants, etc) and a lot of pastéis de nata, Portuguese custard tarts. You can pick up some books and magazines at a news stand and there’s even a para-farmácia, a type of pharmacy where you can get some basic toiletries and over the counter medicine. If you’re looking for a SIM-card for your phone, there’s also a Vodafone store. And if you really need your Starbucks fix, there’s one there too… although in Portugal, I always recommend trying the local coffee and cakes. If you’re completely clueless as to where to go, there’s also an information center.


Padaria Lisboa aeroporto

Get your Portuguese grub fix before even leaving the airport

Going places: Fortunately, Lisbon airport is incredibly well-connected to other parts of the city. Behind the Padaria Lisboa (outside of the building) is a taxi rank. Sometimes, there’s nobody there. Other times, it may look like the picture below. These lines – though intimidating – tend to move fairly quickly. There is also a metro station at the airport, which is great if you aren’t carrying a lot of things. Metro tickets can be bought at machines the station, which offer instructions in various languages. There are shuttle buses called Aerobus that operate two different routes (you need to know/ask which route you want to take) which leave every 20 or 40 minutes, depending on the route. You can buy tickets for these (3,50€/adult for 24 hours of usage) at the information center in the arrivals lounge and online. Shuttles are located in front of the taxi rank. Some of the city bus routes also stop at the airport, if you’re comfortable using the capital’s public transportation system. If you’re looking for a car rental, there are lots of companies with stands at the airport. You can get automatic cars, but it’s best to pre-book these, especially as they tend to be pricier than manual models. Looking online beforehand is a great idea as you can get the best deals. I recommend you get the cars with a Via Verde pass as you won’t have to stop for tolls and they will bill you afterwards. The one negative about the car rental area is that you may have to wait a while due to long lines, so make sure you give yourself a little buffer for this.


Taxi Lisbon airport

“Taxi, por favor!”

I hope this little guide has been helpful to you and makes your journey to this beautiful city a little easier. Please use the comments section below if you have any questions and enjoy your trip!

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  • Alleson
    December 5, 2016 at 9:23 am

    Thank you for this.

    • aportugueseaffair
      December 5, 2016 at 11:59 am

      You’re very welcome!

  • Joan Hazard
    April 6, 2017 at 4:59 pm

    Good info — is there any way to find out what time the Vodaphone store and restaurants open? I am arriving at 6 am, then going through customs… Also, how long does customs take, on average? -thank you

    • aportugueseaffair
      April 6, 2017 at 5:06 pm

      Hi Joan. I’m pretty sure the Vodafone only opens at 8 am. The 1st Café (which is near the luggage carousels) is open 24/7. In regards to the lines on arrival; I’ve seen everything – from really horrible, hour-long lines at the international passports section to ones where I haven’t even had to stop at the electronic passport/EU section.

  • Bill Buchta
    May 8, 2017 at 2:21 pm

    Great info! We fly in October from the USA through Paris at mid-day. Is it likely we can clear customs and get on a flight to the Azores in 90 minutes? Thanks!

    • aportugueseaffair
      May 8, 2017 at 2:25 pm

      I think October should be fairly clear as it isn’t peak time of year. I would nevertheless advise the airport staff that you need to make a connecting flight, in case your first flight is delayed. They should be able to “rush you” through customs. I love the Azores – am hoping to go back this year or next!

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