Bica Funicular in Lisbon
For me, seeing and riding the funiculars was one of the highlights of our visit to Lisbon. Funiculars, also called "lifts", "elevators", or "ascensors", are basically short trolleys designed to take people up and down steep inclines. With its many hills, Lisbon is an ideal place to find not one, but three different funiculars.
Daytime view of the top end of the line at Largo do Calhariz, at the entrance of Bairro Alto
The Bica Funicular (in Portuguese, Ascensor da Bica), opened in 1892 and was the third of its kind built in Lisbon. It is one of the town’s major tourist attractions, along with the Santa Justa, Lavra and Glória elevators. The Bica Lift consists of two carriages, each with three uneven compartments and independent access, capable of carrying 23 passengers (of which nine are seated). Designed by the Portuguese engineer Raoul Mesnier du Ponsard (who also designed the Santa Justa Lift), it operated initially by the effect of water balance (the coach who began the descent filled a water tank on its roof and the force of weight coupled with the gravitational force of the slope allowed the tow car to come up). In 1896, this funicular began using a steam engine and was later electrified in 1914, but then a serious accident stopped operation until 1923. Like its “brothers”, the Glória and Lavra elevators, it was classified as a National Monument in 2002.
Station at Cais do Sodré
This lift journey begins in an eighteenth century building near the Cais do Sodré (at the point where the Rua de São Paulo meets Rua da Bica de Duarte Belo) and travels 245 meters (800 feet) up the steep slope to Largo do Calhariz, at the entrance of Bairro Alto. The short ride provides a unique view over the river while passing through a popular neighborhood. The Bica Lift works every day of the week from 7 a.m. until 9 p.m. On Sundays and public holidays, it only starts operating at 9 a.m.
Top end of the line at Largo do Calhariz, at the entrance of Bairro Alto
Click on any photo to open it in the gallery where you can download, like, or share it. Click here to see other photos of the Bica Funicular in my Portugal gallery. You may also want to read my blog postings on the Trolleys of Lisbon, the Gloria Funicular, and the Santa Justa Lift in Lisbon.
Inside the station at Cais do Sodré
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