A tuk tuk is one of the best ways of seeing and getting around Lisbon, Portugal. What’s a tuk tuk? A tuk tuk is a motorized ricksaw that transports tourists throughout the city.
These tiny vehicles are hard to miss. Some are plain and some are boldly decorated. We saw tuk tuks decked out in ice cream colored stripes with bunting and flags. Some tuk tuks sported bright paint jobs in the same bee yellow as Tram 28. And some looked like the famous Portuguese tiles of the city.
To be honest, touring the city on a tuk tuk was not on our list of things to do. Our introduction to the tuk tuk came while waiting in line for Tram 28. During the long wait in line we would hear tuk tuk drivers emphatically pitching tours. They would shout and call to the crowd encouraging people to come out of the line and join a tuk tuk tour instead. The most memorable call that day, “I have cold drinks! I have music! We will have fun!” We ended up taking a tuk tuk (several days after Tram 28) and it was a terrific experience!
Here are my top 3 reasons why you should take a tuk tuk during your next trip to Lisbon:
- It’s fun. Seriously fun. How often do you get to ride around in a tiny open air car with a terrific paint job?
- It’s small. The small size of the tuk tuk means that it can maneuver and access parts of the city that a tour bus or van simply cannot. Remember Lisbon (especially more touristy neighborhoods) is full of tiny streets and there’s no way a traditional bus or a van can get through these areas.
- It’s personalized. Our tour guide took great care to understand what we wanted to see and customized our tour. She combined our requests with her historical and anthropological knowledge of the city and delivered an unforgettable experience. And when our little one needed a treat? We pulled over for a lemonade and a scoop of gelato.
If you are in Lisbon and want to take a tour of the city, take a leap and try the tuk tuk!
Dorothy Hoffman is the creator of the travel blog, Squirts and Seniors. She is a Gen X-er who writes about traveling at home and abroad with her young son and aging parents.