Lisbon is the capital of Portugal. It is also the oldest in Western Europe and one of the oldest capitals in the world. It is relatively small and straightforward to navigate while using public transportation. If you’re not averse to using the public system, there are many options, including riding the bus, tram, metro (subway), train (out to the suburbs), or ferry. It’s also important to note Lisbon is also a district that encompasses 16 municipalities:
- Arruda dos Vinhos
- Sobral de Monte Agraço
- Torres Vedras
- Vila Franca de Xira
In this article, we’ll explain how the transportation system works in Lisbon and greater Lisbon, and how utilizing it will make your time much more pleasant. It’s efficient and affordable, and a great way to get to know the city and beyond.
The Transportation Cards
- Viva Viagem (Green Card)
This card is valid on the metro, bus, train, and ferries. It is the ideal card for infrequent users since you can pre-pay to “zap” or use the credits as you go.
- Viva Viagem (White Card)
This card is not valid on Metro Transportes do Sul. Otherwise, it works similarly to the green card.
- Navegante (dark-colored card with a large, bright yellow circle)
If you plan to use the public transportation system frequently, then the Navegante card is the ideal option. The personalized card can only be used by the designated card holder.
HOW ZAPPING WORKS
Zapping your card means that you can top up your card in increments of €3, €5, €10, €15, €20, €25, €30, €35, or €40. Afterward, your card will be charged €1.33 until it runs out.
A single metro/rail ride is €1.50, or you can score a day pass (24 hours) ticket for €6.45. You’ll have to purchase the single fare ticket at a station, but you can purchase the day pass online. The Metro/Carris (Bus)/Transtejo (Ferry) (Cacilhas) combination fare is €9.60 and the Rail/Metro/CP (trains heading to Sintra, Cascais, Azambuja, and Sado) costs a mere €10.70. For up-to-date information on the fares, click here.
Using the Metro
The metro system in Lisbon is a practical and popular mode of transportation for Lisboans and visitors alike.
The four lines
The metro lines, or linhas, are categorized into four colors: Vermelha (red), Azul (blue), Amarela (yellow), and Verde (green).
The Linha Vermelha is also known as the Linha Oriente and runs from the São Sebastião station to the Aeroporto (airport) station. The red line intersects with the blue one at São Sebastião, the yellow one at Saldanha, and the green one at the Alameda station.
The Linha Azul runs fully underground, starting at the Santa Apolónia station (estação) and running to the Reboleira station. The line intersects with the red line at São Sebastião, the yellow line at Marquês de Pombal, and the green one at Baixa-Chiado.
The Linha Amarela, or sunflower line (Linha do Girassol), runs from the Rato station to the Odivelas station. This line intersects with the blue line at Marquês de Pombal, the red line at Saldanha, and the green one at Campo Grande.
The Linha Verde, also known as the Linha da Caravela (Caravel Line) runs from Cais do Sodré to Telheiras. The line intersects with the blue line at the Baixa-Chiado station, the red line at Alameda, and the yellow one at Campo Grande.
Click here to view the timetable and frequency of the four lines.
Purchasing tickets and passes
Lisbon’s transportation system ensures you can go far. You can purchase a single ticket, day pass, refill a reusable card, or buy a monthly Navigator (Navegante) pass at a discounted rate. The Navegante pass is free for children under 12, and the prepaid passes range from €12 to €80.
The Metro also offers discounted passes for low-income households called o Passe Social or the Social Pass. The Social Pass is reduced by 25% or 50% off the regular fare.
For a full breakdown of the discounts and fees, visit the Metro Lisboa website and click the “discounts” tab to learn more, including discounts and benefits for senior citizens, retired persons, and pensioners.
Riding the Carris bus or tram
Another popular source of transportation is the city bus. The network has a far greater span than the metro network, helping thousands of travelers and commuters reach their destinations. These bright yellow buses come in two forms, double-decker or accordion style, essentially merging two buses.
All the buses start with the number 7 and are three digits long. You’ll find the destination of each line displayed in large letters above the driver. You can also find electronic screens and laminated maps, which show the stops on most buses.
- Apolónia (metro blue line)
- Cais do Sodré (metro green line)
- Campo Grande (metro yellow line)
- Martim Moniz (metro blue line)
- Marquês de Pombal (metro blue and yellow lines)
- Oriente (metro red line)
- Rossio (metro green line)
- Sete Rios (metro blue line)
The Sete Rios bus station is also a point for long-distance buses and coaches, which travel around Portugal to places including Faro, Porto, and Sintra.
The Apolónia and Campo Grande stations also have large bus stations with some long-distance buses leaving from them.
Train services are available from these stations, Cais do Sodré and Rossio.
SINGLE FARE RIDES AND PASSES
A single bus fare for this system costs €2; tickets can be purchased on board.
Single fare Carris/Metro Ticket
24 hr Carris/Metro Ticket
24 hr Carris/Metro/Transtejo
24 hr Carris/Metro
Zapping (reduces fare too)
A Metropolitan Navegante pass is €20, €30, or €40. The cost for a Municipal Navegante pass is €15, €22,50, or €30. Discounts are available for these passes, including for children age 12 and under (free), senior citizens (65+), pensioners, retired persons, families, and more. You can find the complete fare list for frequent travelers here.
TAKING THE NIGHT BUS
For up-to-date information regarding this bus system, search the Carris website.
GETTING TO AND FROM THE AIRPORT
You can reach the Lisbon Airport by bus using the 705 route, leaving from Roma-Areeiro and Oriente, or the 208-night bus, leaving from Cais do Sodré.
The Aerobus airport shuttle costs €4, or €3.60, for an advanced single ticket. You can also pay €6 or €5.40 (in advance) for a roundtrip (return journey). Paying in advance will save you time and money, making it one less thing to stress about as you plan your trip(s).
One Aerobus route goes directly to Sete Rios bus station (the metro blue line to Jardim Zoológico), with the other goes to Cais do Sodré (the metro green line) via Rossio (green line and train services), Marquês de Pombal, (blue line), Saldanha (yellow line), Entrecampos (yellow line and train services) and several other stops throughout the city.
You can take the red line metro to the airport as well.
TAKING THE TRAM
A single fare for this system costs €3; single tickets can be purchased on board. You may use your pre-loaded card to pay the rate as well.
Taking the train (railway)
In Portugal, trains that run throughout the suburbs are called comboios. Lisbon capital, you can take the train to greater Lisbon, including destinations like Amadora, Cascais, Sintra, and Setúbal. These trains are a bit more expensive than the regular metro network but are easy to use and comfortable. Click here to see the schedules and fares.
Riding the ferry (Transtejo)
The Transtejo/Soflusa network has six terminals and three stations: Barrier, Bethlehem, Cacilhas, Cais do Sodré, Montijo, Porto Brandão, Seixal, Terreiro do Paço, and Trafaria. You can use a Viva Viagem or Lisboa Viva card to pay the fare(s).
The fleet consists of twenty-eight (28) ships. Eighteen (18) are catamarans, and three (3) are ferries or catamarans that carry passengers and vehicles. In addition, there are five (5) cacilheiros and two (2) monohulls.
For more information about the Transtejo/Soflusa network, click here.
Now that you have a comprehensive snapshot of how the public transportation system works. You should feel more confident about venturing out on your own. Lisbon is a beautiful city (and district) rich in culture and diverse landscapes. The more you explore, the more you’ll love living in beautiful Portugal.