Public Transport in Lisbon

Published on 11/13/2011 by in Lisbon


Many people are confused about this, for good reason. There are many different and often confusing ways to get around in Lisbon. Here is a detailed explanation which may help. If you are still confused send an email and we will try to clarify your question.

Metro and Buses

Lisbon has a very efficient public transport network that covers the entire city in addition to the surrounding areas.

Lisbon Metro Map

Lisbon Metro Map

Lisbon’s recently refurbished metro system is clean, quick, and efficient. While metro announcements are made only in Portuguese, signs and ticketing machines are generally bilingual in Portuguese and English.

The extensive bus and electrico (tram) network is run by Carris.

The best way to pay for city transport is buying a rechargeable card 7 Colinas (Viva Viagem) card. It is valid for metro, trams (electrico) and most buses. The only exception is buses run not by Carris—other bus companies have their own tickets. The card itself can be purchased for €0.50 (this price doesn’t include any trips—add as many trips as you want), and remains valid for a year.

You can add trips or charge money onto this card in a mode called zapping, which will give you slightly more credit than you pay for (for example, you will have to pay €7.00 for €7.35 of credit). You can then pay for travel by just touching the card to the control point at the barrier on entering and leaving stations or vehicles. Starting a journey will immediately deduct €0.79, the cost of a single-zone trip (which means most of downtown Lisbon). Finishing the trip in another zone will deduct a further €0.31. Switching from metro to bus and vice versa will make you eligible for a slight discount.

There are ticketing machines located at the train or metro stations, which also provide instructions in English. You can also buy the ticket from the driver or machines on board (the latest only available in some new trams). Tickets purchased from a driver will not include a Viva Viagem card, and will cost more (€1.75 for bus and €2.85 for trams instead of €1.05 if you use the rechargable card), so it makes more sense to buy the ticket before starting the trip.

When using suburban trains, your tickets are charged onto the same kind of Viva Viagem cards. You cannot have more than one kind of ticket on one card, however, so you will probably need at least two of them, one for zapping (regular bus and metro use), one for suburban travel. The TransTejo (TT) ferries can make you buy yet another “Via Viagem” card with white stripe in the bottom, claiming that CP or Carris “Via Viagem” cards are not valid for them.

Zapping on the machines can be done only with round ammounts : €2, €3, €5, etc. If you have a bit of unused money it is wise to go to the ticked desk and there they do zapping for any amount. This way you can fully utilize your money on the card before going back to your country.

Lisbon Tram

Lisbon Tram

If you are going to move around heavily on a specific day (more than five trips), an economic choice can be the all-day pass which costs €4.5 (valid until 1AM). The all-day pass is also valid on city buses,tram and metro lines.

If you will be traveling around a lot, you may wish to get a multiple-day ticket.

If you plan to be in Lisbon for an extended time (1 week and more), you can purchase an unlimited pass that covers buses, metro, and funiculars at the Carris station in Santo Amaro. It’s €10 for the Lisboa Viva card, plus €28.10 for a one-month unlimited pass. You can also get them in week-long or two-week unlimited denominations. Bring a photo ID (passport) and cash

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