Public transport in Portugal WithPortugal
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Public transport in Portugal

If you have just arrived in Portugal and you don't yet have your personal car, then your acquaintance with the local public transport system will be just inevitable. Regardless of your city, you will have access to an extensive selection of buses, trains, and even the metro in the largest cities.

How the public transport system works in Portugal, and how much a one-time fare and monthly passes cost. We are going to talk about all that in more detail in our new article on the WithPortugal website.

Intercity transport in Portugal

First, let's discuss how you can travel between cities in Portugal because you can come to one city and then travel for interviews to different parts of the country, given the fact that it is pretty challenging to find a job tied to an exact place in the country.


Regardless of which city in Portugal you are currently in, remember that you can travel quickly and relatively inexpensively between different cities and regions of the country.

The most popular way to travel is the Comboios de Portugal train. You can enter your place of departure and the name of the station/city where you are going on the official website of Portuguese Railways. Dozens of possible options, including the date, will appear in front of you in the search bar.

For example, in the picture below, we have searched for trains from Lisbon (for long-distance courses, it is best to choose the Lisboa-Oriente station) to Porto (for intercity directions, it is best to choose the Porto - Campanha station).


The website showed 20 options with different departure terms for such a request on the day of the search.

Moreover, if you look for tickets with the departure and arrival on the same day, you can get from Lisbon to Porto by paying about 25-32 euros for a one-way ticket.

If you look at the yellow column in the picture below, you will see 2 price options: a higher price for 1st class (Preço 1ª) and a lower price for 2nd class (Preço 2ª). In fact, there is almost no difference between these classes. It's just that most Portuguese buy cheaper tickets, and therefore, there are always more empty seats, and it is more spacious in first class than in the standard, second class.


While doing this, paying attention to the type of trains you can see in the first orange column in the picture below is essential. So what do these abbreviations mean?

U - Urbanos is a type of urban transport within large cities or suburbs. We can say that this is a kind of city electric train, which we don't see in the picture above because this is an intercity service.

IC - Intercidades is a type of intercity train that circulates throughout the country with stops in major cities. Tickets for such trains are relatively inexpensive because traveling on this train usually involves longer trips with more stops.


R/IR - Regionais e Inter-regionais is a kind of regional and inter-regional train that is probably the most inconvenient to travel, as they pass through small cities and towns with a lot of stops, so traveling on this type of train takes a massive amount of time. We don't recommend this type for travel between distant cities.

AP - Alfa Pendular is the fastest train type in the country, with fewer stops and a higher ticket price.

Logically, the faster and more comfortable the train, the more expensive the trip will be. But it is important to know that if you buy a ticket on the Comboios de Portugal website in advance, namely 8 or more days in advance, you can get a special promotional price with a discount of up to 65%.

Pay attention to the image below, where we looked for tickets from Lisbon to Porto, not the same day, but for June. In this case, a ticket can be bought online for only 9.5 euros, instead of 30 euros, which we wrote above. So we recommend you plan your trips in advance and buy tickets for trains between cities in Portugal online because it is really profitable.


Furthermore, a trip on special buses can be an alternative to intercity train travel in Portugal. The largest network in the country is the Rede Expressos company. You can move between the largest cities in Portugal using these buses.


So, when searching for a bus from Lisbon to Porto with the departure and arrival on the same day, the website showed a ticket price of 12 euros. That is a reasonably inexpensive cost for a trip on a comfortable bus with Wi-Fi, a socket for charging your phone, etc.

At the same time, significant discounts are provided for children, youth under 30, and people over 65.


Of course, there are other bus companies in Portugal. In addition, there are car sharing and different ways to travel long distances. Still, we have indicated the two most popular ways to travel between cities in Portugal.

Well, we talked about how to travel around Portugal. Now, let's take a closer look at how the public transport system works in the country's largest cities: Lisbon and Porto.


Public transport in Lisbon

As one of the country's most densely populated regions, Lisbon has a developed transport network connecting different parts of the city and the district. As a result, you will not find such a variety of different types of public transport in any other Portuguese city.

To get around Lisbon, you can use one of the following types of transport:

  • Metro - the official website and map of the Lisbon metro is here;
  • Train (city trains) - they are served by the same Comboios de Portugal company, which we noted above;
  • Buses and trams - land transport in Lisbon is called Carris, and the website of this transport company is here;
  • River type of transportation (boats like barges) - the official website of the transport company, boat schedules, and prices are here;
  • Official city taxi;
  • Taxi from apps like Uber and Bolt;
  • Bicycles and scooters for rent.

Within the framework of this article, we will consider only the main types of public transport in Lisbon.


The fare in Lisbon can be found, for example, on the Lisbon Metro website.

Whether you travel by metro, bus, or tram, we recommend buying a VIVA Viagem card. It can be topped up at many metros, train, and bus station devices. Just swipe this card when passing through the turnstile on any public transport in Lisbon.

VIVA Viagem card has a simple top-up tariff, Zapping, which means you top up the card with a certain amount of euros and spend this balance on any public transport. There are also other fares, such as a ticket for 24 hours, for a certain number of trips, etc. So, you will indeed have plenty to choose from, and you can read about the tariffs here.

Remember that you can still buy a ticket at a higher price at the entrance from the driver on a bus or tram. But you will no longer get into the metro without a paid travel card, so take care of purchasing it in advance. It can be done in any bus or train station vending machine.


In April 2022, the fare in public transport in Lisbon, depending on the tariff is as follows:

  • 1.50 euros - a ticket for a trip of 60 minutes in the metro or land transport, without limiting the number of transfers;
  • 6.45 euros - day ticket (24 hours from the moment of first use) ticket for trips in the metro or ground transport, without limiting the number of transfers;
  • 9.60 euros - day ticket (24 hours from the moment of first use) for trips by metro, land transport, as well as on boats of the Transtejo company in the direction of Cacilhas without limiting the number of transfers;
  • 10.70 - day ticket (24 hours from the date of first use) for trips on the metro, land transport, as well as on city trains in the direction of Sintra, Azambuja, Cascais, and Sado without limiting the number of transfers;

At the same time, if you understand you will use transport very actively, for example, several times a week, then you should definitely take a closer look at travel cards for a month because it will be a more profitable option for frequent trips.

You can read about the various options for such travel cards on the official website. There are many different options and discounts. For example, children under 12 years old can get a travel card for free, and people over 65 will pay only 20 euros.

As part of our article, we will consider only the 2 most popular types of travel cards, namely:

  • Travel card "Navegante Metropolitano" - 40 euros per month

This complete travel card covers 18 municipalities and all types of transport of the "greater Lisbon". The pass is valid from the 1st to the last day of the calendar month. You can use any type of transport in any municipality of Lisbon, Sintra, Mafra, etc.

  • Travel card "Navegante Municipal" - 30 euros per month

This pass will be valid for all types of transport, but only for one of the 18 municipalities of the "greater Lisbon". The pass is valid from the 1st to the last day of the calendar month. You can use any type of transport only in the municipality of Lisbon that you have chosen. That is, if your travel card applies only to Sintra, you will no longer be able to use it in Lisbon.

Of course, the first type of travel card seems more profitable, especially if you don't understand the administrative division of Lisbon and want to move around without restrictions within the entire district.

However, for these passes, you will need to order a special "navegante® personalizado" card for a small fee, which will be issued in your name, and no one else can use it. It will be necessary to provide a completed form, picture, and identification documents to order such a card (the full list can be found here). According to the information on the website, the card can even be ordered online, and there are also urgent issuance shops. Their addresses can be found here.


Thus, no matter what type of public transport you use in Lisbon, you will benefit from a monthly pass for 40 euros for frequent trips. It will allow you to use river and land transport, as well as metro and trains within the "greater Lisbon" included in the composition of the county of municipalities.


Public transport in Porto

Although Porto is significantly inferior to Lisbon in size and population, you can also find a highly developed public transport network here.

While in the city, the following types of transport will be available to you:

  • Metro - the official website and map of the metro in Porto is here;
  • Train (city trains) - they are served by the same company Comboios de Portugal company, which we noted above;
  • Buses and trams - the website of the transport company with a list of lines is here;
  • Official city taxi;
  • Taxi from apps like Uber and Bolt;
  • Bicycles and scooters for rent.

Within the framework of this article, we will consider only the main types of public transport in Porto.

Just like in Lisbon, we recommend buying a card in Porto that can be recharged with trips. It is used in various public transport types.


In Porto, this card is called Andante and can be bought from various vending devices throughout the city.


The main difference between the Andante card and Lisbon travel cards is that even if you want to charge the card for only 1 trip, the device will prompt you to select zones, denoted by the letter Z (Z2 - Z9). The zone map can be viewed here and next to each device, where you can top up the card.

Fares will also depend on the radius (zones) of your movement. Still, if you move only within one zone and the zone bordering it (for example, Z2), then the cost of tickets for various types of transport within this zone will be as follows:

  • 1.25 euros - single trip
  • 4.20 euros - 24 hours day pass

If you want to cross all zones, then the cost of a single trip will be 4.05 euros, and the cost of a day pass will be 13.90, so always pay attention to the zones within the radius of your trip.


If you are going to use public transport every day, then, of course, you should buy one of the monthly passes, which costs the same as Lisbon passes.

At the moment, there are travel cards in Porto with different tariffs for all types of transport, but the main ones are:

  • Travel card "Andante Municipal" - 30 euros per month

This pass is valid on all Andante public transport lines but only within a specific municipality.

  • Andante Metropolitano Travel Card - 40 euros per month

Valid on all Andante public transport lines within "greater Porto".

As in the case of Lisbon, it is probably worth paying an additional 10 euros to avoid confusion in the zones and travel in all directions in the Porto district.

At the same time, monthly travel cards also need to be ordered offline, with the provision of documents and a questionnaire. This can be done at one of the Andante offices, the addresses and opening hours of which are here.

The metro is the most popular type of transport in Porto because it functions better and without frequent interruptions than the metro in Lisbon.


The city also has river transport, trams, and a funicular, but this is all for tourists. Such types of "entertainment transport" must be paid separately because your Andante card just won't work there.


Public transport in other cities in Portugal

In other cities of Portugal, you will no longer find either a metro or an extensive public transport network. And buses are often the primary type of transportation in small towns.

Suppose you live in a small town and don't understand how public transport works there. In that case, you can fill in your route in Google Maps, showing you the available transportation methods and existing buses. However, be careful because, in some small cities in Portugal, buses can run once an hour or several times a day, and often you can only get from point A to point B by private car. We advise you to check this situation in advance so as not to find yourself in such a situation that you rented an apartment in a small town or village, and found a job 10 kilometers away. And only then you found out that there is no public transport in this direction.


I, the author of this article, lived in the city of Aveiro, a medium-sized town in Portugal. I will never forget how long it took to wait for the bus and go to work, which was only 6 kilometers from my apartment. Sometimes it took me an hour, and sometimes 1.5, to overcome this path by bus (sometimes, the bus just didn't arrive. I waited for hours at the bus stop, and it was impossible to ride a bike or walk because there were high-speed trains around tracks). This situation forced me to buy a car, but just be aware that sometimes even a short distance of 5-10 kilometers in Portugal in sparsely populated cities in Portugal can take you hours.

Useful websites and apps for public transport in Portugal

To conclude this article, we would like to offer a list of useful websites and applications that will make it much easier for you to use public transport in Portugal.

  • Google Maps: you need to fill in your route on the website or in the application, and the maps will show you many alternative options, with public transport schedules, etc.;
  • Moovit: the app and website work just like Google Maps, showing you route options from point A to point B;
  • Lisboa Viagem: relevant for consulting timetables and routes of the public transport network in Lisbon;
  • Anda: this app functions as an e-ticket in Porto's transport network. You just go to the application, bring your phone to the turnstile, and it scans it the same way as a paper/plastic travel card. You can pay the fare in the application and see how it works in this video.

Public transport in Portugal is very developed

Especially if we are talking about such large cities as Porto and Lisbon. If you are going to live in a small town or village in Portugal, then be prepared for the fact that there may be problems with public transport, and it may make sense to consider buying your own car.

Nevertheless, absolutely all cities and regions of Portugal have public transport, and moving around the country is highly convenient and inexpensive by trains or intercity buses.

We hope this article was helpful to you and after reading it, you will have no difficulty understanding how Portugal's public transport system functions.