How to use the Lisbon metro

By Sarah Polonsky, in News, Lisbon, Tourism · 05-03-2021 01:00:00 · 2 Comments

Like any city, getting acquainted with public transport in Lisbon can be a challenge.

Rise to the occasion by following these steps to going underground.

Is there anything better than walking around Lisbon? After about six months living here, you’ll discover yes… not walking in Lisbon.

When I first moved here, I must have racked up millions of steps on my Fitbit per day, if I owned a Fitbit. Point is, I walked a lot, sometimes four hours a day gleefully because Lisboa is a walking town, with so much to see. Soon I started being late to every appointment. No bother, this will happen to even the most punctual Lisboan newbies. After one sprained ankle, I started to notice why the city is lined with shops selling foot support products and a rather uncanny number of crutches-only supply stores. Once the novelty of soaking in the sites wears off (okay, this part never goes away), and you think: “NO MORE” going up and down some of the biggest, uneven cobblestoned hills with a Mary Poppins bag on your back, it is time to learn the metro.

The Four Metro Lines
The metro makes Lisbon a much smaller city, with many of the most notable points in the city available via metro on one of the four metro lines (Linhas).

Linha Azul (Blue Line)
Also known as the Linha da Gaivota (Seagull Line) is the only fully underground metro line in Lisbon. The line runs from Santa Apolónia to Reboleira, crossing the red line at São Sebastião, the yellow line at Marquês de Pombal, and the green line at Baixa-Chiado.

Linha Amarela (Yellow Line)
Also known as the Linha do Girasso (Sunflower Line) it runs from Rato to Odivelas. The yellow line crosses the blue at Marquês de Pombal, the red at Saldanha, and the green at Campo Grande.

Linha Vermelha (Red Line)
Also known as Linha Oriente runs from São Sebastião to Aeroporto. The red line crosses the blue at São Sebastião, the yellow line at Saldanha, and the green at Alameda.

Linha Verde (Green Line)
The Linha Verde, or Linha da Caravela (Caravel Line) runs from Cais do Sodré to Telheiras. The green line crosses the blue line at Baixa-Chiado, the red line at Alameda, and the yellow line at Campo Grande.

Metro Tickets and Prices
There are a range of metro tickets available, single journey tickets, Zapping pay-as-you-go, daily passes, and monthly passes. Choosing the right ticket depends on the frequency you use the metro.

The Viva Viagem Transport Pass
For most tickets, you can buy a rechargeable transport pass (Viva Viagem) from the ticket machine or ticket office in any metro station. These machines have an English language option.

Most metro stations will also have English speaking staff on hand to help and it also isn’t rare for locals to offer help if you’re struggling with the machine.

When you start using the machine, the first question you will be asked is if you have a transport pass, click no if you don’t, and you will be able to buy one for €0.50 from the machine. Hold on to this card, you can top it up again and again.

This pass works for trains, buses, and boats as well as metros. The pass is reusable, and can be filled with multiple tickets, but only of one type. For example, if your pass has two single journey metro tickets on it, you can’t add a boat ticket, you would have to buy a new pass.

This ticket is made of paper and is quite flimsy, in a wallet or secure pocket it will be fine, but it can fold or tear reasonably easily.

Topping Up the Pass
There are a few different metro tickets that can be purchased and added to this paper transport pass.

To top up the pass, place it into the ticket machine, there is a slot for the pass to the right and a little below the slot for credit cards.

Select “I have a rechargeable card” from the options menu and you will then be able to choose which ticket to charge your card with.

Single Journey Tickets (Viva Viagem Only)
Single journey tickets are probably the simplest type of metro ticket. This ticket will buy you a full hour of metro or Carris bus travel.

This ticket can only be used for a single journey, meaning the ticket finishes when you leave any station through the ticket barrier.

The single journey ticket costs €1.50 (€2 is you are also purchasing a Viva Viagem card), making it the most expensive option, but the easiest if you are only going one way.

Zapping Tickets
Zapping is a pay-as-you-go ticket option which allows you to charge the Viva Viagem card with a set amount of money, the options range from €3 up to €40.

Once you have topped the card up with a set amount of Zapping credit, you will then be charged €1.33 for each journey you take until the money on the card is run out.

Daily Passes
If you are only travelling on the metro and on Carris bus services, you can buy a daily ticket for €6.40, this will give you unlimited metro and bus travel for 24 hours from time you use the ticket at a station.

If you are travelling outside of Lisbon, there are two other daily passes available.

The Carris/Metro/Transtejo (Cacilhas) card covers metros and Carris bus services like the above ticket and covers the boat from Cais do Sodre to Cacilhas. This ticket costs €9.50.

A single ticket on this boat service costs €1.30, so is the right choice if you are taking the metro and more than three boat journeys to or from Cacilhas during a 24-hour period.

Finally, there is the Carris/Metro/CP daily pass. This ticket gives you 24 hours of unlimited bus and train travel, as well as unlimited travel on train lines between Lisbon and Azambuja, Cascais, Sado, and Sintra.

If you’re planning to spend a day exploring the areas around Lisbon, this €10.55 ticket can be excellent value.

The Lisboa Viva Transport Card
The Lisboa Viva card is a permanent transport card that can only be used by the holder. It is a hard card, far sturdier than the Viva Viagem card, that has your photo on it, and can be topped up with passes or Zapping tickets.

These cards cannot be bought from ticket machines, instead you must visit the ticket offices at select stations.

Before getting your ticket, you will need to pick up an application form (from any of the stations listed below), this is available in English. You will also need a photographic form of ID or a residency permit and an original passport photo (photo machines are also available at the stations listed below).

If you are in a rush to get your ticket, you can take the above documentation to the ticket office at Campo Grande (yellow line) or Marquês de Pombal (blue and yellow lines) and choose the express delivery option, which costs €12. Your transport pass will then be ready the next working day.

If there is less urgency, you can use the above stations, as well as Colegio Militar, Jardim Zoologico, Rossio, Cais do Sodré or Baixa-Chiado and choose standard delivery. Standard delivery costs €7 and will take up to 10 working days.

The Lisboa Viva card, unlike the Viva Viagem, can hold up to four different ticket types, so you can top it up with a monthly pass, and have Zapping credit, and boat tickets to Cacilhas, for example.

Monthly Passes (Lisboa Viva Only)
There are two monthly ticket options available, the Navegante Municipal, which costs €30, and the Navegante Metropolitano, which costs €40.

The Navegante Municipal covers one municipality, if you are using the metro, this is likely to be the Lisbon municipality, which covers all metro stations except Odivelas, at the end of the yellow line.

The Navegante Municipal covers all 18 of Lisbon’s municipalities, allowing not only trips to Odivelas, but also Cacilhas, Cascais, Sintra, and more.

If you are doing all your travelling in central Lisbon, the €30 card is fine, but if you leave the city regularly, the €40 pass is highly recommended.



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Comments:

"The Navegante Municipal covers one municipality, if you are using the metro, this is likely to be the Lisbon municipality, which covers all metro stations except Odivelas, at the end of the yellow line."

This isn't correct. The last three stops on the blue line are not covered by the Navegante Municipal card, it only takes you to Pontinha. The last three stops are in the Amadora district, not Lisbon.

By Normandy Madden from Lisbon on 06-03-2021 09:29

You cannot get the monthly passes unless you have proof of residency in Lisbon. Tourists cannot get it

By Marlene Ferreira from Lisbon on 06-03-2021 12:16
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