The Best Ways To Get Around Lisbon
The best way to explore Lisbon’s different neighbourhoods is on foot. But with those hilly streets in Lisbon and the fact that it’s quite a distance between the central districts and the famous sites in Belem, it’s worth knowing how to use Lisbon’s public transportation.
Also, at some point I’m sure, you’d like to ride a historic tram or jump on a funicular to avoid walking up a steep hill. This guide will help you find your way around the capital using the Lisbon Metro and other public transportation.
You Need To Buy A Viva Viagem Card For The Lisbon Metro And Other Transportation.
Having a Viva Viagem card is the easiest and most cost-effective way to pay for journeys on public transport in Lisbon. You can use the Viva Viagem card to travel on buses, the Lisbon metro, trams, the funiculars, ferries and suburban trains.
In fact, you have to have a Viva Viagem card to travel on the metro, ferries and suburban trains. However, for travel on buses, trams and funiculars, it’s possible to pay on board, but it works out a lot more expensive.
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Where Can I Buy A Viva Viagem Card?
You can buy a Viva Viagem card at any Lisbon metro, ferry or suburban train station or at any local PayShop in Lisbon. At the metro stations, you can purchase the ticket from the automatic ticket machines or ticket office, but more often or not the ticket office is closed or the staff member just points to the ticket machine.
Don’t worry all the automatic ticket machines offer instructions in multiple languages including English. While at the Lisbon metro, it’s probably worth picking up or downloading a Lisbon Metro Map.
Where Can I Use My Viva Viagem Card?
Lisbon Metro: Everywhere on the Lisbon Metro. There are only four metro lines in Lisbon: Red, Green, Yellow and Blue.
The Red Metro Line runs from the Airport.
The Green Metro Line connects the main tourist areas around the historic district and for the train station to Cascais.
The Blue and Yellow Metro Lines follow Lisbon’s main avenues such as the Avenida de Liberdade which is actually much nicer to walk along, than travel underground.
Buses, Trams and Funiculars:
You can use your Viva Viagem card on all buses, trams and funiculars that are operated by Carris. This includes the famous historical Tram 28 and the somewhat more modern Tram 15 to Belem. Plus you can use the card for Lisbon’s three funiculars and the famous Elevador de Santa Justa Lift.
Note: You can not use your card on the Aerobus or tourist buses such as the hop-on-hop-off buses.
Local Lisbon Trains:
You can also use the Viva Viagem card to travel on local trains to/from Lisbon to Sintra, Estoril and Cascais. And even on Transtejo Ferries to Cacilhas, Trafaria, Porto Brandão, Seixal, Barreiro and Montijo.
How Much Does A Viva Viagem Card Cost And What Type Of Ticket Should I Get?
A Viva Viagem card costs €0.50 which must be purchased with the first ticket. The card is reusable and valid for a year.
Option 1- A Single ticket (Carris/Metro): €1.50
This option is only useful if you’re planning to make just one journey on public transport in Lisbon. The ticket is valid for one hour on the metro and on all buses, trams and funiculars that are operated by Carris so for example, you take the subway from Marquês de Pombal to Terreiro do Paço (blue line) and then take tram 15 to Belém all on one ticket.
Option 2 – Zapping
Top Up your Viva Viagem card with at least €3, or in multiples of €5 up to a balance total of €40. Choose this option if you plan to travel quite a bit on public transport in Lisbon. A single journey when you’re zapping costs just €1.35.
Option 3 – One day ticket
This ticket allows unlimited travel for 24 hours.
€6.45 – unlimited travel on metros, bus, trams, funiculars and lifts.
When you consider that a tram ride is €3 if you pay on board, and a trip on a funicular costs €3.70 for two journeys (no, you can’t pay for just one!) then this is quite a good deal.
For €9.60, you get unlimited travel as above plus the ferry across the river.
For €10.70, you get unlimited travel as above and the trains to Sintra, Estoril and Cascais.
Worth Knowing About Viva Viagem
The ticket machines accept coins, notes, debit and credit cards.
Once you’ve selected and paid for option 1,2 or 3, you cannot change to another type of tickets until the previous one has been used. For example, if you chose the Zapping option, you will have to first use up all the credit on your Viva Viagem card before you are allowed to buy a one day ticket.
The simplest way to check how much balance you have left on your Viva Viagem card is to go to a ticket machine at any Lisbon metro station and insert the card.
Hope this guide helps. We have travelled all over the world but found buying a ticket on the Lisbon Metro the most confusing, hence the guide. If all else fails, do as we do, smile hopelessly at the person behind you in the queue and hope they can help.