Public transport lisbon

Your best guide on how to use public transport in Lisbon

If you are struggling figuring out the infrastructure of public transport in Lisbon, you have come to the right place. We’ve got the perfect guide crafted from our own adventures, and we promise that it will make your trip easy, cheap, and memorable. So get ready for your stressless tour of Lisbon’s gems. Let’s get started with the best guide to making your travel not only easy, but also fun.

Transportation card

There are two card options for to choose from to use public transport in Lisbon: paper and plastic. The paper ones can be bought at ticket machines for just 50 cents. These allow you to load a specific amount or choose a time-limited pass (such as 24 hours, 48 hours, or one week). However, if you would like the monthly pass, you’ll need to upgrade to the plastic card.

The plastic card is known as the Navegante card and it takes a little more effort. First you need a Portuguese address. Swing by any Metro station to get the relevant forms – they’ll ask for your NIF, but if you don’t have one you can skip this part. Insert a passport photo of yourself, submit the forms, and your Navegante card  will be ready in about two weeks, and it will cost you €7. You can speed things up with the express option (only at Campo Grande and Marquês de Pombal stations), and it’ll cost you €12. The Navegante card not only allows you to load a specific amount but also supports monthly passes (both Municipal and Metropolitano).

If you prefer to use the Metro system as public transport you’ll need to have either a Navegante card or a contactless bank card. There are two different setup options you can choose from. You can either manually recharge the pass every month or select a specific amount. Unfortunately, there isn’t an automatic version for a monthly subscription. Depending on your age and family size, there are different subscription options for you to choose from:  

  1. Navegante Metropolitano for €40: It’s like having a golden ticket to transportation freedom. You can travel freely on the Metro, train, bus, ferry, and tram throughout the entire Metropolitana de Lisboa area from Ericeira in the North until Setúbal in the South.
  2. Navegante Municipal for €30: It’s like a smaller version of the first one. This card is only valid in Lisbon. The Lisbon Metro actually extends beyond the city limits so if you’re planning to explore Amadora or Odivelas, where the blue and yellow lines intersect, this pass won’t be enough.

Public transport: Metro

Lisbon’s Metro is impressive with four lines that connect a total of 55 stations. Every line intersects with every other line exactly once. Those stations are Alameda (red and green line), Saldanha (red and yellow line), São Sebastião (red and blue line), Campo Grane (green and yellow line), Marques de Pombal (yellow and blue line) and Baixa-Chiado (blue and green line). Each of these stations offers access to multiple Metro lines. So if you’re looking to switch from the green to the red line, you’ll only need to make one stop.You can easily spot the entrance at each station by looking for the letter “M”.

The Metro starts running at 6:30 am and doesn’t stop until 1 am every day, and on special occasions it runs all night long. The trains pass by every 6 to 9 minutes. If you’re exploring popular areas like Baixa or planning a trip to Cascais, the green line is the most convenient option. You can go to Cais do Sodré and take the train from there to Cascais. If you’regoing to or from the airport, you can opt for the red line that passes by Expo Park. The yellow and blue lines goes by Lisbon’s main streets. A single Metro ticket costs approximately €1.45. However, if you’re up for a day of adventure the day pass costs €6.30.

Here’s a list of Metro stations that you have to check out:

  • Baixa-Chiado/Linha Azul (Blue Line) covers the neighbourhoods of Chiado and Bairro Alto. You can easily get there by taking the Blue line. It’s a cool way to explore the city and you should definitely visit Príncipe Real for an extra dose of trendy vibes.
  • Rossio (Green Line) takes you to places like Praça do Comércio, Rua Augusta, Praça da Figueira, Teatro Dona Maria, and even the trains to Sintra.
  • Terreiro do Paço (Blue Line) is right in the heart of the city and it’s super convenient for getting to Praça do Comércio and the historic Alfama neighbourhood.
  • Jardim Zoologico (Blue Line) will bring you to Sete Rios, which is where you’ll find one of Lisbon’s other forms of public transport: long-distance bus terminals. From there, you can catch buses to various cities across Portugal.
  • Cais do Sodré (Green Line) goes to Cascais and Estoril. Another option is to explore Belém using trams and buses, or you can take the ferry to Almada.
  • Oriente (Red Line) is always busy. You should check out Parque das Nações which is the perfect starting point for all your adventures. Oriente is also the stop you have to take to visit the Oceanário de Lisboa.

Public transport: Tram

Trams and funiculars, operated by Carris which also runs the buses in Lisbon, are a very common way of public transport in Lisbon. Tram #28 is popular and it stops at popular places like Alfama, Graça, and Chiado. If you want a more calm experience, you should go for a ride early in the day or during a quiet summer evening between 8 pm and 10 pm. Tram #12 is a beautiful trip around the castle. Tram #15 is a modern cable car that will get you to Belém. Another one is #18, which goes from Cais do Sodré to Ajuda. And finally, there’s #25 which goes from Rua da Alfândega to Campo de Ourique.

There are also four famous elevators. The Elevador de Santa Justa is a remarkable structure that is 45 metres high. It offers a unique experience, taking you straight up to enjoy breathtaking views. The Elevador da Bica, Elevador da Lavra, and Elevador da Glória are similar to the iconic cable cars in San Francisco, where you will ride through the streets of Lisbon. They don’t go straight up like Santa Justa. The prices for all four are included in the travel passes, such as the week pass.

Quick reminder: It’s important to differentiate between the red trams for the Hills Tramcar Tour and the yellow trams for regular public transport. Instead of buying a ticket directly from the driver (which is cash only, by the way), you can use your Navegante occasional card. It’s a great way to avoid spending unnecessary euros.

Regarding safety we recommend you to keep an eye on your stuff, especially when you’re on the busy trams like #15 and #28. Stay alert!

Public transport: Bus

Buses are a great form of public transport to get to places that you can’t reach by Metro or trams. Plus, the newer buses got air-conditioning and WiFi, which is great for any traveller. The Lisbon buses have 172 routes. They’ll take you to many places around the city, even ones that might take longer to get to by train. The bus stops in the area are conveniently located and often have helpful maps and timetables. Some buses these days have this electronic system that tells you exactly when the next bus is gonna show up. You can use the app Carris to stay updated on bus schedules.

If you’re buying a ticket, you can also pay in cash directly to the driver. However, this method is a bit pricier compared to using your Navegante occasional card. It’s most often best to avoid paying by cash because drivers often don’t have a lot of change. So if you pay with cash, make sure you have coins, not notes. The major lines are operational from 5 am to 11 pm, and you can expect buses to arrive every 15 to 30 minutes. If you’re someone who enjoys staying out late, there are night buses that go through all the major parts of the city.

Public transport: Train

Explore the five fascinating lines of another mean of Lisbon’s public transport: the train system.

  1. CP’s beautiful Sintra line has a mediaeval feel. There are trains leaving from Rossio station every 15 to 20 minutes that take you on a 45-minute waltz through Sintra’s secrets.
  2. If travellers going to the busy Cais do Sodré stop want to hear the sound of the ocean, they can take the Cascais line, which is also run by CP. During the 40-minute train ride to Cascais you can relax while taking in the beautiful views of the sea. Learn how to get from Lisbon to Cascais by following the beat of the waves.
  3. The Azambuja line connects to Greater Lisbon, offering a variety of experiences to travellers.
  4. Along the North/South Railroad on the Setúbal line you will have views of sandy riches and the town of Setúbal. The train ride offers a breathtaking view of Lisbon as it crosses the Ponte 25 de Abril, a bridge that looks like the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. You can also take a ferry to the Tróia Peninsula and walk along the 25-kilometer stretch of golden sand. 
  5. You can either take the train to Setúbal, which is the starting place for a tour of the coast’s beauty, or the ferry to the Tróia Peninsula, which has sandy beaches waiting to be discovered.

Public transport: Ferry

Ferry is also a common form of public transport in Lisbon. Transtejo’s ferry makes the trip between the busy centre of Lisbon and the calm South bank of the Tejo River. This is the best route you can take as you explore the area. There are three river stations in Lisbon:


From Belém, you can take a 20-minute ferry ride to Trafaria and Porto Brandão, and take the bus from there to get to the beautiful beaches of Costa da Caparica. You could take a ferry that not only gets you where you need to go but also makes the trip more enjoyable. You can see the sandy beaches of Costa da Caparica, the stories of Barreiro, or the statue of Christ.

2. Cais do Sodré

The Cais do Sodré ferry terminal is connected to the green Metro line. You can catch trains from there to Cascais and the Estoril coastline. The ferry terminal is located in a separate building south of the train station. From Cais do Sodré, you have three options: Cacilhas, Montijo, and Seixal. The ferries to Seixal and Montijo utilise modern catamarans. One of the historic orange ferries will carry you to Cacilhas which is an excellent choice for tourists. You can cross the river in just fifteen minutes, and it goes right by the suspension bridge, so it’s convenient. You must visit Cacilhas! Seeing the Cristo Rei statue in person is a must and the view from its peak is spectacular. 

3. Terreiro do Paço

The Terreiro do Paço terminal is connected to a single station called Barreiro. The pier and ticket machines have pretty convenient hours on weekdays. They’re open from 05:20 to 00:00, so you have plenty of time to catch a ferry or buy tickets. From the pier at Terreiro do Paco, the 30-minute ferry ride to Barreiro will take you to the suburbs. The ticket office is open from 7:30 AM to 23:30 PM.

Ready to start travelling?

Hopefully this guide has given you some great tips to effortlessly get around the city with public transport. From the convenience of Navegante cards to the trams, buses, trains, and ferries, each mode of transportation has its own unique charm, ensuring you can make the most of your time in this city. When you’re exploring the charming neighbourhoods by the Metro or taking in the breathtaking views from a ferry on the Tejo River, you’ll discover that Lisbon’s public transport choices are more than just a way to get around – they truly display the spirit and culture of the city. 

So, grab your Navegante card, hop on the Metro, and go on an adventure through the colourful streets, historic landmarks, and beautiful landscapes that make Lisbon a truly remarkable destination. Safe travels, and may your Lisbon journey be filled with unforgettable moments!

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