Portuguese Public Transportation: How to get around Portugal
Whether you’re trying to get home from school or travelling around Portugal on a study break, public transport offers you a lot of options in Portugal. So many options in fact, that we’ve made this quick guide for you to make you sure that when you get here, you’ll already be an expert. Leave the car at home and be a local!
Lisbon and Porto are the two biggest cities in Portugal and both of them have excellent and reliable metro systems. This is definitely the easiest way for most people to navigate these two beautiful cities. The Porto network charges you depending on the zones you’ll be travelling through, much like London. The cheapest ticket will only cost you €1.20 but this can increase to €5 if travelling through multiple zones. The Andante Card is useful to pick up as it is rechargeable and can be used on most forms of public transport.
Lisbon, on the other hand, charges a single price of €1.40 for all journeys. If you’re interested in multiple journeys then it’s maybe worth considering a day ticket (€6) or monthly pass (variable).
Students are eligible for at least a 25% discount, so a monthly metro and bus pass in Lisbon would only costs €18.35 per month if travelling within the central area. Simply take your proof of student status to one of the stations and apply in person.
Of course, sometimes it might be necessary to travel further. For example, to get from NOVO School of Business and Economics campus near Cascais to downtown Lisbon your best bet is to get a train. Single price tickets are relatively cheap but for people making frequent trips a monthly student pass makes a whole lot of sense. For only €31.35 you can get a monthly ticket to make the journey and for just an extra €13 you can also add on unlimited metro use too! The Porto CP trains also have 25% student discounts for similar needs.
There are also 3 major lines for travelling around the country. The Alfa Pendular line (AP) goes from Porto to Faro (stopping at Lisbon on the way). The Intercidades (IC) and Regional (r / IR) also go from Porto to Lisbon
Bus and Tram
Each city in Portugal has their own bus services with a huge variety in the frequency and quantity of routes. But in major conurbations like Braga, Porto and Lisbon they come quick and they come often. As with the metro, tickets can be bought for single use or you can use your monthly metro/CP passes if you added on the bus option. For people new to these cities, google maps is your friend! Using the websites to try and figure out where you want to go can be confusing, but all routes are fully integrated into Google maps making it the best place to find stops and times.
The trams cost a little more than the bus usually, and are fully packed with tourists (and sometimes pickpockets!). They also run very restricted routes. For this reason, they are probably best avoided once you’ve expended all your initial “new to Portugal” energy.
Taxis and Taxi apps
Ok, I know that taxis and taxi apps aren’t technically public transport. But they’re available to everyone and are incredibly cheap, so it’s worth including here. If you’re ever travelling with even just one friend, then it might make more sense to call a taxi. The street taxis start at €3.50, but it’s always worth checking out the apps. The most popular in Portugal are Uber, Cabify and Taxify and they are all very competitively priced. For example, an Uber from the Airport to historic downtown Lisbon can be as little as €5 in the night time! Happily, most drivers speak English and sometimes French or Spanish too. It won’t be your go-to default mode of transport while studying in Portugal, but it will become an essential tool in your armory.
Other forms of transport
There are of course some other more interesting ways to make your way around Portugal. Moped companies like Cooltra rent scooters in Lisbon and Porto for people who desire a bit more autonomy in their travels. There are certainly less stylish ways to get to the beach! There is also a public bike scheme in Lisbon, which lets you travel and tone at the same time! For special occasions, you can always flag down one of the increasingly popular electric-powered tuk-tuks that run through major cities.