Lisbon Portugal has good public transportation
Lisbon Metro; Lisbon Metro Guide - fully updated for 2021
The Lisbon Metro is a safe, cheap and fast mode of transport, making it ideal for getting around the Portuguese capital. There are four lines with a network of 46 km of rails and 55 stops.
The first subway leaves at 6:30 a.m., the last at 1:00 a.m. (Some smaller stations close at 9:30 p.m.) How often the trains run depends on the day of the week and the time of day. In general, you can expect a train to run every six to twelve minutes.
For the onward journey from Lisbon Airport to the city center, we recommend the metro as well as for trips through the city. In this article we give you an overview of the metro network, the applicable tariffs for 2021 and an overview map for the Lisbon metro.
Info: The metro network covers the east and north of Lisbon. There are no subways in the west. If you want to visit the Belém district, we recommend using the tram.
Related articles: From Lisbon airport to the city center – Overview Lisbon
The Lisbon metro is clean, safe, and relatively modern.
Current fares (2021) for the Lisbon Metro
The Lisbon metro network is divided into two tariff zones. All major sights as well as the airport are in Zone 1. The fares this year are as follows:
• 1.50 EUR - single journey
• 6.40 EUR - 24-hour ticket, which also includes all buses and trams on Lisbon's public transport network
Note: Combined tickets for the return journey are not available. Simply buy a new single ticket for the return journey.
The fare will be debited from your reusable “Viva Viagem” card. This costs EUR 0.50 once. You can save several tickets on this card, for example for single trips, the 24-hour ticket or the so-called zapping credit.
Note: Each passenger needs their own Viva Viagem Card.
Olaias underground station
Lisbon metro network 2021
You need the Viva Viagem Card for all public transport in Lisbon including the suburbs, including the commuter ferries and trains to Sintra and Cascais. All tickets that you load onto this card are valid for twelve months.
However, there is one restriction: only one type of ticket can be saved on the card, for example single tickets for the subway or a train ride or a 24-hour ticket. It is not possible to book different tariffs on it. If you would like to use different means of transport with different fares, we recommend that you use the "Zapping" function.
The machines accept coins, bills and cards.
A zapping ticket is nothing more than credit that you load onto your Viva Viagem card. You can then use this credit to pay for your public transport journeys. This ticket is suitable for all those who use local public transport very little, so a 24-hour ticket does not pay off. The zapping tariffs are slightly cheaper than the normal prices: a subway ticket costs EUR 1.40 (normal price: EUR 1.50), a ticket for the tram costs EUR 1.25 (instead of EUR 2.85).
You can also use your Zapping credit to pay for trips on the S-Bahn or ferry without having to get another Viva Viagem card. You will avoid the long lines at the train stations, especially if you want to go to Sintra. You can top up your Viva Viagem Card at any ticket machine in underground stations with any amount between EUR 3.00 and EUR 40.
Which ticket should I buy?
When we show friends and family in Lisbon, we always buy a 24-hour ticket (for EUR 6.40). This ticket is incredibly good value as it allows you to use all buses, metros and trams, as well as the funiculars and the Elevador de Santa Justa. The ascent and descent with the Elevador de Santa Justa alone costs 5.50 EUR. The drive is not to be missed, as you can enjoy an excellent view of Lisbon from the lookout point on the upper platform.
The Lisbon metro is quick.
Tickets for the Lisbon Metro
Tickets for the metro are available at the counter or at one of the numerous ticket machines. There are always long queues in front of the ticket counters at popular underground stations (for example at the airport or Rossio), but at smaller train stations the counters are often closed. The ticket machines are easy to use, have a logical structure and offer instructions in several languages, including English, French, Spanish and Portuguese.
The Metropolitano de Lisboa company has created a useful PDF file that shows all the screens and steps that are required when purchasing a ticket from a machine. You can find the file here:
(The link opens in a new tab. The file is 1.4 MB in size and may therefore take a little longer to load.)
Further information on using the metro in Lisbon
Always take the proof of payment with you when you buy a ticket from the machine. If there is a problem with your Viva Viagem card, you have proof of this.
You will need your Viva Viagem Card twice for every journey: once when entering the underground station and once again when leaving the train station. Hold your card at the barrier over the sensor on the right.
As everywhere in big cities, watch out for your surroundings and don't give pickpockets a chance. The number of thefts is no higher in Lisbon than in other capitals. Be vigilant anyway. If you use the subway late at night, sit in busy cars and stay away from dodgy characters.
Overview of the subway lines in Lisbon
The Lisbon Metro has four lines, which are marked in different colors: blue, yellow, green and red. The green metro line connects the tourist areas in Baixa with the train station in Cascais.
The red line connects the airport and the Parque das Nações district with the other lines. The yellow and blue lines are older and follow the main roads north and northwest and are less important for tourists.
The metro at Lisbon Airport
The first ride on the metro for most visitors is from Lisbon Airport. Lisbon Airport is located within the city limits about 7 km from the city center and major tourist attractions. The airport is connected to the red metro line, the train station is right in front of the arrivals hall - and like everything else, it is very well signposted.
Most visitors book their hotel in the Alfama or Baixa district and therefore have to change to either the blue or green line.
The distinctive entrance to the metro at Lisbon Airport
History of the subway in Lisbon
Construction of the metro began in August 1955; the first train ran on December 29, 1959. The first route was only 6.5 km long and connected Baixa with the Jardim Zoológico. In the 1980s, a new loop was built in the city center, and in 1995 the metro was split into two lines (blue and yellow line).
In May 1998 the red line was built that connected the Alameda train station with the exhibition grounds of the Expo ´98. In 2004 the blue, yellow and green lines were further expanded. In September 2013, the extension to Portela Airport was opened and the airport was connected to the red line. The red line has intersections with all other lines. Today the Lisbon metro serves 55 stations and covers a route network of 46 km.
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