If you are travelling or moving to Portugal, you don’t need to worry about public transport not being efficient. Portugal has everything: buses, trams, metros, airports, trains and taxis.
The metro is always the best option if you don’t have much luggage. Even if it’s your first time in a city, all you need is to follow the map to know where you’re going. Lisbon and Porto are the only two Portuguese cities with a metro system, and both networks are clean, safe and efficient.
Lisbon’s metro has four lines and 52 metro stations – 31 of which provide full accessibility with escalators and lifts. A single ticket is €1.40 and a day-ticket is €6, which is useful if you are staying in the capital for 24 hours and want to visit as many places as you can. The metro runs from 6.30am to 1.00am.
In Porto, the metro is the best way to get to theatre airport and travel around the city. The network in Porto has six lines. The cheapest ticket is €1.20, and can go up to €5 depending on how many zones you need to go through. Another option is to buy a reloadable Andante Card, as it can be used for the tram, metro, bus, funicular and suburban trains.
To purchase metro tickets, go to the counters or machines available in the metro stations.
Portugal has a large network of trains connecting every major city in the country. There are various types of trains:
Regional and inter-regional trains, used for short distances and going from one big city to the next.
Intercity trains (Intercidades) that connect the major towns and make fewer stops.
Urban commuter trains (urbanos) operating in an around Lisbon and Porto.
The high-speed train called the Alfa Pendular that runs on one route: Braga-Porto-Coimbra-Lisbon-Faro.
The Caminhos de Ferro Portugueses or CP is the main rail service in the country, and you can check all itineraries and fares on their official website. All train tickets can be booked at the CP offices in train stations, or on the RENFE website (for night trains).
Bus, tram and funicular
Getting around major cities is quite easy as their public transport networks are quite large. In Lisbon for instance, transportation is run by Carris and there are:
78 bus lines. You can buy tickets on board.
5 tram lines. You can buy tickets on board.
4 elevators or funiculars to carry you up the hills. These tickets cost €3.50 for 2 trips.
You can usually get a 40% discount on tickets if you book them in advance at Carris yellow booths.
There are also coach services running between all the major cities, for example, if you feel like going from Lisbon to Algarve while enjoying the landscape.
Taxis are beige in Portugal, although you can still spot a few green or black taxis. All taxis run on a meter and drivers are allowed to charge you more if you have luggage. Big cities are full of taxis that are not too expensive (fares start at €2.50 for the first 500 meters). You can also call the cab company to have one pick you up at a specific time.
Portugal counts about 10 international airports, which makes it easy to fly to major cities. Airlines such as Portugália Airlines and TAP Air Portugal operate numerous flights from within and outside Europe, and charter flights are quite cheap.
Airports are usually pretty close to the major cities, but even if they are a little far away like Francisco de Sá Carneiro Airport is from Porto, there are always buses and metros that can take you from there to the city center.