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23. july 2021 · 2 minute

Public Transport and Taxi in Lisbon: What You Should Know

So you found the perfect mid-term rental for your few months stay in Lisbon - now comes the easy part of exploring and enjoying the city itself. But to do that, it's best to know how the public transport system functions and the rates of taxis and similar services. To sum up, we're here, to sum up, the basic info so that you don't have to spend hours googling it.

Public Transportation in Lisbon

The first thing to mention is Lisbon's metro. It is the fastest way to get around the city (and thanks to its air conditioning also the most comfortable), and you'll find yourself using it a lot. There are four lines, green, blue, yellow, and red – all of them are marked with a large "M" sign on the street level, which will help you find the nearest station. The metro is open from 6:30 am to 1 am every day, including weekends (though the carts may run less frequently on the weekend).

The tram system, just like the funiculars, is primarily a relic kept from the city's history. It is mainly used by tourists, though it might still come in handy if you live in the hilly part of Lisbon (since the metro cannot go to these parts). Some locals still depend on it as a fast way of getting where they need to go. There are six tram lines and three funiculars (though not to confuse the city's yellow tram line with a tramcar tour). Lastly, trams have been reported as the hunting grounds of pickpockets, especially in crowded cars during rush hour, so make sure to watch your belongings closely. Next up is the bus system.

It pretty much goes everywhere, even to places where the metro and trams go to widen the city's connections further. With over 170 lines, the yellow busses criss-cross the town according to timetables posted on the stops (or provided in an app). Unlike in other countries, Lisbon's custom always waves at the approaching bus if you want to get on. Otherwise, it will drive past you.

The busses run from 5 am to 11 pm, after which they switch to night busses that run throughout the night but have fewer lines. A special mention needs to be given to Lisbon's ferries. These connect the south bank of Tejo and Lisbon. There are many different connections available at the few waterfront terminals. Still, most of the time, these are covered by busses as well.

The Viva Viagem Card in Lisbon

This is a plastic, non-refundable card purchasable for €0,50 on which you can load different types of tickets. The Viva Viagem card is used in the metro, trams, funiculars, busses, and ferries. You can always only have one ticket loaded on your card, such as the single ticket (for a one time ride), 24-hour (for a full day), or zapping.

You load tickets on your card from a ticket terminal in any metro station using cash or a credit card for purchases. Zapping is a particular use of the card since it does not include the direct purchase. Instead, you load cash directly on your Viva Viagem card and use it to pay for your commuting around the city.

Taxis and similar transportation companies in Lisbon

The black and green taxis are Lisbon's staple, though most people rely on public transport. The rates for taxis are pretty high, though they are more affordable than in other western EU countries. The base fee is between €3,25 and €3,90 depending on the time of day, with a €1,60 fee for luggage. There are even alternatives to traditional taxi services, like Uber or Taxify (Bolt).

These are reasonably dependable, especially the more prominent names in the industry. Their rates can be more affordable than those of regular taxis. However, you need a unique app to use them, and most of these services won't let you pay with cash.
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