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How is Public Transportation in Portugal

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Portugal Trains

Portugal’s national train operator Comboios de Portugal, which is owned by the state, manages Portugal’s rail network. The CP operates a scenic rail network that carries 145 million passengers annually. Although train services are available throughout the country, they connect most major cities like Lisbon, Porto, and Aveiro to the rest of the country. However, these connections are the most efficient and frequent between the main cities, such as Faro, Faro, and Coimbra.

These are the train connections offered by CP:

  • Alfa Pendular (AP), the fastest and most comfortable direct service, travels at speeds of 220 km/h. The service runs from Lisbon and Porto as well as Coimbra, Braga, and Faro in Portugal.
  • Intercidades (IC), a long-distance, fast service that travels at 200 km/h, is slightly more expensive than regular trains. IC trains are older and have fewer stops between major destinations than other types.
  • Regionais (R), a CP local service, stops at all stations outside the Porto and Lisbon suburbs. They are slower and less essential than AP or IC.
  • Urbano (U), the CP’s urban service for commuters, serves the areas around Lisbon and Porto.

Without an additional ticket, passengers can bring their pets and bicycles on board. For more information, please refer to the CP’s general Information Page. Although CP’s primary language of operation is Portuguese, you will find some information on CP’s website in English. When you arrive or depart from major cities, announcements are available in Portuguese and English.

Train tickets and prices

The ticketing website of CP is easy to use, has the most current schedule information, and is the fastest way to purchase train tickets. Tickets can be ordered via the CP mobile app or at ticket counters at train stations. You can send tickets to your smartphone by e-mail, SMS, or the app. This is much more convenient than printing them. You will be fined EUR120 if you cannot show the train conductors your ticket.

First-class options on AP and IC trains are available, but they don’t come with the same amenities as you would find in other European countries, such as complimentary meals, drinks, or newspapers. They have more legroom and comfortable seating, but they are slightly more expensive than the second-class options.

You can get discounts on train tickets if you book at least five (50%) and eight (65%) days in advance. Children younger than four years old can ride free. Passengers aged 65 and older receive a 50% discount, while those aged 13 to 25 receive a 25% discount.

Group bookings with at least four people are eligible for discounts. For more information, visit the CP Discounts Page. You might consider a Portugal Rail Pass if you plan to travel extensively by train through Portugal, even if you are not a Portugal resident.

Maps and timetables for trains in Portugal

Portugal has trains that run all day. However, late-night travelers may need to use taxis or night buses to travel around the country.

Online resources are available for both itinerary planning and traditional timetables. To plan a trip, travelers can use Google Maps and the CP mobile application. You can also find programs for each train line in Portugal on the CP website.

Train Stations and Stops

There are many differences in the size and amenities of Portuguese train stations. Porto’s Sao Bento Station, a magnificent Beaux-Arts masterpiece featuring world-famous painted azulejos that depict scenes from Portuguese history, and Gare do Oriente in Lisbon is a modern architectural marvel.

Both stations have shops, restaurants, as well as international ticketing desks. Many urban train stations offer facilities, including luggage storage and multilingual staff. Regional stations might only have one platform and a ticket machine.

The CP website allows travelers to view all the available services and times at certain train stations in Portugal.

International Trains

There are international trains that connect major cities in Spain or Portugal. The Celta train connects Porto with Vigo (Spain). The overnight Lusitania train connects Lisbon to Madrid, Spain’s capital. Hendaye is a French border town that can arrange trains to other European destinations. These international trains can be booked through the CP website or Spain’s national railway company, RENFE.

Portugal Buses

Portugal is home to several private bus operators. Most of these companies are organized into regional companies that provide a network that includes bus services beyond the CP rail system.

Rede Expressos, Rodo-Norte, and Eva Transportes are the leading intercity bus companies. These bus companies offer modern buses with comfortable seating and reliable air-conditioning. You may also find food and drinks on some longer routes. Busses can often be loaded with luggage or pets, but you should always check the bus company’s terms and conditions to avoid surprises.

These are the four main types of bus services that Portugal offers. They can be found online at bus stations or on timetables.

  • Alta Qualidade
  • Expressos
  • Rapidas
  • Carreiras (CR)

Except for remote beaches and nature parks, you should be able to get to most places in the country via the local bus network. You should also be aware that bus services might be unavailable on weekends or very limited. You should always verify the timetables to avoid being left behind.

Carris is the bus company that runs buses in Lisbon. They usually run between 05:00 and 24:00. For information on routes and ticketing, visit their website.

Rede Expressos is not the only international bus company that operates in Portugal. There are also a few bus companies that use it within their networks.

Flixbus – offers flights from Portugal to destinations across Europe, including Vienna, Paris, and Amsterdam.

Alsa – Spain’s national bus company covers routes to Madrid, Sevilla, and Barcelona and some routes into France.

Portugal bus tickets and prices

You can purchase tickets for intercity buses at bus stations and online. Rede Expressos offers an app for iOS and Android. It can be used to book tickets and track your travel itinerary. You can also sign-up for their RFLEX program to receive substantial travel discounts and better customer service.

You cannot book local buses in advance. This means that you must visit a bus stop to view the timetable. Tickets can be purchased on board or at a kiosk nearby. One-way tickets in Lisbon cost EUR1.50-EUR2 and EUR6 for a daily pass. A Viva Viagem Card, which allows you to get reduced fares on all public transport in Lisbon, is also available.

The card is EUR0.50 and valid for one year. It can be topped up with EUR5-20 in different denominations. If you’re only visiting the city for a few days, the Lisboa Card may be worth considering. It offers discounts at most tourist sites and unlimited public transportation.

  • These are the costs for day passes in Lisbon:
  • One-day card: EUR20 (adults), EUR13 (4-15 years)
  • Two-day card: EUR34 (adults), EUR19 (4-15 years)
  • Three-day card: EUR42 (adults), EUR22.50 (4-15 years)

You can purchase an Andante Monthly Card in Porto for EUR40. This card allows unlimited travel across all public transport areas of the city. You can also get an Andante Tour Card for EUR40, allowing unlimited travel for 24 hours (EUR7) and 72 hours (EUR15). The Porto Card gives you unlimited access to public transportation, discounts at tourist attractions, and free entry to city museums. These are the costs:

  • One-day card: EUR13
  • Two-day card: EUR20
  • Three-day card: EUR25
  • Four-day card: EUR33

Maps and timetables for buses in Portugal

Portugal has buses that run all day. They have regular routes between 05:00 and 24:00. There are also night buses, but they have limited routes and serve only significant cities.

Most intercity carriers have their websites and mobile apps that provide live departure information and timetables. The best place to find out about local services, programs, and travel routes is usually at the local bus stations (Rodoviaria, Camionagem).

Taxis, ride-sharing, and other services for cars in Portugal

Taxis are readily available in major cities. They can offer great deals at the correct hour. After 21:00, weekends and holidays are when rates rise by 20%. Portugal is safe and reliable. However, it is a good idea to inquire about the rate beforehand and give the driver the address of your destination.

TaxiFareFinder will give you an estimate of the cost of your trip. Taxi stands are available in major cities, near top-end hotels and train stations. You can call Retalis or Cooptaxis to arrange a taxi.

Uber has had a complicated history in Portugal. However, Uber can now operate in major cities like Lisbon, Porto, and Braga. Other ride-sharing platforms like Bolt or Cabify are also available. BlaBlaCar, Bolivia, and other ride-sharing services are becoming more popular in Portugal.

They are instrumental in rural areas. To compare the prices of ride platforms with traditional taxis, it is worth comparing them to determine which offers the most convenience and affordability.

Portugal offers other public transport options.

Metro System

Lisbon and Porto are the only cities in Portugal with a metro network. Both networks are safe, reliable, and efficient. Lisbon’s metro system has four lines and 52 stations. Thirty-one of these stations provide full access with lifts and escalators.

Porto’s six lines are the most convenient way to reach the airport. Metro runs between 06:00 and 01:00. Consult the Porto Metro, and Lisbon Metro maps to find your connections.

Trams in Portugal

Lisbon and Porto have trams, funiculars, and other public transport options. These trips are included in the Andante or Viva Viagem transit cards. These are atmospheric routes to scenic miradouros (viewpoints). The Alfama’s narrow streets are also accessible by the historic tram 28 and 12. If you use them for your daily commute, arriving early in the morning or late in the evening is best. They’re very popular with tourists.

Lisbon’s trams are well-maintained, but they are pretty old

Bicycles in Portugal

Portugal is also embracing cycling as a way to get around. Many bike lanes run through major cities. Long-distance routes often take advantage of old rail lines from rural areas. Riders can use the Gira Bike bike-sharing network to pick up and drop their bikes off at various docking stations around Lisbon. After downloading the Gira app for Android and iOS, you can choose from the following subscription options: You can pay with a credit card, PayPal, or a check.

  • 24-hour pass (EUR10) for unlimited 45-minute rides
  • Monthly pass for EUR15; each 45-minute ride costs EUR0.10 (regular bikes) or EUR0.20 with e-bikes.
  • Annual pass: EUR25; each 45-minute ride costs EUR0.10 (regular bikes), EUR0.20 (e-bikes).

Portuguese residents are not eligible for monthly or annual subscriptions.

Discounts on public transport and financial assistance

Portugal’s government offers citizens the chance to apply for Passe Social+ cards. This card allows them to take advantage of the many discounts provided by bus and train operators. The card is part of Portugal’s social security system. Individuals must prove that they are either pensioners or low-income households. This model is approved for use in the Porto and Lisbon transport systems.

Disability-Accessible public transport in Portugal

Although full accessibility is possible across all public transport modes in Portugal, it is not always possible at all stops. However, the situation is improving. Bus operators are quickly deploying low-floor buses and improving audio announcements.

You can find special taxis at airports and taxi ranks that offer shuttle services for those with disabilities. Lisbon’s Accessible Tourism Guide contains tips and information about transportation, hotels, restaurants, attractions, and other services for people with special mobility requirements.

How eco-friendly is Portugal’s public transport system?

Portugal’s 25% of energy-related CO2 emissions are caused by transport. As more people move to cities, Portugal is under increasing pressure to reduce its transport-related CO2 emissions.

Lisbon was the 11th European Green Capital Award recipient in 2020. Lisbon has modernized and strengthened its public transport system, simplified ticketing, and offers commuters additional discounts. Since 2018, public transport trips have increased by 65 million.

Lisbon has built 200 km of new bicycle paths in its municipality, and the Gira Bike bike-sharing system has been extended across the city. The city has significantly increased the number of hybrid and public electric vehicles it owns. They aim to have 420 new buses and 25 streetcars on roads by 2023, reducing car travel from 57% to 33%.

Lisbon and 57 other companies signed the Corporate Mobility Pact to create a more sustainable transportation system. Lisbon was also the first European city to adopt the Mobility Data Specification. This allows shared bikes and other mobility providers to access their data, which helps transport authorities improve their planning and management.

Safety tips for public transportation

Portugal’s public transport system is efficient and safe. Due to Portugal’s low crime rate, public transit is easy to use during regular hours.

It’s essential to keep an eye on your belongings when traveling by train or other public transportation hubs. You should be extra careful if you rush to catch a crowded train or bus. This can make you more vulnerable to being pickpockets. To avoid any scams, be honest with taxi drivers about the destination and price of the trip at the beginning of your journey.

How to file a complaint about public transport

All complaints and lost/found claims must be directed to the transport company. Below is the contact information.

  • CP: Customer Service, Lost and found
  • Rede Expressos: Lost and Found Customer Service
  • Metro Lisboa – Complaints and Lost and Found
  • Metro do Porto: Complaints, Lost and Found
  • Carris: Lost and Found, Complaints, and Lost

For assistance with retrieving lost items, you can also contact the lost and found a portal of Portugal (in Portuguese).