The original, independent guide to Lisbon
Lisbon metro is inexpensive, safe and often the fastest method to travel around the capital. There are four metro lines, covering a total of 46km of track and served by 55 metro stations.
The first service of the day is at 6:30am and the last service of the night is at 1:00am (some minor stations close at 9:30pm). The frequency of services depends on the time of day and day of the week, but typically there is a departure every 6-12 minutes.
The metro is the recommended means of travel from Lisbon airport to the city centre and it should be the preferred means of travel when exploring the city. This guide will provide an overview of the metro network, details of fares and a 2019 map of Lisbon Metro
Related articles: Lisbon airport to city centre – taxi guide - tram guide
There are two fare zones for Lisbon’s metro, but all of the main tourist areas and the airport are within zone 1. The 2019 Lisbon metro fare prices are:
• €1.50 – Single Fare
• €6.40 – 24-hour unlimited travel, which includes all Lisbon buses and trams.
Note: There are no return tickets, but multiple single tickets can be purchased for return journeys.
The fare is charged to the reusable “Viva Viagem” card, which costs €0.50 for the initial purchase. This card can be used to store a range of metro tickets including multiple single fares, the 24-hour pass or the “Zapping” credit.
Note: Each passenger requires their own Viva Viagem ticket.
The Viva Viagem card is used by all of Lisbon’s urban and suburban public transport, and this includes the commuter ferries and trains to Sintra and Cascais. The Viva Viagem card is valid for 12 months.
Even though the card is used by all of Lisbon’s public transport it is only able to store one type of fare (for example a metro ticket, a train fare or a 24-hour urban pass). It is unable to store multiple different fares, and the option around this is to use the “Zapping” credit.
A zapping ticket allows credit to be charged to the Viva Viagem card, which can be used to pay for all public transport. This ticket is useful if you are going to use public transport, but are never going to use it enough to warrant the 24-hour unlimited ticket. The zapping fares are slightly cheaper than regular tickets; metro is €1.40 instead of €1.50, the tram is €1.25 instead of €2.85.
The other use of a Zapping ticket, is to pay for fares on the suburban trains or ferries, without the need to purchase another Viva Viagem card and avoids the long queues at the train stations. The Viva Viagem card can be charged with €3 to €40 at any metro ticket machine.
The ticket we use on the metro
When we are showing friends and family around Lisbon we always purchase the 24-hour unlimited ticket. This fantastic value ticket includes all bus, metros and trams, along with the funiculars and the Elevador de Santa Justa. A return on the Elevador de Santa Justa costs €5.50 and provides one of the best views of central Lisbon.
Tickets for the metro are purchased from either from the ticket offices or ticket machines. The ticket offices are always busy at the popular metro station, such as the airport or Rossio, or closed at the quieter metro stations. The ticket machines are user-friendly, logical and provide instructions in multiple languages, including English, French, Spanish and Portuguese.
Metropolitano de Lisboa (official Metro company) has created a very useful PDF showing all of the screens and stages to purchase a ticket from the vending machine, which can be seen here:
(link opens a new tab, and as its 1.4mb it may take a while to open….)
When a ticket is purchased from a ticket machine a receipt is printed, always take this receipt in case there is an issue with your Viva Viagem card. For each journey the card is used twice, to swipe into the metro station and out from the metro station. At the barrier place the Viva Viagem card on the sensor on the right side and the barrier will open. If you swipe the card to soon after the previous passenger the barrier will not open.
As with all public transport in busy cities be aware of your surrounds and do not offer thieves the opportunity to steal items. The amount of thefts on the Lisbon metro system is no worse than any other big city but always vigilant. If travelling late at night sit in busy carriages and away from dodgy looking people.
Lisbon metro map 2019
There are four metro lines and are conveniently colour coded; blue, yellow, green and red. The green metro line connects the tourist areas around Baixa and the train station to Cascais. The red metro line connects Expo Park and the airport to the other lines. The older yellow and blue lines follow Lisbon's main avenues heading north and north west and are of less importance for tourists.
Construction of Lisbon metro was started on 7 August 1955 and the first service was on the 29th December 1959. The initial metro was just 6.5km long and connected Baixa to Jardim Zoológico. During the 1980s a loop of central Lisbon was constructed and in 1995 the network was split into two lines, the Blue Line and the Yellow Line.
In May 1998 a third line, the Red Line, was constructed to connect Alameda station to the exhibition grounds of Expo 98. In 2004 the Blue, Yellow and Green lines were further extended. An extension to Portela Airport was opened in September 2013 and connects the red line to the airport which then in turn connects to all other lines. This connection did cause controversy as the airport is scheduled to be replaced in less than 10 years. The Lisbon metro network is now served by 55 stations and covers 46 kilometers (25 miles).