Getting around Lisbon – your green card to public transportation

Yesterday I was touring around with Paula Thomas and her family. They’re a lovely (big) family from California who are spending a couple of weeks in Portugal and some days in Lisbon. We did a “Old and downtown” walking tour together ,to get their bearings of the city ,and the first thing we did was to buy public transportation tickets, aka “Viva Viagem”.

“Viva viagem” is a green card that you can buy in subway stations and other public transportation offices. It works like a credit card, and every time that you use it, they automatically take out the cost of your journey.

When you buy it choose the option “zapping” and then choose the amount you want do charge: 2€, 5€, 10€ or 15€. Don’t worry about adding too much money, just keep the white receipt that comes with it and before you leave Lisbon, go to a counter with the card and your receipt. You’ll be returned the unused credit.

During your stay in Lisbon, as long as your credit is enough, you’ll be able to use it on board of the trams, buses, historical elevators, subway, trains that go to Sintra and Cascais, and also on the ferries that cross the river. These trips cost 1.40€ using these cards, but if you buy the tickets on board, they can cost up to 5€.

There are three things no one tells you. 1st- these cards are rechargeable: if your credit finishes, just go to another office or machine, insert your card and add some money. The card itself costs 0.50€. 2nd- These cards are very easy to break or demagnetize. Don’t store them together, in your pocket, close to your credit card nor to your cellphone. 3rd- Don’t throw the white receipt away: you’ll need it to get your credit back or to recover it in case your card stops working.

With all this you’ll be saving about 1€ per journey, which you can easily spend on our wonderful “café”, delicious “pastéis de nata” or fresh “imperiais”.

This entry was posted in General Tips, How to... and tagged , , , by Catia L.. Bookmark the permalink.

About Catia L.

Hi, I'm Catia and I'm a licensed tour guide in Portugal. Some years ago I decided to create my own, small, tours company. It's been fun to share my love for Portugal with my clients and since not everyone is able to travel, I've decided to create this blog to share my passion with you. It's full of travel tips, recipes, events, random posts... I hope that you enjoy reading it!

11 thoughts on “Getting around Lisbon – your green card to public transportation

  1. Thanks for sharing that with us, it’s always nice to learn this trips and tricks that save us some time and money!
    I think that I’ll just buy one of these cards when we arrive and then enjoy the city without worrying about public transportation.
    BTW – I’m so looking forward to our tour with you :)

  2. Thank you for the info! I’ve had some troubles with my green card, but it is quiet simple to use. Your tips are very good, wish I knew them before!

    • Hi Karl, don’t worry: I know so many Portuguese people who still struggle with their green cards… You’re not the only one!
      At least now you know how to use it, for your next visit to Lisbon :)

  3. post has been excellent and i have referred it to many of my friends. my honour for the work that you have done. thank you once again.

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