Whether your holiday to Portugal means staying in Lisbon or venturing to the Algarve, there are a multitude of ways to get around! In this post, we highlight 3 of our top tips on getting around Portugal!
1. Use public transportation in Lisbon
Public transportation is an efficient and inexpensive way of getting around Lisbon. All types of fares can be loaded to the Viva Viagem card (which costs €0.50 to purchase) and can be used for the metro, bus, tram, funiculars, and Elevador de Santa Justa as well as ferries and trains. Do note that each person must have their own Viva Viagem card.
When we arrived in Lisbon, we took the metro from the airport to the city centre for only €1.50 per person for a single ticket. If you plan to use public transportation more frequently, you can buy the 24-hour unlimited ticket for €6.40 per person. The only caveat with this is that you can only buy this type of fare at a metro station.
The other thing to note is that only one fare type can be loaded onto a card at a time. For example, we still had a little bit of time left on our 24-hour unlimited tickets, which meant they were still active fares, so we had to purchase new Viva Viagem cards to buy our train tickets to Sintra.
2. Try out an electric scooter in Belem, Lisbon
In the area of Belem in Lisbon, there are various monuments to see along the water. As it was incredibly hot during our visit, the idea of a 20-minute walk back to the bus stop felt like forever, so we decided to try out an electric scooter!
There are tons of electric scooters available all over Lisbon, and everything is done via apps. We chose a company called Lime and ended up paying £2.42 each for an approximately 10-minute ride. (We were billed in £, not €.)
The best part about hiring an electric scooter is that when you’re done, you can park the scooter anywhere (within reason, of course). It doesn’t have to go back to any designated spots like many bike hires require you to do. You simply take a photo of where you’ve parked the scooter, virtually lock it via the app, and that’s it! It was incredibly refreshing to feel the breeze as you zipped along.
3. Beware of road tolls if hiring a car
Cars typically offer the most freedom when it comes to getting around, and this is definitely the case when going from Lisbon to the Algarve and around the Algarve. However, do beware that Portugal, despite being a relatively inexpensive country for Western tourists, has some extortionate road tolls.
Some roads have automatic toll points, meaning that your car hire should come with a transponder device so that electronic payment can be taken. Our car hire came with a transponder device loaded with €15.00 worth of credit, which was deducted every time we passed a toll point. There are big signs on the road informing you of an upcoming toll point and the cost, depending on the size of your vehicle, so you shouldn’t be caught off guard.
Other roads have gates where you can pay by cash or card. The road from Lisbon to the Algarve is by far the most expensive as it charges you for the entire stretch of road. All in all, we paid €46.65 in road tolls. Yikes!
If you’re not rushed for time going from Lisbon to the Algarve or vice versa, you can avoid the road tolls by going on smaller roads, which would extend your journey by about 1 hour each way. At the same time, you should also factor in the extra cost of petrol against the cost of the tolls to see if it’s worth it!
We also have some videos on YouTube on our experience in Lisbon and the Algarve! Be sure to check it out and subscribe for future videos!
We hope you found these tips on getting around Portugal helpful! Have you ever visited Portugal? What was your favourite mode of transportation? Or which seems to be the best? Let us know in the comments!