If you are planning to visit Lisbon, by far the best way to move around the city is by using the Zapping Card – a pay-as-you-go public transport card. With this card it is possible to use any kind of public transportation in Lisbon:
It also works in the most of transport that connects Lisbon with the surrounding metropolitan area. This includes boats and urban trains.
You can get your Zapping Card at any train or metro station. It’s a green or white card that will get you pretty much anywhere in the city. To get your card, you need to go to a machine and select the option of “I don’t have a card” and “Zapping.”
The card itself costs 0.50€, and you can charge it with 3, 5, 10 or 20€. You can recharge it as many times as you want by using one of the machines found in metro and train stations.
You can find more information about the Zapping Card on the official website, though it is in Portuguese only.
Zapping vs. One-Way ticket prices
One important benefit of using the Zapping Card is that it usually works out cheaper than buying one-way tickets. For example:
Train Lisbon – Sintra:
- one way ticket: 2,25€;
- zapping: 1,90€
Metro ride in Lisbon:
- one way ticket: 1,45€;
- zapping: 1,31€
Train Cais-do-Sodré – Belém:
- one way ticket: 1,30€;
- zapping: 1,90€
Although in the above example, it’s more expensive to use the Zapping Card to get from Cais-do-Sodré to Belém, it still presents the advantage of not having to wait in line at the ticket office to get a one-way ticket.
For trains, the ticket costs the same amount, regardless of which station you’re going to. That’s because, with the Zapping Card, you get charged per ride and not by distance.
Prices using Zapping
- Bus – 1,30€;
- Tram/funicular – 1,30€;
- Train – 1,90€;
- Metro in Lisbon – 1,31€;
- Metro in Almada – 0,85€;
- Lisbon-Cacilhas – 1.25€
- Lisbon-Seixal – 2.35€
- Lisbon-Montijo – 2.70€
- Lisbon-Barreiro – 2.35€
If you have a green or white carton card in your hand, like the one in the images above, it doesn’t mean that you have a Zapping Card. That is just a carton card, which can be used for putting things like metro tickets, train tickets or Zapping Card rides. However, the card can only hold one type of ticket at a time. The only way to know what kind of ticket you have on it is to go to the sales desk or the ticket machine and check it out. If the card has a metro ticket on it, it cannot be loaded with Zapping credit. If you have two cards, which look exactly the same from the outside, it’s best to write a note on each one to help you identify them.
If you are in Lisbon for a few days or more, buy Zapping, since anything else will be more expensive and more time-consuming to get.