The Viva Viagem rechargeable card makes travelling on public transport in Lisbon really easy. We bought ours at the airport Metro station and noticed how many tourists were standing at the automatic machines scratching their heads as they were unsure what to buy. It didn’t help that the instructions were high on the wall out of the eyeline of anyone shorter than 8 feet tall! Here are some tips on how to buy the card and recharge the card. The Viva Viagem card can be bought from any of the automatic ticket machines which can be found in the entrance hall of all Metro stations and the train stations of Rossio and Cais do Sodré. We bought and initially loaded our cards at a Metro station and later recharged them at a train station, so the machines look slightly different in the photos below, but the principle is the same.
All the machines are touch-screen. The first thing to do is choose a language. Instructions will then appear in the language of your choice.To buy a new card, select ‘Without a reusable card’.Then choose the number of cards you require. Please note that each person must have their own card. Each card costs 50 cents and this will be added to the total you will pay. Do a different transaction for each card you require, so select ‘1 Viva Viagem card’.Then choose ‘Stored Value’. This will take you to the next screen where you can select an amount to add to the card between €3 and €40.A screen will appear asking for a VAT number. Press ‘Cancel’, as this only applies to Portuguese residents.Then select your method of payment. The machines accept cash or credit/debit cards.
To recharge the card or to find out the balance on the card after selecting the language you want the instructions in, select the ‘With a reusable card’ option and put the card in the card reader slot or on the card reader panel, depending on the type of machine. The balance will appear on the screen. Select ‘Recharge’ and continue as before, choosing the amount you want to top-up. You will not be charged 50 cents to top-up. Don’t remove the card from the reader until you have completed the top-up.
The card can be used on the Metro, trams, funiculars and the Santa Justa lift, buses, ferries and some suburban trains (including trains to Sintra, Estoril and Cascais). To enter the Metro and train platforms hold the card over the scanner and the gates will open. Do the same to leave. On buses, trams, funiculars and the Santa Justa lift you only need to scan it at the start of the journey either on the scanner next to the driver or, on modern trams, on the scanners located throughout the tram. You cannot top-up the card on buses or trams, so make sure you have enough credit on the card before boarding.Fares
As well as the convenience, another good reason to buy a rechargeable Viva Viagem card is that journeys work out cheaper than with a standard ticket. For example, as of 2017 a one-way journey on the Metro, bus, tram, funicular and Santa Justa lift costs €1.30 and a one-way ticket to Sintra or Cascais by train is €1.85.