How to move around by bus in Porto
Travelling by bus in Porto is a budget option and a good choice if you are moving inside or around the city borders and want to see the entire journey from the window, noticing every detail on every street.
The Porto bus network (STCP) works generally well and reaches almost everywhere, more than the Metro lines. The buses are modern and comfortable, with air-conditioned, digital information boards and many run on natural gas.
If you’re planning to move around by bus and metro, you should definitely buy a “Andante”. For one, two or infinite trips, this rechargeable paper card will be your best friend during your stay in Porto. You can charge it with single or multiple journeys, saving money instead of paying each journey inside the bus. You can buy and charge the Andante Card almost everywhere in the city. At the airport, metro and train stations, some bus stops, kiosks, Pay Shop agents (look for the red flags on newspaper shops, buildings or coffees) and many other places.
How much it costs
One single journey will cost you 1,80€ if purchased inside the bus. The “Andante” card will cost you 0,50€ (you just need to buy one per person for your stay) plus 1,20€ for each added journey. If you buy 10 journeys you will get one for free. Outside of the city central limits the fare goes up a bit. Please check the Andante website for all fares.
For 24 or 72 nonstop hours you can buy “Andante Tour Ticket” – especially for tourists. The first option will cost you 7€ and the second one 15€. These cards allow you to take unlimited journeys for that time period and are not rechargeable.
Inside the bus you can only pay with cash but in stations and other places you can also use your visa card.
How to use Porto bus network
After buying the card and top it up it with journeys you’re ready to travel by bus. There are many stops all over the city and each one has a big board with the timetable and itinerary of the buses that stops there.
Each bus is “codified” by a 3-digit sign and the first number is related with the destination place: 2 is for West Porto, 3 for North, 4 for East, 5 for Matosinhos, 6 for Maia, 7 for Valongo, 8 for Gondomar and 9 for Vila Nova de Gaia. In case of doubts, consult the bus stop itinerary, which indicates all the stops during your route. During the night period (from around midnight to 6 am) buses are codified with the “M” letter and the network is less extended. Night or day, bicycles aren’t allowed.
Usually, central and high traffic stops have an electronic display indicating the estimated arrival time for your bus. You can also send a paid SMS to a number of the stop and seconds after you’ll receive that information by text.
Once you get inside the bus it’s time to validate your “Andante” by passing it in front of the machine, activating the magnetic system and charging you for the ride. During a period of one hour that journey is active and you can change to other bus, metro or train without being charged again, although you do have to pass the card through the machine when you change transport.
Other tips and recommendations
- Respect the waiting line at the stop
- If needed, raise your arm when the bus you want to catch is coming. This way, the driver will know that you want to get inside
- Inspectors do come inside the bus asking for your (validated ) ticket
- If you’re not so certain about the limits (Zones) you’re traveling, ask for a map in a tourism station or consult the itinerary map at the stop
- You won’t be lost on the route. Inside the bus there’s a display with the name of the next stop and, in doubt, ask the driver – if he doesn’t understand your language, maybe someone will help you (lucky to have such friendly people!)
- Journeys are free for children under 4.