How to travel by metro in Porto (by Ana Guedes)
The Porto Metro is one of the most common ways for travelling in Porto. With a few different lines, the network covers many areas of the city and even different counties.
If you are not hiring a car, this will probably be the transport of your choice when you are in town. It’s a comfortable, clean and easy way to reach the places marked on your map. All carriages have air-conditioning, so there’s no chance you suffocate inside them. And, guess what… most of the lines run above the ground (and not underground like in many world cities), so the journeys became very pleasant and not claustrophobic. And you can see the local living outside through the carriage huge windows.
Find a station
6 different lines and more than 80 stations (and counting) make the equation of Metro do Porto. Many of the stations are on the street level and have absolutely no barriers to get in. And this barrier-question repeats on the inside, so be aware that you must validate your journey ticket before getting in the train (most distracted ones might forget it).
Some metro stations might seem not that easy to find but it’s common to stumble across signs with the logo of metro (a blue/white rounded “M”) indicating the direction of the closest station. Anyway, you can pick up a network map in any station and you’re good to go! To travel on the Metro you just need to have a card called “Andante”.
Where to Buy “Andante” card
Almost everywhere in the city: Airport (if you just arrived and somehow have your trip programmed, it’s a good option), Train and Metro Stations, Pay Shop Agents (look for the red flags on newspaper sellers, buildings or coffees) and the automatic machines – most of them at the stations themselves. During your stay you will only need one Andante card (0,50€), that you will charge with as many journeys as you need. One journey will cost you 1,20€ and, if you buy 10 journeys at once, you will get 1 extra for free. You can pay cash or use your credit card.
Picking the right direction
Once you are in a station it’s time for you to pick the direction you want to go. At a first sight, it may seem a little bit complicated but the system is no different from any other metro or subway in the world.
All stations are equipped with an electronic display showing the final destination and the estimated arrival time of the train. So, you just have to check your pocket map or the big ones at the station. The indoor stations have signs close to the staircases with the correspondent letter of the line. For each case, these are the following line:
– “A” line (blue): between Senhor de Matosinhos and Estágio do Dragão.
– “B” line (red): between Póvoa de Varzim and Estádio do Dragão
– “C” line (green): between ISMAI and Campanhã
– “D” line (yellow): between Hospital de São João and Santo Ovídio
– “E” line (purple): between Airport and Estádio do Dragão
– “F” line (orange): between Senhora da Hora and Fanzeres
The next question is: what side of the line? Close to the staircase there is trajectory information with a yellow line indicating the final destination and all the stations in between. If you can’t find the station you want to go to, maybe you should look on the opposite staircase because you are on the wrong side. In doubt, simply ask someone!
Keep in mind that your ticket is valid for 1 hour after validation, but every time you change lines you need to validate it on the automatic yellow machines, before entering the train. You’ll only be charge once within that hour. DO NOT validate when your way out.
The yellow validation machines will be visible to you. At the outdoor stations, they will be in each end of the platform. At the indoor ones, this might change whether the station have just one line or is a crossing point of lines. Anyway, they will be in your way and you will not miss them! You should not travel without validating your Andante and there’s a chance you may have to show your ticket to an inspector who asks you for it.
Other tips and recommendations
– Both when entering or exiting the trains you have to press the round button at the doors to open them, when the green light is on.
– The frequency changes: weekends and late hours are less crowded, so there aren’t so many trains. Check schedules at Metro do Porto website.
– Bicycles are allowed!
– From the waiting platform to the train there’s no need to worries about gaps: the level of the floor is basted with the carriage (no “mind the gap” warnings on the speakers).
– If you are colorblind there’s a system especially designed for “translating” the color lines.