The Porto Metro system is a great transport system. Having been completed for the Euro 2004 finals, which Portugal hosted, the tracks are in good condition and the trams are modern and comfortable. The network takes you through the centre of Porto and over the River Douro to Vila Nova de Gaia, as well as to the airport, FC Porto stadium (Estádio do Dragão) and other outlying districts. You can also travel north to Póvoa de Varzim (where there is a lively casino).
The big question for tourists, though, is “How do I buy a ticket?” Buying a ticket for the Porto Metro is actually simple. You can go to a train or bus station and look for an Andante shop, or you can buy a ticket at the automatic machines in stations.
The simplest ticket is the blue Andante card, which lets you pay per journey. The key thing to know about this card is that it can only be charged with one type of journey. For example, if you are travelling from zone 2 to a zone 3 station, you buy a zone 3 type. Then you cacharge the card with as many journeys (“títulos”) as you like for that type If you travel to different zones over different days, the problem is that you can’t keep different Andante cards in your pocket and know which is which, so it’s best to charge your card with only the journeys you make in one day, then the next day, if you are buying journeys for a different zone, you can change the journey type before you buy your “títulos”.
Here’s a quick checklist of what to know about buying and using Andante tickets on Porto Metro
- Each person travelling must have one Andante card. (You cannot, for example, buy one card and put four “títulos” on it for a family of four. If an inspector stops you he will ask you to buy three more tickets.
- Don’t put too many journeys on an Andante card if you think you will change zones.
- The first time you buy a ticket in a machine, you have to buy the Andante card, which is €0.50.
- Before you get on the train, you must validate your card by holding it in front of the sensor - when it beeps your ticket has been validated for the journey.
- If you are going to be travelling for a few days in Porto, consider an Andante Tour or an Andante Gold ticket.
For information on prices and more instructions, see the Metro do Porto website.