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Transportation and Healthcare in Lisbon

A city of immense cultural wealth, stunning architecture, music, and cuisine — Lisbon, Portugal’s capital, has much to offer and could prove to be the perfect destination in which to further your career. Our expat guide tells you all you need to know!

Chaotic Traffic in a Small City

In the past few decades, Lisbon has experienced rapid and widespread suburbanization, mostly due to record-high rents. Many people, particularly those just entering their business life and many of the middle class, may prefer a longer daily commute over extortionate rents.

This obviously poses a giant problem for the city and its surrounding municipalities: commuters driving to and from Lisbon every day cause a lot of traffic congestion. In order to cope with this overwhelming number of commuters, three circular highways were constructed to connect the city with the suburbs. Having said this, in the metropolitan area of Lisbon, traffic can still be heavy. Planning ahead will almost certainly aid you in your journey in or out of Lisbon.

The Better Alternative: Public Transportation

Taking advantage of the excellent and comprehensive public transportation systems is advisable and is almost certainly the best way to get around the city. Upon arrival in Lisbon, it is possible to apply for a Lisboa Viva card at one of the points of sale, which offers advantages for commuters and discounted journeys on several public transportation operators including the Lisbon metro, Carris bus and tram routes, Comboios de Portugal urban trains, and the Transtejo ferry service.

This discount card is obtainable for just 7 EUR and will be delivered within ten working days. However, should you need the card more urgently, express delivery is available for 12 EUR and your card should arrive within one working day. The Lisboa Viva card will be valid from anytime between three and six years depending on the customer profile. In order to obtain the card, please bring with you the necessary documents: 

  • filled-out requisition form
  • birth certificate
  • identity card (EU citizens) or passport
  • recent passport photo with a white background

The backbone of public transportation is the Lisbon Metro, which extends from the city center to the neighborhoods surrounding it. Additional bus and tram services stop almost everywhere in town. The city’s public transportation provider, Transportes de Lisboa (Carris), offers an overview of the network on their website. Another very useful feature of the page is the route planner, which finds the quickest and easiest way to travel from A to B.

Last but not least, Comboios de Portugal suburban trains allow for easy trips to and from the metro region. The four lines begin in Lisbon and end in Cascais, Sintra, Azambuja, and Sado, respectively.

You’re Well Taken Care Of

In terms of all things related to healthcare and physical well-being, expats in Lisbon have both the best and most numerous options available in all of Portugal. More than 20 hospitals, both public and private and covering various special areas of medicine, are located within Lisbon and its metropolitan area. Additionally, health centers and small clinics abound and can be found in every district — help should always be at hand. The US Embassy in Portugal offers an overview of recommended healthcare facilities and professionals within the city area.

Further information on the Portuguese healthcare system and health insurance options for expats can be found in our article on living in Portugal.


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