Complete guide to use the bus in Porto
Half day tour in Porto
In general, the bus system in Porto works quite well. The schedules are usually met, the vehicles are safe and the best routes are in place to take you wherever you want to go.
Moreover, there is free wifi in practically the entire bus fleet of STCP (and it works very well). Therefore, there is no reason to not take a bus in Porto!
At this point, probably you’ve already arranged a Porto airport transfer and you’re on your way to discover the city. So I wrote this guide to teach you how to use the bus in Porto. As it is a long article, use this Table of Content to jump to the sections that most interest you:
- 1 Main Tourist Routes
- 2 Bus to / from the airport of Porto
- 3 Tourist Specific Bus
- 4 Where to buy tickets for the bus in Porto
- 5 How to check the schedules of the bus in Porto
- 6 SMS BUS
- 7 Transport of strollers, wheelchairs, pets, bikes and surfboards on the bus in Porto
- 8 Basic rules to use the bus of Porto:
Main Tourist Routes
Port Wine Cellars Route
Lines 502, 500 and 901 – Lasting 60 minutes, this route is perfect to get to know important monuments of the city as well as the Port wine lodges.
This route goes through sites such as Casa da Música, Serralves Contemporary Museum, the Sea Life Porto, among others.
Porto – Gaia Route
Lines 502, 500 and 904 – In this journey of around 60 minutes, you have the privilege to discover the wonderful city of Porto and its closeby city, Gaia, just across the Douro river.
Douro and Culture Route
Lines 502, 507 and 500 – For those who are more interested in getting to know the Portuguese culture, this is the route to choose.
During two hours, you can see the wonderful Douro River, the Sea Life Porto, Casa da Música, St. Francis church, the Stock Exchange Palace, São Bento train station, Avenida dos Aliados, the cathedral of Porto, the Clérigos Tower, and several churches along the way.
Line 207 – The name of the route says it all! Lasting 40 minutes, it connects the museums of Porto: the Museum of Science and Natural History, Soares dos Reis National Museum, the Romantic Museum of Quinta da Macieirinha, the Planetarium, the Botanical Gardens and Serralves Contemporary Museum.
Lines 502, 500 and 301 – This route is very similar to ones mentioned above, connecting historical points of the city but with the advantage of stoping by the faculties of Porto.
Bus to / from the airport of Porto
There are several daily connections with destination / origin at Porto’s airport. There are 3 lines:
- Line 601 Cordoaria – Airport – It runs from 5h30 to 18h30, departing every 25 minutes. Main stops: Cordoaria; Galiza Square; Boavista – Bom Sucesso; Boavista – Casa da Música; Rotunda A.E.P.; Exponor; Pedras Rubras; Airport.
- Line 602 Cordoaria – Airport Via Padrão de Moreira – It also runs 5h30 to 18h30, departing every 25 minutes. Main stops: Cordoaria; Carolina Michaelis; Monte dos Burgos; Standard of the League; Ponte de Moreira; Pedras Rubras; Airport.
- Line 604 Hospital São João – Airport – It operates between 6h and 21h, with a frequency of 30 minutes. Main stops: Hospital S. João; Ponte da Pedra; Vasco da Gama; Maia (Zoo); Default Moreira; Crestins; Pedras Rubras; Airport.
Tourist Specific Bus
There are buses in Porto specifically designed for tourists, that allow you to visit the most important spots of the city in the cheapest way possible.
The Hop On Hop Off bus is the most popular, taking you on a tour of the most important monuments of Porto. Moreover, it has an open deck on the top, for you to enjoy the cool breeze in warmer days.
You can buy your Hop On Hop Off bus tour ticket, but it is smarter to buy combo tickets that allow you to save some good money:
- You can get a combo ticket for the Hop On Hop Off Bus + River cruise + Port wine cellar for 25,20€. This is incredibly cheap because the river cruise costs 15€, a visit to a Port wine lodge around 15 / 18€ and the Hop on Hop off Bus around 18€/day. Save yourself some bucks by buying this online ticket.
- Another option is to get the combo ticket for the Hop On Hop Off bus + Tram + Guindais’ Elevator. This is the best option if you want to explore the city using traditional Portuguese transports – the tram is a cuttie, and I bet you won’t find such a peculiar elevator anywhere else in the world!
Where to buy tickets for the bus in Porto
There are several options when it comes to tickets for the bus in Porto.
The first option is the Andante card. The prices vary depending on the number of zones and the number of trips that you want to take. You can read about the Andante card on my extensive article about the subway of Porto, as this card is valid not only on the buses of Porto but also on the subway.
There is also the Andante Tour , which gives you free access to all the buses in Porto, to the subway and to the urban trains (between Espinho and Valongo), allowing an unlimited number of trips. This card has to be validated on all trips, and is not rechargeable. It is available in 2 versions:
– Andante Tour 1, valid for 24 consecutive hours after the first validation. The price of this card is 7€.
– Andante Tour 3, valid for 72 consecutive hours after the first validation. It costs 15€.
The Andante Tour can be purchased at Andante Stores, CP Tickets with Andante sale and Tourism Offices at the Airport of Porto.
However, if you are visiting the city and want to explore the main monuments of Porto, I advise you to buy the Porto Card, the city’s official card. This card gives you free access to all buses, metro and urban trains, as well as free entry to six monuments and up to 50% discounts on the tickets of all the other monuments. It’s really worth it!
You can purchase your Porto Card for 1, 2, 3 or 4 days.
Lastly, there is Agente Único, a single use card purchased on the bus, that is valid only on that specific trip. I don’t recommend you to but this ticket as it is more expensive (2€) – it is as a last minute option of you’re in a hurry or simply forgot to buy your ticket in advance.
How to check the schedules of the bus in Porto
It is possible to check the schedule of any bus in Porto on the website www.stcp.pt, at all the bus stops or by using the SMS BUS service (I’ll explain this system down below).
At some stops there is an electronic board that indicates the waiting time of all bus lines at that specific stop. Normally the waiting times are meet, unless there is a strike.
SMS BUS is a service that allows you to know in real time how long the bus will take to arrive. You send an SMS and in a couple of seconds you’ll receive another one telling you which buses will arrive at the bus stop or the schedule of the bus you want. There are 2 different ways of using the service SMS BUS:
- To know the next 4 buses to pass at that stop: send a SMS to the number 68998 with the stop code (the code is in the right upper corner of the stop).
- To find out the next 4 buses of a specific line at that stop: the process is very similar – send a SMS to the number 68998 with the stop code, and the number of the bus line that you want to know the schedule about.
Each SMS sent costs 0.25€.
Transport of strollers, wheelchairs, pets, bikes and surfboards on the bus in Porto
Strollers and wheelchairs can travel on buses that have the universal symbol of accessibility, since only these have a reserved seat and an appropriate seat belt. For safety reasons, only a stroller or a wheelchair can travel on a bus at the same time.
However, it is forbidden to carry bikes, and surfboards can only be carried on the platform near the exit door of the bus.
For those who have animals, it is possible to transport them in all the buses in Porto as long as they are in good health and are transported in proper containers.
The animals must be transported safely and never occupying a place. The transport of animals does not have any additional cost.
Basic rules to use the bus of Porto:
1- When waiting for the bus, you must wait for your turn on the queue.
2- Avoid delays by validating your ticket in advance.
3 – Whenever possible, sit as close to the rear so that more passengers can enter.
4 – When you are arriving at your exit stop, press the STOP button and get closer to the exit door, in order to avoid delays.
5- There are priority places for the elderly, disabled, pregnant women and for people accompanying children. Anyone can use these places but are obliged to stand up as soon as a passenger with any of these conditions enters the vehicle.
6- Eating, drinking and smoking inside the bus is strictly forbidden.