With a totally new light rail tram and tram-train system in Porto. You would think that there is no room for more in Portugals second biggest city? Well! There is. Porto had once a quite extensive tram network that was torn apart. Today the “Carro Electrico” heritage tramway is operated by STCP that owns 8 heritage trams still in use in Porto. These are historic trams with some of them dating back as far as 1872 when the first line of “American streetcars” of the city of Porto was inaugurated.
For many years, the tram system in Porto had more than 20 lines. By 1949, the network reached its maximum length of 150 kilometers track length. But as with many cities in the world. The car companies in the world had this vision spread everywhere to destroy old trams. So most were closed during the 1960s and 1970s. But Porto didn’t want to get rid of all so they kept 3 touristic lines alive. They were functioning between July 1978 and 2003. In 1996 the tram service changed to become touristic only but still 7 days a week schedule for them. Today they are still running on the streets of Porto. Remarkable!
I am sitting in Oslo, Norway so my knowledge of Porto became even bigger after my visit to it and when digging for info about Porto heritage tram for this article. I must say that I am positively surprised about the love for it and how well these American looking trams still rides on the streets of Porto in Portugal. They are still going on the steep streets of Porto up and down without issues.
I think that this service deserves to be mentioned. After my article about the new Metro do Porto Light Rail article. This is my next stop! Porto is one of the most beautiful cities in the world that’s worthy to preserve at all costs.
Heritage Trams in Porto runs every day all Year
It is fantastic to see that the tram enthusiasts have managed to keep these trams from 1920 in such good shape. In the city center of Porto, they give the town extra charisma and charm. Together with historic buildings in the town these trams feel rare but cared for. Which I think is a very nice feeling I think.
Not only is this heritage service good for locals that walk or work there. But also for the many tourists that visit the town to get to the feeling of the unique and complete atmosphere experience. Porto is a few world cities that were never touched by the bombs of World War II. So, Porto kept lots of old charisma which completes the image of the town I think. The mix of the old and the new in this town is striking. But they have a nice balance to it for sure.
The only downside of the system is that it is still a heritage system. It is still not part of the Metro de Porto fare system which is the only downside of it. But I can live with that as the heritage trams get lots of love and care by the tram enthusiasts in Porto.
Meet the Heritage trams at Aliados Light Rail station
- Line 1 runs between Passeio Alegre (Fort of Sao Francisco do Queijo (Foz)) and Infante. Meets Line 18 at Museu do Carro!
- Line 18 runs between Museo do Carro to Carmo with a loop in the city center. Meets Line 22 at Carmo!
- Line 22 runs between Carro in a loop towards Batalha. Connects with the Funicular that takes you to Ribeira beside Luiz I Bridge
I really welcome all enthusiasts and tourists that want to see really nice heritage trams to visit this place. You can reach the heritage tram line 22 from the Aliados underground Light Rail Metro do Porto station. Also if you take the funicular from Ribeira (which is not too far from Infante (end of Line 1)) to Batalha, you can have one of the most astonishing views over the Douro river and Luiz I Bridge above.
From Batalha, you can reach line 22 from here. You can take it to Carmol station where you can take line 18 down to Museu C. Electrico where you meet Line 1. Line 18 is the oldest line still in function even though none of these lines are part of the public transportation fare system for tourists and short-time visitors in the city which I think is not so good.
The route that Line 18 uses, where it meets Line 22 from Carnol station in the city sits on a hilltop in the city center. From there it goes down to the Douro river area and up again if you want. It is a really impressive stretch that will make you understand why they kept the trams if you go there. The remarkable fact is that these heritage trams climbs the steep roads that are as impressive as in Lisbon. But the engine sounds of these trams are unique. But as a bonus, they aren’t that crowded as those in Lisbon.
The Heritage Trams is sort of included into the Metro do Porto fare system
- Heritage Tram Museum Ticket includes one tram trip: 4 Euro
- Single ticket (valid for one trip, only available onboard): 3.50 Euro
- 2 travel tickets on someday: 6.00 Euro
- 2 days adult ticket: 10.00 Euro
- 2 days child ticket (from ages 4 to 12): 5.00 Euro
- Children under 4: Free
You can use the 500 bus along the Tram Line 1 in Porto. It is more affordable if you use a Metro do Porto ticket. If you are a tourist person that likes to see different parts of a town and its surroundings. Then an Andante 24 card is recommended. But If you only want to travel for 1 hour. Then an Andante Azul ticket should be enough. All of these Andante tickets are not included in the trams it seems from the info on Wikipedia. But after I’ve dug into the STCP site for Line 1, Line 18 and Line 22 it clearly says that some Andante cards can be used and STCP company site even links to Andante site too which got the same prices I found for my Metro do Porto article.
Short time visitors can’t use the Andante card for these trams
For visitors that will only visit Porto for a short time. They cant use Andante 24 on the trams. But an Andante monthly ticket is allowed in the heritage trams. The other tickets (single trip, 2 trips, 2 days) have a specific tariff. Andante 24 will not work in the trams. All Andante cards seem to be valid on these 3 lines. I have been asking about this around. So this section is updated after a nice answer regarding this confusion from STCP.
Without the possibility of using an Andante card. The official one single ride pass ticket costs 3.50 Euro, while a return ticket costs 6.00 Euro. This is the most affordable tickets to buy. There is a two-day unlimited pass too but it costs 10 Euro. For tram enthusiasts, this might be a gold ticket, but for others, it is a waste I think.
Because this is seen as 3 touristic lines. They have these prices which are meant for tourists only. But it would really benefit Porto town and the environmental thinking to implement these 3 lines into the other Andante tickets also. In Oslo the fare system allows any tickets to be used with metro line 1 is used by people and is seen as a touristic line up to Holmenkollen ski jump for the most and also the ferries during summer. They are all included in the public transportation Ruter fare system.
Plans for the future according to Wikipedia are to extend Line 1 from Passeio Alegre which is nearby Fort of Sao Francisco do Queijo (Foz). From Passeio Alegre it is planned to be extended to Castelo do Queijo or even Matosinhos and from Infante on the other side of Tram Line 1 to the São Bento railway station via Rua Mouzinho da Silveira. With this move, Tram Line 1 would link with the Funicular at Ribeira which goest up to Batalha where Tram Line 22 stops.
Heritage Tram museum at Museu do Carro where Line 1 and Line 18 meets
If you’d like to know a lot more about the fascinating world of the tram in Porto, I recommend you visit the Museu do Carro Eléctrico. It features interesting trams from various periods of Porto’s history. It is open 7 days a week all year almost.
- A single ticket for adults costs 4 Euro
- Children up to 12, students and seniors 2.50 Euro
- Children up to 4 can enter for free
Opening Hours for the Tram Museum
Mondays 14.00 (2 pm) to 18.00 (6 pm)
Tuesdays to Sundays: 10.00 (10 am) to 18.00 (6 pm)
If you come during the week there are much fewer people at the museum. The people that care for the trams in Porto love their work. So don’t be shy asking questions. They will gladly help you out. Also, one museum ticket also gives you a one-way ride on the trams running in the city. You can also get a 2-day ticket here.
Locations where to get the tickets for Heritage Trams
- When boarding the Tram
- Electric Car Museum (only 2 days)
- Hotels (only 2 days)
- Travel agencies (only 2 days)
- Selected kiosks (only 2 days)
Now you know where to get them. Where these heritage trams go and a bit history behind them. I never went to the museum when I visited Porto. But now I know what to do when I will be back.
Porto for me is such a beautiful place to be at that I will return. It’s my soul city I think.