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Lisbon to Porto by Train or Bus
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Lisbon and Porto are the two largest cities of Portugal and each has a unique appeal and charm. Lisbon is the vibrant and historic capital city, while Porto is more traditional and conservative. Both cities make for excellent holiday destinations and are connected by reliable and inexpensive public transport. This guide will detail how to travel from Lisbon to Porto using both bus and train.
Porto to Lisbon Transport Options
Porto is 310km to the north of Lisbon and the journey takes approximately 2.5-3.5 hours by public transport. Driving is faster but the toll road network is comparatively expensive and the toll roads use an overly complicated automated system for collecting fees. If renting a car in Portugal, always check with the hire company regarding their process for paying tolls, as fines can be very expensive. There is no need to hire a car to travel between Lisbon and Porto as there are excellent public transport services and the cost of the road tolls is equivalent to the price of the bus or train ticket.
The Sao Bento train station in central Porto
Both Lisbon and Porto have major airports but it is impractical to fly the short distance between the two cities. When the flight time is combined with time spent waiting around in the airports, it is significantly quicker (and cheaper) to catch the train or bus.
Train travel is much faster but is more expensive; the 2.5 hour train costs €30.30, the 3 hour train costs €24,30 and the 3.5 hour bus costs €19. The train is more relaxing and provides increased leg room, but the luxury buses do offer a high level of comfort comparable to the trains. Please read on for an in-depth guide about travelling from Lisbon to Porto by first bus and then train, including; fares, station information and useful advice.
Coimbra is a historic university town partway between Lisbon and Porto
Lisbon to Porto by Bus
The main intercity coach company of Portugal is Rede Expressos and they provide multiple express coach services between Lisbon and Porto. Coach travel in Portugal is safe and efficient and the intercity Rede Expressos buses are modern, clean and well-maintained.
The intercity buses are modern and comfortable
There are twenty daily departures between Lisbon and Porto, with more at the weekend, when there is a higher demand. There are two main bus routes operated by Rede Expressos between Lisbon and Porto. The Route 50 is the faster at 3.5 hours and has a single stop in the religious town of Fatima. The Route 11 is longer, with three stops in Fatima, Leiria, and Coimbra and the total journey time is 4.5 hours.
A single ticket from Lisbon to Porto costs €19/€9/€15 (adult/child/senior) and can be purchased online at www.rede-expressos.pt or at the Sete Rios Bus Station. Online tickets can be purchased up to thirty days in-advance but require a passport number to complete the transition. Tickets cannot be purchased from the driver. Each passenger is allocated a seat and this will be clearly printed on the ticket. Heavy or large luggage will need to be stored in the luggage compartment on the side of the bus.
Lisbon and Porto Bus Stations
All Rede Expressos services depart from the Sete Rois Bus Station in Lisbon. This bus station is connected to the Blue Metro Line by the Jardim Zoológico Metro Station. Sete Rois is a major transport hub with bus routes to the whole of Portugal, the station itself is modern and clean with a large ticket office and multiple snack shops and cafes.
Sete Rois is the main terminal for Rede Expresso buses
In Porto the intercity buses terminate at the Garagem Atlantico Bus Station, which is to the east of the city on the Rue de Alexandre Herculano (GPS coordinates 41.144405, -8.605765). It is a 500m walk to Sao Bento Train Station and central Porto but is down a very steep hill that is lined with cobbled stones. On arrival/departure it is recommended to take a short taxi to/from Garagem Atlantico Bus Station.
Lisbon to Porto by Train
The train service connecting Lisbon with Porto is fast, modern and comparatively inexpensive. There are two different train services between Porto to Lisbon; the Intercidades and the Alfa Pendular. The Alfa Pendular service is faster and offers a high standard of comfort and facilities (free WIFI and more leg room) but is significantly more expensive than the older Intercidades trains. Both train services are direct and depart from the same train stations.
The express Alfa Pendular train in Oriente station
The Lisbon to Porto train services are operated by CP (Comboios de Portugal) the national rail company of Portugal and their website is www.cp.pt. Train tickets for the Porto-Lisbon route must be purchased before boarding the train, either from a ticket office or from the CP website. The website has an English (French/German) section, which displays the latest timetables and allows the purchase of train tickets. Tickets can be reserved for up to 30 days in advance and this is advised as popular services do sell out during the summer season. All tickets are allocated a seat and the carriage/seat number is clearly shown on the ticket.
The Alfa Pendular train journey takes 2.5 hours while the intercity train service is just over 3 hours. There are 14 daily departures in each direction but check the CP website for exact departure times. A single ticket on the Alfa Pendular Train from Lisbon to Porto costs €42.40/€30.30 (Conforto class / normal class) while the Intercidades costs €35.90/€24.30 (first class/ second class). Alfa Pendular trains are the recommend means of travel from Lisbon to Porto and are a whole hour faster than the bus service for only €10 more.
Lisbon and Porto Train Stations
All departures from Lisbon stop at the Oriente Train Station and most (but not all) stop at the Santa Apolonia Train Station. The Oriente Train Station is part of the Parque Das Nações complex on the eastern side of the capital. The station is connected to the Red Metro Line by the Oriente Metro Station and is also convenient for passengers who are travelling from Lisbon Airport.
The Santa Apolonia train station in Lisbon
Santa Apolonia Train Station is in the Alfama District of Lisbon and is close to the historic centre. The station is the final stop on the Blue Metro Line and is served by the Santa Apolonia Metro Station. Santa Apolonia is generally more convenient for most tourists as it close, but not all trains stop there.
The beautiful tile paints in Sao Bento station
In Porto, all train services stop at the Campanha Train Station, this station is to the east of Porto and is outside of the city limits. Sao Bento is the central Porto Station and a second train must be caught from Campanha to Sao Bento. This is a short train journey of less than 10 minutes and there are multiple departures per hour. The journey from Campanha to Sao Bento is included in the ticket price and a further ticket is not required.