The original, independent guide to Lisbon
The original, independent guide to Lisbon
Lisbon and Porto are the two largest cities of Portugal, and each offers its own unique charms and distinctive character. Lisbon is the vibrant and historic capital city, while Porto is more traditional and more authentically Portuguese.
Both cities are ideal to combine in a single trip, and are connected by reliable and inexpensive public transport. This guide will detail how to travel from Lisbon to Porto by bus and train.
Related articles: Our Porto Guide – Lisbon to Porto suggested itineraries (links open new tabs)
Porto is 310km to the north of Lisbon, and the journey takes approximately 2.5-3.5 hours by public transport. Driving is the fastest option, but the toll road network is comparatively expensive, and the toll roads use an overly complicated automated system for collecting fees.
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.
Advice: If renting a car in Portugal, always check with the hire company regarding their process for paying tolls, as fines can be very expensive.
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 the time spent waiting around in the airports, it is significantly quicker (and cheaper) to catch the train or bus.
Train travel is much faster than the bus, but it is more expensive. The Alfa Pendular express train takes 2h40min and costs €31.70 (single adult), the Intercidades (intercity) train is 3h10min and costs €25.10, whereas the express coach costs €19.00 but the journey can range from 3h30min to 4h25min.
Our opinion: We would always take the Alfa Pendular train for the journey from Lisbon to Porto (or Lisbon to Coimbra or Lisbon to Faro). The Alfa-Pendular train is modern, fast and comfortable. Coach travel is good for travelling between smaller Portuguese cities and towns, but between major cities that are connected to the express trains, we would always choose the railway.
Advice: There are many third-party websites which sell train and bus tickets, but it makes sense to book them directly with the transport companies. The national train operate of Portugal is Comboios de Portugal (CP), and the main inter-city coach company is Rede Expressos. Both companies have user-friendly websites where tickets can be safely booked, their websites are:
Comboios de Portugal - https://www.cp.pt/
Rede Expressos - https://www.rede-expressos.pt/
The remainder of this article will discuss travelling from Lisbon to Porto by train (first) and then bus, including details of the stations, and an overview of the different services.
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 (intercity) 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 are more expensive than the older Intercidades trains. Both train services are direct and depart from the same train stations.
A summary and time of the train service between Lisbon and Porto can be seen on the CP website:
Train tickets for the Porto-Lisbon route must be purchased before boarding the train, either from a ticket office or from the CP website. Popular train services do sell out especially during the holidays, and it is advisable to book tickets are as far in advance as possible.
The Alfa-Pendular train journey takes 2h40min while the intercity train service takes 3h10min. A single ticket on the Alfa Pendular Train from Lisbon to Porto costs €44.30/€31.70 (Conforto class/ Turística class) while the Intercidades costs €37.15/€25.10 (first class/second class).
Return fares are; Alfa Pendular €80.00/€57.50 (Conforto/Turística class), and the Intercidades is €67.00/ €45.50 (first class/second class).
Advice: There can be significant savings on pre-booking tickets, last summer savings up to 50% were made by booking tickets two weeks in advance.
Note: All tickets are allocated a seat and the carriage/seat number is clearly displayed on the ticket. The carriage number will be shown on the outside of the train.
In Lisbon, all departures pass through the Estação do Oriente station, and most (but not all) depart from the Santa Apolonia train station. In Porto all services stop at Campanhã train station, but no express service continues through to São Bento (the main station for the historic centre). I’ll repeat this with headers, for readers who only skim articles…..
Important note: The two Faro to Porto express services do not stop at Santa Apolonia (Lisbon) – always check ticket and current timetable for departure station.
Important note 2: The express trains do not stop at São Bento (Porto), a second train must be caught from Campanhã (Porto) to São Bento, this is included in the fare.
The Estação do Oriente located to the northeast of Lisbon and is situated in the Parque das Nações district. The station is connected to the Red Metro Line by the Oriente Metro Station and is convenient for passengers who are travelling from Lisbon Airport.
Santa Apolonia Train Station is on the edge of the Alfama District and is close to the historic centre of Lisbon, where most tourists are based. Santa Apolonia is the final stop on the Blue Metro Line and is served by the Santa Apolonia Metro Station. For tourists there is no discernible difference between the two stations; they are both easy to navigate and depart from.
Related articles: Estação do Oriente - Santa Apolonia
In Porto, all express train services stop at the Campanhã train station , and this station is 2.5km to the east of Porto. Most tourists are based within the historic centre and this is closer to the Sao Bento train station , which the express trains do not stop at. There are regular trains from Campanhã to Sao Bento and this 10-minute journey is included in your ticket.
Vila Nova de Gaia (referred to as V. N. Gaia on timetables) is on the southern side of Porto and the Douro River . This station should only be exited if your accommodation is very close. Generally it is easier to exit at Campanha and catch the first service to Sao Bento.
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.
There are twenty daily departures between Lisbon and Porto, with more at the weekend, when there is a higher demand. For the latest timetables and ticket purchase, please visit the Rede Expressos website:
A single ticket from Lisbon to Porto costs €19/€9/€15 (adult/child/senior), and tickets can be purchased up to thirty days in advance. A return ticket costs €17.00 for an adult ticket.
Tickets can be purchased from the bus stations, but tickets cannot be purchased from the driver. Each passenger is allocated a seat, that will be clearly indicated on the ticket. Heavy or large luggage will need to be stored in the luggage compartment on the side of the bus.
All Rede Expressos services depart from the Sete Rios Bus Station in Lisbon. This bus station is connected to the Blue Metro Line by the Jardim Zoológico Metro Station. Sete Rios 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.
Related articles: Sete Rios bus station
In Porto, the intercity buses terminate at the Terminal Rodoviario on the Campo 24 de Agosto ). This northeast of the historic centre but is very close to the 24 de Agosto metro station.
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