The best independent guide to Porto
The best independent guide to Porto
Porto and Lisbon are both outstanding tourist destinations, which can be easily combined in a single trip due to the excellent public transport connecting them.
It is only 310km between Lisbon and Porto, and in less than 3 hours you can travel from one to the other. Both Porto and Lisbon make great bases for a holiday, with many fascinating sights and day trips.
This guide will detail how best to travel from Porto to Lisbon, and explains in-depth about the train journey, which is the recommended means of travel.
Related articles: Introduction to Porto – Our Lisbon guide
There are many possible ways to travel between Porto and Lisbon and include:
Travel by Train: The railway offers regular and direct services from Porto to Lisbon, and is the recommended means of travel. The fastest train (the Alfa Pendular service) takes 2h50minutes, while seats on the slightly slower Intercidades (intercity) service only cost €25.10 for an adult single.
The only issue with train travel, is that popular services do sell out and tickets need to be purchased in advance.
Travel by Bus: Coach travel in Portugal is safe and inexpensive, but the Porto to Lisbon route takes much longer than the train. The bus route takes from 3h30min to 4h25min, and at €19.00 for an adult single is only just cheaper than the train.
Travel by Car: Porto is connected to Lisbon by Portugal’s extensive toll road network, which is fast but comparatively expensive to travel long distances on. The toll system uses 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 Porto and Lisbon and the cost of tolls is equivalent to the bus or intercity train ticket.
Travel by Plane: Lisbon and Porto both have airports, but it is impractical to fly the short distance. When the flight time and airport transit times are combined, it is significantly quicker to catch a train or bus.
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 operator 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 - www.cp.pt/
Rede Expressos - https://www.rede-expressos.pt/
There are many interesting tourist destinations between Lisbon and Porto.
These include; the canal city of Aveiro, the university city of Coimbra, the historic town of Tomar, the beach resort of Nazaré or the picturesque walled town of Obidos.
If you are driving down the A1 expressway, consider stopping at Coimbra or Obidos, as both are very close to expressway.
Related articles: Lisbon to Porto suggested itineraries
There are two standards of train service between Porto and Lisbon; the Intercidades (intercity) and the Alfa Pendular. The Alfa Pendular service is faster and offers better facilities (free WIFI and more comfortable seats) than the cheaper and older Intercidades trains.
Both train services are direct and depart/arrive from the same train stations. The Lisbon to Porto train services are operated by Comboios de Portugal (CP), the national rail company of Portugal.
The Alfa-Pendular train journey takes 2h40min while the Intercidades is 3h10min. There are 14 daily departures in each direction, and the latest timetable can be seen of the CP website:
A single ticket on the Alfa Pendular train from Lisbon to Porto costs €44.30/€31.70 (Conforto class/ standard class) while the Intercidades costs €37.15/€25.10 (first class/ second class). Tickets for popular services do sell out during the summer season.
It is recommended to travel longer distances by the Alfa Pendular trains.
Advice: Over the last couple of years there have been massive reductions, if train tickets were purchased 30 days before travel, in 2019 this was up to a 50% reduction.
Train tickets for the Lisbon-Porto route must be pre-booked, either from a ticket office or on the CP website (www.cp.pt). When planning your trip, select "Lisboa - Oriente" as the station in Lisbon and "Porto - Campanha" as the station in Porto.
Insight: The station "Porto - Sao Bento" is closer to the tourist centre of Porto and a separate train can be caught for this short journey - this is explained in the next section.
In Lisbon most trains to Porto depart from Santa Apolonia Train Station, which is the final stop on the Blue Metro Line. The station is located on the edge of the Alfama district.
All train services stop at Lisbon’s Oriente Train Station, which is part of the Parque Das Nacoes complex on the eastern side of the capital. The Oriente station is connected to the Red Metro Line by the Oriente Metro Station and is more convenient for passengers who are connecting from Lisbon Airport.
Tip: When booking train tickets always remember to confirm the departure train station. Both stations are well equipped and have a variety of shops and cafes for tourists needing a snack.
Porto’s Campanha Train Station
All trains arriving at Porto stop at Campanha train station, which is to the east of the city.
The centre of Porto and the main tourist area, is served by the Sao Bento train station 2km to the west. There are many train services from Campanha to Sao Bento but it will require a change of platform. This is an easy connection as most passengers leaving the train will make this change.
When departing from Porto it may be easier to either catch the metro or a taxi to Campanha.
Campanha Station has a selection of standard facilities; ATM, currency exchange, luggage lockers, toilets, tourist office, car rental agencies and ticket machines/office. There are also a small selection of shops and a cafe outside the station.