Porto Sao bento station

How to travel between Porto and Lisbon – Bus, Train and Car

Travelling between Portugal’s two largest cities, Porto and Lisbon, couldn’t be easier. These coastal metropolitans are located about 300 kilometres apart, and both promise unique charms from beautiful architecture to tasty foods and wine. If you want to swap the expensive airfare and airport hassle, for a scenic journey through Portugal, then this guide is for you.

Porto to Lisbon by Train

The easiest way to travel between Porto and Lisbon is to get a direct train. From Porto’s main train station Campanha, you have the choice of getting a direct train to Lisbon Oriente (best for Lisbon Airport) or Lisbon Santa Apolonia (best for city centre).

Porto Campanha station is located in the east of the city. If you’re staying in Porto’s historic centre, get the train from Sao Bento to Campanha. It’s just a 4 minute journey and the price is included in your ticket from Porto Campanha to Lisbon – so no need to buy another ticket. You can find train times and prices on their official site here. Tickets can be bought online, at a ticket booth or in the station’s ticket office. 

I caught the 8:25am from Sao Bento, arrived at Porto Campanha at 8:29am and then caught the 8:37am to lisbon from Porto Campanha. Changing train was really straightforward! The train journey lasted just over 3 hours and cost €24. Overall, I found the journey very easy and comfortable. A much quicker and cheaper alternative to flying!

Make sure you’re sitting in the right seat and carriage when you get on. The ticket inspector moved people who weren’t sat in their allocated seats.  

sao bento station

Once you’re on the train, enjoy the views! you’ll pass through small towns and cities, woodlands and seaside.

Furthermore, Portugal is reportedly getting a new high speed rail between Porto and Lisbon which will cut the journey time down to an hour and 15 minutes!

Tip: Arrive early at the station to allow time to admire the stunning tile work and decor, unique to each station!

Getting from Lisbon Santa Apolonia Station to Lisbon City Centre.

Once you arrive at Lisbon Santa Apolonia station, there are several ways to get to the city centre. If you have minimal luggage, you could opt for a 30-40 minute walk and discover the city on foot.

The nearest metro station to Santa Apolonia is Escolas Gerais station, which will give you easy access to the whole city. However, it’s a 13 minute walk from Santa Apolonia, so factor that in if you have heavy bags!

If you’d rather not walk anywhere, opt for one of the local buses that go various routes around the city. These buses can be found directly outside the station and you’ll be able to buy a ticket at the station. Taxis line up around here too, if you want the most convenient option.

I found everyone in the station, and bus drivers, to be extremely helpful when I was trying to work out which bus I needed. But if you have mobile data, I’d recommend downloading CityMapper to easily find the best route to your final destination.

Porto to Lisbon Flight

There is of course the option to fly between Porto and Lisbon. Direct flights last approximately an hour and vary in price. For me, the extra cost and airport hassle wasn’t worth it. Plus I wanted to see more of Portugal from the train window.

If you decide to go with this option, there are several ways to get to the airport aside from a taxi. The Aeroporto Saldanha metro line will take you directly from downtown Lisbon to Lisbon Airport in 20 minutes. This cheap and quick route will also allow you to see more of Lisbon’s subway, with each station having its own theme and décor.

Alternative options include buses to the airport (only possible with small luggage), the Gare de Oriente Train line (connected to many parts of the country too) and a shuttle.

Getting to Porto airport from the city centre is also very easy. Aside from taxis, you can get the Metro – line E (purple) – which runs every 20 to 30 minutes. There are also bus connections – STCP and Resende providers – which will take you to different parts of the city.

Driving Between Porto and Lisbon

The most direct driving route between the two cities is 314km/195 miles, taking roughly 3 hours. I haven’t done this drive, but a friend who has, gives her top tips: 

  • Leave the motorways and drive through the quaint towns to get a feel of life outside of the cities. 
  • Traffic can be quite congested surrounding both cities, so factor that in to your journey timings.
  • Roads can be narrow and winding, which can be dangerous. Drive slowly! 
  • There are numerous tolls in Portugal so be prepared to research these and sort payment ahead of your journey. 

Buses from Porto to Lisbon

Another option would be to catch a direct bus from Porto to Lisbon. Buses are very regular and take approximately 3hr 30 mins (without traffic). The main bus providers for this journey are Rede Expressos, FlixBus, ALSA, Citi Express, RENEX and RODONORTE. Omio is a great comparison site for the different providers for this journey. Be sure to watch out for the arrival destination within Lisbon, as different providers drop off at different points within Lisbon. Most buses provide excellent facilities on board, including power sockets, free wifi and toilets.

Is Porto Worth a Day Trip from Lisbon?

In short, no! I saw this question a few times when I was initially researching my trip and couldn’t believe people were saying this was feasible. Although it would be physically possible, you would be on a train for 6-8 hours. Ultimately this would leave you with very little time to actually enjoy Porto. Given how much both cities have to offer, it would be better to stay in either Porto or Lisbon, than rushing to cram a city in a day. Although a day trip might be more doable once the high speed line is in operation.

I hope this helps anyone looking to travel around Portugal! Other guides I have for Portugal including days trips to Sintra and Cascais, weekend break in Porto and a travel guide to Lisbon.

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