How To Travel Portugal By Train

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Portugal is rapidly changing into one of many hottest locations in Europe and top-of-the-line methods to discover its superb cities and cities is by taking the prepare. In this Portugal Train Guide, I’ll cowl the way to journey Portugal by prepare—together with the way to purchase prepare tickets, the way to discover one of the best costs on prepare tickets, and different useful ideas for utilizing Portugal’s rail system.


How To Buy Train Tickets In Portugal

Ok, let’s begin with how and the place to purchase prepare tickets for trains in Portugal.

Where To Buy Train Tickets in Portugal

Other than shopping for tickets on the prepare station (through the ticket window or automated ticket machines), there are solely two methods to pre-purchase prepare tickets for trains in Portugal—both from the Official Portugal Rail Website (Comboios de Portugal) or by means of the third-party reseller Omio.

The Comboios de Portugal web site suffers from some bizarre translation points and a few worldwide customers may need bother making bank card funds so I like to recommend sticking to Omio.

Luckily, Omio is rather more user-friendly than the Comboios de Portuga web site, it accepts all worldwide bank cards, it has a pleasant smartphone app (the place your digital prepare tickets might be saved), it has a method higher consumer interface, and it’s all in English. Omio sells tickets on the identical value because the Comboios de Portugal web site however they add a small service payment (round $2)—which I’d relatively pay than cope with the Comboios de Portuga web site.

Train tickets bought through each Omio and Comboios de Portugal are digital tickets and could be accessed from their respective smartphone apps (they can be printed at house). That’s why having a cellphone with dependable knowledge is necessary. Check out my Guide For Buying A SIM Card and Mobile Data Plan in Europe to discover ways to get inexpensive cell knowledge.

When To Buy Train Tickets To Get The Best Price

Booking early vs Booking last-minute (through Omio)

Train tickets in Portugal usually can be found for buy about 60 days earlier than departure so there is no such thing as a level in attempting to ebook tremendous far prematurely.

Tickets for the Portuguese Alfa Pendular prepare (their high-speed, long-distance prepare which connects main cities in Portugal and worldwide routes that hook up with cities in Spain) are least expensive if purchased a couple of weeks prematurely—however usually shopping for 5-8 days is nice sufficient.

For instance, a ticket from Lisbon to Porto is often €16-€20 when purchased per week early however typically they’ve additional low cost €10 promo fares. However, in the event you purchase final minute, anticipate to pay €25-€35. Poke round Omio to see what you discover to get a greater thought of costs on your itinerary.

The route recognition also can affect value so fashionable departure instances are sometimes barely dearer than much less fascinating instances.

Pay Attention To Train-Type And Number of Transfers

Important data to have a look at when studying prepare schedules (through Omio)

When potential prepare tickets, it’s tremendous necessary to concentrate to each the kind of prepare (AP high-speed, Intercity, native/regional, and so on.) and the variety of adjustments (direct, one change, two adjustments, and so on.).

  • AP = Alfa Pendular high-speed prepare that goes as much as 135mph. These trains usually solely cease at main cities/cities.
  • IC = Intercity trains. These trains are nonetheless fast and hit speeds of 120mph however make extra stops than the AP trains. Many IC trains will join the identical cities as AP trains however the journey will take longer.
  • All different trains are native/regional trains. These journey at a lot slower speeds and make very frequent stops as they’re designed to service smaller cities and villages.

Some prepare routes are direct and others could have a switch (or a number of transfers) the place you’ll have to alter trains at a prepare station—these stopovers could be tremendous fast (~10-Quarter-hour) however I’ve additionally seen longer 1hr+ waits. If potential, hunt down direct trains because it’s a lot simpler, faster, and also you don’t have to fret about missed transfers due to delays.

First-Class vs Tourist Class Train Tickets

First-class tickets on Portuguese trains usually price 50% greater than “tourist” class (i.e. second-class) tickets. The foremost perks are extra legroom and bigger seats. You also can order meals however that’s additional. Seats are organized in a 2+1 configuration—one row has one seat the opposite row has two seats.

Otherwise, the vacationer/second class is completely snug. Seats are organized in a 2+2 configuration—each rows have two seats.


The Types Of Trains In Portugal

Train Travel in Portugal
The Alfa Pendular High-Speed Train

The Portuguese rail community is comprised of three foremost kinds of trains and every has its personal quirks.

Alfa Pendular Train (High-Speed Train)

The Alfa Pendular Train (AP) is Portugal’s high-speed prepare that travels at speeds as much as 135mph. These trains sometimes join main cities and it’s additionally the prepare that connects to cities in Spain. If potential, all the time ebook these tickets as a result of it’s a sooner and extra pleasant expertise.

The Alfa Pendular Trains are trendy, have air con, and have snug seats. Each prepare has 1st & 2nd class vehicles in addition to a restaurant/bar automobile. There can be free WiFi & energy sockets in any respect seats.

You’ll wish to ebook these tickets not less than per week prematurely for one of the best value however reserving even earlier may lead to even cheaper promo fares. Check Omio to see present costs.

Intercity Trains 

Next are the Intercity Trains (IC) and these additionally join foremost cities in addition to a couple of smaller cities. These trains can nonetheless attain comparatively quick speeds of 120 mph however they make extra frequent stops so meaning journeys will take longer.

Again, trains are air-conditioned and have each 1st & 2nd class. Most trains even have free WiFi and a restaurant/bar automobile. Don’t anticipate energy sockets in 2nd class however many seats in 1st ought to have them.

You’ll additionally wish to ebook these tickets not less than per week prematurely for one of the best value. Check Omio to see present costs.

Regional and Local Trains

All different trains are slower regional trains that attain out to small cities and villages.

These trains can’t be booked prematurely and costs are all the time the identical, so merely purchase your tickets on the prepare station.

NOTE: Some fashionable day journey routes (like Lisbon to Sintra) entice tons of vacationers so the ticket strains can get very lengthy. Arrive nicely earlier than your prepare’s departure or purchase your tickets from the station a day earlier than you journey to keep away from lacking the prepare you need.


Popular Train Routes in Portugal

Portugal is a reasonably small nation so most guests stick to some foremost prepare routes. I’ve listed a couple of of the most well-liked routes and listed some useful info for every route.

Lisbon to Porto By Train (Around 2.5h-3h)

Traveling between Lisbon (Oriente Station) and Porto (Campanhã Station) by prepare is simple and there are a number of direct trains day by day. The Alfa Pendular high-speed prepare will take round 2h40min and the marginally slower Intercity prepare takes round 3h10min.

Single tickets begin round €32 however it can save you 50%+ by reserving early. Check costs at Omio.

Lisbon to Sintra by Train (Around 45min-1hr)

Sintra is a highly regarded day journey from Lisbon. It makes use of a neighborhood prepare that takes round one hour and prices €2.30 every method. There are a number of trains each hour—typically as typically as each 10 minutes throughout peak journey instances.

You can solely purchase tickets from the station. The ticket strains can get very lengthy in the course of the busy season so arrive early to keep away from the strains.

Lisbon to Braga by Train (Around 3hr 16min)

Braga is a metropolis within the far north of Portugal. Braga is about 3hr15m from Lisbon through the high-speed prepare and 40m from Porto through the high-speed prepare.

There are a couple of direct trains between Lisbon and Braga however most require a change in Porto (which may add wherever from a 10-minute stopover to over an hour stopover). So search for a direct prepare for the shortest and most handy route.

There are a number of day by day departures between Lisbon and Braga and tickets price between €30-€40 however can get right down to €12-€15 if booked early. Check costs at Omio.

Lisbon to Coimbra by Train (Around 1h30min-1hr50min)

The riverfront metropolis of Coimbra is about midway between Porto and Lisbon so it makes a preferred journey from each cities. Direct prepare journeys between Lisbon and Coimbra take between 1.5-2 hours relying in the event you take the AP or IC prepare.

Standard prepare tickets between Lisbon and Coimbra price round €20-€26 or €10-€15 if booked early. Check costs at Omio.

Lisbon to Faro by Train (Around 3hr 30min)

Sunny Faro is the best-known metropolis in Portugal’s well-known Algarve area. The high-speed AP prepare takes about 3 hours and the IC prepare takes about 3.5 hours from Lisbon. Check costs at Omio.


More Portugal Train Travel Tips

Here are some extra random issues to remember when utilizing Portugal’s prepare system.

Double-Check Your Train Station Name

Many cities have a number of prepare stations that serve completely different elements of Portugal or different international locations—for instance, Lisbon’s foremost stations are Rossio, Santa Apolónia, and Campolide. Don’t make the error of going to the improper station.

Give Yourself Time At The Station

It’s usually straightforward to search out your prepare when you arrive on the station however give your self some additional time so that you’re not dashing by means of the crowded station to get to your prepare.

Don’t Freak Out If You Don’t See Your Train On The Board

You’ll discover your prepare platform through the departure board on the prepare station. Don’t fear in the event you don’t see your prepare as a result of they typically solely show trains departing throughout the subsequent 15-20 minutes.

Arrive Early If Buying Tickets At The Station

Ticket strains on the prepare station can get very lengthy so that you’ll wish to arrive with loads of time so that you don’t miss your prepare. If potential, purchase your tickets on-line so you possibly can skip the strains however many native trains can’t be purchased on-line so doing it in particular person is your solely choice.

Self-Service Machines Are In English

Don’t fear in the event you don’t communicate Portuguese as a result of the ticket machines (and prepare station indicators) are all in English.

Cheap Tickets Are Non-Refundable

One draw back to low cost prepare tickets is that they’re non-refundable and may’t be modified.

Pack A Picnic

You’re allowed to deliver your individual meals and alcohol on trains so deliver some meals alongside for these lengthy prepare rides.

For extra basic journeys about touring by prepare in Europe, try my Complete Guide To Train Travel In Europe. Also, try my Guide To Using Rail Passes in Europe in the event you’re going to be taking a number of prepare journeys as you journey.


More Europe Travel Tips From The Savvy Backpacker

Traveling to Portugal and past? Here are some useful articles that can assist you plan your journey.

James Feess
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