Lisbon to Porto: How to get from Lisbon to Porto

Porto, is widely considered Portugal’s second city and offers a very different experience to Lisbon.  It is a historically rich and cosmopolitan city with an iconic location alongside the Douro river. For that reason, people are often looking for simple ways to travel to Porto. There are multiple reasons for travel to Porto from Lisbon, and here we’ll explain the best methods of travel between the two! There are realistically four ways to get from Lisbon to the Porto, flying, trains, buses and either driving yourself or being driven.

Flying Between Lisbon and Porto

Porto does in fact have an international airport, but it caters towards European city flights and budget airlines, more so than international or transatlantic destinations. However, there are multiple flights per day between Lisbon and Porto. TAP (Portugal’s national airline) operates around 10 flights per day, with the short flight taking around 1 hour. It’s a convenient, and if booked well in advance, cost-effective trip. In advance, flights can be purchased for around €20, but last minute flights can soar to hundreds of euros so this should not be a last minute method.

At both Lisbon, and Porto, both city’s airports are connected to their metro systems offering yet another convenient method of arriving into the city centres.  Although it does seems like the quickest route, you do need to add the time to get to and from the airport, and time spent at the departure gate, and time waiting at arrivals at your destination. Once you factor in these, that 60 minute travel time quickly increases! Something else to consider is the additional charges, TAP offer cheap flights for hand baggage only, and taking a suitcase, or booking a seat quickly add up.

Lisbon to Porto by Train

Trains are perhaps the most convenient method, blending both convenience, cost, and travel time. There is one railway line from Lisbon to Porto, and back again, but several different services operate on it. The services are the Alfa Pendular and the Intercidades, although both are operated by the national operator Coimbois de Portugal. Of the two services, the Alfa Pendular is quicker and takes around 2 hours and 50 minutes, whereas the Intercidades takes around 3 hours and 20 minutes. The main difference is the number of stops both trains make, the full timetable for both trains can be found on the CP website.

The Alfa Pendular departs Lisbon, from Lisboa Santa Apolonia and stops at Lisboa Oriente before making its way Porto. The Intercidades follows the same route departing from Lisboa Santa Apolonia and stopping at Lisboa Oriente before making its way to Porto. Both trains arrive at Porto Campanha which has direct connections to Porto’s metro system and its historic city centre railway station Sao Bento.

Porto Sao Bento - Train station
Sao Bento railway station’s amazing azulejo interior

What does the train cost from Lisbon to Porto?

A single ticket from Lisbon to Porto on the Alfa Pendular costs €44,60 (1st Class) and €31,90 (2nd Class). On the the Intercidades it costs €37,35 (1st Class) and €25,25 (2nd Class). However, discounts are available, if you purchase your ticket more than 5 days in advance you can get up to 50% off. Bringing the cost to €27,00 (1st Class) and €19,50 (2nd Class) for the Alfa Pendular, and €22,50 (1st Class) and €15,50 (2en Class)  for the Intercidades.

Other discounts are available and we cover many of them here in our guide to trains in the Algarve. Tickets can be bought on their website, on the CP app, or at the stations. The final thing to consider is baggage. According to the T&C’s baggage is limited per person, although in practice I’ve yet to see anyone stopped.

Lisbon to Porto by Bus

A regular bus service is also available between Porto and Lisbon. Several services operate this route with the main ones being Rede Expressos also referred to as Renex, and the EU wide FlixBus. The bus usually takes around 3-4 hours. In Lisbon depending on the service. Rede Express usually depart from Sete Rios Bus Terminal on the blue line of the metro, and FlixBus depart from Gare do Oriente on the red line. Unfortunately, there are no departures from the airport, you will need to transfer to either of bus terminals. Both bus terminals are conveniently located for train departures and arrivals though.  

One of the biggest complaints people have with the bus services are delays. That said, the coaches are airconditioned and Wi-Fi equipped so it’s not usually an uncomfortable wait. Buses also tend to be stricter on the luggage you have – probably because the drivers have to load and unload it themselves. You can check the full details here, but in general its up to 20kg of luggage, and small carry on items to go in the racks above the seats.

What does a bus cost from Lisbon to Porto?

If booked in advance, tickets on the low-cost FlixBus are available for €5 one way, however these prices do go up as the bus fills up, with an average price of around €15. If you know your travel times, it can be very cost effective to book in advance. Rede Expressos website also allows bookings up to 30 days in advance and their prices can be as low as €8, but again their normal prices are around €20.

Car Rental Portugal

Driving from Lisbon to Porto

The most flexible option, although potentially most expensive is to take a car. Either your own or a rental. Obviously, the biggest advantage of taking a car is freedom and the lack of transfers. You can drive directly to your destination without needing a separate transfer. You are also free to take as much luggage as will fit. However, you’ll need to consider both fuel costs and tolls if you want to take the quickest direct route. What cannot be understated is the freedom and flexibility that driving a vehicle will give you. Some of the towns along the way, Leiria, Coimbra, and Aveiro are tourist destinations in their own right.

The quickest route is around 300km and should take around three hours. However, this route involves toll roads along the E1 which in real terms will cost around €22 in tolls for an average car to get from Lisbon to Porto. But this cost goes up to €40 for 4x4s, vans and commercial vehicles. So you will definitely want to check which category your vehicle fits into when renting a car if you plan on making the journey. The official toll calculator can be found here, but it’s a rather outdated website to use. If you use the route that avoids tolls the overall distance is almost the same. However, due to the smaller and slower roads it will take around 5  hours to drive. Fuel costs are hard to work out, but if making a return trip assume around a 600km total distance to make the return trip.

If you’re looking at renting a car, read our guide here! It covers everything you need to know and how to avoid the extra costs.

Cost and Time Comparison of the Different Methods of Travel

MethodCost (single)Cost (return)Discounted CostTravel Time
Flight€20 (advance)€50 (advance)N/A60 minutes
Train€25.25€50.50€15.25 (single)3 hours
Bus€15€30€5 (single)3-4 hours
Car€50ish€100€30 (no-tolls)3 hours

The above table shows the approximate cost and time of traveling between Lisbon and Porto. Discounted cost is the estimated cost if discounts (like advance tickets are used). Flights are very difficult to estimate and depend on time of travel, extras, and how far in advance they are booked.

Frequently Asked Questions about travelling between Porto and Lisbon

What is the cheapest way to get from Lisbon to Porto?

Taking the bus is the cheapest way to get to the Lisbon to Porto. Tickets are available for as low as €5 each way, if booked in advance.

What is the quickest way to get from Lisbon to Porto?

The quickest way is to fly, it takes around 60 minutes, but it’s expensive, and you’ll be restricted on luggage. Second quickest method is to drive, it can take under three hours to get to Porto.

How do I get from Lisbon airport to a Lisbon bus terminal or train station?

If you’re arriving at Lisbon airport, then you’ll need to transfer to either a bus or train station. You can do this by either using the metro, or the local bus service. The Metro runs every few minutes from the airport between 6am and 1am daily. It takes around 6 minutes to get to Oriente and around 25 minutes to Jardim Zoológico (closest metro to Sete Rios). Tickets cost €2,00 for each journey, which includes 50 cents for the rechargeable card. There are two local buses you can take, the specific Aerobus, the no. 2 goes direct to Sete Rios and takes 25 minutes. Or the local bus, 744 which stops at Oriente. The Aerobus costs €4, while the 744 costs €2.

Can I get a private transfer from Lisbon to Porto?

Yes, but they will be very expensive. They’re not mentioned above because of the cost. Several companies offer this service, but in some cases you can expect to pay around €200-400 for four people. Much more for bigger vehicles.

Visiting Porto - Porto's riverfront

Which is the best way to travel between Lisbon and Porto?

The simplest way to decide is to decide between cost and convenience, and what you intend to do in Porto when you get there. For us, we think the train is the most convenient, although it is more expensive than the bus. For weekend breaks, or perhaps a couple of days to explore Porto in addition to visiting Lisbon. It’s hard to justify the cost of a rental car and driving. Similarly, if you’re arriving in Lisbon and what to head directly

Do you travel between the Porto and Lisbon? Share your travel tips with us and our readers in the comments below!

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