I usually travel thtough Portugal by car, it’s one of the most comfortable ways to explore the north of the country, where train lines are scarce. But a few days ago I went from Galicia to Lisbon and chose to travel by train. I didn’t want to go down there on my own nor waste 6 hours driving when I could work, read or enjoy the views from the window.
It isn’t a fast trip to go from Galicia to Lisbon by train, but it takes about the same as by car and you only have to change trains in Porto, but how is it to travel by train in Portugal?
I’ll try to tell you all you need below:
Buying your tickets to portugal
This is the “hard” part. When traveling to Portugal by train you must buy your ticket at Renfe website. And then, you must buy your tickets inside portugal through the Comboios of Portugal website.
You can also buy your tickets at any Spanish station (to cross from Spain to Portugal) or Portuguese station (to move around Portugal) or a country pass for Portugal through the Interrail/Eurrail website (but this one doesn’t cover the train from Spain).
And now that you know: here are the tips for traveling by train through Portugal:
Traveling with Intercidades trains from comboios de portugal
When traveling from Porto to Lisbon by train, you can take the Intercidades train or the Alfa Pendular train. The first one is slower (3 hours and about 30-40€ return ticket) but not much as the Alfa Pendular (AP) is only 6€ more and half and hour less.
BUT, besides that small difference, Intercidades stop at two different stations in Lisbon: Oriente (next to Parque das Naçoes) and Santa Apolonia (next to Alfama and the harbour).
They both have free wifi (no password needed) and you get a 10% discount when buying a return ticket at the booths. The good side of getting a return ticket is that if you get to the station early and there’re seats at an earlier train you can change your ticket for that train for free (there are some time limits for asking this, but they will tell you at the booths).
Crossing the border with the Celta train
The celta train is the fastest way from Galicia to Porto. It departs early in the morning from Vigo and stops at main cities in the north coast of Portugal. The views are amazing any time of the year and, although it is hard to know if you will be seating by the window when you book the train, it’s hardly ever crowded and you can sit at other spots (with the exception of weekends in Summer).
The train arrives to the Campanha station in Porto, which is not downtown, but which connects with all other trains (local ones and Intercidades/Alfa Pendular). The station has an L shape, with the Celta train arriving to the short leg and the ticket offices, storage boxes and cafes on the long leg.
You can go from there to Porto centre by train, although Metro is cheaper (the metro station is below the train station) and in both cases you will get to downtown Porto in about 15 minutes.
Storage, luggage and all of these
You will find storage rooms in Porto and Lisboa. They are regular storage units (old but different sizes) which charge you for the time used. First hour is paid to blog the box and then you pay the rest when picking up your luggage.