Porto and Lisbon are two of the largest cities in Portugal and are just 194 miles (313 kilometers) apart, which makes transportation between them quick, easy, and cheap. Visiting both cities is a must when you've got at least a week or longer to explore Portugal. You can get from Lisbon to Porto by bus, train, car, or flight, but each method of transport comes with its own benefits and drawbacks, which include varying costs, travel times, and luggage limits.
|Train||2 hours, 45 minutes||from $26||Affordable and fast|
|Bus||3 hours, 30 minutes||from $20||Saving money|
|Flight||55 minutes||from $45||Saving time|
|Car||3 hours||194 miles (313 kilometers)||Flexibility|
What Is the Cheapest Way to Get From Lisbon to Porto?
Although it takes longer—about 3 hours, 20 minutes total—the bus from Lisbon to Porto is the best option for the budget traveler because tickets can sometimes be found for as low as $20 on Rede Express. This bus company offers multiple daily departures that leave from Sete Rios Station, which is located north of downtown Lisbon in the Campolide neighborhood. There are also two daily departures from Oriente Station, which is closer to the airport.
It's worth noting that in both Porto and Lisbon, the bus stations are located outside of the city centers. If you're traveling with a lot of luggage, you may need to factor in the cost of a cab to get you the rest of the way to your accommodation.
What Is the Fastest Way to Get From Lisbon to Porto?
The flight between Porto and Lisbon only takes about an hour and thanks to TAP Air Portugal, Portugal's budget airline, flights between the two cities can easily be found for as low as $45. As long as you are traveling from city to city and don't need to transfer elsewhere, flying is the fastest way to get to Porto from Lisbon.
How Long Does It Take to Drive?
Portugal is a small country, so it only takes about three hours, without traffic, to drive between Lisbon and Portugal along the A1, which is the country's main highway. Renting a car in Portugal can be rather expensive, especially when you factor in the cost of gas and tolls, but it does give you the flexibility to leave on your own schedule and make some interesting stops along the way. Before you decide to rent a car and drive in Portugal, make sure you familiarize yourself with the rules of the road.
How Long Is the Train Ride?
The high-speed train from Lisbon to Porto takes just 2 hours, 45 minutes, which makes it slightly faster than driving yourself. However, if you don't purchase a direct ticket, the journey could take as long as 7 hours. One-way tickets can sometimes be found for as low as $20, particularly if you take the train that leaves at midnight, but it's more likely that you'll be paying between $27 and $50. The route is well-serviced and there are trains leaving daily from Santa Apolónia, one of Lisbon's main train stations.
When Is the Best Time to Travel to Porto?
Although Portugal is the neighbor of the famously sunny country of Spain, the weather on the Atlantic side of the peninsula, especially in the northern city of Porto, may be colder than you'd expect. The best time to visit is during the spring, summer, and fall when temperatures are at their warmest and the weather is not so rainy. Summers can get pretty hot, but this is a great excuse to hit the beaches near Porto, such as Praia da Luz or Praia de Espinho.
If you want to experience something unique, visit Porto in May for the Burning of the Ribbons, a citywide celebration for graduating students that involves a week of parades, concerts, and parties. In September, you can attend the Vinho Verde Wine Experience, where regional winemakers of this famous type of white wine gather to share samples and sell bottles.
What's the Most Scenic Route to Porto?
If you do choose to drive and have plenty of time to spare, you should consider adding some of the smaller cities and towns in Portugal to your travel itinerary. There are many great destinations between Porto and Lisbon including Obidos, a town completely surrounded by massive walls; the Batalha Monastery, a gothic monastery; and Coimbra, a city home to Portugal's oldest university. Consider taking advantage of an overnight stay along the way at a unique design hotel like Challet Fonte Nova, which is 20 minutes from the famous Nazaré Beach and 25 minutes from Batalha.
Can I Use Public Transportation to Travel From the Airport?
The Porto Airport (OPO) is connected to Porto's metro system via Line E, or the purple line. Trains run every once every 20 or 30 minutes, depending on the time of day, and the ride takes about 45 minutes. Another slightly faster option is to take the GetBus shuttle, which takes 30 minutes and also offers bus service to Braga and Guimarães, touristic cities located about 40 miles (64 kilometers) northwest of Porto.
What Is There to Do in Porto?
After Lisbon, Porto is Portugal's second-largest city and a gateway to Northern Portugal. Famous as the home of port wine, there are many wine bars in Porto where you can sample a glass, but you can learn much more about the history and making of this fortified drink on a guided tour.
In addition to wining and dining, you can spend your time in Porto, taking in great views of the city, such as from the Luis I Bridge or along the Ribeirinha Promenade. However, you may also consider admiring the sights outside of Porto by taking a day trip to the scenic Douro Valley, where port is produced, or Aveiro, a canal-filled town that has been called the "Venice of Portugal." If you're really feeling adventurous, you could even take a trip across the border to Spain to visit Santiago de Compostela, the official ending point of the Camino de Santiago, Europe's most famous pilgrimage route.