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Trains are Inexpensive & Efficient
On our first day meandering in the busy Rossio/Restauradores area of the Baixa, I noticed a very impressive looking building, so I took the photo that you see here. The next morning, we decided to heed the hints of other VTers and take a train ride out to the nearby town of Sintra. It was with great surprise that I found out this architectural marvel was actually a train station!
Built in 1886/87, this Neo-Manueline style building was designed by Jose Luis Monteiro. One of its strange features is that the actual platforms from which the trains leave are located high above the street-level Moorish style entrances that you see. We took the escalators up to the top level, where we had no problem finding which train to take to Sintra. Round-trip tickets for the two of us only cost E5 (US$6) and the modern and spacious train was soon underway in the tunnels that lead out of the city. The trip to Sintra was great as we took in the countryside until we arrived at the end of the line and simply walked from there to enjoy the many attractions of beautiful Sintra! It was just as easy returning to the city later in mid-aftenoon. Definitely worth doing!!!
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Lisbon rail stations and railcard
When I visited Lisbon, I used two railway stations. Trains are operated by CP.
Cais de Sodre is the main Lisbon station on the Cascais line. From here, you can visit places such as Belem, Carcavelos, Oeiras, Estoril and Cascais.
Rossio station can be found near the large square of the same name in the city centre. Trains from here run to Sintra.
The ticket system was quite confusing at first but I soon got used to it. At the train station, I bought a Viva Viagem card and added money to the card using the ticket machines. The card is valid for one year so it can be used multiple times. I chose the 'Zapping' option which meant that when I validated my card using the machines on the platform, my fare was automatically deducted from the balance on the card. This made travelling around by train a breeze. Just make sure you validate the card, otherwise you will risk a fine.
- Budget Travel
If you want to visit some great places near Lisbon, such as Belém, Oeiras and Cascais, you have to take the train at Cais do Soudre. At Cais do Sodre you have the subway as well (metro) wich do the connection to several places in Lisbon.
There are very comfortable and the view is amazing because the line is just by side the sea. Don’t miss.
If you want to go to/from Lisbon by train you have to go to Sta. Apolónia or to the Gar do Oriente.
Go to http://www.cp.pt for further information such as timetables or tickets.
Lisbon - Train
CP, the national train operator, runs all trains in Portugal. For the long distance travels there are "Regular", and "Inter cities" which connect all of Portugal's major cities, and comfortable high-speed "Alfa" services which connect Lisbon with both Porto and Faro.
Lisbon has 2 main train stations with departures to the north, south and Spain: Santa Apolónia, in the city center (Avenida Infante D Henrique), and the gleaming modern Gare do Oriente, a project of Santiago Calatrava, in the east part of the city (at the Parque das Nações), which has become an increasingly important long-distance train station since it was opened for Expo 98. Both are served by different bus lines www.carris.pt and metro lines www.metrolisboa.pt .
Nevertheless, the “central” station is downtown "Rossio" (currently in the process of being revamped), between Praça dos Restauradores and Rossio.
Rossio Train station
Santa Apolónia Train station
Gare do Oriente
Prices (one way)
Porto: 27,5€ / 19,5€ ( 2:35h/3:10h, 18 daily),
Coimbra:20,5€ / 15€ (1:50h/2:05h, 18 daily).
Lagos: 21,5€/20€ (4h/5h, 4 daily).
Madrid: 57,5€ (seat) / 81€ (bed) (10h, every day at 10pm, except 24/12 and 31/12).
Paris: 65€ (seat) / 85 to 175€ (bed) (22h, every day at 4pm, except 24/12 )
There are also 2 major lines which serves the urban areas around Lisbon: Cascais line, departing from Cais do Sodré station (Praça Duque da Terceira) and Sintra line departing either from Rossio, Entrecampos or Sete Rios. All these stations are served with different bus lines www.carris.pt and metro lines www.metrolisboa.pt.
Useful words: >correspondência (transfer between lines), >saída (exit to the street).
Prices Lisbon-Cascais or Lisbon-Sintra
one way 1,70€; 10 tickets pack 15,30€, 5 days ticket 13,60€
operates from 5:30am until 2am, every 20 min during the day and every 15 min at "rush" hours, from 9:30pm until 2am every 30 min.
There is a special train departing from Cais do Sodré to Cascais, and from Rossio to Sintra (stops all stations) at 4:30am on Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays (nice news for the people staying longer on Docas and Bairro Alto)
The Barreiro station, on the south bank of the River Tagus, serves the south, though in recent years direct high-speed trains to Faro have made this longer journey less appealing.
one way 26€ / 18€ ( 3:15h/4:00h, 5 daily)
Setúbal line is served with a private line Fertagus and departs from Roma, Entrecampos, Sete Rios or Campolide. Pragal is the first station after the river and serves the statue of the Christ next to the 25 Abril bridge.
Prices Lisbon-Pragal one way 1,70€;
Prices Lisbon-Setúbal one way 4,05€;
operates 1 per hour during the day and 2 per hour at "rush" hours
Tickets must be purchased either at the desk or at the machines and validated before enter.
Trains to Cascais, Belem etc
There are several train stations in Lisbon serving different destinations. For instance, to go to Sintra you need to use Rossio, and for the Algarve, Oriente. I used a third station, Cais do Sodre, for travel to and from Cascais, and the same line also serves Belem if you’d rather travel by train than tram.
You buy a ticket from the machine, and validate it on entering the platform. This ticket will take the form of a card which can be charged with any number of journeys and used interchangeably with other public transport in the city. The card costs an extra 50 cents on top of the cost of the fare, so hang on to it to save paying this amount again in the future. I found the ticket machine a little confusing to use, as a sign on it seemed to indicate that an English language option was available, but there was nothing on the screen to help me to access that. A helpful member of the station staff told me that the non-Portuguese versions were not yet working, despite the sign, and kindly (but very quickly, so that I had no time to follow her actions) punched in the ticket requirements for me.
By the way, do make sure you validate your ticket – there are inspectors on the trains who will check whether you have or not, and you can be charged a fine if you’ve failed to do so. We couldn’t find the machines at Belem (it turned out they were only on the platform for trains to Lisbon, not to Cascais) and we were lucky that the inspector accepted our pleas of tourists’ ignorance.
On boarding the train to Belem, Estoril or Cascais, be sure to sit on the left-hand side (as you face the direction of travel) to get the best of the sea views. The journey time varies according to the number of stops made, but the average to Cascais, which is the end of the line, is about 35 minutes.
You can see a map of all the train routes in the Lisbon area on this website
To Lisbon by train
I left Lisbon by train to Faro at the Algarve.
Since 1999 the Ponte 25 de Abril has been open to trains on its lower level and the railway lines to the South of Portugal now run directly from the Oriente Station.
The Oriente Station is located about 5 km north east of the city centre.
Another important station in Lisbon is Santa Apolonia in the east of the city. It is for international trains and services to northern and central Portugal.
Trains to Belem, Cascais and Estoril leave from the centrally located Cais Sodre Station.
At all stations you can buy your train tickets from either multilingual machines or from staffed counters.
- Budget Travel
The beautiful train ride to Cascais.
Trains departing from the Cais do Sodré station (Linha de Cascais) will take you all the way to Cascais (via Belém and Estoril, among other). It is the one you should take if you want to spend a day at the beach for instance. Carcavelos, S. Pedro, Oeiras, Estoril and Cascais are some of the stations that have decent beaches within walking distance.
Trains run from about 05.30-01.30 and the station is accessible via Metro (Cais do Sodré). In the over 10 years that I used them, I remember delays only when there were storms and a fallen tree or something was blocking the tracks. There you go: Something that works great in Portugal!
Be careful as there are several kinds of trains. The two most common are:
- One that will stop at all stations until Oeiras. It will then go back to Cais do Sodre. I have seen many tourist going back and forth... you have been warned
- Another will only stop on a few stops until Oeiras (often only Alcantara and Algés) and then stops at all stations until Cascais.
- There are other trains that only stop on certain stations after Oeiras, so make sure you are on the right train. Ask before getting on it. It can be terribly frustrating to see that the train does not stop where you want it to... trust me, I have seen the faces people make when they expect the train to stop and it does not.
Check out the link for a complete overview of the timetable
One final note: The train ride is very beautiful, as you first go along the river and then (after Algés), along the sea. Some stations (like Monte do Estoril) are right on the cliff and you can hear the waves crash against the rocks. Try to sit on the left-hand side of the train going to Cascais and on the right, coming back.
On top of all this, the tickets are quite cheap.If I remember correctly a ticket from Lisbon to Cascais (one-way) costs 1.40Eur. I wish they were like that here in The Netherlands
go to this train station to get to Sintra
Estação do Rossio (Rossio train station) is located between Rossio and Restauradores.
It has BEAUTIFUL neo-manueline architecture designed by architect José Luís Monteiro, completed in 1887. This train station is incredibly unique.
It's a must see if you're in Baixa, and if you want to go to Sintra (or somewhere in between the two cities) you need to come here. Trains to Sintra leave every 15 minutes, and are not very expensive.
You will see the station on the northwest side of Rossio, bordering Restauradores.
Train & Bus tickets for day trips
If you plan to go outside of Lisbon for a daytrip (fi to Sintra, Cascais, Cabo do Roca, Estoril, etc.) use public transports. The district of Lisbon has a suberb infrastructure and you will travel faster and more comfortable using Portuguese railways and the public busses of ScottURB instead of any other options.
The best thing, you can do is buying a so called "Train & Bus" ticket for 9 €. It is available at all train stations and it is valid for one day on all CP-trains (Portuguese railways) in the Lisbon area and the ScottURB-Busses.
By the way, I recommend you a round trip: Start at Rossio, take the Sintra Line (railway) to Sintra Estacao, from there use the bus Nr. 434, which ply between all Sintra sights, afterwards catch Bus Nr. 403 to Cabo da Roca and continue with the same to Cascais. You can stay till night, the last train to Lisbon (Cais do Sodre) will leave after midnight...
For timetables and maps see the websites above.
- Budget Travel
Getting to Belem
There are several ways to get to Belem from the city center (Cais do Sodre). The fastest way (about 10 min) is probably taking a train. It costs 1.10 and stops near the tourist sites in Belem. Watch out though, becuase not every train stops there.
Another way is by taking the city bus. It takes about 25 min (depending on traffic). It stops directly in front of the Monestary.
A third option is to take a tram. It takes about 20 min (depending on traffic) and also stops directly in front of the Monestary.
- Budget Travel
The Sintra Express
The Rossio train station is Lisbon's central station for trains primarily running to the city's suburbs upwards to the hill towns of Serra de Sintra and ending up in Sintra itself, that fabled charming medieval village famous for its palaces and gardens.
This service which runs on regular daily basis services exclusively the Lisbon-Sintra-Lisbon schedule. It's the quickest way to get up to Sintra with travel time of less than an hour. It makes a stop in several major towns on the way to Sintra including the town of Queluz to where one gets out to visit the pink Rococo palace built during the 1700's by the French architect Jean Baptiste Robillion for Queen Maria I.
The Rossio train station itself is a highly eye-catching eccentric building. Built in the late 19th century in a neo-Manueline architectural style by Jose Luis Monteiro, one enters the main station thru a pair of grand Moorish horseshoe arches. With abundant opulent sculptural decoration the Rossio station looks more like a lavish palace or a grand theatre. Inside, platforms are connected by ramps to the facade level, all covered by cast-iron beans and supports. All worthwhile waiting in patience for one's train to Sintra or to the Queluz Palace in the town of Bella Queluz.
One buys the Sintra tickets right in the station which is conveniently located on Praca Dom Joao da Camara right off the big square that bears the same name as the train station, the Rossio Square or Praca Dom Pedro IV as is traditionally referred to by the locals.
Lisbon has four major train stations. Santa Apolonia (21 888 4025) is for international service and for northern and central Portugal.
Barreiro is located across the river and services Setubal and all of southern Portugal. You can catch a ferry from the pier at Terreiro do Paco where you'll buy a combination ticket for the ferry ride and your onward train ticket.
Rossio (pictured here) is the station for the Estremadura region as well as Sintra (only 2.50 Euros roundtrip).
Cais do Sodre takes you to Cascais and Estoril.
***UPDATE*** Rossio is closed for renovations due to structural problems in the tunnel leading from the station. It is scheduled to reopen soon. Check the web for updates.
TRAIN TO LISBON
Early Friday morning, May 29, (about 8:00 a.m.) our VT Group headed for the Cascais Train Station, as we were to have the Lisbon tour that day. As we were meeting at Jeronimos Monastery ( 9:30 a.m.), our destination was Belem. And as there was no direct line to Belem, we had to change trains in Oeiras.
It cost 1,70 Euros for the train to Belem. You can buy tickets either in the automatic machine or at the ticket counter.
Train - Sintra Line
The Rossio Railway Station is a beautiful building. It has a shopping center inside and from here trains depart to Sintra, a beautiful town half an hour away. Also serves the West Line but passengers have to change in the station of Cacém.
The West Line is from Cacém to Figueira da Foz, passing by Mafra, Obidos, Caldas da Rainha and Leiria just to name some of the places.
The train to Cascais
You should take a look to the area of Estoril, Cascais... and take the train that leads you there! It's really nice trip, most of it by the river and then by the sea! :D
The pic was taken going to the Monte Estoril beach, which is on the other side of the rail train.
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