By train, Porto
Travel by train in Portugal is cheap and easy. North from Porto the main line splits into four branch lines. Trains are run by CP. When you buy a train ticket at the ticket office window, you are given a receipt and a green card, the receipt is useless, but the card MUST be validated by a machine on entrance to platform. On board the inspector puts the green card on his hand held checker.
While we did not actually take the train, it IS worth visiting the central train station in Porto, just down the street from the Cathedral.
There are a series of blue and white tiles adorning the walls of the station that are beautiful.
What amazes me is seeing people walk by and not even glancing, they use the station day by day and have lost sight of what they have, a true pity.
Mainline trains start/finish at Campanha. If you need to go on to, or start at Sao Bento, your Campanha ticket can be used for this trip, provided the trip is undertaken within 1 hour of departure / arrival
If you go to the main station behind the open bus stop, you'll find 2 metal computer booths to surf free of charge.
One is just off the platform, and the other one is inside the waiting room. Nice little touch, I think.
The machines have metal keys, and a metal roller-mouse. Funky!!
There are two main rail stations, Sao Bento and Campanha. The intercity trains to Coimbra and Lisbon, as well as to Madrid and Paris, arrive at Campanha. Local trains to Braga, Guimaraes, etc start at Sao Bento and pass Campanha. The ride between the two is about E1, and the trains leave at least every 20 minutes.
Trains to Lisbon leave frequently as well, at least every hour. You should be able to purchase a ticket at the station without a problem. If you buy it from Travelocity or another source, you will be overpaying royally, and you will still need to pay to get it registered.
On intercity trains you will get a seat assignment, and you may store the suitcases on the racks at the end of the car. Both intercity and local trains are modern and comfortable. Be sure to get the ticket, as it is definite that a controller will pass by.
The train station in Porto is always crowded and noisy but is worth visiting. It has marvelous blue tiles on its walls. The building is really old. They took the central part and re-builded it in order to have this gorgeus station.
There are Express trains from Lisbon through Coimbra to Oporto (Alfa trains) and regional trains (Inter-cidades and Inter-regionais) connecting the different areas of Portugal.
First and second class are available except for local and suburban trains. Special tickets include tourist tickets (valid for 7, 14 or 21 days). There are special rates on "Blue Days" offering return tickets with discount for trips over 100 km. People over 65 are entitled to have special discounts. For international, long and medium distance express services, it's advisable to make reservations. Train timetables are available from information desks at stations and tourism offices nearby the train and buses station.
Porto has two stations and two main lines. The one running through the city from north to south cuts through the furthest out station, Campanha railway station. This one is quite far from the centre, so you'll want to get a taxi (about 5 euros) or another train to Sao Bento. To the south trains travel directly to Lisbon on super-fast express trains in little more than 3 hours. To the north you can head all the way to Spain, via famous old towns like Braga. To the east old regional trains ply the route into the heart of the countriside, and these leave mostly from the Sao Bento station in the center of town.
We took a train to Porto from Spain. Most people go to Portugal on their way through Spain. You can either enter from the north or the south, as most trains won't go directly from the mountains. The Spanish and Portugues rail systems don't mesh, so you usually have to change stations. From the north you have to pick up a portugues train in Vigo. This is the only way to enter Portugal by train. The cost was 14 euros from Vigo and took about 3 hours.
Arriving by train
CP – Caminhos de Ferro Portugueses – is the company responsible for running the rail network in Portugal. This covers the whole country and there are three regular international connections between:
• Lisboa - Paris – Lisboa (Sud Express)
• Lisboa - Madrid – Lisboa (Lusitânia hotel-train)
• Porto – Vigo (Spain) – Porto
For more information about timetables and prices for travelling on international trains, we suggest that you consult http://www.cp.pt/servicos/c_inter/e_c_inter.html
In Portugal, the train is an excellent means of transport between the various Euro 2004 host cities.
You can obtain information about timetables and prices at:
CP also offers you a range of products enabling you to travel around Portugal more economically, such as the tourist ticket, the “cheque trem” and the group ticket. For more information about these possibilities click on the following link http://www.cp.pt/servicos/prod_nac/e_prod_nac.html
CP – Caminhos de Ferro Portugueses
Campanhã – international connections and services to Lisbon and the Minho and Douro regions.
Tel.: (351) 225 364 141
S. Bento – for regional services and connections to Galiza
Tel.: (351) 22 200 27 22
Call centre: 808 208 208
Open: 7am – 11pm
You can fly direct, but I went the scenic route. Flying into Lisbon and then taking the three hour train journey.
Taxis are reasonably cheap and the best way to get around.
Even managed to get the taxi driver to take me to a spot I had forgotten via use of showing him the digital camera shot I had taken the night before. Gadgets ehh!
Porto is connected to Portuguese main cities by train. They are frequent, being that some are faster than other depending on departure city and time of the day. National railway is called CP. Check their website for info on schedules and connections. Tickets for train are sold on ATM machines and also at train stations.
When I was there, there were 4 trains a day south to Lisbon (approx 4 hours) - passing through Aveiro (1 hour) and Coimbra (1 hour 40 minutes).
Trains from Estacio de Campanha - local trains from the more central Estacio Sao Bento - there are frequent connections between the two.
Porto's main international station is named Campanhã.
You have daily trains going to Vigo and Lisbon (where you can catch a train to Madrid). See the Portuguese Railways site for more information.
From there you also have buses (the local company is called STCP) that pass near the Hotels. You can catch the line 34 (see its route), and exit at the end of the line, or the line 35 (see its route) and exit at "Junta".
The price of the ticket is 0,50 euros if prepaid and 1,00 euros if bought on the bus.
Other alternative is to use a taxi. From the train station to the hotel the price should be around 8 euros.
Train - may have to change at Estaçao de Campanha but trains to Sao Bento frequent and the distance is short.
Generally buses. If using buses to other places make sure you know which terminus they use.
The best way to travel in Portugal is by train. It is cheap and comfortable. The best way to travel to Porto is probably by plane. And if you are tired of walking up and down the hills, take a taxi. That's rather an adventure than any where else where I had travelled by taxi before.
I like walking. That's the best way to see things you usually overlook when you are sitting in a car or bus.