Planning a Trip Portugal Transportation travel guide

Getting from Lisbon to Sintra

Lisbon , the capital of Portugal, is a vibrant European city, offering stunning views of the Atlantic. It is also an excellent base for exploring the near-by cities and attractions, such as Sintra and its Moorish castle. Aside from the castle, Sintra is also home to Pena Palace. The surrounding hills as well as the historical center are UNESCO Heritage Sites.

Quick summary

The easiest way to get from Lisbon to Sintra is by train. There are trains departing every 15 min from Lisbon’s Entrecampos station and the fare is €1.95* one way (unless you have a Lisbon travel card and then you won’t pay anything for this ride).

Trains from Lisbon to Sintra

There are train departing Lisbon Entrecampos to Sintra every 15 min , every day of the week. The travel time is about 40 min and the single fare is €1.95. Trains don’t run between midnight and 6 a.m. (last train departs Lisbon at 11:42 p.m.).

If you purchase Lisbon travel card, you should know that it covers the price of the train ride to Sintra (and other cities located close to the capital).

The train station in Sintra is located about 10 min walk from the city. If you don’t plan to do any walking, you can catch a bus from the bus station, located opposite the train station.

Tickets can be bought online here

>>read more about Train Travel in Portugal

Driving from Lisbon to Sintra

You can rent a car and drive the 35 km from Lisbon to Sintra on A16. A shorter route (32 km) is via A5 and IC19. In either case the travel time is little over ½ h.

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Note:*at the time the article was written

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Planning a Trip Portugal Transportation travel guide

Getting from Faro to Lisbon

Faro is the main gateway into the Algarve region. Usually overrun by tourists pretty much year-round, Faro is also a very good base for exploring Southern Portugal.

Lisbon , the capital of Portugal, is a lively European city, perched on the edge of the Atlantic and offering a lovely vacation destination.

Quick summary

Considering that train and bus tickets cost almost the same amount of money, it makes sense to book a train ticket as you’ll get to the destination faster (about 3 hours). Or, if you want to explore the country at your pace, you could consider driving.

Flights from Faro (airport code: FAO) to Lisbon

Faro Airport (FAO) is located just 2.6 km from the city. It mostly receives seasonal flights (March to October) but there are some year-round flights available, too. It is hub for Ryanair.

Lisbon Portela Airport (LIS) is located just 7 km from the city center and is hub for easyJet , Portugália, SATA International, TAP Portugal, White Airways, and Luzair.

The only airline offering flights between Faro and Lisbon is TAP Portugal . The flight time is 45 minutes. Should you plan to fly in 2012, expect to pay from €154 one way. Return flights start at €185.

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>>Flights to Faro
>>Flights to Lisbon

Trains from Faro to Lisbon

There are direct trains daily between Faro and Lisbon. They arrive at Lisbon’s Entrecampos train station. You can choose between Intercidade (IC) and Alfa Pendular (AP), with the big differences between them being that AP trains are faster and more expensive than IC trains.

The train ride is about 3h 15 min on IC trains and there are 3 IC trains per day departing Faro at 9:18 a.m., 1:41 p.m., and 4:57 p.m.. A single ticket is €21 for an adult (2nd class). On the way back, catch the trains from Lisbon at 10:29 a.m., 2:29 p.m. or 5:29 p.m.

The train ride on AP trains is 2h 50 min and there are two trains per day departing Faro at 7:05 a.m. and 3:05 p.m. A single ticket is €22 for an adult (2nd class). On the way back, catch the trains from Lisbon at 8:31 a.m. or 6:31 p.m.

Tickets can be bought online here.

>>read more about Train Travel in Portugal

Buses from Faro to Lisbon

Rede Expressos is the most important bus company which offers long haul connections between Portuguese cities.

There are 15 daily departures from Faro. The travel time is between 3h 45 and 4 hours. The first bus leaves Faro at 1:30 a.m. and the last one at 8:30 p.m. The single fare is either €19 (Rede buses) or €19.50 (Mundial Turismo buses operated by Rede). Some buses only operate during the tourist season (March to September or June to September).

On the way back, catch one of the 18 buses from Libson to Faro. The same fares and restrictions apply.

>>read more about Bus Travel in Portugal

Driving from Faro to Lisbon

You can rent a car and drive the 278 km to Lisbon on A2 in about 3 hours. It is a stress-free drive on a modern highway.

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Planning a Trip Portugal

Getting from Lisbon to Seville (and return)

Lisbon , the capital of Portugal , has started to gain even more popularity among travelers. It is one of the rare Western European capitals which faces the water and surely knows how to use this for its own advantage. The hidden alleys, the superb views and the contemporary culture make it a desired travel destination year round.

Seville is the cultural capital of Andalucia, Spain. It lies on the bank of Guadalquivir River, which creates a romantic background. There are many places to visit in Seville and a lot of things to do.

Quick summary

Flights between the two cities are on the pricey side, so your best bet is taking the bus. Or you can rent a car and drive between Lisbon and Seville.

Flights from Lisbon (airport code: LIS) to Seville

Seville Airport is hub for both Ryanair and Vueling but neither offer flights between Lisbon and Porto. TAP Portugal and Spainair offer direct flights between the two cities. A single adult ticket starts at €217 while a return adult ticket starts at €279. The flight time is 1 h.

>>read more about Cheap Flights to Lisbon

Trains from Lisbon to Seville

Traveling by train from Lisbon to Seville is not exactly an option, as you have to connect in Madrid. Plus, you’ll be spending a lot of time traveling as you need to stay overnight in Madrid.

Buses from Lisbon to Seville

There is one bus company which offers direct connections between Lisbon and Porto: ALSA . There are two departures a day (9:30 a.m. and 9 p.m.). The travel time is 7 h 15 min. An adult single ticket is €37 while a return ticket is €63.

Driving from Lisbon

Probably the easiest way to get between the two cities is by rental car . Ask the company whether you can take the car to Spain and enjoy the drive. The driving distance is 462 km and you should be able to get between the two cities in 4 hours.

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Planning a Trip Portugal Transportation travel guide

Getting from Lisbon to Porto (and return)

Lisbon is the capital of Portugal and has recently started to gain more and more popularity among travelers. It is one of the rare Western European cities which faces the water and knows how to use this for its own advantage. The intimate alleys, the superb views and the contemporary culture make it a travel destination year round.

Porto is the second largest city in the country. It is a busy industrial and commercial central. Its historical city has been awarded World Heritage status by UNESCO in 1996. The historical sites, along with the lovely scenery enchant any traveler.

Those planning a vacation in Portugal most often plan to visit both cities. So knowing how to get between them cheap and easy is a must.

Quick summary

Flying takes less than one hour, but for whatever reason, it’s cheaper to book a return flight between the two cities, rather than a one way flight. Still, for €132 per person you can travel between the Lisbon and Porto. A much better option is the train, which takes 3 hours and is also cheap (from €24 per person, one way).

Flights from Lisbon (airport code: LIS) to Porto

Aeroporto da Portela (airport code: LIS) serves Lisbon and is the largest international airport in Portugal. It is the main hub for TAP Portugal. Sá Carneiro Airport (airport code: OPO) serves Porto and is the 3rd largest airport in the country. The only airline running flights between Lisbon and Porto is TAP Portugal. The flight time is 55 min and the one way adult fare is €148. Return fares start at €132 per person.

>>read more about Cheap Flights to Lisbon

Trains from Lisbon to Porto

The national rail company (CP) offers direct trains from Lisbon to Porto. There are 18 departures daily and the travel time is 3 hours. The trains depart either from Lisboa – Entrecampos or Oriente. The 2nd class (turistica) fares start at €24 for an adult, one way. There are two types of trains to choose from: InterCity and Alfa-Pendular. Tickets can be bought here

>>read more about Train Travel in Portugal

Buses from Lisbon to Porto

Rede Expressos runs buses between Lisbon and Porto. Unfortunately, at the time this article was written neither versions (English or Portuguese) of the website allow us to check the timetable or the prices.
Other website which lists buses from various companies gave the price for the Rede bus: €16.50 for an adult, one way. The trail time is 3 h 30 min.

>>read more about Bus Travel in Portugal

Driving from Lisbon to Porto

Driving from Lisbon to Porto is a real pleasure and you’ll be rewarded with superb views. So, rent a car , get a map and plan your trip. The shortest route is 317 km and you should be able to cover it in 3 hours. Please note that you’ll have to pay tolls.

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Planning a Trip Portugal

What to Eat and Drink in Lisbon

Portuguese cuisine is not often ranked as one of the top European cuisines, but that may soon change. While the food has typically been characterized by an abundance of fish and a wide variety of spices,such as cinnamon, saffron, and vanilla, new chefs are now putting a more modern twist on many of the country’s traditional dishes, making this an exciting time to eat in Portugal. In Lisbon, the country’s capital and most cosmopolitan city, you’ll find everything from classic French or Italian food to Spanish tapas to Indian, sushi and Thai. But if you want to try the best of the Portuguese culinary offerings in the city, here are some things to eat and drink in Lisbon.

Fresh fish and shellfish is found on virtually every menu in Lisbon. Bacalhau (cod) dishes are everywhere – found grilled, broiled, poached, and in soups. At Bocca Lisboa, they  serve a particularly good “salt cod duo – fillet at 52ºC and butter-braised tongues, poached egg and violet potato foam.”  Other popular fish dishes include grilled sardines and horse mackerel, cuttlefish, grouper, turbot, or mullet. Ordering “arroz de marisco” will net you a dish of rice with various seafood including lobsters, shrimp, oysters, and crabs.


As popular as fish is in Lisbon, meat is equally prevalent, particularly pork. Portugal is well known for its Bairrada, or suckling pig, which can be found on menus all over Lisbon. You can also find pork roast with acorns or truffles, in sandwiches, in sausages like “chouriço” or “linguiça,” or cooked into stews like the “cozido à portuguesa.” Alheira, a smoked sausage made of pork, poultry meat, wheat bread and olive oil, seasoned with salt, garlic and paprika, is also very good.


The most typical desserts in Portugal are rice pudding and caramel custard, as well as cheeses (most Portuguese recipes don’t use cheese so it is only eaten before or after the meal). And of course, the most popular pastry is the pastel de nata, a small custard tart sprinkled with cinnamon. For a chocolate treat local to Lisbon, try “chocolate salami.” Melted chocolate is mixed with crushed up cookies, and then dried and sliced so it ends up looking like a slice of salami made of chocolate and cookies. Try it topping a cupcake at Tease, a late-night shop in the Barrio Alto.


Like elsewhere in Portugal, you can find Portuguese wines, port, and beers on any restaurant menu, along with more international selections. The word for beer in Portuguese is cerveja, and the two main brands are Super Bock and Sagres, which go for 2-4 euros in more bars. You can also sample some of the country’s best wines at the ViniPortugal (located at the Ministry of Agriculture in Praça do Comerçio) which offers free wine tasting Tuesday-Saturday, between 11am and 7pm. To try some port, head to the Lisboa Solar tasting room.

Lisbon’s local drink is called ginjinha and  is a liqueur made by infusing ginja berries in aguardente, the same grape spirit used to make port. The resulting cherry brandy is served in a shot-sized portion for about 1 euro each. Cafes all over the city serve it, but for the original, head to A Ginjinha, a small storefront bar at Largo de Sao Domingos in Rossio square.Ask for it  “com ginja” (with a cherry in the glass) or “sem ginja’” for one without.

>> Read more about drinking in Portugal

Tips for dining in Lisbon

  • Breakfast is usually very light and taken at a cafe. Have a coffee and some bread with butter or jam or a pastry to start you day. Lunch lasts an hour or more and is served between noon and 3pm. Most places serve dinner between 8 and 11pm, with 9pm being the time most locals dine. Some touristy restaurants will open at 7pm.
  • Restauradores square is lined with restaurants, but many of them are geared towards tourists and thus a bit overpriced for the quality. Instead, head to the Barrio Alto or Chiado for some of the city’s most trendy and modern restaurants.
  • You can find a bottle of decent wine for 8-15 euros in a restaurant or bar; higher quality bottles range from 20-30 euros. A nice bottle of table wine will be just a few euros at a wine shop.
  • When you sit down to eat, you’ll be brought a basket of bread, a plate of sausage or in some cases, an extensive spread of meats and cheeses to start your meal. This is not free; you will be charged for what you eat. So if you’re on a tight budget, snack carefully or inquire about the price before you nibble. If you’re afraid the temptation might be too much, just ask the waiter to take it away.
  • To tip, leave about 10% for good service.

Photos by: Berndt Rostad, Katie Hammel

Portugal Things to Do

Things to Do in Lisbon

The capital and largest city in Portugal, Lisbon offers plenty to see and do and more then enough activity to fill three to four days (more if you take some day trips). Here are a few ideas for things to do in Lisbon.

Explore the neighborhoods

Wander down (rather than up) through the narrow streets of the Alfama district, the oldest district of Lisbon. The area starts at  the Castle of São Jorge before tumbling its way down the hill to the Tejo river. At night, the district is a great place to eat, drink or attend a Fado show.

The Baixa district is the city’s downtown area, which was rebuilt after the 1755 earthquake. Wide avenues lined with shops, cafes and restaurants lead to the Rua Augusta Arch and beyond it, the grand Praça do Comércio and the Tagus River. From the Baixa, take a ride up the vertical Elevador de Santa Justa to the Bairro Alto, the central district of Lisbon. Filled with trendy restaurants, designer shops and sleek bars, The Barrio Alto is the place to go for nightlife in Lisbon.

Take in the view

The hilltop fortification of Castelo de São Jorge is one of Lisbon’s “must see” historical attractions, but it also provides one of the best views of the city. For another perspective, ride the wrought-iron Elevador de Santa Justa, which was designed by Gustave Eiffel’s apprentice and offers sweeping views over the city’s skyline.

Museums and monuments

Aside from the Castelo de São Jorge, Lisbon is home to several other museums and monuments worth exploring. There’s the Oceanário,  Europe’s second-largest aquarium, the Lisbon Botanical Garden, the Museu da Electricidade (Electricity Museum), and the Museu Calouste Gulbenkian, which houses Egyptian, Middle Eastern and Asian artifacts, along with art from masters like Monet, Manet, and Degas.

Take a ride

Lisbon’s iconic yellow tourist trams are one of the best ways to see the city. Climb aboard Tram 28 and you’ll climb up and down Lisbon’s hills, twisting and turning down the cobbled streets past some of the city’s best sights, past the Castelo de São Jorge and the Alfama district, the Chiado district, and the Estrela Garden.


The Belem district is one of the most historically important in Lisbon. Six kilometers west of the city center, it’s home to a number of museums and monuments, including the Coach Museum , the Monument to the Discoveries, the Belém Tower, and the heavenly pastéis de Belém custard tart.

>> more on things to do in Belem


Sintra makes an excellent day trip from Lisbon.  About 30minutes away from the city by train, you’ll find the beautiful hilltop Palácio Nacional da Pena, an eclectic architectural mix of Neo-Gothic, Neo-Renaissance and Moorish design in pastel pink and yellow. The walled Castelo dos Mouros, the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park, and the Palácio Nacional de Sintra round out the area’s attractions.

Photo by rstml


Review: Lisbon Guests Hostel

Opened in 2007 and located in central Lisbon not far from a metro stop and Restauradores square, Lisbon Guests offers one of the most affordable private rooms in a very affordable city. Single private rooms (with shared bathrooms) range from 25-25 euros per night, with double rooms going for as low as 44 euros per night. And in some respects…you get what you pay for.

During my visit the hostel was going through some renovations. The building dates back to 1870; today the hostel is run by a descendant of the original family that built it. This made the building a bit hard to find as it was covered in scaffolding, but noise was not a problem and I’m told the facade renovations are now done and the next step is to build an outdoor social area on the ground floor for guests, which I think will be a welcome addition. As it was when I visited, aside from the rooms there was a small and adequately stocked kitchen, a small common room with couch and TV, and a small desk with a computer for guests to use (I was never able to get it to work, but there is also free wi-fi).

Owner/manager Ana Rita was pleasant and very helpful, arranging a cab for our early morning departure and offering suggestions for things to do. The other guests we saw were quiet and respectful. The room, though basic and small, was very clean and had a comfortable double bed, a wardrobe, nightstand and chair. My only complaint was the bathroom. Unlike other “shared” bathrooms that I have experienced in hostels, this was truly a communal commode. Rather than one toilet and shower in a room that could be locked, this bathroom had a shower stall and two toilets that could be used while another person was in the shower. If you’re coming from a dorm-style hostel, you’ll probably expect this, but if you more often stay at guesthouses and hotels, the set up is inconvenient and uncomfortable.

If you’re looking for a luxurious stay in Lisbon, Lisbon Guests is not the right choice. It isn’t trying to be fancy, but rather to offer clean, comfortable, and inviting accommodation at an excellent price and at that – with the exception of the bathroom situation – it does a fine job.

Disclaimer: I received a discount on my stay, but my opinions are my own.

Portugal Things to Do

Things to Do in Lisbon: Belém

Belém, a parish of Lisbon, sits at the mouth of the Tagus River, six kilometers west of the city center. It’s home to a number of museums and monuments, including the Coach Museum , the Monument to the Discoveries, the Belém Tower, and the heavenly pastéis de Belém custard tart.

Belém is 15-20 minutes from the center of Lisbon via tram or bus; you could choose to base yourself here or come for a day or afternoon to enjoy the attractions of the area.

Other museums in Belém include the the Electricity Museum, the Folk Art Museum and the Presidential Museum. Also of note are are the Overseas Garden, the Imperial Garden, the Vasco de Gama Garden, and the Tropical Garden Museum. But what most people come to see are the Coach Museum (the most visited attraction in Lisbon), the Belém Tower (the Tower of St. Vincent) and the Jerónimos Monastery.

The Belém Tower is a fortified tower built in the 16th century as part of a defense system. It was also the starting point for many explorers who set out from Portugal and is now a UNESCO World heritage Site . The Tower is open to visitors from 10am to 5pm (from October to April; it’s open until 6:30pm in summer) and is closed Mondays. Admission is 4 euros.  

The Mosteiro dos Jerónimos another UNESCO site, was built by Henry the Navigator in the mid 1400’s and is renowned for its European Gothic design, elaborate sculptural details, and cloisters carved with maritime motifs like rope, coral, and sea creatures.  It’s open from 10am to5pm (October to April, open until 6pm in summer) and closed Mondays. Admission is 6 euros.


While in Belém, don’t miss a stop at the Pastéis de Belém shop just up the street from the Monastery. A pastéis de Belém (or pastéis de nata) is perhaps Portugal’s most famous export. This creamy custard tart can be found all over the country, but many say the best one can still be found at the original shop in Belém. The story goes that the pastéis de natas was created before the 18th century by Catholic nuns at the Jerónimos Monastery. In 1837 the Pastéis de Belém shop opened and began selling them to locals. Though many other shops have imitated the original, no one knows the exact recipe except for three of the shop’s employees. The secret is so closely guarded that it isn’t even written down.

The tarts are served hot warm from the oven, sprinkled with cinnamon and powdered sugar and costs less than a euro each (but you’ll want more than one). You can sit and enjoy with a coffee, take a few to go, or order them by the roll of six to take with you on your travels.

Photos by: 1, 2

Portugal Things to Do

Things to Do in Lisbon: The Coach Museum

Lisbon’s most visited attraction, the Museu Nacional dos Coches, tells the story of Portugal’s history through transportation. At first glance, a museum dedicated to coaches and carriages may not seem all that interesting, until you come face-to-face with the ornately-carved and lavishly appointed carriages that would make any Disney princess jealous.

The museum was created in 1905, by  Queen Amélia of Orleans and Bragança, wife of King Carlos I. She realized that the Royal coaches, which were at the time scattered around Portugal, would not always be in use and that they should be preserved for their cultural and historical significance.  She chose the Royal Riding Arena in Belém as the site of the museum, which now holds coaches, berlins, carriages, chaises, cabriolets, litters, sedan chairs and children’s buggies dating from the 17th to 19th centuries.

Portugal travel guide

Getting Around in Lisbon

Central Lisbon is relatively compact and easy to navigate. Set on seven hills, the city streets are a mix of wide open lanes and narrower, steep cobblestone streets. With old tram cars rattling past  modern buses, the transportation options are equally diverse. Here’s what you need to know about getting around in Lisbon.

Public Transportation

Carris operates the network of trams, metro, buses and funiculars, in Lisbon. You can buy tickets for each at Carris booths (open from 8am to 8pm daily), in most Metro stations at automated booths, and onboard buses (with change only, no bills) and network train stations. You must show a passport to buy a pass.

Buses, trams and the metro generally run from 6am to 1pm and the fare depends on how many zones you’re traveling. If you aren’t sure, check with the attendant. If you caught with an invalid ticket, you can face hefty fines of over 300 euros. The other main type of transport you’ll see in Lisbon is the funiculars of which there are three that whisk riders up Lisbon’s steep hills. Though the city is quite walkable, these hills are steep and the funiculars serve as a vital part of the transport network. Ferries are also commonly used by locals who take them from the  one side of the Tagus river to the other, avoiding the heavy bridge traffic during rush hour.

Taxis are also an inexpensive and popular option. Fares are very economical and most drivers are honest. You can get just about anywhere in central Lisbon for about 5-6 euros.  Most Lisbon hotels can call you a radio taxi is you have a very early or very late flight, otherwise it’s easy to hail on on the street.


Lisbon’s main departure point for international destinations and central/northern Portugal is Santa Apolónia Station.  All the trains that depart from Santa Apolónia Station also stop at Estação Oriente. If you accidentally get off here, it’s a 15 minute ride on the Metro into Lisbon. High-speed Alfa trains depart for Oporto every and taking less than three hours, so if you are exploring these two cities of Portugal by train, the connection is an easy one.

By car

While a car does come in handy if you want to explore further off the beaten path where train and bus service is not as good, for the most part a car is an unnecessary burden, particularly in cities like Lisbon. Plus, with so many options for what to drink in Portugal, from the delicious port to local ginjinha, you don’t want to have to worry about driving.

Photo by predosimoes7