Train in the Gare do Oriente station, Lisbon Portugal.

Many visitors arriving in Portugal’s capital city find the urge to travel from Lisbon to Lagos in the Algarve. Whether you’re planning to visit the incredible Benagil caves, relax on some of the best beaches in Portugal, or discover some of the other many things to do in Lagos, these are the best ways to make that journey.

Looking towards Church and statue in Lagos, Portugal
View to church Igreja de Santo Antonio in the old town of the historic centre of Lagos, Algarve Portugal

Should you go by train, car or bus? Find out with my top tips for travel from Lisbon to Lagos that saves you time, energy and money.

In a nutshell, here are your transport options, although I’ll elaborate on these in the article:

If you drive you’re looking at a journey time of around 3 hours , although you could allow a little more time and explore this gorgeous area.

Take the train and you’ll be travelling for almost 4.5 hours and you’ll need to change trains on your journey.

Going by bus will reduce your travel time to around 3 hours 40 mins and is the cheapest option.

The Lisbon to Lagos drive

You won’t need (or want) a car if you’re just staying in Lisbon but if you want to hire one for your journey to the Algarve, I recommend searching for deals via Rentalcars or Discovercars, both of which I’ve used and have found excellent for value and service.

Be aware that if you want to drop the car off at a different location from where you picked it up, it will increase the price, although the convenience may still justify the cost.

More car rental tips in this article: How To Rent A Car in Portugal And Avoid Sneaky Fees

You have a choice of route with your journey from Lisbon to Lagos. The quickest way to travel the 300 kilometres is to take the A2 and A22 motorways, which will take you straight to your destination in just under 3 hours. These are both toll roads, and the A2 is an expensive one, but will save you time.

For a more leisurely jorney, you could take a few detours towards the end of your journey and visit Loule, Silves and Portimao but if you intend to spend a few days in Lagos, these towns would make lovely days out.

Riverside walk, Portimão, Algarve, Portugal. Photgraphy by Julie Dawn Fox
Riverside walk, Portimão, Algarve, Portugal. Photgraphy by Julie Dawn Fox

Or, if you want to make a day of the drive, take the more coastal route and discover the delights of Setúbal then drive close to the Atlantic coast and check out the beaches at Vila Nova de Milfontes or Odeceixe before hitting Lagos.

If you’re spending a day or more in Lagos then this Google map of car parks in Lagos should be useful.

Don’t fancy driving or working all this out by yourself? You can use my Itinerary Design Service to get a fully customised itinerary, managed by my local partner travel agency.

If all you need is a driver for that leg of the journey, you can arrange a private transfer from Lisbon to Lagos– and vice versa- and choose your own pick-up and drop-off points.

Lisbon to Lagos by train

There are 5 trains a day that leave Lisbon Entrecampos station for the 300 km rail journey to Lagos with an average travel time of around 4 hours.

Unfortunately, there is no direct service, (everyone has to change at Tunes) and because of the two types of train classes available- Alpha and Intercidades- travel times can vary. The two Alpha trains take 2 hours to reach Tunes, whereas Intercidades take 3 hours.

The relatively short rail journey from Tunes to Lagos is only covered by the Regional train network. This means stopping at many local stations, adding an hour onto your journey.

Fares for the Lisbon to Lagos train usually start around €22 and go up to €30 for 1st class, depending on times and promotions. Try to book well in advance (between 60 and 5 days before your travel date) as it can be a lot cheaper. There are also discounts for families, over 65s and groups so check the Comboios de Portugal website for more details.

You’ll be allocated a carriage and seat number for the first leg of the journey when you buy your ticket. Seat numbers are not sequential so don’t be surprised to find that even though you booked seats next to each other, the numbers are at least two digits apart.

If you sit in the wrong seat, you’ll probably encounter an annoyed passenger who would like their seat back! Also, if you booked online, the guard will probably want to see the ID that you used during the booking process, usually your passport.

For train timetables, and to book tickets in advance, visit the Comboios de Portugal site. You can also purchase tickets from any train station in Portugal.

Tip: Although there are thrid party websites selling train tickets for Portugal, it’s safest to only buy directly from CP.

Sunset at Oriente Station Lisbon.
The stunning Oriente train station, Lisbon.

Taking the bus to Lagos from Lisbon

Travelling Lisbon to Lagos by bus is the cheapest option. Rede Expressos run from Lisbon Sete Rios to Lagos hourly and take 3 hours 40 mins. Prices range from €8 to €20.

Check schedule and book tickets on the Rede Expressos site.

Alternatively, Flixbus run a service from Lisbon Oriente to Lagos 6 times a day with a travel time of 3 hrs 50 mins. Tickets cost from €9 one way.

Over to you. Please share your thoughts in a comment.