Green Porto road sign over highway.

When planning a trip to Portugal, many people look at Lisbon and see that the second largest city, Porto, doesn’t seem very far away. In fact, the distance from Lisbon to Porto is 197 miles by car, 170 if you fly, although that’s not the best way to travel from Lisbon to Porto unless you’re taking a connecting flight when you first arrive!

Unless you’re flying, the direct journey between Lisbon and Porto will take around 3 hours.

Porto at sunset with boats on river
Porto at sunset

Although I think these two cities are too far apart to make a day trip worthwhile, if you have a week or longer to explore Portugal, both Lisbon and Porto are great places to spend time in.

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

If you drive, you can get there in under 3 hours direct or maybe take a little more time and explore central Portugal.

Take the high speed train, relax and get there even quicker.

The Lisbon to Porto bus route has numerous departures throughout the day and is the cheapest option, although it will take a little longer than the other options.

And if you really want to get from Lisbon to Porto in a hurry, a direct flight will only take about an hour, although by the time you’ve travelled to and gone through the airport, I don’t think it’s any quicker than the train.

Read on for more detailed information about how to get from Lisbon to Porto.

Driving from Lisbon to Porto

You don’t need or want a car while you’re staying in Lisbon or Porto so book your rental for when you’re ready to leave Lisbon, or Porto if you’re travelling north to south.

If you’re looking to rent a vehicle, I suggest you try comparison sites like Discovercars or Rentalcars to get the best deal. One word of warning: if you want to drop the car off at a different location, it will bump the price up considerably but 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

As for routes, in essence you have two options when going by car. Take the country’s main highway (A1) and just drive directly from one city to the other. However, if this is all you need the car for, you would be better off taking the train.

Alternatively, turn it into a road trip, enjoy the scenery and visit some of Portugal’s most charming cities and towns along the way, with or without overnight stops en route (more on this below).

Driving from Lisbon to Porto direct

The A1 is an excellent motorway and straightforward to drive. Traffic is usually light once you’re outside the cities and maintaining an average speed saves on fuel consumption. Make sure you have plenty of fuel before you set off (as refilling at motorway service stations is expensive).

The cost of the tolls for this journey falls just below €25. Check Portugal Tolls for information on cost and how to pay.

If you have LOTS of time, you can avoid toll roads but the minor roads are a lot slower so probably not the best use of your precious vacation time.

Bear in mind that although the actual highway drive is easy, both Lisbon and Porto have their own challenges for the driver so try to arrange your pick up and drop off locations in relatively easy-to-access locations, e.g. Oriente train station, Prior Velho or the airport in Lisbon and Porto airport or Porto Campanhã train station.

Road trip Lisbon to Porto

If you want to travel by road, my advice would be to allow time for stops and enjoy the many places you can visit, depending on how much time you have to play with.

Steps and main entrance to Coimbra university
Steps and main entrance to Coimbra university

Popular stops between Lisbon and Porto incude Coimbra with it’s amazing university, the headquarters of the Knights Templar in Tomar, the city of canals Aveiro and the pretty medieval town of Obidos.

I’ve included most of these places on my 10-Day Central Portugal Road Trip Itinerary. Even if you don’t have time to do the full itinerary, you’ll find a blend of popular highlights and less well-known sights and activities that most visitors never see.

Tip: See my Portugal Road Trip Essentials guide for practical tips.

Private Transfer from Lisbon to Porto

Driving in Portugal isn’t everyone’s idea of fun so why not let someone else take care of that for you?

One of my partners offers a private transfer between Lisbon and Porto with the opportunity to visit places inbetween, many of which are off the beaten track where you can meet local producers and craftspeople.

If you want to go straight from Lisbon to Porto without sightseeing stops, you can travel by private shuttle with a pickup at your preferred Lisbon location with a professional driver, who will ensure punctuality and safety.

For those of you who want to make a day of it and visit a few places of interest, this private transfer from Lisbon to Porto allows you to make up to 3 stops. The itinerary is flexible and you’ll experience traditional Portuguese food at a family restaurant for lunch.

Or choose one of my exclusive Portugal itineraries, which include private transfers with sightseeing stops between overnight destinations. These two maximise the opportunities to visit fascinating places in between Lisbon and Porto, with an overnight stop in Coimbra:

8-Day Introduction to Portugal Tour

2-Week Portugal Discovery Tour

If neither of these itineraries are an exact match for you, use my Itinerary Design Service to get a fully customised tour, managed by my local partner travel agency.

From Lisbon to Porto by train

Alfa Pendular high speed train on tracks
Alfa Pendular high speed train

With up to 14 daily departures travelling by train between Porto and Lisbon is fast and easy.

The Alfa Pendular high speed train gets you to your destination in around 3 hours and you choose from 1st class or the still very comfortable ‘tourist’ class of carriage. It’s a lovely way to relax and enjoy the scenery of central Portugal and you’ll even get to see some coastline as you get closer to Porto.

The departing station in Lisbon city centre is Santa Apolonia although if you’re coming directly from the airport, Gare de Oriente is more convenient (just take the metro a couple of stops).

Arrivals are at Campanha station in Porto but you can switch to any train going to Porto – Sao Bento for free to get into the city centre. The same applies in the other direction.

Choose your train carefully. The AP (Alfa pendular) will stop at only a few stations and will get you there in just under 3 hours. The Intercidades will take a little longer (approx 3 hrs 20 mins) and stop at around 10 stations. Beware of the U (Urbano), R (Regional) and IR (InterRegional) trains. They really do stop everywhere and it will take you 6.5 hrs to complete your journey.

Fares usually start around €15 and go up to €45 for 1st class and depend on times and promotions. Try to book well in advance (between 60 and 5 days before your travel date); it can be a lot cheaper. There are also discounts for families, over 65s and groups so check the CP website for more details.

You’ll be allocated a carriage and seat number when you buy your ticket – these 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 want to see ID.

Check times and fares on Comboios de Portugal. When searching for stations, don’t use any symbols and note that they will appear like this:

Lisboa – Santa Apolonia

Lisbon – Oriente

Porto – Campanha

Porto – Sao Bento

Lisbon to Porto bus

Rede Expressos bus with butterfly motif
Rede Expressos bus

Bus is probably the cheapest way to get from Lisbon to Porto. The bus company Rede Expressos offer many departures throughout the day including an early morning one if you want to take full advantage of your time in Porto.

Fares start from as little as €8 and go up to €20. Departures usually leave from Sete Rios station (Terminal Rodoviário de Sete Rios) but there are a couple leaving from Oriente each day.

Flixbus also run a good, cheap service. Book well in advance and a ticket could cost just €7, otherwise it’s anything between €15 and €21.

All long-distance buses are clean and comfortable and have the usual amenities, wi-fi, toilets, etc., although the driver would likely prefer you take advantage of the rest stop if you need the bathroom. Tickets need to be bought in advance and can’t be purchased from the driver.

Lisbon to Porto flight

The fastest way to travel between the two cities taking around an hour.

Of course, you have to factor in getting to and from the airports and going through security, collecting baggage, etc. so as I’ve already mentioned, it’s not the best way to get to your destination unless it’s a connecting flight.

The national Portuguese airline TAP has daily flights starting from around €45.

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