If you're planning to explore Portugal by train, you're in for a treat! Portugal boasts a modern train network that efficiently connects major cities and scenic routes across the country. Here's a guide on how to navigate the process of buying train tickets in Portugal to ensure you get the best deals:

  • ​Official Rail Service: The primary operator of train services in Portugal is Comboios de Portugal (CP). While you can purchase tickets directly from their website, some users have reported difficulties due to translation issues and payment processing, particularly for international transactions.
  • Booking Websites: To simplify the process, especially for non-Europeans, it's advisable to use alternative booking platforms. These websites often offer smoother transactions and better language support. Some popular options include:
  • Rail Europe: A reliable platform offering train tickets across Europe, including Portugal. It provides a user-friendly interface and accepts various payment methods, making it convenient for international travelers.
  • Omio: Formerly known as GoEuro, Omio allows users to compare and book train tickets, as well as other modes of transportation, across multiple countries, including Portugal.
  • Trainline: Another popular choice, Trainline offers a comprehensive selection of train tickets in Portugal, along with helpful features like real-time updates and mobile ticketing.

International Routes: Keep in mind that while you can purchase domestic tickets for routes within Portugal through these platforms, international routes may have different booking procedures. For example, if you plan to travel from Lisbon to Madrid, you'll likely need to use specific international booking platforms or visit train stations in person to purchase tickets.


Omio stands out as my top choice for booking rail services in Portugal. It excels in finding the most economical train tickets and offers a user-friendly experience compared to the official Portugal Rail website. With Omio, foreign credit cards pose no problem, and there are no translation issues. While there's a small service fee of approximately $1 to $2 per ticket, the ticket prices remain the same.

When you book through Omio, you'll mostly receive electronic tickets, conveniently sent to your phone via email or the Omio app. If e-tickets aren't an option, you can easily print your tickets at the train station using your booking confirmation code.


Similarly, Trainline offers a comparable service to Omio, providing access to the same tickets as Comboios de Portugal. It charges a nominal booking fee of around $1 to $3. Like Omio, Trainline also offers electronic tickets or the option to print tickets at the station.

If you prefer to purchase tickets in person, you can always visit any train station in Portugal. Automated ticket machines are the quickest and most convenient option, offering English language settings. However, there may be instances where these machines do not accept foreign credit cards.


Alternatively, you can buy tickets from the ticket window, though queues can be lengthy during peak times. While most ticket sellers speak passable English, it's not guaranteed. Nevertheless, the ticket window usually accepts all credit cards, providing a solution if you encounter issues with the machines.

It's important to note that ticket windows, especially at smaller stations and on weekends, may open later in the morning, potentially causing delays if you plan to catch an early train. Therefore, if feasible, consider booking your tickets the day before your intended travel date to avoid any inconvenience.

Guide To Buy Train Ticket

Sure, here's a step-by-step guide to booking train tickets in Portugal:

Enter Your Travel Details: Start by visiting a booking website like Omio and entering your travel details. Here are some key points to consider:

  • Departure & Arrival Stations: Ensure you're selecting the correct train stations, especially in larger cities with multiple stations.
  • Number of Transfers: Opt for routes with zero transfers whenever possible for convenience.
  • Type of Train (High-Speed vs Regional): High-speed trains are generally preferred for faster travel.
    Departure Time: Choose a departure time that suits your schedule, keeping in mind that prices may vary depending on the time of day.

Choose Your Ticket Type: When selecting your ticket type, keep these factors in mind:

  • Class: Second-class tickets are typically the cheapest option and offer comfortable seating. First-class tickets cost approximately 50% more but may provide added comfort.
  • Fare Types: Look out for "promo fares," which are the cheapest option but cannot be refunded or exchanged. Alternatively, "normal fare" tickets allow for cancellations with a fee up to 15 minutes before departure, but they are generally more expensive than promo fares.

Understanding Pricing Structure: The pricing structure for Portugal train tickets typically includes:

  • Promo Fares: These are the cheapest tickets but come with restrictions on refunds or exchanges.
  • Normal Fares: These tickets offer more flexibility, allowing cancellations with a fee up to 15 minutes before departure, but they are priced higher than promo fares.

By following these steps and understanding the pricing structure, you can effectively book train tickets in Portugal and secure the best deals for your journey.

Different Types Of Trains

In Portugal, train ticket pricing operates similarly to other European countries, influenced by factors such as train type (high-speed vs local), demand, and time of day. Here's a breakdown of how these factors affect ticket prices:

​​Alpha-Pendular (AP) High-Speed Trains

  • ​The Alpha-Pendular is Portugal's fastest and most modern train, reaching speeds of 125mph and connecting major cities with limited stops.
  • Ticket prices for these high-speed trains start lower when purchased 60 days in advance and increase as the departure date approaches.
  • Prices also vary based on the departure time, with peak travel times generally commanding higher fares.

​​Intercidades (IC) Trains

  • ​Intercidades trains are fast but make more stops compared to Alpha-Pendular trains, resulting in longer journey times.
  • They are also older and more basic in terms of amenities.
  • Similar to Alpha-Pendular trains, ticket prices for Intercidades trains are lower when booked early and increase closer to the departure date.

​​Regional (R), Interregional (IR), and Urban (U) Trains

  • ​These trains serve shorter routes, connecting smaller towns, regions, and suburbs.
  • Ticket prices for these slow, short-haul trains are fixed and cannot be purchased online.

​​Booking in Advance

  • ​Long-distance, high-speed train tickets can be booked up to two months in advance, with prices starting low and increasing closer to the travel date.
  • Generally, tickets purchased five days in advance offer a 50% discount off the full-price fare, while tickets bought eight days in advance provide approximately a 60% discount.
  • However, these discounted tickets are non-refundable and non-changeable, so it's essential to have your travel plans confirmed. If flexibility is required, you can opt for more expensive refundable tickets.

​​Collecting Tickets

  • ​Most train tickets purchased online are mobile e-tickets, accessible via booking apps like Omio or Trainline. Simply show the e-ticket on your phone to the conductor for scanning.
  • Physical tickets purchased at the train station must be validated if no specific time is printed on them. Validation is done by scanning the ticket at machines located on the train platform to avoid potential fines.
  • Understanding these pricing dynamics and booking strategies can help travelers secure the best deals on train tickets in Portugal while ensuring a smooth and cost-effective journey.

Popular Train Routes

Certainly! Here are some of the most popular train routes in Portugal - 

  • ​Lisbon to Sintra: A popular day trip from Lisbon, Sintra is accessible by local train in around 45 minutes to 1 hour, costing €2.30 each way. Multiple trains run hourly, especially during peak times.
  • Lisbon to Porto: Traveling between Lisbon (Oriente Station) and Porto (Campanhã Station) is convenient with multiple direct trains daily. The journey takes around 2 hours 40 minutes on the Alfa Pendular high-speed train or approximately 3 hours 10 minutes on the Intercity train. Ticket prices start around €32, but early booking can yield discounts of 50% or more.
  • Lisbon to Braga: Braga, situated in the far north of Portugal, is approximately 3 hours 16 minutes from Lisbon via high-speed train. Most journeys require a change in Porto, with ticket prices ranging from €30 to €40 or as low as €12 to €15 with early booking.
  • Lisbon to Coimbra: Coimbra, located halfway between Porto and Lisbon, is a popular destination accessible by direct trains taking 1 hour 30 minutes to 1 hour 50 minutes. Standard ticket prices range from €20 to €26, or €10 to €15 with early booking.
  • Lisbon to Faro: Faro, the gateway to the Algarve region, can be reached from Lisbon in approximately 3 hours on the high-speed AP train or 3.5 hours on the IC train. Ticket prices vary.

Additional Tips

General Train Travel Tips in Portugal:

  • ​Check Your Train Station: Many cities in Portugal have multiple train stations, so ensure you're heading to the correct one.
  • Luggage Allowance: While technically limited to a personal bag and a suitcase, this isn't strictly monitored. There are designated spaces for luggage onboard.
  • Seat Reservations: High-speed AP and IC trains automatically come with seat reservations, while local and regional trains offer open seating.
  • Food and Drink: You can bring food and drinks, including alcohol, onboard. High-speed trains may also have cafe or restaurant cars.
  • International Trains: While Portugal is somewhat isolated geographically, the most popular international route is Lisbon to Madrid, Spain, taking around 14 hours. However, most travelers opt for flying due to the duration.

These tips can enhance your train travel experience in Portugal, making your journey more convenient and enjoyable.