This page explains how to travel by train from Lisbon to other key European cities, and how to buy the cheapest tickets.  Click here to buy tickets starting in another city.

I want to travel by train from Lisbon to...

Portugal: 

 

Porto

 

Faro

 

Albufeira

 

Sintra

 

 

 

 

Spain:

 

Madrid

 

Barcelona

 

San Sebastian

 

Seville

 

Vigo

 

Santiago de Compostela

Other Europe:

 

Paris

 

Brussels

 

Amsterdam

 

London

 

Cologne

 

Frankfurt

Before you buy your tickets...

I recommend taking a moment to read these important tips for buying European train tickets.  It answers all the usual questions, such as "Do I need to book in advance or can I just turn up & buy at the station?", "How far ahead can I book?", "Can I stop off?", "Are there Senior fares?" and that old favourite, "Should I buy an $800 railpass or just go online & buy a €35 point-to-point ticket?".

Answering your questions about European train travel...

An introduction to European train travel

 

Senior fares (over 60)

 

Guide to Eurail passes (overseas visitors)

Important tips for buying European train tickets

Youth fares (under 26)

 

Guide to InterRail passes (for Europeans)

How to check European train times

Child fares & child age limits

 

Couchettes & sleepers on night trains

Do I need to book in advance?

Luggage on European trains

 

Train seat numbering plans

How far ahead can I book?

Luggage storage at stations

 

Wheelchairs & special needs

Can I stop off on the way?

Taking a bike by train

 

Real-time service updates

Should I travel 1st or 2nd class?

Taking a car by train

 

Hotels & accommodation

How long to allow for connections?

Taking dogs & pets by train

 

Changing stations in Paris by metro or taxi

How early to arrive at the station?

Maps of the European rail network

 

What to do when things go wrong...



Lisbon to Porto, Faro & the Algarve, and other destinations in Portugal...
An Alfa Pendular at Lisbon Santa Apolonia   2nd class on an Alfa Pendular   Alfa Pendular 1st class

A 125mph Alfa Pendular (AP) at Lisbon.

Photos courtesy of www.vagonweb.cz

 

2nd class

 

1st class

Lisbon-Faro InterCity train...   Comfortable seats inside the Lisbon-Faro InterCity train

An InterCity (IC).  These link Lisbon with Faro and the Algarve several times daily, and also operate some slower Lisbon-Porto trains.  Photos courtesy of Luisfer


Lisbon to Madrid from €33...
En route to Morocco by train: gran classe 2-bed sleeper (day mode)   en route to Morocco by train: Gran Classes 2-bed sleeper (night mode)   Paris to Madrid & Barcelona by trainhotel: Gran Classe sleepers have a private shower and toilet   Trainhotel at Madrid

Gran Clase sleeper, in evening mode with the seats folded out...

 

...return from dinner to find the attendant has made up the beds...

 

Gran Clase sleepers have a private toilet & shower...

 

The trainhotel from Madrid to Lisbon is an articulated Spanish Talgo train.  Seen here at Madrid Chamartin station.

Sud Express trainhotel cafe-bar...    

The trainhotel's café-bar serves drinks & food.  Grab a barstool early, it gets crowded later on!

   

4-berth sleepers (Turista Cama) are cosy & inexpensive, they convert from beds to seats.


Lisbon to Barcelona from €78...
  • Step 1, travel from Lisbon Santa Apolonia to Madrid Chamartin on the overnight sleeper train Lusitania, as shown above.

  • Transfer from Madrid Chamartin to Madrid Atocha, easily done in a few stops by frequent suburban train, see the advice on how to transfer here.

  • Step 2, travel from Madrid to Barcelona by high-speed AVE in as little as 2h40 with fares from around €45.    I'd allow at least an hour between trains in Madrid.  You can reach Barcelona by 13:15 or so, but Madrid-Barcelona trains leave almost every hour so by all means spend a morning or an afternoon in Madrid!

  • The easiest way to buy tickets is using www.loco2.com.  Loco2 connects to the Spanish (Renfe) ticketing system to sell the same cheap prices as Renfe themselves, but in Plain English with no card acceptance problems and no added booking fee.  Prices are in pounds, but you can use www.loco2.com wherever you live, as it accepts all international credit cards and gives print-at-home tickets.

    Tips:  Booking for the Lusitania opens 60 days before departure, you can't buy tickets before bookings open.  Loco2 defaults to Lisbon Oriente, so select Lisbon Santa Apolonia specifically if you want the city centre. 

    When booking from Lisbon to Barcelona, if you want to adjust the stopover time in Madrid to give yourself more time there, simply click '+ Add via station' enter 'Madrid' and select the number of hours you want.

Club class on a Spanish S103 AVE train   An S103 AVE train at Madrid Atocha station

Club (premium 1st class) on the AVE train.  A meal with wine, coffee & liqueurs is included.  Used as Preferente seating on some departures.

 

An S103 AVE train as used between Barcelona & Madrid, seen here at Madrid Atocha station...  See virtual tour

Turista class on a Spanish S103 AVE train   Preferente class on a Spanish S103 AVE train

Turista (2nd class) on the AVE train from Figueres to Madrid...

 

Preferente (1st class) seating.  Used as Turista Plus on some departures.


Lisbon to Burgos, Valladolid, San Sebastian from €49.95......

Lisbon to Seville...

Lisbon to Vigo, Santiago de Compostela...
 

The local train between Vigo & Porto.  Photos courtesy of Martin Hill.


Lisbon to Paris...

Lisbon to Hendaye on the Sud Express...

Sud Express trainhotel cafe-bar...    

The trainhotel's café-bar serves drinks & food.  Grab a barstool early, it gets crowded later on!

 

4-berth sleepers (Turista Cama) are cosy & inexpensive, they convert from beds to seats.

To Morocco by train...   En route to Morocco by train: gran classe 2-bed sleeper (day mode)   en route to Morocco by train: Gran Classes 2-bed sleeper (night mode)   Paris to Madrid & Barcelona by trainhotel: Gran Classe sleepers have a private shower and toilet

The Sud Express at Irun Photo courtesy of Ron Baker.

 

Gran Clase sleeper, in seats mode...

 

...the attendant makes up the beds.

 

Gran Clase private toilet & shower...

...then Hendaye to Paris by TGV.

The TGV's interior is designed by Christian Lacroix, with power sockets at all seats.  On the TGV Atlantique route from Paris to Bordeaux & the Spanish border, one 1st class car has a conventional open plan layout, the other two have a unique layout with bays of two seats facing across a table one side of the aisle, and semi-compartments of 4 seats around a table on the other, as pictured below.  Very civilised!

TGVs to the Spanish border at Paris Montparnasse   1st class on a TGV Atlantique showing semi-compartments

TGVs to the Spanish border waiting to leave Paris Montparnasse...

 

1st class with semi-compartments.

TGV interior by Christian Lacroix, second class   TGV bar car

2nd class on the TGV.  Most seats are unidirectional, with some tables for 4.  See panorama photo.

 

The café-bar car, serving drinks, snacks and microwaved hot dishes.  See a typical menu here...


Lisbon to Brussels, Amsterdam, Cologne or Frankfurt...

Lisbon to London...

Find hotels in Lisbon & other cities

 

◄◄ Hotel search & price comparison.

www.hotelscombined.com checks all the main hotel booking sites at once to find the widest choice of hotels & the cheapest seller.  It was named as the World's Leading Hotel Comparison Site at the World Travel Awards 2013 and I highly recommend it, both to find hotels in even the smallest places and to check that another retailer isn't selling your hotel for less!

www.booking.com is my favourite booking site.  It's really clear and you can usually book with free cancellation and so confirm your accommodation at no risk months before train booking opens.

Other hotel sites worth trying...

Backpacker hostels...


Travel insurance & health card...

 

 

Columbus direct travel insurance

Take out decent travel insurance, it's essential...

Never travel overseas without travel insurance from a reliable insurer, with at least £1m or preferably £5m medical cover.  It should also cover cancellation and loss of cash and belongings, up to a sensible limit.  An annual multi-trip policy is usually cheaper than several single-trip policies even for just 2 or 3 trips a year, I have an annual policy myself.  Here are some suggested insurers.  Seat61 gets a small commission if you buy through these links.

In the UK, try Columbus Direct or use Confused.com to compare prices & policies from many different insurers.

If you have a pre-existing medical condition or are over 65 (no age limit), see www.JustTravelCover.com.

        If you live in Australia, New Zealand, Ireland or the EU, try Columbus Direct's other websites.

  If you live in the USA try Travel Guard USA.

Carry a spare credit card, designed for foreign travel with no currency exchange loading & low or no ATM fees...

It costs nothing to take out an extra credit card.  If you keep it in a different part of your luggage so you're not left stranded if your wallet gets stolen, this is a form of extra travel insurance in itself.  In addition, some credit cards are significantly better for overseas travel than others.  Martin Lewis's www.moneysavingexpert.com/travel/cheap-travel-money explains which UK credit cards have the lowest currency exchange commission loadings when you buy something overseas, and the lowest cash withdrawal fees when you use an ATM abroad.  Taking this advice can save you quite a lot on each trip compared to using your normal high-street bank credit card!

You can avoid ATM charges and expensive exchange rates with a Caxton FX euro currency Visa Card, or their multi-currency 'Global Traveller' Visa Card, see www.caxtonfx.com for info.

Get an international SIM card to save on mobile data and phone calls...

Mobile phones can cost a fortune to use abroad, and if you're not careful you can return home to find a huge bill.  Consider buying a global pre-paid SIM card for your mobile phone from www.Go-Sim.com, which can slash costs by up to 85%.  Go-Sim cuts call costs in 175 countries worldwide, and you can receive incoming calls and texts for free in 75 countries.  It's pay-as-you-go, so no nasty bills when you get home.  It also allows cheap data access for laptops & PDAs.  A Go-Sim account and any credit on it doesn't expire if it's not used between trips, unlike some others, so a Go-Sim phone number becomes your 'global phone number' for life.

 


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