How to travel inside Portugal

Portugal is an amazing country to visit. Beautiful beaches, sunny weather, restored towns, islands and mountains. But how to get there? That’s what we are going to talk in this post. Buses, Train, Planes, Cars and Hitchhiking. Let’s go from the cheapest to the most expensive.

Hitchhiking

Used by many Erasmus students on summer times to get to the beach from the city center, hitchhiking is not very common for the locals. In terms or probability, the best probability of getting a ride is to put yourself near the roads people use to go to where you want to be. You can use Google Maps to see possible routes and then a piece of cardboard will do the trick. 99% won’t stop, but you just need one car, right?

There are Carpool websites you can use. It’s not free but you can see significant decrease in the cost to get to the destination. Boleia.net and BlaBlaCar (in Portuguese). There are also groups on Facebook where you can also use. You just need to write “Boleias (location of where you are) – (Destination)”.

Flying

Imagine you are in Lisbon and you want to go to Oporto (more than 300km away). Instead of using a car, a bus or a train and pay more than 10€ for a 2 hour trip, take a flight for 30 minutes with Ryanair!

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It’s very common to find flight for 10€ between Oporto and Lisbon. It’s a cheap way to get from one point to another and fast.

Buses

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Rede Expressos is the only bus company operating in Portugal. In places where you can’t find Rede Expressos you have private companies that do the route. Here you can find a map of cities you can travel to.

Till Summer of 2017 online tickets were being sold at the same price of the bus station. However they now give an extra 5% discount to tickets purchased online. If you have between 13 and 29 years old you can buy a student ticket (20% cheaper than the normal price). If you buy your ticket online you don’t need to print it, just show it to the bus driver on a Smartphone or Tablet. The prices do not change at all, so it’s the same if you buy the ticket 30 days before or at the bus station. Also, the bus schedule is only available 30 days before, so do not worry if you can’t find schedule more than a month away.

The baggage allowance is 20kg per person (not always checked, they are “not paid enough“) and please pay attention because the bus might not have the Rede Expressos logo on it. Almost every bus has Wifi, but it’s very rare to find buses that have electrical outlets.

Trains

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CP – Comboios de Portugal is the only train company operating in Portugal. Here you can find a map of places they travel to and you can buy tickets online. It’s cheaper to buy online (sometimes, if the website gives you the option to buy a discount ticket) and youths till 25 years old have a 25% discount.

Please be advised that the train might be very late in the northern routes, so don’t use the train if you need to get to an airport. In Leiria it’s not very common to travel by train, so please use the bus to start your route inside Portugal.

Car

Unfortunately a car is the most expensive way to travel inside Portugal. However, it’s also the most flexible and, if you share expenses with your friends it’s not so expensive. Please remember that you might need to pay SCUTS (in the CTT website, 5 days after passing through one), tools (you get a ticket in the beginning and you pay at the end) and gas (diesel is cheaper than petrol).

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