Portugal is an amazing country to visit but you might be feeling pressured by your friends to visit other countries. If you are feeling that way I have an article specially prepared for you!
You can visit other countries by Bus, using an Airplane, train or a car. We’ll pass by each of them to check the advantages and disadvantages.
In my opinion, it’s better to visit other countries using an airplane. It’s often cheaper (if you book at the right time) and it takes a lot less time than by bus, car or train.
There are many other airlines operating from Portugal. You have Norwegian, Air Europa, WizzAir and many others. I will only talk about the most used ones, but you can use the other ones as well.
TAP is the Portuguese airline. It was recognized by a lot of people as an expensive airline, but nowadays they changed their policy and became low-cost. It operates mainly from Lisbon (if you choose Oporto you might be put on a plane from Oporto to Lisbon and then from Lisbon to your destination) and it operates to the main airports of a lot of cities (Budapest, Warsaw, Paris, Madrid, Barcelona, Bucharest London, some cities in Germany, Amsterdam, Brussels and a lot more).
The cheapest fare has only hand luggage, so be careful about that. In their luggage rules, they have a max. dimensions of 55x40x20 cm (like Ryanair). You can also carry a purse, computer bag or shoulder bag with a maximum size of 40x30x15 cm). The luggage has a maximum weight of 8 Kg and the personal item 2 Kg. The items of luggage can be weight at any moment! You might think that doing the check-in online will do the trick but beware because they have scales at the boarding gate! The fee for passing the limits are 90€ for European flights!
Azores Airlines is the official airline of the Azores islands. If you fly TAP, it’s basically the same thing. They offer you a small sandwich and the good thing is that you have 23kg that you can put on hold.
Ryanair is the largest European airline (by the number of passengers) and I have an idea why. They have really low fares if you take advantage of their promotions. Think of Ryanair like a bus ticket that goes into the air. For your ticket, they offer you a trip from point A to point B and two pieces of luggage.
The biggest luggage can’t exceed 55cm x 40cm x 20cm and 10kg in weight. The small luggage cannot exceed 35x20x20cm. I never saw a scale at the boarding gate so feel free to exceed the weight limit at your own discretion.
Top tip: Ryanair doesn’t fly to major airports (Paris Beauvais – 1H30M from Paris; Warsaw Modlin – 45M from Warsaw; London Stansted; and others) so please make sure you take into account the bus ticket from the airport to the city center. For example, it’s better to take a 30€ flight to Paris CDG than to take a 20€ flight to Paris Beauvais, because the bus ticket is 16€. Also, please do the check-in online because you pay for doing the check-in at the airport.
Easyjet is another low-cost airline. Think of them as an air bus that takes you from point A to point B. Look, even their interiors look like a bus!
Unlike Ryanair a TAP, you can only bring one luggage with a max. size of 56cm x 45cm x 25cm, and no weight limit (you could take bricks or lead inside your suitcase!). Unfortunately, I don’t think they offer the best fares from Portugal. It’s a good company for special routes like London or Madrid, where you can have a fair price of 20€ or 30€, which is nice.
Transavia is a low-cost carrier created by KLM and Air France. They fly from the major airports in Portugal and they offer good prices and good service. I love the way they display the information on their website. You can only take a piece of luggage with you, with a max. dimension of 55 x 40 x 25 cm and a max. weight of 10kg. You can do the check-in at the check-in counter because they normally offer to take your hand luggage to hold luggage for free!
I already showed you the ways you can travel around Portugal (the bus being the most important one) and now I show you buses to go into other countries.
FlixBus is a good bus company operating around Europe. They offer acceptable prices and just got in Portugal! You can check here the routes they have. All buses have outlets and bathrooms, so don’t worry about having to pass a long time inside a bus. Also, some of their buses have food and drinks you can buy from the driver.
Eurolines is another coach line that goes all around Europe. You have a bathroom and an outlet included in every bus so you can have long trips by bus. Depending on the destination you can get cheaper prices by plane like stated above. Check your cards because you may have a discount (ISIC or local student card).
CP is the train company operating in Portugal. On can check their website and book a train trip with their international routes like Celta (Oporto -> Vigo) or Lusitânia. Every train has a bathroom and a food court to get a sandwich, sweets or a drink. The trip is also smoother than on a car or a bus because it’s on rail tracks.
If you brought your car on Erasmus you only need to account the fuel to get to other countries. However, if you want to rent a car you need to beware because you need to pay the price of the car (insurance if you want to travel without worrying about scratching the car) and the fuel. If you divide the expense by 4 or 5 people it becomes a lot cheaper as you may know. You also might need to pay an expense for being under 25 years old and they might block 500€ or 900€ on your credit card as a deposit.
In my honest opinion, if you travel with 1 or 2 people it’s a lot easier to book an airplane or bus ticket because you can rest while you are traveling from point A to point B. You don’t need to have a huge deposit on your credit card and you don’t need to worry about scratching the car.
Feel free to use websites like Skyscanner or Momondo to find the best prices on flight and accommodation. However, I strongly advise you to book your flights tickets directly with the airline to avoid problems. Remember that the airline offers always the best price. I strongly advise against websites like Opodo, Edreams, Tripsta, and Jetcost, because they cheat their customers.