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The Best Way to Travel Around Portugal

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Lisbon train station, Portugal

Lisbon train station, Portugal

Portugal is not a large country, so it is easy to travel from the mountains to the sea, the northern Spanish border to the distant southern coastline. 

Traveling around Portugal can be great fun, especially when visiting accessible yet often overlooked corners of the country. While your Zicasso travel specialist can ensure seamless logistics, knowing how you can travel can help as you consider your own plans. Use this guide to transportation in Portugal to help.

Best for Long Distances: Trains & Flights

View if Faro, Portugal, from airplane window

View if Faro, Portugal, from airplane window

Trains:

Portugal has a variety of trains that offer efficient schedules and travel far-reaching distances. It is easy and quick to visit the major cities with high-speed train services that connect places like Lisbon and Porto while smaller regional trains move at slower speeds but connect to more local towns or villages. The balance between the different types of transit options gives you a chance to relax and enjoy the views of the countryside as travel the length of the country, from the wild north to the southern tip.

Flights:

Portugal is an easy country to navigate by flight. The infrastructure offers three major airports that cover the breadth of the entire country and several international connections. While routes may vary, and the airports are easily connected to their respective cities of Porto, Faro, and Lisbon, it is generally faster to travel by high-speed train when you factor in things like security lines and traffic.

Best for Short Travel: Private Chauffeur, Cars, and Buses

Driving under waterfall in Madeira, Portugal

Driving under waterfall in Madeira, Portugal

Travel by Private Driver:

A private driver in Portugal is the best way to see the country. For the Portuguese, a car is considered a second home giving you the freedom to explore different sides of the country with the knowledge and safety of an experienced, specialized, and local driver. The driving culture can also give you a more profound sense of Portugal's history, heritage, and culture as your driver can share favorite restaurants, shops, or local information otherwise unknown to other travelers.

Car Rental:

A car is a great way to experience the freedom of traveling in Portugal, but it is worth considering the added responsibility of knowing the rules of the road and the specific driving culture of chaotic cities like Lisbon and Porto. Toll roads are also prevalent across the country, quickly adding up when driving on the fast highways. A car lets you visit the far-flung villages and corners of Portugal, but often at the expense of enjoying the view and learning more about the country along the way.

Buses:

Portugal has a number of bus options that travel between cities. The logistics of bus travel require more work than the trains but can allow for stops in smaller towns along a route or reaching places not touched by the tracks. When going longer distances, trains or travel by car are certainly more efficient and enjoyable.

Best for Urban Travel: Taxis, Buses, and Ridesharing Apps

Trams and taxis in Lisbon, Portugal

Trams and taxis in Lisbon, Portugal

Taxis & Local Buses:

Taxis are a great and easy way to travel around large cities, such as Lisbon or Porto. Official taxis are usually beige or green and are designated with signs on the car roof. The fairs are generally reliable and trustworthy, with metered prices posted inside the cab for reference. Different cities also have other means of transportation, such as city buses or metro systems that give you options for exploring city life if you get tired of walking.

Ridesharing Apps:

Rideshare apps are available in Portugal but not necessarily popular or cheaper than the taxis across the country. The different ridesharing apps can offer options for private drivers or official cabs, or to select a premium or an eco-friendly car. While the option is available, it often doesn’t make much of a difference to your experience within one of Portugal’s more populated cities, especially if you prefer to explore like a local.

More Travel Information & Tips

Vineyards in the Duoro valley with boat on the Duoro river in Portugal

Vineyards in the Duoro valley with boat on the Duoro river in Portugal

Portugal has many transportation options that make it easy to travel throughout the country on your timeline. The best times to visit gives you the chance to explore historic cities, discover storybook towns, find idyllic vineyards, or lounge on golden beaches that change with the seasons. Zicasso’s Portugal Travel Guide has great information on how you can plan your perfect vacation whether for the best regional cuisine or a fantastic coastal escape. For more tips, you can speak to a Portugal travel specialist by filling out a Trip Request or by calling our team at 1-888-265-9707.

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