A guide to the train stations in Porto

Basics

May 9, 2019
rita real blog portoalities

Written by Rita Real

Written by Rita Real

rita real blog portoalities

I organize private tours in Porto

private tours porto

Check this page for more information or send an email to sara@portoalities.com.

One of the amazing things about Porto is its strategic location, making it close to many interesting places for travelers. By train, you can explore different areas in the Porto district like Espinho, with its lovely beach and fun casino.

You can also visit the amazing Douro Valley and its stunning villages where Port wine is produced. And if you’re up for more adventures, you can go to Lisbon, Braga or Guimarães.

You can even travel as far as Spain in less than six hours. But what are the main train stations in Porto? What are the train lines? How do you buy tickets? What train should you take? Find all of that and more in our guide to the train stations in Porto.

Here is our guide to the train stations in Porto:

train lines porto portugal

What are the main train stations in Porto and which one should I use?

There are three main stations in Porto; São Bento, Campanhã and Vila Nova de Gaia. But which one should you use? Let’s find out.

Porto-São Bento

using sao bento train station porto

© JN

Opened in 1916, the São Bento train station is located at the center of Porto. It’s a remarkable building inside and out, which is definitely worth visiting whenever you’re in the city.

If you’re staying in downtown Porto or near the São Bento station, it makes sense to take a train from there if you’re going to nearby regions in Portugal like the Douro Valley and the cities of Guimarães and Braga. Therefore São Bento train station is suitable if you want to visit regions and cities within a two-hour range from Porto.

All lines depart from São Bento station except the North line which takes you to Lisbon and the Minho line that takes you to Spain. So if you want to go to the capital or to Spain, it is simply better to departure from Campanhã. If you are staying close to São Bento train station you can take any train from this station and get off at Porto-Campanhã and then from there change to the North line or the Minho line.

Trains available on this station are Regional, InterRegional, and Urban trains (we explain the difference below).

Porto-Campanhã

campanha train station porto

© loose_grip_99

Campanhã is a great neighborhood in Porto to visit when you want to avoid downtown craziness. It has a train station older than São Bento called Porto-Campanhã, which opened in 1877.

This train station in Porto has metro, buses, and taxis’ access. Even though the station is further from downtown and from the airport, it covers all train lines in Porto.

You should take a train from Porto-Campanhã if you’re staying at the periphery of Porto. Also, take a train from this station if you’re traveling to Lisbon or to Spain since the North line and the Minho line operate in Porto-Campanhã train station and not in São Bento.

You should also keep in mind that there are more trains departing from Campanhã train station than from São Bento.

Trains available on this station in Porto are Internacional, Alfa Pendular, Intercidades, Regional, InterRegional and Urban trains.

Vila Nova de Gaia-Devesas

gaia train station porto

This is the oldest station in our list. It opened for operations in 1863.

Vila Nova de Gaia-Devesas is perfect for those who are staying in Gaia and want to go to Lisbon since it serves the North line which is not available in São Bento station.

Trains available on this station are Alfa Pendular, Intercidades, Regional, InterRegional and Urban trains.

Train stations in Porto: What are the main lines?

There are seven main lines running in Porto’s train stations. Let’s find out what they are.

Minho line

minho line porto train stations

Under three hours, this line goes to Viana do Castelo where the famous Neopop Festival happens. And it also goes all the way to Vigo, Spain for a total trip of about six hours. You might have to change the train at some point during the trip though.

Stops worth visiting: Barcelos and Viana do Castelo.

The line is available in: Porto-Campanhã.

Douro line

travel douro porto train

If you’re keen on discovering the Douro region, you can take this line. In one hour and 50 minutes, you will be at Régua. In two hours and 40 minutes, you will get to see Pinhão. Finally, the trip ends at Pocinho for a total of three hours and 30 minutes.

Stops worth visiting: Penafiel, Marco de Canaveses, Régua, Pinhão and Tua.

The line is available in: Porto-São Bento and Porto-Campanhã.

Braga line

travel porto braga train

In under one hour and a half, you will fall in love with the stunning city of Braga.

Stops worth visiting: Trofa, Famalicão and Braga.

The line is available in: Porto-São Bento and Porto-Campanhã.

Guimarães line

visit guimaraes train porto

In less than two hours on this line, you’ll get to discover Guimarães, the first capital of Portugal.

Stops worth visiting: Vizela and Guimarães.

The line is available in: Porto-São Bento and Porto-Campanhã.

Caíde/ Marco de Canaveses line

train stations porto caide line

On this line, you can reach Caíde in one hour, then you take another train to Marco de Canaveses, a stunning city and the birthplace of a famous singer Carmen Miranda who has a star in Hollywood’s walk of fame.

Stops worth visiting: Vila Meã and Marco de Canaveses.

The line is available in: Porto-São Bento and Porto-Campanhã.

Aveiro line

train line porto aveiro

This line reaches Espinho in one hour and 20 minutes and it stops at the Aveiro, the Venice of Portugal.

Stops worth visiting: Miramar, Ovar, Canelas and Aveiro.

The line is available in: Porto-Campanhã and Vila Nova de Gaia-Devesas.

North line

north line porto trains

This line takes you from Porto to Aveiro, Coimbra and all the way to Lisbon. You can get off at Coimbra and take another train (Sud Expresso) to Hendaye, France or Madrid, Spain.

Stops worth visiting: Aveiro, Coimbra, Santarém and Lisbon.

The line is available in: Porto-Campanhã and Vila Nova de Gaia-Devesas.

What is the difference between trains?

When booking your ticket, you’ll notice trains with different names. Which one should you take? We’ll answer that here.

Intercidades (IC)

intercidades train porto

© Apeadeiro das Virtudes

Intercidades are long-distance trains that connect some of Portugal’s main cities (Lisbon, Porto, Braga and Guimarães). Onboard, you have a buffet bar and free Wi-Fi. You can see the prices here.

The Intercidades train allows passengers to bring their bikes (one bicycle per person). The support for bicycles is on the 2nd class carriages. Each carriage allows 2 bikes.

Alfa Pendular (AP)

alfa tendular train porto

© YouTube

The Alfa Pendular train operates between major cities like Braga, Lisbon, and Guimarães. You can see the prices here.

It has a cafeteria, a mini bar, meals, free Wi-Fi, audio and video channels and bathrooms. If you booked the Conforto class (which is like a 1st class), you get a complimentary drink, a newspaper or a magazine and earplugs. You also get access to power sockets that are available in some seats only.

With this first-class ticket, you have access to the CP Lounge at Lisbon Oriente station (an air-conditioned space with TV, Wi-Fi, newspaper and drinks).

The tickets to these trains are more expensive and one of the reasons is that they’re supposed to be faster. But to be honest, the Alfa train is always late, defeating the purpose of paying more for the speed. Not to mention, this is a very shaky train, so if you suffer from motion sickness, maybe buy a ticket for another train.

Also, if you’re traveling with a bicycle, it has to be disassembled and carried like luggage.

Regional or InterRegional (R, IR)

regional train porto

© Wiki

If you’re traveling all over Portugal, you will most likely take the Regional or InterRegional train. Those trains allow connections at the main stations in Lisbon, Porto and Coimbra. They are meant to be long distance trains, but they have many stops connecting small villages. See full ticket prices here.

Urbanos (U)

urban trains porto

© Wiki

The urban trains are the ones that take you to major places within the district of Porto like Aveiro, Braga, Marco de Canaveses and Guimarães. They’re normally more frequent. You can check the prices here.

The Urban trains allow you to bring your bicycle for free as long as it’s one bicycle per person.

But always be careful, if you have to take the Urban train in São Bento train station, you might have to change it in Campanhã train station in Porto if you’re going to other regions that are not in the district of Porto.

Internacional (INC)

international train porto

© Wiki

As the name indicated, international trains are the ones that allow you to travel internationally. And Porto train stations has one that goes you all the way to Vigo, Spain. See prices here.

How and where can I buy tickets?

Online

porto train online tickets

You can buy a ticket online through Comboios de Portugal website or on their phone application. You need to sign up for an account. They ask for your name, date of birth, desired routes and you can choose to put your phone number to receive tickets via text message.

If you have family members, there is no need to create an account for each one. You can simply add them under your profile. Payment methods accepted are Paypal, Credit Cards and Debit Cards. For identification, they accept almost all forms including a passport or a driving license. 

Mobility Center in São Bento station

mobility centre sao bento station porto

© You Should Go Here

You can buy your tickets in the Mobility Center “Centro da Mobilidade ” at São Bento station. As soon as you walk in at the station from the main doors, the Mobility Center with the cloud-like logo should be to the right.

This center allows you to buy other transportation tickets like the metro and bus. The staff will also be available to help you with any questions you might have regarding transportation.

Ticket vending machines

buying train ticket sao bento porto

© E-konomista

You can find train ticket vending machines in all train stations in Porto. They have the green symbol for Comboios de Portugal “the name of Portugal’s train system” and you can pay using cash, coins or a debit card.

andante zones trains porto

If you’re traveling anywhere between Campanhã and Espinho, you can charge your Andante card where you normally would when riding the metro or bus in Porto.

Comboios de Portugal “Portugal’s Trains” ticket offices

porto train stations ticket office

© SAPO 24

These are also available in all train stations in Porto and you’ll recognize them from their green banner. The staff will help you buy tickets. And they will also answer any of your questions. However, you can only buy tickets to ride the train system in Porto so you can’t buy bus or metro tickets here.

Any other tips for the train stations in Porto?

Pay attention to what train you choose

train names porto portugal

When you pick your trip, make sure you choose a train with no connections or at least pick a train with the least amount of connections possible.

This allows you to go directly to your destination saving you a lot of time and hassle.

Look for deals

There are discounts when you buy tickets days ahead of time. And there are also discounts for families and special occasions (see here). Just keep in mind that discounted tickets can’t be refunded.

Avoid queues

Buy your tickets online to avoid buying them last minutes like everyone else. We also recommend you book your ticket ahead of time, especially if you’re traveling during national holidays like Christmas or Easter. Buying your tickets earlier will also ensure that you can choose the seats you desire.

Download the CP app

porto train stations phone application

Even though the app is not the greatest, it’s still useful. You can see train schedules and prices without having to login in. But if you do log in, you have access to your tickets and your timetable. And that way you don’t need to worry about printing or carrying papers (yay for saving trees!). The app is available on Andriod and iOS.

Check discount eligibility

Seniors above 65 years old and kids between 4 and 12 years old get 50% off. If you’re traveling with kids younger than four years old, they ride for free if they don’t take up a seat.

Choose the right train platform

When traveling on trains in Porto, don’t forget to choose the right platform. This information is usually written on screens on the main train stations in Porto.

Extra: Go on a private tour in Porto

private tour porto

The best way to get to know Porto is to go on a private tour with me!

Check this page to learn more about my tours in Porto, or simply send an email to sara@portoalities.com. I will shortly get back to you with a tailor made tour designed specifically for you.

It will be a pleasure to welcome you in Porto!


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2019-05-09T11:01:03+00:00May 9th, 2019|Basics|0 Comments
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