Vila Real Santo Antonio to Lisbon by bus or train
Vila Real is a quaint and traditional Portuguese town that is on the eastern edge of the Algarve. Vila Real has a unique calm and relaxed ambience that is difficult to find elsewhere along the Algarve coastline and the town makes for a great base to explore the surrounding region. Lisbon is the capital of Portugal and is an energetic city that is regarded as one of the finest capitals of Europe. This guide will detail how to travel from Vila Real Santo Antonio to Lisbon using public transport.
Rede Expressos buses are modern and comfortable, great for a 5 hour bus journey
Lisbon to Vila Real Overview
Lisbon is 320km to the north west of Vila Real and is served by both bus and rail public transport. The railway route requires a connection at Faro and there are infrequent departures between Vila Real and Faro. There are direct buses services but journey times vary from 5-6 hours as there are multiple stops along the eastern Algarve coastline before heading north to Lisbon.
Is bus better than train services?
Both train and bus services have their advantages. Bus travel is direct and usually faster, just watch out for the slow stopping services. Train travel is more relaxing, scenic and there is the possibility to stretch legs on the long journey and better suited for families. Train travel is slightly cheaper but all public transport is cheap in Portugal. When we travel long distances we typically take the bus.
The bus station in Vila Real Santo Antonio is small
Vila Real to Lisbon Train
The rail route requires two very different train services. The section between Lisbon and Faro uses the modern and fast Alfa Pendular trains. Seats for these services need to be pre-book either from relevant train station or from the CP railway website (www.cp.pt). Tickets can be purchased up to 60 days before departure and require ID, which is sometime checked by the ticket conductor.
The Algarve regional train
Seats for popular departures do sell out during the height of the tourist season. The second train journey is the region train from Faro to Vila Real, this train does not have to be pre booked and there is always plenty of space. The disadvantage of the regional train is the infrequency of departures to Vila Real, with over half the trains from Faro terminating at Tavira.
Vila Real train station is on the northern side of the town and the ticket office is open 9:00-17:00 every day. The station in Lisbon is the ultra-modern Gare do Oriente, located on the east of the capital, and is part of the Parque Das Nacoes complex. The train station is connected to the red metro line and the Oriente metro station. There are excellent services at Gare do Oriente but it is a big, busy station that handles more passengers than Grand Central Station in New York.
The stylish Gare do Oriente train station
Lisbon to Vila Real Santo Antonio by bus
Bus travel between the two destinations does provide a direct services and bus travel in Portugal is inexpensive, reliable and safe. The route is served by two companies Eva and Rede Expressos but both companies are part of the same organisation and tickets for both bus companies can be purchased from the Rede Expressos website (www.rede-expressos.pt).
Vila Real bus station is located on the Avenue de. República just north of the marina. The ticket office is open 8:00-18:00 every day but at the weekend the office is shut for an extended lunch between 12:00 and 14:15. The bus station is little more than a large bus stop and there are no facilities there.
The bus terminus in Lisbon is the Sete Rios bus station to the north of Lisbon. This is a busy and chaotic bus station with many departures all around Portugal. Sete Rios is close to the Jardim Zooligical metro station on the blue metro line and this is the recommended means of onward travel from the bus station. Lisbon taxis are notorious for trying to cheat tourists either with extortionate fixed fares or over inflated additional fees.
There are eight daily services between Lisbon and Vila Real with a couple more during the summer months. A single tickets costs €20 and an open return costs €36. Always do check the length of the journey as certain services have additional stops and extend journey times by an hour.