The Alfa Pendular is the faster and more spacious train from Lisbon to Porto
Porto often follows Lisbon on a tour of Portugal, and although it’s a 45-minute flight from the capital, the most common way to get there is by train. There are also express buses, but those take 3 hours and 30 minutes, while the fast train takes just 2 hours and 58 minutes. Driving also takes about 3 hours, but the tolls and gas (and parking on arrival) makes that trip even more expensive than public transportation. Flying also involves waiting at the airports, so the train ends up being the fastest and most sensible option.
Train from Lisbon to Porto
The Intercidades train is cheaper and slower, but comfortable enough for the Lisbon-Porto journey
There are two train services from Lisbon to Porto. One is the Intercidades (“IC”) that makes several stops in central Portugal and arrives in Porto in 3 hours and 16 minutes, and the other is the high(er)-speed Alfa Pendular (“AP”) which only stops in three cities in between and therefore reaches Porto in just the 2 hours and 50 minutes mentioned above. Naturally, the AP is more expensive -- it’s €31.90 for the regular (“second class”) seats, and €44.60 for first class. The IC is €25.25 for second class and €37.35 for first.
The Alfa Pendular trains are more modern, offer more leg room and free WiFi, but the Intercidades is also comfortable and there aren't any major differences between the first- and second-class seats. Both the AP and the IC depart from Santa Apolónia Station and stop at Oriente Station in Lisbon before continuing their journey north. Santa Apolónia is the one most used by tourists, as it’s closer to the center. Oriente is for those staying in the Parque das Nações district or traveling from the airport.
Tickets must be bought from the ticket office before boarding, and should be kept handy for inspection during the journey. In the summer months, it’s recommended that you buy tickets as much as 24 hours in advance, as they do sell out, especially for the early-morning trains. Tickets are marked with the carriage number and assigned seat.
Campanhã Station in Porto
The station in Porto is Campanhã, in the eastern part of the city. To reach the center, you may connect to a regular train to São Bento Station using the same ticket (it’s just a 4-minute journey), or you may follow the signs out of the station to the Metro.
Bus from Lisbon to Porto
Express bus to Porto in Lisbon's Sete Rios Station
The Lisbon-Porto express bus departs roughly every half hour from the Sete Rios terminal, and tickets are €20.00 (sometimes cheaper when purchased online at rede-expressos.pt). When not purchased online, they must be acquired from the ticket counter, not from the driver. Each passenger is assigned a seat, which is marked “Lugar” (“seat”) on the ticket. Large or heavy luggage must be stored in the compartment below.
The ride isn’t scenic, as it goes through a highway, but is comfortable, in a modern vehicle. It only makes one or two stops in between, and reaches Porto in 3 hours and 30 minutes.
The final stop in Porto is a terminal in Campanhã, which isn't in the tourist center, but there’s a Metro station which connects to downtown.