Lisbon to Lagos by bus and train
Having immersed myself in the charm of Lagos for the past five years, I can attest to its allure as a captivating city nestled in the western expanse of the stunning Algarve region.
This gem stands out as one of southern Portugal’s premier tourist destinations, offering a delightful historic center, picturesque beaches, and a vibrant atmosphere.
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Situated 250km north of Lagos, Lisbon serves as the lively capital of Portugal and houses the nation’s primary international airport. Connecting these two cities is a journey that unfolds through a well-organized network of public transport, featuring both trains and express buses.
Two distinct companies operate along this route, providing bus services, while the train journey involves a transfer in the town of Tunes.
Insights into Traveling between Lagos and Lisbon
Embarking on the public transport journey from Lisbon to Lagos is an extensive adventure, taking approximately four hours (with specific durations ranging from 3hrs 40mins to 4hrs 8mins, depending on the service).
As there are no direct trains between Lagos and Lisbon, a connection at Tunes is necessary. The train from Lagos to Tunes is a leisurely regional service, while the Tunes to Lisbon leg is served by an express train (the Alfa Pendular or Intercidades), managed by Portugal’s train company, Comboios de Portugal (CP).
Rede Expressos and Flixbus are the two bus companies offering direct services between Lisbon and Lagos. Rede Expressos, the primary intercity bus company of Portugal, is joined by Flixbus, a German low-cost bus operator renowned for its extensive coverage in Portugal. Both companies operate modern and comfortable coaches.
While the bus services may be direct, they share a similar journey time with the train, making multiple stops within the Algarve.
Tip: Opting to book directly with the respective companies is a smart choice, reducing booking fees and ensuring better flexibility in case of any issues. Check out their websites here:
Comboios de Portugal – https://www.cp.pt/
Rede Expressos – rede-expressos.pt/
Flixbus – https://www.flixbus.pt/
Choosing Between Train, Bus, or Low-Cost Bus for Lagos to Lisbon Travel
Deciding between the three options—train, bus, or low-cost bus—will hinge on your budget and the desired level of comfort for the four-hour journey.
While train travel offers the most comfort, space, and relaxation, it comes with a higher price tag, starting from €28.30 for a single ticket. The two train segments (Lisbon-Tunes and Tunes-Lagos) feature different carriage styles (regional and intercity), providing more space than the bus.
Opting for intercity bus travel, while safe and equipped with modern comforts, means enduring a four-hour journey that might feel quite lengthy. The advantage, however, is the significantly lower cost, with single tickets available for as little as €7.99.
Both Flixbus and Rede Expressos employ dynamic pricing, where advance or low-demand bookings offer inexpensive seats. Last-minute or popular route purchases will be pricier. Flixbus generally tends to be cheaper than Rede Expressos in the summer, but it’s advisable to check both websites for the best deals.
Personal Recommendation: Despite the extended travel times on both the train and bus, with a drive taking only 2hrs 55mins, our preference for public transport leans towards the train. Its spacious and comfortable seating contrasts with the winding roads and roundabouts along the bus route through the Algarve, making the train a more enjoyable choice.
Lisbon to Lagos by bus
Exploring Portugal by bus offers a safe and budget-friendly option, with modern and well-maintained coaches operated by Rede Expressos and Flixbus.
Rede Expresso, the primary inter-city bus company, collaborates with smaller bus companies like Renex, Eva, or Rede Expresso to provide diverse routes. Flixbus, a low-cost operator, has contributed to a significant drop in bus travel costs, making it more economical than train travel.
Both Rede Expressos and Flixbus cover similar routes, offering nearly identical journey times of around four hours. Booking Flixbus in advance can secure more budget-friendly fares, but be mindful of potential sell-outs during peak times.
Rede Expressos – rede-expressos.pt/
Flixbus – https://www.flixbus.pt/
Dynamic pricing is implemented by both bus companies, meaning ticket prices increase as the departure time approaches and demand rises.
Lisbon and Lagos bus stations: Navigating Bus Stations in Lisbon and Lagos
Rede Expresso departs from Lisbon’s Sete Rios bus station (GPS: 38.741843, -9.166143), the city’s main bus station on the blue metro line, linked to the Jardim Zoológico metro station.
Flixbus leaves from Estação do Oriente bus station (GPS: 38.767212, -9.099141) in the Parque das Nações district, connected to the red metro line by Oriente metro station.
Both Sete Rios and Estação do Oriente are modern, well-equipped bus stations with late-opening ticket offices. While these stations are generally safe, it’s wise to stay vigilant against pickpockets looking for opportunities.
In Lagos, all buses terminate at Terminal Rodoviário de Lagos, a smaller station just north of the historic center (GPS: 37.107279, -8.676348).
Lagos to Lisbon by train
The train journey from Lagos to Lisbon unfolds in two segments: a leisurely regional train from Lagos to Tunes and an intercity express service from Lisbon to Tunes.
For the Lisbon to Tunes express train, two options exist: the modern Alfa Pendular (AP) and the slightly more economical Intercidades (IC) with older carriages.
Traveling from Lagos to Lisbon, whether by Alfa Pendular or Intercidades, costs €30.95/€24.05 (first/second class) and €28.30/€22.65 (first/second class), respectively. The journey on the regional train from Lagos to Tunes remains consistent, regardless of class or train choice.
Seat assignments apply to the Lisbon to Tunes segment but not the regional train from Lagos to Tunes.
Tip: The regional train from Lagos to Tunes may feel sluggish, especially after experiencing the express train, taking 58 minutes to cover the 45 km distance.
Train Stations: Railway Stations Guide
Departures from Lisbon to Lagos via AP or IC trains occur at Estação do Oriente. This station lies to the northeast of Lisbon (GPS: 38.767212, -9.099141), connected to the red metro line by Oriente metro station. While busy, Oriente is well-signposted, ensuring a smooth journey.
Lagos train station, situated to the east of the city near the marina complex (GPS: 37.108603, -8.672195), is a small station with a single train line.
Tunes, the connecting station, is straightforward to navigate, featuring two platforms, and fellow travelers often share the same connection.
Further Reading: Estação do Oriente guide
Book your seats in advance!
If there’s one key takeaway from this guide, it’s the importance of booking your train and bus tickets well ahead of your travel date. This isn’t just about saving money but also ensuring you have a seat, especially during the bustling summer season when demand is high.
The intercity trains linking Lisbon and Tunes have a limited number of seats, and once they’re gone, no more spots are available. Standing room isn’t an option on the Alfa Pendular or Intercidades services.
Bus routes connecting Lisbon and Lagos extend to the central and western Algarve areas, encompassing Portimão, Albufeira, Lagoa, and Armação de Pêra. As a result, summer sees heightened demand, making early bookings crucial.
The subsequent sections will delve into comprehensive details on navigating the journey from Lisbon to Lagos.