Planning for a Lisbon to Porto day trip? Wondering if a day trip to Porto from Lisbon is worth it? Read our epic Lisbon Porto travel guide to find answers to all your burning questions.

Lisbon To Porto Day Trip – 5 Big Reasons Not To Do It!

Last Updated on March 24, 2024 by Soumya

Are you wondering if you can do a day trip from Lisbon to Porto?

I asked myself the same question a hundred times before visiting Porto, and friends and readers asked me a hundred times more.

After lots of research and a good deal of traveling around Portugal, here’s my answer.

While it is quite possible to do a day trip from Lisbon to Porto (total travel time = 6-7 hours), a Porto day trip is absolutely not worth it.

You will spend way too much time in the car or train and have little time to explore the beautiful city of Porto!

In this post, I am going to tell you why (5 big reasons here) I think a day trip to Porto from Lisbon is not worth doing.

I will lay out all the different ways you can travel to Porto from Lisbon and why none of them gives you ample time to explore the city.

I also give you tips on what to do with one extra day in Lisbon. Read along, and let’s unravel the mystery of day-tripping between Lisbon and Porto.

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A man walks infront of azulejo facade of Carmo Church in Porto
The blue tile-covered churches are a must see whether visiting Porto on a day trip or not.

Can you do a day trip to Porto from Lisbon?

Yes, you can do a day trip from Lisbon to Porto.

But the real question is, do you really want to see Porto on a day trip from Lisbon?

The distance between Lisbon and Porto is about 200 miles (314km).

A car journey between the two cities takes around 3 hours, and the train journey takes around 3.5 – 4 hours, depending on which stations you board and embark on.

This means you will be spending a lot of time traveling between the two cities instead of seeing anything substantial.

I recommend a Lisbon Porto day trip only if you’re short on time. If not, plan to spend at least three days in Porto to see all that the city has to offer.

Boat tour and view of Porto Ribeira
Porto has a beautiful riverfront promenade.

Best Lisbon to Porto Tour

If you decide to visit Porto on a day trip from Lisbon, be sure to book a highly-rated guided tour like this one or this one because it’s the most convenient and stress-free way to do it.

  • This is one of the highest-rated Lisbon-Porto group tours in the market. What I like about this tour is that it is budget-friendly and allows you to see the main highlights (also includes Obidos and Nazare) of the Portuguese coast in one day.

How to get from Lisbon to Porto?

There are various ways to travel to Porto from Lisbon. Let’s evaluate some of the most popular options.

Train from Lisbon to Porto Day Trip

Photo of people waiting on the platform at Porto Campanha Station in Portugal
When doing a Lisbon Porto day trip by train, you’ll arrive at the Porto Campanha Station, which is about 15 minutes from the city center.

The easiest way to travel to Porto from Lisbon is by train. The train ride is 3-4 hours long, depending on the kind of train and where you board in Lisbon and get off in Porto.

If you board one of the fastest trains, also known as the Alfa Pendular (AP) Service in Portugal, you will reach Porto in just under three hours.

If you take one of the intercity trains from Lisbon to Porto, known as the Intercidades (IC), it will take you 3 hours and 30 minutes.

Porto trains from Lisbon start from Lisboa-Santa Apolonia and arrive at Porto Campanha station. They also stop at Lisboa-Oriente if you wish to board from there.

You can check for schedules and prices on Portugal’s official railway website, called Comboios de Portugal.

Pro Tip: Book your Lisbon Porto train tickets in advance on OMIO, my favorite platform for booking all train travel in Europe.

Sunset over the Dom Luis Bridge in Porto
Wrap up your day in Porto by enjoying a sunset over the Ribeira District.

Bus from Lisbon to Porto

It is possible to travel to Porto from Lisbon by bus. Several bus companies such as Rede Expressos, Renex, and Flixbus have buses running in the Lisbon-Porto route.

Porto buses usually leave from the Sete Rios bus stop (Google Maps) or Oriente Station bus stop (Google Maps) in Lisbon.

Buses from Lisbon to Porto take about 3 hours 30 minutes or more, depending on the number of stops/detours they make.

Pro Tip: Book your Lisbon Porto bus tickets in advance here because this is one of the busiest bus routes in Portugal and tends to sell out fast.

Lisbon to Porto by Car

Looking for more flexibility? Rent a car and drive from Lisbon to Porto.

If you don’t want to drive, you can book this private transfer from Lisbon to Porto.

A car journey to Porto from Lisbon takes around 3 hours.

Pro Tip: If you have time on your hands, I recommend doing a slow road trip between Lisbon and Porto. Make at least 2-3 stops (suggestions – Obidos | Coimbra | Aveiro) in between because there are several beautiful places to see. Here’s an amazing Lisbon to Porto transfer that allows you to see 2 beautiful towns – Fatima and Coimbra.

Dom Luis I Bridge Porto
The magnificent Dom Luis Bridge is a must see on your Lisbon Porto day trip.

Guided Tour from Lisbon to Porto

If you’re strapped for time, a guided tour from Lisbon to Porto is the best way to travel between the two cities.

You don’t have to worry about logistics and you’ll enjoy the services of a knowledgeable tour guide. This makes your Porto day trip from Lisbon a memorable experience.

Here’s a highly-rated private Porto day trip from Lisbon that allows you to see Porto’s best landmarks, enjoy a traditional Portuguese lunch, and taste delicious Port wine. It includes pick-up and drop from your Lisbon hotel/apartment.

You can find a few more options below.

5 reasons you should not do the day trip from Lisbon to Porto

A day trip from Lisbon to Porto by train, car, and bus is doable, given the 6-7 hours of total journey time. However, you need to evaluate if you want to do just a day trip or spend a few days in Porto.

Here’s my take on why a Lisbon to Porto day trip is not worth it when it comes to seeing and appreciating the city’s beauty and history.

Streets of Porto - a helpful Porto travel tip - carry a good pair of walking shoes
The beautiful city of Porto is full of interesting landmarks. Visiting it on a day trip from Lisbon only gives you chance to appreciate few of them.

Long train journey from Lisbon to Porto and back

The earliest you can leave Lisbon for a day trip to Porto is at 6:30 a.m. on an IC train (arriving at 9:53 a.m.) or at 8 a.m. on an AP train (arriving at 11:05 a.m.). The last IC train from Porto to Lisbon leaves at 7:37 p.m. Find the latest train times on Portugal’s railway website here.

Even if you take a guided tour from Porto and leave early from Lisbon, the earliest you’ll arrive is at 9:00 a.m.

That leaves you with roughly 8-10 hours to explore the city before heading back.

I am not even talking about the fact that you will already be tired by waking early and traveling for 3 long hours.

Pro Tip: Check out 12 best travel tips for Porto to plan a memorable trip.

There’s just so much to see in Porto.

The Chapel of Souls in Porto is an unmissable attraction on your Lisbon - Porto day trip itinerary.
When visiting Porto, don’t miss the beautiful blue and white tiled churches.

Porto is Portugal’s second-largest city. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a European Capital of Culture.

There are no doubt tons of things to do in Porto, including a trip to the magnificent Bolsa Palace, a walk down the Ribeira, appreciating Porto’s numerous Azulejo panels, and visiting Livraria Lello—the Harry Potter bookstore.

A few hours in Porto is not sufficient to see all its attractions, in my honest opinion.

📖 Related Read: Visiting Porto? Find out all the amazing things to do in Portugal’s second-largest city.

You will miss out on some amazing day trips from Porto.

A traditional Rabelo boat
Visiting Douro Valley on a day trip from Porto is one of my favorite things to do.

This is yet another reason why I am so against doing Porto as a day trip option from Lisbon.

Porto is a great day trip base in itself.

There are wonderful small towns near Porto that you can easily visit by train and car —all in under a couple of hours.

Take the case of historical Braga and Guimaraes, the Portuguese canal town of Aveiro, and the historic Alto Douro Wine Region. You would not want to miss the scenic train journey from Porto to Douro Valley.

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There’s so much to see between Lisbon and Porto.

Pretty view of Coimbra University from across the river
The University town of Coimbra is a pretty place to visit in Portugal.

Apart from the destination itself, there is so much to see on your way from Lisbon to Porto.

Some of the most beautiful places that come to my mind are the University town of Coimbra, the Roman ruins of Conimbriga, and the monasteries of Batalha and Alcobaca.

Portugal is literally sprinkled with UNESCO heritage sites throughout its length.

If you look at our 10-day Portugal itinerary, you will notice that as we traveled from north to south, we made stops at many places and took day trips to several others.

That is why I feel that making multiple stops in between is the perfect way to travel from Lisbon to Porto (or vice versa).

You can do this either by train or car. But it is definitely more restful and allows you to see more and better.

Pro Tip: Check out this amazing full-day tour that allows you to see several beautiful spots along the way.

You will miss getting great pictures of this beautiful city.

Church of Ildefonso in Porto Portugal
The beautiful Church of Ildefonso in Porto is a great photo op.

Now, this is the last reason on my list but an important one. I mean who does not want good pictures from their travels!

Arriving in any place on a day trip usually means missing out on the early rays of the sun and the golden hour.

I usually find myself staring at overexposed surfaces on all my day trips even the short commute ones.

A day trip from Lisbon to Porto by train or car lands you in Porto in the middle of the day – not the best time to take pictures of the magnificent Dom Luis Bridge, the Ribeira, or the magnificent azulejo panels.

So, if you are serious about photographs, a Lisbon Porto day trip does not help at all.

What to do in Lisbon instead of a day trip to Porto?

If you are short on time and cannot spend at least a couple of days in Porto, I highly recommend spending all your time in Lisbon exploring the city and more of southern Portugal. Here are my two cents on how you can do that.

Do more of shorter day trips from Lisbon

Pena Palace in Sintra Portugal
Visit Sintra from Lisbon instead of doing a Porto day trip.

There are so many amazing places to visit in Lisbon. Some are only a couple of hours from the capital.

Therefore, it is quite easy to do some fantastic day trips from Lisbon by train – all less than 1.5 hours of travel time. Some of my favorite ones include:

  • Sintra, if you haven’t thought of it already. The eccentric and magical castles of Sintra are a draw for every tourist who visits Portugal. Plus, you cannot miss Sintra’s travesseiros, a unique Portuguese dessert.

  • Belem is another favorite. It is so easy to get to (check out our detailed Lisbon to Belem travel guide). There are so many wonderful monuments in Belem, including the two most famous landmarks of Portugal, Belem Tower, and Jeronimos Monastery.

Pro Tip: Check out our post on quick, cheap, and easy Lisbon day trips for more options and planning tips.

Explore the hidden gems of Lisbon

Church of Sao Domingos - A Lisbon secret spot
Lisbon is full of hidden churches and monasteries that could take a day to explore.

It is true that Lisbon has been on the tourist radar for a while now. The city is filled with popular sights and tourist attractions, and crowds, no doubt.

Yet, there is a hidden face of Lisbon that not many people see. Take a tour of some of the most unusual attractions in Lisbon.

Walk on an aqueduct and be rewarded with stunning views.

Try ethnic cuisines from erstwhile Portuguese colonies in Africa.

Explore an underground art gallery of Portuguese azulejos. And much more!

Pro Tip: Read our Lisbon off-the-beaten-path guide to plan an unusual day in Lisbon.

Experience more of Lisbon and Nearby

Read our posts on
Best Things to Do in Lisbon | From the most popular attractions in Lisbon and the best hidden gems to stunning viewpoints and the charming alleys of Alfama, explore Lisbon with our perfect bucket lists.
Lisbon Food | Wondering what to eat in Lisbon? Check out our epic Lisbon food guide, or try the best Portuguese desserts.
Perfect Lisbon Itineraries | Explore Portugal’s capital with our perfect 2-day in Lisbon itinerary. If you’re visiting for a short time, then our 24-hour Lisbon itinerary is sure to help you.
Lisbon Day Trips
| Spend some more time around Lisbon with these epic Lisbon day trips.

Thinking about a Lisbon Porto day trip? Think again!

Planning for a Lisbon to Porto day trip? Wondering if a day trip to Porto from Lisbon is worth it? Read our epic Lisbon Porto travel guide to find answers to all your burning questions.

Soumya is an acclaimed travel writer who has traveled to 30+ countries and lived in 8 while pursuing her passion for history and culture. Her writings have been published in BBC Travel, Architectural Digest, National Herald, and many more. She loves exploring world heritage sites and has a deep affinity for everything ancient, especially the lost civilizations of Mesoamerica!

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