I totally love travelling by train in Portugal. It is comfortable and fast. The Portuguese trains are very clean and comfortable. Because Portugal is a relatively small and accessible country there are trains to most Portuguese destinations. You can find a lot of third part apps or booking websites (such as omio.com) that advertise Portugal train tickets and probably mark them up. I would recommend that you book directly with the official Portuguese site for train travel – cp.pt.
You can book Portugal Train Tickets at local Stations
You can of course go to the train station to book your train in Portugal, but this takes time and has its own challenges such as the language barrier or long queues in busy periods. That’s why I prefer to book my train tickets online or through the app.
If you do want to book in person and get a physical ticket there are a few things that you will need to be aware of. Most stations in Lisbon and Portugal speak Portuguese, but you will find that there are some destinations where English is not widely spoken. Here are some Portuguese phrases that you might need when booking in person:
- bilhete de volta – return ticket
- passagem so de ida – one way
- Days of the week – Segunda Feira, terca, quarta feira, quinta-feira, sexta-feira, sabado, domingo
- hora – hour (O’Clock) eg. duas horas is two O’Clock
- primeira classe – first class
- segunda classe – second class
- hoje – today
- amanha – tomorrow
Remember that not all train journeys will require the CP PT app because some will be more local. For example, if you want to travel from Cais do Sodre (Lisbon) to Cascais then your Lisbon Viva Viagem card will work the same as it does on the Lisbon Metro.
Comboios de Portugal – The Official site for Portugal Train Tickets
The official website for booking train tickets in Portugal is cp.pt. This stands for Comboios de Portugal – ‘Comboios’ means trains in Portuguese. You can use the official website and you can also download and use the CP PT app.
Booking your Portugal Train Tickets online
Booking your Portugal train tickets online is simple. Go to cp.pt and you can select the English version if your Portuguese is limited. It is very similar to the UK train booking site thetrainline.com and it’s easy to use. Simply put in your from and to destinations and the date and time you want to travel.
You may find that you need to know the names of the stations in the destinations that you are travelling to. For example ‘Lisbon’ won’t come up – you will need to put Lisboa Oriente or Lisboa Sete Rios for example.
Choose your Station Carefully!
Sometimes you need to do a bit of research because the main cities often have two or three stations and if you are looking for the intercity train (Intercidades – the fastest for long distance) then you have to know which station they go from. For example this could be Coimbra-B rather than Coimbra or Porto Campanha as opposed to Porto Sao Bento. It is often a good idea to book the most direct train and then sometimes you might have to grab a metro or bus from the station to the historic centre, but I find that to be the best way for long journeys.
Add your Passport number or ID
There will be a section that you may not be used to and that is the section where they ask for your ID. Portuguese citizens often use their Citizen card number here, but if you are not a Portuguese citizen then you can opt for Passport and then enter your passport number. We don’t do this when booking train tickets in the UK, but it is a normal part of the booking process in Portugal.
This does mean of course, that you have to travel with the specified ID document. So, if you add your passport number to the booking, you will need to be carrying your passport when you board that particular train. Believe me – the train conductor will check!
Tickets will be emailed to you
All Portugal Train Tickets booked online are digital and you will receive an email to your phone with the subject: ‘CP – Bileteira Online’. Your ticket will be attached as a PDF and it will have a QR code that the conductor will scan. You can print this out and take it with you, or you can use it digitally, but if you decide to use the digital ticket then you need to ensure that your phone is fully charged for the journey.
Booking your Portugal Train Tickets via the CP PT App
Booking your Portugal train tickets through the CP PT app is extremely easy. The app is available for Android and Apple phones. Go to the app store and search for ‘Comboios de Portugal’ and it will come up. You can log into your account that you used on the website, or if you don’t have one first you will need to register.
Once you have the app you can follow the same booking process as online:
- Choose your to and from destination and time of travel
- Select your train
- Add passenger details with ID
- Confirm whether you need tax number (if you are not a resident or not bothered uncheck this box and it won’t need this info)
- Make Payment (Visa, Apple Pay or Multibanco)
When you have bought your train tickets they will go into the ‘tickets’ section of your app and you can show the train conductor your QR code. You can have more than one train ticket in there at once. You can also add these train tickets to your apple wallet.
The CP PT app is by far the best way to book intercity trains in Portugal and has been an invaluable resource for me! It’s easy to use.
If you enjoyed this article you might also like to read about Porto Metro