How to go to Portugal by Train

Portugal is in the south-west corner of Europe, far from the more populated central area of the continent. This makes that travelling by train to the country is time consuming, and even became more time consuming and complicated recently.

Until March 2020 there was a direct night train (Sud-Express) from Hendaye, at the French-Spanish border, to Lisboa. However with the Covid-19 pandemie this train was suspended. Also the night train (Lusitania) between Madrid and Lisboa was suspended. With the most severe effects of the Covid crisis fading away, the Portuguese railways (CP) wanted to reinstate those trains, but the Spanish railways (Renfe) refused and took the opportunity to abandon all night trains and put the rolling stock out of service. As a result there are no direct train services anymore between Portugal and Madrid and the rest of Europe.

The only remaining options to travel by train to Portugal require several changes of train and staying overnight in at least one location en route. This article gives a summary of the current (September 2022) possibilities.

For travel planning and booking check the official sources!

There are daily direct High-speed trains from Marseille via Montpellier to Barcelona and Madrid, from Lyon via Montpellier to Barcelona and from Paris via Montpellier to Barcelona. From Paris there are daily multiple direct High-speed trains via Bordeaux to Hendaye at the Spanish border. At the Spanish side of the border trains depart from Irún. Euskotren, the Basque railway, provides a frequent service between Hendaye, Irún and San Sebastian. Detailed descriptions about how to change from SNCF trains in Hendaye to Renfe trains in Irún or San Sebastian v.v. are given and the end of this page, together with how to transfer between stations in Madrid and Vigo.

There are only three trains daily between Portugal and Spain. Twice daily there is a train connecting Porto with Vigo and once daily a train between Entroncamento and Badajoz. So any trip by train to Portugal must go via Vigo or Badajoz.

The shortest way to Vigo is a cross-country route. However the high-speed railway between Madrid and Galicia makes that travelling via Madrid is faster as using the cross-country route.

The fastest routes are via Madrid. But for all routes at least one, but often two night overs are necessary.

Renfe publishes the time-tables only one to two months in advance, sometimes only two weeks in advance. So all information available is what’s at this moment (September 2022) valid, not for what’s valid in the future as the schedules aren’t known yet.

All the time-tables in this article for Spain are those as valid in SEPTEMBER 2022. For travel planning check the official Renfe sources!

From France to Portugal via Barcelona – Madrid – Badajoz

TrainAVE
9731
TGV
9713
AVLO
6308
AVE
3180
AVE
9743
AVE
3202
AVLO
6310
TGV
9715
Paris Gare de Lyon10:1415:14
Lyon Part-Dieu|14:35|
Marseille St-Charles8:02|||
Montpellier St-Roch9:3913:4616:3218:46
Barcelona Sants12:5016:5417:2518:2519:3220:0021:1021:54
Madrid Atocha15:4519:5520:5523:1723:55
AVLO trains are the Renfe budget high speed trains with Economy class only. TGV 9715 runs Summer only.
TrainIC 190AVE 3662RE
17902
RE
18770
Regional 5500IC 731/527Regional 4432
Barcelona Sants7:40
Madrid Atocha8:5010:1010:55
Mérida12:4715:0515:31
Badajoz (Spanish time)13:2416:1116:24
Entroncamento (Portuguese time)18:1418:3018:44
Lisboa Santa Apolónia|20:20
Coimbra-B19:29
Porto Campanhã20:53
In Portugal it’s one hour earlier then in Spain. If travelling via Badajoz a night over in Lisboa is necessary to continue to the Algarve.

From France to Portugal via Hendaye – San Sebastian – Madrid – Badajoz

TrainTGV 8531TGV 8537TGV 8541TGV 8549
Paris Montparnasse7:1110:1112:1116:11
Bordeaux Saint-Jean9:2012:2014:2018:20
Hendaye SNCF11:4714:4716:4720:47
Hendaye Euskotren12:0315:0317:0321:03
Irun-Colon12:0815:0817:0821:08
Donostia-Amara12:4015:4017:4021:40
This is only an example of TGV trains TGV departing from Paris to Hendaye with Euskotren connections to Irun and San Sebastian (Donostia) on a working day in September 2022. Between Paris and Bordeaux there are TGV trains almost every hour, between Bordeaux an Hendaye there are also TER (regional) trains. For travel planning use the official SNCF sources as the time-tables differ by day and season.

At the bottom of this page are details for the transfer between Hendaye and Irún or Donostia – San Sebastian and the transfers between the stations in Irún and Donostia – San Sebastian.

TrainAlvia 4056Alvia 4086Cercanias 32746Alvia 4166
Irún8:4516:17
Donostia – San Sebastian5:029:0216:4317:03
Madrid Chamartin9:5713:5622:03

At the bottom of this page are details for the transfer in Madrid between the Atocha and Chamartin stations.

TrainIC 190RE
17902
RE
18770
Regional 5500IC 731/527Regional 4432
Madrid Chamartin8:30
Madrid Atocha8:5010:55
Mérida12:4715:0515:31
Badajoz (Spanish time)13:2416:1116:24
Entroncamento (Portuguese time)18:1418:3018:44
Lisboa Santa Apolónia|20:20
Coimbra-B19:29
Porto Campanhã20:53
In Portugal it’s one hour earlier then in Spain.

From France via Barcelona – Madrid – Vigo to Portugal

TrainAVE
9731
TGV
9713
AVLO
6308
AVE
3180
AVE
9743
AVE
3202
AVLO
6310
TGV
9715
Paris Gare de Lyon10:1415:14
Lyon Part-Dieu|14:35|
Marseille St-Charles8:02|||
Montpellier St-Roch9:3913:4616:3218:46
Barcelona Sants12:5016:5417:2518:2519:3220:0021:1021:54
Madrid Atocha15:4519:5520:5523:1723:55
AVLO trains are the Renfe budget high speed trains with Economy class only. TGV 9715 runs Summer only.
TrainAVE 3662AVE 3112AVE 3150
Barcelona Sants7:4011:0015:25
Madrid Atocha10:1013:4517:55
This is only a selection of the Renfe trains from Barcelona Sants to Madrid Atocha.

At the bottom of this page are details for the transfer in Madrid between the Atocha and Chamartin stations.

TrainAlvia 4115Alvia 4165Alvia 4185
Madrid Chamartin11:2016:0019:15
Vigo Urzaiz15:3820:1223:46
There are trains running earlier from Madrid to Vigo that are not in the table, but not early enough to catch the morning Celta 420 to Porto.

At the bottom of this page are details for the transfer in Vigo between the Urzáiz and Guixar stations.

TrainCelta 420IC 720Celta 422
Vigo Guixar (Spanish time)8:5819:56
Porto Campanhã (Portuguese time)10:2010:3821:18
Coimbra-B12:02
Lisboa Santa Apolónia14:00
In Portugal it’s one hour earlier than in Spain.

From France via Hendaye – San Sebastian – Madrid – Vigo to Portugal

TrainTGV 8531TGV 8537TGV 8541TGV 8549
Paris Montparnasse7:1110:1112:1116:11
Bordeaux Saint-Jean9:2012:2014:2018:20
Hendaye SNCF11:4714:4716:4720:47
Hendaye Euskotren12:0315:0317:0321:03
Irun-Colon12:0815:0817:0821:08
Donostia-Amara12:4015:4017:4021:40
This is only an example of TGV trains TGV departing from Paris to Hendaye with Euskotren connections to Irun and San Sebastian (Donostia) on a working day in September 2022. Between Paris and Bordeaux there are TGV trains almost every hour, between Bordeaux an Hendaye there are also TER (regional) trains. For travel planning use the official SNCF sources as the time-tables differ by day and season.

At the bottom of this page are details for the transfer between Hendaye and Irún or Donostia – San Sebastian and the transfers between the stations in Irún and Donostia – San Sebastian.

TrainAlvia 4056Alvia 4115Alvia 4086Alvia 4165Cercanias 32746Alvia 4166
Irún8:4516:17
Donostia – San Sebastian5:029:0216:4317:03
Madrid Chamartin9:5711:2013:5616:0022:03
Vigo Urzaiz15:3820:12

At the bottom of this page are details for the transfer in Vigo between the Urzáiz and Guixar stations.

TrainCelta 420IC 720Celta 422
Vigo Guixar (Spanish time)8:5819:56
Porto Campanhã (Portuguese time)10:2010:3821:18
Coimbra-B12:02
Lisboa Santa Apolónia14:00
In Portugal it’s one hour earlier than in Spain.

From Portugal via Vigo – Madrid – San Sebastian – Hendaye to France

TrainCelta 421IC 523Celta 423
Lisboa Santa Apolónia15:30
Coimbra-B17:30
Porto Campanhã (Portuguese time)8:1318:5219:10
Vigo Guixar (Spanish time)11:3522:34
In Portugal it’s one hour earlier then in Spain.

At the bottom of this page are details for the transfer in Vigo between the Urzáiz and Guixar stations.

TRAINAlvia 4087Cercanias 32737Alvia 4254Alvia 4157Cercanias 32753Alvia 4167Alvia 4354
Vigo Urzaiz9:2013:20
Madrid Chamartin8:4313:4214:5017:3817:36
Donostia – San Sebastian13:3714:0619:4220:1022:40
Irun14:3320:3723:00

At the bottom of this page are details for the transfer between Hendaye and Irún or Donostia – San Sebastian and the transfers between the stations in Irún and Donostia – San Sebastian.

TRAINTGV 8530TGV 8534TGV 8540TGV 8544TGV 8550
Donostia-Amara6:158:4511:4515:1517:15
Irun-Colon6:479:1712:1715:4717:47
Hendaye Euskotren6:529:2212:2215:5217:52
Hendaye SNCF7:129:3612:5916:1218:12
Bordeaux Saint-Jean9:4012:0815:4318:4020:40
Paris Montparnasse11:5514:2317:5320:5823:00
From San Sebastian (Donostia-Amara) with Euskotren to Hendaye. This is only an example of TGV trains departing from Hendaye to Paris with Euskotren connections from San Sebastian (Donostia) and Irun on a working day in September 2022. For travel planning use the official SNCF sources as the time-tables differ by day and season.

From Portugal via Vigo – Madrid – Barcelona to France

TrainCelta 421IC 523Celta 423
Lisboa Santa Apolónia15:30
Coimbra-B17:30
Porto Campanhã (Portuguese time)8:1318:5219:10
Vigo Guixar (Spanish time)11:3522:34
In Portugal it’s one hour earlier then in Spain.

At the bottom of this page are details for the transfer in Vigo between the Urzáiz and Guixar stations.

TrainAlvia 4484Alvia 4254Alvia 4354
Vigo Urzaiz5:509:2013:20
Madrid Chamartin10:2013:4217:36
There are later trains from Vigo to Madrid, but not that late that they connect to the evening Celta 423 from Porto.

At the bottom of this page are details for the transfer in Madrid between the Atocha and Chamartin stations.

TrainAVE 3113AVE 3151AVE 3191
Madrid Atocha11:3015:0019:00
Barcelona Sants14:4217:3021:30
This is only a selection of the Renfe trains from Madrid Atocha to Barcelona Sants.
TrainAVE
9736
AVLO
6301
TGV
9702
AVE
3093
AVLO
6303
TGV
9704
AVE
9724
Madrid Atocha6:209:3010:3013:25
Barcelona Sants8:158:509:1012:3713:1514:0016:36
Montpellier St-Roch11:2112:2617:1319:45
Marseille St-Charles|||21:26
Lyon Part-Dieu13:22||
Paris Gare de Lyon15:4620:46
AVLO trains are the Renfe budget high speed trains with Economy class only. TGV 9704 runs Summer only.

From Portugal via Badajoz – Madrid – San Sebastian – Hendaye to France

TrainIC
520
IC
541
Regional
5501
RE
18777
RE
17907
IC 193
Porto Campanhã6:37
Coimbra-B8:04
Lisboa Santa Apolónia|8:15
Entroncamento (Portuguese time)9:009:2310:24
Badajoz (Spanish time)14:1414:3017:36
Mérida15:1615:2518:20
Madrid Atocha19:3822:04
Madrid Chamartin22:18

At the bottom of this page are details for the transfer in Madrid between the Atocha and Chamartin stations.

TRAINAlvia 4087Cercanias 32737Alvia 4157Cercanias 32753Alvia 4167
Madrid Chamartin8:4314:5017:38
Donostia – San Sebastian13:3714:0619:4220:1022:40
Irun14:3320:3723:00

At the bottom of this page are details for the transfer between Hendaye and Irún or Donostia – San Sebastian and the transfers between the stations in Irún and Donostia – San Sebastian.

TRAINTGV 8530TGV 8534TGV 8540TGV 8544TGV 8550
Donostia-Amara6:158:4511:4515:1517:15
Irun-Colon6:479:1712:1715:4717:47
Hendaye Euskotren6:529:2212:2215:5217:52
Hendaye SNCF7:129:3612:5916:1218:12
Bordeaux Saint-Jean9:4012:0815:4318:4020:40
Paris Montparnasse11:5514:2317:5320:5823:00
From San Sebastian (Donostia-Amara) with Euskotren to Hendaye. This is only an example of TGV trains departing from Hendaye to Paris with Euskotren connections from San Sebastian (Donostia) and Irun on a working day in September 2022. For travel planning use the official SNCF sources as the time-tables differ by day and season.

From Portugal via Badajoz – Madrid – Barcelona to France

TrainIC
520
IC
541
Regional
5501
RE
18777
RE
17907
AVE 3203IC 193
Porto Campanhã6:37
Coimbra-B8:04
Lisboa Santa Apolónia|8:15
Entroncamento (Portuguese time)9:009:2310:24
Badajoz (Spanish time)14:1414:3017:36
Mérida15:1615:2518:20
Madrid Atocha19:3820:4022:04
Barcelona Sants23:55
Connections in Atocha are not guaranteed.
TrainAVE
9736
AVLO
6301
TGV
9702
AVE
3093
AVLO
6303
TGV
9704
AVE
9724
Madrid Atocha6:209:3010:3013:25
Barcelona Sants8:158:509:1012:3713:1514:0016:36
Montpellier St-Roch11:2112:2617:1319:45
Marseille St-Charles|||21:26
Lyon Part-Dieu13:22||
Paris Gare de Lyon15:4620:46
AVLO trains are the Renfe budget high speed trains with Economy class only. TGV 9704 runs Summer only.

Cross-country, not going via Madrid

Daily there is a train between Barcelona and Galicia. On Sunday, Wednesday and Friday the destination is Vigo. On the other days the train goes to A Coruña with in Ourense a connecting train to Vigo. In the opposite direction the train to Barcelona departs from Vigo on Monday, Thursday and Saturday. On the other days there is a connecting train from Vigo to Ourense where can be changed for the direction Barcelona. Travel time between Barcelona and Vigo is almost 14 hours. In Vitoria/Gasteiz can be changed from/to San Sebastian. Although by distance the shortest, this isn’t the fasted route to go to/from Portugal. Travelling via Madrid with use of the high-speed lines takes less time. Two intermediate night overs are required If travelling to/from Portugal with this cross-country train.

TRAINIC 281Alvia 622Alvia 626MD 12477
Barcelona Sants9:309:30
San Sebastian12:13||
Vitoria/Gasteiz13:5814:1614:16
Ourense21:2121:2121:31
Vigo Guixar23:1223:12
Alvia 622 on Sunday, Wednesday and Friday; Alvia 626 & MD 12477 on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
TrainMD 12474Alvia 625Alvia 621IC 282
Vigo Guixar7:427:42
Ourense9:119:169:16
Vitoria/Gasteiz16:3316:3316:45
San Sebastian||18:35
Barcelona Sants21:3521:35
Alvia 621 on Monday, Thursday and Saturday, MD 12474 & Alvia 625 on Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday.

Transfer in Madrid between the Atocha and Chamartin stations

Transfers from Atocha to Chamartin v.v. can be done with the Cercanias (Renfe suburban trains). In Atocha these trains depart from the platforms 1 & 2, In Chamartin these trains depart from platform 8. They run every 5 to 10 minutes. The journey takes about 10 to 15 minutes. Tickets can be bought from machines or the counter. When travelling with a Renfe long distance ticket, the Cercanias ticket can be gotten free.

Transfer from Hendaye to Irún or San Sebastian v.v.

Hendaye – Irun

In Hendaye the Euskotren station is on the forecourt of the main station. Train departures are every half hour at -.03 and -.33 from 5.33 (weekends 7.03) until 22.33. The station has only one platform and all trains go via Irun to San Sebastian. Leave the train at Irun-Colon, this is the second stop after departure from Hendaye and the trip takes five minutes.

Instead of making the change between Euskotren and Renfe in Irun, it can also be done in San Sebastian, or called with its Basque name Donostia. The distance between the Euskotren station Donostia-Amara and the Renfe station San Sebastian is with about 800 m significant more than in Irun. However at the moment because of works that last until 2024, the number of Renfe trains between Irún and San Sebastian is limited. That means in most cases an extra change is needed in San Sebastian between a Cercanias train and a long distance train. Also if a night over is planned near the border, San Sebastian is the better option.

To get to San Sebastian (Donostia-Amara) just take the Euskotren train departing every half hour at -.03 and -.33 from Hendaye. In the opposite direction the trains depart every half hour at -.15 and -.45 from Donostia-Amara to Hendaye. The trip between Hendaye and Donostia-Amara takes 37 minutes.

Transfer in Irún between the Euskotren and Renfe stations

When leaving the Irun-Colon station go to the right, after about 60 m use the pedestrian crossing, also cross the side street and continue to follow the busy road for one more block. (Red line on the map) You’ll come on a kind of square. Actually this is a very wide viaduct above the tracks of the Renfe. At the left you see a building, behind this building at the right side is an escalator down to the platform from where the long distance trains of Renfe depart. The track on the right is of the long distance trains. The left track is the normal gauge where in the past the SNCF trains arrived. On the platform is a station building with a counter and a vending machine for the long distance trains. The Renfe Cercanias (sub-urban trains) depart from the platforms at the right. For the station building of the Cercanias follow the dotted red line on the map. The distance from the Irun-Colon station to the escalator is about 150 m, to the Cercanias station building about 400 m.

Opposite direction. If you arrive on the Cercanias platforms leave the station building and walk straight ahead keeping the railway at your right hand until the busy road (dotted red line on the map). Turn to the right. The Euskotren Irun-Colon station is about 150 m further at the left side of the road where the bus stop is. If you arrive at the long distance trains platform, walk on the platform ahead to the escalator at the end of the platform. Go up and to the right. The Euskotren Irun-Colon station is about 150 m further at the left side of the road where the bus stop is. Euskotren trains to Hendaye depart every half hour at -.17 and -.47 from 6:47 (weekends 7.47) until 23:17, the trip to Hendaye takes five minutes. In Hendaye the Euskotren station is on the forecourt of the SNCF railway station.

Transfer in San Sebastian between the Euskotren and Renfe stations

The distance between the Euskotren and Renfe stations in San Sebastian is about 800 m. The Euskotren station is called Amara-Donostia, Donostia being the Basque name of San Sebastian. The Renfe station is called Donostia-San Sebastian.

From Amara (Euskotren) to the Renfe station: leave the station building and immediately go to the right. Walk ahead until the river and then go to the left. Walk along the riverside until the bridge, cross the bridge and you’re in front of the Renfe station.

From the Renfe station to Amara (Euskotren): Leave the station, cross the bridge and go to the left. Follow the river for about 430 m until the bus-stop. Go to the right, cross the road and go ahead for about 200 m and you’re in front of the Amara station. The trains to Hendaye depart every 30′ at -.15 and -.45 from 6.15 (weekends 7.15) until 22:45. The trip to Hendaye takes 37 minutes.

Transfer in Vigo between the Urzáiz and Guixar stations

The red route from Guixar to the western entrance of Urzáiz is slightly longer, but easier and more attractive than the blue route from Guixar to the southern entrance of Urzáiz.

The trains from or to Madrid use the station Vigo Urzaiz. The trains from or to Porto use the station Vigo Guixar. There is a direct urban bus, line L24, but this rides irregular with a rather low frequency.

The Urzáiz station is in the lower part of a shopping mall complex: “Centro Comercial Vialia de Vigo”. This complex has two entrances. The walking distance from Guixar to the western entrance (Praza da Estacion) is about 1.2 km, to the southern entrance (Via Norte) about 1.0 km. However the latter route is trough a rather desolate area and includes stairs, while the first route follows relative wide streets with shops and restaurants. When walking from Guixar to Urzaiz keep in mind there is also a level difference between both of about 60 m with Urzaiz being the higher one.

Have a good trip!

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