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Lisbon to Lagos by Bus, Train or Rental Car
Lagos is a fantastic holiday destination situated on the western Algarve that offers a stunning coastline, a charming historic centre and a lively nightlife. Lisbon is the vibrant capital of Portugal and also the location of the country’s main international airport. Lagos lies 250km south of Lisbon and both cities are connected by inexpensive and reliable public transport. This guide will detail how to travel from Lisbon to Lagos by bus, train or rental car, and includes ticket prices, links to timetables and station information.
Lagos to Lisbon by car – The Quickest Method
The easiest method to travel between Lagos and Lisbon is to drive; the fastest route follows A2 toll expressway, which passes through the interior of southern Portugal. The expressway is always empty due to the tolls, and by car the journey takes two and half hours. If you are hiring a rental car and intend to drive on the toll expressways always ensure that the car has a transponder that automatically pays the tolls. Many sections of the toll expressway do not have manned or coin-operated toll gates and to pay the fees without a transponder involves an overly complicated method at limited shops.
On the bus to Lagos......
Driving in Lagos and along the expressway is safe and easy, but driving in Lisbon is notoriously difficult. Lisbon’s traffic can be horrendous, the drivers are erratic, and there is poor signage, while car parking is very limited – there is no need for a rental car while exploring Lisbon.
Lagos to Lisbon by Public transport
For visitors who are reliant on public transport, there are both train and bus services between Lisbon and Lagos. The express bus provides a direct service between Lisbon and Lagos, but there can be numerous stops, depending on the route. The train is more relaxing, but there are no direct services from Lagos to Lisbon, so a connection is required in the small town of Tunes.
The train between Tunes and Lisbon must be pre-booked as it is an inter-city service and it is advisable to pre-book bus tickets, especially during the busy summer season. Both the rail and bus tickets can be purchased online or at the corresponding bus or train station. The choice between bus or train is really up to your personal preference as there is not much to separate them; the bus is direct and faster, but the train is more comfortable and provides more leg room. The following section will detail both the bus and train services in greater depth.
Lisbon to Lagos by bus
Bus travel in Portugal is safe and inexpensive, and the buses are clean and modern. The main intercity bus company of Portugal is Rede Expresso, but they also own Eva, who is the largest bus operator in the Algarve. Renex is a private company, and they also run buses between Lisbon and Lagos, but their buses do not depart from the main bus station in Lagos.
Eva buses are the main coach operator of the Algarve
The average journey time between Lisbon and Lagos is just over 4 hours, but always check that the service is direct and also an express service. The latest timetable can be viewed on the each company’s websites:
Rede Expressos - http://www.rede-expressos.pt/
Renex - http://www.renex.pt/Files/Horarios_SUL.pdf
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An adult return ticket between Lagos and Lisbon costs €36.00, while an adult single costs €19.50. Tickets during the high season should always be pre-booked, and you should take into account that all bus services get very busy on Sundays, when the Portuguese head back home after their weekend breaks to the Algarve.
Rede Expresso buses are smart, modern and safe
The Eva and Rede Expresso buses depart Lisbon from the Sete Rios bus station, which is the main bus station of Lisbon. It is located on the blue metro line and connected to the Jardim Zoológico metro station. Renex buses depart Lisbon from the Gare do Oriente bus station, which is in the Parque das Nações district, and is connected to the red metro line.
Both Sete Rios and Gare do Oriente are large and modern bus stations with late opening ticket offices and generally good facilities. Lisbon bus stations are safe to travel from but always use common sense when passing through as pick-pockets are always on the search for easy opportunities. .
Lagos bus station is much smaller and is 1.5km to the north of the city, on the Largo Rossio de Sao Joao road. Lagos bus station ticket office is open every day from 7:30 to 20:30. Tickets for the Renex buses are purchased from their ticket office at 101 Rua Portas de Portugal, which is next to the petrol station close to the estuary.
Sete Rois in Lisbon is a busy bus station
Lagos to Lisbon by Train
The train journey between Lisbon and Lagos requires a connection at Tunes and uses two very different trains. The train between Lagos and Tunes is a slow regional service while the journey from Tunes to Lisbon is by a fast and modern intercity train.
The regional train in Lagos train station
The main consideration when traveling by train is finding a connection that works; the regional train has infrequent departures and there are only limited intercity trains to or from the Algarve. For the latest timetables please see the Combios de Portugal (CP) website, the timetable that lists all suitable connections from Lisbon to Lagos is found here:
Timetable with all trains from Lisbon to the Algarve (and all intercity trains):
Algarve regional timetable:
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The Intercidades train in Faro station
The journey from Lisbon to Tunes takes three hours and there are two choices of intercity train; the Alfa-Pendular or the Intercidades. The Alfa-Pendular trains are modern and provide more luxurious carriages with a slightly faster journey, and are worthy of the extra expense. The intercity train between Tunes and Lisbon must be pre-booked and the tickets can be purchased from any train station or on the Comboios de Portugal (CP) website:
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A single from Lisbon to Lagos on the Alfa-Pendular costs €22.70 and the Intercidades costs €21.70. It is now possible on the CP website to book both trains in one transaction and payment can be via Paypal. Seats will be allocated on the intercity train but no revered seats are provided for the Tunes-Lagos regional train, this is no issue as seats are always available. The journey on the regional train can feel excruciatingly slow, taking 1 hour to travel the 45km from Tunes to Lagos.
Lagos train station is to the east of the city, on the opposite side of the estuary and is crossed via the footbridge. Lagos train station is big and modern but having only a single track and ten daily departures it is very easy to navigate around. At Tunes there will be the need to change platform but there is good signage and lots of other travellers will be making the same connection.
Oriente station is an iconic building
In Lisbon there are two intercity train stations; Gare do Oriente and Santa Apolonia. All trains from the Algarve pass through the Gare do Oriente and most stop in Santa Apolonia, (check train schedule). Gare do Oriente train station is connected to the red metro line and is closer to the airport, which is also on the red metro line.
Santa Apolonia is on the blue metro line and is within the historic centre of Lisbon, so for the majority of tourists this is the more convenient station to either depart from to travel to. Please note not all trains depart from Santa Apolonia, always confirm by the timetable on the CP website.