After an amazing 4 night in Lisbon, it is time to make my way to the second largest city in Portugal. Porto is located to the north of the country and it is known for its bridges and port wine production. This is the origin of Port wines and Porto was once a major entry point for the productions in country from the Douro Region where goods and wine are transported via the Douro river. The best way to get between the city will be via high-speed trains and I would like to share my journey on the Alfa Pendular Tourist Class from Lisbon to Porto. Alfa Pendular is the name for Portugal high speed trains where it can travel up to 220 KM / Hr. It connects the major cities in Portugal. Seat reservations and advance booking are mandatory. A trip between Lisbon and Porto takes under 3 hours.
I will be taking it to travel from Lisbon to Porto or Gaia instead and the journey takes around 2 hour and 45 mins. Train etiquette are similar to other European trains. You should always buy long distance high speed trains tickets in advance as price are based on demand. Like airfare, the nearer it gets, the more expensive it is. I bought the ticket directly from Comboios de Portugal, the national rail company. A tip would be to buy from the app on your smartphone, as such you can just show the QR code when the conductor comes over to check your ticket. I paid 19.50 Euros per ticket in Tourist Class. First class are known as Comfort Class which comes with lounge access, entertainment system and additional legroom.
Santa Apolónia Station
Lisbon have a couple of train stations in the city and it is crucial to take note where your train depart. Sometimes trains arrive at a couple of stations. I got the tickets to depart from Santa Apolonia Station which is a short drive away from my hotel. It is to the east of the city and by the water.
Alfa Pendular Second Class
I arrive roughly around 15 mins early and the train was already in the station. This is one the perks of boarding or arriving at a terminal station. I appreciate the extra time to board and alight. Sometimes trains may barely stop for 1-2 mins in Europe.
I managed to get some really nice pictures while the cabin stayed empty. In Tourista or second class the seats are in a 2-2 configuration as per the norm in Europe. The seats provide rather good back support for the journey and have rather spacious legroom. For comparison, it is like the old US Domestic First Class seats. The greyish finishes of the cabin looks rather chic.
In front of you, you can find a netting on the back of the seat which allows you to hold a bottle of water or something. The table is huge and have no issue fitting a laptop perfectly. Each seats also have its own power outlets.
Luggage storage are plentiful! There are racks in the front and back of each cabin for you to house your suitcase and bigger bags. I’m not a fan of these as it’s rather hard to keep an eye on. They do have some lock mechanism but I could not get it to work. Overhead racks are located above the seats for smaller hand carry items as well. These are my preferred choice as I can keep an eye on my bags.
There is a cafe onboard where you can get some snacks and drinks. Prices are affordable and wasn’t a huge mark up over city prices. You can get drinks for 1 – 2 Euros. Sorry for not having a picture as the staff were rather rude and told me no pictures. Look at that stare. The staff also comes by once in a while on a trolly to see if anyone is interested to get some drinks and stuff.
One of the best ways to get between cities in Portugal. The seats are comfy and clean. Prices are very affordable as well. They tend to be on the lower side if you book early in advance. It was a pleasant journey and we got into Gaia in no time while having the scenery for company. Next up, my adventures in Porto and Gaia as well as one of the best and most gorgeous hotel that I have stayed in!