Coach and Bus Travel in Portugal

Many parts of Portugal have no train service following closure of many rural lines in the 1990's. The development since of the national motorway (highway) network has been followed by the growth of inter city express bus routes. Every city, every town and many fairly small communities are connected to the national network.

Important words! Coach or Bus?

For British readers, this article concerns coach travel. Readers in many other countries will use the word bus. For simplicity, a coach is a long distance service between towns and cities, running non stop for up to 3 hours. Reclining seats are usually available. Tickets usually can and often must be reserved in advance for these journeys. Some, but by no means all, coaches carry on board toilets and some serve refreshments en route. However this is not guaranteed and many long journeys have to be made without 'facilities'.

A bus is a short run in and around town stopping every few hundred yards.

Important words - what to look out for.

In Portugal you will see these terms: used for various types of operations :

Expressos - fast, often, non-stop journeys between major towns and cities. Tickets are bought online or at bus stations and ticket agencies. Tickets are not normally sold on board.

Rapidas - middle distance operations, typically from a major city to a provincial capital or between smaller towns.

Interurbanas - 'Ordinary' buses between neighbouring towns.

Urbanos - city and town bus services.

Autocarro - a generic word for bus or coach!

Terminal Rodoviária - bus station

Central de Camionagem - bus station

Terminal Autocarros - bus station

Centro Coordenador de Transportes - transport interchange/bus station, often adjacent to the railway station.

Bilheteira - ticket office

Paragem - (bus) stopping place

Major long distance express service operators

Rede Expressos - a national consortium of companies. Almost every city, large town and very many smaller towns are linked right across the country

Website : www.rede-expressos.pt (available in English)

Reservations : available on line up to 30 days before travel. They now accept payment by Paypal as well as credit card.

RENEX - linking Braga, Porto, Lisbon and the Algarve

Website : www.renex.pt Portuguese only. Tickets are not sold on line.

Regional Operators long distance services

This list is not comprehensive. Many smaller companies do not have websites. Most of the following sites are in Portuguese only.

RODONORTE www.rodonorte.pt

Medium distance interurban services in the north of Portugal also to/from Lisbon and Porto

 CITIEXPRESS www.citiexpress.eu

 Expressos between Lisbon and various smaller cities and towns in the north-east of Portugal eg Viseu, Guarda, Covilhã, Castelo Branco, Regua also from Porto to these places.


 AUTO VIAÇÃO DO TAMEGA www.avtamega.pt
Expressos Lisbon - Fátima - Coimbra - Porto - Viseu - Chaves - Bragança

TRANSDEV www.transdev.pt

Rápidas and interurbanos around North and Central Portugal, including Porto, Aveiro, Coimbra, Braga and Guimarães.

GRUPO AVIC EXPRESSOS - timetables

Lisbon - Porto - Vila da Conde- Viana do Castelo - Valença - Monção

VIUVA MONTEIRO http://www.viuvamonteiro.pt

Lisbon - Sabugal - Vilar Formoso expresses ; local buses around Sabugal

 A V MINHO www.avminho.pt

Viana do Castelo, Esposende, Povoa de Varzim also expressos to/from Porto

RODOVIARIO DO TEJO www.rodotejo.pt

Rápidas between Lisbon, Obidos, Caldas da Rainha and Peniche.

TRAVEL ADVICE

Long distance services in Portugal are very busy on Friday and Sunday nights, especially during the University terms. Extra services are provided but reservation is strongly advised. Any time around a major holiday is also likely to be very busy, as are all services to and from the Algarve during July and August.

Queues (lines) at ticket offices are often long. Allow plenty of time. Book on line if you can. In many bus stations there is a different ticekt office for each bus company. Also, ticket offices in smaller towns may not be open on Sundays and Holidays.

Most of the company websites and timetables do not specify which bus station is used in the bigger cities! Porto has five bus stations, Lisbon three.

In Lisbon, Rede-Expressos use the Sete Rios bus station and in Porto they use Batalha. Renex use the Gare Oriente bus station in Lisbon and have their own stopping place in Porto.

Further information including specimen timetables can be found on this TA member's private website pages

 www.algarvebus.info/rede-expresssos.htm