Cities & Coastlines Rail Odyssey

Portugal by Train

Alentejo, Lisbon & Around, Porto & The Douro

Duration: 10 nights

Price: From $1,650 per person in low season based on two adults travelling together and including accommodation on a bed and breakfast basis, private transfers, train transportation and taxes

Train travel is one of the most atmospheric ways to get around wherever you are in the world, allowing you to relax, watch the countryside fly past your window and get to know the locals. Portugal, with its ancient cities, picturesque countryside and stunning coastline, lends itself particularly well to train travel. On this rail adventure, you’ll take in the fairytale town of Evora and main cities of Lisbon and Porto, before finishing up on the dramatic clifftop town of Viana do Castelo, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.
Perfect forLovers of train travel looking to explore Portugal by rail.
In the knowConsider adding a couple of days to visit Portuguese wine country in the Douro Valley.

Best for

  • Train Journey
  • First-timers
  • Couples
  • History & Heritage

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Itinerary details


2 nightsEVORA

Flying in to Lisbon, you’ll take a private car inland for around an hour and a half to your first stop, the postcard-perfect town of Evora. With beautifully preserved medieval architecture and Roman ruins dating back thousands of years, this has long been a favourite of history buffs, but anyone can enjoy wandering its cobblestone streets and imagining life in centuries past.

For a particularly stark reminder of the passage of time, head to the Capela dos Ossos (Chapel of Bones), where the skulls and bones of thousands of local residents are arranged around the walls. Less macabre attractions include the town’s medieval cathedral and the Templo Romano, an ancient Roman temple, half of which still stands quite impressively in the town centre. The historic theme extends to your accommodation, Convento do Espinheiro – a former convent-turned-luxury hotel with a heritage dating back to the 15th century.
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3 nightsLISBON

It’s time for your first taste of Portuguese rail travel now, as you board a train from Evora to Lisbon. Portugal’s capital, this is also one of the most ancient cities in the world, making the likes of London and Paris seem like spring chickens in comparison. Having checked into your hotel, the mid-century Lisboa Plaza, it’s time to start exploring the myriad cultural and historical highlights of this atmospheric city.

A good place to start is the impressive Jeronimo Monastery in Belem, a grand monument dating from the heady days of the Age of Discovery; then, head to the Belem Tower nearby. A great way to get a feel for Portugal’s living folk culture is to attend a fado show, to see singers and guitarists perform traditional folk songs. Also not to be missed is the Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga, a lemon-hued mansion home to artistic masterpieces from across Europe and Asia.
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2 nightsPORTO

Your journey takes you from one ancient city to another now, as you board a train to Portugal’s second city, Porto. Famous as the home of port wine, the city has seen the Celts, Romans and Moors come and go over the centuries, and today is a hotspot for foodies, culture vultures and history buffs. Once your train pulls in, you’ll be transferred to your hotel, the historic Infante Sagres. Everything you could want from a luxury city hotel, this lavish property is perfectly placed for exploring Porto’s historic heart.

Begin just down the road at the Lello Bookshop, a magnificent structure of carved wood and stained glass stacked floor to ceiling with books new and old. Be sure to also check out the Se – the city’s cathedral – and the Igreja de Sao Francisco, famous for the gold leaf which covers its interior. Of course, there’s no getting away from port wine here, and the historic factories and cellars of Vila Nova de Gaia, on the banks of the Douro River, offer endless opportunities to taste and buy.
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Boarding the train once more, you’ll depart Porto for the final stop on your journey: the Atlantic Coast and the dramatically situated town of Viana do Castelo. You’ll spend three nights at the Pousada Viana do Castelo, a historic hotel perched on a clifftop overlooking the town and the coast. The town’s medieval streets and architecture and the great beaches nearby will likely mean you’ll spend the last three days of your trip at a leisurely pace.

Begin by exploring the Monte de Santa Luiza, the hill which your hotel sits on top of; above the eucalyptus trees which carpet the hillsides, you’ll find the stunning Templo do Sagrado Coracao de Jesus, a spectacular monastery built in the 20th century in the Byzantine style. In town, be sure to check out the Fabrica do Chocolate, where you can learn all about chocolate production and even have a whirl at making your own, and the Museum of Art & Archaeology, to learn more about this area’s long and fascinating history. The rest of the time, head to the beach to enjoy kitesurfing, canoeing, or just lazing on the sand as you reflect on the experiences you’ve enjoyed during your trip.

After three nights in Viana do Castelo, your Portuguese journey reaches its end, and you’ll be transferred to Porto Airport for your flight home.
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