Budget Europe Travel Service

Spain & Portugal

Home
Buy Your Railpass or Ticket Today
Find a Hotel
Air, Cruise & Tours
FREE Rail Guide
Eurail: Global Pass & Select Pass Prices
Austria & Hungary
Britain
European East Pass
France
Germany
Italy
Spain & Portugal
Switzerland
News About Rail
Promotions & Special Deals
About Us

 BETS--Putting People on the Right Track Since 1978!
800-441-9413; 800-441-2387; in KS & MO, 877-441-2103

  • Special Deals

  • Rail Maps

Specials & Promotions

Spain

Spain & Portugal

   

Horizontal Divider 1


Spain Flexipass

Spain is Europe's #1 tourist destination for Europeans. Many come for the beaches, and many for the old-world lifestyle that permeates the country. Nights are especially animated as the cities come to life after the afternoon-long siesta. Streets are crowded with strolling people and musicians; cafés are full well past midnight — a unique Spanish ambience. Paella (a rice dish), sangria and flamenco dancing are three more pleasures of Spanish life. The best part of traveling in Spain used to be the cheap cost, but, unfortunately, now prices in Spain are more on par with the rest of Europe. If possible, avoid travel here in August when many European vacationers descend en masse on the country, trains are most crowded, and the weather boiling hot.

Trains
: RENFE, the Spanish Railways, has improved train quality greatly in recent years: the Alta Velocidad Española (AVE) trains are excellent and zip along at speeds of up to 200 mph between Barcelona, Madrid and Seville. Spain also has a high-quality network of overnight trains; these "hotel trains" can make sense when covering long distances.
 
The Spain Flexipass provides 3 to 10 days of unlimited rail travel to be used anytime over 2 months on the Spanish national railway system. Rail tickets are inexpensive on local trains, but tickets on the high-speed AVE trains are quite expensive. For a few short trips, point-to-point tickets will make the most sense; but if taking several longer trips, consider the convenience of a railpass even if not saving a great deal of money. By taking care of all of your rail ticketing at home before you go, you can make the most of your precious (and always too short) vacation time. For railpass holders, seat reservations are an extra charge: they are not required for local trains, but are required for all long-distance trains. On most premier intercity trains, a meal, included in the reservation fee, is served to first-class passengers at their seat. Although a quality meal, the cost is about $25-30 for railpass holders; the only way to avoid the meal charge is to sit in second class where there is no meal and you just pay a nominal amount for an ordinary seat reservation.

Anomaly: Because the Spain Flexipass does not offer a Saverpass version, as the Spain & Portugal Flexipass does, two people traveling together who wish to travel first class can save money by purchasing the Spain & Portugal Flexipass even if they are traveling in Spain only. Prices for the Spain & Portugal Flexipass are listed in the chart below the Spain Flexipass chart.

Questions About Rail Travel in Spain or Portugal ?
Talk to a Real Person !
Before buying your Spain, Spain & Portugal or Portugal Flexipass, talk to one of our rail experts about your Spain/Portugal itinerary to make sure you make the most of your precious vacation time and get the right pass for your trip. Our rail consultants have traveled extensively in Spain and Portugal.

For Info or To Order Your Spain/Portugal Flexipass,
Just Call BETS!
Call 800-441-9413 or 800-441-2387
(in KS & MO, call 877-441-2103)
9am-5pm Mon-Fri (Eastern Time)

 

To Order Your Spain Pass Online, Click Here

 

Spain Flexipass Prices

Choose 3 up to 10 days of unlimited rail travel to be used anytime within a 2-month period on the national railroads of Spain.
Validity
(in 2 months)
Adult1
Single Traveler
1st Class
Adult1
Single Traveler
2nd Class
Saver2
2 Adults
1st Class
(Price/Adult)
Saver2
2 Adults
2nd Class
(Price/Adult)

Youth
Ages 12-25
2nd Class

3 days
4 days

5 days
6 days
7 days
8 days
9 days
10 days
$316
$360
$405
$452
$500
$546
$597
$643
$254
$289
$325
$363
$401
$438
$479
$515
Saverpass
not
available
Saverpass
not
available
Youthpass
not
available

  1. Children under 12: half single adult fare — under 4: free.
  2. Price is per person based on two or more people traveling together; children 4-11: half Saverpass fare.

Pass must be validated within 6 months of purchase. Prices are in U.S. dollars, and are subject to change due to fluctuations in the dollar to euro exchange rate.


  • To order this pass online, click on the text link to the right.
  • Or call Budget Europe to order your pass directly from one of our rail experts, who will make sure this pass is the best deal for you and will also happily answer any questions you have about rail travel at the same time.
  • 1-800-441-2387 or 1-800-441-9413

For More Info,
To View a Rail Map
or
To Order Online,
Click the Link Below

Spain Flexipass & Map

Horizontal Divider 1

 

To Order Your Spain & Portugal Pass Online, Click Here

 

Spain & Portugal Flexipass Prices

Choose 3 up to 10 days of unlimited rail travel to be used anytime within a 2-month period on the national railroads of Spain and Portugal.
Validity
(in 2 months)
Adult1
Single Traveler
1st Class
Adult1
Single Traveler
2nd Class
Saver2
2 Adults
1st Class
(Price/Adult)
Saver2
2 Adults
2nd Class
(Price/Adult)

Youth
Ages 12-25
2nd Class

3 days
4 days

5 days
6 days
7 days
8 days
9 days
10 days
$361
$409
$459
$508
$554
$602
$652
$701
2nd Class
not
available
$308
$349
$391
$433
$472
$513
$555
$597
2nd Class
not
available
Youthpass
not
available

  1. Children under 12: half single adult fare — under 4: free.
  2. Price is per person based on two or more people traveling together; children 4-11: half Saverpass fare.

Pass must be validated within 6 months of purchase. Prices are in U.S. dollars, and are subject to change due to fluctuations in the dollar to euro exchange rate.


  • To order this pass online, click on the text link to the right.
  • Or call Budget Europe to order your pass directly from one of our rail experts, who will make sure this pass is the best deal for you and will also happily answer any questions you have about rail travel at the same time.
  • 1-800-441-2387 or 1-800-441-9413

For More Info,
To View a Rail Map
or
To Order Online,
Click the Link Below

Spain & Portugal Flexipass and Map

Horizontal Divider 1


First Trip to Spain


This two-week trip is a good introduction to historic Spain. The rail links between these cities are excellent, with high-speed service over nearly the whole route. Besides Barcelona and Madrid, highlights are Toledo, whose medieval city center was shaped by a fusion of Moorish, Jewish and Christian cultures; Seville, which is stuffed with three-star sites and is perhaps Spain's most charming city; and Granada, the center of Moorish Spain, with its lavish Alhambra Palace complex.

Day
Place
Train Travel Time
1-3
Sightseeing in Barcelona
 
4
Train to Madrid
2.5-3 hrs
5, 6
Sightseeing
Day trip to Toledo

30 mins
7
8
Train to Seville
Sightseeing
2.5 hrs
9
10
Train to Granada
Sightseeing
3 hrs
11
Return by train to Madrid or Barcelona
Madrid: 4.75 hrs; Barcelona: 8 hrs via Madrid or direct overnight train

Horizontal Divider 1

All Passes for Spain & Portugal

Below is a complete list of all railpasses that are available for travel in Spain and Portugal.

Point-to-Point Rail Tickets


Compare the Cost of a Pass Versus Tickets

Check Schedules


Get Your Tickets
Before You Go

Have questions? Just call BETS!
Our rail experts will gladly help you find the perfect railpass for your itinerary.

Call 800-441-9413 or 800-441-2387
(in KS & MO, call 877-441-2103)

Horizontal Divider 1


For Your Information

  • Spanish-French border crossing: As the track width is wider in Spain than in France, a change of trains is usually required at the border. This would not be a big problem except that French and Spanish train schedules seldom mesh, often resulting in lengthy waits between trains. Sometimes it seems the schedules are designed to deliberately frustrate travelers; for example, having a connecting train depart one minute before the arrival of your train. There is, however, one type of Spanish train with adjustable axles that does not require a change at the border.
  • Madrid-Lisbon: Currently, there are no daytime trains between these two capital cities; however, there is a daily overnight train--see details below.
  • Getting from the Algarve in southern Portugal to Spain: At the border there is a gap in rail service requiring a bus connection between the two rail networks. If you are coming from Lagos or Faro in Portugal, there is convenient bus service to Seville. (Four buses per day in summer; two buses daily the rest of the year; journey time is about 3 hrs between Faro and Seville; the service is operated jointly by EVA/DAMAS; get schedules on their websites: www.eva-bus.com and www.damas-sa.es.)
  • Getting to Santiago de Compostela in northwest Spain from Portugal: Although there is rail service across the border, it is limited. There is really only one good connection each day. (Depart Porto about 8am, arrive Redondela just inside Spain about noon; change to a Spanish train here departing at about 12:15pm or the next train at about 1pm to continue on to Santiago, arriving at about 2:30pm or 3:45pm. Note: Spanish time is one hour ahead of Portuguese time.)
  • Overnight Trains in Spain & Portugal: Because of long distances, overnight trains are practical on several routes. Most Spanish overnight trains have singles, doubles, quads and seats; toilets are located at the end of the cars. Deluxe singles and doubles, with toilet and shower in the compartment, are also often available; people in deluxe compartments are provided a full-course evening meal and breakfast. Quads on Spanish trains have a sink in the compartment, but no toilet, and are segregated by sex unless a group occupies all four berths. Here is a brief rundown of the principal routes.
    • Madrid-Paris: From Madrid (Chamartin Station) departs about 7pm, arrives Paris (Austerlitz Station) about 8:30am; from Paris (Austerlitz Station) departs about 7:45pm, arrives Madrid (Chamartin Station) about 9:15am.
    • Barcelona-Paris: From Barcelona (Franca Station) departs about 9pm, arrives Paris (Austerlitz Station) about 9am; from Paris (Austerlitz Station) departs about 8:30pm, arrives Barcelona (Franca Station) about 8:30am.
    • Lisbon-Paris: From Lisbon (Santa Apolonia Station) departs about 4pm, arrives Hendaye (French border) about 7:15am. Change here for all points in France; to Paris, TGV departs Hendaye about 7:45am, arrives Paris (Montparnasse Station) about 1:45pm. From Paris (Montparnasse Station), TGV departs about 3:45pm, arrives Irun (Spanish border) about 9:30pm. Change here for Lisbon overnight train; departs Irun about 10pm, arrives Lisbon (Santa Apolonia Station) about 11am.
    • Barcelona-Geneva/Zurich: From Barcelona (Franca Station) departs (Tues, Thur, Sun only) about 7:45pm, arrives Geneva about 5:45am, Zurich about 10am; from Zurich departs (Mon, Wed, Sat only) about 7:30pm, Geneva about 11:30pm, arrives Barcelona (Franca Station) about 9:45am.
    • Barcelona-Milan: From Barcelona (Franca Station) departs (Tues, Thur, Sun only) about 7:45pm, arrives Milan about 5:45am; from Milan departs (Mon, Wed, Sat only) about 7:45pm, arrives Barcelona (Franca Station) about 9:45am.
    • Madrid-Lisbon: From Madrid (Chamartin Station) departs about 10:30pm, arrives Lisbon (Santa Apolonia Station) about 7:45am; from Lisbon (Santa Apolonia Station) departs about 10:30pm, arrives Madrid (Chamartin Station) about 9am. There are no day trains between Madrid and Lisbon--only this daily overnight train.
    • Barcelona-Cordoba/Granada From Barcelona (Sants Station) departs about 9:30pm, arrives Cordoba about 7:15am, arrives Granada about 8:45am; from Granada departs about 9:45pm, from Cordoba departs about 11pm, arrives Barcelona (Sants Station) about 9:30am.
    • Barcelona-Seville: From Barcelona (Sants Station) departs about 10:30pm, arrives Seville about 8:45am; from Seville departs about 9:30pm, arrives Barcelona (Sants Station) about 8:15am.
    • Madrid-Santiago de Compostela: From Madrid (Chamartin Station) departs about 10:30pm, arrives Santiago about 7:30am; from Santiago departs about 10:30pm, arrives Madrid (Chamartin Station) about 7:45am.

Elipsos overnight trains to France, Switzerland and Italy can be booked thru BETS up to 90 days in advance; domestic Spanish hotel trains, including the Madrid-Lisbon overnight train, can be booked up to 60 days in advance. People with railpasses only pay the sleeper supplement.

Call BETS to book or for more information.

Bullfights

Spanish bullfights (corridas) are held on many Sundays from mid-May to late September. Though these blood baths have lost popularity in recent years, they are still held in most major cities. The Running of the Bulls is held in Pamplona July 6-14 each year.

Point-to-Point Rail Tickets

Get Your Tickets
Before You Go

Horizontal Divider 1

Country Sketch: Spain


CATALONIA
Barcelona
, only two hours from France, is a must see extravaganza easily included in a rail trip to Spain or France. Spurred on by being the host city for the 1992 Olympics, Barcelona has spent billions sprucing up its labyrinth-like, centuries-old Barri Gòtic (Gothic Quarter), many attrctive parks, and amazing collection of edifices by Gaudí (an architect who designed buildings as works of modern art). Don't miss Gaudí 's Parc Guëll, an incredible fantasy park, or his wildly unconventional cathedral, Sagrada Familia (begun in 1883 and nearing completion only now). Barcelona is lively at night; thousands stroll Las Ramblas, the main boulevard through the old quarter. Outdoor concerts, street dances and busy sidewalk cafés add to the festive atmosphere.

Day Trips From Barcelona: A one-hour train ride takes you to Montserrat and its spectacular mountain setting. Millions have made pilgrimages here since AD 880 to visit the famous Black Madonna Shrine (a wooden carving attributed to St. Luke) and the Monastery that was founded to house it. The view from Montserrat is perhaps the best reason to come here as on a clear day the panorama stretches from the Pyrenees Mountains to the Balearic Islands off the coast. Sitges, 45 minutes by train from Barcelona, with its super beaches and plentiful clubs, sizzles by day or night. Stop by Girona, 90 minutes from Barcelona, to wander its charming old quarter's narrow lanes, winding your way up from the river to the Cathedral, at the top of a monumental 90-step staircase.

Figueras
, two hours north of Barcelona and only 20 minutes by train from the French border, is famous for its Dalí Museum celebrating the maestro's surrealistic works. Salvador Dalí  and other well-known artists, such as Magritte, lived at the nearby art colony, Cadaqués, called the prettiest town on the Costa Brava — the Mediterranean coast between Barcelona and France.

THE BASQUE COUNTRY
The mountainous Basque Country (País Vasco) straddles the French-Spanish border in northeastern Spain. The exact origin of the Basque people remains a mystery — they are not Spanish, and their language resembles no other European tongue. Pelota (jai alai), a Basque game similar to handball, originated in this area. Each city has a jai alai frontón where you can watch and bet on the players.

San Sebastián, near the French border, is a convenient stop on the Paris-Madrid rail line. Called the Pearl of the Cantabrian Coast, this fashionable Basque resort, set on a captivating seashell-shaped bay, has inviting sandy beaches, many nightspots, and restaurants that are a gastronome's delight. Its old quarter and shoreline promenades make for inspiring walking venues. A private commuter rail line (not valid with railpasses) links San Sebastián to Bilbao, which has the celebrated Guggenheim Contemporary Art Museum in an out-of-this-world titanium-and-glass structure, or to Hendaye, France, where you can connect to main-line French trains.

Pamplona, two hours by train from San Sebastián, is famous for its Festival of San Fermín, popularly known as the Running of the Bulls, which is held each July 6-14. Made famous by Hemingway in The Sun Also Rises, the nonstop party attracts throngs for the daily 8am encierro, when the bulls are released to run loose through the streets. Anyone can run ahead of the crazed animals; however, there are occasional gorings and even deaths. Don't expect to do much sleeping — the festivities continue through the night.

CASTILE
Madrid
, smoggy and hectic, is not as attractive as Barcelona — but, like Barcelona, its old town and public squares filled with restaurants, bars, sidewalk cafés and strolling minstrels come alive at night. The city's few "must" sights need not occupy more than a day or two. The Prado is inevitably included in the list of the world's top five art museums. Its collections include many old Spanish and Flemish masterpieces, such as works by Goya, El Greco, Velázquez, Murillo and Rubens. Picasso's celebrated Guernica hangs in the Centro de Arte Reina Sofía along with other 20th-century art. The Palacio de Villahermosa houses the Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection, said to be the world's second most important private art collection (after Queen Elizabeth II's). Madrid's flea market, El Rastro, is one of the most famous in Europe.

Day Trips From Madrid: Madrid is a great base city for easy day trips to see some nearby jewels. Ávila is still circled by intact ramparts with old town gates and 90 towers. El Escorial, the "Spanish Versailles," is on the same train line as Ávila. An immense 16th-century palace with 300 rooms and 2,600 windows, it is called the best Renaissance building in Spain. Segovia, like Ávila, has intact town walls but with only 86 towers. It also offers a famous Roman Aqueduct, 40 medieval churches and its Alcázar — a Moorish fairy-tale castle of unusual beauty. Toledo, which sits on a hill overlooking a craggy gorge, is famous for its Cathedral, Synagogue, and its interesting town center resembling an Arab casbah with its warren of tiny alleys. Stop in Aranjuez to tour its grandiose Royal Palace, with its unique Porcelain Room and graceful gardens.

Cáceres, four hours east of Madrid by rail, has a deliciously preserved historic center, an antique marvel demanding to be photographed.

Salamanca, a university town two hours and 20 minutes northwest of Madrid by rail, is classified as a national historic site due to its citywide untouched look and its Plaza Mayor — considered to be one of the most beautiful squares in the world.

Burgos, two hours and 20 minutes north of Madrid via new high-speed service, is one of Spain's most notable centers of Gothic art and architecture. Its major Gothic Cathedral — Spain's third largest — is Burgos' most famous landmark.

León, a bit off the tourist track (but now only two hours and 45 minutes northwest of Madrid via the new high-speed line), has the outstanding Gothic Cathedral with acclaimed stained glass, San Isidoro Basilica's Royal Pantheon with arresting ceiling frescoes, and the former San Marcos Monastery, now a state-run parador hotel fit for royalty. If making a pilgrimage to Santiago, León makes a good stopover on the way to or from Madrid.

GALICIA
Galicia is the remote northwestern area of Spain. Although well-off the main Eurail tourist trek, if touring Spain extensively, be sure not to miss Santiago de Compostela, the third most popular Christian pilgrimage town in the world after Rome and Jerusalem. You'll find the famous Shrine of St. James the Apostle in the 11th-century Cathedral. Besides its centuries-old religious significance, Santiago is a bustling university town that has retained its medieval old quarter virtually intact — in fact, the entire old quarter has been designated a national historic site.

ANDALUSIA
Once ruled by the Moors, this region of southern Spain exhibits a strong Arab influence in its architecture. Exploring Andalusia will entail traveling in one of Europe's hottest climates — in summer the average high is 97°.

Seville offers not only many Moorish relics, but also Europe's third largest Cathedral, whose richly decorated interior includes famous paintings by Murillo and Goya. La Giralda, the symbol of Seville, is a former minaret of a mosque, but is now the Cathedral's belfry. Climb to the top on its gently sloping ramp for a good view of Seville. Also of special interest are the Alcázar, an exquisite 14th-century royal palace, and the narrow lanes of the Barrio de Santa Cruz, with its intimate café-filled squares. The city also has an energetic night life and a cosmopolitan flare, perhaps due to the thousands of foreigners studying here. Its many flamenco pubs attest to the fact that Seville was the birthplace of flamenco dance and music.

Jerez de la Frontera is the home of sherry wine (a British corruption of "Jerez"), sherry tours, and the Royal Riding School with its prancing Andalusian horses.

Córdoba, the capital of Moorish Spain, was one of the world's greatest cities during the tenth century. Its extraordinary Mosque is a vivid reminder of Córdoba's Moorish heritage even though it was later transformed by the city's Christian conquerors into a most unique cathedral.

Ronda is famous for its Plaza de Toros, Spain's oldest bullring, where traditional bullfights are held each September. The setting of the town is striking; a canyon splits the old Moorish section from the new town.

Granada, with its old Arab quarter and Alhambra, one of the world's finest Moorish palaces with intricate marble carvings and mosaics, is a "must" if in Andalusia.

The Costa del Sol is a string of modern beach resorts on Spain's southern Mediterranean coast. Torremolinos and Fuengirola are just two of the beach towns that attract tremendous numbers of foreigners to fill their endless line of high-rise hotels — it's hard to find anything Spanish about this region.

Gibraltar, a British colony famous for its "Rock" and Barbary apes, is at best a short diversion if you have the time. (No direct rail service; train to Algeciras and catch a bus at the station to La Línea; then walk across the border.)

Algeciras is the gateway to Morocco, with ferries to Tangier (2 hrs; $50 round trip).

The Costa Blanca makes a convenient and pleasant stopover between Andalusia and Barcelona. Alicante is a good bet with its beautiful beaches and impressive Castillo de Santa Barbara, a castle perched on a hilltop overlooking the Mediterranean. The rest of the coast is full of high-rise beach resorts catering to the annual tourist invasion.

Balearic Islands

These Mediterranean islands, sitting off Spain's eastern coast between Barcelona and Alicante, reward any visitor with a grand mixture of sun, sea, history and wonderful scenery. The three largest islands, each with its own distinct personality, are Mallorca, Menorca and Ibiza. The central focus of Mallorca is Palma de Mallorca, a centuries-old maritime port with a historic city center and an elegant cathedral overlooking the seafront. You will enjoy walking its maze of narrow streets. From Palma you can take a very scenic train excursion to Sóller on the island's rugged western coast or to Inca in the island's interior (railpasses are not valid on either line). Menorca is known for its natural beauty and for its numerous Talayotic stone-age cultural artifacts (circa 1400 BC) which dot the island. Ibiza is where young people from all over Europe congregate, and the party never seems to end. But the island also offers plenty of spectacular scenery, and the medieval upper town of Ibiza City is impressive.

And, of course, the main draw for many visitors are the island's great beaches, among the finest in all of Europe.

Ferry service to the islands is from Barcelona, Valencia and Denia (near Alicante). Sailings vary greatly by season; for current schedules, see websites: www.trasmediterranea.com or www.balearia.com. The Balearia ferry company offers a 20% discount to railpass holders. 

Horizontal Divider 1



Portugal Flexipass

Portugal is well worth the detour off the main Eurail routes as this country has a unique charm and lifestyle far different from the rest of Europe or even neighboring Spain. The sun-drenched beaches in the Algarve at the southern end of Portugal are among the best beaches anywhere.  And, although prices are escalating, your tourist dollars go a bit further here than in most of Europe.

Trains: CP, the Portuguese Railways, provides good train service between its major cities. Lisbon-Porto: 2.75 hrs (hourly trains); Lisbon-Faro in the Algarve: 3.25 hrs; Lisbon-Évora: 2 hrs; Lisbon-Sintra: 40 mins (2-3 trains/hr).

The Portugal Flexipass provides 3, 4 or 6 days of unlimited first-class rail travel to be used anytime over 1 month on the Portuguese national railway system. For railpass holders, seat reservations are an extra nominal charge: they are not necessary for local or regional trains, but are required for all InterCity (IC) and Alfa Pendular (AP) express trains and must be bought locally (about $5).

Questions About Rail Travel in Spain or Portugal ?
Talk to a Real Person !
Before buying your Spain, Spain & Portugal or Portugal Flexipass, talk to one of our rail experts about your Spain/Portugal itinerary to make sure you make the most of your precious vacation time and get the right pass for your trip. Our rail consultants have traveled extensively in Spain and Portugal.

For Info or To Order Your Spain/Portugal Flexipass,
Just call BETS!
Call 800-441-9413 or 800-441-2387
(in KS & MO, call 877-441-2103)
9am-5pm Mon-Fri (Eastern Time)

 

To Order Your Portugal Pass Online, Click Here

 

Portugal Flexipass Prices

This pass provides 3, 4 or 6 days of unlimited rail travel to be used anytime within a 1-month period on Portugal's national rail system.
Validity
(in 1 month)
Adult1
Single Traveler
1st Class
Adult1
Single Traveler
2nd Class
Saver2
2 Adults
1st Class
(Price/Adult)
Saver2
2 Adults
2nd Class
(Price/Adult)

Youth
Ages 12-25
2nd Class

3 days
4 days

6 days
$180
$221
$290
$120
$147
$193
Saverpass
not
available
Saverpass
not
available
Youthpass
not
available

  1. Children under 12: half single adult fare — under 4: free.
  2. Price is per person based on two or more people traveling together; children 4-11: half Saverpass fare.

Pass must be validated within 6 months of purchase. Prices are in U.S. dollars, and are subject to change due to fluctuations in the dollar to euro exchange rate.


  • To order this pass online, click on the text link to the right.
  • Or call Budget Europe to order your pass directly from one of our rail experts, who will make sure this pass is the best deal for you and will also happily answer any questions you have about rail travel at the same time.
  • 1-800-441-2387 or 1-800-441-9413

To Order Online, Click the Link Below

Portugal Flexipass

Horizontal Divider 1


First Trip to Portugal


Most tourists to Portugal never get further than the beach, and very few Americans ever get to Portugal at all. But if you do visit Portugal, you will be amply rewarded with rich memories as this slice of Europe still has not been completely absorbed into the 21st or even 20th century.

Lisbon, a beautiful city of charming ambience, makes a great base for several diverse day trips: to Évora, a walled city, whose historic city center is home to Roman ruins and plenty of medieval churches and palaces, with much of its architecture exhibiting a strong Moorish influence; to Óbidos, a small village of white-washed houses bedecked with colorful flowers, especially enticing when viewed from the top of its medieval walls, which are open to walking; and to the old town of Sintra, which features a royal palace in the city center and also the summer palace of the kings of Portugal in the hills above the town from where there are great views of the countryside all the way to the Atlantic coast.

Porto, a graceful old-world city famous for its sweet-tasting port wine, also offers some outstanding day trips: to Braga, with its delightful historic district and the Bom Jesus do Monte pilgrimage site, one of Portugal's most famous monuments; to Coimbra, a centuries-old university town; or to Guimarães, with an opulent ducal palace and a fine old quarter whose maze of streets make for an enjoyable stroll. If you are looking for a very scenic rail ride, the trip along the banks of the Duoro River to Pocinho is a favorite of rail buffs.
 
From Porto you can return to Lisbon or if you have some remaining vacation time, a very enjoyable extension is to continue on to Santiago de Compostela in the far northwest corner of Spain, one of the most famous pilgrimage destinations in all of Europe. Each year, thousands of pilgrims walk across northern Spain to humble themselves before the remains of St. James the Apostle, interred below the high altar of the Cathedral. Santiago also has a most enjoyable old quarter. Though you can go from Porto to Santiago in one day, if you have the time, Viana do Castelo on the Portuguese Atlantic coast makes a very good stopover. It has a quaint historic city center, the Santa Luzia Basilica overlooking the city, and excellent beaches. From Santiago it is easy to make your way to Madrid with a stopover in León, one of Spain's finest cities.

Day
Place
Train Travel Time
1-5
Sightseeing in Lisbon
Day trips to Sintra, Óbidos or Évora

Sintra: 40 mins; Óbidos: 2.5 hrs; Évora: 2 hrs
6-8
Train to Porto
Sightseeing
Day trips to Braga, Guimarães, Coimbra or the Douro River Valley
Porto: 2.75 hrs

Braga: 1 hr; Guimarães: 80 mins; Coimbra: 1 hr; Douro River Valley: 3.25 hrs
9
Return to Lisbon
or
Train to Santiago, Spain
(add a day if wishing to stop over in Viana do Castelo)


Santiago: 5.5 hrs
Viana do Castelo: 1.75 hrs
10
Sightseeing in Santiago
11-12
Train to León
Sightseeing
6 hrs
13
Train to Madrid
3 hrs

Horizontal Divider 1

 

Country Sketch: Portugal


Lisbon, with its antique charm, is one of Europe's most enjoyable cities. Don't miss the colorful Alfama section with its maze of narrow twisting corridors and turn-of-the-century trolleys; the great views from the hilltop St. George's Castle; the intricately sculpted Jerónimos Monastery; the intriguing National Coach Museum, one of the world's finest collections of carriages; and the Baixa area with its hundreds of restaurants and sidewalk cafés.

Day Trips From Lisbon: Nice and easy rail trips can be taken to Sintra (40 mins), with its fairy-tale palaces; to the beach resorts of Estoril and Cascais (30 mins); and to Óbidos, an enchanting village with its castle and whitewashed houses encircled by ancient walls that you can walk along (2-2.5 hrs by train or bus). 

Évora is a dream city right out of medieval times -- its charming grid of tiny walled lanes are still paved with timeworn stones (2 hrs by train from Lisbon). Its São Francisco Church includes the bizarre Capela dos Ossos, a chapel lined with the bones and skulls of 5,000 departed souls. Évora is a good stopover if heading to the Algarve. 

The Algarve, one of Europe's most famous beach areas, is filled with foreigners on package holidays. Train service from Lisbon to Faro or Lagos, two of the most popular resorts, is good. For less-touristed beaches, try the area near Sagres and the stretch between the fishing villages of Olhão and Tavira. If going on to Spain, a bus from Faro to Seville is the easiest option. As there is a rail gap at the border, going by rail involves switching to a ferry or bus to cross the Guadiana River and then changing to a second bus for the 40-mile ride to Huelva in Spain to connect with trains to Seville.

Nazaré, on the Atlantic, is worth a stop to see a centuries-old fishing village (rail to Valado, then bus 4 miles). It's easy to day-trip by bus from Nazaré to the nearby famous monasteries at Alcobaça and Batalha.

Tomar is notable for the 12-century fortified Convento de Cristo dominating the town and once the Portuguese headquarters of the Knights Templars (2 hrs north by rail from Lisbon). The neighboring pilgrimage town of Fátima is a short bus ride away. (Note: the Fàtima rail station is 12 miles from Fatima; if coming from Lisbon, rail two hours north to Caxarias; from this station, bus or taxi the 6 miles to Fàtima.)

Porto, with its dramatically breathtaking setting on the Douro River, oozes old-world ambience in its old quarter, whose many buildings are decorated with vibrant azulejo tiles. Must-do stops are the port-wine tours; the 12th-century Cathedral and its azulejo-rich Cloisters; the São Francisco Church, with a show-stopping exuberant golden interior; and the Bolsa Palace's Arabian Hall, sporting an intricate Arabian-inspired decor.

Day Trips From Porto: Train to Guimarães (80 mins), called the Cradle of Portugal, to tour the Dos Duques Palace and climb the Castle Tower. Visit the cathedral city of Braga (1 hr) and the nearby pilgrimage stop, the Bom Jesus do Monte. Rail to the seaside resort Viana do Castelo (1.75 hrs), which, along with a fine historic center, has the Santa Luzia Basilica, yet another pilgrimage spot. Go to Coimbra (1 hr) to check out its Old Cathedral and Old University. Strictly for scenery, boat or train up the vineyard-clad Douro River Valley (3.25 hrs to Pocinho).

From Porto you can go on to Santiago in northwest Spain (5.5 hrs; see For Your Information on this page for more details).

 BETS- The European Rail Experts
800-441-9413 or 800-441-2387
in KS & MO, 877-441-2103

V010414