Coimbra B train station
Coimbra is roughly halfway between Lisbon and Porto, but closer to Porto. However, Lisbon is the city which most tourists to Coimbra depart from. There are excellent and frequent public transportation connections between the two destinations, so driving is not necessary (or even recommended, as parking in Coimbra is scarce and rather expensive, and the tolls and gas make it an even more expensive journey than with public transportation).
Inside an Alfa Pendular train to Coimbra
Train from Lisbon to Coimbra
The train is the fastest way to reach Coimbra from Lisbon. There are two services -- the slower Intercidades train and the faster Alfa Pendular. The first one takes 2 hours and 2 minutes, and the other 1 hour and 43 minutes.
Both services are comfortable, but the Alfa Pendular uses more recent trains and offers a little more leg room. The Intercidades costs €19.90, while the Alfa Pendular is €23.90 (these are the prices for the regular “tourist” or “2nd class” tickets -- the “Comfort” or “1st class” tickets are €25.10 for the Intercidades and €34.20 for the Alfa Pendular). Tickets must be purchased before boarding, at the ticket office or online at cp.pt (the website of the national train operator -- just note that when selecting your departure station, it’s “Lisboa” and not “Lisbon”).
The tickets have an assigned carriage and seat.
Trains depart from Santa Apolónia station, and also stop in Oriente Station in the capital, before continuing the journey north. Santa Apolónia is the last stop of the blue line of the metro, while Oriente is on the red line.
The first one of the day is at 6:30am, and then there are several trains throughout the day (around every 30 or 60 minutes), until 10pm.
They arrive in Coimbra at the Coimbra B station, which is about a 20-minute walk from the center, down a busy road. To avoid that walk, you may take an inexpensive taxi (which will not cost you more than 5 euros), or wait for the next train to the central Coimbra A station. You don’t usually have to wait very long, and don’t need to buy another ticket.
Inside an Intercidades train to Coimbra
Bus from Lisbon to Coimbra
Although slightly slower than the train (it takes 2 hours and 25 minutes or 2 hours and 45 minutes, depending on the route), the bus to Coimbra is a little cheaper (€13.80), and therefore the option for those on a tight budget. The Rede Expressos buses depart from the Sete Rios terminal, which is located outside the Jardim Zoológico metro station (blue line). The buses are modern and comfortable, and depart around every 30 or 60 minutes throughout the day (between 6:30am and 12:15am). Tickets must be bought before boarding, at the ticket office inside the station, or online at rede-expressos.pt. Each passenger is assigned a seat, marked on the ticket (look for “lugar,” which means “seat”). Large or heavy luggage must be stored in the compartment below.
The bus station in Coimbra is central, on Avenida Fernão de Magalhães, which is about a 10-to-15-minute walk from the old town and most of the city’s attractions.