Campanhã train station in Porto
Coimbra is closer to Porto than to Lisbon, so it can easily be visited from Portugal’s second city. There are excellent and frequent public transportation connections, so driving is not necessary or recommended (due to limited parking and the cost of parking, tolls and gas, it's more expensive to drive than to take a train or bus).
Train from Porto to Coimbra
Inside an Alfa Pendular train to Coimbra
The train is the best (fastest) way to reach Coimbra from Porto -- it takes just over one hour. There are two services, the slower Intercidades and the faster Alfa Pendular. The Intercidades takes 1 hour and 10 minutes, and costs €13.65 for the regular/2nd class and €17.75 for first class. The Alfa Pendular takes 1 hour and 2 minutes, and costs €17.50 for the regular/2nd class and €22.80 for first class. Both services are comfortable, but the Alfa Pendular trains are more modern and offer more leg room.
Tickets must be purches before boarding, at the ticket office or online at cp.pt (the website of the national train operator).
The tickets have an assigned carriage and seat.
Trains depart from Campanhã station, outside the city center. It’s connected to the central São Bento station by regular trains at no additional cost (it’s a short, 4-minute journey).
The first train leaves Porto at 5:40am, and the last one at 12:55am. There are departures around every 60 minutes. They arrive in Coimbra at the Coimbra B station, which is about a 20-minute walk from the center, down a busy road. If you prefer to avoid that walk, take an inexpensive taxi (which will not cost more than 5 euros), or wait for the next train to the central Coimbra A station. It’s never a long wait, and you don’t need to buy another ticket.
Inside an Intercidades train to Coimbra
Bus from Porto to Coimbra
Buses take just a few more minutes to reach Coimbra (1 hour and 25 minutes), but are cheaper (€11.90), so they’re the option for those on a tight budget. The Rede Expressos buses depart from a terminal on Campo 24 de Agosto, which can be reached by metro.
Tickets must be purchased before boarding, at the ticket office inside the terminal, or online at rede-expressos.pt. Each passenger is assigned a seat, clearly marked on the ticket (look for “lugar,” which means “seat”). Heavy or large luggage must be stored in the compartment below. The bus station in Coimbra is quite central, on Avenida Fernão de Magalhães, which is about a 10-to-15-minute walk from the old town.