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GUARDA - how to get there by train or bus and how to get around


PLEASE CHECK AT THE OFFICIAL WEBSITES FOR THE TIMES ON THE EXACT DATE YOU PLAN TO TRAVEL
LONG DISTANCE BUS (COACH) TICKETS MAY BE AVAILABLE ONLY 30 DAYS IN ADVANCE

I have no easy means to check or update so please confirm through sources given below.

GUARDA (pop.42,000, urban area 55,000) is a city of Northeastern Portugal. It is not in the Algarve - I was visiting! The city is about 197 miles / 316 km by road from Lisbon and 126 miles /202km from Porto.

From Lisbon Airport and City to Guarda by train  cplogo

If you are not planning to spend time in Lisbon, you will need to get from the Airport to LISBOA ORIENTE station. This is very simple using the Lisbon metro (subway) from the airport station. Trains run to Oriente station every few minutes from 0630 until 0100 every night. The journey takes about 5 minutes. There is also city bus 744 to Oriente. City bus details at http://www.carris.pt/
 
If you are planning to spend time in Lisbon, all trains to Guarda start from the city centre SANTA APOLÓNIA station.

Check all details and buy your intercity tickets at www.cp.pt nb tickets can only be bought a maximum of 60 days in advance.

SPECIAL NOTE - from 19th APRIL 2022 for a period of about 7 months, trains on this route will not run between Coimbra-B and Guarda while the line is being modernised and upgraded. A replacement bus service will be provided for the 2hr 30 minute journey between Coimbr/B and Guarda. Wheelchairs and bicycles will NOT be carried on the buses.

From Lisbon Santa Apolónia there are three direct Intercity trains each day. Departures at 0730, 1230 and 1830. One way ticket without discount €21,30 second class, €29,55 1st class. The return journeys from Guarda (by bus as far as Coimbra-B)  will be at 0640, 1210, 1545 (on Sundays only) and at 1740.

If travelling to Guarda during the next few months, I strongly advise taking the alternative route via Covilhã described below.

There are also daily Intercity trains to Guarda via Covilhã, a slightly longer journey, daily at 0815, 1315 and 1915. From Guarda to Lisbon at 0707, 407 and 1807.

These also stop at Lisbon Oriente (much closer to the airport) 9 minutes after leaving Santa Apolónia. Journey time to Guarda approx 4hrs 20 minutes.

Reservation is required on all InterCity trains. You can buy a ticket at the last minute, but if the train is full you will have to wait until the next one. There are one or two connections daily using regional trains, changing en route at Coimbra - B from Intercity or ALFA trains to regional trains. These journeys will take one or even two hours longer than the direct Intercity trains and can be more expensive.

Reservations for train trips in Portugal can only be made up to a MAXIMUM of 60 days in advance. You can reserve on line at www.cp.pt and print your own ticket. A big discount is available on many trains for tickets purchased more than 8 days in advance. DO NOT use RailEurope etc as they cannot issue the required seat reservation for which you will pay extra.

The cross border train to / from Spanish destinations has not been running since March 2020 and seems unlikely to return. There are no cross border train connections of any kind now available.

Lisbon - Guarda by long distance bus (coach)

You will probably need to make your way from the airport to the SETE RIOS bus terminal. This is about 3 miles/5km from the airport and is linked to it by the underground metro line. Take any train to the end of the line at São Sebastião then change to the Blue Line for a two stop ride to Jardim Zoológico station, which is adjacent to Sete Rios. Trains run every few minutes from 0630 daily. The journey will take around 25 minutes and cost €2.

The direct Aerobus service between the Airport and Sete Rios is no longer operating.

For your bus options from elsewhere in the city check the city bus website at http://www.carris.pt/

Consult the long distance bus website www.rede-expressos.pt for Lisbon - Guarda times and tickets, remember it's LISBOA on the timetable search. All journeys are operated by Citi-Express. One-way fare is currently €19.00 and the journey takes about 4 hrs 30 minutes. There are four or five journeys each way every day, six on Fridays and Sundays during University terms. Some journeys may call at Lisbon Oriente bus station,which is much nearer the airport than Sete Rios.  Reservations are strongly recommended for travel on Friday and Sunday afternoons and evenings.

Porto to Guarda by train

There is no direct route by train. Travel by IC train from Porto Campanhã to Pampilhosa and change there. Shortest journey time is 2 hours 50 minutes, most other journeys around 4 hours. The latter option does compare badly with the coach (bus) services which take a more direct route. There are five or six trains available each day.

One way full price 2nd class ticket €20,90 using Intercity trains. Details and ticket purchase at www.cp.pt

There is a metro connection between Porto Airport and Campanhã station, takes about 35 minutes and costs €2,60. Service runs daily from 0606 weekdays, 0557 weekends and holidays until 0042 every day, with trains currently about every 15 minutes weekdays between about 0700 - 2000, at other times there are two or three trains an hour. You may need to change trains at Trindad station.

Reservations for train trips in Portugal can only be made up to a MAXIMUM of 60 days in advance. You can reserve on line at www.cp.pt and print your own ticket. A big discount is available on many trains for tickets purchased more than 8 days in advance. DO NOT use RailEurope etc as they cannot issue the required seat reservation for which you will pay extra.

Porto to Guarda by coach (bus)

Rede-Expressos runs from Porto Campo 24 de Agosto Bus Station, journey is about 3 hours. There are currently five direct journeys every day, with additional faster journeys in both directions on Fridays and Sundays during University term times.

One way standard fare ticket is €15,00. Tickets can be purchased at the Rede Expressos website www.rede-expressos.pt

The Campo 24 de Agosto bus terminal is a short distance outside Porto city centre, about two minutes walk from the Campo 24 de Agosto metro station and is served by numerous city bus routes.

SPAIN to / from Guarda by train or coach (bus)

The Sud Express International train to and from Spanish destinations is no longer operating. There are no other rail connections across this area of the border.

There is a once daily coach (long distance bus) passing through Guarda on its way between Porto and Madrid. See www.alsa.com for times and tickets. There is also a service three times a week across north western Spain towards France with connections to all parts of Europe. Website www.eurolines.com for details and tickets.

Arriving in Guarda

The old city is on top of a tall hill. The railway station is about 2 miles / 3km from the city centre. There is a bus service between the station and the city centre about every 30 - 60 minutes on weekdays, less often at weekends. See below for details. The bus station (Centro Coordenador de Transportes) is just outside the old city, in Rua António Sérgio next to the Municipal market.

Getting around in Guarda

Once you are up in the old city it is walkable if rather hilly. You cannot easily drive around there anyway! The city and suburbs have a network of five bus routes operated under the name  Transportes Urbanos da Guarda. The service is operated by Transdev. The website information is only in Portuguese. These all stop outside the bus station or the Mercado Municipal, which is adjacent.

Route 1 also stops at the railway station. This runs at irregular times, but about every 30 minutes on weekdays during busy times, every hour at other times with part of the route having buses until around 2300hrs. At weekends it runs only three times each way. Route 2 is the only other route with daily service, with two journeys each way on Saturdays and Sundays. The remaining three routes run only on weekdays.

Some of the buses used do not display the route number, just the destination. Ticket is €1,10 for any journey paid cash. A pre paid pass of ten tickets costs €8,50 and monthly pass €24,50. Further discounts are available for those under 18 and aged 19 - 22 i.e. university students.The pre pay tickets and passes are sold at the bus station ticket office.

Further afield from Guarda - local trains, local and regional buses


The railway from Guarda has local trains stopping at all the villages en route towards the border at Vilar Formoso. These trains run twice daily. Tain service suspended until October 2022 for reconstruction work, two buses run in place of trains.

There is no local passenger train service on the Spanish side. The only train to cross the border was the international train mentioned above, no longer operating.

There are three local trains on weekdays and two on Saturdays and Sundays heading through the countryside to and from Coimbra. However some small stations are served only once a day, making and out and back trip almost impossible. Intercity trains can be used for trips between larger towns.

The railway line between Guarda and Covilhã re-opened to passengers in 2021 after many years of closure. There are stops at Sabugal, Benespera, Maçainhas, Belmonte - Manteigas and Caria. There are five trains every day, at highly irregular intervals! The station at Belmonte is 3.9km (a little over two miles) from the town. There are no buses between the two.

They are modern electric suburban type trains. The timetable can be downloaded here.

The coach / long distance bus services mentioned above go to Covilhã,  Viseu, Celorico da Beira, Mangualde, Trancoso and other nearby towns in the region.

There are almost no bus services between Guarda and the surrounding area outside the city suburbs. There are no buses at all on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays.  Buses do not have route / line numbers. There was a very messy display of timetables posted downstairs in the bus station when I visited. The information is too fragmented to be summarised here. Suffice it to say that most villages have only one bus a day, into Guarda in the morning and returning in the evening.

You can find bus service as there is at https://www.transdev.pt/horarios/beiras-serra-estrela - there are no timetables to download. You can only find the times of buses by entering origin, destination and date. Do not be surprised to find only one bus a day.

For Manteigas there are two buses each way on weekdays only at 1140 and 1730 operated by Transdev. The journey takes 1hr 20 minutes and costs €4,35. From Manteigas the buses leavs at 0700 and 1300.

Football Stadium in Guarda

The Guarda municipal stadium is within walking distance of the city centre. No buses pass nearby. Guarda however has no team in the top four levels of Portuguese football, only regional leagues.

Comments and updates

If you have any comments or updates for this page, I will be pleased to receive them by email. For more about Guarda as a city, please see this Wikipedia article 

I take no responsibility for any inconvenience caused as a result of later changes to times etc. This page is for general guidance only and you must check details before making commitments and decisions!

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