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

INFORMATION CHECKED AND UPDATED 12th JULY 2024

PLEASE CHECK AT THE OFFICIAL WEBSITES FOR THE TIMES ON THE EXACT DATE YOU PLAN TO TRAVEL
REDE-EXPRESSOS LONG DISTANCE BUS (COACH) TICKETS ARE AVAILABLE ONLY 30 DAYS IN ADVANCE
CURRENT TIMES WILL BE OK FOR PLANNING PURPOSES. THEY RARELY CHANGE.

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 via Coimbra - service suspended!  cplogo

SPECIAL NOTE - until further notice, trains on the direct route will not run between Coimbra-B and Guarda while the line is being modernised and upgraded. A replacement bus service is provided for the 2hr 30 minute journey between Coimbra-B and Guarda. Wheelchairs and bicycles will NOT be carried on the buses.

If travelling to Guarda until the direct line is re-opened, I strongly advise taking the alternative route via Covilhã described below. The direct railway route is not expected to re-open until the end of the year. See below for an alternative route.

You can now pay for Lisbon metro journeys using contactless payment. Each journey including transfer to another line if needed will cost €1,80.

If you are not planning to spend time in Lisbon, you will need to get from the Airport to LISBOA ORIENTE station. Obviously, taxis are available. However, 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, ticket price €2,30 (cash) including 50 cents for the rechargeable ticket card. There is also city bus 744 to Oriente, however large luggage is not allowed. 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 tickets at www.cp.pt nb tickets can only be bought a maximum of 60 days in advance. SEAT RESERVATION IS COMPULSORY ON INTER-CIDADES (INTER CITY) TRAINS.

The railway station at Guarda is about 2miles / 3.2km from the town centre. There is an irregular bus service on weekdays which does provide connections with most of the trains, but there are only three buses all day on Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays. Bus times here. Taxis wait at the station.

Alternative route by train Lisbon to Guarda via Covilhã

There are daily Intercity trains to Guarda via Covilhã, a slightly longer journey, daily at 0815, 1315 and 1915. From Guarda to Lisbon at 0707, 1407 and 1825. Standard fare 2nd class is €22,70 but discounts are usually available for advance bookings.

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.

SEAT RESERVATION IS COMPULSORY. 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 additional connections daily using regional trains, changing en route at Coimbra - B from Intercity or Alfa Pendular trains to regional trains. These journeys will take one or even two hours longer than the direct Intercity trains and can be more expensive. Seat reservation is not available on these regional trains.

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.

There are no longer any cross border train connections with Spain.

Lisbon - Guarda by long distance bus (coach) - operated by Rede Expressos

You will most of the time 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 €2,30 (cash). including 50 cents for the rechargeable ticket card, €1.80 by contactless card payment.

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 about eight journeys each way every day, some extras on Fridays and Sundays during University terms. Some journeys 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.

Lisbon - Guarda by long distance bus (coach) - operated by Flixbus

Flixbus ( www.flixbus.pt or app ) operate four times daily between Lisbon Oriente and Guarda. Lisbon Oriente bus station is much closer to the airport than Sete Rios if you are flying into or out of Lisbon.

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. Until June 2024, trains are replaced by buses between Pampilhosa and Guarda while the line is closed for modernsation works.

One way full price will vary between €8 and €28 depending on which trains are used. SEAT RESERVATION IS COMPULSORY IF THE JOURNEY INVOLVES ALFA PENDULAR (AP) OR INTERCIDADES (IC) TRAINS. Details and ticket purchase at www.cp.pt

Take the METRO DO PORTO Line E from the Airport to Campanhã station. You may need to change trains, which I recommend you do at Lapa station where this is done on the same platform, no need for steps, tunnels etc. Trains are currently running about every 15 minutes daily between about 0700 and 2000, about every 30 minutes at other times. The first train from the airport is at 0606 on weekdays, 0558 on Saturdays and at 0557 on Sundays and public holidays That will take about 35 minutes and costs €2.75 - a Z4 (four zone) ticket. More details at the METRO DO PORTO website. By the way, don't throw away your 'ANDANTE' ticket if you are coming back to Porto. It is rechargeable. You can use it until it wears out and saves you €0.60 on each subsequent ticket of the same type. Tickets are sold at the Airport tourist office, but if it's not open you will need some coins for the ticket machines. The service to the Airport from Trindad starts at 0558 on weekdays, 0622 at weekends and on public holidays, with the last train at 0037 every night. The first direct trains from Campanhã station to the airport are at 0707 on weekdays, 0706 on Saturdays and 0703 on Sundays and Holidays. The last train from Campanhã  is at 0031 every night. If no direct train is shown, take any WESTBOUND train and change 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 Campanhã Bus Station, journey is about 3 hours. There are currently eight 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 but discounts up to 50% reduction are available in advance.. Tickets can be purchased at the Rede Expressos website www.rede-expressos.pt

The Campanhã bus terminal is a short distance outside Porto city centre, adjacent to the Campanhã railway and metro station and is served by numerous city bus routes.Campanhã is about 35 minutes by metro from the airport.

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

There are no rail connections across this area of the border. A train journey to or from Spain is not possible.

There is a once or twice daily coach (long distance bus) passing through Guarda on its way between Porto and Madrid. One journey runs in daytime, one runs through the night See www.rede-expressos.pt for times and tickets. There is a daily service to Salamanca, Valladolid, Burgos and Bilbao, also but not currently daily to San Sebastian. Same company, same website. These are VERY long journeys!

FLIXBUS runs between Guarda and Madrid, stopping at the border town of Vilar Formosa and also Salamanca. There is one daily journey from Guarda at 1245. The return journey leaves Madrid at 1000 (Spanish time) arriving in Guarda at 1425 Portuguese time.

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 website information is only in Portuguese. These all stop outside the bus station (C. Camionagem) or the Mercado Municipal, which is adjacent.

Route 1 also stops at the railway station -  Estação C.F. 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. I cannot find any information on line concerning current fares.

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. Train service suspended for an unknown period for reconstruction work. Two daily 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 Sud-express train, 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 has 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 very few 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 such 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 1130 and 1740 operated by Transdev. The journey takes 1hr 20 minutes and costs about €4,50 - exact fare unknown. From Manteigas the buses leave 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 has two clubs playing in the lower divisions of Portuguese football.

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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