How to get to Portugal

Whether you're planning a transatlantic flight from North America, a scenic train journey from Western Europe, or an adventurous road trip from neighbouring Spain, here’s how to get to Portugal.

How to get to Portugal

There are regular direct flights to LisbonFaro and Porto from all over Europe and some US cities, though travellers from outside Europe may find it cheaper to fly via London and arrange onward travel from there.

If you're keen on exploring parts of France or Spain along the way, or if you're travelling with a vehicle, you can opt for a combination of ferry, rail, and road. However, it's worth noting that these options tend to be more expensive than flying.

Typical Alentejo houses in the Castle of Monsaraz © Joao Custodio/Shutterstock

Typical Alentejo houses in the Castle of Monsaraz © Joao Custodio/Shutterstock

Where to fly into Portugal?

When you're heading to Portugal, you'll likely land at one of the main international airports: Lisbon Airport (LIS), Porto Airport (OPO), or Faro Airport (FAO). Lisbon Airport is the largest and busiest, located in the capital city, and it offers a wide range of international flights. Several airlines offer flights to Portugal:

  • TAP Air Portugal
  • British Airways
  • Lufthansa
  • Ryanair
  • United Airlines
  • American Airlines
  • Delta Air Lines

The cheapest time to travel to Portugal typically falls during the shoulder seasons, which are spring (April to June) and autumn (September to October). If you’re still deciding when to plan your trip, see our guide to the best time to go to Portugal.

Capo Da Roca, the most western point of Europe, Portuguese municipality of Sintra, near Azoia © Tsuguliev/Shutterstock

Capo Da Roca, the most western point of Europe, Sintra, near Azoia © Tsuguliev/Shutterstock

How to get to Portugal from the US?

Flying from the US to Portugal usually involves a connecting flight, often through Frankfurt. Major airlines like TAP Air Portugal, Delta, and United offer both direct and indirect flights to Lisbon and Porto from various US cities. 

  • A direct flight from New York to Lisbon takes about 7-8 hours, while a direct flight from Los Angeles to Lisbon takes 11-12 hours.
  • Ticket prices for a round trip can range from $600 to $1200, depending on the airline and when you book.

How to get to Portugal from the UK and Ireland?

From the UK and Ireland, you can fly directly to Portugal from airports like London Heathrow, Gatwick, Manchester, and Dublin. Airlines such as TAP Air Portugal, British Airways, and easyJet frequently fly to Lisbon, Porto, and Faro. 

  • A direct flight from London to Lisbon takes around 2-3 hours.
  • Round-trip prices start at £50 to £200.
25th of April Bridge and lisbon skyline © Richie Chan/Shutterstock

25th of April Bridge and Lisbon skyline © Richie Chan/Shutterstock

Driving to Portugal from the UK or Ireland

If you're up for a road trip, you can drive from the UK or Ireland to Portugal. Use the Eurotunnel or ferry to get to mainland Europe, then drive through Spain to reach Portugal. 

The drive from London to Lisbon is about 1,450 miles (2,330 km) and takes roughly 24-30 hours. 

Costs for fuel, tolls, and ferry crossings can add up to between £200 and £400 each way.

Portugal by train

Travelling from London to Lisbon by train takes about 24 hours. Start by taking the Eurostar from London St Pancras to Paris. From Paris, hop on a high-speed TGV train to Irun on the Spanish border. Finally, board the overnight Sud-Express "train-hotel" for the last leg of the journey to Lisbon.

Building with azulejos tiles is Igreja dos Congregados. Building on the right is Sao Bento Station. Location: Praca de Almeida Garrett, Porto, Portugal © AdobeStock

Building with azulejos tiles is Igreja dos Congregados. Porto, Portugal © AdobeStock

How to get to Portugal from Canada

Travelling from Canada to Portugal involves connecting flights through major European cities like London, Paris, or Amsterdam. Airlines such as Air Canada, TAP Air Portugal, and Lufthansa offer routes to Lisbon and Porto. 

  • Flights from Toronto to Lisbon typically take 8-10 hours with layovers
  • Flights from Vancouver to Lisbon typically take 12-14 hours with layovers
  • Round-trip tickets range from CAD 800 to CAD 1500.

How to get to Portugal from Europe

Getting to Portugal from Europe is a pretty easy, thanks to its well-connected transportation networks encompassing air, rail, and road routes. Whether you're travelling from Western, Eastern, or Southern Europe, reaching Portugal is straightforward.

  • Western Europe: Direct flights to Portugal are available from major cities like Paris, Frankfurt, and Amsterdam. Airlines like Air France, Lufthansa, and KLM fly to Lisbon, Porto, and Faro.
  • Eastern Europe: Travellers often need to take indirect flights with layovers in major European hubs.
  • Southern Europe: Countries like Spain and Italy offer direct flights and convenient train connections through Spain. Driving is also an option often.
Old town in Albufeira, Algarve, Portugal © Shutterstock

Old town in Albufeira, Algarve, Portugal © Shutterstock

Flying to Portugal from Australia and New Zealand

There are no direct flights to Portugal from Australia or New Zealand, but many airlines offer through-tickets with their partners via their European or Asian hubs. Flights via Asia are generally the cheaper option.

 If you’re seeing Portugal as part of a wider European trip, you might want to aim first for the UK, since there’s a wide choice of cheap flights to Portugal once there. 

  • Australia: The total travel time is about 20-30 hours, and round-trip fares start from AUD 1,500, going up to AUD 3,000 or more.
  • New Zealand: Flights from Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch take around 25-35 hours. Round-trip tickets range from NZD 2,000 to NZD 4,000.

Do you need a visa?

If you hold a US, UK, or Canadian passport, you don't need a visa for stays up to 90 days within a 180-day period. Just make sure your passport is valid for at least six months beyond your planned departure from Portugal. For longer stays or specific travel purposes like work or study, you'll need to apply for the appropriate visa.

Mani Ramaswamy

written by
Mani Ramaswamy

updated 23.05.2024

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