This may sound like a lame post, but I’m writing this because I couldn’t find anything detailed when I needed information on how to get to Lisbon from Seville.
POSTED BY JENNIE
It’s usually easy to get from one major city to another. There are many options – car, plane, train or bus. In our case, we didn’t want to drive. The plane option was also complicated, there was a 7am flight arriving in Lisbon also at 7am. The schedule was off and the Lisbon apartment would only be ready at 3pm. Another option was to take a train to Madrid and then fly to Lisbon, this was again too complicated. Plus, we had too much luggage and would surely be charged a hefty amount on a budget airline.
Surprisingly, there’s no direct train from Seville to Lisbon. There’s a sleeper train from Madrid, but then again, we would have to go to Madrid first.
The next best option was to take the bus. There’s a sleeper bus that leaves Seville at 12mn, we didn’t want that either. I found a website called BusBud that specialises in bus travel. From this website I was able to purchase tickets from Seville to Faro. Faro is the coastal town of Portugal closest to Seville. The cost was a very reasonable E15.60 per person. Not bad. On the ticket the boarding point said Santa Justa Station, Seville’s train station. This is where it gets confusing. Before our departure to Faro, I asked the information desk at Santa Justa where to board the bus to Portugal. I get a blank look, they tell me it’s only trains here. Oh no. I send out an email to BusBud and they promptly reply that pick up is indeed at Santa Justa. They also say to arrive at least 45 minutes before the scheduled departure.
When we arrive at Santa Justa, we are clueless where to wait. There’s no bus stop. Should you find yourself in this situation, the pick up point is just outside McDonalds.
The bus arrives promptly at 9:30am, it is already full because the main pick up point is at Plaza de Armas. The seats are not assigned. So if you don’t mind waking up a little earlier for better seats, board at Plaza de Armas.
It takes only 2 hours to get from Seville to Faro. As we enter Portugal from Spain, I hear a comment from the person behind me. He says something like “Look at how everything is so run down, it’s hard to believe that they (referring to Portugal) were once a world superpower.” We see run down fields and houses on the roadside and I share his thoughts.
We get to the Faro bus station and have a few hours before we board another bus bound for Lisbon. Faro is the capital of Portugal’s southern region, the Algarve. Tourists come here for the beaches but we’re just here in transit. The bus station reminds me of the bus stations back in Manila. It’s cleaner for sure but it feels old school. A ticket to Lisbon from Faro just as reasonable at 20E/person.
We have no choice but to have lunch nearby. The place looks deserted maybe because it’s still early in the day. It’s about 10am. We have our first meal in Portugal, unfortunately I can’t remember what we had! I can only remember that the waiter and owner of the restaurant was Russian, and that he was very friendly and wanted to learn some Tagalog words.
We board our next bus bound for Lisbon at 1:30pm. This bus has reserved seating and we have good seats in front. This is a long trip, with numerous stops at condominium complexes that cater to tourists. We see lots of tourists walking around in swimwear. Maybe we’ll visit the Algarve next time!
It seems to take forever to reach Lisbon, even if we see lots of signs along the road that say Lisbon. When there starts to be a build up of cars on the highway, we know that we’re near Lisbon. There are so many cars on the road. I remember that it’s a Friday and it’s nearing rush hour. Oh no. Should have made a mental note NOT to travel on a Friday.
It’s bumper to bumper traffic on Lisbon’s red bridge the Ponte 25 de Abril, named after the Carnation Revolution of 1974. We’re all tired at this point and just want to get to our apartment, but it’s never as simple as that.
Finally, after 4 hours the bus pulls into Sete Rios, the bus depot. Lisbon so far looks drab and I feel my expectations deflating. To get a cab, we have to walk to an underpass that feels very sketchy. It takes some time for the cab to arrive and I feel jittery. Finally a cab that can fit all 4 of us and all our bags arrives and we tell him our address in Bairro Alto.
I’m bracing for traffic, but surprisingly there’s none. The cab enters a street lined with Jacaranda trees in full bloom and the lavender blooms lift my spirits. I feel the magic of seeing a city for the first time.
The cab enters the narrow streets and the steep hills of Lisbon and I get a glimpse of what is to be my favourite city on this trip. We get to our apartment and it is just lovely. It is clean, and spacious and bright and Helena who welcomes us is very friendly. Check out our AirBnB rental below.
Everyone is tired and we fall asleep before 10pm. At around 1am we are awakened by loud music, conversation and laughter. We look out the window, 3 stories below and there is a full blown street party! The street is packed!
Our apartment is right smack in the party address of Lisbon. With no air conditioning we can’t close the windows and we’re stuck with this noise for tonight and for the next 6 nights! Heaven help us!
Look at the day and night photos of our street below. That seemingly dead street is full of little bars and the party goes on till about 5am! More on Lisbon soon!