The distance between Lisbon and the Douro Valley is 240 miles (380 km) with the journey lasting anywhere between three and seven hours. For most travelers, the best way to get there is by car.
To sightsee along the route—either to Leiria or Coimbra—a car is an ideal choice, whether from a rental company or via a private driver. The train is another option that will allow you to rest along the journey and take in some of the landscape. Traveling by plane only takes you part of the way to Douro Valley, and you’d need to continue the trip either by train or car from Porto.
If you’re still in the planning stages of your Portugal vacation, consider adding a visit to nearby Marrakech, Morocco to the itinerary.
Duration: 3.5 hours
There are many car rental companies operating within the city limits of Lisbon as well as at the Lisbon Airport. Choosing a private driver is also an excellent choice, to allow yourself complete freedom to sightsee.
Lisbon to the Douro Valley is a simple journey; you’ll start along the A1 / E1 Highway for 125 miles (200 km). This portion of the inland drive passes through the scenic Parque Natural das Serras de Aire e Candeeiros where you can stop to walk in the forest or break for a picnic. The town of Mira de Aire, is home to Portugal's largest cave, where you can get a glimpse into the 7 mile (11 km) long limestone cave.
Once you’re on the outskirts of Coimbra, you’ll turn onto the E801/IP3 Highway and stay on the IP3 for roughly 100 miles (160 km) before arriving into the Douro Valley.
Take note that Portugal operates many toll roads and not all accept cash. Be sure to have a credit card on hand or arrange a pre-paid device with the car rental company to keep yourself in the fast lane.
By Plane & Car
Duration: 2 hours and 45 minutes
To cut travel time, you can fly from Lisbon to Porto in just one hour, and from there you can pick up a rental car. The Porto Airport has several rental car companies to choose from, and soon you’ll be ready for the second leg of your journey. Check with your rental car company as they may be able to bill tolls directly to you using their electronic toll payments. If not, be sure to keep a credit card on hand for paying the toll roads.
From the airport, follow signs to get onto the A4 Highway and stay on for 90 miles (145 km) before merging onto the A24/IP3 for 12 miles (20 km).
Duration: 5 hours and 15 minutes
The train will take you from Lisbon Santa Apolónia Station to Porto Station in 2 hours and 50 minutes. Once in Porto, you will board a train to Peso da Régua, for a nearly 2-hour trip. A portion of the journey wends along the Douro River and makes for excellent landscape sightseeing.
Duration: 5 hours and 20 minutes
Buses depart several times per day for the Douro Valley, leaving from the Lisbon Sete Rios Station. Before arriving in Peso da Régua the bus will also stop in Lamego, in case you have chosen accommodations there.