The history of trains in Portugal began in 1856, with the first trip on rails that connected Lisbon to Carregado. The evolution of the railroad was soon felt, changing the country and bringing it closer to Europe. Behind is a trail of history that attracts train lovers, architecture fans, travel aficionados or simply lovers of a good hamburger. Are you puzzled? See the list below. You can choose between learning in museums, sleeping in train stations, eating a nice piece of meat in a carriage or listening to good music while watching the trains go by. Join the trip with All About Portugal, no ticket needed!
National Railway Museum
If you (really!) are one of the biggest fans of trains in Portugal, a visit to this museum, located in Entroncamento, is a must. The city soon became the epicenter of freight and passenger trains and, here, you can learn from the beginnings of steam locomotives to the rail transport of the future. Take a peek at some national treasures – such as the Royal Train or the Portuguese Presidential Train –, discover everyday railway objects, carriages or locomotives, revisiting 160 years of railway history in Portugal. Is your dream to drive a train? Then get behind the wheel of a locomotive in the Railway Driving Simulator or travel on the manned model circuit.
Locomotive Statue 094
Since you are at Entrocamento, “the” railway city par excellence, where several lines cross, you must visit the 094 Locomotive Statue. The 070 to 097 Series was a type of steam locomotive, used by the "Companhia dos Caminhos de Ferro Portugueses" for the first time in 1916. They are considered the most balanced steam locomotives in Portugal, originally prepared to tow trains on the Sintra Line, but who ended up doing all sorts of services. If you're one of those true fans of trains in Portugal and model making, you'll know right away that this model was manufactured by the German firm Henschel & Sohn and is from Iberian Gauge.
Train Spot Guesthouse
If you are visiting the Alentejo countryside, live the experience of dreaming and waking up at the industrial-era train station, Marvão/Beirã classified as Architectural Heritage. TrainSpot Guesthouse is the perfect accommodation for fans of trains in Portugal, not only for the building itself, but also for the stories and legends that you will discover of smugglers and political struggles, with this station as an “accomplice”. Also keep an eye out for the dates of this year's edition of the “Escapadinha de Comboio”, which has a partnership with the guesthouse and which will take you on a unique tour along the Beira Baixa Line, for a few days.
Right next to Gare do Oriente, in Parque das Nações, you'll find the perfect stop if you're part of a fan club for trains in Portugal (and for rails and locomotives in general) and you're looking for a tasty light meal. Inspired by the railway universe, the Railroad Caffe is a place with a relaxed atmosphere, where the meal will be delivered on rails. It's the perfect spot to go with children, who will be delighted to combine fun with food.
Trem Velho Restaurant
A classic of the Cascais landscape is the Trem Velho ("Old Train" in translation), the perfect destination for train lovers in Portugal. The story goes back to 1973 when a train with three wagons, which connected to Cais do Sodré, in Lisbon, ceased to be used, to become a restaurant and bar. Here, modernity mixes with antiquity, always with the characteristics of the old train, resulting in a comfortable, bright space, with a terrace and views of the sea. Grab a hamburger, a Chuleton or a T-Bone and imagine the stories these wagons have witnessed.
Historic Train on the Douro Line
This is a must-do trip for all train lovers in Portugal! The Alto Douro Vinhateiro, in addition to being the ideal destination for those who appreciate good wines and good food and being classified by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, allows you to enjoy a unique experience, aboard a steam locomotive, built in 1925. The smoke coming out of the chimney and an unmistakable whistle, on a route that connects Régua to Tua, with a stop in Pinhão, will allow you to travel back in time, through breathtaking landscapes. Close your eyes and live this dream at slow speed.
São Bento Station Building
Its tiled atrium places it at the top of the most beautiful train stations in Portugal… and the world. There are 20,000 tiles painted in blue and white, with the various panels representing key scenes from the history of Portugal. Trains depart from here to various national and international destinations and, even if you are not one of the biggest train lovers in Portugal, São Bento Station is a must-see in Porto, located right in the city center and close to Avenida dos Aliados.
Do you like music, cocktails, consider yourself one of the biggest train lovers in Portugal and are you in Porto? Very close to São Bento Station, you will find the perfect spot to relax and watch the trains go by… literally. The Ferro Bar has 200 square meters of decoration that evoke the times of the Industrial Revolution and a terrace with views of the Clérigos' Tower, the Cathedral and – of course – the rails of the São Bento Station.