Meeting Your Trip in PORTO - 2011

On this page, you will find information about meeting your trip.  Topics include...

We suggest that you print these pages out, and bring a copy with you to your trip.

When and Where:
We meet in Porto, on the eve of the trip start.  4 meetings are proposed: 

  1. 5p at our hotel, the Peninsular, in the upstairs atrium, for a brief introduction to the trip (Steve Rath, a.k.a. the “Peanut Gallery,” is not invited).
  2. 5:30p, same place, for a thumbnail history of Portugal.
  3. 6p, still the same place, for a commented walk down to the river, where we’ll be having dinner.
  4. 7:30p, at our dinner restaurant, Vinhas d’Alho, Muro dos Bachalhoeiros (Wall of the People who Deal with Codfish — can you tell you’re in Portugal?) n° 139 /140.  Phone is 222 012 874, should you need it for some reason.

Of course, nothing oblidges you to come to any of these things, but if you have other plans, try to communicate them to your Trip Coordinator, Nicolas (Portuguese phone:  +351 935 329 757), so that he doesn't worry about you, and can ask the restaurant to cancel your space.  Also, so that he can leave information on tomorrow's projects in your room.

Porto is a fascinating place, and you will not have much time for it within the framework of the trip.  Come in early if you can, for a day of sightseeing.

Included in Your Access Package, if you subscribed to it:
A train ticket to Porto, a seat reservation on the train, and a detailed timetable of the train for which you are reserved.
If you opted for tickets which can be canceled until 30 minutes prior to the train's departure from downtown Lisbon, instructions on how to do so will also be included.
Also, any extra hotel night(s) in Porto that you may have requested, including breakfast. 

Travel Documents will be sent to you in pdf form, both ticket and timetable.  These are not in the airline sense of the term:  they are self-print tickets.  In order to ride a train, you must have a printed copy of the ticket with you, on board the train. 

If you opted for Changeable / Refundable tickets...
... and are going to miss your train, here is what to do.

  • The ticket must be canceled (on line) 30 minutes before the train leaves it origin station.  That departure time is the one that will be on your ticket, unless you booked the 10:09a train from the Oriente station (that one comes through from the south, and starts out at 7a).  If you cancel the ticket, you will recover the price you paid for it, less 10€.  The money is reimbursed to us, and we refund you. 
  • To do so:  go to the Portguese Railways web site,
  • Click on the British Flag at the top of the page, to move the site into English.
  • In the bottom right corner of the page, "sign in" to the web site.  E.mail to use is  Password is bmt2583.  bmt=blue marble travel.  2583 = the word "blue" on a telephone keypad.  The page that comes up may (or may not) boot you back into Portuguese; if it does, return to English at the top of the page.
  • In the white, “Menu CP” on the left hand side of the home page, make the last choice, “My CP.”
  • On the page that comes up, select the top choice, “History.”
  • All of the trip tickets will now be listed, yours and everyone elses.  They all have your names on them:  choose the one that corresponds to you. 
  • Hit the orange “Refund” button.  Don’t play with the “re-issue” option, which leads nowhere you want to go.
  • The rest is easy.  Our advice:  don’t try to buy a new ticket on line.  It is more work than it is worth.  Get whatever you can when you get to the station.  But at least you’ll get most of your money back for the initial ticket.

Lisbon Airport > Lisbon Downtown
One word:  Aerobus.  Line 1.  Runs every 20 minutes.  Details are on this web site, but it stops within 100 m of your hotel, if your hotel is our hotel.  Cost is 3.50€, and your Aerobus ticket serves as a transit pass for the rest of the day on any surface vehicles (not the metro) that you choose to ride.

This is actually useful if you are going to Santa Apolonia Station, as the Aerobus does not go all the way there.  To get to Santa Apolonia Station, get off at the “Rossio” stop, and catch bus number 759 from the same bus stop (stop E on Praça Rossio), to Santa Apolonia.  The final destination for this bus is “Oriente," so that is what will be written on the destination panel.  No ticket required:  your Aerobus ticket works.  But you must press it to the little validation machine, and get the approving green light.

If you are staying a night or more at the Hotel Tejo, it is 3 blocks from the Praça Rossio, where you get off the Aerobus.  To walk there:

  • Cross the praça to the far right corner, in front of the vaguely lavender Hotel Internacional.  
  • Cross the street (Rua da BETESGA) to put yourself on the sidewalk that fronts that hotel.
  • Follow Rua da BETESGA a short block to another, equally large praça, the Praça Figueira.
  • Go straight across Praça Figueira, along its right side.   Street car tracks now appear in the street on your left.

The Hotel Tejo is one short block out the far side of the Praça Figueira, in the Rua dos CONDES de MONSANTO, on the left.  The street car track curves left here, to wrap around the building.

Lisbon’s airport is not far out of town:  a taxi into the city would probably cost in the 20€ range.

Lisbon Airport > Oriente Station
(quickest access to the train to Porto)
One word:  Aerobus.  Line 2.  Runs every 30 minutes.  Details are on the web site, but it takes you straight to the station for the train to Porto, in just a few minutes, abstracting for traffic.  Cost is 3.50€.

Oriente station is close to the airport, about 2 k.  A taxi would probably cost no more than 10€, plus tip.

Train from Lisbon to Porto
Trains to Porto generally depart from the downtown (waterfront) station, called Santa Apolonia.  9 minutes later, on their way out of town, they stop at the Oriente station, close to the airport. 

Your tickets have been written from Santa Apolonia, but you may board at Oriente if you prefer:  just add 9 minutes to the schedule marked on the ticket. 
Two trains per day do not come from the downtown station.  If your ticket is written from Oriente, you must board there:  that particular train does not come from downtown.

Journey time from Lisbon downtown to Porto is 2'45" to 3'15", depending on your train (subtract 9 minutes if you are boarding in Oriente). 

Porto Campanha (the name of the Porto station where you detrain) is not always the final stop.  Some trains continue north.  But all trains stop at Porto-Campanha for several minutes, and most of your fellow passengers will get off, giving you time to figure out that you have arrived. 

From Campanha station, you must take a little shuttle train into the city center, to another station:  São Bento. The São Bento station is just a block from our hotel.  No new ticket is needed for this:  your main line ticket from Lisbon to Porto gives you free access to this train. 

Trains from Campanha to São Bento almost always depart from tracks 2 or 3, though if you see a train marked “São Bento” somewhere else, we suppose you could give it a try.  They run every few minutes (longest gap in a given hour is 20 minutes); there should never be a long wait for the next one.  São Bento is the first and only stop, in 5 minutes.

Practical Information in Porto

Getting to Your Hotel from the São Bento Station
It is less than a full city block from the São Bento station to the Hotel Peninsular.  Here is how to get there.

  • Walk out the front of the São Bento station, and turn right along the station wall. 
  • Cross the tram track and the complicated intersection, with cars whizzing around in seemingly random directions.

The Hotel Peninsular is visible from this intersection, on the street that climbs up slightly to your right, Rua Sa Bandeira (not the hard right street, with the tram track in it).  The hotel is on the left side of the street, in the first block.

Getting to Your Hotel from the Airport
We have never done this, and don’t know anyone who has, but it is theoretically easy:  take the street car!  Porto has a network of souped-up trams that they call a “métro.”  One of them, line E (purple on maps), originates at the airport.  The airport is small, the tram is big...  we’re sure that you will find it without trouble. 

  • Take any tram into town, 15 stops to the “Trindade” station.
  • Change there for line D, in the direction of Santo Ovidio.
  • Ride two stops, and get off at São Bento.
  • Find your way to the front of the eponimous rail station, and put your back to it. 
  • Now follow the walking instructions to the hotel, above.

About Porto

An amazing place.  Naples without the Mafia.  If you have time, get an introductory brochure from the tourist office, and use it to explore.  If you want a guidebook, we suggest the Michelin Green series.  The right compromise between detail and synthesis.

Tourist Information
Close by. 

  • Come out the front door of the hotel, and turn left / uphill. 
  • Turn hard left at the first corner, and follow this pedestrian street to come out to the town’s main square in a block.
  • Cross the square, and turn right on the avenue that runs along the far side, Avenida dos Aliados.

Porto’s Tourist Information office is up ahead, in the second block, at R. do Clube dos Fenianos, number 25.

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