Lisboa to San Sebastian (by Sud Expresso sleeper train)

May 23, 2018

The Sud Expresso is a smart and very clean overnight train service, that links Lisbon with the Spanish/French border at Irun/Hendaye and San Sebastian, the culinary center of the Basque country in Spain.  The journey time is around 13 hours, which in my opinion is perfect as it gives travellers the opportunity to have a full 8 hours sleep, enjoy a drink in the bar coach and sit back and watch the Basque country scenery pass by. 

 

The Sud Expresso at San Sebastian station (Friday 25th May 2018)

 

 

Lisbon Oriente station

 

The Sud Expresso starts its journey from Lisbon Santa Apolonia station, which is just two stops on the metro from Lisbon's main center, however I chose to catch it from Lisbon Oriente station on this occasion.  Lisbon Oriente station is about 25 minutes by metro from Lisbon's center (however a change of lines is required).  It is also very close to the International Airport and can be accessed directly from the station using the Linha Vermelha (Red Line) metro. 

 

Lisbon Oriente station was designed by architect Calatrava and opened just prior to the 1998 World Trade Fair held in Lisbon (Expo 98).  It was designed as a futuristic looking main line railway station, constructed from steel, glass and concrete.  It has four levels, with the uppermost level being the most impressive where four train platforms are covered with a glass roof supported by columns that resemble trees with multiple branches.  The station is particularly beautiful in the evening and at night, when the tree like columns are illuminated by a glowing orange light.

 

Lisbon Oriente station

 

 

Hendaye station

 

At the opposite end of the journey, the Sud Expresso terminates in Hendaye from where connections are available by either TGV or Regional "TER" train to Biarritz, Bordeaux and Paris. 

 

  • To read more local train connections between San Sebastian, Irun/Hendaye and Biarritz, read my journal "San Sebastian to Biarritz".

 

For longer distance journeys, it is actually possible to catch the Sud Expresso from Lisbon in the evening, arriving Hendaye the following morning and then changing directly onto a TGV to Paris, departing at around 13:00 and arriving at around 18:15.  Further connections are then possible from Paris Gare du Nord to London, Brussels, Amsterdam and Frankfurt arriving the same evening. 

 

Times for a random date in July 2018 from Lisbon to London...  

  1. Lisbon Santa Apolonia 21:25 to Hendaye 11:33 on the Sud Expresso "TrenHotel"

  2. Hendaye 13:12 to Paris Montparnasse 18:13 on a TGV, followed by a metro transfer across Paris

  3. Paris Nord 20:13 to London St Pancras 21:39 on Eurostar

 

And in the opposite direction... 

  1. London St Pancras 07:55 to Paris Nord on Eurostar, followed by a metro transfer across Paris

  2. Paris Montparnasse 12:48 to Hendaye 17:35 on a TGV

  3. Hendaye 18:35 to Lisbon Santa Apolonia 07:30 on the Sud Expresso "Tren Hotel"
     

  • To read more about the TGV train journey, read my journal "Biarritz to Paris (by TGV)".

 

San Sebastian station

 

You can also alight or join the Sud Expresso train at San Sebastian - the culinary center of the Basque country in Spain - and after spending 24 hours in San Sebastian drinking Txakolí wine and eating Pintxo on every street corner, I would highly recommend a stop off here .  

 

  • To read more about San Sebastian, read my journal "San Sebastian in 24 hours"

  • To read more local train connections between San Sebastian, Irun/Hendaye and Biarritz, read my journal "San Sebastian to Biarritz".

 

San Sebastian station, which is just a 10-15 minute walk from the famous La Concha beach

 

 

 

Timetable

 

Route: Lisboa to San Sebastian or Hendaye (Sud Expresso)

Last updated: 31/05/2018

 

**the Sud Expresso operates daily**

**all times shown are local**

 

The Sud Expresso departs Lisboa Santa Apolonia at 21:25 and Lisboa Oriente at 21:34.  The train arrives the following morning in San Sebastian at 10:55 and Hendaye at 11:33.

 

The return journey departs Hendaye at 18:35 and San Sebastian at 19:08, arriving Lisboa Oriente at 07:20 and Lisboa Santa Apolonia at 07:30 the following morning.

 

 

Route: Lisboa to Madrid (Sud Expresso)

Last updated: 31/05/2018

 

**the Lusitania operates daily**

**all times shown are local**

 

The Lusitania departs Lisboa Santa Apolonia at 21:25 and Lisboa Oriente at 21:34.  The train arrives the following morning in Madrid at 08:40.

 

The return journey departs Madrid at 21:43, arriving Lisboa Oriente at 07:20 and Lisboa Santa Apolonia at 07:30 the following morning.

 

The beaBasque country scenery, about an hour or so before arriving in San Sebastian 

 

 

Cost

 

Route: Lisboa to San Sebastian or Hendaye (Sud Expresso)

Last updated: 31/05/2018

 

**all fares shown are one-way**

 

Non refundable ‘Promo’ fare…

  • Seat (2nd class): €28.20 per person

  • 4-bed sleeper (same sex only): €38.20 per person

 

Full price fare…

  • Seat (2nd class): €70.50 per person

  • 4-bed sleeper (same sex only): €95.50 per person

  • 4-bed sleeper: € 244.00 per compartment (i.e. 3 or 4 people travelling together)

  • Double sleeper: €269.00 per compartment (i.e. 2 people travelling together)

  • Single sleeper: €185.50

  • Double deluxe sleeper: €301.00 per compartment (i.e. 2 people travelling together)

  • Single deluxe sleeper: €201.50

 

For up to date fares, visit the Portuguese Railways Sud Expresso webpage. 

 

FIP ticket in a Double Sleeper compartment issued by International Rail (UK) 

 

 

Interrail travel restrictions

Last updated: 31/05/2018

 

Please note that these restrictions have been copied from the Interrail webpage titled Night train reservation fees with additional notes added.

 

Reservations for the Sud Expresso from Lisbon to Hendaye (France) / Irun (Spain) are:

  • Seat (2nd class): €7.60

  • 4-bed sleeper (same sex only): €29.60 per person

  • Double sleeper: €88.00 per compartment (i.e. 2 people travelling together)

  • Single sleeper: €88.00

  • Double deluxe sleeper: €117.20 per compartment (i.e. 2 people travelling together)

  • Single deluxe sleeper: €117.00

 

 

Rail Staff (FIP) travel restrictions

Last updated: 31/05/2018

 

Please note that these restrictions have been copied from the online document titled Travel in Europe (FIP): How to make the most of your benefits with additional notes added.

 

Global fares apply on the international services from Lisbon to San Sebastian and Hendaye (Sud Expresso).  This means that Spanish ‘RENFE’ or Portuguese ‘CP’ FIP coupons are not valid and the FIP card must be used to obtain a discount.  The tickets can be booked through www.bookmyrst.co.uk and the discounted fares for the journey are:

  • 4-bed sleeper (same sex only): €29.60 per person

  • Double sleeper: €88.00 per compartment (i.e. 2 people travelling together)

 

 

Route: Lisbon to Madrid

Last updated: 31/05/2018

 

The fares on this route are marginally cheaper than on the Lisboa to Hendaye service.  Please use the links above to locate further details.

 

 

What are the Spanish ‘RENFE’ operated TrenHotel services like from Lisbon to Hendaye/Irun or Madrid?

 

The restaurant / bar carriage serving a small selection of meals and drinks

 

 

The corridor along the Double Sleeper carriage and the key card that enables your compartment to be locked when visiting the bar carriage or toilet

 

 

The double sleeper compartment with bunk beds at night and seats by day. 

 

 

The goodie bag found behind the mirror above the sink

 

 

What are Portuguese Intercity ‘IC’ trains like?

 

For more information visit my travel journal “Porto to Lisboa (by Intercity train)”.

 

 

What are Portuguese Regional ‘R’ and Inter-Regional ‘IR’ trains like?

 

For more information visit my travel journal “The Douro Valley by train”.

 

 

Suggested Links

 

The official Portuguese Railways website

The official Spanish Railways website

 

 

Photo Journal

 

 

 

There are always more photos to be shared, but sharing them all on this journal page will just make it look cluttered so if you want to see more photos for inspiration, check out my Flickr “Portugal–2018” album.

 

Previous: Lisbon – Tuesday 22nd May…

Next: San Sebastian – Thursday 24th May…

 

or back to Portugal, Spain & France travel journal...

 

 

 

Please reload