The best guide to Mafra and Central Portugal
The Mafra National Palace is a true wonder of Portugal and is a highly recommended day trip for those visitors who have slightly longer holidays within the Lisbon region. The National Palace is situated at the heart of Mafra and the town lies 40km to the north of Lisbon. For a guide to Mafra please click here.
The Queen's tower of the palace
Mafra is connected to Lisbon by a reliable and inexpensive public bus service, which means that the palace can be easily visited as a day trip from Lisbon. This guide will detail how to travel from Lisbon to Mafra by rental car and by bus.
The Mafra bus outside the national palace
Coach travel is the best option for public transport as there is no suitable rail route to reach Mafra and coach travel in Portugal is inexpensive and reliable. The bus service is operated by the small bus company Mafrense and departs from Campo Grande bus station.
There are two services, the express service (40 minutes) and the slower service 90 minutes. The tickets (€4.15 single, €7.45 return) are purchased from the driver as you board the bus so there is no means to reserve seat. There is typically one service an hour with the first at 7:00 and last at 22:00 - check timetable for exact time. The latest timetable can be seen on the Mafrense website (www.mafrense.pt) and a link is here:
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The Lisbon to Mafra bus in Campo Grande bus station
This bus station is part of the larger Campo Grande metro station which is on both the yellow and green metro lines. The beach resort of Ericeira is the final stop for the bus which serves Mafra and all buses will be marked with Ericeira via Mafra. Campo Grande bus station is poorly signed but the two services to Mafra depart from stands 4 and 5. The bus stops in front of the main entrance to the Mafra National Palace and this is also the location for the return service.
The easiest method of travel from Lisbon to Mafra is by car and surrounding the place is plenty of car parking. The fastest driving route follows the A8 north from Lisbon and then at junction 5 heading west on the A21. Both of these roads are toll expressways but the total journey time is less than 35 minutes. Driving in central Lisbon is very demanding due to the erratic drivers and horrendous parking. Generally there is no need to hire a car if you are visiting the Lisbon region due to the excellent public transport.
The library in Mafra palace
The best of central Portugal