The best independent guide to Mafra
The best independent guide to Mafra
The Palácio de Mafra is the largest and most extravagant palace in Portugal, and makes for an enjoyable day trip from Lisbon.
The palace's location in the small town of Mafra, 40km north of Lisbon, was chosen as it was on the edge hunting forests (the Tapada Nacional de Mafra) once owned by the Portuguese nobility.
Mafra is connected to Lisbon by a regular 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 car and by bus.
Warning: Do not consider taking the train when planning your day trip to Mafra. The station misleading called "Mafra" is 8km south of the town, in a small village called "Mafra Gare", which is basically in the middle of nowhere.
Related articles: Introduction to Mafra.
The bus is the best option for when travelling from Lisbon to Mafra.
Mafra is served by the frequent Lisbon-Ericeira bus route, and there are 18 daily departures Monday to Friday, and 13 at the weekends. The fastest bus service takes only 30 minutes while the most frequent service takes 42 minutes.
The bus route is operated by the Mafrense bus company, and the latest timetable can be seen on their website:
Advice: When using the route planner on the Mafrense website select "Lisboa Campo Grande" as the departure location and the latest timetable can be viewed by clicking the "Visualizar Horario em Formato PDF" icon.
Advice: When planning your day trip try to avoid the 208 bus service, as this has multiple stops and takes a tedious 80 minutes. The fastest bus is the 209 service, at 30 minutes.
The bus ticket is purchased from the bus driver, and a single to Marfa costs €4.30/€2.15 (adult/child 4-12) and a day return costs €7.70. There are no seat reservations for this bus route, but the bus never is completely sold out.
If you are travelling with luggage, this can be stored in the luggage compartments beneath the bus, and one piece of luggage up to 20kg is free.
The Lisbon to Mafra bus departs from the Campo Grande bus station. The bus station is to the north of Lisbon and is served by the yellow and green metro lines.
The actual bus station is an open-air complex and should be more considered as a lot of different bus stops, more than a conventional bus station. A separate bus route departs from each of the bus stops, but fortunately there is clear signage indicating departure locations.
Advice: The bus to Mafra and the bus stop will be marked with “Ericeira” as this is the final stop of the bus route.
As Campo Grande is the first stop along the route, the bus will depart promptly, and it is always advisable to get there a little earlier to locate the bus stop and get a better seat on the bus.
In Mafra, there are two bus stops, but the "Mafra (Palácio)" is directly outside the palace and is easy to spot while on the bus. The return bus departs from the same location but on the opposite side of the road.
Insight: Apart from visiting the palace, there is not much else to see in Mafra. For a better day trip, we often recommend visiting Mafra in the morning and Ericeira in the afternoon. This is easy using public transport, as you just re-join the same bus route for the second section from Mafra to Ericeira (10km, 25min €2.30). Once finished in Ericeira, it is a direct bus service back to Lisbon and the Campo Grande bus station.
Related articles: Ericeira guide
The quickest way to travel to Mafra is to drive, and the recommended route is to follow A8 north from Lisbon join the A21 at junction 5 and turn off for Mafra at junction 3. Mafra is further 2km after the toll booths and along the N9 dual carriageway.
The journey takes 30 minutes and is easy once you are on the A8, out of the maze of expressways that surround Lisbon. The route does involve toll expressways, but thankfully they are coin-operated, so there is no need for the palaver of signing up for one of the electronic toll systems.
When following the N9 the first roundabout into Mafra leads to the big free car park, which is just to the south of the palace. There are smaller car parks both to the north and south of the palace and parking is never an issue (unlike in Sintra!).
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