Getting there & away
Vermont Transit (207-772-6587, 800-231-2222; www.vermonttransit.com; 950 Congress St), in the Greyhound terminal, runs five to six buses daily to and from Boston ($19, two hours), connecting with buses to Hartford, Connecticut ($39, 3¼ hours more) and New York City ($43, 4½ hours more).
Vermont Transit also runs three buses northeastward to Brunswick ($16, 30 minutes), and four up the Maine Turnpike to Lewiston, Augusta ($23, 1½ hours), Waterville and Bangor ($24, 3¼ hours), with one bus continuing to Bar Harbor (four hours from Portland).
Concord Trailways (207-828-1151, 800-639-3317; www.concordtrailways.com; Thompson Point Connector Rd) shares its terminal with Amtrak at exit 5A off I-295. It runs 13 nonstop buses daily between Portland and Boston ($21). From Portland, two Concord Trailways buses provide local service to Brunswick ($11), Bath ($12), Wiscasset ($13), Damariscotta ($15), Waldoboro ($16), Rockland ($19), Camden/Rockport ($21), Lincolnville ($21), Belfast ($22), Searsport ($23) and Bangor ($24). The Bangor bus also connects with a Cyr Bus Lines (800-244-2335; www.cyrbustours.com) bus headed north to Medway, Sherman, Houlton, Presque Isle and Caribou.
Coming from the south, take I-95 to I-295 then exit 7 onto Franklin Street, which leads down to the Old Port. To bypass Portland, simply stay on I-95.
The Amtrak (800-872-7245; www.amtrak.com; 100 Thompson Point Connector Rd) Downeaster, making tracks between Boston and Portland, runs four to five trains daily in each direction. The trip takes about two hours ($21), making brief stops in New Hampshire at Dover ($12, one hour) and Durham ($14, 1¼ hours).
For passenger ferry cruises between Portland and Bailey Island.
During the summer, the Cat Ferry (207-761-4228; www.catferry.com; 468 Commercial St; adult/child/vehicle from $89/59/149; Jun-Sep) departs Portland for Yarmouth, Nova Scotia (Canada) three to four times weekly at 8am, arriving in Canada 5½ hours later. The return trip departs Yarmouth at 4pm four or five times weekly for Portland. You must have proof of citizenship to enter Canada at Yarmouth (a passport and an alien registration or green card for foreign residents).
One important note: the international ferry terminal was deemed to contain dangerous levels of toxins (dozens of molds) in 2005. Although the city of Portland claims the building is now safe, it’s well worth investigating the current status of the terminal before you spend any time in this building.
Portland International Jetport (207-774-7301; www.portlandjetport.org) is Maine’s largest and most chaotic air terminal. The lines here are dreadful: arrive at least 90 minutes before a flight or risk missing it. Metro buses take you from Continental Airlines’ doors to the center of town for $1.25. Take bus 5 and transfer to bus 8 to get to the Old Port.