Lisbon on a Budget

It is possible to experience Lisbon on a budget, despite what others may tell you. You can have an affordable and enjoyable vacation while visiting the Portuguese capital city.

I am here to guide you on how to do it. I used to live in Lisbon and still visit frequently, so let us get started planning your unforgettable trip today. Just keep on reading.

Lisbon on a Budget: The Practicalities

When planning your trip to Lisbon on a budget, your accommodation and flight are the highest costs.

So, how do you save on these expensive costs? You book your trip way in advance when it comes to flights.

A fact is that flight service costs do not reduce close to departing, and business models of your low-cost airlines increase their prices as flights fill up.

Hence, it helps to watch for flights as soon as they are released to find cheap flight tickets.

On the other hand, when it comes to accommodation, you can find last-minute deals, especially outside your peak season. But they are primarily in high-end rooms.

As most hotels do not need deposits, you have no penalty for altering plans or canceling. My advice is always to book both of these in advance.

Hot Tip🔥: For affordable accommodation, you can find some of the best hostels in Lisbon on a budget.

Lisbon on a Budget: Affordable Accommodation

@Jupiter Lisboa Hotel

Lisbon is packed with hostels and hotels that provide cheap accommodation in the city.

I recommend you be close to the Lisbon Baixa district, the central transportation systems, and Rua Augusta Alfama, around a kilometer walk east of Baixa.

While Bairro Alto to the west is busy at night, it depends on your preferred vacation style.

Yet, it is further away from the historic center. Hence, book accommodation near the metro station if you prefer to stay further away from downtown Lisbon.

Hot Tip🔥: For more details on where to stay, check out the best neighborhoods in Lisbon to plan your trip depending on your needs.

Furthermore, during the peak seasons, as the demand for accommodation is high, booking your accommodation before the time to benefit from the best prices is best.

The Easy Lisbon Quiz

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I’ve made an easy Lisbon quiz with 5 questions. Let’s see if you can get them right. 🤞

When is The Best Time to Visit Lisbon on a Budget?

The busiest time to visit Lisbon is in the summer, from June to August. At this time of the year, accommodation sells fast, and flights are expensive.

I prefer visiting at the end of autumn and spring as the weather is pleasant and flights are more affordable. At the same time, you have fewer crowds.

Still, the winter weather with extended rain spells is mild, and the city is buzzing over Christmas and New Year.

Traveling Affordabily From Lisbon Airport

How to Get to Lisbon

Traveling to the city center from Lisbon Airport is affordable as the airports within city limits are connected to the metro. Hence, you need not use expensive taxis or transfers.

A ticket costs 1.80 Euros and takes up to 30 minutes to reach Baixa. You can use the airport bus service that connects Baixa and Rossio Square. The Aerobus costs 3.50 Euros, but operating the metro is easier.

I do not recommend using the taxis as they like to overcharge the fares. Another option is to rent a budget car in Lisbon instead to get around, especially if you want to explore the surrounding areas.

Lisbon Money

Portugal and most of Europe use Euros, and I recommend you exchange a suitable amount before arriving as the airport exchange rates are expensive.

Furthermore, you may also find that your debit and credit cards have hidden costs when used for small transactions and are expensive.

Paid travel cards loaded with local currency, like the Lisboa Card, are a safe way to take large amounts of cash.

Planning On Going To Lisbon?

I’ve created a trip planner where you enter the number of days you’re going and what activities you want to do.

Based on your input, you then get an entire vacation planned with ideas.

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Lisbon on a Budget: What is Expensive and What is Not?

portuguese-tapas

When you see something imported, it is expensive, but if it is locally produced or handmade in Portugal, it is cheap. Hence, more inexpensive options in Lisbon are when you buy:

  • Locally-made food options or wine
  • Use the public transport 
  • Buy handmade gifts
  • Enjoy lunchtime meals

When it comes to expensive, you are looking at medication, electronic goods, branded items, and drinks at nightclubs.

I recommend you bring your cosmetics, medication, and electronics as these things are not cheap in Portugal.

Alternatively, check out my list of the 24 free things you can do in Lisbon to save money.

Enjoying an Affordable Meal in Lisbon

Time Out Market Lisbon

As in any country, you must eat on vacation, and yes, you can enjoy a cheap meal in Lisbon without paying high prices.

The best way to do this is to avoid the eating establishments in the tourist center as they are busy and the best food you find is served in cafes.

You can enjoy an affordable lunch like Bacalhau to enjoy a traditional Portuguese meal.

Another great option is to visit a food court in the large shopping centers to enjoy hearty dishes that cost you a fraction of a restaurant’s price.

You can find a food court in the Armazens do Chiado or Vasco Da Gama in Parque das Nacoes and the Colombo shopping center northwest of Lisbon.

Here, you can enjoy tasty food costing you less than 5 Euros, and for affordable drinks, all the cafes serve cheap beer known as Sagres or super bock.

You can also buy wine and spirits from the local cafes and, to enjoy a night out, visit smaller bars in Bairro Alto as the parties spill out on the streets over weekends.

Here are the best things to do in Lisbon In April 2024

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It’ll be based on my personal experience of living and traveling around Lisbon. A lot of hidden gems.

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Affordable Things to Do in Lisbon

Lisbon Tram

To view the entire city using Tram 28 is an affordable way to achieve this. You will travel through the Alfama hills and also pass through downtown Baixa.

A ticket costs 1.80 Euros for a 40-minute tour and is available at a ticket machine at the metro. But when bought from the driver it costs 3 Euros.

You can also find some great free Museums like the Museu Berardo, offering you a wide selection of pieces to see. You will find the museum in the BelémCCB district of Lisbon.

Even Belém has loads to offer, from monuments to cafes and parks where you can spend half a day. You can visit Belém Tower (Torre de Belém) without entering the building.

Then, you can use the commuter ferries that cost less than a Tagus River cruise for a riverside view.

You find ferries traveling from Cais do Sodre, which passes underneath the 25 de Avril bridge. Then, ferries travel from Terreiro to Paco, offering an exceptional view of Baixa and Alfama.

Lisbon Ferry

A ferry ride from Cais do Sodre to Cacilhas will cost you 1.40 Euros for a single trip to reach the Cristo Rei statue and then catch the bus 101, costing 2.20 Euros for a return ticket from Cacilhas to reach the statue base to admire the fantastic views.

The best part is that Lisbon is walkable for most parts, you can find some enjoyable routes, and all the churches are free to enter.

Hot Tip🔥: You can find up to 40 things to do in Lisbon on a budget that will not cost you a fortune. Or you can do self-guided walking tours.

Day Trip in Lisbon on a Budget

palacio-pena-portugal

The fantastic thing is that most of the beaches you can reach via the Cascais Lisbon Railway. To travel to Carcavelos beach, a return ticket costs 3 Euros.

Along the railway, you can find the Cascias harbor town and a resort, Estoril, easily explored on foot, or use the free bikes using your ID.

Alternatively, you can travel to Sintra, which is a popular day trip found in the foothills of the national park Serra de Sintra.

You can explore the Moorish castle and Pena Palace. But you will need a ticket when visiting the Pena Palace, costing 7.50 Euros to walk around the courtyard and terraces.

A return ticket to Sintra from Lisbon costs around 2.40 Euros, and the historic center is around a 1.5km walk with a steep hill to reach Pena Palace.

Last Minute Tips for Visiting Lisbon on a Budget

Rua-Augusta-Baixa

While the above information gives you a good idea of how to spend your vacation in Lisbon on a budget, here are some short list tips as well:

Accommodation:

  • Consider staying in budget-friendly accommodations such as hostels, guesthouses, or budget hotels. Look for deals on booking websites.
  • Opt for accommodations slightly away from the city center as they are more affordable.

Public Transportation:

  • Lisbon has an efficient public transportation system, including buses, trams, and the metro. Purchase a rechargeable Navegante card for discounted fares on public transport.
  • Walking is also a great way to explore the city, as Lisbon’s neighborhoods are filled with charm and character.

Free Attractions:

  • Take advantage of the numerous free attractions like walking around Alfama, the oldest district, or exploring the historic Belém area.
  • Enjoy the beautiful views from São Jorge Castle without entering, or visit the iconic Commerce Square.

Discount Cards:

  • Invest in Lisbon cards or discount passes that offer free or discounted entry to museums, public transport, and other attractions. These can be cost-effective for those planning to visit multiple sites.

Local Markets and Street Food:

  • Experience local culture and save money by visiting markets like Mercado da Ribeira. You can buy fresh produce, snacks, and traditional dishes at affordable prices.
  • Opt for street food, which is not only delicious but also budget-friendly. Try the famous “pastel de nata” from local bakeries.

BYOB Restaurants:

  • Look for “BYOB” (Bring Your Own Bottle) restaurants where you can bring your own wine, reducing dining-out costs.

Explore Neighborhoods:

  • Explore different neighborhoods, each with its unique character. Bairro Alto, for example, comes alive at night with affordable bars and Fado performances.

Hiking and Parks:

Tap Water:

  • Lisbon has high-quality tap water, so bring a reusable water bottle to stay hydrated without spending money on bottled water.

Plan Off-Peak Visits:

  • Visit popular attractions during off-peak hours or weekdays to avoid crowds and potentially find discounted tickets.

The Advanced Lisbon Quiz

You’re now at the advanced Lisbon quiz with more difficult questions. No one gets every question right, so don’t beat yourself up on it. Good luck.

Wrap-Up: Visiting Lisbon on a Budget

Visiting Lisbon on a budget is possible. With some planning, you can enjoy an affordable and unforgettable vacation in this beautiful city.

From finding cheap flights and accommodation to enjoying affordable meals and drinks, there are plenty of ways to save money and have an incredible experience.

So, what are you waiting for? Start planning your budget-friendly trip to Lisbon today!

Frequently Asked Questions

Consider staying in budget-friendly accommodations such as hostels, guesthouses, or budget hotels. Look for deals on booking websites, and opt for accommodations slightly away from the city center for more affordability.

Yes, there are numerous free attractions. Explore neighborhoods like Alfama or visit the historic Belém area for free. Enjoy the views from São Jorge Castle without entering or taking a stroll at the iconic Commerce Square.

Explore different neighborhoods, such as Bairro Alto, each with a unique character. Bairro Alto comes alive at night with affordable bars and Fado performances.

Enjoy the outdoors by exploring Lisbon’s hills and parks. Walk up to the São Pedro de Alcântara viewpoint for stunning panoramic city views.

Visit popular attractions during off-peak hours or weekdays to avoid crowds and potentially find discounted tickets.

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