Some cities are hard to visit if you’re on a budget. The good news is Lisbon is not one of them. Following some quick tips, you’ll see how far a few euros can take you in the “city of the seven hills.”
There is no shortage of budget accommodations in Lisbon. When it comes to hostels, it is one of the best cities in the world. With beds in dorms starting at around USD12 to USD14, you’ll be spoiled by choices.
If you like to have a little more privacy, you can also find quite affordable rooms in “Pensões” (guesthouses) and Airbnb has some great options that aren’t too hard on the pocket.
Lisbon is quite a compact city, and the best way to see it is by walking. However, it is quite hilly, so you might want to buy a Viva Viagem day pass (around USD7) in order to save your legs some work. This pass includes the Metro, Bus, and Tram systems. Viva Viagem also allows you to take the famous 28 tram (considered the most beautiful tram line in Europe), as well as all the iconic funiculars of Lisbon.
If you are coming from the airport it is also a good idea to take the Metro instead of a taxi. This would cost you less than USD2.
There are plenty of budget-friendly restaurants all around Lisbon, if you stay away from the tourist traps in Baixa. In neighborhoods like Graça, Mouraria, and Alfama you will find great family owned restaurants serving fresh fish and tasty meat dishes, often for less than USD10. Look out for “Pratos do Dia” (the day’s specials) for the best deals.
If you are on a super tight budget you can even try a typical worker’s lunch: the “Mini Prato” (a smaller portion of the day’s special), which often costs less than $5 USD. The “bifana” (a pork steak on a fresh bun) is another budget favorite, best enjoyed with a cold beer or a glass of red wine.
And, let’s not forget the famous pastries of Lisbon. Apart from the traditional Pastel de Nata (custard tart), there is a whole world of sugary goodness in the pastelarias of Lisbon. The savory snacks, like “rissóis” and “croquetes” are also worth trying, and great to keep your energy up between meals, as you climb up and down the city’s hills.
See & Do
There is plenty to do in Lisbon, even if you don’t have a pocket full of euros. Strolling through the city won’t cost you a penny, but it’ll leave you with a lot of great memories and an SD card full of photos.
If you want to venture outside the city, taking the train to Cascais (a wealthy suburb of Lisbon located by the sea) will take you from the river to the sea. Consider stopping along the way for a stroll at the beach.
If you are more of a culture vulture, Lisbon has you covered, too. The impressive contemporary art collection at the Colecção Berardo in Belém (free entrance), and the very pleasant Gulbenkian Museum (free entrance on Sundays) are some of the highlights.
Lisbon does seem to have it all: pleasant weather, great food, lots to see and do.
And you CAN enjoy it all, even on a tight budget!
Looking good, you guys! No doubt it’s at least partially thanks to the fresh Lisbon air. :)
Thanks Deia! :)
And yes indeed, the air in Lisbon is nice and fresh!
Interesting post – I have a friend going to Lisbon later this year, and I’ll be sure to pass this on to her :)
If your friend needs any further tips, you know who to ask! ;)
Hey guys many thanks for these tips. The public transport sounds very reasonably priced. It sounds like a good option if you get tired of walking or it starts to rain.
I’ve not heard of tram 28 before. What makes it so special?
Tram 28 is very popular because it takes you around “historical Lisbon”, the typical neighborhoods and some of the most known landmarks.
I have dedicated an entire post to Tram 28. You can see more here:
Hey! I found your blog on twitter n I loved it! I live in Lisbon, don’t know much about “turism” here… so I think its interesting to share this page with my friends who are coming soon! They will like it for sure! Very helpfull, thanks!
Ola Rafa! :)
Glad to have you come across our blog.
If your friends need further tips for their travels in Portugal, please share with them our PORTUGAL section here on Backpack ME: http://bkpk.me/category/europa/portugal-2/
Next time try the Lisbon Movie Tour ;)
I didn’t even know that exists.
I shall find out more about it, thanks!
I cannot believe we still have to visit Lisbon, I’m starting to ask myself why we’ve never been, when we do I’m toatally going to see the contemporary art collection at the Colecção Berardo in Belém, cannot belive it’s free too ;)
From what I know about you from your blog, I think you’d actually LOVE Lisbon! :)
Hi, very good tips.
I’m from Lisbon and i have a travel blog, and i just shared this post on my blog ;)
Thanks for spreading the love, Sonia! :)
Nice post Zara. I went to Lisbon on my first honeymoon many many years ago. My wife got sick on one of those foamy coffees and I got to explore Lisbon on my own. Loved it :)
Will be back one day.
Hahaa… it almost sounds like you and Lisbon had an affair..
Gotta come back some time with Spanky! :)
Next time buy the travel guide “bestripvouchers”. It contains all the tips, informations and maps that you need. Also you can use a free app with gps service to guide you in Lisbon. The transfers (Airport to Hotel and return) are also free in Lisbon area, if you present the guide. Kisses
And it contains 100 discount vouchers to use in the best city hotels, restaurants, transports, experiences and culture…
I had no idea about those vouchers… thanks for the info!
Great roundup! We spent a month in Lisbon early this year, and reading your post made me long for octopus and Pastels de Nata! And as a couple of wine-drinking travelers, Lisbon has fantastic, very affordable wines!
I am so glad you enjoyed your time in Lisbon. Portugal is indeed a great country for [affordable] wine. There’s only a place I know and that can compete regarding the drinks… and that is Chile, where we happen to be right now. So if you happen to come down here, we’ll buy you a round! ;)
Thank you! Great tips, we are going to Lisbon in a couple of weeks =)
Awesome! I hope you enjoy Lisbon.. it is a wonderful city!
Dear Ashray& Zara,
My compliments,for the wondeful way of detailing about europian cities. Let me share with u, I,am planing a 100 days trip,with Eurail global pass,starting from Athens,and the last stop would be Turkey.
Looking forward to know more & more from u,how best i, can achieve my plan and get the best out of it.
Pl. be informed I,am 65 and from Pune,India and want to travel as much i can
Pl mail citywise and country wise mails like what i ,just saw about Lisbon,
With best regards and all the best for ur ongoing adventures,
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Have loved reading your , it’s so interesting! Coincidentally I’m thinking of going to live in Lisbon for a year (after a 2 week trip there. I loved it and have a year off). I stayed with Airbnb during my time there but its too pricey for such a long term rent as a year. I would loved to know if you can recommend any websites/contacts that offer cheaper monthly and long term rents?
Great to read that you fell in love with Lisbon!
Here are some websites that might be useful for you to find a place in Lisboa:
Best of luck and let me know how it goes! :)
Great tips for staying on a budget. I will try the daily menus and get the city pass :) Thanks so much!
Thanx a lot for all these priceless information. I will go to Lisbon within 2 months. Can I save all there information so I will use it once I will be there. Is there any PDF file with all the information about Portugal.