Lisbon is a great destination to enjoy a vacation, although there is not much budget available. There is a wide range of accommodation options at a good price, innumerable free activities, and food at much reduced prices. The added bonus of spending a vacation in Lisbon is that it offers fantastic beaches just a short train ride away from the capital.
In this guide you will find information about how to enjoy Lisbon by adjusting to a budget and how to get the most out of your money, as well as details about various tourist activities and popular and very economical day trips.
What is the Best Time to Visit Lisbon with a Reduced Budget?
The peak of the tourist season occurs during the months of June, July and August. It is during these months when lodging places are scarce and flights leave more expensive. The months of spring and autumn are a great time to visit Lisbon, since the weather is very pleasant, flights are cheaper and there are accommodation offers to choose from. In winter you get the best prices but the weather can be unpredictable.
Where to stay in Lisbon with a low budget?
It’s never a good idea to sacrifice good accommodation for saving a little money. It is advisable to stay near the Baixa district of Lisbon, or more or less 1km from Rua Augusta, from where you can walk. The Alfama district (east of Baixa) has many hills and due to its narrow and poorly lit streets, it is not always advisable to walk through it at night.
Bairro Alto (west of Baixa) is the social or festive area of Lisbon, so you should avoid staying in this area if you want to stay on Friday nights and Saturdays. The further north of Baixa you stay, the further away from the historical and tourist center you will feel. This is only an approximate guide, so you should not hesitate to accept a good offer but it is always convenient to check that you are near a metro station.
Cheap Transportation Ideas:
The Lisbon airport is located within the city limits and is connected to the metro which runs through the entire city. Lisbon taxis are famous for overcharging new visitors. So it is advisable to choose Metro. The Lisbon metro is a clean, safe metro and the cheapest way to get around.
Cheap yet quality food in Lisbon:
Eating cheap in Lisbon is very easy. Portuguese food places are always crowded, noisy and chaotic, and some of the best food is served in the many cafes. The cafes are ideal for lunchtime, since they usually have a menu of cheap meals based on traditional dishes, such as Bacalhau.
Another option is to eat at the food stores that you will find in the large shopping centers. Along with the fast food options you can find some that sell abundant local dishes for a much lower price than the restaurants aimed at tourists. In the center of Baixa, do not forget to try the food from the store in the Armazens do Chiado shopping center. In the Parque das Nacoes, visit the shopping centers of Vasco da Gama or Colombo, in the northwest area of Lisbon. At each of these sites you can buy a complete and healthy meal based on Portuguese dishes for less than 5.00 Euros.
If you want to buy cheap alcoholic beverages, the best places to do it are supermarkets or cafes. In all the cafés you will find beer at an incredibly low price, many times cheaper than water.
Affordable Activities in Lisbon:
The picturesque tram number 28 is a very economical way to see the entire city. This tram moves between squeaking up and down the slopes of Alfama before passing through the center of Baixa and continue towards the basilica of Estrela. The rate of tram is also very cheap. The cost for 40-minutes of ride is just 1.45 Euros.
Here are some other attractions you can visit at free of cost.
If you want to visit free museums in Lisbon, you just have to schedule your trip to coincide with the first Sunday of any month. That day, the entrance for many museums and some of the main tourist places of Lisbon is free.
Enjoy the viewpoints of the city for free. There are dozens of viewpoints in Lisbon, although some because of their spectacular panoramic views or because of their heritage are preferred by locals and visitors.
Another of the free activities in Lisbon that is worthwhile, is the visit to the Convent of Carmo which has the ruins of the largest Gothic church (XV century) of the city.
- Discover the city with a free tour.
- Lie in the sun or have a picnic in the Jardim da Cerca da Graca park.
- Stroll through the markets.
- Enjoy outdoor jazz music festivals.
- Walk along the banks of the Tagus.
- Enjoy the beaches.