How to Travel to Portugal on a Budget: Tips and Tricks
The best time to visit Portugal is during the shoulder season, which is from April to June and September to November. During these months, the weather is mild and the crowds are smaller, which means you can get better deals on accommodations and activities.
If you're looking for even lower prices, consider traveling during the winter months (December to March). While the weather can be colder and rainier, you can often find great deals on flights and hotels.
Getting to Portugal can be expensive, but there are ways to save money on flights. First, book your flights in advance to take advantage of early bird deals. Second, be flexible with your travel dates if possible, as prices can vary greatly depending on the day of the week and the time of year. Third, consider flying with budget airlines like Ryanair or EasyJet, which offer cheaper fares but may charge extra for things like checked bags and seat selection.
Accommodations can be a major expense when traveling, but there are plenty of budget-friendly options in Portugal. Hostels are a great choice for solo travelers or those on a tight budget, with prices starting at around €10-15 per night for a dorm bed. Guesthouses and budget hotels are also affordable options, with prices starting at around €20-30 per night for a private room.
For even lower prices, consider staying in an Airbnb rental. Not only can these be cheaper than hotels or guesthouses, but they also offer the chance to save money by cooking your own meals.
Portugal has an excellent public transportation system, including buses, trains, and metros. Using public transportation is not only affordable but also a great way to explore the country. In particular, the train system works well and is comfortable. It connects major cities and towns regularly.
Another option is renting a car, which can be more convenient, especially if you plan to explore rural areas. However, keep in mind that rental car prices can vary greatly depending on the season and demand.
Portugal is known for its delicious food and wine, but eating out can be expensive if you're not careful. To save money on food, avoid eating in touristy areas and instead opt for local restaurants and cafes. These places often offer more authentic and affordable options, with prices starting at around €5-10 for a meal.
Eating at markets is also a great way to sample local cuisine at a lower cost. Many markets offer fresh seafood, charcuterie, cheese, and other local specialties that you can try for a fraction of the price of a restaurant meal.
Portugal is also known for its wine, with many affordable options available. In local bars, you can enjoy a glass of wine for as little as €1.
Portugal has many free or low-cost activities to offer, from exploring historic cities to hiking in national parks. Lisbon, the capital city, has many free attractions, including the Alfama neighborhood, the Belem Tower, and the Jeronimos Monastery.
Outside of Lisbon, there are many other free or low-cost activities to enjoy, such as hiking the Rota Vicentina trail, visiting the Castelo de Guimarães, or exploring the Douro Valley wine region.
Many museums and galleries also offer free entry on certain days or at certain times. For example, the National Museum of Ancient Art in Lisbon offers free entry on Sundays and the first Sunday of every month.
Portugal is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in Europe, and many of them are free. Praia do Guincho, Praia da Rocha, and Praia do Tamariz are just a few examples of stunning beaches that won't cost you a penny.
However, keep in mind that some beaches may charge a small fee for parking or use of facilities like showers and toilets. To save money, bring your own snacks and drinks instead of buying them at beachside cafes and kiosks.
Portugal is famous for its traditional handicrafts, including ceramics, textiles, and cork products. Shopping for souvenirs and gifts can be a great way to support local businesses and take home a piece of Portugal.
To save money, look for handicraft markets and shops that offer discounts. The Feira da Ladra flea market in Lisbon is a great place to find unique and affordable souvenirs, while the Bordallo Pinheiro factory in Caldas da Rainha is known for its beautiful ceramics.
Check Where to Shop in Lisbon: The Ultimate Guide for shopping suggestions.
Portuguese is the official language of Portugal, but many people also speak English. Learning a few basic Portuguese phrases can not only help you navigate the country but also make a good impression on the locals. Some basic phrases to learn include:
Bom dia (good morning)
Obrigado/a (thank you)
Por favor (please)
Desculpe (excuse me)
Portugal is generally a safe country to travel in, but it's always important to take precautions. Avoid carrying large amounts of cash, be aware of pickpockets in tourist areas, and be cautious when using public transportation at night.
Traveling to Portugal on a budget is possible if you plan ahead and are mindful of your spending. By following these tips, you can enjoy all that Portugal has to offer without breaking the bank.
What is the best way to save money on flights to Portugal?
Booking your flights in advance, being flexible with your travel dates, and flying with budget airlines are all great ways to save money on flights to Portugal.
Are hostels in Portugal safe?
Yes, hostels in Portugal are generally safe and offer a great budget-friendly accommodation option for solo travelers or those on a tight budget.
What are some must-try dishes in Portugal?
Some must-try dishes in Portugal include bacalhau (salt cod), francesinha (a Portuguese take on a croque-monsieur), and pastéis de nata (custard tarts).
What is the best way to get around Portugal?
Portugal has an excellent public transportation system, including buses, trains, and metros. Using public transportation is not only affordable but also a great way to explore the country.
What is the currency of Portugal?
The currency of Portugal is the euro.