The best independent guide to Lisbon
The best independent guide to Lisbon
Lisbon is one of the least expensive capital cities in Europe to visit, and when compared to other major global cities, Lisbon provides exceptional value for money. The cost of accommodation is reasonably priced, and standards are high, but the real value of Lisbon is discovered when, using public transport, sightseeing or eating out.
Generally, a mid-range tourist should expect to spend €100 per day while in Lisbon. This value does not include accommodation (around €70-150 per room per night), flights or highly expensive gimmicky tours. Lisbon takes three days to explore fully, and the suggested spending money needed for these three days is around €290 (a breakdown of these costs is provided at the end of this article).
A budget backpacker could get by on €55 per day (€25 spending money and €35 for a decent hostel), but costs significantly increase when travelling in the peak season or with lots of nightlife partying……
This article will provide details of typical costs for a Lisbon holiday, and suggest ways to maximise budgets.
Related articles: 3 days in Lisbon – Where to stay in Lisbon?
Note: All prices in this article are given in Euros, (the currency of Portugal), the average conversion rate for 2021 was approximately €1 to the $0.83 and €1 to £1.15.
The following charts provide an estimated budget per person, for your holiday to Lisbon.
• A taxi transfer from the airport to central Lisbon (the Baixa district), including the luggage surcharge €12-€15.
• A single metro ticket from the airport to central Lisbon €1.50
• A single tram ticket (from the Baixa district to the Belem district) €3.00, a single bus ticket for the same journey €1.80
• A 24-hour unlimited public transport ticket €6.40 - this is exceptional value for money and includes all buses, metro and trams and the Elevador de Santa Justa.
• Train from Lisbon to Sintra (the best day trip from Lisbon) - €2.25/€4.50 (single/return)
Related articles: Travel from Lisbon airport – taxi guide – metro guide - Lisbon day trips
Meals and food
• An evening meal (3 courses) in a tourist restaurant, with a glass of wine or beer €25 - €30.
• An evening meal (3 courses) in an upscale restaurant, with a glass of wine or beer €35 - €45
• A lunchtime meal in a café (referred to as a “Prato do Dia”) including a soup and coffee €6-8
• Expected tip in restaurants and cafes where food is purchased - 10% of total bill
• A decent meal in a shopping centre food court €7-10 (no tip needed)
• A breakfast of a super strong espresso (€0.60) and a cake (€1.10)
• A bottle of house wine or a beer in a tourist bar €13 and €3, in a café €8 and €1.50, or a Pingo Doce supermarket €4 and €1.
Note: Food costs can vary dramatically from visitor to visitors – the above prices are all typical estimates.
Tourist activities and entrance fees
• Entrance fee to Lisbon castle €8.50 (child up to 13, free)
• Entrance fee to Jeronimos Monastery €10
• Entrance fee to Torre de Belem €6
• Entrance fee to Museu Nacional do Azulejo €5
• Entrance fee to the Lisbon Oceanarium €15/€10 (adult/child)
• A 3-hour free walking tour (€10 suggested tip)
• A 60-minute tuk-tuk tour of Lisbon for up three people €55-€70 (plus tip)
• A 72-hour hop-on-hop-off bus and tram ticket €36
• A full day tour of Sintra and Cascais €60
Note: Medicines tend to be very expensive in Portugal.
Warning: Always have travel insurance, as emergency and hospital cost are very expensive in Portugal
The average cost of a hotel room in Lisbon for 2019 (pre-Covid) was €95, which placed Lisbon at the lower end of a price scale of major tourist cities:
Paris €186 - Sydney €186 - London €163 - Berlin €103 - Rome €117 - Madrid €105 - Lisbon €95 - Bangkok €64.00
Note: These are the average prices over the entire year and there are seasonal increases for the peak months (June-September for Lisbon)
The cost of accommodation will always increase closer to the date of travel, and it is always best to reserve accommodation as early as possible. It is also recommended to book a place which has no deposit, so that you can easily change your plans.
Our opinion: If you are seriously considering a trip to Lisbon, book your accommodation now, to secure the lowest price. The flexibility of “no deposit” enables you to continue browsing up until your trip, but provides the security of the initial inexpensive room.
The map below displays the current prices for hotels and accommodation in Lisbon. If you adjust it to your dates of travel, it will display the latest availability and prices.
Always book flights as far in advance as possible, something that is especially true for the low-cost airlines, whose prices increase closer to the departure date.
Accommodation should be booked well in advance, as the best locations sell out, and last-minute deals are very rare. Lisbon is a year-round holiday and city-break destination, and during the peak season demand for accommodation outstrips supply.
Unfortunately, a solo visitor will encounter much higher accommodation costs, as most hotels have single rooms, but these are rarely at half the price of a double room.
A meal in the popular tourist district or with a waiter outside will always be much more expensive than in a restaurant down a side street. Always look at a menu before sitting down and try to assess the standard of food that other patrons are eating.
A great way to reduce meal costs is to have your main meal at lunchtime, as many restaurants and cafes offer fixed-price menus, called the Prato do Dia (menu of the day). These Prato do Dia often include a soup, main meal, desert, drink and coffee for around €8.
Shopping centre food courts have a large selection of sensible priced restaurants, which serve good food and are ideal for quick lunches and dinners. A personal favourite is Portugalia Balcao, (www.portugalia.pt/) in the Armazéns do Chiado and Vasco da Gama shopping centres.
We suggested a spending money budget of €290 (per person) for a three day stay in Lisbon, when our three-day tour of Lisbon was followed. The following is our suggested cost break down for the trip, and reflects that of a mid-price tourist. Cost will quickly escalate if you wish to enter every tourist attraction, eat at the finest restaurants or party the night away. The cost break-down is:
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