When I think about my time spent in Lisbon, I can’t help but grin from ear to ear. Not only did I have a wonderful time exploring the capital of Portugal with new friends (that’s Milou there, we met at a hostel) but it didn’t cost me a fortune. In fact, to date, Lisbon has been one of the least expensive cities I’ve visited in Western Europe. Compared to major cities like London and Paris or even countries like Iceland, you get much more value in Lisbon. How affordable are we talking? Well in Alfama, I had a large Bacalhau dish with potatoes, bread, and a salad for 9 €! So in an effort to share Lisbon prices and help you accurately create a Lisbon travel budget, use my detailed Lisbon budget breakdown as a spending guide.
Before we dive in though, here are the important financial things to keep in mind before visiting Portugal.
Planning A Trip To Portugal
What currency to use in Portugal?
The Euro is the official currency in Portugal.
It’s important to note that in Portugal, the decimal point is replaced with a comma – for example 3,50 €.
For the best exchange rate, get euros at your local bank (at home). Skip the currency exchange booths at the airport. Their fees are ridiculous!
If you need more cash, head to an ATM in the city center.
Visa and MasterCard are widely accepted in Portugal.
Although I used credit cards extensively in Lisbon, I also recommend carrying cash for smaller purchases.
There are plenty of 24-hour ATMs in Portugal. They are called “multibancos”.
Always pick euros as your preferred currency. You’ll get a better rate than picking your home currency.
6 Day Lisbon Budget Spending
Round-trip Flights from NYC: $369.96 USD
I scored this incredible flight deal to Lisbon through an error fare.
Error fares are a great way to travel cheaply and I can wholeheartedly credit my trip to Portugal to this glitch.
By the way, flights departing from New York City to Lisbon usually range from $700 USD-$1,100 USD. This shaved between $330 USD and $730 USD off of my Lisbon budget.
Lodging: $29 USD or 26 € per night
The average night at a hostel in Lisbon costs $29 USD. Since I booked last minute, I stayed at three different hostels throughout my six days in Lisbon.
1 Night: Lisbon Destination Hostel: $30.79 USD or 27,59 € for one bed in a 4-bed private ensuite room.
- Curtains for added privacy
- Ensuite bathroom and shower
- Reading light
- Large lockers below bed
2 Nights: Home Lisbon Hostel: $51.53 USD or 46 € for one bed in a deluxe 6-bed female dorm.
- Mamma’s tasty dinner
- A 4-minute walk from Baixa/Chiado area
2 Nights: Lookout Lisbon! Hostel: $60 USD or 54 € for one bed in a 9-bed “Bunk with a View” room.
- Two balconies
- Lounge area in room
- Reading light
- Large lockers with own key
If you plan on staying at a hotel or Airbnb, budget accordingly.
Transportation to/from Airport: $4.24 USD or 3,80 €
The easiest and cheapest way to get to Lisbon’s city center is to hop on the underground metro. The metro is easy to navigate. I never got lost, which is rare.
One-way tickets costs $2.12 USD or 1,90 €. With one transfer, it took me 40 minutes to get to my hostel from the airport.
Average Daily Food Cost: $30 USD or 25 €
I would suggest budgeting $11 USD or 10 € per meal.
Since my hostels offered complimentary breakfast, this helped me save.
But please don’t skimp out on eating delicious Portuguese food in Lisbon. You’ll likely find that you can afford to splurge a bit.
The cheapest meal I had cost $6 USD or 5 € for a fish sandwich. The most expensive dinner cost $16 USD or 14 €.
- Lunch at Casa Brasileira: $6.75 USD or 6,05 €
- Dinner at Amor y Tacos: $15.98 USD or 13,50 €
- Bottle of Water: $2.35 USD or 2,10 €
- Latte: $1.70 USD-$2.80 USD or 1,50 €-2,50 €
How much to tip in Lisbon?
Tipping isn’t expected but appreciated in Portugal. Althoguh Portuguese people do not traditionally tip, for exceptional service tip between 5%-10% at restaurants.
Always check your bill before leaving a tip. Some restaurants add a 10% service charge.
At bars and cafes, round to the nearest euro.
Average Daily Activity Cost: $15 USD or 17 €
Lisbon Activity Details
I would budget $15 USD a day for activities even though most days I barely spent that much.
There are so many free things to do in Lisbon. But to get a better sense of the activities I paid for, here’s an inclusive breakdown:
- Santa Justa Terrace (skipped the lift): $1.67 USD or 1.50 €
- Castelo de St. Jorge: $5.60 USD or 5 €
- Carmo Church and Convent Ruins: $2.80 USD or 2,50 €
- Rua Augusta Arch: $2.80 USD or 2,50 €
- Tip for Alfama Walking Tour hosted by Lisbon Destination Hostel: $10 USD (optional)
Related: 5 Incredible Viewpoints In Lisbon
Average Daily Alcohol Cost: $17 USD or 15 €
- $1.50 USD or 1,35 € for Ginjinha (traditional Portuguese liqueur)
- $2.60 USD or 2,30 € for a Cider
- $5.59 USD or 5 € for beer at Barrio Alto
In total, I spent $754 USD during my 6-day trip to Lisbon. My Lisbon budget included flights, lodging, food, and activities – everything!
This is pretty amazing! Most people spend more than this on flights to Lisbon alone.
What I love about Lisbon is that you can be frugal without missing a beat of the city’s liveliness. This isn’t always the case in other cities around the world.
The next time I find an amazing deal to Lisbon, I’m on the next flight.
Is Lisbon budget friendly? Yay or Nay!
Danielle is a travel finance strategist, writer, speaker and podcaster. She paid off $63,000 of student loan debt in 4 years, bought a house at 27 and has traveled to 25 countries. She refuses to let her financial responsibilities hold her back from living life on her own terms.