The Post Office rated Lisbon as the cheapest city break in Western Europe in 2016 not that we’re in need of any excuse to jet to the charming Portugese capital thanks to the charming trams, hilltop vistas and excellent cuisine.
Turns out you can spend just £160 for two nights in a three-star hotel, a meal for two in the evening, travel cards and the entry fees for some major attractions. Meaning £300 gives you a generous budget to explore this gorgeous city.
So if you’re looking for great value for money, a beautiful landscape and an outdoorsy Mediterranean culture, here’s the Flexicover team's top tips on how to get that and more in Lisbon.
Flights – £70
A number of airlines fly back and forth to Lisbon throughout the day, offering great choice for times, airports and prices. You can get flights as low as £40, especially if you’re willing to fly mid-week or take a red-eye, but we’re not sabotaging our holidays through tiredness. Instead, a reasonable Friday to Monday flight from London Luton and London Gatwick with EasyJet costs around £70. Flight time is less than three hours, so if you wanted to splash out on an airline with more frills, British Airways seats will set you back £130.
You won’t be short of hotel options if you book in advance – the city is heaving with a broad range, from quirky family-run guesthouses to palatial five-star hotels. And they’re all well-priced: the average three-star hotel is £50 a night, so you’ll get a comfortable stay at this rate. Try Brown’s Downtown Hotel, a contemporary hotel with in-room iMacs, located in the heart of the action. Or HF Fenix Music is one for music lovers – or those who appreciate rooftop pools. So a budget of £100 should cover a balcony room enabling you to enjoy the atmosphere of Lisbon in the comfort of your hotel.
A visit to Belem - £10
When in Portugal, you’ll want to enjoy pasteis de nata at Belem, its place of origin. Queue up at the eponymous café and enjoy a coffee and two flaky, cinnamon-dusted custard tarts (because one won’t be enough) for around £2.50. Attractions like the Belem Tower and the Jerónimos Monastery make the area a busy tourist spot, but the nearby Tropical Botanical Gardens (£2 entry) makes for a most exquisite and tranquil walk. To get to Belem, take Tram 15 for around 20 minutes. Trams are an invaluable resource for the budget traveller: at €6.15 (£5.50) for a 24-hour pass, it allows more activities to be squeezed in like the next one on our list….
A tram tour – free!
Using your 24-hour pass, you can jump on Tram 28, which in itself is a tourist attraction. Dating from the 1930s, the Remodelado trams feel like they should be a museum exhibit, but they’re in heavy use as they take locals and tourists through popular areas like Graca, Alfama, Baixa and Estrela. On steep sections, you’ll be glad to know they’ve been upgraded with more modern brakes and electrics. Stop off to see Lisbon’s impressive street art or continue to ride the full line for more sightseeing. Wherever there are tourists there are pickpockets so, especially on this line, keep your valuables safe.
If breakfast is included in your room rate, take a pit stop for lunch in Baxia. Taberna Moderna is a popular choice with both locals and visitors (especially as it’s in the tourist heartland) and serves delicious Portuguese tapas. Or make a point of sampling the native tempura: you thought it was from Japan? It was bought to the country and popularised there, but originated in Portugal. For dinner, go low-key one night to afford a high-end meal the next. At £60 for a Michelin-starred two course meal with wine at the seafood specialists Alma, it’s a bargain you won’t want to miss.
Portugal is a fantastic destination to travel to at all times of the year, what's keeping you? Get booking now! Make sure that you always travel with peace of mind, and purchase a Flexicover Travel Insurance policy.