Think you have to head to Eastern Europe to travel Europe on a budget? Think again! It’s super easy to travel to Portugal on a budget.
I like to say that I travel during spring break because it would be cheaper than buying a plane ticket home. And while that might not be technically true, using the money that I would have spent on a plane ticket to travel instead is something that I happily do.
That being said, I’m pretty sure traveling Portugal on a budget for two weeks actually was cheaper than a plane ticket home. In total, I spent €888.23 over TWO WEEKS (16 days) including fights, amounting to a budget of €55.51/day. Hows’ that for a budget????
If you’re looking for a place to travel in Europe on a budget, then Portugal is a great choice. Here’s a breakdown of how much I spent and what I spent it on to show you just how easy it is to travel Portugal on a budget.
PORTUGAL ON A BUDGET // WHAT I SPENT IN TWO WEEKS IN PORTUGAL
In total, I spent €77.12 on transportation to Portugal (flights) and €83.95 on transport within Portugal. For two weeks of transportation costs, I think that’s pretty good!
I flew into Porto and out of Faro, so bought two one-way tickets, both with Ryanair. My flight from Edinburgh to Porto cost €47.93 and my flight from Faro to Edinburgh cost €29.19. Porto and Faro are both major hubs for budget airlines, so they’re great options for flying to Portugal. I bought flights when they were cheap by tracking prices with Google Flights.
I was able to keep the cost of transportation down partially because I walked a lot. I hardly ever needed to take public transportation, even in Lisbon, so this definitely saved me a bit of money!
Trains in Portugal are also surprisingly well priced compared to other Western European countries. The most I spent on a train ticket was €20.70!
Transportation Total: €47.93 (Flight from Edinburgh to Porto) + €1.80 (Metro to train station in Porto) + €9 (Train from Porto to Aveiro) + €20.70 (Train from Aveiro to Obidos) + €7.85 (Bus from Obidos to Lisbon) + €6.80 (All day transport card in Lisbon) + €4 (Split of an Uber to LX Factory) + €18.80 (Train from Lisbon to Lagos) + €15.50 (Shuttle from Lagos to Faro Airport) + €29.19 (Flight from Faro to Edinburgh) = €161.07 or €10/day
I was so pleasantly surprised by how awesome each and every hostel in Portugal I stayed in was. Not only were they cheap (as any good hostel is), but they felt cozy and homey and unlike on previous solo trips I actually felt like I was able to talk to new people (a serious accomplishment for an introvert like me).
A dorm bed in a hostel in Portugal went for around €20 a night when I was there in March, though it probably goes up a little bit in high season. If you’re going to travel to Portugal on a budget, then hostels are definitely the best way to go!
I stayed at 5 different hostels in Portugal:
- Porto Spot Hostel in Porto, Portugal – €20/night for two nights
- Aveiro Rossio Hostel in Aveiro, Portugal – €20/night for two nights
- Stone Obidos Hostel in Obidos, Portugal – €22/night for two nights
- Lisbon Lounge Hostel in Lisbon, Portugal – €20.50/night for four nights
- Bura Surfhouse in Lagos, Portugal – €27.50/night to split a private room with Madison for 5 nights
Accommodation Total: €40 (Porto Spot Hostel) + €40 (Aveiro Rossio Hostel) + €44 (Stone Obidos Hostel) + €82 (Lisbon Lounge Hostel) + €137.5 (Bura Surfhouse) = €343.5 or €22.90/night
If there’s one thing I’m a bit lenient on my budget with, it’s food. Not only do I just love food, but I think it’s the best way to really experience a new culture. Luckily, the food in Portugal isn’t just delicious, it’s cheap too!
Outside of a few splurges, I barely ever spent over €10 on a meal, and when I took advantage of my hostels’ cooking facilities I spent even less!
My one big splurge was dinner at super fancy restaurant Book and Cook in Obidos, but even that only cost €31 for a huge glass of wine, bread and olives, a main course, and dessert. Not bad for a fancy restaurant.
Tips for Eating in Portugal on a Budget
If you’re planning on visiting Portugal on a budget, I recommend learning a few words of Portuguese for ordering food (here’s a good resource for that). Unlike most places in Western Europe, not everyone speaks English–especially at the really good, local places. Plus, they’ll totally love you for trying. Seriously. Every time I said ‘obrigada’ they smiled. I get the sense not many travelers even try to speak Portuguese.
Food budget breakdown
If you’re interested, here is an incredibly detailed breakdown of what I spent on food in Portugal:
Porto: €9.75 (Lunch at Tascö) + €9.20 (Dinner at Pedro dos Frangos) = €18.95
Aveiro: €8.20 (Lunch at Tasca Palhuça) + €1.30 (Ovos Mole + Espresso by the canal) + €6 (Box of Ovos Moles) + €.60 (Ovos Mole) + €2.20 (Hot Chocolate) + €6.80 (Dinner at Tasquinha do Leitão) + €3.90 (Lunch at Zeca) + €4.80 (Coffee and Cake at Dolce Infusão) + €13.40 (Dinner at Restaurante O Telheiro) = €47.20
Obidos: €8.20 (Lunch at Cafe Snack Bar) + €1.80 (Cappuccino) + €31 (Dinner at Book and Cook, my big splurge of the trip) + €10.40 (Lunch at Restaurante Muralhas) + €2.50 (Hot Chocolate at Pastelero d’Avo Adelina) + €4 (Groceries for Dinner) = €57.90
Lisbon: €4.95 (Lunch at A Padaria Portuguesa) + €7 (Drink and Snack at LX Factory) + €18.94 (Dinner at Mez Cais LX) + €7.92 (Groceries) + €11.50 (Dinner at Bacalhau) + €1 (Pastel de Nata) + €1 (Ginjinha) + €9 (Lunch at Cafe do Rio) + €1.80 (Coffee) + €5.70 (Lunch at Brasileira) = €60.89
Lagos: €17.30 (Dinner at Rockefella’s) + €15.82 (Groceries) + €2.60 (Gelato) + €6 (Drinks at Tavern) + €3.50 (Gelato) + €10 (Dinner at Bura Surfhouse) + €0.65 (Pastel de Natas) + €10.35 (Dinner at piri piri place) = €66.22
Food Total: €18.95 (Porto) + €47.20 (Aveiro) + €57.9 (Obidos) + €60.89 (Lisbon) + €66.22 (Lagos) = €251.16 or €15/day
I usually spend a fair amount of money on entertainment but this actually wasn’t the case in Portugal. I think this might have been partly because I didn’t go to too many museums (that’s been a budget downfall in the past), and the ones that I did go to were free for students.
Entertainment total: €10 (Boat tour in Aveiro) + €20 (Tips for Free Walking Tours in Lisbon) + €30 (Kayak Tour in Lagos) + €55 (Surf Lesson in Lagos) = €115 or €7.18/day
While there were a few random things I had to buy while I was in Portugal, none of them put a big hole in my wallet. Perhaps the most random was the pair of shorts I had to buy in Lagos when I totally soaked through my jeans on a kayak tour (note to self: don’t wear jeans while doing water sports) and didn’t want to walk around in a towel for the rest of the day.
Miscellaneous Total: €9 (new phone charger and notebook) + €8.50 (A pair of shorts when I totally soaked through my jeans on the kayak tour) = €17.50
€161.07 (Transportation) + €343.5 (Accommodation) + €251.16 (Food) + €115 (Entertainment) + €17.50 (Miscellaneous) = €888.23 or €55.51/day
That’s right, you can travel to Portugal on a budget of €55 a day–and that’s with a few big splurges on food and activities thrown in there! If you want to get really strict with your budget, you could cook in your hostel more often and maybe not take a surfing lesson in Lagos (there are plenty of free hikes and beaches there, after all) and easily get your budget down to €45/day.
PORTUGAL ON A BUDGET // TIPS & TRICKS
If you’re wondering how I managed to spend so little while traveling around Portugal on a budget, here are a few tips and tricks I picked up along the way:
- Head to local tascos for good, cheap food – tascos are basically like diners or local lunch spots, so they’re not only a way to save some money on food but you’ll also get to mingle with the locals. Just be sure to learn how to ask for food in Portugese first!
- Book accommodation with a kitchen & free breakfast to save even more money on food – cooking for yourself every once and a while is a great way to save money on food, and free breakfast is always a welcome perk! Most hostels in Portugal have both of these things.
- Use Comboios de Portugal’s website to book your train tickets – I found that train tickets were the cheapest when I booked directly though Combois de Portugal’s website. They also have HUGE discounts if you book more than 5 days in advance!
- Take public transport between destinations – trains and busses in Portugal are super cheap and efficient, so there’s really no reason not to take them.
- Walk once you’re there – Even in Lisbon I found that almost everywhere I wanted to go was within walking distance. Plus, walking is just a great way to see the city!
- Book Hostels – Hostels in Portugal are all really high standard, so I’d recommend them for a budget option. Try to steer clear of Airbnbs at least in Lisbon because they have a huge housing problem there right now!
- Free walking tours with Take Lisboa are great!
- Most adventure tours in Lagos cost the same no matter the operator, but it doesn’t hurt to search around a little bit