Budget Savvy Lisbon

The ancient neighbourhoods of Lisbon give tourists unique a taste of Europe. Dubbed as one of Europe’s cheapest and sunniest cities, Lisbon has a lot to offer its visitors when they immerse themselves in the local culture.

Touring in Lisbon is best done by taking the elevador (tram or street car). For only GBP 1.26, the ride offers views of Lisbon’s Baroque churches, the Tagus River, medieval alleys and Lisbon’s shopping districts in Baixa and Chiado. The Elevador da Bica is a popular route that rides from the Barrio Alto to Sau Paulo. Other routes are the Elevador da Gloria, Lavra, and Santa Justa. A great place to enjoy fado singing clubs is in the old district of Barrio Alto which you can get to by tram.

The Jeronimos Monastery, the tomb of Vasco da Gama and the Torre de Belem can be found in the riverside neighbourhood of Belem. Like most museums in Lisbon, entrance is free on Sundays and holidays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Other museums you can visit are the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, Museu Nacional de Arte Antigua (also known as the ‘museum of green windows’), Museu nacional do Azulejo and Museu Nacional dos Coches. Lisbon’s museums house everything from private art collections to royal carriages. As for music fans, you will enjoy the Fado Museum that focuses on the urban blues.

Strolling the old districts of Lisbon is a great way to enjoy the culture of the city. From the Castelo Sao Jorge fortress, you can look over the city and make your way down to Alfama. Wander through its narrow lanes where pastel painted facades greet you with the smell of grilled sardines. The Portas do Sol and Santa Luzia squares have some of the best views for you to admire.

A great and cheap way to spend the afternoon is on the grounds of Jardim da Estrela, where you can appreciate the view of the Basilica da Estrela next door, all for free. Pack lunch and picnic with your family in the Parque de Sao Pedro de Alcantara or the Parque Real where the most fantastic flora awaits along benches and cypress trees.

Places to dine in Lisbon, especially when on a budget, are in the neighborhood “tascas” or taverns where a dish will cost you 5.87 GBP at most. Home cooked meals include fava beans, sausages, coriander and cod. In mid-June, join Portugal as it celebrates the Festa e Santos Populares, the biggest party of the year. On the eve of Saint Anthony, June 13th, towns explode with decorations and live entertainment.

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