Quantcast
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

When in Lisbon

Couchsurf, spend less euros and soak it all in.

Row of turquoise-colored houses in the Belém neighborhood.
Row of turquoise-colored houses in the Belém neighborhood.

If you’re dying to go to Europe but discouraged by the value of the euro, consider Portugal, where you can actually spend less than $50 a day. Portugal’s capital city, Lisbon, has stunning Moorish castles, quaint museums and Gothic cathedrals against a backdrop of hillsides overlooking the Rio Tejo.

Lisbon's Jerónimos Monastery.

Here you have all the cultural offerings of a European city. Stay at a pensoes (pension) in the lovely backstreets of downtown Baixa or a room in a restored convent at a fraction of the price in most European destinations. If you spend much time in Lisbon, you'll notice that most sights can be seen by foot; it's a walkable, approachable city, and not quite as sophisticated as its sister cities of Rome, Paris or London. There are shabby yet fascinating houses alongside art galleries, wonderful parks and fashionable cafes.

Lisbon is full of great hostels, with prices from $15 a night depending on the season. You can make a reservation through one of the many hostel booking websites.

If you're adventurous and want to save even more, Lisbon has a very active Couchsurfing.com community. I attended a party given by Couchsurfing forum members on my first night in Lisbon. I met a lot of really nice people and spent the next four days couchsurfing with various members who acted as tour guide and taxis for the duration of my stay.

Most hostels and pensions have cooking appliances and/or kitchen privileges, so you can save money on food by purchasing groceries at the local market and preparing your meals. Many include a breakfast in the price of the room and offer an inexpensive family-style dinner. Many local restaurants offer meal packages or discount menu items, so you don’t have to break the bank to splurge at a restaurant. Tipping is 15% less than expected in the U.S.

The hop-on-hop-off city bus tour was less than impressive, and walking around the city was more interesting. You can walk almost everywhere in pedestrian-friendly Lisbon to really appreciate the fascinating architecture, scenic hilltop views and free live music everywhere.

Be sure to visit the quaint suburb of Belém (left) to experience “pasteis de Belem,” a custard-filled pastry available only in this part of the world, followed by a hike to the hilltop district of Bairro Alto with its restaurants and bars packed with friendly locals.

Belém Tower.

Lisbon is a hilly city and offers many scenic views. The historical center is located on the banks of the Tagus River. Before you go, purchase the Lisboa Card online, which offers discounts on public transport, attractions and restaurants around the city.

If you have an extra day, be sure to visit the town of Sintra to see the two castles that hover above the town. It's $35/person for a full-day, 10-hour guided tour – well worth the splurge.

Lisbon metro station.

Once you arrive at the Lisbon airport, get a map from the Tourist Office to acquaint yourself with the city and public transport to save money. Taxis from the airport are inexpensive; just make sure you agree on a price in advance.

Portugal’s train network is punctual and reasonably priced, so you can take short trips between cities for less than $22. Check out European budget airlines such as Easy jet and Ryan Air too; many flights are cheaper than trains and reduce travel time as well.

The best times to visit Portugal are March, April and May and late September and October when there are less tourists, prices are much lower and the weather is nice.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Al Capone’s film legacy

“I think it’s a good social document. It shows how an unscrupulous man can prey on society.”
Next Article

San Diego's mosquitos, ferrets, sea lions

The non-native eucalyptus, Carrizo Badlands
Comments
2

Gorgeous city and a great article. Thank you for reminding me about the pasteis... and I echo the recommendation for Sintra. A beautiful place.

Aug. 5, 2013

I realize touring two whole castles is no easy feat, but 10 hours, even for the bargain price of $35.00, sounds a tad daunting. Was that a typo, Mary, or does that include breakfast, lunch, and dinner and a foot massage?

Aug. 5, 2013

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Row of turquoise-colored houses in the Belém neighborhood.
Row of turquoise-colored houses in the Belém neighborhood.

If you’re dying to go to Europe but discouraged by the value of the euro, consider Portugal, where you can actually spend less than $50 a day. Portugal’s capital city, Lisbon, has stunning Moorish castles, quaint museums and Gothic cathedrals against a backdrop of hillsides overlooking the Rio Tejo.

Lisbon's Jerónimos Monastery.

Here you have all the cultural offerings of a European city. Stay at a pensoes (pension) in the lovely backstreets of downtown Baixa or a room in a restored convent at a fraction of the price in most European destinations. If you spend much time in Lisbon, you'll notice that most sights can be seen by foot; it's a walkable, approachable city, and not quite as sophisticated as its sister cities of Rome, Paris or London. There are shabby yet fascinating houses alongside art galleries, wonderful parks and fashionable cafes.

Lisbon is full of great hostels, with prices from $15 a night depending on the season. You can make a reservation through one of the many hostel booking websites.

If you're adventurous and want to save even more, Lisbon has a very active Couchsurfing.com community. I attended a party given by Couchsurfing forum members on my first night in Lisbon. I met a lot of really nice people and spent the next four days couchsurfing with various members who acted as tour guide and taxis for the duration of my stay.

Most hostels and pensions have cooking appliances and/or kitchen privileges, so you can save money on food by purchasing groceries at the local market and preparing your meals. Many include a breakfast in the price of the room and offer an inexpensive family-style dinner. Many local restaurants offer meal packages or discount menu items, so you don’t have to break the bank to splurge at a restaurant. Tipping is 15% less than expected in the U.S.

The hop-on-hop-off city bus tour was less than impressive, and walking around the city was more interesting. You can walk almost everywhere in pedestrian-friendly Lisbon to really appreciate the fascinating architecture, scenic hilltop views and free live music everywhere.

Be sure to visit the quaint suburb of Belém (left) to experience “pasteis de Belem,” a custard-filled pastry available only in this part of the world, followed by a hike to the hilltop district of Bairro Alto with its restaurants and bars packed with friendly locals.

Belém Tower.

Lisbon is a hilly city and offers many scenic views. The historical center is located on the banks of the Tagus River. Before you go, purchase the Lisboa Card online, which offers discounts on public transport, attractions and restaurants around the city.

If you have an extra day, be sure to visit the town of Sintra to see the two castles that hover above the town. It's $35/person for a full-day, 10-hour guided tour – well worth the splurge.

Lisbon metro station.

Once you arrive at the Lisbon airport, get a map from the Tourist Office to acquaint yourself with the city and public transport to save money. Taxis from the airport are inexpensive; just make sure you agree on a price in advance.

Portugal’s train network is punctual and reasonably priced, so you can take short trips between cities for less than $22. Check out European budget airlines such as Easy jet and Ryan Air too; many flights are cheaper than trains and reduce travel time as well.

The best times to visit Portugal are March, April and May and late September and October when there are less tourists, prices are much lower and the weather is nice.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

San Diego's mosquitos, ferrets, sea lions

The non-native eucalyptus, Carrizo Badlands
Next Article

Al Capone’s film legacy

“I think it’s a good social document. It shows how an unscrupulous man can prey on society.”
Comments
2

Gorgeous city and a great article. Thank you for reminding me about the pasteis... and I echo the recommendation for Sintra. A beautiful place.

Aug. 5, 2013

I realize touring two whole castles is no easy feat, but 10 hours, even for the bargain price of $35.00, sounds a tad daunting. Was that a typo, Mary, or does that include breakfast, lunch, and dinner and a foot massage?

Aug. 5, 2013

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer News — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close