Budget-conscious travellers searching for a bargain city break need look no further than Portugal’s capital, Lisbon. This sunshine city has again been named the best value capital city to visit in Western Europe, and the seventh cheapest European city, in the 2017 Post Office Travel Money City Costs Barometer. Meanwhile, Lisbon has also proved itself to be one of the world’s best destinations for backpackers, with a number of the city’s hostels receiving highly-acclaimed ‘Hoscar’ awards.
Voted by the readers of Hostelworld.com, the ‘Hoscar’ awards were based on one million reviews from the Hostelworld travel community. Among several Lisbon properties recognised were:
- Goodmorning Lisbon, which won the coveted ‘Best Atmosphere’ award. This bright and friendly property was praised in ‘review after review’ for staff who go ‘above and beyond’ to ensure guests enjoy their stay. Conveniently located and good value, Goodmorning Lisbon is a short walk to the Restauradores metro station, and offers guests complimentary breakfast and city walking tours.
- Lost Inn Lisbon was voted in the top three within the ‘Best Medium Hostel’ category. Located within walking distance of the Metro and Cais do Sodré train station, the Lost Inn Lisbon is also just 2km from the historical São Jorge Castle. This friendly hostel is based within an 18th-century building, but has modern amenities including air conditioning and a 24-hour kitchen.
- Travellers House was voted in the top three in the ‘Best Small Hostel’ category and can be found in Baixa, one of Lisbon’s liveliest areas, with restaurants, shops and all major attractions on its doorstep. This relaxed hostel has simple, colourful mixed dormitories, and offers complimentary breakfasts and wine tastings to its guests.
The Post Office Travel Money annual City Costs Barometer surveys 12 typical city break costs – including accommodation, meals, sightseeing and transport – in 36 different European cities. At £162 for the basket of 12 items, Lisbon retained its position as Western Europe’s best value capital and within the top ten overall.
Further proving that having fun in Lisbon doesn’t have to break the bank, here are some gratis or inexpensive activities to help visitors enjoy Lisbon on a shoestring:
- Art for Art’s Sake: Some national monuments and museums have free entrance on the first Sunday of every month, including the recently opened MAAT (Museum for Art, Architecture and Technology), which is architecturally stunning, as well as the National Museum of Ancient Art. The Berardo museum is also free on Saturdays; Gulbenkian on Sunday mornings and the Oriente Museum on Friday evenings – 7.00pm to 10.00pm.
- UNESCO World Heritage: Head to the Belém district on the first Sunday of each month for free entry to two of Lisbon’s most iconic sites. The picturesque Jerónimos Monastery is one of the most prominent examples of Manueline style of architecture in Lisbon, while the fortified Belém Tower was built to defend the mouth of the River Tagus.
- ‘Freeview’: Lisbon’s famous ‘miradouros’ (viewpoints) offer some of the best ways to see the beauty of the city from above, without spending a single Euro.
- Famous tram, famous sites: The century-old Tram 28 travels through the city’s main neighbourhoods, in just 40 minutes – all for just €2.85 for a single ticket.
- Vinho on the house: Free tasting sessions are held regularly at the ‘Sala Ogival’ of ViniPortugal, a non-profit association aimed at promoting Portuguese wines worldwide.
- Party like the locals: Bairro Alto, Cais do Sodré and the ‘docks’ are all districts where Lisboetas hang out in the streets over the weekend – expect a friendly atmosphere and great music vibes.
- Grab a bargain: Feira da Ladra (‘Thief’s Market’) is Lisbon’s oldest flea market, dating back to the Middle Ages. Held in Alfama, Lisbon’s oldest district, on Thursdays and Saturdays, visitors can find genuine bargains at a variety of stalls.
- Life’s a beach: Just 20 minutes to the south of Lisbon is the stunning coastline of Costa de Caparica, which extends for over 15km.
For more information, ideas and inspiration on visiting Lisbon, go to: www.visitlisboa.com