Portugal on a Budget

A view of Praia da Mesquita from the cliff path above in Algarve, Portugal

Portugal is growing in popularity as a travel destination. Find out whether it is possible to experience all the country has to offer if you’re on a budget.

“Ovo bus” outside the Zoological Garden in Sete Rios, Lisbon, Portugal

Travelling the world is often thought of as something reserved for the very wealthy or for young people who don’t have the financial responsibilities most adults have. In reality, many people, of all ages and from a range of backgrounds, can travel around the world on a very strict budget. It’s not always easy, but in several ways travelling without much money can open the door to places and experiences you might not have encountered.

When you can’t afford to stay or eat in the main tourist areas, you tend to stray off into lesser explored areas of a country. If all you can afford to eat is the local street food, get ready for a new culinary experience that is authentic and often delicious. To keep costs as low as possible it’s usually best to compare cheap flights and accommodation online so you can find the best prices.

Lisbon is Portugal’s capital city

Portugal in the south-west of Europe is a relatively well-kept secret (although growing in popularity). It’s smaller than neighbouring Spain, but has so much to offer travellers.

High season in Portugal are the summer months between June and August, but the weather is usually still dry and sunny in spring and early autumn. To keep your flights and accommodation as cheap as possible, aim to avoid the high season if you can.

Accommodation in Portugal is reasonably priced, but the biggest savings are to be found when booking well in advance. The main areas that attract tourists are the Algarve, Porto and Lisbon. While it’s certainly worth visiting these places as you’ll find stunning beaches, historical architecture and day trips, other towns such as Nazaré or Coimbra are often cheaper to stay in. In general, Portugal offers travellers plenty to see and do for free including the gorgeous golden beaches (which are popular with surfers) and stunning Manueline architecture.

If you’re planning to travel around Portugal, you can easily keep costs to a minimum by using the public transport system. It’s inexpensive and runs very smoothly, so there’s no need to waste money on a rented car.

The Hieronymites Monastery in the municipality of Lisbon, is one of the most prominent monuments of the Manueline-style architecture (Portuguese late-Gothic) in Lisbon, classified in 1983 as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, along with the nearby Tower of Belém. Picture: Terry Kearney

The seafood in Portugal is fantastic and you’ll usually find generous portions at good prices if you avoid the main tourist areas and restaurants. There are plenty of local cafes and coffee shops which also serve light lunches and are much cheaper than full-service restaurants.

While Portugal should be a top contender by now, your final choice of destination will be heavily influenced by the cost of your flights. You can often get cheap flights online by comparing several providers and different dates.

Next, you’ll be looking at where you will stay while you’re there. Many travellers choose hostels to keep costs as low as possible, and there are plenty of high – quality options to choose from, some with private rooms and breakfast included.

The destinations listed above provide plenty of free entertainment because of their incredible and unique natural beauty.

For those  familiar with Portugal, or for those yet to discover what this country has to offer, this article should help you to see that a holiday is possible on a budget. A great starting point is to make sure to find the cheapest flights online, as this can help keep you on track to budget, from the early planning stage, to the holiday itself.