Europe City on a budget: Lisbon, Portugal

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Introduction

Cheap. Laid back. Diverse. These are the  3 words I can describe Lisbon , Portugal.  Snack on its famous Pasteis de nata and wash it down with coffee at any of its Art Noveau cafes, travel back in time with the sights of its wooden trams, and the medieval feel you’ll get while passing on its Alfama quarter.

 

Population- 11 M

Area- 92K sq.km

Currency- EUR

Daily budget (extreme)- 15 EUR

(moderate)- 40-60 EUR

 

Transport

 

You can always score a great deal flying to and from Portugal. It may depend on the season though. Thus,  the price showing below was the actual cost during my November Europe travel.  Train ticket in Portugal is the lowest so far in Western Europe for just 1 EUR per ride at time of travel but I heard that metro price has increased this year.

 

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Madrid to Lisbon (by plane) – 21 EUR (Jetradar)   

Lisbon to Luxembourg- 17 EUR (Jetradar)

Train- 1 EUR

 

Accommodation

 

Hostel- 7-18 EUR

I really enjoyed my stay in my hostel in Lisbon. Its located quite not far from Alfama station. Sans eminent signage , it was not an easy task to find this hostel; good thing I was keen on the building number which was the key. I learned it the hard way when I was in Rome. I had to pay 15 EUR for a 10-minute taxi ride (850 meters)  from  Termini station to hostel Colosseo since it was already midnight and freezing cold. So, this time I made sure that when I arrive at the hostel, it will be plain as day to walk freely.

 

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This is the cheapest hostel that I had stayed in Europe. For just 7 EUR, I got such a nice , well-designed hostel room .The receptionists are bilinguals and I got to practice my Portuguese with them. I was not expecting the complementary breakfast to contain a lot such as huge ham & cheese sandwich, a pear, a bar, and juice which are good to hold hunger until lunchtime. And if you run out of water, you can buy it here for just 1 EUR which is cheaper than if you will get it outside.

 

Food and drink

Here are some of the  known Portuguese food that you can try on your Lisbon trip. Or you may read this separate post: Foods to try in Lisbon, Portugal.

 

Grilled sardines- 8 EUR ( at a restaurant located near tourist spots)

Bacalhau- 6 EUR

Pastel de nata- .80 EUR ( at a regular pasteleria)

Arroz doce- 1.80 EUR

Coffee- 1 EUR (at a regular pasteleria)

1L Bottled wáter- 1 EUR ( in a hostel)

Vinho verde bottle- 8 EUR

 

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Language- Portuguese

Ola

Meu nome e Anna

Como esas?

Muito bem

Encantada de concelho/lha

Desculpe, onde e a estacao/

Queria um quarto indivial/uma garrafa de agua

Quero isto/isso

Que horas sao?

Quanto e? E caro

Sim

Nao

Nao comprendo , fala ingles?

 

Things to see and do in Lisbon

 

Baixa

Baixa is the heart of the capital Lisbon and is Europe’s first example of neoclassical design.

 

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Praco do Comercio

The Praça do Comércio  was  the Royal Riberia palace before the great 1755 Lisboa earthquake.  After the earthquake,it was remodeled  during the reign of Dom José I, King of Portugal and became what it is today.

 

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Praça dom Pedro IV (Rossio)

 

Rossio Square is probably the most popular meeting place for both locals and tourists alike in Lisbon. It has been one of the city’s main squares since the Middle Ages.This favorite square  pays homage to Pedro IV, King of Portugal. In fact, the Column of Pedro IV is in the middle of the square.

 

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Teatro Nacional

 

Just on the north side of Rossio square is the Teatro Nacional built around 1450. This former palace  became the seat of the Inquisition during the Inquisition time. Miraculously, it  survived the 1755 Lisbon earthquake, but was destroyed by fire in 1836.

With the efforts of Romantic poet and dramatist Almeida Garrett, it was transformed into a neoclassical theater dedicated to Queen Mary II of Portugal. 

 

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MUDE, free on fri and sat

 

 This fashion  museum  is temporarily closed due to rehabilitation, you can still check out MUDE Fora de Portas or Mude Outside for some cultural and exhibition programs.

 

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The Se- open from  9am – 7pm (Tues to Sat )

 

The imposing Se Cathedral with its prominent clock towers is Lisbon’s most iconic church. This  Romanesque building was founded in 1147,damaged in 1755 earthquake and restored in 1930s.

 

Castelo de Sao Jorge

Open 7 days a week, Castelo de S. Jorge is an amazing archaeological  site which you can enjoy to explore the remains of a Moorish place  and to know a little about Lisboa’s History. Entrance fee is 8 EUR.

 

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Alfama quarter

This is the oldest part of Lisbon.

 

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Campo de Santa Clara

Situated between the churches of São Vicente de Fora and Santa Engrácia, this attractive square becomes the setting for the flea market on  Tuesdays and Saturdays.

 

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Feira de Lada

The Feira da Ladra is a twice weekly (Tuesday and Saturday) market within the Alfama district of Lisbon.

 

Chiado

This is located between Baixa and Baixa Alto.

1.Rua Garrett

In Chiado, all roads lead to Rua Garrett named after poet Almeida Garrett. This is the place where you can sip coffee and do your shopping as you can find here the most iconic shops and malls.

 

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2.Elevador de Santa Justa

 

The Santa Justa elevator is created as a solution to the hills of Lisbon which had always presented a problem for travel between the lower streets of the Baixa and the higher Carmo Square.

 

3.Convento do Carmo

One of the religious edifices that still has the trace of the great 1755 earthquake, The Convent of Our Lady of Mount Carmel  is a former-Roman Catholic convent in the civil parish of Santa Maria Maior.

 

Belem

As a history buff, I felt that my first time trip in Lisbon wouldn’t be complete without a half-day trip to Belem. Belem is choke full of historic monuments and museums associated with its early expeditions to the New World.I’m interested to know about this since the first explorer who set foot in Philippine soil and tried to intimidate the Filipino locals was a Portuguese under the Spanish armada.

 

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Located west of central Lisbon, it can be easily reached by tram or bus. I tried the former due to time constraint, although it cost more.

 

Tip: Torre de Belem entrance is free on Sundays from 10 am to 2 pm.

 

1.Padrao dos Descobrimentos

2.Torre de Belem

3. Mosteiro dos Jeronimos

4.The Belem Cultural Centre (BCC)

5. Museu nacional Dos Coches

 

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Getting off the Belem station, turn to your left side facing the Tagus river.  The very first Belem attraction you will see is the Padrao dos Descobrimentos which is around 400-meter walk from the said station. It was a joy to see this magnificent monument constructed in 1939 to honor the early great Portuguese explorers. Among these profiles which are carved in lifelike detail, the one I recognized the most is Ferdinand Magellan, known to be the first person to circumnavigate the world and the first foreigner I knew who fought with our natives in the Mactan Island (now is part of the Philippines) and died to a well-known local chieftain, LapuLapu.

 

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At the top of the 52m high monument provides the best views over Mosteiro dos Jeronimos, the Tejo Estuary and Belem for €5 entry.

 

Another 500 meters walk or so is the Torre de Belem, the emblem of Lisbon. More or less you have already walked almost 1 km by this time. But promise you won’t notice the distance when you are being surrounded by wonderful views of the river, bridge, and monuments in between.  It was even one of the relaxing and pleasant strolls I had in Europe.

 

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After enjoying the beauty of these loved attractions in Belem, cross the street and your amazement won’t stop upon catching glimpse of this vast monastery which is the most popular tourist attraction in Belem. Accordingly, this is where early Portuguese explorer , Vasco de Gama, spent his last night before embarking on his epic expedition to India.

 

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Despite the long queue, entrance is free!

 

This is the biggest monastery I’ve ever seen in  my life! The convent’s extravagant style is a manifestation of how wealthy Portugal had became from the spice trade since 5% of the tax levied on spices was used to fund said monastery. Another free site to visit in Belem is the Centro Cultural de Belem  which hosts concerts and  modern arts.

 

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How to get to Belem
If coming from Praca do Comercio, take metro from Baixa Chiado to Cais do Sodré train station, both on the  green line (1 EUR , Nov. 2017) . From Cais do Sodré train station, take the suburban train going to Cascais station.Get off at Belem Station.

 

 

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If you like this post, don’t forget  to share it on or connect with me via the following social media accounts:

Anna La Viajera on Facebook – AnnaLaViajera

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Twitter –   @Anneposequit

 

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Anna La Viajera
Anna is a travel buff, logophile, choreophile, an adventurous foodie & glossophilia.She loves writing, dancing, traveling & learning languages. She speaks more than 5 languages and have been to more than 20 countries so far. In her leisure time, she loves to listen to music, dance & try cooking.

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