Where are the best budget destinations in Portugal? (2023)

There is much more to Portugal than the Algarve. Here are our favorite picks for a cheap sunny holiday.

If you're on a budget and looking for a sunny holiday that's not too far away, Portugal might just be the place for you.

Although it may not be huge in size, with a land mass of only 88km2, Portugal offers a heady mix of stunning beaches, beautiful architecture and incredible food. Not to mention a numberparadisøer.

It also boasts around 300 days of sunshine per year.

So if you're looking to book a trip and want something a little different from Portugal's classic Algarve, here are some of our recommendations.

9. The Azores - the eco-archipelago

The Azoresis a set of nine Portuguese islands located in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. They are about a four to five hour flight from Western Europe.

Divided into three groups, the islands are home to great biodiversity and countlessvolcanic cones and craters. They were hailed as 'ecotourism' paradise and is home to several historic buildings, including 15th-century churches and stately homes.

Where are the best budget destinations in Portugal? (1)

The easiest island to fly to is São Miguel, but the best island to escape the busy tourist spots is Corvo. It has its own domestic airport that offers flights between three of the other islands. Alternatively, you can travel to Corvo by ferry from São Miguel.

Corvo is the smallest island and the whole island is actually an extinct island.vulkanand was formed from its previous eruptions.

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8. Sintra - an architectural beauty

Make like the 19th century nobility and head to Sintra to escape the heat of Portugal's capitalLisboa.

Known for its slightly cooler climate, Sintra is less than an hour from the capital and was formerly the summer home of many artists and the social elite.

Located in the hills of Serra de Sintra, this village is known for its villas and castle ruins. Many visit as a day trip fromLisboa, but we recommend staying a few days as there is so much to see and do.

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If you like architecture, you'll be dazzled by the bright colors of Pena Palace and the intricate details of Monserrate Palace and, well, basically everything.

train ticketsbetween Lisbon and Sintra starts from €2.30.

7. Coimbra - a history student's dream

From 1139 to 1260, Coimbra was the capital of Portugal, and today it is known as the "City of Students". Despite being the fourth largest urban center in Portugal, it has a population of only 106,582 people - about a fifth of Lisbon's population.

The city still has a medieval feel, with many of the buildings dating back to the Roman Empire, as well as an aqueduct and numerous original cryptoporticos (a covered corridor or passage).

Where are the best budget destinations in Portugal? (2)

Also the university buildingsrecognized as world heritage by UNESCO.University tours from €8.

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6. Aveiro - Portugals Venedig

Located on the banks ofAtlantic Ocean, Aveiro is one of the most important ports in Portugal. The region is popular with sailing enthusiasts and boasts an extensive network of canals, often referred to as the 'Venice of Portugal'.

Aveiro also has several sister cities, including locations in Tunisia,Japanand Mozambique, and is known for its historic production of salt and ceramics.

5. Cascais - surfers paradise

Known as the 'heart of the Portuguese Riviera', Cascais is great if you like the beaches of the Algarve but are looking for something a little quieter.

If you are looking for a complete holiday, Cascais is the ideal destination for families. A former fishing village, it is now a popular place forWater sportsenature walks.

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If you are an avid surfer or just ready to try, go here. It is growing in popularity aset surfstedbut not yet discovered enough that you don't want to fight for waves.

Cascais is 35 km southwest of Lisbon, where there is a wealth ofcheap travel connections.

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4. Braga - the perfect city break

Braga is the third largest city in Portugal and is strongly linked to the historical and spiritual ties that still exist in the country.

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The highlight of Braga's calendar is Holy Week in April. This extensive event is popular with people all over the world. The atmosphere is medieval and reminds both tourists and locals that Braga is still the ecclesiastical center of Portugal.

Taking place over four consecutive days, the main events take place in the city's 11th-century Roman cathedral.

But don't worry if you're not religious - there's still plenty to do while strolling through the beautiful streets of Braga.

3. Douro Valley - the wine capital

The house of all wines, the Douro Valley has been producing wine for over 2,000 years. It has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2001.

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The valleys are quiet all season except when the autumn harvest takes place, which becomes a busy beehive for vineyard owners and wine enthusiasts.

If you wantspend your vacation tasting winewhile enjoying stunning views over acres of vineyards, the Douro is your best bet.

Winery tours with tasting start from €13.

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2. Berlengas Nature Reserve - an animal park

Only 10 km from the coast of Peniche, the Berlengas Nature Reserve or Berlengas Archipelago is a practically untouched part of Portugal.

Berlengas consists of three islands and is home to numerous birds, including endangered species such as the puffin. The region is also teeming with marine life - perfect if you area diving enthusiast.

Where are the best budget destinations in Portugal? (6)

Of the three islands, only Berlenga is inhabited by humans, many of whom live on the island to work in services deemed necessary, such as runninglighthouse.

If you're looking for the ultimate sanctuary, Berlenga is it, with only 350 people allowed on the island at any one time. Visiting the island is only possible by ferry, which makes two trips a day between May and September.

Tickets for a return ferry crossing start at €22.

1. Peniche - our favorite choice for Portugal

Once an ancient island, geography has made Peniche much more accessible to tourists and residents of Portugal. We made it our first recommendation because it encapsulates all of Portugal's modernity while also paying homage to its past.

Only an hour's drive fromLisboa, the coastal town of Peniche is famous for its historic harbor and old walls. The best part of Peniche remains in the old town, where the fortress has stood since the 15th century. It was used by the military until the 1970s and has since housed refugees from the then independent African colonies.

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Today, the fortress houses a museum that contains artifacts from the time it was used as a prison by former dictator António de Oliveira Salazar. It's also just a short ferry ride away from the stunning Berlengas Archipelago.

Entrance to the fortress costs €1.60 for adults and is free for children.


Where is the cheapest place to visit in Portugal? ›

The Cheapest Places in Portugal: 7 Affordable Destinations
  • Lisbon.
  • Porto.
  • Sintra.
  • The Algarve.
  • Funchal.
  • Azores.
  • Tomar.

How to see Portugal on a budget? ›

Portugal budget travel guide
  1. Embrace the off-season. ...
  2. Book last minute hotels. ...
  3. Keep flight costs down. ...
  4. Sleep cheap in pensions. ...
  5. Walk. ...
  6. Skip the taxis. ...
  7. Spend less on dining out. ...
  8. Pick up a fresh meal at a local market.

What is the cheapest month to go to Portugal? ›

Low season months of November to March are a cheaper time to visit. If you want to escape the crowds and enjoy rock-bottom prices on accommodations, plan your trip for the low season. Many museums and other attractions keep shorter hours, though you'll still find a full lineup of performances in cities and bigger towns ...

Which city is cheaper Porto or Lisbon? ›

Lisbon and Porto are the largest and most famous cities in Portugal. This popularity increases the cost of living in both towns compared to the rest of the country. However, Lisbon is known to be more expensive than Porto. The below chart will give you an idea of the expenses in both cities.

What is the most affordable city in Portugal? ›

Cheapest Cities To Live in Portugal
  • Aveiro.
  • Bragança.
  • Caldas Da Rainha.
  • Castelo Branco.
  • Évora.
  • Portimão.
  • Santarém.
  • Viana Do Castelo.
May 8, 2023

Is Italy or Portugal cheaper? ›

Portugal is cheaper than Italy, particularly when it comes to eating out. Overall, Portugal is a cheaper place to buy and rent property, however some parts of Portugal (like Lisbon) are above average in terms of cost.

How many days should I spend in Portugal? ›

Spend at Least 10 Days in Portugal

Most travelers automatically plan for a week-long vacation. Seven days to spend in Portugal gives you enough time to see some of the country, but you'll probably miss a lot of things when you only have a week.

How expensive is Algarve Portugal? ›

Compared to the UK or any other EU country, Portugal has quite an affordable cost of living. For the Algarve region, with a monthly budget of €1,200-€1,500, you can live quite comfortably.

What is the most beautiful part of Portugal? ›

5 Most Beautiful Regions in Portugal
  1. Algarve. The Algarve is one of the best regions to visit in Portugal if you're looking for a sunshine-filled beach break. ...
  2. Lisbon and the Tagus Valley. ...
  3. Alentejo. ...
  4. Porto and Northern Portugal. ...
  5. Central Portugal.
Jun 16, 2021

What month is best to go to Portugal? ›

When is the best time to visit Portugal? Where is this? The best time to visit Portugal is in spring (March-May), when the country is in bloom and waking after the winter. You could also go in fall (between September and October) when the sun is still shining, the weather is warm, and many of the crowds have dispersed.

What is the cheapest time of year to fly to Portugal from US? ›

High season is considered to be July and August. The cheapest month to fly to Portugal is November. Enter your preferred departure airport and travel dates into the search form above to unlock the latest Portugal flight deals.

Do they speak English in Portugal? ›

English is widely spoken in Portugal, especially in the larger cities and in the Algarve. Plenty of foreigners live comfortably and reasonably efficiently speaking only in English. (In fact, it can be difficult to find a Portuguese who will speak to you in Portuguese.)

What is the rainiest month in Portugal? ›

This statistic displays the average monthly rainfall in Portugal over the past 20 years. It shows that over the past twenty years the month with the highest average rainfall has been January, with an average rainfall of 171.5 mm. On average, August has been the driest month.

Which city is prettier Lisbon or Porto? ›

Lisbon has more tourist attractions, sights, and museums

While Porto has some worthwhile cathedrals and sights (like the Harry Potteresque bookstore), Porto is more about enjoying the city, strolling the streets, taking in views, and tasting Port wine at the Port lodges. Lisbon wins the Lisbon vs.

Which is prettier Lisbon or Porto? ›

They're two of the most beautiful cities in Portugal (making them two of the best Portuguese cities to visit). Still, Lisbon is the capital city. With more tourist attractions, there's more to do and see overall. So by default, the winner is Lisbon.

Is Costa Rica cheaper than Portugal? ›

According to data from Numbeo, Portugal is cheaper than Costa Rica on many fronts. To put this into perspective, consumer prices in Costa Rica without rent are 15% higher than in Portugal. Also, the cost of groceries is about 35% higher in Costa Rica.

Is it cheaper to live in USA or Portugal? ›

Portugal is actually considered one of the most affordable countries in Western Europe and is an average of 50 percent cheaper than living in the United States.

Can you live in Portugal on $1,000 a month? ›

Can you live in Portugal for $1000 a month? Yes, if you live frugally, you should be able to live on $1000 a month in Portugal. However, it may not be possible if you live in Lisbon as costs are increasing, and rental costs are now quite high. If you want to live comfortably in the country, we would recommend €1,200.

Is it cheap for Americans to live in Portugal? ›

Portugal is cheaper to live in than the US. Just about everything, healthcare, groceries, transportation, and properties are available at a reasonable price. In Lisbon, rent for a property is 46.37%, consumer prices are 37.8%, and restaurant prices are 57.21% lower than in Washington, DC.

Is it cheaper to live in Greece or Portugal? ›

While the cost of living in Greece is higher than in Portugal, it is still less than in other European countries. Even the tax laws are favorable for retirees, but we'll get into more details later on in the article.

Is it cheaper to vacation in Portugal or Spain? ›

Generally speaking, Portugal is cheaper than Spain, although the flight there will likely be the most expensive part of your Portugal vacation.

Is Portugal as cheap as Spain? ›

Cost of living in Spain vs Portugal

Spain and Portugal have very similar cost of living. While Portugal tends to be on the cheaper side for most things, it's also possible to have a cheaper cost of living in some Spanish cities.

Do I need a car in Portugal? ›

A car is not needed in Lisbon and Porto but there are lots of other amazing places to explore in Portugal. Once you go outside Lisbon and Porto public transportation options are limited. If you want full freedom to explore any area that interests you, then a car rental is really the best option.

Can you get around Portugal without a car? ›

Portugal is not a large country and you can get almost everywhere easily and efficiently by train or bus. Regional trains are often cheaper and some lines very scenic, but it's almost always quicker to go by bus – especially on shorter or less obvious routes.

Where can I go in Portugal without a car? ›

If you have more time…
  • A trip to Cascais (beach resort-type town) from Lisbon.
  • A day trip (or overnight trip) to Evora from Lisbon (like this one)
  • A day trip to Aveiro/Costa Nova from Porto (you can even take a tour)
  • A stop in the university city of Coimbra between Lisbon and Porto.
Apr 18, 2023

Why is the Algarve so popular? ›

The Algarve is a popular tourist destination because it has beautiful views, sandy beaches, and a warm climate. People from all over the world come to visit this area in Portugal.

What is the difference between Portugal and the Algarve? ›

The Algarve is the beautiful southern coastline of Portugal. It is a region blessed with glorious sandy beaches, picturesque fishing towns and a glorious climate, all of which combine to create the perfect holiday destination.

Why is the Algarve famous? ›

The Algarve region, at the southern end of Portugal, is famous for its amazing coastline and beautiful beaches. Its natural wonders are the star attractions, including great surfing spots, towering cliffs, hidden bays and bird-filled lagoons.

Where is the most beautiful city in Portugal? ›

What are the most beautiful cities in Portugal?
  • Lisbon. Lisbon is a city full of charm, culture and history, located on the banks of the Tagus River. ...
  • Porto. Portugal's second-largest city, Porto is a top destination for lovers of wine, good food and beautiful architecture. ...
  • Sintra. ...
  • Cascais. ...
  • Braga. ...
  • Faro. ...
  • Coimbra. ...
  • Obidos.

What is the most visited site in Portugal? ›

Most Visited Travel and Tourism Websites in Portugal
1booking.comTravel and Tourism > Accommodation and Hotels
2cp.ptTravel and Tourism > Travel and Tourism - Other
3tripadvisor.ptTravel and Tourism > Travel and Tourism - Other
4ryanair.comTravel and Tourism > Air Travel
1 more row

What is the most visited city in Portugal? ›

1. Lisbon, the Portuguese capital and one of the oldest cities in the world. Lisbon is the most popular place among travellers and the state's capital.

Is there a hurricane season in Portugal? ›

The hurricane season usually lasts from early June to late November. Portugal has certainly been affected by the foothills of several hurricanes, but during the past 12 months no hurricane reached the inhabited areas on land.

What month is the hottest in Portugal? ›

If you enjoy hot perfect sunny days the best time to visit Portugal is between June and August. The hottest month of the year is July with an average daily maximum of 30 C and an average low of 22 C. The coolest month of the year is February with an average daily maximum of 16 C and an average low of 10 C.

What time of year is Portugal warmest? ›

July to September are the warmest months, meaning the water temperatures will be the most ideal, too. For travellers who prefer comfortable swimming conditions, plan a trip to the Algarve, the Azores or Madeira during the summer when the water temperatures are slightly warmer.

What is the Portuguese national dish? ›

Bacalhau, which translates to cod in English, is Portugal's national dish, a symbol of the country's identity, and one of the most popular foods in restaurants across the country. Bacalhau is such a go-to staple in Portuguese cuisine that it even has an endearing nickname: fiel amigo, or faithful friend.

What is the Portuguese city with everything? ›

Évora, capital of the Alentejo region, was once the seat of the Kings of Portugal and today its rich cultural heritage is plain to see.

How much is a flight from the US to Portugal? ›

The best round-trip flight price to Portugal from United States in the last 72 hours is $387 (Newark to Porto). The fastest flight to Portugal from United States takes 9h 30m (Boston Logan Intl to Lisbon Humberto Delgado). There are 5 airlines operating flights to Portugal, including Delta, SWISS and Azores Airlines.

How long can an American vacation in Portugal? ›

If you are planning to travel to Portugal on a tourist or business trip for a period not to exceed 90 days, you do not need to apply for a visa. You are required to be in possession of a U.S. passport, valid for a minimum of three months beyond the length of your stay.

How long can an American tourist stay in Portugal? ›

U.S. citizens may enter Portugal for up to 90 days for tourism or business without a visa. Your passport should be valid for at least three months beyond the period of stay. If you plan on transiting a Schengen country, review our U.S. Travelers in Europe page.

Where do most English live in Portugal? ›

Brits are the biggest expat group in Portugal, and have been for many years. The majority live in and around the Algarve, but you'll also find people of other Brits in places like Lisbon, Cascais, Porto, and Madeira.

Is Uber in Portugal? ›

The good news is that Uber is available in Portugal. You can also use your Uber account from your country in Portugal without any problems.

What city in Portugal speaks the most English? ›

Porto's second city is never one to be outdone by Lisbon, and for a number of years has been the city where the most English is spoken in Portugal.

What is the coldest month in Portugal? ›

January is the coldest month with an average temperature of 52ºF (11ºC). It's rare for it to get colder than 41ºF (5ºC). In summer, the warmest month is July with average temperatures of 74ºF (24ºC). However, it can get much hotter with temperatures over 86ºF (30ºC) and lows of 62ºF (17ºC).

Is Portugal humid or dry? ›

Portugal tends to be a humid country as the Atlantic climate predominates in most of the country. Most of Portugal is located in the humid zone of the Iberian peninsula, predominantly the northwest, which is rainy and humid.

Is Portugal or Costa Rica cheaper? ›

According to data from Numbeo, Portugal is cheaper than Costa Rica on many fronts. To put this into perspective, consumer prices in Costa Rica without rent are 15% higher than in Portugal. Also, the cost of groceries is about 35% higher in Costa Rica.

Which is more affordable Spain or Portugal? ›

Generally speaking, Portugal is cheaper than Spain, although the flight there will likely be the most expensive part of your Portugal vacation. A standard flight from North America to Lisbon in May will cost around $1,200 to $1,300CAD for a round trip.

Which is better Porto or Lisbon? ›

Lisbon offers some of the most popular tourist attractions, museums, and sights in Portugal. While Porto has some worthwhile cathedrals and sights (like the Harry Potteresque bookstore), Porto is more about enjoying the city, strolling the streets, taking in views, and tasting Port wine at the Port lodges.

Is Portugal expensive for American tourists? ›

Portugal is one of the most affordable countries in Western Europe, with food available at affordable prices, cheap options for accommodation, and reasonable costs for transport. It's not surprising, then, that so many American expats are making this beautiful country their home.

What is cheaper in Portugal than us? ›

In comparing the cost of living between Portugal and the USA, Numbeo found that the consumer prices (including rent) in Portugal are 74.9 percent lower than in the USA. Rent prices in Portugal are 112.3 percent lower, restaurant prices are 78.7 percent lower, and grocery prices are 96.6 percent lower than in the USA.

Is Portugal or Italy more expensive? ›

The average cost of living in Italy ($1320) is 23% more expensive than in Portugal ($1073). Italy ranked 36th vs 57th for Portugal in the list of the most expensive countries in the world. The average after-tax salary is enough to cover living expenses for 1.3 months in Italy compared to 1 months in Portugal.

Why retire to Portugal? ›

Portugal is home to over half a million foreigners from around the world. Retirement in Portugal can be an affordable adventure, safe from gun violence, with low cost, excellent healthcare, year-round mild weather, and plenty of friends just waiting to meet you.

Should I go to Algarve or Porto? ›

Winner: The Algarve. There's no way a city can compete with a region that offers some of the top beaches in Europe!

Is there a high speed train from Lisbon to Porto? ›

The direct high-speed train “Alfa Pendular” is the fastest, making the journey between Lisbon and Porto in less than three hours (between two hours and 49 minutes and two hours and 56 minutes). The direct Intercity train takes a little longer: three hours and 15 minutes.

Why is Porto so popular? ›

Porto is home to centuries-old architecture, intricately tiled churches and buildings, and some of the best food and drink in Europe. As a bonus, Porto makes a great spot for a beach holiday too. Porto is a vital port of trade between the fertile valleys of Northern Portugal and the rest of the world.

Why is everything so cheap in Portugal? ›

The cost of food is lower in Portugal because the average wage is lower than in places like the US. The typical worker in Portugal makes about €925 per month (based on 2019 figures). That works out to a little over $12,000/year.

Is France or Portugal cheaper? ›

The cost of living is relatively cheaper in Portugal compared to France, not to mention the warm climate that is appealing to most expats. The Portuguese government also has several tax incentives to make life bearable for anyone who migrates to Portugal.

Is it better to retire in Italy or Portugal? ›

Firstly, the Global Peace Index 2021 ranks Portugal as the fourth-safest country to live in, while Italy is ranked at thirty-two. Of course, this doesn't mean Italy is completely unsafe, but an environment where you don't have to worry about your safety is an added benefit for older people.


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