“By day Lisbon has a naive theatrical quality that enchants and captivates, but by night it is a fairy-tale city, descending over lighted terraces to the sea, like a woman in festive garments going down to meet her dark lover.” - Erich Maria Remarque, The Night in Lisbon
Have you already bought your flights but prefer not to leave everything till the last minute?
In this case, you’ve got the time to finalise your plans and choose the right accommodation.
Where should you stay, what types of accommodation are there, and how much should you pay?
The city of Lisbon is home to 504,718 inhabitants (2016), across 83.7km², making it the 15th largest conurbation in Europe. Lisbon accounts for 26.2% of the population of Portugal. It has a lower cost of living than elsewhere in the EU, making it an attractive city to go to but also more difficult to find accommodation.
In this article, Superprof is looking at where you can stay during your time in Lisbon in order to help you plan your trip and see the places to visit.
A Quick Look at Accommodation in Lisbon
While Portugal is often described as an ideal destination and Lisbon as one of the best destinations to visit for summer holidays, looking for accommodation can quickly make it lose its allure.
Because of the climate, a mix of a warm Mediterranean climate with cooler winds from the Atlantic, the low cost of living, and low taxes, Lisbon attracts a lot of tourists and expats.
Thanks to its location near the Alentejo, Porto, and the Algarve in the south of Portugal, Lisbon attracts more and more international tourists and the number of foreign visitors went from 6 million in 2010 to 11 million in 2017.
This tourist overpopulation has impacted the centre of Lisbon which has seen the cost of rent increases. The increase in demand and the unchanging supply has made the costs go up.
While the minimum wage in Portugal is €580 per month, a one-bedroom flat in the centre of Lisbon can cost between €1,200 and €1,500 per month and can go up to €3,000 per month.
On top of that, you’ll need to pay a deposit and the bills (gas, electricity, water, internet, and TV). While those in Lisbon tend to earn more than elsewhere in Portugal, locals still can’t afford two or three times their salary and are being driven out by tourism en masse. Don’t worry, though, the Portuguese people are still very warm and welcoming to tourists.
Landlords, just like they would in the UK, are making the most of this touristic boom and have started renting their properties on Airbnb to tourists rather than to long-term rents to locals. This means that they tend to charge more for rent.
So would you like to stay in the Alfama, the Bairro Alto, or Chiado and discover the city centre just a few steps from your front door?
Head online and there are plenty of platforms that are there to help you find flats:
- Facebook Marketplace
- OLX and Idealista are two good sites for finding flats and you can search by area, cost, etc.
Find out more about visiting Lisbon.
Using Airbnb to Stay in Lisbon
With Sintra, Belém, Estoril, Setúbal, and the towns along the Tage estuary, it's quite easy to find somewhere to stay when visiting Lisbon.
Launched in 2007 by Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia, Airbnb has become a holiday rental behemoth with over 1.5 million places in 34,000 areas across 192 countries!
To get a better price on the platform, keep an eye on the dates, the number of people travelling at that time, the amenities offered (WiFi, air-conditioning, a workspace, etc.), and have a look around the interactive map. ou can also search by price and budget.
Of course, if you’re only staying a few nights, you could reserve an apartment facing the Tower of Belém gardens for between €55 and €60 a night for two.
As you approach Lisbon city centre, the prices ramp up to between €70 and €90 a night for two people in the Bairro Alto or Cais do Sodré.
For example, it’ll cost you €500 for 7 nights for two people in the centre of the city between the Miradouro de Santa Catarina and the Cais do Sodré station.
Are you looking for accommodation around €30 a night?
It does exist, but you’ll need to head up to the north of the city, where you’ll need to take public transportation into the city and stay in a youth hostel in a dormitory. To stay in the centre of Lisbon (Alfama, for example), you’ll end up paying an average of €35 a night or €300 for a week.
Find out how long it takes to visit Lisbon.
Using Homeaway to Stay in Lisbon
Would you like to stay near the Castelo São Jorge near the Praça do Comércio?
Try HomeAway. As a competitor to Airbnb, HomeAway is owned by Expedia and has over 2 million properties across 190 different countries.
The site works in exactly the same way as Airbnb but with more accommodation. The accommodation tends to be more costly though, even for short stays. You’ll get more results but they’ll tend to be more costly than on Airbnb. Expect to pay at least around €280 a week per person.
The advantage is that you’ll get to stay in some great places next to UNESCO world heritage sites, including the Jerónimos Monastery, and the Tower of Belém.
Not far from the Padrão dos Descobrimentos, a monument to the era of Vasco da Gama and Portuguese explorers that faces outwards to the Atlantic Ocean and the “New World”. You’ll be quite far from the historic centre of Lisbon, though.
The rates will vary depending on the season. Between May and September, expect to pay more than you would in autumn and winter.
Keep in mind that during the high season there’ll be less accommodation available. It’ll be really difficult to find accommodation right in the centre for a whole week in the middle of July.
Find out when the best time to visit Lisbon is.
Where To Stay in Lisbon According to Your Budget
Are you struggling to find a holiday flat in Lisbon?
Don’t worry, you can still have your romantic getaway!
With cheap flights, a 3-day Lisboa Card (€17 per day) that allows you to visit museums, monuments, and use public transport, you’re well on your way to having a great time on a budget.
Even on a small budget, you can make a trip to Portugal very affordable. You can enjoy Lisbon's viewpoints, sandy beaches, picturesque neighbourhoods, and nightlife. If you head to a site like Booking.com, you can find plenty of hotels. For example, a bed in a youth hostel dormitory in Belém (5km from the city centre), costs just €24 for the night or a small shared room just 1.6km from the centre costs €26.
There are tonnes of places and you can search for accommodation and filter your results according to specific criteria.
Does Booking.com sound like a good idea?
You can browse the various offerings and book directly on the site. Of course, the site does take a cut and this is how they make their money.
Anyone can visit Lisbon on a budget. In fact, the same is true if you want to visit Coimbra, the Azores, or Porto! The advantage of a huge range of accommodation to choose from, you can find accommodation near certain neighbourhoods, attractions, etc. It can be tricky finding budget accommodation, even in the low season.
Looking to learn some Portuguese before you go?
Get help from one of the many talented tutors on Superprof. There are three main types of tutorial available on the site: face-to-face tutorials, online tutorials, and group tutorials. There are pros and cons to each and the best one for you really depends on your situation.
Face-to-face tutorials are the most personal and have you and your tutor working together for the whole session. Of course, this bespoke service comes at a cost, making it the most costly type of tutorial available. If shyness has been getting in the way of your language learning, this is probably the best option.
Online tutorials are similar to face-to-face tutorials with the main difference being that the tutor isn't physically in the room with you and you're more likely to find native Portuguese speakers.
Finally, there are group tutorials. In these types of tutorials, there are several students and just one tutor. With all the students sharing the cost of the tutor's time, these tutorials are usually the cheapest per person per hour but each student won't get the bespoke tutoring or one-on-one time that they would in the other types of tutorials.