Lisbon Budget Tips

Lisbon Budget Tips - Lisbon, Portugal

Keeping to a budget in Lisbon is easier than it is in many cities. Take advantage of Lisbon's free sights and its myriad cultural activities, and you'll really experience Lisbon life without burning a hole in your wallet.

Tourist Office Information

We always recommend stopping by the tourist office as soon as possible. Lisbon's tourist offices bear the name Ask Me Lisboa and carry loads of information and pamphlets detailing special events.

The Welcome Center at Praça do Comércio is the main tourist office for the city, and is open daily from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. There is also an information desk in the Arrivals Hall of the airport, which is open from 8 a.m. until midnight. Another tourist information office is located in the International Hall of the Santa Apolónia Train Station. It is open from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

The Welcome Center can also be reached online.

Always be sure to ask the staff at your hotel for information and tips about things to see and do in Lisbon. We find that in Lisbon, as elsewhere, hotel staff are often full of great tips and suggestions.

Museum Prices and Passes

In Lisbon, museums are only part of the action. Don't be afraid to cheer at a football game or visit a fado house to hear a few local tunes. And bullfights are (relatively) humane in Portugal: Bullfighters don't kill the bull.

Most museums in Lisbon are inexpensive by Western European standards. Prices for admission to popular museums in Lisbon :

Mosteiro dos Jeronimos: €7 (adults); €3.50 (reduced); free (children under 14); free to all on Sundays and holidays until 2 p.m.

Museu Nacional de Arqueologia: €5 (adults); €2.50 (reduced); free (children under 14); free to all on Sundays and holidays from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.

Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga (site in Portugese): €5 (adults); €2.50 (reduced); free (children under 14); free to all on Sundays and holidays until 2 p.m.

Museu Calouste Gulbenkian: €4 (adults); free (reduced); combination ticket (also good for Modern Art Center) €7; free to all on Sundays

The Lisboa Card grants carriers discount entrance fees to museums as well as free rides on the CARRIS system. They are sold at Palacio da Foz, The Welcome Center at Praça do Comercio and the Ask Me tourist desk at the airport, among various other tourist spots around town.

The 24-hour card is €17.50 for adults and €10.50 for children 5-11 years of age. The 48-hour card is €29.50 for adults and €15.50 for children. The 72-hour card costs €36 for adults and €18.50 for children. For more information visit the Ask Me L¿sboa Web site.

Free Sights

The Basilica da Estrela is Dona Maria I's thanks to god for granting her a male heir. Part of the Lisbon skyline, the dome dates back to 1796. It holds a nativity scene from the 10th century and is home to ornate wall paintings. And guess what, Cheapos: It's free.

Sunday is the day of freebies in Lisbon. If you do your research you'll find that many Lisbon museums offer free admission until 2 p.m. on Sundays and holidays. (We've done some of the scouting for you in our above museum price list.)

Many Lisbon parks attract photographers, romantics and children in equal numbers. One EuroCheapo favorite is Jardim da Estrela (site in Portugese). A garden surrounded by parks, Jardim da Estrela serves as a wonderful vantage point for the appreciation of the Basilica da Estrela next door. Walk through the Parque de Sao Pedro de Alcantara and then through the Parque Principe Real to get to the Jardim. The most fantastic flora in Lisbon awaits you. Benches, cypress trees and tropical flowers all invite the public to kick back and enjoy themselves.

Festa e Santos Populares (site in Portugese) is the biggest party of the year and is celebrated throughout Portugal throughout June. On the eve of the feast of Saint Anthony, June 13th, even the smallest Portuguese towns explode. Multi-colored banners, ribbons, concerts and general revelry enliven every settlement in the country. During the annual parade, confetti falls onto Av. de Liberdade. Young people crowd the streets of Alfama. Grilled sardines (sardinhas) and wild cherry liqueur (ginginha) can be found everywhere. Your mission, should you have the good fortune to be in Portugal in mid-June: Eat, drink, and rejoice.

Senior Discounts

Senior travelers will find some discounts in Lisbon, but not as many as in other cities and countries. Members of the AARP receive discounts on hotels, airfares and car rentals in Lisbon. They can be reached at in the United States at 1-888-687-2277 or visited online.

Student Discounts

The International Student Identity Card, ISIC, the most widely accepted form of student ID, provides discounts on sights, accommodations, food and transportation. Some places offer admission discounts of 20%-50% to ISIC members. All cardholders have access to a 24-hour emergency helpline. In the US call 1-800-223-7986 or visit the ISIC online Applicants must be degree seekers of a secondary or post-secondary school and must be at least 12 years of age. The card costs US$22 and is valid until the end of the year issued.

For non-students 25 years or younger, the International Youth Card, IYTC, also offers many of the same benefits as the ISIC. The card costs US$22 and is valid for one year from the date issue.

Travelers with student cards, such as ISIC and IYTC qualify for big discounts from travel agencies. Most flights from budget agencies are on major airlines, though peak season deals might be on less reliable chartered aircraft.

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