Cost summary: 5 weeks in Portugal
Portugal is a wonderful country full of interesting travel destinations, but how is it from cost perspective? In this post we open up the expenses of our 5 weeks trip around the country in April and May 2018. It includes also all the costs of our 2 weeks road trip in Alentejo, Algarve and Estremadura regions by a rental car.
We started the trip from Lisbon, and stayed for a few days in the capital and in smaller towns around it. Then we had an opportunity to stay for one week house-sitting in the countryside near Santarem, north from Lisbon. During these first weeks we were working quite lot, so basically living nomad life rather than traveling around. Back in the capital, we rented a car and headed south to explore Alentejo and Algarve regions, and after that to Estremadura region north from Lisbon.
In total, we were in Portugal 35 days, and spent 1 559,96 €, which is 44,57 € per day for two of us together. It’s more than we spent in Greece for example, but still nicely under our longer term budget target of 50 € / day for two. This trip to Portugal included quite a lot traveling around and sightseeing, since it was our first time in the country and we wanted to see different parts of it. This quite naturally increases the costs compared to staying in one location longer.
During the five weeks trip we changed locations quite quickly, mostly staying just a couple of nights in one place. We booked most of the accommodations via Airbnb, but also used booking.com. It’s recommended to check the price level from both of those platforms; even if most of the time Airbnb rooms were the cheapest option, we found some nice offers and last minute deals via booking.com. We stayed in double rooms in Lisbon, Paco de Argos, Amora, Almograve, Alvor, Sao Domingos, Lavre, Consolacao and in a village outside Sinra, and were house sitting near Santarem for 9 nights.
All in all the accommodation costs were 559,23 €. The most expensive accommodation was a hotel room in Mina de Sao Domingos, 29,25 € per night. In average, we paid 21,51 € for a night (counting out the time that we were house sitting and thus not paying for the accommodation), which is above our long term average but still bearable. We traveled outside the summer season, so it was quite easy to find reasonably priced hostels with a short notice even in tourist towns, but during the high season, especially in August, it’s wise to book well ahead.
Eating and drinking
When staying in Airbnbs or hostels with kitchen, we prepared most of the meals ourselves, so grocery costs were once again much higher than restaurant costs. In general, food is reasonably priced in Portugal, and even the cheapest wines (like house wine in restaurants) were of decent quality. We usually paid 25 to 30 euros for a dinner for two in a restaurant, including wine, and for a lunch, with one drink, 15 to 20 euros for two.
All together, grocery costs were 423,97 € and restaurant bills 227,85 €. That sums up to 651,82 € for all food and drinks during five weeks, which means that we used 18,62 € per day for eating and drinking (9,31 € / day per person).
Traveling costs for five weeks sum up to 347,91 €. This includes the rental car for two weeks (124,40 € including the electronic road toll device that we didn’t actually even need) and fuel (154,06 €; 95 gasoline was around 1,55 € / liter, diesel around 1,35 / liter). There are also metro and train tickets in Lisbon and surroundings and to Santarem, some parking fees and one road toll for Vasco da Gama Bridge (2,80 €). Our travel partner airBaltic offered the flights to and from Lisbon, so there are no flight ticket costs included in this summary.
Fitness costs and other costs
From fitness point of view our trip to Portugal was a bit catastrophic. We were hiking and running quite often, but didn’t go to gym at all. This is mostly because we were busy traveling and often stayed the nights in such places where we couldn’t even find a gym. In Alvor (Algarve) we tried to visit one, but it was a bit too fancy and expensive for us. In Sao Domingos there was supposed to be a gym in our hotel, but it was of course under renovation at the time of our visit… So no gym costs in Portugal. No other costs either, except 1 euro for toilets in a mall.
To sum it up, traveling in Portugal is possible with a tight budget, at least outside the high season and when avoiding the most touristic destinations. Car rentals are very affordable (compare the prices and try to find the best deals, we found a very cheap car using AutoEurope) and fuel is reasonably priced too. Eating out is always more expensive than cooking, so if you want to save some bucks, rent rooms that have an access to kitchen. You could also check out the cost-free accommodation options like couch-surfing and house-sitting, especially if you are planning to stay in the country for a bit longer time than just for a short vacation.