Portugal is a land of opposites. It is deeply influenced by both Christian and Islamic cultures, stretches from the semiarid Alentejo region to the wild Atlantic Coast, and boasts both the height of architecture and some beautifully remote areas.
With all that at your fingertips, wrapped up in a country only 2/3 the size of Florida, you’re bound to have a fabulous time.
Its delicious cuisine, fame as a winemaking destination, and gorgeous cities such as Porto and Lisbon make it the perfect place for a pair of lovebirds to spend a week.
Portugal is old, too. If you love ancient history, then you won’t lack for entertainment.
“Once continental Europe’s greatest power, Portugal shares commonalities — geographic and cultural — with the countries of both northern Europe and the Mediterranean,” explains Encyclopedia Brittanica.
It has variously been inhabited by Celts, Greeks, and Romans, and it bears the marks of all of its settlers. It is said that Lisbon was founded by no less than Odysseus himself.
Today, travelers to Portugal delight in its ruins and its orchards, parks and beaches, crusty breads and fine cheeses. If you want the biggest sardines of your life – and the interesting experience of removing the fish from the bones in sheets, à la a French chef… well, you’ll find that here too.
The only question remains… how can you make it as affordable as possible? Read on to find out.
Average Trip to Portugal Cost in 2023
An average one-week trip to Portugal for two people will cost around $4,100:
- Average Accommodation Cost: $125 per night
- Average Flight Cost: $1,000 per person
- Food, Drink & Activities: $75 per person, per day
- Transportation: $150 total
- Total Cost: $4,100
Portugal is not on the more affordable end of trips overall, if you’re taking the entire globe into account, but it is pretty well-priced for Europe.
“While more expensive than many Eastern European countries on the list, Portugal is the cheapest country in Western Europe,” explains World Population Review.
“Portugal offers a warm climate, access to the ocean, and a high level of safety. Prices in Portugal are about one-half or even one-third of other Western European countries.”
The only item of note is that this is changing. Says the same source, “It is gaining popularity in recent years, especially among retirees, so prices are expected to rise.”
Of course, these statements apply to living in Portugal, not visiting it, but you will always have a trickle-down effect from the overall economy into the travel sphere. That means if you’ve always dreamed of coming here, now’s the time!
With that in mind, what should a couple budget for an average week in Portugal? Good question. Let’s take a look at hotels, flights, food and drink, activities, and transportation to find out.
Portugal Trip Cost: Average by Item
It’s hard to say exactly what a trip will cost. There are so many factors that play into prices – such as what time of year you travel, how many stars your hotel has, how you and your companion like to vacation, and where you like to eat – that the final cost will vary quite a bit from couple to couple.
The following sections will help you gauge your starting point, though, so that you can build a budget and itinerary that reflects your goals and financial situation.
As with anywhere else, you can pay as much as you want to for hotels in Portugal. There are plenty of resorts to be found, especially along the Mediterranean. Such luxury options range from $300 a night up to $1,000 or more.
Don’t let that discourage you, though. There are also budget options. In Lisbon, Portugal’s capital city and the place into which most American travelers will fly, you can get hotels for between $100 and $150 a night.
In Porto, the second most popular destination in the country, hotel prices are right in that same $125 average range.
In Madeira, an island located in the Atlantic (famous for its mountains, turquoise waters, and eponymous cooking wine), costs are a bit higher. Plan to pay more like $150 to $175 a night. Still, for the price shopper, $125 is a good nightly estimate for two.
Hostels are another budget option. You can find some single dorm beds for $20, while others range from $40 on up.
For couples, that averages to between $40 and $80 a night, so it represents hundreds of dollars of savings overall – at the cost of far less romance, since you’re sharing rooms with other solo sleepers.
Pro tip: if you’re a pro-risk traveler, you can try booking last-minute lodging in Portugal. This is an especially good tactic during the low season, when hotels and Airbnb/VRBO owners are trying to fill slots during downtime.
However, it does mean you might get stuck with whatever’s available, which is not the best recipe for relaxation or romance.
The average cost of a round-trip ticket from New York to Portugal is about $700, rising to about $1,000 if you fly out of Los Angeles. You’ll pay less if you avoid summer, holiday, and spring break fares.
You can save money on your tickets by booking international and domestic flights separately.
While you will pay more to fly out of a regional airport to a hub either way, wrapping your domestic airfare into the cost of an overseas ticket can see significant, and unnecessary, increases. Make sure to price-shop and book tickets about 10-12 months in advance.
This gives you the most choice and carries no penalty for not waiting. On average, you should plan to spend about $1,000 to fly out of anywhere in the US.
Food, Drink & Activity Costs
Portugal is such as fun place in which to plan all kinds of activities. Love castles and ruins? You’re all set. Try the Castelo de Silves, an 8th-century construction that used to be occupied by Moors.
Check out the 3. Museu Monográfico de Conimbriga for well-preserved Roman ruins that include amphitheaters and more. Castela de Beja is a medieval castle resting on ancient Roman foundations.
Many ruins are free, while some have low-cost admissions. Boat tours are quite affordable.
Even in expensive Madeira, you’ll pay between $30 and $75 for whale-watching or coastline-hugging trips that give you a glimpse of island life.
The same is true along the Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts, where you can find budget options. Food and drink are reasonable, as long as you stay out of nice restaurants and stick to cafes and street stalls instead.
A cheap restaurant meal – which isn’t to say it’s not good! – is about $10, and a cappuccino about $2. The grocery store prices are roughly equivalent to the US.
You’ll pay $1.50 for a loaf of fresh bread, $4.50 for local cheese, $1 for a pound of apples, and $4 for a gallon of milk. This makes it easy to fund breakfast, lunch, and snacks on a workaday grocery budget.
Overall, budget about $75 a day for food, drink, and activities. You can easily feed yourself and do one low- or medium-priced activity per person, per day, for this amount.
Public transportation in Portugal is affordable and efficient. They offer buses, trains, and/or trams in most cities, and transportation between cities is cheap as well.
The train between Lisbon and Porto is about 4 hours and only $15 or less for a one-way trip, making it a lovely tourist activity as well as a low-priced way to get around.
Taxis are expensive, so skip them. A typical ride in Portugal will average about $10 for a 6-mile ride, which isn’t cheap, and $17 for each hour it waits for you.
You’re better off using other options unless it truly is the most convenient choice. If you have to take a taxi instead of an Uber, make sure to check the meter and agree on a price before you start driving.
Renting a car is affordable in Portugal. You can get a mini for only $5 a day, and Portugal’s roads make driving easy. Taking all modes of transport into account, plan to spend about $150 for both of you over the course of the week.
Things to Consider
Here are a few other things to consider when planning your trip to Portugal:
- Renting rooms in private homes is an extremely budget-friendly option. If you’re the type who loves talking to locals, then you can try this strategy. It’s an especially smart one if you’re traveling alone and want safety and companionship. Just make sure to book through a vetted site, such as Airbnb, VRBO, or CouchSurfing.
- You absolutely must try the Serra da Estrela cheese. Soft, spreadable, and butter-yellow, it is salty and intense and like nothing else you’ve ever tried. Its subtlety comes partly from the fact that it’s made of sheep’s milk, and partly from the ancient recipe that dates back to the 12th century. Take a minute to travel back in time by putting it on your itinerary!
- Pensão are small inns run by families. In English, they’re usually referred to as “farm stays.” These may save you money, depending where you go, and they’re located in charming rural areas and often offer breakfast or other meals. It’s a great way to see the countryside.
- Domestic flights are cheap, but they’re not faster than train travel. We recommend the tracks if you want to make the most of your travel time.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some frequently asked questions about budgeting your trip to Portugal:
Do I need a visa to travel to Portugal?
If you are a US citizen and will be staying in Portugal for less than 90 days, then you do not need a visa. Your passport is fine, provided it is valid for at least 3 months past the date of your planned return.
Also, note that Portugal is part of the border-free Schengen Agreement. That means you can travel to any other Schengen country without border checks or passport stamps.
What currency does the country use?
Portugal uses the euro. Dollars are not accepted. You can save money by getting euros at your bank before leaving home, avoiding airport kiosks, and using credit cards. Just watch out for foreign transaction fees, which can come back to bite you.
When is the best time to visit Portugal?
There are two answers to the often-asked question “What’s the best time to visit Portugal?” They fall into the budget category and the I Want The Tiptop Experience category.
For budget concerns, avoid the summer months, the holidays, and spring break. The months surrounding these will all see lower hotel and airfare prices, better deals on tours, and cheaper everything else.
For weather, go during late spring, summer, and fall. Summer is ideal if you want to do a lot of lying around in resorts or at the beach. Spring and fall are the best times for those who want milder weather in which to walk, hike, and tour ruins.
Can I speak English in Portugal?
You can speak English in Portugal. Some travelers report it is actually harder to get someone to speak to them in Portuguese, so there’s no need to worry about phrasebooks and translation apps here.
What are the best ways to save money?
Booking hostels, rooms in private homes, or couchsurfing are all budget accommodation options. Using Portugal’s public transportation is another way to save money.
The country offers lots of delicious, affordable food at its grocery stores, so that’s a great way to go for lunches and snacks – and breakfast, if your lodging doesn’t offer a complimentary morning meal.
Over to You — Book Your Trip Today!
|🛎️ Average Accommodation Cost||$125 per night|
|✈️ Average Flight Cost||$1,000 per person|
|🍽️ Food, Drink & Activities||$75 per person, per day|
|🚕 Transportation||$150 total|
|💲 Total Cost||$4,100|
The average cost of a one-week trip to Portugal is around $4,100 for two people. For pure romance, amazing food, turquoise waters, and lovely hotels, you can’t do better than Portugal. Happy travels!