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Posted by on Jan 2, 2014 in Countries, Portugal | 10 comments

Backpacking in Lisbon – on a budget!

Backpacking in Lisbon – on a budget!

Lisbon is Europe’s best kept secret. The westerner southern capital is probably one of the most beautiful, breathtaking and not overwhelmingly touristy European gems. 

You’ll fall in love with Lisboa. This is a city famous for it’s Portuguese hospitality, for the friendly welcoming people, the great food, incredible sites and lot’s of history. Portugal has the oldest borders in Europe, therefore a very ancient history. It was from Lisbon that sailors went out and about to discover new lands, finding the Americas, India and Africa. Come and enjoy a day backpacking in Lisbon on a budget!

Wake up at one of the best hostels in the world (Lisbon has been winning hostelworld prices non-stop) and head to the “Brasileira” café and pastry shop for breakfast, in Chiado.


Rua Garrett 120, 1200 Lisboa
21 346 9541

backpacking in Lisbon

One of Lisbon’s historical cafes


The Brasileira is one of the oldest and most beautiful cafes in Lisbon. It opened in 19 of November 1905 by Adriano Telles to sell genuine Brazilian coffee, an unappreciated product by then. This cafe is filled with a magnificent Noveau art decor, used to be the intellectual and artist meeting point in the early 20th century, one of the most famous being Fernando Pessoa, a Portuguese poet whose statue can be found at the esplanade.  Here you can have a fairly affordable breakfast and refill your energies for a free walking tour.

At 10 am head to Praca Camoes, just a 3 minute walk from the Brasileira and meet the wonderful tour guides of “the chill out tours” for a free walking tour through historic Lisbon.

Chill out Free Tours: Here

Free/donation based

backpacking in Lisbon on a budget

Praca Luis de Camoes – meeting point for the Free tours

This tour will take you to the areas of Bairro Alto- famous for it’s night life and bohemian vibe. You’ll visit the neighborhood of Carmo, where you can see the remains of the “ruins of Carmo” that survived the impact of the devastating earth quake and later Tsunami that completely wiped the city out. You’ll visit the center and head to Mouraria, one of the most picturesque and traditional neighborhoods of Lisbon with it’s little narrow streets and unique architecture. These guys know their city well and will show you magical spots traditional tourist don’t usually see. Free tours are a great asset if you’re backpacking in Lisbon.

The chill out free tours offer a real experience of Lisbon, not just a shallow visit of the monuments. You’ll learn about the Portuguese mentality, culture and way of life, through the eyes of the amazing volunteer guides who love their city!

The free tours are the best way to explore Lisbon

It should be lunch time by now, so head down hill to the “Food temple” the one and only vegan restaurant in Lisbon. They serve the best quality vegan food at great prices and you can rest from your previous tour in the quiet little street of the Food Temple restaurant, where you’ll forget you’re in the city center. For about 1.15€ you can have home cooked soups at every restaurant and most cafés around town.

Take the tram and head to Belem, home of the most beautiful monuments and sights in Lisbon. Most monuments and museums are FREE during Sunday morning.  If you’re full of energy, rent a bike and ride it along the river. There’s a bike lane all the way through and the road is flat. You’ll definitely have a great experience.

Once in Belem, visit the famous pastry shop “Pasteis de Belem”. You’ll notice the line is absolutely gigantic, but don’t worry! Do what the locals do, go inside and seat at the café, where you can enjoy you pastel de Belem and a coffee without having to wait in line. This pastry shop is filled with history and you’ll notice its inside is huge. Most tourist just wait in line and then leave, not even realizing how ancient the tiles that cover the walls are, or without noticing you can watch the ladies preparing the pastries through the window glass.


pasteis de Belem, Lisbon

Belem, one of the most beautiful parts of Lisbon

Take the whole afternoon to explore Belem. It’s one of the most interesting parts of Lisbon and it was from here that sailors made their way to Africa and the Americas for the first time in history!

Belem has enough monuments to entertain you till late.

Take the tram back to central Lisbon and if it’s a Thursday, head to the weekly vegan dinner for backpackers and couchsurfers I organise at a non-profit organization called the RDA69. If it’s any other day of the week, this Canteen will still be rocking full gas, offering amazing vegan meals on a daily basis. A full meal will cost you 3€  (soup + main dish) and you’ll meet other like minded folks and spend a great evening chatting about traveling the world and other adventures.

RDA69 – Rua Regueirao dos Anjos, 69 , Lisboa

Vegan food in Lisbon, vegan backpacking in Lisbon

Vegan food in Lisbon


After dinner, it’s time to party at Bairro alto or listen to some live music. Bairro alto has all sorts of bars, cafes for all budgets and all tastes, just choose which ones is passing your favorite type of music. Enjoy your evening with a fresh Portuguese beer till late at night.

If you want to experience the traditional Fado, head to Tasca do Chico, where you won’t have to pay entrance and will enjoy one of the very best Fado Vadio night! I’ve been there and had a blast without breaking my wallet!

Tasca do Chico  / free entrance

Rua do Diário de Notícias 39, 1200 Lisbon

Fado night at Tasca do Chico Lisbon

Fado night at Tasca do Xico


You’ve been enjoying Lisbon for a whole day by now, on a budget and without a boring moment! Backpacking in Lisbon is cheap, safe and a lot of fun! Take advantage of this city while it’s still not overly touristy.


*** THIS IS NOT A SPONSORED POST – all opinions and tips are honest and unbiased based on my experience ***


  1. Argh you’re killing me. Portugal and Spain are still on my bucket list -we didn’t make it that far west in Europe!

    • :) The day you visit Spain and Portugal you won’t wanna leave!
      If you ever head over here, let me know, I might be able to show you around!

  2. Liked Lisbon, but it’s full of shady creeps… Isn’t it?
    …it’s full of stray cats as well.
    Great selection of photos you have there, by the way!
    I hope they keep the old trams in Lisbon…

    • I’ve heard people complaining about some “creepy drug dealers” (who happen to be from other nationalities other that Portuguese), who offer drugs to tourists. I see them often, but they obviously don’t come after me, since I’m not a tourist. Mostly they just ask if you want haxixe or pot. They’re not dangerous just annoying. They scam people according to what I’ve heard, they’re not “real drug dealers.

      … stray cats. Cat’s live perfectly well on their own, mostly they’re fed by old ladies who are cat lovers. :)

    • If I’m around, I’ll show you the best spots most people who visit never get to see :) The hidden gems I won’t even writ about in my blog :)

  3. I’ll be there May 21st for two days, and I definitely will be stopping by for some vegan yummies!! Thanks for the awesome guide!!

    • Really? Then you’ll have to go for a vegan dinner, or lunch :) 3€ a full meal, can’t get any better than that! Unfortunately, I won’t be here in May, I’ll be traveling, so we won’t meet at those dinners, but I’m sure you’ll have a blast and will meet amazing travelers there.

  4. I want to go back to Lisbon now! Thanks for sharing these amazing tips with us!

    • Come on over! I’ll guide you through the hidden gems of Lisbon if I’m around :)

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