Budget Hotels in Lisbon: Inexpensive Places to Stay in the Portuguese Capital
By Paul Bernhardt
Lisbon Local Expert
Budget hotels in Lisbon number excellent value 3-star properties, affordable 2-star guesthouses and inexpensive bed and breakfast accommodation. At Casa do Patio Bed & Breakfast in the capital’s Santa Catarina district the emphasis is on comfort and a traditionally styled lodging. Not far away is Evidencia Light Sta Catarina Hotel, another value-for-money option but far more contemporary in style and décor. A little out of the city centre (but on the metro circuit) is Hotel do Chile. Here 2-star amenities are clean, comfortable and wholly adequate for cost-conscious visitors. Pensão Residencial Princesa, now re-branded as Princesa Hotel & Tea, is another 2-star property highly regarded for the quality of guest facilities. Backpackers often make a beeline for the smart Pensão Nova Goa, where the bed and breakfast is entirely adequate. In Saldanha is America Diamond’s Hotel, a modern 3-star that still falls within the manageable budget range and attracts guests seeking a slightly more upmarket overnight stay. Similarly, the Botânico Hotel up in Principe Real is known for its comfortable and stylish presentation, with prices set below the norm for this kind of property. Out beyond the city centre is the 3-star VIP Inn Berna Hotel, useful for those who still require easy access to Lisbon’s main tourist attractions. It’s also handy for the airport! Another hotel on the fringes of the city is the handsome looking and low cost Hotel Ibis Lisboa José Malhão. The South-American themed Amazonia Lisboa Hotel meanwhile, replete with rain forest motifs, also represents great value.
Amazonia Lisboa Hotel
Cheap, cheerful and with one big plus -- an outdoor swimming pool! This South American-themed budget hideaway offers 192 rooms and suites, including two for guests with reduced mobility. Five floors are non-smoking. The décor looks a tad tired, perhaps, and the rain forest motifs look out of place. But that's hardly the point. For a place to sleep in a European capital city without breaking the bank, staying in the "Amazon" is an option worth exploring. The hotel is a little tricky to find; it's based in a quiet residential zone between Marquês de Pombal and Rato but it's only a short walk to the Metro station and several bus stops. Guest services include Wi-Fi (at a surcharge) in the public areas and rooms from 5th to 8th floors, and a bar-lounge. Unless you book online, breakfast is not included in the rate.
Hotel Ibis Lisboa Jose Malhoa
There are a number of Ibis hotels located in around Lisbon but this one is particularly good value in that it falls within a budget price bracket while reaming in earshot of Lisbon city centre. The property is located near Praça de Espanha (where the world-class Museu Calouste Gulbenkian is situated) so benefits from excellent public transport links. Of the 211 rooms, 62 are connected (good for families!) and six have been adapted for guests with reduced mobility. All rooms enjoy ensuite bathroom facilities and amenities extend to flat-screen TV and Wi-Fi internet access. Air-conditioning is standard. A bar in the lobby sells drinks and snacks. A buffet breakfast (extra) is served between 6.30am and 12 noon. While there's not much to see or do in the immediate vicinity, there are plenty of good cafés and restaurants.
VIP Inn Berna Hotel
Functional and practical, this large 3-star property is sited away from Lisbon's historical heart although it's very near Campo Pequeno metro station and several bus stops that serve the city centre. With 240 rooms, including two suites, the VIP Inn Berna is a useful option for those travelling on a budget but who still seek a modicum of style and comfort. That said there's little in the way of onsite guest amenities, with facilities geared more towards the business traveller (the hotel has five conference rooms). Wi-fi is available in all public areas and there is private parking. A buffet breakfast is included in the rate, but full dining options are reserved for large groups. The upside for hungry tourists is that there are plenty of bars and eateries in the vicinity.
Named after its proximity to the city's Jardim Botânico, this 30-room 3-star choice is a useful option for those wishing to explore nearby Bairro Alto and Principe Real, districts known for their nightlife, and who don't mind a bit of a climb (the hotel is situated half way up a steep hill with narrow sidewalks). Accommodation is fairly basic but clean, comfortable and with ensuite bathroom. Rooms are equipped with TV, mini-bar and benefit from air-conditioning. Guests staying in Superior double rooms on the upper levels are greeted with sparkling wine on arrival and can enjoy city views from their windows. Breakfast is included in the rate, which is very competitive for a 3-star. Prices dip even further during the winter season.
America Diamond's Hotel
Although falling into a more upscale budget category, this quirkily-named 3-star hotel deserves special mention for the excellent value afforded guests, all of whom point out the high standard of rooms and amenities, and professionalism of the staff. Accommodation comprises 60 rooms of single, double and triple units with ensuite bathrooms -- some even have Jacuzzis -- set over eight floors. The property, a building dating from the early 1950s and of considerable architectural merit, is located in the heart of Lisbon's commercial district and is just a few metres away from Picoas Metro station and several bus stops. Guest facilities include free Wi-Fi throughout and panoramic breakfast saloon on the upper floors where a nourishing buffet is offered that's included in the room rate.
Pensao Nova Goa
Smack bang in the middle of everything is this no-nonsense budget abode with its 42 rooms, all with private bathroom, satellite TV and air-conditioning. A recent makeover has left the exterior gleaming and while the interior is rather uninspiring in design, this place is all about staying in a clean, safe environment with some of Lisbon's most alluring visitor attractions on the doorstep. The seasonal rates include a simple breakfast that can be supplemented by anyone of the excellent cafés lining nearby Praça de Figueira. The front desk is staffed by courteous individuals who happily impart useful, local knowledge to send you in the right direction for great value Portuguese food, cheap bars and fun night out.
Pensao Residencial Princesa
Now re-branded as the Princesa Hotel & Tea, this smart 2-star property benefits from a major refurbishment that has seen the interior themed around tea, with each of the hotel's four floors named after a particular blend of this wonderful beverage, colour co-ordinated in natural tones and individually furnished. Single, double or triple air-conditioned rooms are available, and all have ensuite bathroom facilities. Upper tier rooms at the front of the building afford pleasant city views. Guest facilities include free Wi-Fi in the lobby, and there's a lounge and bar. Breakfast is served at a modest surcharge. The hotel is slightly off the beaten path, about a 15-minute walk from Marquês de Pombal, but its budget credentials makes the effort to find it makes it worthwhile.
Hotel Do Chile
This comfortable and centrally located 2-star lodging is applauded for its friendly service and excellent vale for money. The 35 double or triple rooms, all with ensuite bathrooms, are relatively spacious, fully soundproofed and have air-conditioning. Guest amenities extend to satellite TV (50 channels) and Wi-Fi. Some of the rooms open on to a small balcony. Wheelchair access is available for those with mobility issues -- another reason why this unassuming property wins in the popularity stakes. Breakfast is available at a small surcharge and there's a (tiny) bar. The hotel is just a five-minute walk from Arroios Metro station, which is linked to the airport, and is ideal for those on a tight budget seeking a low cost city break.
Evidencia Light Sta Catarina Hotel
Located a short walk from Lisbon's vibrant Bairro Alto district, this is an ideal place to stay if you're travelling on a budget but still appreciate style and some comfort. More habitat than hotel, rooms here can accommodate 2 or 3 occupants and accommodation options range from 13 double bedrooms with ensuite facilities and 3 triple bedrooms, also with ensuite facilities. The refreshing apple-green décor matches the mood -- bright and breezy. The vibe is communal, the character irreverent. This is a young, friendly hang out that manages to maintain a whiff of sophistication about it. Blog or catch up on emails in the lounge or just relax with a drink under hanging lanterns on the outside terrace. Note that breakfast is not served.
Casa do Patio Bed & Breakfast
This traditional Portuguese patio townhouse has been transformed into a delightful boutique guesthouse. The 8 rooms are designed for 2, 3 or 4 persons and are individually decorated in a fresh and contemporary manner to complement the original architecture -- all sloping ceilings, wooden flooring and rustic furniture. All rooms are air-conditioned and have private bathrooms. Guest amenities include cable TV and wireless internet. During fine weather the full breakfast, brimming with delicious homemade goodies, can be taken on the cobblestone open-air terrace and is served with fine views of the surrounding Santa Catarina district. Despite its quiet location, the guesthouse is only a five-minute walk from the bars and restaurants in Bairro Alto.
About Paul Bernhardt
Paul Bernhardt cut his teeth as a press photographer in England before leaving the UK to settle in Portugal, where he has lived for over a decade, and where he started to focus on more travel-related topics. He has journeyed the length and breadth of his adopted homeland and its islands, interacting with locals and photographing a fascinating range of subjects.
Paul waxes lyrical for a number of specialist travel magazines, blogs and websites, and Lisbon is a frequent subject. In fact, he never tires of rediscovering this most beguiling city, usually over a coffee at his favorite downtown café.
Read more about Paul Bernhardt here.