Lisbon; an overlooked frugal holiday destination

 

As I write this, I am on a plane journey, and not a very glamorous one at that. I’ve often wondered if the monumental expense that goes into flying business or first class is really worth it… now, I’m a woman who enjoys some luxe, but I just can’t make sense of how much it costs – the figures are just madness – and all I see is a list of things I could be buying with that money… now I’m all for holidays if you can afford them, but something about first class lasting such a short time makes me feel cheated out of money that I could be spending at my destination…

For example, a BA flight from London to NYC will cost you £1274 in Economy class and £5556 for Business Class!

Not as glam as NYC, but hubby and I are on our way to Lisbon for a couple of nights to celebrate being 7 years married. We came here for the first time waaaay back in February 2016 (ahem) to celebrate his 30th birthday, but sadly spent most of our three days away laying in bed after being hit with the same bug we’d just nursed our boys through. Now, anybody with kids our age knows that getting to just recover in peace is actually pretty heavenly so we didn’t complain too much but it has to be said that we felt we’d done Lisbon a real disservice by barely scratching the surface… so we were only back a week when we decided to book to return.


Booking two city breaks to the same destination in one year is decidedly not the appropriate behaviour of someone in the process of trying to save £25k… but hear me out! Lisbon is cheap. So cheap. Not like Prague in the early days cheap, but for what you get, it’s a steal.

For our visit in February, we got:

  • Return flights from Dublin
  • Three nights B&B in the
  • Junior suite of a 5 Star Hotel
  • Access to their executive lounge and thus, free wine, beer, nibbles and spectacular views…

all for £360. Not each, that’s £360 total!

I assume that price was down to a couple of things; February is not a popular time for Lisbon (we didn’t see why, the weather was fine – like the early autumn weather here) and because I booked so far in advance. For our trip in February, I’d booked the previous July.
When we booked to return, we got flights + 2 nights in a deluxe room with access to the executive lounge for £250, so you can see why it was a bit of a no brainer. Especially as we hadn’t spent much money on our first trip what with being flat out on the bathroom floor for most of it.

We stayed in the same hotel both times, The Corinthia Lisboa. The hotel’s character is a lot like the city in general – beautiful but understated. The service is very friendly without being overbearing. We paid extra for access to their Executive Lounge on the top floor which has all manner of perks such as snacks, soft drinks, wine and computer access.

Once there, you can eat and drink quite reasonably too. When we had a sit down meal we found that two main courses and a glass of wine came to around €20 if we were eating somewhere mid-range. When we snacked on the go, food was very reasonable – like this giant chocolate croissant below for only €1 + 19,000 calories.

Travel on the metro is super quick and gets you everywhere you could want to visit, even Belem Tower which is a little far out from the city centre. We paid €12.50 each for a two day travel pass which got us unlimited journeys all over the city and even knocked 70% off the price of a ticket on the famous Santa Justa Lift in the Baixa district (great shopping!!)

Elevador de Santa Justa – such beautiful views of the city.
This huge croissant has a least a jar of nutella inside and cost €1!

So, if you’re counting the pennies and really fancy a quick trip away, I can’t reccommend Lisbon enough. You’ll feel like you’ve been to Paris but spend like you went for an overnight in Belfast.

g.

geraldine@cheapandcheery.co.uk

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