For many migrants in Portugal, it can be difficult to settle into a new country or city. However, making this move gives people a great excuse to go out and discover more about the new place they’re living in, a chance to dive into the culture and history of their city. But how can we do this on a budget?
Anyone who has ever visited Lisbon will know it as ‘the city of 7 hills’. Although this does mean a lot more work when it comes to walking around town, this gives Lisbon the advantage of having some beautiful viewpoints to boast about. These are just gardens or squares right on the top of a hill, which offers stunning views over the entire city. A few that we would recommend are Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara and Miradouro da Senhora do Monte.
Lisbon is home to many different and curious markets. There is something for everyone, with markets like the Mercado da Ribeira for the foodies, Mercado do Jardim for the craft lovers, and flea markets like Feira da Ladra for those looking for bargain homeware. Free to attend, but it’s up to you to not spend all your money once you get there!
There are loads of brilliant and beautiful beaches close to Lisbon which you can take advantage of! The beaches themselves are free for you to relax on, however, to get to most beaches will require you to take a train. These trains are usually very inexpensive, with the more expensive beaches being those in Cascais, which will only cost you just under 5 euros for a return ticket. If you don’t mind going a little further and paying a little more, you can take a ferry across the river to Costa da Caparica.
- Lisbon & Estoril Film Festival 2016
As an extra for all of you film lovers out there, there is the Lisbon and Estoril Film Festival happening between the 4th and the 13th of November! There will be film showings, concerts and exhibitions. All ticket prices are under 10 euros, and there are different prices depending on what you want to see!
Although it may not be everybody’s cup of tea, museums are a great way to spend a couple of hours, and you could even learn something! There are lots of museums around Porto to explore, and some of them, including the Port wine museum and the photography museum are free to visit on weekends! You can also visit the popular contemporary art museum Museu Serralves for free on the first Sunday of each month until 1pm!
- Gardens and Parks
There are some beautiful parks and gardens in Porto which are a great way to get out of the house without spending a penny! The Jardim do Palácio de Cristal is a beautiful example, with a variety of different flowers and wildlife, including peacocks! Another popular nature spot is the Parque de São Roque, completely free entry and beautiful for an afternoon stroll!
- Ribeira and the Luís I Bridge
In 1996 the riviera in Porto was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site for it’s beautiful and historic buildings. It is the perfect spot for an afternoon wander, or just a break from the house. We also mustn’t forget the Luís I Bridge! It may not be an easy walk, and not for those afraid of heights, however the view from the top is absolutely spectacular, and definitely worth the hike. Plus, it’s completely free!
- Igreja de Santa Cruz
There are many historical gems to see in Coimbra, one of which being the Santa Cruz monastery. This Romanesque church has beautiful manueline design, and with free entry you will be in awe of it’s beauty. For any religious travellers, the church hold regular services to attend and enjoy.
- Mosteiro de Santa Clara-a-Velha
No longer a running monastery, this site offers the remains of a convent founded in 1283. This monastery was flooded by the River Mondego, which meant that the monastery itself was abandoned, but is a beautiful place to wander around and explore for an hour or two.
- Praça do Comércio
This square, surrounded by cafes and boutique stores is an exciting hub of activity. It would be a cheap and pleasurable way to settle in to the Portuguese culture to sit out with a coffee or ice cream, and simply watch as the people get on with their own business. Also, on the fourth Saturday of each month, Praça do Comércio hosts a flea market which is a great opportunity to wander round and meet some locals whilst browsing for a bargain!
One of the most impressive monuments in Leiria has to be the castle, which stands beautifully on the top of the hill in Leiria. It is a tough walk to get up there, but definitely worth it when you look over the view of the whole of Leiria! Plus with entrance fees of under 5 euros, it is definitely worth a visit!
- Mercado de Outono
If you’re looking for something a little more seasonal, the Mercado de Outono will be visiting Leiria on 12th November on Rua Direita. This autumn festival brings seasonal foods and drinks, as well as roasted chestnuts and seasonal flowers, a great way to meet new people and to get involved in the Portuguese culture!
There are so many cheap but great things going on in our cities! Get out there and visit new places, try new things, and get involved in the Portuguese culture! *side note: it is a fundamental and delicious part of the Portuguese culture to eat pasteis de nata. If you haven’t tried one yet, what are you waiting for?*