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Nick
New Jersey

Western Europe, Spain, Portugal

What can a solo, budget traveler do in Spain and Portugal?

Hi everyone, I plan to visit Vallencia, Spain and Lisbon, Portugal during early September. I was wondering about the pros and cons for each city, the cheapest method to travel from Vallencia to Lisbon and what you recommend a lone budget traveler should do while spending about 4 days in each city. 

Thanks!


2 Answers

answered by
Gita from Mumbai

Hi Nick,

I've only been to the North East of Spain so won't be able to answer anything about Valencia, but would like to say that since it's in the South East of Spain and Lisbon is South West of Portugal, maybe it's better to take a budget flight so as to save on time.

I was in Portugal in December, travelling on a budget myself and spent 7 days in Lisbon so here's a list of things that would help a fellow budget traveller. I've always found great deals on places to stay on www.airbnb.com, best locations, unbelievable price and really good accommodation. Food in Lisbon is not very expensive, there are lots of street side, open air cafes which offer delicious meals and the prices are very competitive.

1. Buy a Lisboa Card, you get free entry to many places and the local Metro, Buses and Trams. You can buy this at their Information Centres, the biggest one I think is in Praça Do Comercio or you can buy it online and pick it up at the Airport too.

http://www.golisbon.com/Lisboa-Card/

2. Take the City Sightseeing Ho Ho, there are two routes and you'll get to see most of the city. Since the ticket's valid for 48 hours, you can use the Ho Hos to get around the city too. So, you could take a Lisboa Card for 48 hours and this being valid for 48 hours, your transportation should, more or less, be taken care of.

http://www.city-sightseeing.com/tours/portugal/lisbon.htm?set-currency=EUR

3. Some places I feel are a must visit are the Jerónimos Monastery, Convento Do Carmo and Torre de Belém. If you want to have a Nata at Pasteis de belem which is right next to Jeronimos Monastery, make sure you have time to stand in a queue, they are delicious, but honestly, Natas are pretty much delicious all over Portugal. Not as much is said about Convento Do Carmo, as compared to the other sights, but it's pretty unique as a section of the church doesn't have a roof.

4. Praça Do Comercio is a pretty Central point to many areas of Lisbon and hosts many flee markets, street shows, pubs and restaurants. Even the Elevador de Santa Justa which is like a CV item you tick off.

5. You can take Tram 28, which is one of the old trams and No.28 has the longest route, you won't need to buy a ticket if you take the Lisboa Pass. It's quite an experience and if you get to catch some pickpocket in action, which this tram is known for, should be some free entertainment too, provided the pickpocket is caught. They're said to be mostly women or kids, so be careful.

6. Oceanário de Lisboa is not cheap, but it's the largest indoor aquarium in Eurpoe and it's an awesome experience.

7. One of the best parts of my stay in Lisbon was the day trip to the town of Sintra and Cabo da Roca. There are trains that run from the beautiful Rossio Railway Station of Lisbon to Sintra. Sintra's a beautiful Historic town and again, if you don't want to trek along the winding streets, take a the Ho Ho. The Ho Ho would include a trip to Cabo da Roca which is the western most point of Europe, it's beautiful. 

8. Try the local liqueur called Ginjinha or Ginja, it's sold in really small plastic cups and is pretty cheap.

9. Do check out information on Chapel of Bones in Evora, if that's something that would interest you, you could do ta day trip there.

10. There's lots of wall art and graffiti all over Lisbon. If you're a super hero fan, do check out the Super Hero Wall of the VIP Executive Art’s Hotel and if you're a fan of tiles and history of tiles, Museu Nacional do Azulejo is quite a treat and entry is free with the Lisboa Card.

Hope this helps you pick and choose what to do. I can't think of a single con as it was a great experience and the people are amazingly friendly and helpful, except of course you run into a pickpocket on Tram 28. Happy Travels!




Mentioned in this answer:

VIEW DETAILED MAP
  1. Valencia (attraction)
  2. Lisbon (city)
  3. Praça Do Comercio (attraction)
  4. Jerónimos Monastery (attraction)
  5. Convento Do Carmo (attraction)
  6. Torre de Belém (attraction)
  7. Pasteis de belem (restaurant)
  8. Elevador de Santa Justa (attraction)
  9. Oceanário de Lisboa (attraction)
  10. Sintra (attraction)
  11. Cabo da Roca (attraction)
  12. Rossio Railway Station (attraction)
  13. Ginjinha (restaurant)
  14. Chapel of Bones (attraction)
  15. VIP Executive Art’s Hotel (hotel)
  16. Museu Nacional do Azulejo (attraction)
1 thanks


answered first by
Sarah from Alicante

Valencia is a beautiful city. There are three tourist buses going to different parts of the city, so that is an easy way to get around as you can hop on and off at the main attractions. Otherwise it is easy to walk around the old town to the cathedral and market. There are plenty of museums and the Museum of Belles Artes is definitely worth seeing if you like paintings. You can walk through the park from the old town to the new(ish) City of Arts and Sciences. The park is in a dried-up riverbed so you avoid the traffic but can see the beautiful old bridges.
On a budget you could buy food in the supermarkets or covered market. Eating at lunchtime - the set menu del dia - is cheaper than the evening menus.
You can also get the tourist bus to the Albufeira, Valencia which is where you can take a lovely little boat ride around the area where the rice is grown to make the paellas.

It's a big university town so there are some good, cheap places to eat and drink. If you wanted to meet locals, you could join http://www.meetup.com/cities/es/valencia/ which has plenty of groups including English-Spanish conversation.


Mentioned in this answer:

VIEW DETAILED MAP
  1. Valencia (attraction)
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