Surprising as it may seem for a capital city, in Lisbon accommodation is very reasonably priced. You can of course stay in one of the grand, fine old hotels where you are at liberty to spend large sums of money and be seated in the lap of luxury. For most people, Lisbon’s accommodation prospects are less extravagant but pleasant nonetheless. Hotels in Lisbon represent the upper end of the market, and pensões are plentiful and have the lower end of the scale well covered.
When booking accommodation in Lisbon, bear in mind that rooms will be scarce around Easter and during the height of summer, and prices may go up at these times, though August can be slightly cheaper as establishments try to entice people in off the beaches. At less busy times you may be able to barter down the price a bit, especially if you speak a bit of decent Portuguese, and it should be easy to find a room out of season.
If you arrive in Lisbon without a room pre-booked, the turismos (tourist offices) in town will be happy to find out where there are vacancies in the hotels or pensões in the city. The onus is on you, however, to actually book the room. If you see something reasonable, even if not perfect, when looking for accommodation in Lisbon at peak times, take the room and then look around the next day for something better if you like.
Lisbon’s pensões tend to be found in tall tenement buildings so expect to climb a lot of stairs during your stay if you opt for a room in one of them. The area around Rossio, Praça da Figueira and Praça dos Restauradores has scores of pensões to choose from, the cheaper ones are near the Avenida da Liberdade on Rua da Glória among others. Baixa and Chiado are slightly more upmarket but still have plenty of choice. The Bairro Alto is well placed for nightlife if that is what you are after, but it can be difficult to find a room as there are not that many pensões here, and the nightlife means that you are unlikely to get a peaceful night’s sleep.
Try to get a room that is not facing the street if you want to avoid excessive noise pollution. When you arrive at one of the pensões to check out the room it is a good idea, if there is more than one of you, to leave one of the group downstairs with the luggage whilst the others take the long walk up the staircase to the room. Rooms with en suites are more expensive than rooms without, and rooms vary greatly in size, shape and décor in this type of accommodation.
Aside from pensões and hotels, when you are staying in Lisbon you could try one of the two central youth hostels, for example the Pousada de Juventude de Lisboa on Rua Andrade Cordo (213 532 696), or one of the four campsites.
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