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Cheap Ways to Visit Portugal

Written By
By Munira Maricar
Travel Writer
Volunteer Forever - Volunteer in Portugal

Portugal, a country celebrated for its diverse landscapes, rich heritage, and warm hospitality, offers an unparalleled travel experience. Whether you’re drawn to the cobblestone streets of Lisbon, the vineyards of Porto, or the sandy shores of the Algarve, Portugal has something for every traveler. And the best part? Experiencing Portugal’s charm doesn’t have to come with a hefty price tag. This guide delves deeper into making your Portuguese adventure both memorable and affordable, including crucial advice on entry requirements, navigating public transport, and ensuring a family-friendly journey. To further enhance your experience, consider volunteering in Portugal! We have highlighted a few international volunteer providers and programs below. 

Why Visit Portugal?


Portugal beckons with its blend of old-world charm and modern vibrancy. Each city and region boasts its unique allure:

  • Lisbon captivates with its historical landmarks and vibrant nightlife.
  • Porto is a haven for wine enthusiasts and architecture lovers.
  • Madeira and the Azores offer breathtaking natural beauty and outdoor adventures.
  • Sintra, Evora, Lagos, Faro, Braga, Aveiro, and Cascais enchant with their cultural treasures and scenic landscapes.

Entry Requirements and Visas

Young man with backpack in airport near flight timetable

Not all individuals traveling to Portugal are required to obtain a visa. You must apply for one if you are a national of a non-EU country without a visa waiver agreement with the EU.

You do not need to apply for a visa to enter Portugal if you meet any of the criteria below:

It’s advisable to review the necessary documentation for entry into Portugal to ensure a smooth journey.

Choosing the Perfect Time to Visit


Spring (March to May) and Autumn (September to October) present the ideal balance of pleasant weather and thinner crowds. Winter (November to February) provides a quieter and more affordable experience, albeit cooler. Summer (June to August), while peak season, is perfect for beach activities but expect larger crowds.

Getting Around


Portugal’s public transportation system is both efficient and wallet-friendly, offering a seamless way to explore:

  • Buses: Offer extensive coverage, even in rural areas, often at a lower cost than trains. 
  • Metro: In Lisbon and Oporto, it operates from 6 a.m. to 1 a.m. 
    • The Lisbon subway, being the older of the two, covers a vast area of the city, with its network having expanded significantly over recent years. Stations, both old and new, feature tile panels by esteemed Portuguese artists, transforming them into veritable subterranean art galleries. 
    • Oporto’s system is relatively recent, consisting of six lines – blue, red, green, yellow, violet, and orange – with the majority of their routes situated above ground.
    • Invest in a reusable “Viva Viagem” or “Andante” card for savings. 
  • Rental Cars: An option for families or groups wanting flexibility, though parking and fuel costs can add up.To rent a vehicle, the requirements are as follows:
    • You need to be at least 21 to 25 years old, varying by the rental agency’s policy.
    • Present a form of identification (an identity card for EU citizens or a valid passport for those of other nationalities).
    • Possess a driving license for over a year.
  • Flights: The following Portuguese airlines operate regular domestic flights
    • TAP – Air Portugal, the nation’s premier airline, offers scheduled services to over 75 international locales and domestic routes connecting Lisbon, Oporto, Faro, Madeira, and the Azores, in addition to flights between Madeira and Porto Santo.
    • SATA facilitates flights among all Azorean islands and between the Azores, Madeira, and mainland Portugal. It also extends its services to various international destinations.
    • Aerovip conducts scheduled flights linking Bragança, Vila Real, Viseu, Cascais, and Portimão within mainland Portugal.

Volunteering: Enrich Your Experience


Enhance your travel by volunteering through programs that cover accommodation and meals, offering a deeper connection to Portuguese culture and society. The following providers offer comprehensive packages that include airport pick-up, orientation, accommodation, meals, and 24/7 in-country support. This arrangement not only simplifies the planning process but also significantly reduces the cost of staying in Portugal, as many of these expenses would be much higher if arranged independently.

International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ)

IVHQ, renowned for its commitment to affordable and impactful volunteer opportunities, enables travelers to experience Portugal beyond the typical tourist paths. The organization’s programs in Portugal are designed not only to support local communities but also to align with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, ensuring that your efforts contribute to broader global objectives. Accommodation options range from dormitory-style hostels to homes on-site, depending on the project location.


IVHQ Portugal provides a diverse selection of volunteer projects, catering to various interests and skills. Here are some of the available programs:

  • Animal Care: In Lisbon, help care for and rehome abandoned or lost dogs and cats, supporting local shelters in their efforts to improve animal welfare. 
  • Biological Park Conservation: Contribute to the conservation of a wide range of species at a biological park in Miranda do Corvo, engaging in activities that support wildlife and habitat preservation. 
  • Support for the Unhoused: Work in Lisbon to provide essential services such as food, shelter, and basic medical care to people experiencing homelessness. 
  • Wolf Conservation: Based in Mafra, this project involves supporting the welfare of wolves rescued from captivity, promoting their health and well-being in a protected environment. 
  • Upcycling For Social Good: At a local skatepark in Lisbon, volunteers help to upcycle single-use plastic into sports items, promoting environmental sustainability and social inclusion.

Each of these programs not only offers a chance to make a positive impact but also allows volunteers to gain new skills, meet people from around the world, and deepen their understanding of global issues. 


GoEco is known for its commitment to eco-friendly practices and providing volunteers with experiences that deeply connect them with local communities and environmental efforts. Their programs in Portugal allow for personal growth and skill development.


Here are some of the available programs:

  • Food Rescue in Lisbon: Join the fight against food waste by helping distribute leftover food from grocery stores and eateries to those in need, including the unhoused and families facing hardship. 
  • Marine Conservation in Lisbon: Dive into the Atlantic Ocean to clear pollution and protect marine life. This program includes scuba diving lessons and certification, combining environmental conservation with adventure. 
  • Wolf Conservation: Contribute to the preservation of wolves in Portugal. Start with experiencing Lisbon’s vibrancy, followed by impactful conservation work at a nearby wolf reserve to engage in wildlife conservation efforts.

These GoEco programs in Portugal offer not just a chance to volunteer and travel cost-effectively but also to join a community of like-minded individuals dedicated to making a difference. Volunteers gain insight into local challenges and contribute to solutions, all while experiencing Portugal’s rich culture, history, and natural landscapes. 

Volunteering Solutions (VolSol)

Volunteering Solutions (VolSol) provides a broad spectrum of volunteer opportunities in Portugal. Located in the vibrant city of Porto, VolSol’s programs offer an immersive experience that combines social impact with personal growth and exploration. Volunteers are housed in a centrally located hostel in Porto, offering a variety of room options from dormitories to private rooms. The hostel provides a welcoming environment with communal spaces for relaxation and socializing, making it a perfect base for volunteers to experience the city and engage with fellow travelers.


Here are some of the available programs:

  • Hedgehog Conservation Volunteering: Aid in the conservation of hedgehogs, focusing on rehabilitation and release back into the wild. Activities include cleaning enclosures, feeding, participating in release events, and supporting conservation awareness efforts. 
  • Food Waste Management: Reduce food waste and improve food security for vulnerable populations. Collect, organize, and distribute surplus food from local establishments to those in need. 
  • Horse Patrolling and Environmental Conservation: Support environmental conservation efforts through horse patrolling and assist in hippotherapy classes for disabled individuals. Activities include forest patrolling, reforestation, supporting hippotherapy classes, and engaging in farm activities. 
  • Youth Support Program: Assist non-profit organizations in supporting underprivileged children through education and extracurricular activities. Volunteer work includes teaching English, homework assistance, designing extracurricular activities, and cultural exchange.

Volunteering with VolSol in Portugal offers a unique opportunity to contribute positively to local communities and ecosystems while immersing oneself in Portuguese culture. These programs are tailored to foster personal growth, enhance cross-cultural understanding, and provide volunteers with a deeply rewarding experience.

Enjoying Portugal’s Wonders on a Budget

Your journey through Portugal can be rich in experiences without being costly. By planning around the best times to visit, understanding entry requirements, utilizing public transportation wisely, and embracing family-friendly opportunities, your Portuguese adventure awaits—full of discovery, not expenses. Whether contributing to a local volunteer project or soaking in the sun on a pristine beach, Portugal promises a travel experience that is both affordable and unforgettable.