Even though Portugal is relatively cheap compared to other countries of Western Europe, you still might want to save a couple of extra euros on your Portugal vacation. Here’s how you can do it:
Embrace the off-season. For the best prices on flights, accommodations and pretty much everything else, try to plan your trip to Portugal any time other than peak travel dates. If you can, avoid June through September along with the Easter and Christmas holidays. Generally speaking, late January through mid-March (depending on when Holy Week and Easter fall) bring lower prices and fewer crowds.
Book a cheap flight. Depending on where you're coming from, you can probably find a very affordable flight. The Irish airline Ryan Air offers frequent flights from many European cities and good rates. If you're flexible timewise, you'll benefit even more. Flights can vary a lot between a few days. If you travel as a couple and you're not planning to stay very long, you can only check in one luggage item and each of you opt for an additional carry-on. It's warm anyway and you won't need too many clothes. By organizing yourself this way, you have already saved a few euros.
Use cheaper food options. Your best option would be daily shopping at Lidl. The discounters can be quite big and the store has amazing offers. You can shop for bread and pastries there and make your own sandwiches before heading to the beach. Inside Lidl, there is a little cafe where you can order your coffee for just 1 EUR. Then you can spoil yourself at the beach bar where you will find cheap coffee and relatively cheap beer. If you want to go out for dinner, there are ways to save there as well. Remember: if you are in beach areas or little towns, be sure to compare prices as most restaurants close to the beach are expensive and intended for tourists. To find where the locals eat, you have to go further into the alleys and back streets, or you can just ask your host, hotel staff or people on the street. Another option is to pick up a fresh meal at a local market. While eating and drinking out is cheaper in Portugal than in other parts of Europe, it’ll still save you money to pick up fresh produce, bread, and snacks at outdoor markets and supermarkets. Grab a nice Vinho Verde, some local cheese and charcuterie, and a few pasteis de nata (traditional egg custard tartlets) for dessert, and you’re all set — no complicated cooking skills or formal kitchen required.
Walk or use public transport. Pack comfortable shoes and walk as much as you can. It’s free, and Portuguese towns and cities are wonderful for pedestrians or use public transport if you’re too tired to walk. In any case, skip the taxis. Good public transit options, rideshares and reasonably priced rental cars make splurging for a taxi seem silly. Take the trip from Lisbon Airport to the city center, for example. Whereas a taxi fare will cost you around 10 EUR, public transit costs only 2 EUR, while a shuttle or rideshare option starts at about 5 EUR.