Visiting Portugal’s capital on a budget doesn’t mean skipping on comfort or a little luxury – enjoy chic dorms, buzzing nightlife in Bairro Alto and street art tours at the city’s best hostels.
In Lisbon, backpackers have it easy. On top of traditional Portuguese warmth and hospitality, the city has gradually become one of the top choices in Europe for budget travellers. This is in part due to a vibrant hostel scene, with quality options catering to every taste and need. Whether you’re a party animal, culture buff or digital nomad, there’s something for you. Just take your pick from Culture Trip’s selection of the best cheap hostels in Lisbon.
Selina Secret Garden is a hostel that holds true to its name. Hidden at the end of a downtown alley, where you would never expect to find a spacious outdoor garden, it is complete with a swimming pool and flower-filled rooftop. Digital nomads will be particularly pleased with the fully serviced co-working space. The rooms are well laid out, favouring functionality, and in each dorm bed you’ll find a light and small locker with a handy USB plug inside. While staying here, keep an eye out for workshops run by the staff, including digital marketing and tile painting.
According to the staff, “this isn’t a party hostel” – although the fact that they’re up for dancing in the middle of the afternoon suggests otherwise. Spontaneous revelry has a tendency to happen at Yes! Lisbon Hostel, likely due to the free shots and the very affordable, all-drinks-included, nightly dinners. Top it up with a pub crawl in nearby Bairro Alto, where bars and nightclubs abound, and you’ll feel like dancing, too. All rooms are well served with air conditioning (some even have balconies), so you can cool down afterwards.
Next to Pink Street, where the party runs all night long, Lisbon Calling is a sanctuary from the outside noise. Housed in an 18th-century building, rooms have quirky decor to match the historic facade. The communal areas are perfect for lounging and, if dorms are not your thing, there are four private rooms available, each of them themed after a specific time period. Try asking for the 1979 room – it has its own disco ball in the bathroom.
Scandinavian-inspired in design, with minimalist white decor and bountiful natural light, this hostel’s specks of colour come from the appealing graffiti that covers the walls, all created by local artists and gifted guests. It’s a good introduction to the daily urban art tour run by the staff. However, Hub Lisbon Patio is best known for the oversized hammock in the outside lounge area, which is part of the social atmosphere that makes this hostel great.
Located in Lisbon’s trendiest area, what The Dorm has to offer goes well beyond its walls. As the only hostel at Lx Factory, a former industrial area transformed into a creative hub, you will have exclusive access to a number of art events, concerts, plus bars and restaurants. If that’s not enough, the hostel also has an impressive skateboard collection on permanent exhibition, featuring a board signed by Tony Hawk himself. The dorm rooms have no doors, but that won’t bother you – each bed is set in an individual wooden pod, covered with curtains, giving you all the privacy you need.
Set inside a 19th-century palace in the heart of the city, The Independente is one of Lisbon’s most stylish hostels. The property features a perfect blend of modern and vintage decor, with renovated old ceilings, traditional tiles and chandeliers throughout. What really sets it apart are the two on-site restaurants: The Decadente, with its idyllic patio-terrace; and The Insólito, a rooftop restaurant with unrivalled river views. Both offer discounts for guests.
Discreetly located inside Rossio train station, Lisbon Destination Hostel is on the doorstep of all the capital’s main tourist attractions. Perched around a winter garden, with bright open spaces, this accommodation offers a welcome taste of decadence at hostel prices. The dorm rooms on the first floor have large windows overlooking the city, while the double rooms, one floor up, peer out over the garden. Do keep an eye out for the free sangria, and don’t forget to try the chocolate cake sold at the bar – the bartender makes it herself.
Home Lisbon Hostel takes pride in adding a personal touch to your stay. The corridors are covered with the owner’s family photos, while the communal kitchen has a blackboard with simple Portuguese recipes by Mamma, the owner’s mother. The best way to try these meals is during Mamma’s dinners, cooked by the main woman herself. Add to that a central location and a lively social events calendar, and you’ve got one of the city’s top places to stay.
Sunset Destination Hostel has a swimming pool and bar on the rooftop, where you can watch the sunset over the bridge (the name is no coincidence). This has helped it become constantly appraised as one of the best hostels in Lisbon. Sleeping options include private rooms and mixed dorms, the latter featuring beautifully designed bunk beds made entirely of recycled compressed wood. Expect excellent activities on offer here, including pub crawls, a street-art tour and an intriguing food tour “for the brave”.
Ellie Ross contributed additional reporting to this article.