Portugal, home to some of the world’s most stunning cities, historic landmarks, and gold-sanded beaches, has recently skyrocketed in popularity among American travelers.
Though there’s no shortage of reasons to visit a country as naturally and culturally blessed as Portugal, it’s important to note that what’s drawing tourists in such remarkable numbers is the fact that the region boasts some of the lowest prices in southwestern Europe.
In an effort to help travelers keep costs at a minimum during their next trip to Portugal, Porto Travel Guide analyzed online data for over 100 Portuguese cities, searching for the most cost-effective destinations.
They looked into travel, accommodation, and food costs and scored each destination out of 100 based on their affordability index.
These were the cities that were deemed the cheapest in all of Portugal:
Boasting an impressive affordability score of 87.90 out of 100, Fafe is officially Portugal’s cheapest city, and a beautiful one at that.
This hidden gem is nestled in the vibrant landscapes of northern Portugal, offering travelers a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of Lisbon.
While relatively unknown, the city is home to several of the country’s must-see attractions, including Pedra do Altar, the Peneda-Gerês National Park, which is a haven for hikers and backpackers looking to explore Portugal’s wild beauty on a budget.
2. Oliveira de Azeméis
The central Portuguese city is probably best recognized for being home to the Oliveira de Azeméis Museum, a treasure trove of artifacts, art pieces, and historical exhibits, all of which provide visitors with fascinating insights into the region’s storied past.
If Fafe is a city best appreciated by nature enthusiasts, Oliveira de Azeméis is a haven for history buffs looking to get a deeper understanding of Portugal’s culture.
Here, you can also partake in traditional festivals and events, though my top recommendation would be to visit the local markets – aside from the lively atmosphere, you’re bound to find some great deals.
3. Vila Nova de Famalicão
The third destination on today’s list is yet another hotspot for history enthusiasts.
Vila Nova de Famalicão boasts a fantastic historical center adorned with medieval architecture, narrow cobblestone streets, and elegant churches, making visitors feel like they’re on the set of a movie.
What’s more, exploring the city by foot is not only possible but also the best way to soak in the local ambiance, so you’ll end up saving even more on bus and taxi fares.
Located along the picturesque coastline of central Portugal, Ovar is a seaside town that features some of the country’s most pristine sandy beaches, including Praia do Furadouro and Praia de Esmoriz, where travelers can enjoy the Portuguese Riviera without any entrance fees.
Beyond its inviting shores, Ovar is famous for its colorful azulejo tiles that adorn the facades of buildings all throughout the city.
To add to that, accommodation options start at only $14 a night – it really can’t get any better than this.
The fifth cheapest destination in Portugal is Amarante, a picturesque town that lies along the banks of the Tâmega River.
Though small, the city is pretty well known among locals for its charming medieval bridge, Ponte de São Gonçalo, which offers awe-inspiring views of the river and the surrounding landscape.
Amarante is also a gateway to Douro Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site renowned for its terraced vineyards and scenic landscapes, so you won’t have to worry about getting bored in this gorgeous region of northern Portugal.
Bigger Portuguese Hotspots Tourists Can Visit On A Budget
While there’s no doubt that all of the destinations that made the list are as spectacular as they are affordable, they might be a bit too off-the-beaten-path for travelers looking to experience more popular cities and landmarks.
If that sounds like you, you can find some bigger, more popular hotspots you can still visit on a budget below.
- Porto. Based on data from this study as well as articles and reports from reliable travel sources, it’s safe to say that Porto is the Portuguese city that best combines affordable pricing and lively tourist attractions. The area’s diverse range of budget-friendly hotels and eateries creates the perfect budget backdrop without forsaking cultural and historical attractions.
- Vila Nova de Gaia. A stunning, albeit smaller alternative to neighboring Porto, Vila Nova de Gaia is the perfect destination for that specific traveler looking for a more unique destination while still getting to partake in traditional touristy experiences.
- Lisbon. Though Lisbon was placed relatively far down on the list, holding the 85th spot, the fact that the country’s capital has left almost 20 cities behind in terms of affordability speaks a lot about the value the gorgeous city offers its visitors. Though you’ll need to spend a bit more here than you would in Porto or Vila Nova de Gaia, the sights, events, and attractions you’ll get to experience in return are invaluable.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com