The Ideal Lisbon Solo Travel Guide, Digital Nomad Edition – 2024

by | Apr 23, 2024 | 2 comments

Lisbon is a magical hub for solo travelers, digital nomads, and expats alike. It’s the perfect hub for overseas and intercontinental travel, one of the safest cities I know, offers a wide variety of networking opportunities for the business-minded, picturesque day trips to fantastical cities and scenic beaches, and a vibrant nightlife.

When I started my nomadic life, my first stop was Lisbon. While I travel with my partner now, I was a solo traveler in Lisbon. I loved my experience there. Now, it’s time to help you create the perfect solo travel experience in Lisbon.

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What makes solo travel in Lisbon special?

They say if Paris and San Francisco had a kid, it would be Lisbon. Need I say more? Situated right by the ocean, an international airport for easy access by air, a great public transportation system, cute cities all-around, amazing cafes for that late-afternoon working session, great co-working cafes and co-living communities, and, of course, countless festivals and concerts throughout the city. Lisbon charms all around with its safe and upbeat vibes.

Is Lisbon good for solo travelers?

Yes. Lisbon is the only city in the world where I’d walk home alone at 2 in the morning and feel safe.

Lisbon has a 25.25 crime index, which is considered low. In a survey published in March 2024, nearly 64% of respondents indicated feeling safe at night. Could you imagine this being the case in Berlin or Los Angeles? Surely not.

Similarly, the risk index of robbery, bribery, and even discrimination based on skin color is below 25. To put this in perspective, the crime index for New York City is at 55 and less than 50% of respondents would walk home at night alone.

With the most important facts squared away, now let’s plan your ideal solo travel itinerary for Lisbon.

Solo travel in Lisbon at a glance:

How many days should I spend in Lisbon

4 to 7 days is enough for solo-travelers, up to 2 months for working nomads.

Where should I stay as a solo traveler in Lisbon?

For a great nightlife, stay in Principe Real.
For fantastic views, great cafes, and a laid-back run through the park, stay around Parque Eduardo VII.
To be near the beaches and wake up to a view over the water, stay in Aflame or Bairro Alto.

How much does solo travel in Lisbon cost?

Backpackers should budget for a minimum of 50€ a day/night, better 100€.
Digital Nomads should expect to pay between 1300 and 2500€ for accommodation and budget for an extra 500 to 700€ for groceries and going out.

What’s the best travel insurance for solo travel in Lisbon?

For short-term solo travel or nomads, I highly recommend SafetyWing. If living a traveling, location-independent life is your mid- to long-term plan, I love PassportCard’s comprehensive coverage as it goes far beyond emergency cover, and includes preventative, holistic, and wellness care. I’ve used and loved it for years.

How to get to, and around Lisbon

From within Europe, Ryanair offers direct flights to Lisbon Airport (LIS) at cheap prices. Eurowings and EasyJet aren’t bad options either. Meanwhile, from overseas, Emirates connects Portugal east-ward, while TAP Air Portugal connects Portugal with the Americas and Northern Africa. Etihad Airlines will take you into the heart of the African continent.

Once on the ground in Lisbon, the metro from the airport to downtown takes about 30 minutes and costs 1.50€. A Bolt car (similar to Uber) will cost no more than 12€. There are busses between Porto, the Algarve, and Lisbon, and I highly recommend renting a scooter for a few days to drive along the coast.

Visa Requirements

For solo-travelers and short-term digital nomads

If you’re an EU citizen, you can stay in Lisbon for up to 6 months without registering as a tax resident. Beyond that, you’ll need to apply to become a resident and start paying taxes.

If you’re a non-EU citizen, you don’t need a visa, however, must present a passport upon entering that is valid for at least 3 months beyond your stay. As a visitor, you can likely stay in Portugal for no more than 90 days within a 180 day window. That said, do note that since Portugal is a member of the Schengen visa zone, your presence in Portugal counts towards your overall allowance in ALL member countries of the Schengen zone.

Finally, you may need a visa to enter Portugal, depending on your passport. Portugalist provides concise and up-to-date information on all things visa.

For long-term digital nomads

Portugal has newly introduced its Digital Nomad visa which allows initial residency in the country for 1 year. It is extendable for up to a total of 5 years, at which point, one is eligible for a permanent visa.

The digital nomad visa is straightforward: You must make 3.280€ a month, or more, have approximately 10.000€ in savings, and proof of work outside of the country (freelancing, solopreneur, etc.), and you must either rent or own property in Portugal. Additionally, you must have clean criminal records, a Portuguese bank account, and health insurance.

It is clear that Portugal loves its expat community and, thus, makes the application process fairly transparent and cheap. The application fee is below 100€ and depends on the visa duration you apply for.

Where to stay as a solo traveler in Lisbon

Solo travel in Lisbon
Post-Morning run through Parque Eduardo VII

My all-time favorite area of Lisbon is right around Parque Eduardo VII. The park offers stunning views of River Tagus (Rio Teja), and leads into a beautiful trail for a morning run. There are plenty of Cafes around the park, and it is just a 15 minute scenic walk through Av. da Liberdade into downtown. Alternatively to a run, I also loved going to Amplify de Marques de Pombal for an invigorating cycling class.

Other great neighborhoods for solo travel in Lisbon are Alfama for the artsy folk, Alto Beirro to be in the middle of everything, and Principe Real for access to a great nightlife.

Notably, you should stay away from AirBnB throughout Portugal. The value you’ll see there is highly inflated. Thankfully, there are great alternatives for every budget.

Find your stay:

Hostel (30-50€ a night)

If your overall budget is between 50 and 100€, your best bet is a hostel at around 40€. At that budget, you’ll likely be getting a dorm room, and your focus should be on experience, ie you’ll want to be in the midst of things.

The Independente Hostel & Suites is situated inside an 19ths century palace and boasts cuteness and authenticity. You can choose to stay in a dorm room for as little as 40€ a night, or upgrade for more privacy. Once settled here, breakfast is included, and a quick walk outside the building will have you in the middle of all tourist attractions by day and many great bars and restaurants by night. In fact, the Independente is right by the Miradouro Sao Pedro de Alcantara, a stunning viewing point in Lisbon.

9.3 rating on Hostelworld.

Hotel (150-300€ a night)

If your budget is a bit higher, and if you’re looking for a slightly more luxurious getaway, I recommend staying near Parque Eduardo VII for the views and the many shopping and dining opportunities around. You can grab a Bolt or the metro from Marques de Pombal to get around the city.

For 100€ a night:

Feeling Parque 56 right by the park (the stairs I used to take to enter the park, to be nostaligic) and charms with its proximity to shopping, cafes, the park, and public transportation. All rooms are equipped with a fridge and desk, which makes the hotel particularly charming for solo travel in Lisbon. The hotel also offers buffet breakfast and is, of course, inside an old castle.

9.1 rating on Booking.com:

For 200 to 300€ a night:

The Epic SANA Marques Hotel is a stunning hotel that I used to walk past every morning en-route to my spinning class. The entrance hall is one heck of an inviting one. Boasting views over the park, excellent service, and an indoor spa, this hotel will make for a unique experience of Lisboa.

9.2 rating on Booking.com:

Private Apartments (55-100€ a night)

Usually, you’d open up AirBnB and find your best pick. However, as mentioned before, Portugal is not a great place to find an AirBnB deal. Luckily, I did find some amazing alternatives for furnished apartments, especially if you’re looking to stay upwards of one month.

Spot a Home, CozyCozy, and Housing Anywhere all have great ratings, payment security, and offer pre-furnished, and quality-guaranteed apartments in and throughout Lisbon.

I have not personally used any of these platforms, however, Trustpilot has a 3.9 rating for Spot a Home, a 4.3 rating for CozyCozy, and a 3.7 rating for Housing Anywhere. Airbnb has a 1.3 star rating…

Book your stay in Lisbon now:

Co-living communities (40-130€ a night)

One of the greatest ways to meet people and feel safe in a new city as a solo traveler in Lisbon is to join co-living communities. Not only are their accommodations set up for the specific needs of digital nomads, they are situated in the heart of the city, and provide a truly amazing community feeling with like-minded people, many of whom are solo travelers themselves.

Yon Co-living

When I first lived in Lisbon, I found Yon Co-living and immediately fell in love with their concept, communication from the heart, and mission to connect like-minded people in a fun way while facilitating private living spaces conducive to a more peaceful or productive mindset. Alas, I’ve stayed with them twice and absolutely ADORE their apartments and team.

The nomads and expats Yon Living attracts are from every corner of the world, and all have such a great sense of exploration and adventure. As a result, I’ve made friends for life thanks to Yon, and have seen people meet their significant others at Yon events.

Their features are:

  • minimum stay of 30 days
  • private room with working desk and either en-suite or shared bathroom
  • 3 or more roommates to share living room and kitchen with
  • many of their apartments have a balcony
  • facilitated and pop-up community events such as the Thursday Supper Club and weekend trips.
  • a few select Solo Apartments if you’re looking for privacy with a touch of community.

Yon does book out quite far in advance, so be sure to inquire as soon as you’ve got your eyes set on the city. Their cheapest room, right now, seems to be 41€ a night. If you’re looking to have access to a community while living in a private apartment, you can have that at Yon, too, starting at 68€ a night (as of April 2024). Note that Yon’s minimum stay-requirement is 30 days.

Alternative Co-living for solo travel in Lisbon

I would be remiss to not point out some alternatives to Yon, mostly because they are so great, they fill up too quickly to be a reliable last-minute pick. I’ve not personally stayed at any of the ones listed below, however, you can’t be a digital nomad without hearing many good things about them:

  • SameSame Co-living, starting at 25€ for a single bed in a shared room, and 35€ for a twin private room.
  • Outsite Co-living, starting at 55€ a night.
  • Co.Lisbon Co-living, starting at 690€ a month for a private twin room.

3 itineraries for solo travel in Lisbon

There is so much to do in Lisbon, and many cute hidden cafes and museums, it’s impossible to create just one perfect itinerary. Instead, you can choose your way: Lisbon on foot, Lisbon by the beach, and city-trips from Lisbon.

Lisbon on foot – City Guide

Morning Cafes

  1. Garden Balthazar Caffe is near Marques du Pombal / Parque Eduardo VII. It features a cute plant and nature theme inside and has unbeatably cheap prices. Their service is kind and fast, and their pancakes are oh-so-good.
  2. Hello, Kristof: This stylish cafe doubles as a bookstore and is a favorite haunt for creatives and freelancers. With its relaxed ambiance, friendly staff, and tasty brunch options, the place provides a great start into your day.
  3. The Mill: Tucked away in the picturesque neighborhood of Principe Real, The Mill is a charming cafe known for its specialty coffee and homemade pastries. With its bright and airy interior, outdoor seating, you’ll get a great first glance at the city from here.

Morning Walks and Explorations

From Marques du Pombal, there is a scenic walk through Av. du Liberade straight into the heart of the city. On the way, you can grab a coffee, and hit:

  • Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara, a popular and most scenic viewing point in Lisbon. From Av. de Liberade, you can either take the iconic Lisbon tram up the hill, or work your glutes and walk on the sidewalk right next to the train.
  • Once on the upper level of Lisbon, explore the neighborhood of Principe Real, pass by Church of Saint Roch, and head towards Teatro Nacional de São Carlos.
  • Finally, you’ll head into Carmo Convent and spend about an hour inside this stunning open air memorial.

Lunch Spots

  • Plenty of restaurants around Carmo Convent.
  • Time Out Market, just a few walking minutes South.
  • Pink Street for a more laid-back atmosphere.

Afternoon Walks and Explorations

After lunch, it’s time to pick a direction along Tagus and start walking (or, if your legs are tired, take a Bolt or train).

Heading East, you could pass through the artsy district of Alfama, boasting castle ruins, graffiti, and amazing street markets. Once you’ve had enough, hail a Bolt and head up to Castelo de São Jorge.

Alternatively, you can head West towards Torre de Belem. This must be the most famous part of the city, as it’s where voyagers used to embark from for their overseas journeys, and it’s home to the famous Pastais de Belems.

You can get to Belem by taking the boardwalk along the river either on foot or a Bolt Scooter, by taking the train from Cais du Sodre station (two stations and only 2 or 3€), or by hailing a Bolt for around 10€.

Once in Belem, head inside the Torre de Belem, and leave plenty of sunset light to visit Jerónimos Monastery. Finally, absolutely get in line for dining-in at the famous Pastais de Belem. You’ll see a shorter line for take-away, but the pastails won’t be hot, and you won’t be sitting inside one of the most famous buildings in the city, with walls full of white and blue tiles.

Dinner Spots

There are plenty of spots in Belem. However, if you’re looking for a modern type of cuisine, my recommendation is making a reservation at Flores da Pampa.

Have a Pro lead the Way:

Lisbon – Lounging by the Beaches

There are plenty of beaches between Lisbon and Cascais, however, if you’re looking to get away from the hustle of the city, you should certainly take a ferry or taxi across the river (the famous Ponte de 25 Abril bridge; sister to the Golden Gate Bridge), to hit the beaches of Praia da Costa da Caparica.

Solo Travel in Lisbon
Sangria at Princesa, a great restaurant along Praia de Caparica

Praia de Carcavelos:

Carcavelos is one of the largest and most popular beaches near Lisbon, known for its golden sands and excellent surfing conditions. It offers a lively atmosphere with plenty of beach bars, restaurants, and water sports facilities. The wide stretch of sand provides ample space for sunbathing and beach games.

You can easily take the train from Cais du Sodre for a scenic 20 minute ride along the coastline. For lunch, head to Honda Azul for tapas and Sangria.

Praia de São Pedro do Estoril:

On the same side of the river/ocean, Praia de São Pedro do Estoril offers a more cliff-y and hidden-away beach than Carcavelos. It’s popular among locals and surfers, thanks to its consistent waves and scenic surroundings. The beach is surrounded by picturesque coastal paths, perfect for a leisurely stroll.

Simply ride the same train for a little while longer than Carcavelos…or get off sooner to walk along the beach.

For lunch, Restaurante Atlântico serves delicious Portuguese cuisine with a focus on fresh seafood.

Praia da Costa da Caparica

If you love beach bars and beds by day, and amazing festivals by night, Caparica is the way to go. I’ve had entire stretches of beach to myself here (hello, nude sunbathing), and loved busier stretches of the coast with Sangria in hand. My favorites along Caparica are the stretches between Praia da Morena and Praia da Cabana do Pescador, as well as Nova Praia.

For lunch, Restaurante Princesa offers amazing beach food, Sangria/wine, and coffee, served right by your beach bed.

Lisbon city trip to Cascais or Sintra

While in Lisbon, a city trip is an absolute must! If you have the time, I recommend going to Setubal, Cascais, and Sintra. However, if you’re in a bind, Cascais is beachy, Sintra is the ultimate Disney castle experience, and Setubal is a harbor town famous for Choco Frito.

Cascais

Cascais, a charming coastal town near Lisbon, offers a variety of attractions and activities for visitors. You can easily get there via a 50 minute train ride from Cais du Sodre. While you could even nestle yourself into a cute home in Cascais to explore its hidden gems on-end, you wouldn’t want to miss the following, even on a one-day trip:

  • A Visit of the Old Town, exploring the picturesque streets of Cascais, just past the city beach.
  • A walk along the coast, West-wards, leaving Cascais behind you. You’ll eventually get to Visit Boca do Inferno, Hell’s Mouth. It is a dramatic cliff formation, with powerful waves crashing against the rugged cliffs.
  • Just another 10 minutes beyond Boca do Inferno is the Palaphita Cascais, a fantastic lunch restaurant.
  • Back in Cascais, explore the Marina and Museum Quarter before dining at one of the most unique restaurants I’ve ever experienced: House of Wonders.

Sintra

Quinta da Regaleira

Sintra, with its fairytale-like palaces, lush gardens, and charming streets, offers a plethora of attractions for visitors. It does get busy on the weekends, but the cute little streets and stunning castles are simply not to be missed. You can take a train to Sintra from Azambuja Station straight to Sintra. The ticket costs around 7€ and the ride lasts about one hour. When in Sintra, don’t miss:

  • Pena Palace, a colorful Romanticist castle perched atop a hill, offering breathtaking views of Sintra and beyond.
  • A walk up to Quinta da Regaleira. Once at this enchanting palace, you won’t get enough of this mysterious estate featuring grottos, gardens, and hidden symbols.
  • Back from Quinta da Regaleira, stroll through Sintra’s Historic Center; a UNESCO World Heritage Site, characterized by its charming cobbled streets, colorful buildings, and quaint shops and cafes. Have your pick for a lunch spot, to fill your bellies and rest your feet.
  • In the afternoon, a visit to Monserrate Palace is not to be missed. It’s an exquisite Romanticist palace set amidst lush botanical gardens, featuring a blend of architectural styles and influences.

Best Co-working spaces in Lisbon

Finally, for some solo travelers in Lisbon, a perfect day might be spent at a co-working space, getting that project done, sipping coffee while working from an actual desk, and networking. Here are my favorites:


Lisbon Work Hub:

  • They provide high-speed internet, meeting rooms, printing facilities, and a kitchen area. Additionally, they often host networking events and workshops.
  • Daily drop-in rates start at 15€, while monthly memberships start at 150€.
  • Located in the heart of Lisbon’s historic center, close to Rossio Square and public transportation.

Cowork Central:

  • A modern and stylish workspace with plenty of natural light. They provide ergonomic furniture, high-speed Wi-Fi, meeting rooms, and a kitchenette. Members also have access to networking events and professional development workshops.
  • Daily passes are available for 20€, while monthly memberships start at 180€.
  • Situated in the lively neighborhood of Cais do Sodré, near the waterfront and various restaurants and cafes.

Second Home Lisboa:

  • Known for its innovative design and lush greenery, creating a unique working environment. They offer flexible desk options, meeting rooms, event spaces, and a rooftop terrace with stunning views of the city. Members can also participate in curated cultural and networking events.
  • Daily passes start at 25€, while monthly memberships start at 200€.
  • Located in the historic Mercado da Ribeira building in Cais do Sodré, close to public transportation and amenities.

Heden Lisboa:

  • Offers a cozy and welcoming environment for remote workers and freelancers. They provide comfortable seating, high-speed Wi-Fi, meeting rooms, and a communal kitchen. Members can also enjoy regular networking events and social activities.
  • Daily passes start at 15€, while monthly memberships start at 120€.
  • Located in the historic neighborhood of Alfama, close to São Jorge Castle and various attractions.

Concluding

Lisbon makes for a truly unique experience! You can be lounging by the beach by day, and exploring the city by night, no problem. Alternatively, you can go on multiple food tours. Finally, you can explore the surrounding cities by train, or land that next business partnership at a networking event. For me, solo travel in Lisbon is absolutely magical and a must-add to your bucket list.

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2 Comments

  1. Shreya

    Lisbon is my favorite city in Portugal! This is a very informative post and loved reading through it. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
    • Dina-Marie Weineck

      Same here! Actually, Lisboa might be my favorite city, period Ha Ha.

      Reply

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