How to budget in Porto, Portugal

Although I am studying in one of the cheapest countries in Europe, I still find it difficult to stick to a budget when studying abroad. Because I am only in Portugal for a year, I find myself wanting to go out and explore and make sure I experience everything in the short time I am out here. That’s what the year abroad is all about, right?! But, I’ve learnt that this comes at a cost, so here are some ways I’ve found to save money so you don’t have to miss out on any adventures.

Getting around the city

Porto is a very cheap city to get around. The metro has a great service and only costs €1.20 for a single across the central zone of the city. Uber is great too- It costs a lot less than the regular taxis and can be a lot cheaper than the metro, especially when travelling in a group. But, personally, I prefer to walk for most of my journeys because the city is quite small and really beautiful to explore on foot.

Dom Luis I Bridge

Dom Luís I Bridge

Food Shopping

Food shopping in Portugal is a bit of a nightmare. The supermarkets here are confusing, with layouts very different to UK stores, and the food is quite expensive. My advice is to shop like the locals – go to local grocers, bakeries and market stalls that are dotted about all over the city, where the food is cheaper and more-often-than-not tastier. Plus, there’s the added benefit of being able to practice your Portuguese with the shop assistants.


Being one of the biggest cities in the country, Porto has great connections to destinations all around Portugal and Spain. Buses and trains are cheap, but don’t forget to compare flight prices as these are often cheaper and (unsurprisingly) faster.  Also, it is worth looking out for organized trips with ESN Porto and the university. They often host trips for a discounted price and sometimes even for free, for example, last semester, my Spanish department at the university took us to Santiago de Compostela, which was beautiful.

Catedral de Santiago de Compostela-Spain

Catedral de Santiago de Compostela, Spain

Student Deals

Porto has no shortage of deals for students. Many museums, galleries and tourist attractions offer student tickets at a discounted price or even for free on certain days. The metro service also offers a student discount on the monthly pass and ESN Porto has connections with plenty of local businesses, such as gyms and hairdressers, which offer discounts with your ESN card.

Inside the Igreja de Sao Francisco in Porto

Inside the Igreja de São Francisco in Porto

Written by Sally Harper, the University of Porto, Portugal


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