Lisbon has a much wider range of accommodations than ever before. Once Lisbon hotels were so cheap that they were reason alone to travel to Lisbon. Unfortunately, that's no longer the case. Today hotels such as the Four Seasons Hotel Ritz Lisbon and the Tivoli Lisboa charge virtually the same prices as first-class hotels in other high-priced European capitals.
Most visitors in Lisbon have to decide whether to stay in a hotel in the city proper or at a resort in the neighboring towns of Estoril and Cascais. Much will depend on your interests. If it's summer and you'd like to have a sea-resort vacation while experiencing Lisbon's cultural attractions, a beach resort might be ideal, even though you'd have to commute into Lisbon. Electric trains run about every 20 minutes, so it's entirely possible to stay on the Costa do Sol and still go sightseeing in Lisbon.
If you're primarily interested in seeing Lisbon's attractions and are pressed for time, you'll probably opt to stay in the city. Also, the off-season (Nov-Mar) is not ideal for a sea-resort vacation.
If you can't afford to stay in Lisbon's world-class hotels, a good alternative is the city's reasonably priced guesthouses -- called pensãos (pensions). Most of these are no-frills accommodations. Often you'll have to share a bathroom, although many have hot and cold running water in a sink in your room. Some of the pensions in Lisbon are centrally located and are a good way to see the sights day and night without shelling out a lot of money for accommodations.
If you arrive without a reservation, begin your search for a room as early in the day as possible. If you arrive late at night, you might have to take what you can get, and pay more than you expected.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.