A number of cities around the world have introduced a tourist tax. This is a nightly fee that you pay in addition to the cost of your hotel room or Airbnb. In Portugal, you’ll notice this fee when you book accommodation in cities like Lisbon and Porto. It doesn’t exist everywhere in Portugal.
The fee is €2 per person per night up to a maximum of €14 (or 7 nights). It only applies to people 13 years or older.
This means that if a couple stays for a week in Lisbon or Porto, they can expect to pay €28 in tourist tax. A single person staying a week would pay €14. A couple staying 2 nights would pay €8.
Thankfully, it’s not something you need to worry about. If you book an Airbnb, this money is collected automatically and you’ll see it on your bill breakdown. It’s also automatically included when you book accommodation on Booking.com.
What happens if you book an apartment on a long-term basis, say for a month? If you book accommodation for more than 7 days, the most you’ll be charged is €2 per person per night, so a single person visiting Lisbon for a month would only pay €14. A couple would be charged €28.
Can you get around it by just booking for one person? Possibly, but this is going to upset your Airbnb host and could cause problems since accommodation providers have to register all of their guests (you’ll notice many hosts in Portugal ask for a copy of your passport).
Portugal’s tourist tax is actually quite small when compared to other cities. In places like Ibiza and Majorca it can be as much as €4 per night – double that of Lisbon and Porto. In Amsterdam, the fee is 7% of the hotel room cost. However, although Amsterdam’s percentage system would work out more expensive when booking a hotel room, it would probably be fairer on those booking a bed in a hostel dorm.
Of course, whether you’re booking a bed in a hostel dorm or an entire apartment, this fee goes back to the city to cover costs from tourism and to make the city better for future tourists. You might not see the benefit unless you come back, but you’re already benefiting thanks to the people who came and paid before you.