Best places to exchange currency in Lisbon

13.01.17
3 minute read
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With its temperate Mediterranean climate beautiful beaches and relaxed cafe culture, Lisbon is a popular tourist destination.

Browse the museums, visit the historic buildings and sample the local cuisine. Then take some time to listen to traditional Fado music, which captures the soul of the city. Choose an old town bar where you can kick back and soak up the atmosphere to complete your Lisbon experience.

If you're heading to Lisbon for a break, you’ll need to exchange enough currency to pay your way.

Follow this guide to avoiding the rip-offs and finding the best places to exchange your cash in Lisbon.

Things to know before exchanging currency

A bit of preparation before your trip to Lisbon will help you get the best deals when exchanging the cash you need to travel.

  1. Know what the mid-market rate is. It’s the only real rate, and the one big banks use to trade money across the global financial market. It’s also the same one you’ll find on Google. Rates offered to consumers are lower than the mid-market rate due to the commission that exchange services add.
  2. Compare the rate you’re offered with the real rate you find online. Use an online currency converter to show you the live mid-market rate between USD and your home currency. Don’t fall for the ‘Zero Commission’ advertising - comparing the rates will help you gauge the real best deals.
  3. Don't get lured into the convenience of changing cash at the airport or your hotel. The exchange booths there usually offer poorer rates than you’ll find in town. An even better alternative for changing cash, is to withdraw your Euros directly from an ATM.
  4. ATMs are better, but check if your home bank has a local Portuguese partnership. If they do, you might be able to get fees reduced or waived at certain ATMs.
  5. Avoid letting ATMs make currency conversions for you. To avoid a common foreign ATM pitfall, make sure you're charged in the local EUR currency for the transaction. The ATM may offer you to be charged in your home currency, but that means the ATM will assign an unknown (usually poorer) rate and charge you an extra fee to do so. You’ll get a fairer rate choosing to be charged in EUR.

However you get your hands on your Euro cash, be sure to spend whatever you change. If you find that you have unwanted Euros at the end of the trip, changing them back will mean that you're charged conversion fees twice.

Where to exchange money

If you decide you still need to exchange cash once you arrive in Lisbon, you’ll need to shop around for the best deal.

Some exchange services are listed below as a starting point, but make sure to compare the rates on offer with the real exchange rate to ensure you’re choosing the fairest one. When you’re shopping around, don’t forget to factor in any extra fees and commissions.

Unicambio

Locations

Locations Phone Number
Unicambio has 13 different locations across Lisbon including branches in the airport and Cruise terminal. Check their website for a full listing. +351 213 429 760 (general help line)

Opening Hours

Varies - check out the website for specific opening hours for each office.

NovaCâmbios

Locations

Locations Phone Number
NovaCâmbios offers 9 locations throughout Lisbon, including several counters in the airport. Check out their website to find the nearest store. + 351 213 405 170 (general help line)

Opening Hours

Varies - check out the website for specific opening hours for each office.

Real Transfer

Locations

Real Transfer offers three branches in Lisbon.

Locations Phone Number
Estrada de Benfica, 654 B, 1500-109 +351 217 601 287
Praça Marquês de Pombal, nº 1 - Galerias, Loja J, 1250-160 +351 213 528 065
Lg. de São Domingos, nº 5, 1150-320 (Rossio) +351 213 569 841

Opening Hours

  • Benfica - Mon-Fri 9-18, Sat 9-13
  • Marquês de Pombal - Mon-Fri 8-20, Sat 9-16
  • Rossio - Mon-Fri 10-19, Sat 9-13

Alternatively - for low, transparent fees which give you an even better deal - use TransferWise. If you have a Portuguese bank account, or know someone who does, you can transfer money between accounts using the real mid-market exchange rate.

TransferWise is the smart, new way to send money abroad.

Find out more