As most of you know I work online all day, that’s a dangerous thing for someone who lives in Lisbon where food is delicious (and cheap). Lucky for me, before settling here I got to try tons of gyms. I’ll leave the best for last (the one I picked for my membership), but I’ll give you a breakdown of the best gyms in Lisbon so you can stay healthy and in shape (and still enjoy all of Lisbon’s delicious food).
Best Gyms in Lisbon
The Good: This is your budget gym. Memberships run at €7 per week. It’s a fine gym if you aren’t looking for any amenities. At the premier membership, you can go to any of the clubs within the chain and there are plenty (almost 20 in the Lisbon area). This is one of the best gyms in Lisbon when it comes to value.
The Bad: They require that you have a Portuguese or European bank account (no US credit cards or cash are accepted). Customer service varies by location and really leaves a lot to be desired.
The Verdict: Go if you want to save money, but don’t expect much. This is your no-frills convenient gym.
Locations: Alfragide, Almirante Reis, Amadora, Amoreiras, Arco do Cego, Benfica, Parque das Nacoes, Picoas, Santos.
The Good: This is one of the best gyms in Lisbon because of its great price and everything it has to offer. It’s got all your regular gym stuff and more. There is a pool (of course), but there are also programs like fencing, golf, tennis, and more.
The Bad: They are too damn far from my house for me to join. There are also two hidden fees, a join fee of €50 and an annual member quota that varies according to your membership. These are on top of your monthly dues, but still comes out to be quite affordable when you consider all the gym has to offer.
The Verdict: This is a local favorite, it is priced well and if you feel like a gerbil on a ball when you get on a treadmill, all the amenities here are probably great for you.
Holmes Place $$$
The Good: The equipment and amenities are good. Most locations (there are 6 in Lisbon) have pools. There are plenty of classes and they have an app to help you reserve a spot in the classes (in some of the clubs you will need to use this app, the classes fill up fast).
The Bad: This club comes with a premium price tag and it is quite popular. There are always tons of people there and classes fill up fast. The staff there is a bit pushy on sales. Canceling is a pain. Seriously. Antonio & I had been “going” for 2 years. He had not been actively going since November. The gym called me to tell me I owed money for May. I emailed them a copy of my receipts for March, April & May and asked them to cancel my account. They said I had to come in person. Sadly this moved me to the next month. I made the first visit to cancel and asked to speak to a manager, I was told they were in meetings. I requested that the email me that night to make an appointment for me to come in and speak directly to the manager. I never got the email so I went back the next day. Manager “was not” there. They required that I pay 2 months (the new month and the month after), even though I showed them I owed nothing (had receipts), had requested a cancellation the previous month, AND had not been coming for months. The gym’s customer service made me feel like it was Ryan Air with all its dark patterns. I felt as if I was being held at ransom. What a bummer.
The Verdict: Thumbs down. Nice machines, fine amenities (you definitely pay for them), nice classes. Very expensive (for Portugal) and too many people (which may be good if you’re new in town and looking to meet people), but for me…I like things quiet. Going forward it is a nay for me.
Locations: 5 de Octubre, Alvalade, Amoreiras, Avenida da Liberdade, Avenida Defensores Chaves, Parque das Nacoes.
Club VII $$$$
The Good: This is more of a country club – sports club combination. It’s the Chi-chiest of the gyms and offers an indoor-outdoor pool, plenty of tennis courts, a sunning area, and incredible equipment. It is also located in Parque Eduardo VII, so the location is fabulous. Lisbon’s elite goes here, so if you are looking to rub elbows, this is the place.
The Bad: Membership comes at a cost, and that ain’t pretty. Memberships are yearly and you can cancel as long as you give 3 months notice. Cost per person is either €93/111 (with or without tennis). There is also only one location, so unlike the other clubs when you travel you won’t have clubs to visit.
The Verdict: If you have the money, join up. This place is gorgeous and has great amenities.
Locations: Parque Eduardo VII
The Good: This is one of my faves, and I would have joined if it was not so far from my new place in the Avenidas Novas neighborhood. This club is not pretentious at all. The price is quite fair on a monthly basis, the equipment is fantastic and there are plenty of classes (take the Samba class – it’s awesome). People here are fit (seriously fit) which is quite inspirational when you are about to give up.
The Bad: It’s kinda hard to get to. Since it’s on the water, you have to cross a major street and then go over a bridge. The location is great if you are in Santos, but not if you are in other places in Lisbon. There are 4 clubs in total, but only 1 in Lisbon proper.
The Verdict: If you are in the Santos/Cais do Sodre area, this should be your choice.
Virgin Active (Now part of Holmes Place) $$$
The Good: This was Richard Branson’s gym and it is definitely one of the Best Gyms in Lisbon.
The Bad: Got picked up by Holmes Place.
The Verdict: No longer in existence. I miss the old gym.
Locations: Palacio SottoMaior
***On 10/3/2017 Virgin Active PT announced that it was purchased by Holmes Place. I’ve updated this piece to show how it has changed with the aquisition…which is for the better 🙂
Got other gyms in Lisbon I should check out? Have questions about a particular club? Ask in the comments.