10 Free Things To Do in Lisbon, Portugal by JetSettingFools.com

10 Free Things To Do In Lisbon, Portugal

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Visiting Lisbon on a budget? The city may not be as affordable to travelers as it once was, but there are still many inexpensive and free things to do in Lisbon, Portugal. And, it just so happens that some of the Lisbon free things to do are also the best things to do in Lisbon. To help other visitors, we have complied a list of top Lisbon activities that are excellent values for budget travelers, like us!

 

Free Things To Do in Lisbon, Portugal

Tram 28 in front of Se Cathedral in Lisbon, Portugal

We inherently seek out bargains in the destinations we visit around the world. Our goal while traveling is not to spend as little money as possible, but rather to find money-saving activities that will not hamper, but increase, our overall experience of a place. And, while we were visiting Lisbon, Portugal, we did just that.

Although Lisbon tourism is booming – and prices are rising for accommodations and tourist-driven activities – the city is still relatively affordable. Especially when it is compared to other major European cities, like London , Berlin and Paris. To keep the cost of a trip to Lisbon at a minimum, visitors can use our tips for the best free things to do in Lisbon.

Looking for tips to plan your Lisbon trip? Use our detailed 3-Day Lisbon Itinerary


 

#1 Take a Free Lisbon Walking Tour

Praco do Comercio in Lisbon, Portugal

There are many neighborhoods (and 7 hills!) that make up Lisbon – and each one has its own unique and distinct feel. At the center of the city are the iconic neighborhoods of Alfama, Baixta, Bairro Alto and Chiado. Navigating your way through the city on foot is one of the fun things to do in Lisbon for free.

You can walk on your own or get an introduction to Lisbon points of interest on a Free Walking Tour! Join fellow travelers on a guided 3-hour tour through the Lisbon city center. Learn about the history of the city, the 1755 earthquake, the architecture and culture – and get more Lisbon budget tips along the way.

 

Free Things To Do Lisbon: Best Walking Tours

There are several companies that offer free tours – and the Sandemans New Europe Free Walking Tour of Lisbon is highly rated.

While there are not free food tours, per se, FreeTours offers a free Lisbon walking tour that includes a free taste of pastel de nata (the Portuguese custard tart). 

Free Tours by Foot offers an alternative Lisbon walking tour for free that includes off-the-beaten-path gems and Lisbon street art. 

 

Are Lisbon Free Walking Tours Really Free? 

It is important to keep in mind that although these tours are technically free things to do in Lisbon, Portugal, the tours are tip-based and how the guide earns an income. If you find worth in the tour, be prepared to leave your guide a well deserved tip at the end of the tour.

As an alternative to taking a guided tour, visitors can wander through the Lisbon districts on their own. Create a self-guided tour to sights or set off on foot without any particular destinations in mind. 

Top Tip: If a guided tour is more your style and you would rather just pay for a tour up-front, there are many inexpensive Lisbon Walking Tours. Get the details on a highly-rated Lisbon walking tour that costs around $20 USD. 

 

#2 Visit Lisboa Miradouros (Scenic Lisbon Viewpoints)

Colorful Alfama from Miradouro da Nossa Senhora do Monte, Lisbon Portugal

Lisbon’s terrain of seven sloping hills can be daunting when exploring the city on foot, especially in the summer heat. However, because of those hills, there are some phenomenal Lisbon lookout points – called Miradouros.

Tree-shaded terraces and viewing platforms provide elevated views of the amazing colors of Lisbon. The best part is that the panoramic views are absolutely free and a must-do when you visit Lisbon!

To get to some of the viewpoints, there are inexpensive lifts – like the Santa Justa Elevator; however, you can save a few euros and just walk up instead.

{Get the details on where to find the Top 10 Scenic Viewpoints in Lisbon

Top Tip: Some of the viewpoints feature small cafes – and while the drinks are inexpensive, it’s not the best budget option. Instead, spend the early evening partaking in one of the best cheap things to do in Lisbon and stop at a grocery store or local market and pick up a few beers or a bottle of wine. It will cost a fraction of the price found on café menus. Find a bench or grassy spot at the miradouro and enjoy your beverages with an amazing view of Lisbon! 

 

#3 Walk around Belem, Lisbon

Just four miles from the center of Lisbon is the historic district of Belem – which boasts two outstanding UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

In the 1500s, it was from Belem that ships set for sail on trade routes and in search of new discoveries. During the Age of Exploration, the town was adorned with amazing Manueline architecture that still stands today. In addition to the wealth of history, Belem is home to a few famous sites in Portugal and a slew of museums (plus outstanding scenic viewpoints).

Belem is also known for the flagship Pasteis de Belem bakery shop, where they create the most famous (and most fabulous) Portuguese custard tart, and must for even the most frugal travelers!

Visiting Belem is one of the best day trips from Lisbon – and it can be absolutely free! Forego entering the main sights that require tickets (Jeronimos Monastery, Belem Tower, Monument to the Discoveries and Museu Colecao Berardo) and simply enjoy the atmosphere of the town. 

Budget travelers who want to visit the sights, however, can save money by either purchasing a combo Tower/Monastery ticket or using the Lisbon Sightseeing Pass for entry. 

{Read our detailed tips about the Top Things To Do in Belem}

Top Tip: Lisbon Tram 15 is an inexpensive and fun way to get from Lisbon to Belem. The tram departs from Praco do Comercio and costs about 3 euros each way. The tram is less expensive when using a Viva Viagem transport card – and free with the Lisbon Card Sightseeing Pass. The cheapest way to get to Belem, however, is by walking. Simply follow the bike path along the Tagus riverside. 

 

#4 Check Out the Feira da Ladra (Lisbon Thieves Market)

Perusing markets in foreign places is a fabulous way to get a glimpse of local life in a city and the Thieves Market in Lisbon – Feira da Ladra – gives a full dose of it. It’s one of the top things to see in Lisbon (and it’s free!).

The 100-year-old flea market sprawls east of the Pantheon in the streets of Alfama. The ‘stalls’ are often just blankets on the ground, which the vendors set up to sell anything and everything. Seriously, the array of goods is astounding and range from books and valuable antiques to used drills and retro cell phones to toiletries.

We were most amused – and oddly interested – in the stalls that had a hodgepodge of items, which mostly made us wonder how they all found their way to one blanket. How do a hair straightener, bike helmet, worn out shoes, sewing machine, old drill, and a fine selection of hand lotions go together? It’s all part of the charm of Feira da Ladra!

Top Tip: The Thieves Market only takes place on Tuesday and Saturday mornings. Other Lisbon markets include the foodie haven at Time Out Lisboa , Mercado do Jardim, Campo de Ourique Market and LX Factory Sunday Market.

 

#5 Visit Historic Lisbon Churches

Lisbon has an astounding number of churches within the city center – most of which have ornately decorated interiors. Filled with history and artwork, stepping inside at least a few churches is a Lisbon must-do!

Even though some of the churches have become Lisbon tourist attractions, there is no fee to enter. If you come across a Lisbon church with unlocked doors, we highly recommend going inside!

{Read our picks for the 10 Must-See Churches in Lisbon}

Top Tip: While the churches are free to enter, there may be small fees required to visit the attached church museums. We find the real beauty, however, to be the church itself. 

 

#6 Go to Cristo Rei, Lisboa

Cristo Rei – a 92-foot-tall statue of Christ (which stands on a 269-foot-tall pedestal)- overlooks the Tagus River and Lisbon from a cliff on the river’s south bank. The expansive grounds are open to the public for free.

Visitors will find a chapel at the base of the statue and Stations of the Cross that line a path along the cliff’s edge. The vantage point offers fabulous views of Lisbon and the 25 de Abril Bridge (a near replica of the Golden Gate in San Francisco).

{Get all the specific details in our post, Visiting Cristo Rei}

Top Tip: Unlike Belem, there is no way to walk to Cristo Rei (the 25 de Abril Bridge is for vehicular traffic only). Yet, getting to Cristo Rei is not expensive. The best (and incredibly inexpensive) way to get to Cristo Rei is on by ferry (around 3 euros round trip). From the Cacilhas Ferry Terminal, it’s a 45-minute walk – slightly uphill – to the statue of Christ.

 

#7 Listen to Free Fado in Lisbon

Fado is to Lisbon as country music is to Nashville: it’s iconic and listening to the soulful sound is one of the best things to do in Lisbon.

Yet, finding a free performance of Portugal’s traditional folk music is nearly impossible. Nearly. Lucky tourists will catch a rare street performance or an impromptu song being sung late night at a bar. But, if listening to Fado is high on your list, head to Tasca do Chico in Bairro Alto, where there is no cover charge for Fado sessions.

Top Tip: If standing-room-only in a packed bar isn’t your idea of a good time, but hearing Fado is a must-do Lisbon experience for you, there is a budget Fado performance for about $20, ‘Fado in Chiado.’ Most other performances, which usually include a meal, can cost up to $100. 

 

 

#8 Watch A Lisbon Sunset from Cais das Colunas

Sunset over Tagus River Lisbon, Portugal

Taking in a epic sunset is one of the best free things in Lisbon to do. The city is simply stunning in the late afternoon light.

The good news is that Lisbon, Portugal has no shortage of scenic spots to watch the sunset. One of the best places, however, is from the riverside steps at Cais das Colunas. The old port of entry, which leads into Praca do Comercio, was built in the 1700s and is marked with two columns.

The wharf, which has welcomed famous Lisbon visitors like Queen Elizabeth II, is a popular place to sit, relax and watch the spectacular Lisbon sunset views over the Tagus River.

Top Tip: Praca do Comercio, the spacious square at the top of the Cais das Colunas steps, is one of the most important squares in Lisbon. Events are often held in Praca do Comerico – many of which are free to attend! 

 

#9 Have a Picnic in a Lisbon Park

When the weather is nice, one of our favorite things to do in Lisbon is pack up a picnic and head to a park. The Lisbon city center has numerous parks that are easily accessible and ideal place to lounge over an outdoor meal.

Jardim da Estrela in the west of Lisbon (and across the street from the Basilica da Estrela) opened to the public in 1873 and has several benches to sit on and fountains to admire as you eat your lunch. Nearby is a Lisbon hidden gem and one of the most beautiful city parks: Tapada das Necessidades, which features abandoned structures that sit along moss-covered paths.

The 64-acre Eduardo VII Park is another great spot for a leisurely picnic lunch. Parque Eduardo VII lies north of Avenida da Liberdade and slopes uphill to a platform where the largest flag of Portugal in the world flies (and is where Shakira filmed her Dare (La La La) video).

Martim Moniz is the city’s newest park in the center of Lisbon’s most multicultural neighborhood and, in addition to the open lawn, features huts selling international cuisine and sometimes a DJ spinning tunes. 

Top Tip: Use this link to Google Maps to find the four Lisbon parks mentioned above.

 

#10 Stroll Through a Lisbon Cemetery

Visiting a cemetery might not be the first thing that comes to mind when planning what to do in Lisbon, Portugal – but Lisbon cemeteries are beautiful places to see…and the admission is free.

The Cemiterio dos Prazeres, located on the west side of the city at the end of the Tram 28 & 25 lines, is filled with monuments and sculptures. The historic graveyard is the final resting place of many of Lisbon’s most famous residents with a memorial to Lisbon firefighters as well.

Top Tip: Another cemetery, Cemiterio do Alto de Sao Joao, is located on the east side of the city and is also worth a visit. 

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Lisbon Sightseeing & Money-Saving Tips

We’ve shared our list of top things to do in Lisbon, Portugal on a budget – but we have a few more money-saving tips for your trip! 

 

Getting around Lisbon, Portugal

Famous Tram 28 in Lisbon, Portugal

Public transportation in Lisbon- which consists of trams, trains, buses, subways and ferries –  is incredibly affordable. Rides are even cheaper when using the Viva Viagem transport card, which can be purchased in Metro stations.  

Although the Lisbon public transportation options are ample, it can be confusing for anyone who isn’t familiar with it. An alternate option is the Lisbon Hop-On Hop-Off Bus that makes stops at all the popular tourist spots. An all-day ticket, however, costs significantly more than public transport.

If you plan on visiting Lisbon attractions – and traveling via public transportation – the Lisboa Card can provide significant savings. With the Lisboa Card, all public transportation (including the Santa Justa Lift) is free. Additionally, the card provides reduced admission to many museums and top Lisbon sights – like St. George Castle (Castelo de Sao Jorge Castle).

Pro Tip: Lisbon’s historic (and incredibly crowded) yellow Tram 28 rambles through Baixta, Alfama and Graca districts. Squeeze on board for an inexpensive way to see the neighborhoods when the weather is rainy or hot and humid – or when your feet just need a rest! We actually recommend Lisbon Tram 25 for a more comfortable and equally scenic Lisbon tram ride.

 

Lisbon Museums

There are a plethora of museums in Lisbon, but there are very few free museums in Lisbon. Fees to enter the museums rarely exceed 5 euros, but the costs can add up in a hurry.

Many of Lisbon’s most popular museums – like Museu Nacional do Azulejo (Tile Museum) and Museu Gulbenkianused to offer free entry on the 1st Sunday of each month, but now the perk is only available to Portuguese residents, proof required (although check the websites, because it might change). 

Pro Tip: If you are planning on visiting several museums, consider buying the Lisboa Card– which includes discounted or free entry into Lisbon’s top museums.

 

Day Trips from Lisbon, Portugal

In addition to sightseeing in Lisbon, there are many sights just outside the city. We have already mentioned taking day trips to Belem and Cristo Rei, but visitors can also see some of the surrounding area for the price of a train ticket.

 

Affordable Lisbon Day Trip to Sintra and Cascais

The best DIY day trip from Lisbon is a tour of the UNESCO World Heritage Site town on Sintra. The city is one of the most famous places in Portugal. We detail exactly how to design your own tour in our Guide to Visiting Sintra.

Visitors can include the nearby beaches at Cascais to their tour as well (but it will require some thoughtful planning). 

Although these journeys can be completed on your own, an organized small-group tour from Lisbon to Sintra and Cascais costs around $70 (and you are almost guaranteed not to get locked in a train station, like we did!)


 

How To Plan a Trip to Lisbon

We have highlighted the best cheap and free things to do in Lisbon – as well as provided money-saving tips for your trip. Now we are sharing some helpful advice for planning a trip to Lisbon. 

 

Get Set For Portugal With Our Best Lisbon Itinerary!

3 Days in Lisbon, Portugal A Detailed Lisbon Itinerary by JetSettingFools.com

 

Where To Stay in Lisbon, Portugal

There are a great variety of places to stay in Lisbon – from hotels to hostels and holiday apartments to housesitting opportunities

During our trips to Lisbon, we have stayed in an Airbnb apartment in the Alfama district, booked a luxury stay in Belem and stayed for free as house and petsitters in the Lapa district.

 

Vacation Apartments

Generally speaking, we have found that staying in apartments is often less expensive than hotel rooms – with the added benefit of a kitchen and, usually, more space. That said, travelers need to be aware of the extra fees and should price out the total cost of the accommodations before booking. 

 

Hotels in Lisbon

As one of the most popular destinations in Europe, there are many Lisbon Hotels to choose from in – or close to – the city center.

We recommend searching for the best price on hotels in Lisbon on Booking.com. – but before you start your search, use our tips for Finding the Best Hotels

 

Lisbon Hostels

Budget travelers can search for hostels in Lisbon- like the highly rated Lisboa Central Hostel and Lisbon Destination Hostel

 

Getting to Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon can be reached by plane, train, bus or car.

Our preferred method of getting anywhere is by flying (we are JetSetting Fools, after all!) and we have flown to Lisbon from London and Paris and departed on flights to Barcelona and Madrid. When we want to purchase affordable plane tickets, we start our search for cheap flights to Lisbon on Skyscanner.

The Humberto Delgado Airport (LIS), is the main Lisbon airport for both European and international flights.

If arriving/departing Lisbon by train or bus, there are several stations in the city and which one you will use will depend on where you are coming from/go to. When booking travel by train or bus to Lisbon, pay close attention to the station of arrival/departure. 

 

Before You Go to Lisbon, Portugal: What To Pack

Our final travel tips cover one of the most dreaded aspects of travel: Packing that backpack or suitcase! We offer a few Lisbon tips – but you can find all of our packing hacks and a complete packing list on our Travel Packing blog page. 

 

Shoes for Walking in Lisbon

Lisbon’s inclined, cobblestone lanes are incredibly picturesque…but can be problematic if you don’t pack the right travel shoes for your trip. I like to wear versatile and lightweight sneakers and Kris is most comfortable touring cities in his Merrell trail shoes

 

Camera to Capture the Lisbon Sights

Lisbon is so photogenic – and we recommend capturing the beauty of the city with a real camera. The Canon Rebel that we use is an affordable travel camera that takes high quality photos (and comes with heaps of accessories. 

 

Day Pack for Lisbon Sightseeing

Carrying a travel day pack during your travels will help keep your costs down because you will have everything you need with you (and won’t need to pop into a convenience store when out sightseeing). In your day pack, you can stow your water bottle, snacks and everyday essential travel items – and keep your valuables secured. 

 

Lisbon Map and Guidebook

One of the best ways to plan a Lisbon trip affordably is to create your own plan (rather than hiring a guide). We recommend buying a  city map and/or guidebook so that you can plan your best trip! 

 

Portugal Trip Insurance

We think travel insurance is essential – even for budget travelers! Not only can insurance come in handy when flights are delayed or luggage is lost, but it is key if travelers get injured or become ill while abroad. If you haven’t already obtained travel insurance for your trip to Lisbon, travel protected with World Nomads.

 

Start planning your trip to Portugal! Search for the lowest airfares, the best accommodations and fun things to do…then start packing!  Want more travel planning tips? Head over to our Travel Planning page for more information and tips on traveling – and for country-specific information, take a look at our Travel Guides page!

 

Is Porto, Portugal Also In Your Travel Plans? Great! Be sure to read our Porto Itinerary and get our top tips to the Best Porto Food and where to find amazing Porto Craft Beer!

 

We want to know: What are your favorite free things to do in Lisbon? Is there anything we should add to our list? Share your tips in the comments below! 

 

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4 thoughts on “10 Free Things To Do In Lisbon, Portugal

  1. Can´t wait be back in this city in autumn! Then we have to try out your tips!
    Thanks a lot for sharing! Great Work!

    Happy Monday,
    Anna

  2. Sophie

    Thank you for the article! However, I just wanted to ask why you decided to support a massively exploitative company like Sandemans New Europe over a local company that treats its guides fairly? Sandemans takes a large portion of their guides “tip money” and pays them a very small wage for their so-called paid tours and private tours. There are other free tour companies, for example, Chill Out Lisbon Free Tour that are local, ethical, offer fair conditions to their guides, pay them living wages and have excellent guides! Why did you choose a multi-national company hell-bent on squeezzing as much money out of their guides as possible over a local company that believes in respecting their guides, giving fair conditions and wages and offering great tours?

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