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

10 Free Things to do in Lisbon, Portugal

Hey there! Welcome to JetSetting Fools! You will find our best travel tips for destinations worldwide. Some of the links on this site are Affiliate Links and if you use them to make a purchase, we may earn a small commission. For more information, read our Disclosure Policy.
   

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 the city. To help other travelers, we have complied a list of top Lisbon activities that don’t cost a dime! 

Colorful street art in Lisbon, Portugal

 

Free Things To Do in Lisbon

As budget-conscious travelers, 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.

 

#1 Join a Free Lisbon Walking Tour

There are many neighborhoods 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 AlfamaBaixtaBairro Alto and Chiado. 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 – and get more Lisbon budget tips along the way. Sandemans New Europe Free Walking Tour of Lisbon is highly rated, but there are several companies that offer free tours.

Keep in mind, however, that although the tour is technically free, the tours are tip-based and how the guide earns income. If you find worth in the tour, be prepared to leave your guide the 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 walking tour that costs around $20 USD. 

 

#2 See the City from a Lisbon Miradouro Viewpoint

Lisbon’s terrain of 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 city lookout points – called Miradouros. Tree-shaded terraces and viewing platforms provide elevated views of the colorful city. The best part is that they are absolutely free and a must-do when you visit Lisbon!

{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, stop at a grocery store or market and pick up a few beers or a bottle of wine for a fraction of the price found on cafe menus. Find a bench or grassy spot at the miradouro and enjoy the store-bought beverages with a view! 

 

#3 Spend Some Time in Belem 

A view of Belem in Lisbon, Portugal

Just four miles from the center of Lisbon is the historic city of Belem. 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 has a slew of museums and outstanding scenic viewpoints. Belem is also home to Pasteis de Belem, where they create the most famous (and most fabulous) Portuguese custard tart (a must for even the most frugal travelers – and they only cost about 1 euro!).

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 and Monument to the Discoveries) 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 city Sightseeing Pass. The cheapest way to get to Belem, however, is by walking! Simply follow the bike path along the riverside. 

 

#4 Check Out the Feira da Ladra 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. 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 deodorant and toothpaste.

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 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 see a 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 attached church museums. We find the real beauty, however, to be the church itself. 

 

#6 Go To Cristo Rei

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 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. 

 

#7 Listen to Free Fado

Fado is to Lisbon as country music is to Tennessee: 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, cost around $100 USD. 

Subscribe to JetSettingFools.com

 

#8 Watch Sunset from Cais das Colunas

Sunset over Tagus River Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon 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 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 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 (and across the street from the Basilica da Estrela) opened to the public in 1873 and at one time featured a caged lion in the middle of the park. 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 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 offering entertainment. 

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

 

#10 Stroll Through a 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. The Cemiterio dos Prazeres, located on the west side of the city near the end of the Tram 28 line, is filled with monuments and sculptures. The historic graveyard is the final resting place of many of Lisbon’s most famous residents.

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


 

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

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 used to using public transport. Easier to figure out than public transport is the Lisbon Hop-On Hop-Off Bus that makes stops at all the popular tourist spots. An all-day ticket, which costs significantly more than public transport – might be worth the hassle.

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).

Tip: Lisbon’s historic, yellow Tram 28 rambles through Baixta, Alfama and Graca districts. Jump 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!

 

Lisbon Museums

There are a plethora of museums in Lisbon, but very few of them are free. Fees to enter the museums rarely exceed 5 euros, but the fees can add up in a hurry. Many of Lisbon’s most popular museums – like Museu Nacional do Azulejo (Tile Museum) and Museu Gulbenkian – offer used to offer free entry on the 1st Sunday of each month, but now the perk is only available to Portuguese residents (proof required). 

Tip: If you are planning on visiting several museums – and will not be in Lisbon on the 1st Sunday of the month, consider buying the Lisboa Card– which includes free entry into Lisbon’s top museums.

 

Day Trips from Lisbon

In addition to sightseeing in Lisbon, there are many sights just outside the city. In addition to taking day trips to Belem and Cristo Rei (as mentioned above), visitors can visit the nearby Cascais and the UNESCO Heritage town of Sintra. Although this journey can be completed on your own, an organized small-group tour from Lisbon to Sintra and Cascais costs around $50 (and you are almost guaranteed not to get locked in a train station, like we did!)

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

3 Days in Lisbon, Portugal: A Detailed Lisbon Itinerary

 

Where To Stay in Lisbon

During our trips to Lisbon, we have stayed in Airbnb Apartments in the Alfama district and Lapa district. 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. 

Not already a member of Airbnb? Use this link to create an account and save money on your first stay!

However, for those who prefer staying in traditional accommodations, there are many Lisbon hotels to choose from in – or close to – the city center. Search for the best price on hotels in Lisbon on Booking.com. You can also check out these top-rated hotels (based on guest reviews!) priced around $100 USD/night (at time of posting) for your upcoming trip: HF Fenix Urban, Hotel Expo Astoria and Empire Lisbon Hotel.

Budget travelers can search for hostels in Lisbon– like Lisboa Central Hostel and Lisbon Destination Hostel. For a true bargain – and a unique experience – search for hosts on Couchsurfing, where travelers stay with locals for free

 

Getting To Lisbon

Lisbon can be reached by plane, train, bus or car.  The Humberto Delgado Airport, where most flights to Lisbon will land, is the main Lisbon airport. If arriving/departing Lisbon by train or bus, there are several stations in the city. When booking travel by train or bus, pay close attention to the station of arrival/departure. 

Our preferred method of getting anywhere is by flying (we are JetSetting Fools, after all!) and when we do need to purchase plane tickets, we start our search for cheap flights to Lisbon on Skyscanner.

 

Before You Go

  • Lisbon is a walkable city…but only if you have the right shoes! Don’t forget to pack a pair of lightweight and comfortable walking shoes for your trip. I (Sarah) have traveled with these shoes by Columbia and Skechers. Kris prefers wearing these shoes by Merrell.
  • We’re certain you’ll be snapping tons of photos during your trip. Rather than relying on your mobile phone to capture the sights, upgrade to an actual camera for higher quality photos. We travel with a Canon Rebel (which takes amazing photos, but can be a bit clunky) and a Canon PowerShot ELPH (which takes beautiful pictures, is slim and lightweight – and the new models are wifi enabled so you can share your trip pics to social media in real time!).
  • It’s easy to get turned around in any foreign city…and especially Lisbon! Make sure to have a good city map and/or guidebook before arriving.
  • We think travel insurance is essential! If you haven’t already obtained travel insurance for your trip, travel protected with World Nomads.

 

Start planning your trip to Lisbon, 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!

 

Like what you’re reading? Join the journey!

Subscribe to JetSetting Fools and get new blog posts and our quarterly newsletter direct to your inbox: 

 

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! 

 

Pin it! See all of our travel pins on our JetSetting Fools Pinterest Board.

10 Free Things To Do in Lisbon by JetSettingFools.com

The 10 Best Free Things To Do in Lisbon, Portugal by JetSettingFools.com Lisbon Free Things To Do by JetSettingFools.com/div>

10 Free Things To Do in Lisbon, Portugal by JetSettingFools.com
Airbnb Logo Sign Up to Save Money on your first stay

Join Airbnb and Save Money on Your First Stay!

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?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.