Portugal is a great option for budget travelers. This coastal country has one of the lowest costs of living in western Europe. And while the capital, Lisbon, is more expensive than more rural parts of the country, it still represents an extraordinary bargain for visitors – especially considering everything there is to do.
Drop off your bags at a Lisbon luggage storage, and you’ll be ready to enjoy everything the city has to offer. And you can make your Euros stretch further by taking advantage of some of the great free things there are to do in this fabulous city. Check some of these free activities off your bucket list and see the city the way the locals do.
Miradouro de Santa Luzia and Portas do Sol
One of the best things to do in Lisbon is simply to wander around and explore. The city is filled with narrow, winding streets and alleyways, many with views out over the Rio Tejo.
Two of the best places to start are the Miradouro de Santa Luzia and Portas do Sol. These adjoining viewpoints offer two different perspectives of the cityscape – one from a hilltop and one from a more central vantage point. They’re both great for people-watching, and you’re sure to get fabulous photos.
After taking in the views, make your way down into Bairro Alto, Lisbon’s bohemian district. This is the place to come for nightlife, with bars and clubs spilling out into the streets. It’s also a great place to explore during the day, with plenty of cafes, shops, and street art to enjoy.
And if you want to experience some of Lisbon’s traditional culture, you can find it here in the form of Fado music. This haunting style of music is synonymous with the city, and there are plenty of free shows to enjoy in Bairro Alto.
Praça do Comércio
No visit to Lisbon would be complete without a stroll through Praça do Comércio. This massive square sits on the banks of the Rio Tejo and was once the site of a royal palace. Today, it’s one of the most popular meeting places in the city.
Grab a coffee and watch the world go by, or explore the many shops and restaurants surrounding the square.
Museu do Dinheiro
Lisbon is filled with museums, many of which are free to enter. One of the most unique is the Museu do Dinheiro, or Museum of Money. This fascinating museum traces the history of money and currency in Portugal, all the way back to Roman times. It’s a great place to learn about the country’s interesting economic past – and it doesn’t cost a cent to get in.
São Jorge Castle
São Jorge Castle is one of Lisbon’s most iconic landmarks. Perched atop one of the city’s seven hills, this Moorish castle offers stunning views out over Lisbon. It’s well worth paying the small entrance fee to explore the castle grounds, but if you want to save your money, you can enjoy the views for free from outside the walls.
Largo do Intendente Pina Manique
Largo do Intendente Pina Manique is a small park in the Intendente district of Lisbon. It’s a great place to come to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, and it’s filled with charming cafes and independent shops. The highlight, though, is the mosaic tile wall that runs along one side of the park. This colorful piece of public art is definitely worth a visit.
Núcleo Arqueológico da Rua dos Correeiros
If you’re interested in Lisbon’s history, you’ll want to visit the Núcleo Arqueológico da Rua dos Correeiros. This archaeological site is located in the city center and contains the remains of a Roman road that dates back to the 2nd century AD.
It’s free to enter, and there’s also a small museum on-site with more information about the city’s past.
Igreja da Conceição Velha
Igreja da Conceição Velha is a small church located in the Chiado district of Lisbon. It’s not the most spectacular church in the city, but it’s worth a visit for its beautiful tile work. The interior of the church is covered in blue and white azulejo tiles, which date back to the 18th century. Admission is free, and you can also enjoy views of the city from the church’s terrace.
Alfama and Madragoa
The Alfama and Madragoa districts are two of the most atmospheric parts of Lisbon. These traditional neighborhoods are filled with narrow streets, quaint cafes, and colorful buildings. They’re great places to explore on foot, and you’ll definitely want to have your camera handy. If you’re looking for some free entertainment, you can also catch a Fado show in one of the many bars in these neighborhoods.
Caminho da Água
The Caminho da Água is a scenic walking trail that runs along Lisbon’s waterfront. It’s a great place to go for a stroll, and you’ll get some amazing views of the city and the Rio Tejo. The trail starts at Cais do Sodré and continues all the way to Belém. Along the way, you’ll pass by some of Lisbon’s most famous landmarks, including the Padrão dos Descobrimentos and the Torre de Belém.
Igreja de São Roque
Igreja de São Roque is one of Lisbon’s most beautiful churches. It was built in the 16th century and is filled with Baroque-style decoration. The highlight of the church is its stunning main altar, which is made of marble and covered in gold leaf. Admission to the church is free, but you’ll need to pay a small fee to enter the museum on-site.