20 Fun and Free Things to Do in Lisbon, Portugal

20 Fun and Free Things to Do in Lisbon, Portugal- History of Lisbon Mural by Nuno Saraiva

Are you planning Lisbon on a budget? If so, you will love these amazing attractions and free things to do in Lisbon.

Beyond its obvious charms, Lisbon is also widely regarded as a budget-friendly destination, making it an attractive option for travelers seeking affordability without compromising on experience.

However, accommodation costs can easily eat up most of your budget. Especially if you want to stay close to central attractions and don’t wish to share your space with other travelers. You will love this Lisbon travel guide to balance it out.

Keep in mind that popular districts like Alfama, Baixa, Chiado, Bairro Alto, and Cais do Sodre are full of iconic attractions that you can see from the outside for free, but we won’t cover those. It is obvious that you can visit squares and appreciate architecture from the outside for free.

I am here to share local insights, the best free attractions, and other useful tips that will help you access paid landmarks for free. Let’s unlock the best free things to do in Lisbon together!

20 amazing free things to do in Lisbon

Climb up to the best Lisbon Miradouros

Miradouro de Santa Luzia - one of the best viewpoints in Lisbon
Miradouro de Santa Luzia
Porta do Sol - best views in Lisbon
Miradouro das Portas do Sol

Miradouro in Portuguese means a viewpoint and when it comes to panoramic views, Lisbon doesn’t disappoint. On top of that, all these viewpoints are public and free of charge.

While it takes some extra effort to reach the viewpoints, you can easily spot all the iconic landmarks of Lisbon after visiting 2-3 miradouros.

The most popular viewpoints in Lisbon are:

  • Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara
  • Miradouro de Santa Luzia
  • Miradouro das Portas do Sol
  • Miradouro da Graça
  • Miradouro da Senhora do Monte

If you are looking for less popular options with fantastic views, I am sure you will love one of these miradouros:

  • Miradouro de Santa Catarina
  • Miradouro do Monte Agudo
  • Miradouro de Santo Estêvão

My favorite is Miradouro de Santo Amaro, one of the best-hidden gems in Lisbon. It is located further away from main landmarks, however, you can combine it with LX Factory, another free attraction in Lisbon.

Visit amazing free museums in Lisbon

Depending on your interests, there are some free museums in Lisbon that you don’t want to miss. There is something for art lovers, history enthusiasts, and families traveling with kids.

Money Museum or Museu do Dinheiro is one of the most popular options when it comes to free Lisbon museums. It offers a unique insight into the history of money and its impact on society. 

The museum boasts an extensive collection of coins and banknotes from different eras and regions. You also will find interactive games and displays. This is a great museum if you are visiting Lisbon with kids.

Gulbenkian Museum is another iconic museum in Lisbon. Normally, you would have to pay a 10 euro entrance fee, however, every Sunday after 2 pm you get free access to the entire museum. So if you happen to be in Lisbon on a Sunday and you love art, don’t miss this opportunity.

Another great free museum in Lisbon is Núcleo Arqueológico da Rua dos Correeiros. This is an absolute must-see for every history lover visiting Lisbon. Not only you get to access the site, but get a free guided tour in Portuguese or English.

Tours are available from Monday to Saturday at 10 am, 11 am, midday, 2 pm, 3 pm, 4 pm, and 5 pm. I highly recommend that you book your tour online and you can do it here.

Please note! You might see that a lot of museums offer free entrance first Sunday of the month, but keep in mind that you need to be a resident of Portugal and present proof of it. Some museums give free access only to those based in Lisbon.

Enter the free churches of Lisbon

the Church of Saint Paul in Lisbon
Church of Saint Paul
St. María of Belém in Lisbon
St. María of Belém

Going church hunting is one of the best free things to do in Lisbon. While all the famous churches in Lisbon require an entry fee nowadays, there are still some beautiful ones that can be visited for free.

My favorite is the Church of Saint Dominic. The interior of the church shows the scars that the earthquake in 1855 left. As soon as you step in, you will notice the burnt walls that were never renovated. It serves as a reminder of this tragic event.

Another must-visit is the church of St. María of Belém. While everyone focuses on the Monastery of Jeronimos, a lot of people miss the beautiful Church of St. María of Belém. 

The church is one of the best free Lisbon attractions and has a wonderful Manueline architecture that is very typical of the Belem area. It also hosts the grave of Vasco da Gama.

Igreja do Menino de Deus, which was finished in 1711 is one of the most incredible churches in Lisbon and it resisted the earthquake of 1755. It has beautiful paintings and it is located next to the Castle of Saint George. Update! As of 2024, it is under renovation.

Other cute churches to visit are the Igreja de São Mamede, the Church of Our Lady of the Angels, the Church of St. Louis of the French, the Church of Saint Paul, and the Church Santos-O-Velho.

Relax in one of the many parks

Parque Eduardo VII in Lisbon
Parque Eduardo VII
Jardim do Torel in Lisbon
Jardim do Torel

Despite the limited space, Lisbon has several green areas where people can hang out and chill. Some of these parks are important attractions of Lisbon that you should add to your Lisbon itinerary.

My favorite, and one of the best ones is Parque Eduardo VII. This park has one of the most iconic Lisbon viewpoints, the Estufa Fria, which is a little botanical garden, and the picturesque Carlos Lopes Pavillion.

Jardim da Estrela is a little urban park located right in front of the iconic basilica. Compared to the Parque Eduardo VII has a more laid-back and local atmosphere. In the park, there is also the British cemetery with the picturesque St. George Church. 

Jardim do Torel is another charming urban park located in central Lisbon. This place is usually missed by tourists but it offers a fantastic view of Lisbon and it was recently renovated.

Parque Florestal de Monsanto is the biggest park in Lisbon and the real lung of the city. With its 10 km2, this is an ideal location to spend time open-air, especially during a hot day. In this little forest, you can enjoy a lot of free activities, such as hiking, mountain biking, or picnics.

Other parks that are worth mentioning are Jardim da Cerca da Graça, Campo dos Mártires da Pátria, and the Park Necessidades. If you are a couple, you can plan a cute Lisbon date in one of the parks in Lisbon.

Explore free beaches around Lisbon

Cascais near Lisbon

Spending a day at the beach is always one of the most popular free things to do in Lisbon for locals and tourists. While there are no real beaches inside the city, some of the prettiest beaches in Portugal can be reached in less than one hour.

Carcavelos Beach is probably the most popular choice due to its proximity to the center. As you can imagine, this golden sand beach is often very crowded, but it’s also very wide and full of bars and restaurants.

🚂 You will need only 30 minutes from the station of Cais do Sodré and the ticket will cost you approximately 2 euros one way.

Just a few minutes away from Carcavelos, find Estoril. Estoril Beach is a popular surfing and swimming spot in a sheltered bay, Tamariz Beach is the most famous beach in the area and is dominated by the Forte da Cruz.

🚂 You will need only 35 minutes from the station of Cais do Sodré and the ticket will cost you approximately 2.50 euros one way.

Cascais doesn’t need an introduction as it is one of the best day trips from Lisbon. It is a charming town overlooking the bay and it boasts three charming beaches: Praia da Ribeira, Praia da Rainha, and Praia da Duquesa.

🚂 You will need only 45 minutes from the station of Cais do Sodré and the ticket will cost you approximately 3.70 euros one way.

On the other side of the Tagus River, you can find Costa da Caparica, which is one of the most popular coastal towns of Central Portugal.  This beach is almost 10 kilometers long which means that there is space for everyone. Especially if you walk further away from the bus stop. 

Alternatively, you can take Transpraia which brings you to Fonte de Telha. I have to say that Fonte de Telha is one of my favorite beaches around Lisbon. The train runs from June till the end of September and departs every 30 minutes. Prices vary between 3-5 euros one way.

🚌 You can reach Costa de Caparica in one hour depending on the traffic. Bus 3705 departures from Sete Rios and bus 3710 departures from  Avenida Padre Manuel da Nóbrega in the Areeiro area.

Free events in Lisbon

Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara - one of the best viewpoints in Lisbon

When it comes to free events, Lisbon has a lot to offer. Considering that Lisbon is home to many newborn artists, you can always find free activities in Lisbon. The events change depending on the seasons, but you can click here to find upcoming free events in Lisbon.

During the warm season, you will find many outdoor activities like yoga. Outdoor concerts fill up the parks of Lisbon as well. During the cold season, you can look up workshops, art exhibitions, or educational seminars.

If you are visiting Lisbon in the fall, don’t miss Festas na Rua, which translates to Parties on the Street. September is the best time to enjoy free activities in Lisbon and you can find all the details here.

Music lovers should follow Out Jazz, which offers live Jazz performances. Click here to follow their page and discover their next free event in Lisbon.

Join a free walking tour in Lisbon

Exploring streets of Alfama

One of the best ways to experience all that Lisbon has to offer is through free walking tours, especially if you have only one day in Lisbon. These tours provide an accessible and engaging way for you to explore the city’s many attractions, learn about its history, and enjoy its lively atmosphere. 

Free walking tours operate on a tips-only basis. Unlike traditional guided tours that require upfront payment, these tours are free to join, but participants are encouraged to pay what they feel the tour was worth at the end.

I want to emphasize that while it’s not mandatory to pay, you’ll likely feel inclined to leave a tip after an excellent tour. Depending on your preference, this could turn into a paid activity, but it remains a fantastic budget option for those eager to learn more about the city.

There are countless free walking tours in Lisbon, allowing you to explore the most famous districts or opt for something more specialized, such as a history-focused tour or a fado walk.

Go on a self-organized street art tour

Ginginha street art in Alfama
Ginginha street art in Alfama
Amália Rodrigues, street art in Alfama
Amália Rodrigues, street art in Alfama

Lisbon is an open-air gallery, with murals and graffiti that tell stories, express emotions, and add a colorful dimension to the urban landscape. A self-organized street art tour is an ideal way to explore street art and it is one of the best free things to do in Lisbon.

Alfama is a great starting point for a street art tour. One of the most iconic pieces is the Mural Graffiti Fado Vadio. This mural is a tribute to Fado, the soulful music genre that originated in Lisbon. The artwork captures the essence of Fado with its melancholic and nostalgic tones.

Nearby, on Rua São Cristóvão, you can find several other interesting murals, including one dedicated to “ginginha,” a traditional Portuguese cherry liqueur. 

Another must-see in Alfama is the Mural de Azulejos in the gardens of Botto Machado. Located near the National Pantheon, this mural is a modern take on traditional Portuguese tile art, known as azulejos.

While there is more street art in Lisbon, these places mentioned above can be easily implemented in your Alfama itinerary. And they feature some of the best artists in Lisbon.

Take photos with the iconic elevators of Lisbon

Ascensor da Bica in Lisbon
Ascensor da Bica
Ascensor da Bica in Lisbon
Ascensor da Bica

You’ve probably heard all about Lisbon’s iconic yellow elevators, but here’s the reality: the ride often isn’t worth the cost, even with a discounted ticket from a metro station. 

While it can save you a climb if it’s on your route, the ride usually lasts only a few minutes, and you’ll often find yourself squeezed into a cramped space. Unless you are tired of constant stairs, it is easier to walk the path instead.

Now that you know you don’t need to ride the elevators, you can simply admire them from the outside and capture those iconic Lisbon postcard photos.

These are the elevators of Lisbon:

🚠 Ascensor da Bica
🚠Elevador da Gloria
🚠Elevador do Lava
🚠And the latest addition – Elevador da Graça

Elevador de Santa Justa is another important lift of Lisbon, but it is an actual lift without the yellow cable car. Still a must-visit sight in Lisbon and a beautiful place to see.

Find the best free Portuguese art, also known as Azulejos

Largo do Intendente in Lisbon
Leitaria E Manteigaria A Minhota

Azulejos Museum is the place that gathers the best artwork in Lisbon. However, you don’t have to visit this museum and pay an entrance fee to see these beautiful tiles, because they are spread all around Lisbon and can be appreciated for free.

One of the most beautiful tile works is located in Largo do Intendente, next to the A Vida Portuguesa. Not far from Largo do Intendente, you should see Leitaria E Manteigaria A Minhota on R. São José. This is a hidden gem that is not marked on Google Maps.

Fábrica Sant’Anna is one of the few authentic tiles shops left in Lisbon and considering its long history dating back to the 18th century, it is more like a tile museum rather than a shop. A similar alternative is Solar Antiques.

One of the best secrets of Lisbon is Jardim da Quinta dos Azulejos. It is a private garden so you need to request permission, but there is no entrance fee, which makes it one of the best free things to do in Lisbon.

Another important azulejos attraction is Casa do Ferreira das Tabuletas, which is easy to miss when visiting the main attractions in Lisbon. The rest of Baixa-Chiado features a lot of beautiful tiles.

Metro stations is another place that features azulejos, however, it requires a metro ticket. 

Last but not least is Miradouro de Santa Luzia. While everyone is busy admiring the view from the Miradouro, don’t miss the tile work on the Igreja de Santa Luzia.

Other free attractions in Lisbon

Rossio Train Station

Rossio Train Station at night

Rossio Train Station is an iconic Portuguese landmark and one of the most beautiful attractions in Lisbon. It is famous for its Neo-Manueline façade, a style that characterizes several buildings in the Portuguese capital.

It still serves as an actual train station, but it deserves a visit even if you are not planning to use the train. Also, you can visit inside of the building without a train ticket which makes it one of the best free things to do in Lisbon.

I have to say that Rossio Train Station gains a different kind of charm after the sun sets and city lights are on. See the photo above for the reference.

Cemitério do Alto de São João

Cemitério do Alto de São João is one of the largest cemeteries in Lisbon, Portugal. Established in 1833, its creation marked a significant development in Lisbon’s urban planning and public health.

The cemetery covers a big area and features a mix of architectural styles. Many tombs and mausoleums are designed with elaborate detail, reflecting the tastes and social status of those buried there. 

It is the final resting place for many prominent figures in Portuguese history. This includes writers, politicians, and artists who have made significant contributions to the nation’s cultural and political landscape. 

I know this is not a typical tourist attraction, but it is one of the most beautiful places in Lisbon and you can see it completely for free.

⏰ It is open every day from 9 am to 5 or 6 pm depending on the season.

LX factory

Ler Devagar in LX Factory in Lisbon
Ler Devagar in LX Factory in Lisbon

LX Factory is one of the most popular and free places to see in Lisbon. It is housed in an old factory in the area of Alcantara. The space counts several art galleries, bars, boutiques, and bookshops, making it a perfect place to find a laid-back and hipster atmosphere. 

One of the highlights of the LX factory is the bookstore Ler Devagar, which is one of the most famous bookstores in all of Portugal and a popular spot to take photos in Lisbon. 

Every Sunday you can find a flea market with vintage clothing and art, but during the rest of the week, you can shop in one of the many local boutiques. It also features a lot of street art, perfect for photo lovers.

When it comes to the food scene, it is quite disappointing. You will find some upscale fine-dining restaurants and some not-so-well-rated eateries. If you want to take a break during your visit, Landeau Chocolate is your best bet.

⏰ It is open from 10.30 am to 10.30 pm on weekdays and from 9 am to 10.30 pm on weekends. Despite the opening times, there is no entrance fee which makes it one of the best free places to visit in Lisbon.

Village Underground Lisboa

Village Underground Lisboa

Not far from the LX factory, you will find another cultural center called Village Underground Lisboa. It is the latest twin of LX Factory and just like it was created in an old factory, Village Underground Lisboa is filled with recycled containers and buses.

I have to say that it has gained a lot of popularity in the last few years but it is still less visited than LX Factory. So in case you want to escape the crowds in Lisbon, you probably will like Village Underground Lisboa even more.

Inside the containers and buses, you will find cafes, restaurants, co-working spaces, and lounges. The surroundings are filled with street art and unique paintings. Bring your camera and thank me later!

During the night, it hosts many local artists and it is a great place to party, however, entrance varies between 10-20 euros. Other than that, there is no entrance fee and you can visit it for free during the day.

Casa do Alentejo

Casa do Alentejo in Lisbon, Portugal

Casa do Alentejo is one of my favorite free Lisbon attractions. Its entrance is easy to miss if you’re not familiar with its location, and at first glance, the building may seem unassuming and easy to overlook.

Built-in the late 19th century as a palace for the Counts of Valenças, the Casa do Alentejo is a magnificent example of Neo-Moorish architecture. It showcases intricate tilework, ornate stucco decorations, and elegant Moorish arches.

After its time as a private residence, the building went through several transformations. It served as a casino, then as a social club, and even functioned as a school for a while.

The first floor contains a modest tavern and a few local boutiques, while the second floor features a beautifully decorated restaurant. However, despite its visual appeal, the dining experience is quite disappointing and not recommended.

Casa do Alentejo is open every day, and there is no entrance fee, making it one of the best free things to do in Lisbon.

Feira da Ladra

Feira da Ladra - one of the best free things to do in Lisbon
Feira da Ladra - one of the best free things to do in Lisbon

Feira da Ladra is one of the free events in Lisbon you don’t want to miss when visiting the Portuguese capital. This is the oldest flea market in Lisbon and originally it was a market for thieves who came to sell the stolen goods. In fact, the name in English is “Thieves’ Market”.

Over the centuries, the market has moved locations several times before settling in its current spot at Campo de Santa Clara in the 19th century.  It starts from the monastery of São Vicente de Fora and ends at the National Pantheon.

The market is known for its eclectic mix of goods, ranging from antiques and vintage items to modern crafts and everyday objects. Stalls are brimming with old books, vinyl records, vintage clothing, hand-crafted jewelry, ceramics, furniture, and much more. 

Even if you are not planning to buy anything, just walking around the stalls and checking out the historical objects is one of the best free things to do in Lisbon.

📅 Feira da Ladra is held twice a week, on Tuesdays and Saturdays, from early morning until the afternoon.

Livraria Bertrand

Did you know that Lisbon hosts the world’s oldest bookstore? Recognized by the Guinness World Records as the world’s oldest operating bookstore, Livraria Bertrand has been a haven for book lovers and literary enthusiasts since its founding in 1732.

Inside, the bookstore maintains a warm and inviting atmosphere. Wooden shelves lined with books, cozy reading nooks, and an ambiance steeped in literary history make it a delightful space for readers.

The bookstore is divided into several rooms, each dedicated to different genres and themes. One of the most notable rooms is the “Sala dos Escritores,” or the Writers’ Room, which pays homage to renowned Portuguese authors.

At the end of the bookstore, you will find a literary-inspired café. And if you buy a book at the Livraria Bertrand, you can ask the staff for a stamp stating that it was bought at the world’s oldest bookstore.

⏰ The bookstore is open from 9 am to 10 pm every day. And if you are still wondering what to do in Lisbon for free, this place should be at the top of your list.

United Colors of Benetton in Chiado

You might be thinking why are we suggesting a chain shop of a fashion brand as one of the best free things to do in Lisbon, but there are two great reasons for visiting United Colors of Benetton in Chiado.

First, it holds an ancient elevator from the 19th century on the top floor. You can’t use it, but you can still appreciate the beauty of it. Second, you get to see Largo do Chiado from the top. Third, the interior features beautiful details from the time when it was owned by Ramiro Leão.

📍It is located on Rua Garret right next to the Largo do Chiado. 

⏰ The shop is open from 10 am to 8 pm on the weekdays and from 10 am to 7 pm on the weekends.

Livraria Simao

Are you interested in visiting the smallest bookstore in Portugal? That’s why you should head to Livraria Simao. It is so small, that the owner will have to step out of his shop for you to have enough space to step your foot in the Livraria Simao.

Nestled at the start of Escadinhas de São Cristóvão in Lisbon, this bookshop is one of the most unique places in Lisbon. Once a tobacco shop, in 2008 it was transformed into a bookstore that you see now.

I have to say that you can’t trust opening hours marked online and it is closed most of the time. But you should try your luck and see if you can find it empty when you are in the area.

EmbaiXada

EmbaiXada - one of the best hidden gems in Lisbon
EmbaiXada - one of the best hidden gems in Lisbon

If you are looking for an original free thing to do in Lisbon, head to EmbaiXada in the district of Principe Real. Inside you will find several concept stores, designers, and even a restaurant that is famous for its gin cocktail selection. 

EmbaxiXada is housed in a historic Moorish palace in Lisbon, so even if you are not here to shop, eat, or drink, make sure you stop by and see the beautiful interior. I have to say that this is not the most affordable place for shopping, but quality lives up to the price tags.

⏰ It is open every day from midday to 8 pm with an exception for Sundays when it works from 11 am to 7 pm. 

Final thoughts…

20 Fun and Free Things to Do in Lisbon, Portugal

This is the end of the best free things to do in Lisbon and I am sure you can add a lot of fun activities to your Lisbon itinerary after reading this Lisbon travel guide.

I would love to hear your feedback, so feel free to leave a comment below. If you need further help with planning, check out these Lisbon travel tips, hotel recommendations, or food guides.

Pin it for later and save the best free things to do in Lisbon!

20 Fun and Free Things to Do in Lisbon, Portugal
20 Fun and Free Things to Do in Lisbon, Portugal

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