10 free things to do in Lisbon

written by
Matthew Hancock

updated 17.04.2024

Looking for free things to do in Lisbon? The city is now a top-league destination. It's still an affordable European capital. But prices have risen in recent years. Get more for your money with our top 10 free things to do in Lisbon. The information in this article is taken from The Rough Guide to Portugal, your essential guide for visiting Portugal.

Admire art from Picasso to Warhol

Want to get up close to original works of art? Lisbon's Museu Coleção Berardo lets you do just that. The art collection of Madeiran Joe Berardo ranges from Picassos to Rothko. You'll find it in a modern gallery in Belém. And it's free to admire. Some temporary exhibitions aren't free.

Delve into the past at free museums

Little Núcleo Arqueológico is in the heart of Baixa. It offers twice-weekly guided tours. And they're free. Go discover Roman fish-preserving tanks. Explore ancient burial sites. And check out the wooden pillars which stop Lisbon sinking. Tours need to be booked in advance.

Stroll Rua Augusta in Central Lisbon

Rua Augusta links Rossio Square and the riverfront Praça do Comércio. It's Lisbon's main pedestrianised street. So find a perch to people watch. Not entertaining enough? Look out for street performers, artists and musicians here too.

Prefer to leave planning and booking to experts? Have a look at some sample itineraries. Both Complete Portugal or Portugal Itineraries offer inspiration. All Tailor Made Trips can be modified together with your local expert, then booked for a stress-free holiday. Click 'Modify this itinerary' to contact a local Portugal expert.

The Rua Augusta Arch and old tram in Lisbon, Portugal

People watching is one of many free things to do in Lisbon @ Shutterstock

Markets are top free things to do in Lisbon

Markets can be found in many Lisbon districts. They're great for trying local produce. And good for meeting local characters. Try Mercado da Ribeira near riverfront Cais do Sodré. It's one of the city's most central food markets. Heart set on a flea market? Head to Feira da Ladra on Tuesday or Saturday morning. You'll find everything here from junk to antiques.

See major city attractions for free

Lisbon's top attractions can be pricy. But most have free entry one morning a week. Want to see the biggest hitters for nothing? Many have free entry on the first Sunday each month.

Can't wait until Sunday? Get a 24, 48 or 72 hour Lisboa Card instead.

Torre de Belém, Lisbon @ Shutterstock

See legendary Torre de Belém for free once a month in Lisbon @ Shutterstock

Catch Lisbon festivals all year round

Lisbon has a vibrant festival calendar. And there are free concerts all summer. But the biggest citywide bash is in June. That's when Lisbon celebrates Santo António. Expect parades and parties everywhere, especially Alfama which turns into an open-air party. Take a look at the best area to stay in Lisbon for festivals.

Want to soak up some real Alfama atmosphere? Stay at Alfama Terrace in the heart of the district.

Take a walk on the riverfront

Tagus waterfront has opened up in recent years. You can now walk from Praça do Comércio to Belém. Try the pedestrianised path from Doca de Santo Amaro to Torre de Belém. It's about a 30 minute walk.


Free things to do in Lisbon include amazing riverside walks @ Shutterstock

See the city from above for free

Head for a city miradouros (viewpoints). Almost every Lisbon hill has one or more. And many come with cafés.

For best free views try:

  • Miradouro de Santa Luzia, looks over Alfama.
  • Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara, overlooks Baixa.
  • Miradouro de Santa Catarina, loved by local musicians.

Hit Lisbon beaches in summer

Some of Portugal’s best beaches are near Lisbon. Easiest reach are Estoril and Cascais. Take the train from Lisbon to the Atlantic. It runs along the Tagus estuary. Alternatively head to Caparica. It's a ferry ride from Lisbon and popular with surfers.

Hop on a bike in Cascais

Cascais offers free daily bike hire from 8am. Show ID then off you go. Explore Cascais itself. Or head to beaches at Guincho.

Tempted to linger in Cascais? Book charming Ninho Salina near Tamariz Beach.

Ready for a trip to Portugal? Check out the snapshot Rough Guide to Portugal. Read more about the best time to go to Portugal, the best places to visit and best things to do in Portugal. For inspiration use the Portugal Itineraries from The Rough Guide to Portugal. A bit more hands on, learn about getting there, getting around the country and where to stay once you are there.

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Matthew Hancock

written by
Matthew Hancock

updated 17.04.2024

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