Top 10 Cheap/ Free Things To Do In Lisbon | Budget City Guide
Updated: Jun 30, 2020
Lisbon had been top of my 'Must Visit' list for a while when I finally took the plunge and booked the flights (the final push was that they were in fact, on sale) and I wasn't disappointed. I would probably recommend it above most other European cities, especially for people looking for a place to visit that's a little more underrated.
My boyfriend and I visited in May. We had the most glorious weather, the cutest AirBnB (here) and a pretty tight budget considering they use the euro. We splashed out on the odd meal or day trip but kept mostly to strict daily allowance and found it to be actually quite easy to stick to. We found lots of things for either really cheap or completely free, and so I'm here to pass the message on. I've also listed them in order of personal recommendation:
Go To Belem Tower And Ride The Electric Scooters
Around €9 p/hour. On our last day of the trip we finally worked up the courage to rent some scooters for a while, after drunkenly riding them up and down the same flat street every night. I really really wish we'd done it sooner as it was possibly the highlight of the trip. The scooters are absolutely everywhere throughout the city, and there's plenty of different companies to choose from too. We chose to use Lime which is done through their really easy-to-use app; they locate your nearest scooters and then charge you a small fee per minute that you're on them. We rode the whole stretch back to our AirBnB and it felt like seeing the city properly for the first time. The views were incredible along the river, we parked up for a cheeky glass of wine half way back and it felt like Lisbon was BUILT for riding the scooters as there were smooth, practically empty bike lanes everywhere. They were so easy to control and we felt so free, and that's coming from a clumsy girl who steers clear from public bicycles for fear of crashing into things/ people. It's so fun, stress free and worth every cent.
Belem Tower/ Riding the cable cars
Feira Da Ladra Flea Market
Free. One of Lisbon's oldest markets, Feira da Ladra is open to the public completely free of charge on Tuesdays and Saturdays from 8am at Jardim Boto Machado. Nobody knows where it originates from, but the name translates to 'The Market of the Female Thieves' which might give you an idea. It's much quieter in the mornings so get there early, and don't be afraid to haggle!
Jump On The Train To Cascais
€4.50 return. This coastal resort town was the perfect way to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. I'd almost overlooked this in favour of exploring the main city in more depth, but it was recommended by our fab AirBnB host Tiago as a must do trip and we weren't disappointed. The beach wasn't too crazy busy for a start, and a bit of sun, sea & sand did us the world of good, lying their with an ice lolly and a book in hand was the most relaxed I've felt in a long time. This is the best mix for anyone like me who loves a good city break but also likes to take a minute out. It was a super cheap day of lounging around, even when including walking through the cute little town next to the sea for a spot of lunch and shopping. Purchase tickets form the station kiosks.
Watch A Fado show
Free. Fado is a form of music that originated in Lisbon in the 19th century. It typically consists of guitar and violin players, and the songs are beautiful. Lots of bars and restaurants put on a free Fado show in the evening, so don't bother paying to see a specific show unless there's one you really have your heart set on. We just found the Fado we saw by walking through Bairro Alto and popping in and out of bars, but I've found this article that seems to recommend a nice selection of shows.
Cascais Beach Fun
Ride The "Telecabine" Cable Cars
€6 return ticket. These cable cars were again a personal recommendation, this time from the Uber driver that took us to the Oceanarium (which if you're interested, was quite disappointing in my opinion). According to the website it's over 1,230m long, and we found it to be a great way to see the more commercial side of the city, and just something a little different to do. It was a great way to see the Parque das Nações and for a super cheap price. For more info visit the website here, and you can buy your tickets from the stations.
Visit Igreja de Sao Roque Church
Free. This Roman Catholic church isn't much to look at from the outside but the interior will honestly blow your mind. Made up of a chancel, 8 chapels and 5 altars, all of which are covered in beautiful paintings and Spanish tiling, Sao Roque is definitely one of the most regal looking churches you can find in Europe. For more information check out their website here.
Climb To The Top Of Arco da Rua Augusta
€3. For the best views of the Alfama District, the Tagus and Praca do Comercio, head up to the top of the arch. This cheap view point is accessible by elevator and then a few extra stairs, making it one of the easier views to get to. The top of the arch is never too busy and is a great place to get some perspective on the size and layout of the city. From here you can size up the hike to Bairro Alto for your evening drinks, or spot some of Lisbon's most famous attractions such as Castelo de St. George, Lisbon Cathedral and Carmo Convent. Buy tickets from the front desk.
Lisbon funicular/ Riding the electric scooters
Ride One Of The City Trams Or Funiculars
Around €4. The one photographed above is the Ascensor do Lavra which takes you up the super steep hill to Bairro Alto (definitely use this as we walked it and I swear I nearly popped a lung) but there are lots of trams and funiculars around the city. They're a pivotal part of the Lisbon life, so give them a go. Tram 28 and Elevador de Santa Justa are probably the most famous, while Ascensor da Gloria is the oldest, and they also make for a really good photo op both during the day and at night.
Visit A Miradouros/ View Point
Free. You'll soon discover that Lisbon is one of the many cities worldwide that was built on seven hills, and you'll spend your whole trip trecking up and down them. Whilst they can be a bit of a pain, they also provide some stunning views once you're at the top. Take a trip up there during the day to scope out the city, or head there for a front row seat to the sunset. I personally recommend Miradouro da Nossa Senhora do Monte, but there are plenty throughout Lisbon to fit everyone. For an easily accessible view, head up the Elevador de Santa Justa!
Sunset at the river
Watch The Sunset Over The Tagus
Free. Every night before dinner we went for a quick walk around Praça do Comércio, and sat to watch the sunset over the river. There were lines of people sat on the small beaches and walls here and the atmosphere was amazing. Things like this are completely free and the perfect way to chill out after a long day of exploring.
All in all we actually found it pretty easy to stick to our budget, especially because most places in and around the city were within walk/ scoot distance, plus they have Uber! What more could you want! Hope some of these are helpful for you, we loved Lisbon so much and are desperate to go back. Let me know what you think! Meg x