A guide to free things to do in Lisbon, Portugal

If you need to save money while traveling, you are in luck, because there are a lot of free things to do in Lisbon, Portugal.

In fact, some of the best things the city has to offer are free of charge. Others only charge a minimal price, and you should really consider paying for the experience.

Most of the churches in Lisbon are free to enter

Santa Maria de Belém, Jerónimos Monastery, Lisbon, Portugal

Most of the churches in Lisbon are free to enter.

Just be sure to dress appropriately (shorts are not welcome), and respect those who may be praying inside.

Sé Cathedral

Sé Cathedral, or the Lisbon Cathedral, was built in 1147.

The cathedral is a mix of Romanesque, Gothic, and Baroque architecture.

Saint Anthony was baptized in this fortress-like church, and the church also holds relics of his body.

Inside the cathedral, you can also see windows that show various archaeological digs under the church.

The windows reveal Roman, Moorish, and Visigoth artifacts.

In order to get to the Cathedral, walk uphill for five or 10 minutes from Praça Martim Moniz.

A visit to the cathedral can be combined with exploring the Alfama district, the Miradouro das Portas do Sol, and the Miradouro da Santa Luzia – two of Lisbon’s best free scenic viewpoints.

To learn more, read my Lisbon Cathedral | All you need to know before you go

Church of São Domingos

Construction on this church started in 1241 and continued until 1748. 

The church, which has a very dark interior, was damaged in two earthquakes and then again in a fire in 1959.

Much of the fire damage can still be seen.

The church and its courtyard played a large role in the massacre of the Jews in 1506, and then the Portuguese Inquisition.

You can read more about Lisbon’s oldest public buildings in my article, The oldest buildings you can still see in Lisbon 

If you are looking for free things to do in Lisbon, I highly recommend tracking down all of the buildings mentioned in this article.

Church of Santa María de Belém

If you happen to be in Belém, checking out the Monument to the Discoveries and the Belém Tower, you should stop by the Jerónimos Monastery and go into the Church of Santa María.

While admission to the entire monastery is seven euros (and worth the cost), entering just the church is free. 

Also, children under 14 are admitted free.

It is worth seeing this massive Manueline-style church, which was built in 1501. 

National poet Luis de Camões and explorer Vasco da Gama are buried in this church.

Santa Catarina in Bairro Alto

This beautiful Roccoco stucco church in Bairro Alto is not frequently visited by tourists.

São Roque Church

Built between 1506 and 1619, the Igreja de São Roque in Bairro Alto has the famous Chapel of St. John, which was built in Rome, and then shipped to Lisbon.  It is one of the most expensive chapels in the world.

The church is very close to the free São Pedro de Alcântara scenic viewpoint, with its views of downtown and the castle on the opposite hill. São Roque Church in Lisbon – What to know before visiting

A beautiful free riverwalk – Avenida Ribeira das Naus

Cais das Colunas, at Praça do Comércio, Lisbon Portugal

Spend an afternoon on the riverside promenade which goes from Praça do Comércio to Cais do Sodré near the Timeout Market.

It’s a great place to stroll, people-watch, or simply to sit on a bench and enjoy the river and the sunshine.

Belém Neighborhood

If you continue west along the river for another 3.7 miles from the Timeout Market (or take the train from Cais do Sodré, you will find yourself in Belém.

This neighborhood has several of Portugal’s best historic sites and monuments.

The Belém Tower and the Jerónimos Monastery are both UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

As mentioned earlier, you can tour the Santa Maria de Belém Church (inside the monastery for free).

If you can afford the seven euro admission, go in and check out the entire monastery.

It is an architectural and historical treasure.

Stop by and have a look at both the Monument to the Discoveries and the Belém Tower.

You can enter both buildings for a fee, but many visitors just enjoy them from the outside for free.

To learn more about Belém, see my article Lisbon’s historic Belém neighborhood | Everything you need to know

Explore the Alfama neighborhood

A walk up to the Castle and then back down will take you through some of Lisbon’s oldest neighborhoods, and reveal some of Lisbon’s best views.

Admission to the castle is 10 euros for adults, ages 13 – 25 pay 5 euros, seniors and disabled pay 8.5 euros,

Children under 12 and under are free. 

It is worth scraping up the 10 euros to get in, wander around the castle, enjoy what is probably the best view of Lisbon, and the peacocks that wander around the property.

Many people opt not to walk up the hill but instead take bus 737 from Praça da Figueira. 

The bus stop is just outside the castle door.

The sunsets in Lisbon are free

Sunset, Miradouro de Monte Agudo, Lisbon, Portugal

At a popular sunset-viewing spot in Rio de Janeiro, a sign in Portuguese reads, “O pôr -do-sol é de quem olha.”  It means, “The sunset belongs to whoever looks at it.”

Lisbon has no shortage of great places to take in a sunset for free.

Some of my favorites are:

Cais das Colunas – the steps in front of the two columns which were part of the old royal pier at Praça do Comércio,

Avenida Ribeira das Naus

Belém Tower – Check out my article, Surprising Belém Tower facts

and the little-known Miradouro do Monte Agudo, which can barely be seen if you are standing in the intersection of Avenida Almirante Reis and Rua de Angola next to the Anjos Metro station.

From the intersection, look at the very top of the hill. That’s it. It is a steep hike.

Walk up to the park. Go left. Turn left behind the park onto Rua Ilha do Príncipe.

Look for stairs on your right. Go right.

The viewpoint is behind the school, Escola Secundária Dona Luísa de Gusmão.

On leaving the miradouro, if you head north (to the left) on Rua da Penha de França, you will soon run in to the Miradouro Penha de França scenic viewpoint.

Most of the miradouros in Lisbon are free

One of my favorite views is from the Arco da Rua Augusta.

Admission is $8 normally, but it is free if you use the Lisboa card.

Also, there is a stunning view from the Elevador da Santa Justa.

The Lisboa Card gets you on the elevator for free (the full price is 5 euros), and then you have to pay cash to use the viewing deck at the top (1.50 euro). To learn more about the Lisboa Card, Lisboa Card | Everything you need to know

One block west of the Santa Justa elevator, you can find a free public elevator that will take you up to the terrace of the bar,  Bellalisa Elevador.

You can spend a minute or two soaking in the view here as you make your way toward the Praça do Carmo – which I will discuss later.

You might choose to pay to go inside the earthquake-ruined Convento do Carmo and see the vaulted skeleton of the roof.

It is a beautiful reminder of the earthquake that destroyed Lisbon centuries ago.

Admission here is five euros – and again, worth it.

Moving west on Rua Trinidade, then a right and a left will put you on Largo da Trinidade and Rua da Misericórdia.

Go right, or north, on Rua da Misericórdia, and you will soon come to the free Church of São Roque, and the Miradouro (meaning – “Golden view” of São Pedro de Alcântara.

On the opposite hill on the other side of downtown, you should explore the Miradouro da Santa Luzia, Miradouro das Portas do Sol and the Miradouro da Graça.

All are free.

Download free self-guided audio tours of Lisbon

GPSMYCITY offers several free, downloadable tours of Lisbon neighborhoods that work offline, so you don’t even need to have internet access while you listen to them. 

11 Self-Guided Walking Tours in Lisbon, Portugal + Create Your Own Walk (gpsmycity.com)


Many people enjoy Rick Steves’ audio tours. 

He has a free, downloadable Lisbon walking tour and a downloadable map. 

Spain & Portugal Audio Tours | Rick Steves’ Europe

A free walking tour

I hesitate to put this on a list of free things to do in Lisbon, because at the end of the day, your guide is not being paid, and you really do need to tip.

The Chill Out Lisbon – Free-walking tour

Lisbon Chill Out Free tour | Chillout Lisbon (lisbon-chillout-freetour.com)

An unforgettable tour with a knowledgeable and passionate local guide.

They meet at Praça Luís de Camões every day at 10 AM, 11 AM, and 4:30 PM.

This is from April 1 until September.

The rest of the year the last tour starts at 3 PM.

Due to Covid make sure you contact them in advance.

Tours run in all weather, and tours are off also offered in Spanish at 10 am.

There will be several tour companies in the plaza.

Make sure if you’re going with this company that you look for the guide with the yellow recycled aluminum foil bag and the large yellow Free Tour By Locals tram sticker.

This tour lasts roughly three hours.

From the perspective of a local, you will learn about the following:

  • Introduction to Portugal’s History and Lisbon
  • The age of discoveries
  • Bairro Alto
  • Night Life
  • Luck and superstition
  • The Great Lisbon Earthquake 1755
  • The 25th of April revolution
  • Restaurants
  • Fado
  • Fernando Pessoa
  • Small hidden viewpoints
  • Commerce square
  • Saramago house
  • Alfama
  • Dictatorship
  • Carmo Convent
  • Narrow streets
  • The old yellow traditional trams

Free Tour Portugal

Free tour Portugal offers a Lisbon city free tour every day At 11 AM and 3:30 PM. The tour lasts two hours and 45 minutes.

Meet your guide Praça dos Restauradores.  Book in advance on their website.

This tour will explore Barrio Alto, Chiado, and Baixa.  You will see the Santa Justa elevator, the Convento do Carmo, Rossio Square, the church Of São Domingos, and Praça do Comércio.

And this tour covers the historic downtown and the hill on the west side of downtown. You can explore the hill on the east side with Free Tour Portugal by taking their | 2021 | Free Tour Portugal

| 2021 | Free Tour Portugal

Alfama Free Tour

Alfama Free Tour | 2021 | Free Tour Portugal

This tour leaves from Rossio Square every day at 3:30 PM. The tour lasts two hours and 30 minutes.

First you will visit the Mouraria neighborhood at the Escadinhas de São Cristóvão and see the fado mural

This will lead to a discussion about fado music.

You will stop at a bakery that won the prize for best pastel de nata in 2019.

You will see the castle, Sé Cathedral, and some of Lisbon‘s best viewpoints as you explore the Alfama neighborhood.

You will also discuss the history of Lisbon, Lisbon’s favorite saints, and the religious festivals that have been important to the city.

That leaves one more neighborhood in Lisbon that everyone should see, and Free Tour Portugal has a walking tour of the Belém neighborhood.

Belém Free Tour

Belém Free Tour | 2021 | Free Tour Portugal

This tour will focus on Portugal in the Age of Discoveries.

The tour starts at the gardens of Afonso de Albuquerque.

Afonso was a viceroy of India, and he was in charge of Portugal’s colonization and exploration of the East.

You will get views of the Jerónimos Monastery, and hear tales about Vasco da Gama and the other Portuguese explorers.

You will see the Monument to the Discoveries, the famous Belém Tower, and the 25 April bridge.

Book this tour on their website.

People-watching

My favorite places just to hang out and watch life pass by are Rua Augusta between Rossio Square and the Arch, and Largo do Carmo.

Both spots are filled with people and will likely have street musicians performing.

At Praça do Carmo, there are benches or steps that you can sit on, or if you want, you can buy a coffee, tea, or wine at the kiosk and sit at one of their tables.

Rua Augusta also has plenty of tables where you can sit if you buy something, or you can just join the crowd and enjoy the street performers.

They love a little tip though.

Lisbon is great for free window-shopping

Mercado da Ribeira

Have a look around Mercado da Ribeira.

Avenida 24 de Julho

Weekdays 10am – 10:30pm, Weekends 10am-3:30pm

Lisbon’s oldest and last fish market shares half of the building with the famous modern TimeOut Market

Feira da Ladra

Campo de Santa Clara, 38° 42′ 55.21” N | 9° 7′ 34.19” W

No metro, possibly take bus 737 up to the Castle on a Tuesday or Saturday, and then walk downhill to Campo de Santa Clara

Tuesday 9 am until 6 pm, Saturday 9 am – 3:30 pm. Two days per week only

Located at Campo de Santa Clara in the Alfama,

This flea market known as the Thieves Market comes to life on Tuesdays and Saturdays.

Wander around the LX Factory

Rua de Rodrigues de Faria 103

Open late, but many stores close on Sunday.

 http://lxfactory.com/en/homepage-en/

The LX Factory is part shopping center, part art center, and part cultural center in the Alcântara neighborhood.

Among the multimedia art installations, you will find 31 stores,19 restaurants, and various offices and workshops.

One of my favorite things to do at LX Factory is to sit around reading books at Ler Devagar (The Read Slowly Bookstore). 

The bookstore is housed in a former printing shop, and they still have the old printing press in the center of the room.

Malls are always a good place for window shopping, and Lisbon has several.

See this guide to decide where you want to start window-shopping.  Where to shop in Lisbon? Lisbon’s best malls and shopping

In addition to the malls though, have a look at these generational, family-owned businesses which have been staples of Lisbon.

Lisbon’s historical family-owned stores and craftsmen sell the best souvenirs 

Window-shopping these stores will give you an insight into Portuguese history and culture.

Stroll up Avenida da Liberdade

We are just window shopping, we are not spending any money, so we might as well stroll up Avenida da Liberdade and look at the designer stores.  You will find Armani, Rolex, Dolce & Gabbana, Prada, Versace, Louis Vuitton, and others.

Also, don’t forget to have a quick look at the Ferrari dealership just northwest of Avenida da Liberdade, on Rua Artilharia 1, number 105.

Consider buying a Lisboa Card

Lisboa Card – The Official Lisbon Card 2021

The Lisboa card offers free admission to:  

  • Jeronimos Monastery
  • Pilar 7 Bridge
  • Lisboa Story Centre
  • National Tile Museum
  • National Coach Museum
  • National Ancient Art Museum
  • Sintra Mitos e Lendas (Myths and Legends)
  • Santa Justa Elevator
  • National Pantheon
  • Ajuda National Palace
  • MAAT – Museum of Art, Architecture, and Technology
  • Chiado Museum
  • National Costume Museum
  • Tomar Convent of Christ

And much more.  Plus the card offers coupons to many tours and businesses in Lisbon.

And, it lets you ride all buses, metro, funiculars, elevators, trains, and trams for free during the duration of your ticket.

It offers discounted admission to many more museums in Lisbon and the area.

They sell:

24-hour cards for 20 euros

48-hour cards for 34 euros (17euros  per day)

72-hour cards for 42 euros (14 euros per day)

Consider which museums and sites you want to visit over a one, two, or three-day period.

Factor in your public transportation costs (including the trams and elevators), and decide if the card will save you money.

A few Lisbon museums offer free entry to non-residents

Berardo Museum 

Museu Coleção Berardo | Lisbon (museuberardo.pt)

This private contemporary art museum in Belem is free on Saturdays.  Open every day from 10 am – 7 pm.   You can see Dali, Picasso, and Warhol, among many others.  Take Tram 15 to Praça do Império, Belém.  Or take bus 714 from Praca da Figueira. 

GPS +38.695533, -9.209288

N 38º 41′ 47.71” / W 9º 12′ 26.78”

Berardo Art Deco Museum 

Rua 1 de Maio 28, Alca ntara

BMAD . Berardo Deco Art Museum

One of Lisbon’s newest museums (opened in 2021) is also one of the world’s largest collections of art deco art and furniture.

Admission is free every day, guided tours, which must be booked in advance are at 10am, 11am, 2:30pm, 3:30pm, 4:30pm and 5pm. 

They also treat you to a free tasting of Berardo Estate wines in the museum garden at the end of your visit.

Buses 714 and 727, as well as trams 15E and 18E stop at Largo do Calvário, which is just down the street from the museum.

Núcleo Arqueológico

The Núcleo Arqueológico museum lies hidden under a modern bank at Rua dos Correeiros 9 in the Baixa district.

You will be able to see ruins of an ancient fish processing factory and a Roman Spa.

Open twice a week for free guided visits.  Inquire in the bank for tours.

Metro to the Baixa neighborhood.

Conclusion

Many of the best things in life are free, and Lisbon has several of them!  Luckily, some of the monuments and museums that you might want to visit in this city are also very reasonably priced, and well worth the price of admission.

You may also want to have a look at my article  How to enjoy Lisbon on a Budget  If you need to find budget lodging, check out Lisbon’s most popular hostels by neighborhood

I am not affiliated with any of the businesses mentioned in this article. Thanks for reading!