13 Awesome free things to do in Lisbon!
Let’s be honest, travelling to a new city can be overwhelming! You may wonder what sights you should explore or which activities to go check out. And with so much to discover, it could all end up costing even the most seasoned traveller a pretty penny.
But fear not! A visit to Lisbon doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. There is an abundance of free things to do and that’s exactly what I’m going to be covering in this post today. I hope this list of 13 awesome free things to do in Lisbon will give you some inspiration on planning your visit! So here goes:
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1. Free Entry to Estufa Fria indoor Gardens
We stumbled upon this ‘hidden’ gem one happy Sunday morning and we’re really glad we did!
Estufa Fria is a greenhouse garden located on the edge of the well known Parque Eduardo VII in Lisbon. It has a large range of both tropical and exotic plants from around the globe. And it feels like you’ve stepped into a true garden of Eden, a sanctuary right in the heart of the city.
If you are a nature lover like us, then this is a must see when travelling to Lisbon. It’s still pretty hidden from the throngs of tourists that visit Lisbon annually and you can easily spend an entire Sunday morning just wandering through the various sections which includes Estufa Quente (hot greenhouse) and Estufa Doce (sweet greenhouse).
Entry is free of charge on a Sunday & Holidays until 14:00 pm. If you have a Lisboa Card then entry is also free of charge. Normally visits costs €3.10 per adult and €2.33 for children (6 to 18 years).
Closest metro station – Marquês de Pombal.
2. Visit the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum at no cost
Lisbon is a city with an abundance of history, arts & culture! And undoubtedly one of its greatest treasures is that of the Gulbenkian Museum. Inaugurated in 1969 and then renovated extensively in 2001, this museum has one of the largest private art collections in the world, with over 6000 pieces. So it’s no surprise that it is not only considered one of the greatest but is definitely worth a visit when travelling to Lisbon.
Today the museum is part of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation which was established after the death of oil tycoon Calouste Gulbenkian’s 1955. He had made Portugal his home and subsequently donated his entire art collection to the country. Apart from the museum, you can also visit the beautiful gardens & surrounds. There is plenty of green space to enjoy and on a weekend many Lisboetas (Lisbonites) head over to enjoy the tranquillity the gardens offer.
During the summer months the Gulbenkian also often host summer evening concerts & events free of charge. So make sure to have a look at their online agenda if you happen to be travelling during the summer months. You can enter the gardens free of charge any day of the week whilst the museum offers free entry every Sunday after 2:00 pm. Address – Av. de Berna 45A, 1067-001 Lisboa.
3. Take a free guided tour of a Roman archaeological site hidden underground in downtown Lisbon
Don’t you just love it when you find truly unique attractions that also happen to be free? So do I, and the next item on my list of unique things to do & see whilst visiting Lisbon, ticks exactly this box.
In the heart of downtown Lisbon, in the Baixa area not far from the well known Rua Augusta street, you can visit the Núcleo Arqueológico. And the best part? It just so happens to be situated underneath a bank, the Millenium BCP bank to be exact. How cool is that!!
This archaeological treasure remained hidden until the bank started carrying out renovations between 1991 – 1995. It is then that they discovered this archaeological structure which provides insight into over 2500 years worth of history of Lisbon.
Today the Millenium BCP Foundation manages the site and also offers free guided tours (approx. an hour long) which have to be booked in advance. Note that tours only run Mon – Sat (excluding Sundays & Public Holidays).
Fore more info and to book, go check out Millenium BCP Foundation’s site.
A trip to any European city would just not be the same without the obligatory visit to a church or cathedral. And Lisbon is no different. With various gorgeous and opulent churches and cathedrals to chose from, you’ll be spoilt for choice. And the best far is, they are free to visit too!
So whether your headed to the beautiful São Roque, Basílica da Estrela or the Sé de Lisboa you will not be disappointed. These by far are three of my favourites! Keep in mind though, whilst it is free to enter the church, there may well be sections & museums that would only be accessible by paying an entry fee.
You will find these churches at the following addresses: São Roque – Largo Trindade Coelho, 1200-470 Lisboa Basílica da Estrela – Praça da Estrela, 1200-667 Lisboa Sé de Lisboa – Largo da Sé, 1100-585 Lisboa
5. Street Art in Lisbon
Street art is well and truly alive all accross Lisbon and one name that keeps popping up more than any other, is that of Bordallo II.
Famous for his Trash Animals series, Bordallo II creates stunning masterpieces completely out of “waste materials” with the aim of highlighting the impact of consumerism.
I loved this quote by Bordallo II himself, summing up his own work: “I create, recreate, assemble and develop ideas with end-of-life material and try to relate it to sustainability, ecological and social awareness.” – Bordallo II (Source: Bordalo II Facebook Page).
So why not go on a street art hunt for the Trash Animals Series? Whether you are looking for the Fox, the Raccoon or any of his other amazing pieces on display, this certainly is one way to spend an afternoon exploring Lisbon, and at no cost to you!
6. Flea Markets – Feira da Ladra & Anjos70
Just around the corner from the Panteão Nacional in Alfama you will find Lisbon’s most well-known flea market, Feira da Ladra (or Thieves Market in English).
Dating back to around 1272, this market is where you would go to find just about anything and everything!
From antiques, to second hand clothing items to stunning ceramics, this market has something for everyone. It’s a fantastic day out, even if you don’t end up buying anything at all. But still worth strolling through the various stalls and shops, just in case you do find that perfect Lisbon keepsake.
The Feira da Ladra market runs every Tuesday & Saturday.
As far as flea markets go, there is another hidden gem situated in the neighbourhood of Arroios, called the Anjos70 Art & Flea Market.
This market is held on the first weekend of each month and plays host to a range of independent artists and sellers that sell all kinds of crafts, clothing, art and more! It’s definitely worth a visit, has a great bohemian vibe and hey, there’s a fab bar where you can grab a drink and chill with your friends too!
- Feira da Ladra – Campo de Santa Clara, 1100-472 Lisboa
- Anjos70 – Regueirão Anjos 70, 1150-020 Lisboa
7. Gardens & Parks of Lisbon and Outjazz in the summer
Looking for a bit of peace and calm in the heart of the city? Well, Lisbon certainly has its fair share of beautiful green spaces that you can relax in and enjoy. One of my favourite being Jardim da Estrela which is located right opposite the Basílica da Estrela.
We’ve spent many a weekend here, chilling with friends, having a picnic or just lazing around! If you’ve read my article on unique things to do when visiting Lisbon, then you’ll already know that during the summer months you can also attend one of the free Outjazz jazz and soul concerts that take place every Sunday, hosted at a different park across the city. Go check out this article for more info: Unique Things to do in Lisbon.
8. Museu Coleção Berardo
The Museu Coleção Berardo is another world renowned art museum comprising of a collection of over a 1000 pieces on permanent display. Situated in the area of Belém in Lisbon, it was inaugurated in 2007 and covers a wide and varied range of art works and different art movements.
If you are an art lover then this museum is definitely a must see. Famous artist being displayed here includes amongst others, Picasso, Andy Worhol, Salvador Dali, Jackson Pollock and many many more. No wonder it’s collection is valued at around €316 million! Crazy right?!
The Museum offers free entry on Saturdays, so we sure to go check it out!
Address – Praça do Império, 1449-003 Lisboa
9. MAAT – Museum of Modern Art, Architecture & Technology
Continuing on the theme of museums, the next freebie I would like to introduce you to is the new kid on the block, MAAT (Museum of Art, Architecture & Technology). Not only is the actual museum building a stunning piece of architecture in and by itself, but it also houses stunning collections and art installations by various contemporary artists and thought leaders.
The museum aims to spark an open dialect and debate on various topics and issues facing our world today and as such it offers a constantly changing and varied program. A recent installation highlighting the impact of plastic pollution in our oceans was thought-provoking to say the least! MAAT is definitely worth a visit and they offer free entry on the 1st Sunday of every month. So, be sure to visit! Oh and please don’t forget to take the mandatory sunset selfie standing on the museum rooftop! Address – Av. Brasília, 1300-598 Lisboa
10. Military Museum
Situated right outside Lisbon’s Santa Apolónia train & metro station is another internationally acclaimed museum, the Museu Militar de Lisboa.
Housing what is said to be one of the world’s largest collection or artillery and warfare pieces, this museum is another great must see attraction. It’s collection ranges from pistols, guns and swords to 14th century cannons and even has a sword that belonged to one of Portugal’s most well known maritime explorers, Vasco da Gama. How cool is that!?
The museum offers free entry in the mornings on Sunday and Public Holidays up until 2:00pm in the afternoon.
Address – R. Artillery Museum 51, 1100-366 Lisbon
11. Bordalo Pinheiro Museum
One of Portugal’s most profilic artists of the late 20th century is that of Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro, an artist and cartoonist. Today you can visit the Museu Bordalo Pinheiro, situated close to the Campo Grande metro station, and view over 900 photos, 1200 ceramics and 3000 prints.
One of his most well-known works is known as ‘Zé Povinho’ which was created around 1875 and is an extreme and even mocking caricature representing the ‘everyday man’ of Portugal. Bordalo was known for his humorous and witty commentary on various social, cultural and political issues faced at the time.
This museum also offers free morning entry every Sunday and Public Holidays up until 2:00pm in the afternoon.
Address – Campo Grande 382, 1700-097 Lisboa
12. Money Museum
No pun intended, but this museum won’t cost you a penny! Okay, pun was very much intended, how could I resist?!
This is another free museum which is situated in the heart of downtown Baixa, Lisbon. It is also a fairly new museum, only having opened in 2016 and is set in the former church of São Julião.
The museum chronicles the history of money in Portugal as well as around the world. It is, however, not what you would expect as far as stock standard museums go. Here they pride themselves on being a unique and interactive museum offering you access to various activities, including creating your own money with your own image on, now that’s cool!
The museum is free to enter and open from Wednesdays to Sundays from 10:00am to 6:00pm.
Address – Largo de São Julião, 1100-150 Lisboa
13. Museum of the Orient
Yes, one final museum making my list of free things to do in Lisbon is the Museu do Oriente. Located in the Alcântara area of Lisbon, the musem which was opened in 2008, showcases the rich history of Portuguese exploration with a focus on it’s relationship and links to Asia.
There are two main exhibitions spaces in this museum. The first focuses on the presence of Portugal in Asia and showcases amazing artefacts and pieces of art. Including amongst others, Japanese and Chinese screens, various collections of ceramics as well as many other pieces. The second permanent collection is the Kwok On Collection that holds more than 13000 pieces with reference to the performing arts that covers an area ranging from Turkey right across to Japan.
The museum offers free entry on Fridays from 6:00 pm until 10:00 pm, so be sure to go visit! Address – Av. Brasília 352, 1350-352 Lisboa
So as you can see, Lisbon has some really awesome things to see and do that won’t cost you a cent! Why not take some time to explore and discover some of these museums, churches, gardens and sights and make the best of your next trip to to this stunning city.
If you happen to know of any other free activities or events not listed or if simply loved this post, feel free to comment below and let me know! I’d love to hear your feedback!