This post provides several free things to do in Lisbon, including a few really cheap activities.
We have organized this post into 5 sections, one for each of the most popular neighborhoods for visitors to Lisbon and an additional section to cover some of the other fun things to do in this city.Read more »
Fado music originated in Portugal in the 1820s in the Bairro Alto, Alfama, and Mouraria districts.
The style is one of melancholy or mournfulness with song lyrics that often grieve that which was lost or are nostalgic for the past.
Live Fado at Tasca Do Chico
It was the music of the poor – sailors, dock workers, fishwives and others from the working classes.
Although Fado in Chiado is the most recognized spot to experience Fado music in the area, it has a significant cover charge.
A more authentic Fado can be found in a smaller bar, one with no cover charge, called Tasca Do Chico. Reservations are suggested.
4. Chafariz do Carmo
Chafariz do Carmo sits in the center of Largo do Carmo, a historic and picturesque square and one of the most popular in Lisbon.
Flowering trees from South American, Jacarandas, fill the square, providing shade to those who relax beneath.
This freshwater fountain is cherished because it managed to survive the great earthquake of 1755.
Four pillars rise to meet four arches, while inside dolphins sit atop the fountain itself, in a style of baroque and classical.
5. Carmo Convent
Just off Largo do Carmo one finds the ruins of the gothic Carmo Convent, a monastic complex destroyed by the great earthquake of 1755.
5,000 books and all of the church’s artistic and religious creations were lost as well, and residing clerics were forced to abandon the building.
Over time various restorations and repairs were made, then stopped in 1834, when religious orders were abolished in Portugal.
This left the naves and transept uncovered and chapels incomplete, with walls and buttresses left open to the sky.
Today an archeological museum resides in the church’s nave and there are exhibition rooms in the apsidal chapels.
Tombs of great figures such as King Dinis I (from the early 14 century) and King Ferdinand the I (from later in the same century) can be found on-site, as well as some beautiful and very old artifacts.
October to April 10:00-18:00 (6 pm)
May to September 10:00 – 19:00 (7 pm)
Closed on Sundays, January 1, May 1, and December 25
The most ornate, neo-gothic elevator you have likely come across, the Santa Justa lift, now at over 100 years old, was built to transport folks from lower to upper Lisbon.
The designer was a fan of Gustav Eiffel and sought to emulate the Eiffel Tower with this wrought iron structure. One makes the trip in a wood decorated elevator car, up to one of her two levels.
For €1.50 more you can head up an additional two stories to the Viewing Deck. It’s here you’ll find an unobstructed 360-degree view of Lisbon, including Alfama and the Castle of St. George in the distance.
If you are already at the top in the Largo do Carmo area, you can directly enter the top-level through a series of stairs.
Entrance this way tends to be much faster, skipping the long lines that form for the elevator. Access this way is free.
Hours: 7:00 to 22:45 (10:45 PM)
€5.15 return on the elevator to lower deck
€1.50 to travel on the elevator to the top deck
Discounts can be had with the Viva Day Pass or Lisboa Card
This historic restaurant, residing in a 13th-century convent, is popular with locals and tourists alike.
After religious orders were abolished in Portugal, this space became a beer hall and even today beer is brewed on the premises.
Inside are two large vaulted rooms, decorated with blue, white, and gold azulejos tile panels depicting the four seasons.
Orange and gold ceiling slope overhead and family-style tables line the room, and it’s here where you sit and enjoy traditional Portuguese cuisine including seafood, meats, desserts, and regional wines.
The restaurant suggests calling if you’d like to discover their dish of the day, served Monday-Friday at lunchtime.
The austerity on the outside of this church belies the extravagant beauty found on the inside.
With a painted wood ceiling, azulejos, inlaid marble tile, jade, amethyst, gold leaf, statues, and Mannerist, early Baroque, Later Baroque, and Roman Baroque design, one can’t help but be impressed by the extraordinary talent involved in creating this jewel.
The church, still active, was originally built to house a relic from Saint Rocco.
Because of his healing of victims of the plague, King Manuel I believed that this relic might protect his people from the Black Plague.
A group established to care for the church, the Brotherhood of St. Roch still exists and maintains the church to this day.
In the early 1900s, a museum was adjoined to the church. Here one finds religious artifacts, an art collection, paintings, sculptures, and a collection of reliquaries donated by a member of the Borga family.
9:30 and 17:00 (5 pm).
Tuesday-Wednesday 10:00 until 18:00 (6:00 pm)
Thursday 14:00-21:00 ( 2 – 11 pm)
Friday-Sunday 10:00 until 18:00 (6 pm)
9. Museum of Freemasonry in Portugal
This recently opened museum includes a historic archive of Freemason history in Portugal dating back to 1727. See photos, lodge member clothes, items used in rites/rituals, and more.
Monday-Friday 14:30-17:30 (2:30 to 5:30 PM)
10. The Solar do Vinho do Porto (run by the Port Wine Institute)
Closed for construction (April 2020)
If you like Port, you’ve died and gone to a relaxed and casual heaven. Think wood-beamed ceilings, comfy oversized chairs, and every type of port you’ve ever wanted to try.
The waiters present you with a listing of ports ranging from €2/€3 – €20 a glass. Bottles can be purchased as well. One can match your port with a cheese and snack on nuts.
While construction has been ongoing for years, it’s well worth making a stop at the often serene terraced garden.
It allows for one of the most panoramic views of Lisbon, with São Jorge Castle and its walls, the Alfama neighborhood and city center (Baixa), and the ocean in sightlines.
The garden was laid out in the 19th century. In the lower garden, one finds lawn beds separated by walkways and benches.
Dotted across the garden are the busts of known Portuguese figures, and small fountains line the walls.
There is also a drinks and snacks kiosk with seating.
The upper level, cobblestone and tree-covered, also has benches and an even larger drink and snacks kiosk with outdoor seating.
At times a street market is set up, with vendors selling handmade art, home decor, trinkets, and traditional Portuguese food. Don’t be surprised to find artists settled there to paint the cityscape as the wow factor can’t be beat.
12. Elevador da Glória
Designed by the same man who designed the Santa Justa Lift, these cable cars carry passengers up and down the steep slopes of the city.
The Elevador da Gloria is the most popular of the cars and is often packed with tourists and locals.
The graffiti painted trams descend a steep hill, running close to flats and local businesses, as locals walk the cobblestone sidewalks nearby.
This post lists the top 15 things to do in Belém, a beautiful district on the Tagus River to the west of central Lisbon. It’s written in a self-guided tour format.
It is essential to visit if you want to learn about the Portuguese Age of Discovery, see most of the city’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites, or try the nation’s favorite pastry in the place it was invented.
Here is an interactive map (with directions between stops), and below are some instructions to get you started!
Click the map to enlarge or download to a smartphone.
Officially named the Tower of Saint Vincent, the Belém Tower was originally built in the 16th century as a defensive structure.
Later it became a ceremonial gateway to the city. Explorers and trading sailors would arrive to and leave from the tower, watched over by the patrons who funded their voyage, often members of the royal family.
Hours: From October – April: Tuesdays – Sundays from 10:00 am – 17:30 (5:30 pm)
Hours: From May – September: Tuesdays – Sundays from 10:0 am – 18:30 (6:30 pm)
Closed: January 1, Easter Sunday, May 1, and Christmas Day
Sintra is a small, romantic village with UNESCO-recognized gardens that sits 45 minutes away from Lisbon by train.
Taking a guided tour is the perfect way to see all the important landmarks. This tour runs on a pay-what-you-like structure, which means you decide at the end what you think the tour was worth.Read more »