10 things to do in Lisbon for under 10 Euros.
Lisbon is fast becoming a hotspot travel destination and as the capital city of Portugal, it is easy to understand why.
This vibrant city is steeped in history and has an abundance of things to do and see that should be on every traveller’s bucket list.
The main difference with this city and many of the other popular European cities is the cost. Yes, if you have deep pockets you can spend a weekend in luxury and have a big dent in your bank balance.
But if you are travelling on a budget, you do not need to suffer.
We have put together a list of the top ten things to do, see and eat all costing less than 10 euros, and even better some of them for free!
1. Lisbon trams
No trip to Lisbon is complete without taking a tram ride. The most famous of which, is the tram 28. But if you buy a ticket on the tram you will spend far more than if you buy a day pass.
Lisbon has six tram routes, three funiculars, and one vertical lift, so you are not short of an experience.
These trams are a great way to see the city, and you may be surprised at how close they are to the buildings on the very narrow cobbled streets once out of the main centre.
A day pass can be purchased at any metro station and costs 6.40 euros, this will give you unlimited use on the trams, and other public transport enabling you to visit Cascais and Parque das Nações.
We would advise that if you use the trams in the height of the season, do be wary of pickpockets. (This is not just a problem in Lisbon, it is the same in any large, busy tourist area, in any country).
You can splash out a little more and buy the 9.55 day pass that will also include river crossings, but if you are only spending 24 hours, it is far better to have fun jumping on and off the trams and visiting the areas that you want to see, Click the link for up to date information Metro Lisboa
In case you were not aware, Lisbon is very hilly and believe us, you will appreciate a tram going up some of the hills!
2. Lisbon street art
Lisbon is famous for its street art, whether it is the graffiti, the murals on the buildings or the works of famous artists, you can wander the city and see so much without having to pay to visit any museums or art galleries.
Take a visit to the LX factory in Alcântara, this old warehouse, originally a weaving and textile company, then a food processing company and finally a printing companywas converted in to a creative Hub and houses many different events relating to music and art. There are a number of bars and shops here, but you can just enjoy a wander round looking at the amazing street art.
Jardim do Tabaco (Tobacco Garden) is an area close to Santa Aplonia, again an old building has been used to display a piece of collaboration work by Pixel Pancho and Vhils. The work of these 2 artists can be seen around the world
Another piece of fantastic art that is available for all to see is the Iberian Lynx, by Bordalo II. This piece is in the same frame as many of his other works, demonstrating how much garbage is discarded.
The Iberian Lynx can be found at Parque das Nações,
3. Parque das Nações, Lisbon
Parque das Nações is a very different aspect of Lisbon. It was the site of the 1998 Lisbon World Exposition and the modernity of this area is a stark contrast with the historical city centre.
The first thing you will notice is the Gare do Oriente, the train station you will arrive at, if using the metro and train day pass. This station was inaugurated in 1998 as part of the celebrations for the 1998 Expo world fair.
The first time you use this station can be a little daunting due to its size, but each floor has clear signs for the metro, trains and shopping.
The concrete construction is amazing to see, as is the metal and glasswork on the top floor where the main train station is.
Walk through the shopping centre across from the station and you will find the riverfront, where you can view the Vasco da Gama bridge, one of the longest bridges in Europe.
You will also find the tallest building in Lisbon here, the Vasco da Gama tower.
Although there are landmarks here that will cost you money to visit, you can easily spend the day on less than 10 euros. Wander around the park or walk along the waterfront from the Vasco da Gama tower to the Vasco da Gama bridge.
There are many cafes to get a drink, but the closer you are to the attractions the more expensive they are.
In the train station there are a variety of kiosks selling all types of different foods, which you can then sit and enjoy by the riverside.
4. The fantastic world of sardines, Lisbon
This is an amazing shop located on Rossio square in the centre of Lisbon. The shop theme is a circus, with the staff dressed in costume and a Ferris wheel inside the store.
Brightly lit and always busy, you may wonder what is in there, well, it is fish, or to be precise, tinned fish!
The most popular version, is the tinned sardines, each tin of sardines has a different year from 1916 onwards, with over 100 years to choose from, each decade is a different colour and each year of the decade has a slightly different shade.
Along with the year is an interesting fact from that year, for example did you know 1941 was the year Bob Dylan and Alex Ferguson were born or that that Apple was founded in 1976?
The shop is worth a visit as it is so extraordinary and unusual, but if you do want to buy a souvenir or gift, the prices start at just 7 euros.
5. Praça do Comércio
Praça do Comércio is the grandest of Lisbon’s plazas enclosed on 3 sides by the elegant 18th century arcades and distinctive yellow buildings.
You will find cafes and restaurants lining the square, but unless you really want to splash out, it may be best to just have a drink at one of these to enjoy the experience, and then find somewhere to eat a few streets back, you will not believe the difference in prices!
To the south of the plaza is an open view of the river Tagus and at the rear in the centre of the yellow buildings is the triumphal Arco da Rua Augusta which leads on to Lisbon’s busiest pedestrianised street.
A walk along this street is a complete must, tables and chairs from the restaurants line the centre of the street and there are many different street artists and buskers along here.
6. Visit a Miradouro in Lisbon
One of the most beautiful and free spots to enjoy a view of Lisbon is at one of the Miradouros, these are the viewpoints in Lisbon and are usually situated at the top of each hill.
The Miradouro Largo das Portas do Sol (the gateway of the sun) gives a panoramic view of the Tagus river and the National Pantheon with a stunning view of the Alfama neighbourhood.
There is a large café below where you can enjoy the views, but the best point is on the balcony. There is a small kiosk bar here, with a limited selection of drinks and open seating area. Though this can get quite crowded, it is a great place to sit and enjoy a coffee or beer for less than 2 euros and see this amazing city.
The Miradouro de Santa Luzia is a great spot for Instagram photos, with the amazing tiles and fantastic views.
Miradouro Da Graça gives views of the castle and also has a kiosk café.
If your trip is based on seeing Lisbon from the best spots, visiting the Miradouros is a great way to achieve this aim on a very small budget.
7. Belem tower
Belem Tower, built in 1515 as a fortress to guard the entrance to Lisbon's harbour, is a historic landmark that is now a main tourist attraction in Lisbon that has been granted UNESCO world heritage site status.
The area outside of the centre of Lisbon and can be reached using the tram or bus.
You are able to visit the inside of the tower, but to be honest the main beauty is the exterior architecture, which is best before you cross the small bridge before you enter.
The cost of a ticket to visit the inside is 6 Euros, but there can be long queues to get inside. Visiting the building and admiring from the outside is just as good and if you get to visit at sunset the building is absolutely stunning and gives a great photography experience.
8. Pastel de Nata
No trip to Lisbon is complete without trying a Pastel de Nata, a Portuguese egg custard tart, reportedly invented by monks in Belem, close to Lisbon city centre.
The egg whites were used for other foods, which meant there were many yolks left over, so as not to waste them, the Pastel de Nata was born.
The most popular place and a major tourist trip is Pastéis de Belém, a light and airy bakery/cafe. This restaurant is famed for its Pastel de Nata and you can see the bakers making them through a large glass window, which also means it is very busy during certain times of the year.
If you are visiting Belem, then this is worth a trip, but if you are not planning on a trip to Belem, then almost every café in Lisbon will sell these tarts and each version is ever so slightly different.
Often you will find many cafes have a special offer of a Pastel de Nata and coffee for a reduced price.
However you enjoy your Pastel de Nata, it really is one thing you cannot miss on a trip to Lisbon. The cost will depend on where you want to eat it. The more touristy the area, the more expensive it will become. But find a traditional café on a back street and you can enjoy this experience like a local and for the same price.
9. River trip
Taking a sightseeing cruise on the river Tagus, is an amazing experience, but unfortunately, not always budget friendly.
If you are on a tight budget, there is a way to experience this without spending more than 10 euros.
There are commuter ferries, if you use the ferry terminal at Cais do Sodre you can take a 10-minute ferry ride to Cacilhas on the other side of the river, (if you have bought the slightly more expensive travel card, these ferries are included in the price, but you can also buy a return ticket directly at the ferry terminal.
From here you can visit Almada and Cacilhas, and enjoy some great traditional Portuguese foods, especially the fresh grilled fish near the river, and a slightly less busy are than Lisbon city centre.
From the ferry and also once in Cacilhas, you will get great views of the the famous 25th of April Bridge.
Almada is a town a little further south (walkable or there is a bus available) and here you will be able to visit the Cristo Rei (Christ the King). This is a Catholic monument and shrine, overlooking Lisbon.
All of these attractions are viewable from the ferry and if you sit on the top deck, is there really any difference to a river cruise, until you can come back and enjoy the trip in luxury?
10. Visit Cascais Beach
You may not consider a trip to the beach as essential on a Lisbon visit, but there are some amazing coastal resorts within easy reach of Lisbon.
One such resort is Cascais, this is on the suburban train route from Lisbon and included in your travel pass.
Cascais was a traditional fishing town, but now is more of a holiday destination. Historically it was reserved as the summer retreat of choice for the Portuguese nobility, so you will notice many stunning period properties.
However the beaches are open to all, there are fantastic restaurants along the beach, but as you can imagine, eating overlooking one of the most beautiful beaches in Lisbon, the cost will not be budget.
But it is worth sitting and treating yourself to a drink just to enjoy the experience, and then enjoy a full picnic on the beach afterwards.
Walk along the promenade to find your perfect spot, or enjoy the rock pools with the crystal clear water.
Whatever budget you have to spend in Lisbon, one thing is for sure, your trip will be truly unforgettable and as you have seen here, you do not need to break the bank to enjoy this amazing city.
With low cost international flights available to the airport and an easy to navigate metro system, Lisbon really is a capital city that can be added to any traveller’s bucket list.
If you enjoyed this article, these may also be of interest to you:
Portugal on a budget