Lisbon has the ability to brighten and lighten the souls of those who visit. It could be something to do with the light bouncing off the black and white marble mosaic pavements that line every step of the city you explore. Or maybe it’s thanks to long warm summers filled with late night dining and early afternoon siestas? Or perhaps it’s because of the colourful and endearing painted tiles that decorate the houses, proudly displaying the scuffs, odd cracks and chips that the years have delivered?
Image by saolin.
Maybe it’s one of those. But we think a lot of it has got to with how many cool things you can for free or for relatively little money. While this may lighten your soul, it’ll keep your wallet heavy with cash. Here are ten quirky and cool things you can do in Lisbon for less than 100 euros, total!
The famous Lisbon tram. By Vin60.
Enjoy Lisbon’s Urban Art Galleries
Lisbon is a mecca for street art. Head to the Saldanha neighbourhood to see buildings dominated by super-size street art, and keep your eyes open while exploring the city for more art by some of the world’s most famous street artists including BLU and SAM3.
So hungry I could eat a house. By Julius – Laid Back.
Pick up a steal at the Thieves Market
Locals love the so-called “Thieves Market” aka Feira da Ladra held every Tuesday and Saturday near tram stop Campo da Sta. Clara. Vintage-loving visitors will love it too, with lots of bargains worth going over your excess luggage allowance for.
Price: 10 – 20 euros should buy an outfit for a night out
Image by nieos.
Drink a Ginjinha or two…
While a well-respected wine nation – Vinho Verde anyone? – Portugal is often best known for its port. But, there are other famous drinks being sipped by Portuguese in Lisbon including Ginjinha, a vibrant cherry liqueur. Head to the nocturnal suburb of Bairo Alto after 10pm to see the bars open and choose your spot for a glass (or two, or three…) of Ginjinha.
Price: 8 euros. Anymore and you’ll be in trouble…
Ginjinha in a typical Lisbon bar. By franciscofernandes.
Eat a world famous Pastéis de Belém
If you find yourself staying near Belém, this is a result as you can save yourself the 2.85 euros tram fare and simply walk to Pasteis de Belém to try one of their world famous custard tarts. Created using a very secret recipe, thousands are produced and devoured every day and you can all but guarantee there will be as many locals as there are tourists in the queue.
Price: 10 euros if you take Lisbon’s famous tram to get there, with enough change for two pastéis as one is never enough
Pastéis de Belém. By Magic Ketchup.
Watch the sun set
Watching the sun go down is an unofficial ritual in Lisbon with so many viewpoints to choose from. Our favourite is Miradouro da Graça, a popular spot with the locals when the sun starts to hit the horizon, which often means fewer people and more romantic spots to pick.
Miradouro da Graça. By M.Angel Herrero.
Get a sugar high from homemade cupcakes
It may feel like you’re cheating on the Pasteis de Belém as you walk through the doors of Tease Bakery on Rua do Norte, but once your teeth sink into the frosting of these homemade cupcakes you’ll consider yourself a happy and almost guilt-free rogue.
Price: Around 3 euros for a cupcake. Comes with free tea!
Cupcake display. By Tease Bakery.
Explore the historic and atmospheric Alfama
Take a journey back in time by climbing up to explore one of Lisbon’s oldest neighbourhoods, Alfama, which is now a pedestrian-only maze of narrow and steep alleyways where families spill out from their living rooms on to the streets to discuss the day’s highs and lows. Listen out for the romantic sounds of Fado – the nation’s beloved traditional music coming from within some of Lisbon’s best restaurants and taverns.
Soundtrack to Alfama. By Luca Setti.
Hop on a train to the coast and get on your (borrowed) bike
As Lisbon heats up in the summer months, follow the all-knowing locals as they hop on trains to cool down by the coast. For a full adventure, once at the station of coastal town Cascais you will find free bike hire, so use them to explore the miles of brilliantly flat bike trails along the coastline.
Price: 5 – 10 euros for your train ticket
Cycling through Cascais. By pedrosimoes7.
Take part in a We Hate Tourism Tour
A tour company that calls itself We Hate Tourism has to either have a very good sense of humour or be very good at what it does. Thankfully We Hate Tourism can promise both on their tours of Lisbon, Sintra and the surrounding area.
Price: From 25 euros
Jeep tour of Lisbon. By We Hate Tourism.
Pop into the quirkiest shop in town
Blink and you’ll miss Lisbon’s strangest shop, found on the busy Praça da Figueira. The Hospital for Dolls has been looking after broken dolls and toys since 1830 and is the best place for any broken doll to receive an eye, leg or arm replacement. It’s also a wonderful place to pop in to visit some of the inpatients and find out more about the Hospital de Bonecas.
Price: Free or if you have a doll who needs some TLC the cost of repairs start at 4 euros
Lisbon’s doll hospital. Image by Reuters via Xinhua.
81 euros or more, depending on how many cupcakes you had or how many vintage dresses you scored at Feira da Ladra. Now go burn your leftover euros on another Ginginha or perhaps another Pasteis de Belém!
Featured image by lukasberg.