Lisbon for Less

Lisbon for Less

Few cities in Europe offer visitors such a range of exceptional free activities as Lisbon. Combine the plethora of free attractions with the excellent public transport system in Lisbon, and you have a recipe for free fun for all the family. Below is a selection of the best free things to do and see in Lisbon.

The Gulbenkian Museum (Museu Calouste Gulbenkian)

The Gulbenkian Museum

flickr image by Truus, Bob & Jan too!

The Gulbenkian Museum is one of the more unique free attractions which Lisbon has to offer. The museum is located in a larger complex, which also contains a pair of concert halls which are used to present ballet and musical performances (these are not free). The museum itself houses several unique collections. The main section is the largest private collection of Persian art in the world. There is also a large display of Egyptian sculptures as well as many paintings produced by old masters. I visit to the Gulbenkian Museum is a delight for art lovers and entirely free!

The Castle of St George

The Castle of St George

flickr image by Luigi Strano

The Castle of St George is not only one of the best free historical sites which Lisbon has to offer, it is also a key part of the history of Lisbon. Until the mid 1940s the castle was almost entirely ignored and allowed to fall into a state of disrepair. However, the Portuguese Government invested heavy funding into a restoration project which transformed this old site into a world class tourist attraction. The castle is set in large landscaped gardens and visitors are free to climb many of the towers, which command breath-taking views across this part of Lisbon. One of the more interesting legends which surround this castle is that of the knight Martim Moniz. Legend has it that during the siege of Lisbon in 1147, Martim Moniz noticed that one of the castle portcullises was slightly open. Ignoring the risk to his own life, he threw himself beneath it so that it could not be closed and troops could enter the castle.

Santa Maria Maior de Lisboa

Santa Maria Maior de Lisboa

flckr image by Francisco Arag√£o

The oldest church to be found within the city of Lisbon is the Santa Maria Maior de Lisboa. The cathedral was originally constructed in 1147. The Santa Maria Maior de Lisboa has been the target of constant renovation over the years, mostly due to earthquake damage making much of the cathedral buildings unstable. Externally the Santa Maria Maior de Lisboa looks much like a medieval castle, especially the pair of towers which flank the entrance. Once inside, things look entirely different. Grand columns and magnificent sculptures form a stunning visual experience. The Santa Maria Maior de Lisboa is open every day and is entirely free to explore. Definitely a must see for anyone interested in history who is visiting Lisbon.

Tram 28

Tram 28

flickr image by rcoffey2

Although not actually free, Tram 28 is a very inexpensive way for visitors to explore Lisbon. The tram follows a route which takes in many of the best historical sites in Lisbon. These include the Alfama and the popular neighbourhoods of Estrela and Bairro Alto. However, the tram can often become quite crowded and in summer months this is a hot and sticky trip. For these reasons this might not be the best activity for families who have young children along.

Lisbon offers an incredible experience for travellers on a budget. Additionally, most of the major attractions are quite close together. This makes Lisbon a great option for people who intend to take a weekend break and fit in as much as possible in a few days. Whatever your taste in exploration, be it art, history or simply enjoying seeing new things, then Lisbon has much to offer.

Date posted: 17th February, 2015

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