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Making The Most Of Lisbon For Free

By Sean Mahon

Posted: 9th April 2015 12:09

It costs absolutely nothing to have a good time in Lisbon! There are plenty of free and fun experiences on offer in the city, allowing you to have the best time possible without worrying about your budget.

Why not make culture the theme of your trip and head to one of Lisbon’s many fantastic museums and art galleries? Creativity and talent come alive at the Berado Collection Museum in Belem, the city’s best contemporary and modern art gallery. The Gulbenkian Museum is one of Europe's unsung treasures; part of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, it houses a magnificent collection of Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Islamic, Asian, and European art. Those with a passion for history should check out the City Museum to chart Lisbon’s story and learn how the earthquake of 1755 shaped the city forever. But the museum scene in Lisbon isn’t just about ancient art and even older history – a trip to MUDE, the fashion and design museum, will prove that the city has an avant-garde and trendy spirit. 

There are a number of beautiful and spiritual temples and places of worship around Lisbon. However, these buildings are not just for the faithful – they are historical legacies and places of artistic beauty that are just waiting to be explored by eager visitors. The Sé de Lisboa Cathedral is the oldest church in the city – construction began incredibly in 1147. The São Vicente de Fora Monastery has a beautiful Renaissance façade and offers a peaceful garden and breathtaking views, whilst the São Roque Church is one of the oldest – and finest – Jesuit churches in the world.

They say that all roads lead to Rome, but in Lisbon, all roads lead to Martim Moniz. The capital’s most interesting and multi-ethnic district is home to the famous Fusion Market. Alongside stalls selling delicious and interesting products from all over the world, you can also catch concerts and theatre shows in the city’s thriving multicultural heart. A free outdoor cinema can also be found in the Mouraria Moorish quarter with the city's starry sky as the perfect backdrop.

Summer Events

In the height of summer, Lisbon transforms into a giant outdoor stage to host a handful of festivals and summer concerts for all tastes and musical styles, attracting leading Portuguese and international bands to the region. 

Festas de Lisboa

In June, during the month of the city’s Folk Saints, Lisbon is on holiday. In a mass celebration, filled with colour and a contagious joy, the city comes alive with street entertainment, fado concerts, theatre and shows, fairs and folk parades, among many other crowd pleasing events and activities. At night, make sure you do not miss the traditional feasts and folk dancing in Lisbon’s historic neighbourhoods, where grilled sardines, caldo verde (kale soup), bread with sausage, basil, beer, red wine, great music and entertainment are all in plentiful supply.

Optimus Alive

No, this has nothing to do with robots in disguise…On 12-14 July, thousands of pop, rock and indie fans will flock to the riverside promenade in Algés to dance and rave as the sun goes down. Optimus Alive is considered one of the top music festivals held in Europe and is without a doubt the biggest music event in the Lisbon calendar – this year’s event features Artic Monkeys, The Black Keys and Bastille, proving that Lisbon can party with the best of them.

EDP Cool Jazz

EDP is a far more intimate event, but equally eclectic. Traditional Fado music, jazz, indie, folk, funky, soul and Brazilian music are just some of the many sounds you can lose yourself in at EDP. This July, take to the magnificent setting of the Gardens of the Marquis of Pombal Palace and Parque dos Poetas; simply chill out  in these beautiful surroundings with good music for company. What could be better?

Super Bock Super Rock

Away from the chaos of the city centre (but conveniently just a few kilometres outside of Lisbon) the Super Bock Super Rock festival will return to Herdade do Cabeço da Flauta, on 17 July. The festival is a unique experience – rock and alternative music embrace nature. With its first edition held in 1995, Super Bock Super Rock has gone from strength to strength; committed to attracting some of the biggest names in music, it will certainly be a party to remember.

Jazz in August

Fans of the smooth and stirring tones of American and European jazz won’t want to miss the biggest jazz event the city has ever seen. First held in 1980, Jazz in August takes over the outdoor amphitheatre of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, which provides a relaxing and intoxicating atmosphere. Unlike the city’s other festivals, this event is held continuously throughout August – with a number of performance dates offer, you’ll have plenty of chances to catch your favourite stars of the jazz scene. 

Visit Lisbon

The Turismo de Lisboa is a non-profit organisation committed to promoting Lisbon as a leading destination for tourists who want to experience the very best of what the city has to offer. The website provides a wealth of useful information to help travellers truly discover the capital; from helpful facts about the city’s history and origins to advice on how to best make use of your time, this is the ultimate tool for anyone planning to visit Lisbon. 

Whether you want advice on the best restaurants, tips on cheap accommodation, advice on interesting or unusual days out or simply want to check out the events calendar, The Turismo de Lisboa, with their extensive knowledge and easy to use website, can help you ensure you have the best trip possible. 


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