10 Things to Do in Lisbon for under €30.
Lisbon is a remarkable city. Not only is there is so much to see and do, but for a European capital city, it’s very affordable. Therefore, I thought it was only fitting that my first post on the wonderful Portuguese capital should tell you about 10 things which can be done in Lisbon… for under €30. That’s right, €30. And I’m not talking €30 each. Don’t be fooled into thinking this is a complete list. I’m sure I could rack my brain for a couple more things. I’m also not suggesting that you should only go to Lisbon and spend €30. I just want to show you how far a little money can go.
1. Walk down the Rua Augusta from Praça do Comércio to Rossio Square. Just don’t stop in any of the restaurants – it’s tourist trap central. Pastry shops however – go crazy. Otherwise, just admire the architecture, pop into the shops and soak up the atmosphere.
2. Get up high and look down on Lisbon. There are a bunch of viewpoints over the city that are easy get to on foot or by tram, so they really shouldn’t be missed. I hear sunset is pretty spectacular from a couple of them, but during a grey and cloudy week, they weren’t to be seen. Lisbon is incredibly colorful from above.
3. Drink a Ginjinha. Or many. Forget about wine. Forget about port. It’s cherry liqueur time. And then it’s back to the port and wine. But no. Make sure you grab a couple of these – either from Bairro Alto or Chaido at night or pretty much anywhere else.
Cost: €1 to €2.
4. Get a custard tart from Pasteis de Bele in Belem. A custard tart? Fuck, I can get those in England, why would I go all the way to Portugal to get one? Well, this is a specialty; a custard tart like no other. You can get VERY GOOD custard tarts all over Lisbon, but there are only a few places you can get GIVE-ME-MORE-NOW custard tarts. And this is one of them. Occasionally there are queues out of the door which – according to the dude that did my tattoo – can be an hour long. When I went there, I walked straight in.
Cost: €1 to €2.
5. Visit the Feira da Ladra. This literally translates to ‘thief fair’ and is the oldest market in Lisbon. It’s also one of the best. You can literally find anything sprawled on the floor, on tables or under tents. From random junk that I don’t imagine even the most hipster among you could want, to vintage books and clothes, furniture, cameras, clothes and much more. While I was there, I noticed there were also quite a few hippy clothing stalls if that’s your thing. It’s open on a Tuesday and Saturday and you can haggle your heart out.
6. Ride the number 28 tram. This can be hit and miss as to whether or not its enjoyable, but it is bound to be one hell of an experience. Before going, I’d heard that this tram was always packed and you’d always be standing up. However, I rode most of the line and had a seat the entire time. I also found it was full of more locals than tourists. It’s one of the best ways to see the city and get up to Castle San Jorge and it’s part of Lisbon’s history.
Cost: €2 to €3.
7. See the sites in Belem. Only a €2 train ride away, the ex-fishing port of Belem is a MUST see. You’re able to go up the Padrao dos Descobrimentos (Monument to the discoveries), in and up the Torre de Belém (Belem Tower) and in the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos (Jeronimos Monastery). For €4, €6 and €10 respectively, they’re well worth a visit. However, as the photos below show, they’re all pretty exceptional from the outside too – in which case, they’re free.
Cost: €2 for the train. €4/6/10 for the attractions.
8. Explore the beautiful street art. Lisbon is full of it. It’s literally everywhere, if you’re willing to look for it. Talk a walk around the brilliant Alfama (the oldest part) area of Lisbon and you’re bound to find some. Walk down any of the small alleyways around the base of Castle San Jorge and you’ll see some more.
9. Take the ferry to Almada and visit Cristo Rei (Christ the King). It’s only €4 for a return ferry ride across to Almada and then it’s a 20 minute talk (up hill) or a couple more €’s for a bus to Cristo Rei. You can climb the monument (take the lift up) for €4 and get brilliant views over Lisbon and up to 20kms away. You don’t need to climb the monument to get the views, as the picture below shows.
Cost: €4 for ferry. Another €4 to get to the top of the Cristo Rei.
10. Pretty much everything else. You can visit the Castle San Jorge for €5-8, get a return train to Sintra for €5 (requires a couple of posts just for what you can do there), climb the Rua Augusta arch for €4, take a ride in the Elevador de Santa Justa for €5 (although I do NOT recommend it until the refurbishment is finished), or buy a couple of drinks in Bairro Alto (€5 for XXL cocktails, €2 for beer or wine).
There you have it.
Lisbon is a very affordable capital city – and it definitely isn’t because there isn’t much to do. I hope you all look forward to more blogs on Lisbon, Sintra, Belem and Portugal in general. As always, if you want any more information or have any additions to the blog, don’t hesitate to ask.
Otherwise, get the fuck over to Lisbon now.