Rossio is a historic station in the heart of Lisbon, and for millions of travelers every year, it’s the gateway to everything the city has to offer. Step out of the doors of the station, and you’ll be able to immerse yourself in the beating heart of Lisbon. Just member to drop off your unneeded bags at luggage storage near Rossio Station first. As far as Western European capital cities go, Lisbon remains very affordable.
Just about everything here, from food to attractions to public transportation to accommodation, is cheaper than you’ll find in cities like London or Paris. But if you want to stretch your budget even further, take advantage of some free attractions in the city. Some of Lisbon’s top attractions are completely free to visit, so don’t miss out on these options while you’re in town.
1. Igreja de São Domingos
Just a few steps from the station itself, you’ll find this historic church. Dating back to the 12th century, this church was badly damaged in the hugely destructive 1755 earthquake, which destroyed most of Lisbon’s old buildings. It’s very rare in the city to find anything that dates back before this time, so this restored church is the ideal place to get a glimpse of medieval Lisbon.
2. Tram 28
This iconic tram is the one to hop on if you want a scenic tour of Lisbon’s old town. You won’t have to spend any money if you’ve already bought a transit pass, and this is an attraction that lets you see some of the city’s best sights at no cost. Think of it as a free or low-cost and fun tour through the city. The climb up to Castle de Sao Jorge will be worth it and will save your tired feet from yet another hill. Just remember that this is part of Lisbon’s public transportation infrastructure, not just the tourist attraction. So, try not to get in anyone’s way while you ride the tram to one of Lisbon’s most scenic districts.
3. Miradouro de Santa Luzia
If you’d like to get your camera out and snap some beautiful pictures of Lisbon from one of its highest hills, then make sure to take a trip up here. This terrace offers sweeping views over the Tagus River, Praca do Comercio, and many other landmarks in the city. Plus, admission is free.
4. Praça do Comercio
This is the square that’s located immediately in front of Rossio Station, and it’s a great place to stop for a few minutes before or after exploring around town. It’s also one of the city’s most scenic spots, so don’t miss out on it if you’re in the area. There are usually some street performers here, too, so you can enjoy some live music or watch others dance while admiring this beautiful square.
5. Church of Sao Roque
If you have time to explore Lisbon’s more off-the-beaten-path attractions, then make sure you visit this small and ornate 17th-century church located in the Chiado district. It’s a great place to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city for a few minutes and admire its incredible interior, which is covered with exotic marbles and gold mosaics. One of the earliest Jesuit churches ever built, Sao Roque is incredibly ornate, with almost every inch of this church beautifully decorated.
Don’t forget to look up to see the outstanding murals on the ceiling. This highly decorated interior is made even more dramatic by the extremely plain exterior of the church, with the juxtaposition making the art inside even more dramatic. There’s also a museum of sacred art on-site which will cost an additional fee to visit but is worth considering if you want to learn more about the incredible art of this unique church.
6. Santa Justa Elevator
Santa Justa Elevator is a very affordable place to visit and a fun highlight of any trip to Lisbon. This unique and ornate elevator offers incredible views of the city from its top, so you can enjoy some stunning vistas without spending too much money. Once upon a time, the hilly city of Lisbon had dozens of elevators like this one to connect one neighborhood with another. However, Santa Justa is one of the last ones left. The structure dates back to 1902, so taking a ride on the elevator is like taking a step back in time, letting you experience part of Lisbon’s history as well as enjoy a great view.
7. Fado Vadio Graffiti Mural
This unassuming alleyway near Rossio Station is one of the best locations in the city for street art. The murals on the walls here are ever-changing, but it’s a great place to do some photography or just enjoy the vibrant counterculture of the city. You’ll be able to see work by some of the best street artists in Lisbon, and the authorities adopt a fairly hands-off approach to this form of artistic expression. However, to stay on the safe side and avoid any trouble on your Lisbon vacation, it’s probably better if you don’t try to add your own street art to what’s on display here.
8. Jardim da Estrela
This park is one of the best locations to visit in Lisbon if the sun is shining – and it’s totally free. Located close to Rossio Station, this pleasant garden includes a pond and plenty of trees, so it’s a great place for a stroll or a picnic. There’s also a playground here, making this an ideal spot to bring your kids. It’s also home to some interesting statues, as well as an open-air cafe that serves up refreshing drinks during the summer months. If you’re lucky, you might even catch some live music in the park on certain days too.
Lisbon isn’t an expensive city by European standards. But if you’re traveling on a budget, it’s good to know that there are plenty of completely free things to do in the city. In fact, some of Lisbon’s major attractions are free or very low-cost, so you can see everything Lisbon has to offer without spending a lot of money. Check out the ideas here, and you’re guaranteed to have a good time while saving a few dollars.