There are arguably two top ways to explore Lisbon: riding the iconic, rumbling yellow trams through the main neighborhoods, and wandering on foot. A walking tour can show visitors an up close and personal side of the city, making sure that no corner goes unnoticed. Here are our top picks.
What about joining a tour without any commitment or obligations? Chill-out tours is a relaxed group that meets at two different times every day, during every season, and all they ask is for tourists to show up. To make matters easier, guides carry silver bags (made from recycled material) with yellow trams on them, so they are easily recognizable. Made up of local, Lisbon-born and raised guides, Chill-out tours is a free walking tour company that offers excursions detailed in English and Spanish in addition to Portuguese, and meets from Luís de Camões Square in lower Bairro Alto.
Sandemans Free Tours
Travelers may have already heard of Sandemans since this global tour company, that kicked off in the US, is offered in big cities around the world. The website and online reservation system make booking easy, and tourists can choose between free tours in downtown Lisbon or Belém. Lasting approximately three hours, each tour provides a detailed breakdown of the local history and culture while showing visitors the major landmarks, and the charismatic guides are even known to suggest lunches at local restaurants.
Discover Walks Lisbon
Discover Lisbon in the best way possible for you, whether that’s on a budget, on a private tour, or with a specially-designed excursion. Discover Walks, founded in Paris in 2010, is an ultimate walking tour company that designs many alternatives so everyone is happy. The free walking tours offered in Alfama and Belém simultaneously dive into the stories and histories from these neighborhoods, taking detours along the way to highlight favorite locales. For tourists that prefer a more customized experience, Discover Walks has designed a sunset walk, a foodie tour, a special Belém trip, and can always personalize an experience further with a private excursion.
Wander Lisbon from one piece of street art to another, explore the city through the local “tapas” culture (tapas are called ‘petiscos‘ in Portuguese), or dive into the culture’s heart and soul by discovering fado music. Pancho Tours design a number of experiences and a few are free too. Explore Alfama, Mouraria, or Chiado and Bairro Alto with their local guides for a well-informed introduction through the city’s historic streets. These three tours are the free options and satisfied customers can book more detailed experiences for a fee, including a day trip from Lisbon to Sintra.
Taste of Lisboa
One of the best things to do in Lisbon is eat, so foodies should not miss looking into this gastronomic experience with Taste of Lisboa. Explore the local food culture while wandering the charming streets by popping into markets, tascas, and bars with guides who know where to go. Although these tours are not designed for the budget-minded, at €60 per person, they are designed to satiate the senses over the four-hour tour, with seven different tastings included. Taste of Lisboa also offers cooking classes and private experiences for anyone wanting to dive deeper into the culinary scene.
From discovering Lisbon’s hidden corners and local gems to exploring the city in ten tastings, With Locals has a plethora of trips designed for every type of tourist. Although there isn’t a tour offered for free, the 90-minute kick-starter is a great experience for €7, and passes the major downtown landmarks while detailing the local history and offering insights for wandering alone later. A personalized and detailed tour can always be scheduled later, as well.
See more of Lisbon and the surrounding towns with a unique experience such as a sailing or Segway tour. Inside Lisbon designs different opportunities, spearheaded by locals, to see the Portuguese capital. Unfortunately, none are for free, but the different outings are designed to showcase the culture in an adventurous and/or one-of-a-kind way. While on tour, ask your guide to show you Lisbon’s favorite pastry shop, located in Belém, or a few of the best miradouros.