There’s always a festival, exhibition or party going on in Lisbon; and while the hot season for events is summer, spring is when momentum sparks. Bolstered by warm, sunny days and open spaces, Lisbon’s budget-friendly culture attracts locals and tourists alike. While visiting Lisbon this spring, be sure to check out these great things to see and do.
View Modern and Contemporary Art, Free of Charge.
Since it opened in 2007, the Museu Coleção Berardo has been free to enter, but that’s about to change. From May 1 the museum will charge visitors a €5 entry fee, with the exception of Saturdays when it will revert back to free admission. If you’re panning to visit Lisbon in the next couple of weeks, head over to the Culture Center of Belém to view this extensive collection while it’s still one of the city’s free experiences.
Sit by the Riverside and Enjoy some Seafood.
Located near the Atlantic Ocean, Lisbon is full of fresh and delicious seafood that’s cooked a variety of ways. Whether you prefer a platter of assorted shellfish or lightly breaded and fried finfish, there is a recipe for every piscivore. Since the weather is improving and the days resemble summer (minus the swarms of tourists), take advantage and snack on seafood by the seaside – or in this case, the riverside.
Visit the MAAT.
Last spring, the MAAT (Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology) was an idea in motion, but this spring it’s a concrete museum for everyone to enjoy. Entrance costs €5 with a 15% discount offered to students and senior citizens over 65. Free entry is offered to individuals with special needs, young people under 18, teachers, journalists and a few other exceptions. You can book a guided tour, and this is a museum that schedules regular events, exhibitions and conferences, like the Post-Internet Cities Conference.
Check Out What’s Showing at Different Film Festivals.
Lisbon offers plenty of activities to keep people outdoors, but if the weather strays from the usual sunny skies, why not head inside for a change. Every spring Lisbon hosts different film festivals, like IndieLisboa and the Animated Film Festival. The first is currently showing until May 14, while the latter takes place each year in March.
Indulge in Lisbon’s Booming Beer Scene.
Sit on a terrace and drink some of the best craft beers in Portugal. You might also like to sample the variety of international favorites which continue to appear in Lisbon, like the Belgium-inspired Delirium Café in Baixa. Spring is a fantastic time to stroll from bar to bar, or you can sit by one of the many riverside locations and enjoy a cool drink.
Take a Walk Through the Beautiful Botanical Gardens.
Spring is a season to enjoy the flowers, so head to one of Lisbon’s botanical havens. The Jardím Botânico da Universidade de Lisboa (meaning the “Botanical Garden of the University of Lisbon”) was founded in the 1870s and is home to thousands of plants – including many rare and exotic varieties. There’s also the Jardim Botânico Tropical in Belém, and the Jardim Botânico of Ajuda which lies just North of Belém.
Try Urban Hiking and Visit the City’s Various Expressions of Street Art.
They say that April showers bring May flowers, but spring in Lisbon seems to go straight to the latter with little rainy assistance. Take the opportunity to walk through this city and view the different forms of street art decorating Lisbon’s street sides, trams and abandoned buildings. The urban mural in São Vicente de Fora is the longest display, made up of 52,738 Azulejo tiles. Bairro Alto and a few streets around Saldanha are a couple of other areas where phenomenal street art can be seen.
Spend a Day Playing in the Waves.
Surfing season may be over, but it’s still possible to catch some waves before the summer craze begins. Water sports are among the top attractions around the Portuguese capital, and beaches include those of Carcavelos, Cascais, and Costa da Caparica. While the waves won’t be at their maximum height and strength, the swells are still rolling and it’s a good time to practice or begin surfing for the first time.
Relax Under the Sun to the Sounds of Jazz Music.
The bars of Bairro Alto and Principe Real cater to many musical styles, and a few jazz bars are among them. Beginning May 2 and lasting through summer, Lisbon’s parks and gardens will host free jazz concerts. Since these are public places, this is one activity that’s also absolutely free, which is something to sing about.
Visit ArcoLisboa in Belém.
Learn about Lisbon’s established art scene and discover the up and coming names at the ArcoLisboa festival. This international art fair attracts companies far and wide to highlight what’s new in contemporary art, and to establish connections with the Portuguese community. Tables will be set up at a few locations along the Tagus River in Belém from May 18 – 21, and tickets begin at €15.