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Lisbon in winter

Lisbon in winter: A seasonal guide with the best activities and tours

Sure, it is colder in Lisbon in winter, but there is still much to do in the Portuguese capital! With plenty of sunny days, Christmas markets, and gorgeous museums, you won't be bored for one minute! The weather is mild, and the city has plenty of sunny days. Let's look at what you can do in winter in Lisbon.

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Discover Lisbon in winter and many seasonal activities

A quick overview

What to see? Visiting Lisbon in winter means fewer queues and mild temperatures. You can visit the same sights year round and discover the cosy Christmas markets in November and December!

Costs? From free activities to paid excursions and entrance fees.

Where? Visit Lisbon, the capital of Portugal in Southern Europe.

Worth it? If you prefer a city trip out of season, absolutely!

Lisbon weather in winter

Did you know Lisbon is the sunniest capital city in Europe? When you visit Lisbon in winter, you’re in for a treat! Depending on where you’re from, it doesn’t get too cold. The Lisbon winter weather is mild, and it’s a great time to visit the capital of Portugal. There are far fewer crowds, you enjoy cheaper prices, and plenty of sunny days. It certainly won’t snow while visiting Lisbon. The only place to expect snow in Portugal is northern Portugal’s Serra da Estrella mountain range. So overall, Lisbon is a lovely place to visit in winter.

The average temperature in Lisbon in winter is between 15 and 16 °C (59-61°F), and at nighttime, between 8 and 10 °C (46.4-50°F). In late November, the temperature starts to drop. The coldest month is usually January; from March onwards, the temperatures will begin to rise again. The winter weather is very welcoming to those who don’t like ice-cold days!

What to wear in Portugal in winter

To say the weather is unpredictable in winter is an understatement. Some days it rains, and on some sunny days, you can walk around in a T-shirt. The answer when visiting Lisbon? Layers! And plenty of them. If you’re cold-sensitive, you might want to dress up in full winter gear, but often, a hat and gloves aren’t needed. Is it raining in Lisbon? Check these tips for a rainy day!

A word of warning though many houses don’t have heating. But saying that, the hotels are usually fully equipped and inside, it’s nice and toasty! Before booking your accommodation, double-check the heating situation. Also, note that air conditioning is often used to heat rooms.

A good rain jacket and hiking shoes might be helpful when visiting Lisbon in winter. Especially when it rains, the streets of Lisbon can get very slippery. And there is nothing worse than getting cold from the rain. However, you can walk around in a T-shirt, light jacket, or jumper on many days. Remember to bring your sunglasses and enjoy the sunny winter weather!

If you visit Lisbon and other cities in Portugal, you should bring a selection of clothes. The Algarve has a milder climate, and Porto can be colder. When visiting Serra da Estrela in winter, you’ll definitely need a winter coat! Overall, Portugal is a fantastic European winter destination.

Things to do in Lisbon in winter

Thankfully, there is plenty to do in the winter in Lisbon. You can visit a museum, enjoy a famous UNESCO World Heritage Site in Lisbon, such as the Jerónimos Monastery, or relax in a spa. There are plenty of sights to visit in Lisbon, and there are many indoor activities in the city center. And the best thing is, there are no crowds!

Join a food tour to learn more about Portuguese food and traditional cuisine, or a wine tour to enjoy fantastic Portuguese wine! You get to taste several wines, often including a Port Wine. For a fabulous view on a bright day, you can visit Castelo de São Jorge, the famous castle on the hill! São Jorge Castle is located on a steep hill in the neighbourhood of Alfama, a beautiful place to walk around.

To end your day, you can visit a Fado house to listen to Fado music. You might be familiar with Flamenco from neighbouring Spain, and Fado is the traditional music of Portugal. You will listen to a singer accompanied by guitars while learning more about Portuguese culture during the show.

Here are some ideas for your Lisbon winter itinerary!

Is it raining in Lisbon?

Check these tips for a rainy day!

Enjoy the winter sun in Lisbon

On sunny days, you can head out and enjoy some outdoor activities! Go on a long beach walk at Costa da Caparica for some fresh air, or enjoy a stroll along the Tagus River. On a sunny day, you can visit all the famous sights in the city! There are no summer crowds during the winter months, so you don’t have to wait in line!

A favourite neighbourhood for people to explore is Alfama, and you can visit many sights in the old part of town! It’s the home of Lisbon Castle São Jorge, stunning viewpoints, São Vincente de Fora, the flea market Feira da Ladra, and the Pantheon. You can finish the day with a Fado show in the many Fado houses you’ll find in Alfama. And a visit to the Fado Museum should not be missed!

Other outdoor areas to discover are:

The best tours in Lisbon in winter

Tourism continues in winter, and there are still plenty of tours to book. It will be quieter than in summer, but plenty of people visit Lisbon in winter! Some are even specific to the season! The best tours in Lisbon in winter are:

Museum tips in Lisbon

It hardly ever rains the whole day, but the winter months are perfect for a museum visit. Lisbon has some fantastic museums for all ages. The Lisbon Quake Museum is fabulous if you want to learn more about the 1755 Lisbon earthquake! Or maybe you travel with children? The 3D Fun Art Museum is an excellent idea for kids! Bring your smartphone or camera to capture fun pictures in incredible rooms!

Here are some more of the best museums in Lisbon:

Christmas markets in Lisbon, Portugal

Nothing beats a cosy Christmas market, and Lisbon has plenty of them! To enjoy the Christmas lights, you can visit the Rossio Christmas Market and Praça da Figueira in the city centre. Find the beautiful decorations at the shopping mall Armazéns do Chiado and Praça Luís de Camões. And don’t forget to admire the massive Christmas Tree on Praça do Comércio.

Walk along Avenida da Liberdade in Lisbon centre and enjoy the street decorations. You will end up at Parque Eduardo VII, the home of the annual Christmas market Wonderland Lisboa. Wonderland Lisboa at Eduardo VII Park is a must-see for all ages, and it’s the most popular Christmas market with Portuguese families in Lisbon! You can also reach Parque Eduardo VII easily by the blue metro line (Marques De Pombal). The Christmas atmosphere makes winter travel to Lisbon, Portugal, worth it! To read more about Christmas in Lisbon, check the link here.

Christmas markets close to Lisbon

If you have time, you can make a day trip or stay overnight in the quaint town of Óbidos. This walled town turns into a winter wonderland full of activities and fairy tale decorations every year. Families love the Christmas Village in Óbidos, and there is even an ice skating rink in town!

Closer to Lisbon, you can find the Christmas market in Cascais. It is located in the park, and you can enjoy the Christmas activities for a small entrance fee. In the city centre of Cascais, there are more market stalls with hot cocoa, Glühwein and tasty snacks. There is also an excellent Christmas market in Sintra, including a Christmas Village for children to play and to meet Santa!

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in Lisbon

Portugal is a predominantly Catholic country. Although many families won’t celebrate Christmas from a religious standpoint, it really is a time to spend together. For that reason, many sights are closed on the official holidays. Before heading out, check the place you want to see to be sure. One of the few places that is always open is Oceanário de Lisboa. The Oceanarium in Lisbon is a large aquarium with hundreds of fish! Great for adults and children alike!

If you want to enjoy a Christmas meal, you should book your favourite restaurant in advance. Again, many places will be closed, but others will prepare a lovely Christmas meal for you. Enjoy a € 20,00 discount on your next meal! Reserve your table with the code 8362E39E on TheFork.

New Year's Eve in Lisbon

Put your dancing shoes on and visit one of the many clubs in the Portuguese capital! Are clubs not your thing? Then there are plenty of places to enjoy New Year’s Eve in Lisbon. There are many free events, and some you’ll have to pay for. Be aware you might need to pre-book your ticket! Some unique experiences are:

  • Celebrate New Year’s Eve on a boat on the Tagus River! –> Read more
  • A Pub Crawl in Lisbon –> Read more
  • Enjoy listening to Fado music –> Read more

Winter activities and day trips near Lisbon

Fancy a day trip from Lisbon? There is plenty to see and do! The colder weather is perfect for hiking, for example. Monsanto Park and Sintra are gorgeous places to explore. The summer months can be too hot for a mountain hike, and the colder temperature is ideal! Or head over to Cabo da Roca on the west coast of the Atlantic Ocean! The views are amazing, and you can hike here for hours! Discover Praia da Ursa and enjoy the sights around the lighthouse. Click here to read more about the most western point of mainland Europe. And always be mindful of the weather conditions along the rugged coast!

Sintra town in winter is also a fantastic place. There are fewer crowds at the palaces, and the green, lush landscape invites you for long walks. Enjoy a winter trip to Pena Palace, Quinta da Regaleira or Biester Palace.

The winter season is also a time for the bird migration. You can visit the Sado Estuary and Tagus Estuary close to Lisbon. Both nature reserves are the home to many birds, including flamingos. Some birds stay in Portugal year-round, but some only visit in the winter.

Bonus tip: It’s big wave season in Nazaré. It’s the best time to check the surfers doing their tricks on these massive waves! Check this post before you go to ensure you can view the magical big waves in Nazaré! Perfect for a day trip!

Seeing snow in Portugal

If you want to see snow in Portugal, you can visit Serra da Estrela. A one-way journey takes about 3 hours by car, so, if you can stay a night or two. If you have time, rent a car and discover the tallest mountain of mainland Portugal. Ponta do Pico, 2,351 meters (7,713 feet), on the island of Pico in the Azores, is the tallest mountain in Portugal. Torre 1,993 meters (6,539 feet) is the highest mountain on the mainland, and in winter, it snows here from time to time. The coldest temperatures are usually between January and March

You can even go skiing here! Serra da Estrela ski resort has a total length of 6.1 kilometres of slopes. On Torre Mountain, you can visit two abandoned towers, leftovers from the Cold War. The shops are great for buying traditional Serra da Estrela cheese, and a ride on the Teleférico da Serra da Estrela is not to be missed. The cable car journey offers spectacular views of the mountains! 

Where to stay in Lisbon

The best part about travelling to Lisbon in winter is that you often pay less than the summer prices! Lisbon offers many great accommodations, and finding a gorgeous hotel on a budget will be much easier! Enjoy the private rooms in a hostel, book a boutique hotel in the city or enjoy a luxury stay in Lisbon. A great mid-range hotel is the TURIM Iberia Hotel. Or enjoy your stay at Look Living, Lisbon Design Apartments.

If you like to treat yourself, discover luxury hotels such as Torel Palace Lisbon, TURIM Boulevard Hotel, and EPIC SANA Marquês Hotel. Are you looking for a stunning place to stay in Lisbon? Check out these top 12 UNIQUE Boutique Hotels in Lisbon or the hotels below for your unforgettable winter vacation in Lisbon, Portugal!

FAQ

Lisbon is a great destination to visit in winter. Portugal is one of the warmer European countries with mild winter weather. Visit Lisbon during Christmas and enjoy less crowds and cheaper prices.

The average temperature in Lisbon in winter is between 15 and 16 °C (59-61°F) during the day and at nighttime, between 8 and 10 °C (46.4-50°F). Bring some warm clothes, enjoy indoor activities on rainy days, and spend time in the sun for the rest of your stay.

The temperature is never below freezing point, and the weather in Lisbon in winter is pretty mild. Bring warm clothes and a jacket for the colder days, and wear layers.

It doesn't snow in Lisbon. If you want to see snow in Portugal, you can visit the mountain range Serra da Estrela in the north.

There will be some rainy weather in Lisbon, but there is plenty to see and do even then. Discover the best museums in Lisbon, such as the National Tile Museum, visit Basilica da Estrela (constructed by Queen Mary I), go on a wine tour, or see George's Castle!

Conclusion

As you can see, there is much to do in winter in Lisbon! The city has a mild climate and a beautiful place to stay in. Plus, Lisbon is an excellent place to escape the winter if you’re not into wet weather with snow and cold! There will be fewer rainy days in summer, but in winter, prices are lower than in the high season.

During the summer season in Lisbon, the queues at the Jerónimos Monastery, Pena Palace in Sintra, and Castelo de Sao Jorge can be long! When you visit Lisbon in winter, the city will be quieter, with fewer lines. Check out this complete list of the best tours in Lisbon, Portugal, for any weather condition! Or discover all the things to do in Lisbon during fall/autumn.

Written by Marga

Written by Marga

Content creator, travel writer and photographer

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I’m Marga, the blogger and photographer behind this site! I live in Lisbon, and I’m a cat-mum to 13-year-old Savage. I love coffee, cheese, a good book and exploring this beautiful country. I write about Lisbon and the rest of Portugal, and I hope this website will help as an inspiration for your holiday.

18 Responses

  1. I LOVED Lisbon in the summer, but it actually looks more fun in the winter! Would definitely like to visit the city without the crowds😊

  2. I loved this article! Lisbon is definitely somewhere I would love to visit. It looks so pretty at Christmas and I would love to go and learn how to make my own pastels de Nata!

  3. I’ve never been to Lisbon so I definitely didn’t know there was so much to do even in the winter! It seems like there is no shortage of activities or sunshine too. I’ll definitely be keeping your tips in mind when I plan a trip!

  4. I had no idea that the climate in Lisbon during the Winter was so mild! It’s the perfect hiking weather and I would be in my glory. The Christmas Markets also sound magical.

  5. This is so interesting! Lisbon has always been on my bucket list but I’ve always thought visiting during summer. The atmosphere at Christmas looks amazing, you’ve captured that very well through your amazing photos! Thank you so much for sharing!

  6. Never considered Lisbon as a winter destination, but with the mild winters that the city gets, the vast array of activities one can do during winter and the pretty Christmas markets does make Lisbon a place to be in Winter.

  7. You provide such interesting and helpful information. I haven’t been to Portugal, but I will be back to use your tips to plan a vacation on day. Thank you!

  8. We almost booked our first trip to Lisbon in the winter. And then we had a bit of a detour in our travel plans for the coming months. But we have always wanted to enjoy the milder winters in Lisbon and escape the Canadian cold. It would be great to enjoy some of the great inside spots that we tend to miss when we visit. But I would love those views of crashing waves. We definitely will plan to visit Lisbon in winter.

  9. Great Lisbon winter guide with so many ideas on fun things to do. I want to visit in the winter and see surfers surf the massive waves in Nazaré! Your pictures are beautiful!

  10. I love the look of Lisbon in winter! I don’t mind if it’s slightly cold, and all those Christmas lights look beeeautiful! I feel like I’d prefer this to a super busy (and expensive) summer holiday!

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