Lisbon is a very popular destination in the summer months, but winter is just as good a time to visit it. The spectacular European city has a climate similar to that of California, so there’s no bad time to visit Lisbon and winter is great if you want to skip the summer crowds.
There are a few things to keep in mind about the winter weather in Lisbon, and they’re all included in this detailed guide. We’ve also covered what to pack and all the top attractions in the Portuguese capital, so you’ll get all the information you need in one place. Read on to learn more about winters in Lisbon, Portugal, and see what you can do in the fabulous city!
Winter weather in Lisbon is similar to spring weather in continental areas. The average daily high in December, January, and February is around 15°, while the average lows are around 8-9°. That’s pretty warm for the winter season, making the Portuguese capital a great place for anyone who wants to escape the colder weather from other European countries.
Lisbon might be warm in the winter months, but it’s certainly not dry. December and January are the two rainiest months of the year, with an average of 10 rainy days per month. Also, the city is cloudy in winter, with overcast or mostly cloudy weather for 47% of the winter season. It might be warm, but there won’t be much sun to enjoy.
The wind is another important factor in Lisbon. The city is mostly windy throughout the year, but the intensity really depends on the local topography. In other words, it’s always windier on the beach than in between the buildings in the old town.
The winter season is fairly windy in Lisbon, with December being the windiest month. The average wind speed on December 15, which is the windiest day of the year, is around 12 mph. It’s worth noting that the calmest day of the year is September 17, and the average daily wind speed then is 9.7 mph, so it’s really not a huge difference.
Lisbon weather in winter is not very cold, so you can skip the insulated jackets and opt for something lighter instead. The lowest temperatures are usually in the high single-digit Celsius, so even the nights are warm enough that you won’t need a thick parka.
You will need windproof and waterproof jackets though since the winter is the wettest and windiest season in Lisbon. A lightweight and packable down jacket is not a bad thing to have in Lisbon, especially if it has some waterproof coating.
Hoodies, long sleeve shirts, T-shirts, and some lighter sweaters are all suitable for the winter season in Lisbon. You can wear a t-shirt underneath a jacket on a nice sunny day, and you might be tempted to take off the jacket at certain times. Pack your favorite jeans and pants as well – anything that’s comfortable in windy and rainy weather is what you should bring to Lisbon.
When it comes to shoes, it depends on what you’re going to be doing in the city. Waterproof sneakers are great for walking around the city and exploring it, but you will need some sturdier boots if you want to explore the hiking trails near Lisbon.
In any case, just make sure that your footwear is waterproof, and you’ll be good. It doesn’t need to be insulated and sneakers are perfectly fine since there’s no snow or ice.
The Lisbon City Card is a really good deal if you plan on visiting a lot of landmarks and museums that have an entrance fee. You can choose between 24, 48, or 72-hour cards, which include free public transport, free entrance to all the top attractions in the city, and even free public transport to Sintra and Cascais.
The card includes free entrance to 26 attractions in the city, including the Belem Tower, Castelo Sao Jorge, Santa Justa Lift, and many others. If you can organize your trip so that you visit all of the paying attractions within the three days, you will definitely get your money’s worth from the card.
Especially if you can manage to squeeze a quick day trip to Sintra in there because you get a discount for the attractions in Sintra as well.
We’ve covered all the basics about Lisbon in winter and now it’s time to talk about the best attractions in the city. Most of these are popular year-round, but there are a few that you can experience only if you visit this magical city in the winter months!
A winter vacation to Lisbon is even better than a summer one because that means you get to experience the city’s Christmas market firsthand. There are three Christmas markets in the city, and they’re all worth visiting while you’re in Lisbon.
The Wonderland Christmas market is open the longest, from late November to early January. It’s situated in Eduardo VII Park in the city centre, and it’s the top attraction in Lisbon in the winter. It boasts a massive Ferris Wheel with heated cabins, an ice skating rink, and countless wooden stalls where you can shop for everything from souvenirs to mulled wine.
Campo Pequeno Christmas market happens on a weekend in either late November or early December, and it’s situated in the city’s former bullfighting arena. This Christmas market has more than 140 stalls, a load of fun workshops, and activities for the entire family.
Natalis is the third Christmas market and the only one that’s indoors. It takes place either in late November or early December, and it boasts numerous stalls divided into multiple sections. Visitors can visit the Santa Claus Market, the Gastronomy section, the Brincadeiras Market, and a few others, to truly get a taste of the Portuguese traditions.
You can’t travel to Portugal and not get a proper taste of Portuguese cuisine – it just doesn’t make any sense! So, plan a proper food tour of Lisbon for one of the days while you’re in the city. Explore the tapas restaurants in Bairro Alto, have pastel de nata in the best pastry shops, and don’t miss out on Port wine either!
Food tours are great because you can pay for someone to take you to the most popular restaurants, and you can take it upon yourself to discover Portuguese cuisine in a way you want. The latter is the better option for travelers who are very specific about what kind of food they like, especially those who enjoy having the freedom that organized tours just don’t provide.
An organized food tour is the better option if you don’t want to spend any time researching and buying tickets. The Lisbon Secret Food Tour is the best one in the city – it lasts for about three hours, and it includes a sampling of all the most famous local foods, wines, and a bit of backstory on the history of Portuguese cuisine.
Lisbon is famous for its amazing museums and they’re essential for getting familiar with Portuguese culture, traditions, and history. The city’s most popular museums are included in the Lisbon City Card, so definitely buy it if you plan on seeing all the top tourist sights in this city.
The National Azulejo Museum is one of the best-known museums in Lisbon. It boasts a huge collection of glazed tiles in as many colors and patterns as you can imagine. It’s the best museum for all art lovers in Lisbon, and the entrance is free with the city card.
National Ancient Art Museum is another one that’s included in the Lisbon city card. It has a collection of more than 40,000 items, which consists of sculptures, paintings, textiles, prints, and many other works of art.
The Fado Museum in Alfama is another top museum in Lisbon. Its collection traces the origins of Fado in Lisbon and tells the story of how the music genre developed to become such a recognizable symbol of the city.
Fado is a music genre that originated in Lisbon in the early 19th century, and it’s one of the many staples in this city. Visiting Lisbon without listening to live Fado music is like traveling to Paris and not visiting the Eiffel Tower, so be sure to spend at least one night enjoying live Fado.
You could go to a proper Fado concert, or you can book a table at one of the many restaurants in the city’s oldest neighborhoods that offer premium local cuisine and live Fado performances. It’s the better way really, and it’s what most locals do.
Alfama and Bairro Alto are both home to many cafes and restaurants where you can get drinks, and food, and enjoy live music. It’s one of the top things to do in the evenings in Lisbon, especially in the dreary winter.
Bairro Alto is Lisbon’s bohemian neighborhood and one of the oldest areas in the city. It’s home to the São Roque Church, the Bica Funicular, and some of the oldest houses in the city. Many of the buildings in the neighborhood are several centuries old, but they appear slightly younger because they’re adorned with colorful street art.
The cafes and bars are quickly filled up after work and the atmosphere just gets better as the evening goes on. Bairro Alto is home to many of the best and most popular restaurants in Lisbon, so a night out in this neighborhood is a must if you want to enjoy the best local cuisine.
It’s also the perfect place to get drinks and listen to live Fado, get Tapas, and even dance the night away. Bairro Alto attracts the younger hip crowds, so it’s also where you’ll find the city’s most popular gay bars and rowdier clubs.
Alfama is Lisbon’s most historic neighborhood, as well as home to many of the city’s best-known landmarks. It’s also where you will find the widest array of traditional shops in Lisbon, as well as too many cafes to count. The neighborhood and its steep streets are situated in the city centre, and they’re known for famous landmarks, traditional music, and local eateries.
Castelo Sao Jorge is the best-known landmark in this neighborhood and a place you can’t miss on a proper tour of Alfama. It boasts spectacular city views from its observation deck, and it’s home to a museum and quite a few other historic attractions.
The Lisbon Cathedral is also in Alfama, as is the Fado Museum, and several popular observation decks. The historic neighborhood is also a great place to enjoy live Fado music, plus it’s home to many of the city’s best bars and restaurants.
LX Factory is a former industrial zone turned arts center and it’s one of the coolest places in Lisbon. The massive complex boasts eateries, shops, a huge arts center, and numerous art installations throughout. Statues, murals, paintings, and light installations are hidden in all corners of the complex and they’re wonderful to discover.
LxMarket takes place here every Sunday, and it’s the perfect shopping opportunity for travelers on a budget. It’s a flea market where you can shop for all sorts of vintage items, and you’ll get great deals for pretty much everything.
It’s also worth noting that this large complex boasts several (huge) bookshops, gift shops, and about a dozen other kinds of shops. It’s the place in Lisbon that creative people will absolutely love and a hidden gem that’s more popular with locals than tourists.
If you’re already visiting Lisbon, it’s absolutely worth it to plan a day trip to Sintra. It’s one of the most popular day trips from Portugal’s capital, and it’s a spectacular place that’s absolutely worth your time.
It’s about 30 minutes from Lisbon to Sintra if you drive, but about an hour if you take public transport. The small town is situated at the foot of the Sintra Mountains, and it’s home to three fabulous tourist attractions – the Moorish Castle, the Pena Palace, and Quinta de Regaleira.
There are many more interesting things to see in Sintra, but those are three are by far the most important attractions in the area. You can go on organized day trips to the town, or you can roam around Sintra and its surroundings on your own – just be sure to visit all three of these attractions to really get the most out of the day trip.
Pena Palace is one of Sintra’s most famous attractions. The 19th-century castle is situated atop a high rock, and a walk along the castle’s walls offers some of the most impressive panoramic views you can experience in Portugal. It’s a breathtaking sight, and definitely the highlight of any trip to Sintra.
Castelo de Sao Jorge is a hilltop Moorish castle in Alfama that dates back to the 11th century. It’s one of Lisbon’s most recognizable landmarks and an attraction you can’t skip if you’re doing a proper tour of the capital.
The palace ruins are situated atop a hill in Alfama, and it’s quite an uphill climb to get there. But it’s worth the effort because the views from Castelo de Sao Jorge stretch all the way to the Tagus and they’re absolutely breathtaking.
There are also plenty of peacocks on the castle grounds, which is another interesting sight here. Or a reason to avoid the castle, in case you’re not a huge fan of peacocks.
The castle features sprawling gardens, an archaeological museum, and palace ruins. There’s an entrance fee of some 8 Euros to walk around the castle grounds and it’s some of the best money you can spend in Lisbon.
Belem Tower is one of the most famous landmarks in Portugal. It’s situated on a tiny island in the River Tagus, and it offers some of the best panoramic views in Lisbon. The medieval tower has a spacious rooftop terrace, from where you can experience some truly magical vistas.
There’s also a nice restaurant near the tower, and it’s a great place for drinks or dinner if you want to admire the views of this magnificent tower. There’s even a small cart that sells local Portuguese wine, and you can get a glass of Port wine to sip on while you’re sitting on a bench on a rocky wall and admiring the Belem Tower views.
It’s worth noting that there’s an entrance fee to get to the rooftop terrace. It’s some 6 Euros per person, which isn’t too bad considering how fabulous the views are. There aren’t any other fees for the tower, and the park that surrounds the Belem Tower is open to the public without any entrance fees.
RELATED: If you also plan to visit Porto in winter, we also have a detailed guide that you can check out here.
Anna is the co-owner of expert world travel and can't wait to share her travel experience with the world. With over 54 countries under her belt she has a lot to write about! Including those insane encounters with black bears in Canada.