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Lisbon in Winter: Absolutely Worth Visiting

Last Updated on September 2, 2020 by Nina Ahmedow

If you travel to Lisbon in winter the weather might not always be perfect. Most people will suggest that you travel to Lisbon in spring when it’s not too hot yet but still pleasant. But if you want to take advantage of cheaper prices winter might be the best time to book a trip to Lisbon. I, for one, had a fantastic time in the Portuguese capital in late December. (On the other hand, when I was in Vienna one cold and rainy May that really made it difficult for me to enjoy the city.)

lisbon view

I actually spent two whole weeks there which was great because when it rained I could simply stay inside without having to worry about not seeing everything. Because rain will be your biggest issue in Lisbon in winter, not snow.

And the rain in Lisbon in December got pretty intense. December is Lisbon’s rainiest month, then November, January, and February. But that shouldn’t discourage you from visiting this beautiful city. There are still many things to do even in cold and rainy weather.

lisbon alley

And the rain can also make for empty streets and beautiful photo ops. So give Lisbon a chance in the winter months because there are enough things to see and do.

The Squares

Lisbon has some beautiful squares that are worth checking out no matter the weather. Elegant squares such as Rossio or Praça do Comércio are a great place to wander in the winter because of their Christmas decorations. You may also come across events that take place on one of the squares.

christmas tree in lisbon
praca do comercio

The Architecture

Lisbon is a very diverse city, and its history is alive in its architecture. From the impressive Alfama neighborhood which survived the 1755 earthquake to São Jorge Castle and the 25 de Abril Bridge, Lisbon’s architecture quietly tells the city’s story. The reconstruction after the earthquake in 1755 gave room to smarter city planning. That’s why the Alfama neighborhood still has narrow, irregular alleys while Baixa is a district with rectangular street patterns.

alfama neighborhood
sao jorge castle and 25 de abril bridge

The Nightlife

In the winter, you can enjoy parts of the nightlife you might otherwise miss in Lisbon. What could be better than enjoying a Fado performance at a cozy bar or restaurant? Likewise, clubs or theaters may not be on your radar when the weather is too beautiful to stay indoors. But when it gets colder they are perfect to check out.

My Favorite Thing to Do in Lisbon in Winter

So before I arrived in Lisbon I had no idea that it had such a huge street art and graffiti scene. Franny the Traveler touched on this when she mentioned the similarities between Lisbon and San Francisco. I joined an excellent free street art and graffiti tour when I was in Lisbon in 2013. But sadly, that specific tour is no longer available as the woman who organized it left Portugal. But there are quite a few of these tours now that will explain this aspect of Lisbon to you.

graffiti lisbon
dreamy street art
amalia rodrigues street art
street art lisbon

More Suggestions and Tips for Lisbon in Winter:

Go to Belém

This Lisbon neighborhood contains two of Portugal’s UNESCO World Heritage sites and can easily be reached by train.

tower of belem lisbon

Try Vegan Pastéis de Nata

Pastéis de nata are must-try custard tarts in Lisbon. Luckily, vegan versions of this delicious pastry are available at different places all over the city.

Plan a Day Trip to Sintra

Sintra is a magical town 28 km outside of Lisbon and absolutely worth a day trip. The town is full of fairytale castles and a fantastic place to experience the sunset. Don’t skip it!

sintra sunset

Are you up for a trip to Portugal?

lisbon in winter pin

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8 Comments

  • Reply
    Nina Bosken
    March 14, 2020 at 1:54 pm

    This is my first time visiting your blog! We have the same name! The first time I went to Lisbon, it was actually winter! I think it was February. I had a wonderful time. I did go back a handful of times in nicer weather, which has it’s perks. However visiting during winter is fine because there’s so much to do in the city and surrounding areas!

    • Reply
      Nina Ahmedow
      March 15, 2020 at 12:26 pm

      Hi Nina, welcome! Yes, Lisbon must be wonderful in the warmer season as well.

  • Reply
    Margarida Vasconcelos
    March 14, 2020 at 5:29 pm

    Ahhh now I miss my city, thanks for sharing it.

    • Reply
      Nina Ahmedow
      March 15, 2020 at 12:27 pm

      It’s a wonderful city!

  • Reply
    Ardi
    April 20, 2020 at 5:56 pm

    Winter is the perfect time as the temperatures are warmer than the resto of Europe

    • Reply
      Nina Ahmedow
      April 21, 2020 at 12:15 pm

      That’s so true!

  • Reply
    Jason Reid
    April 21, 2020 at 5:10 pm

    Wonderful read. I visited in Feb 2014 so shortly after yourself and Winter was a great time to visit. Aside from one miserable evening of rain I got lucky with the weather too. Sadly I didn’t see as much of the city as I would have liked so definitely a city I intend to return to.

    • Reply
      Nina Ahmedow
      April 22, 2020 at 11:43 am

      It’s a fabulous city, right? Even though I spent two whole weeks there I definitely want to go back!

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