Iberia, Portugal

Lisbon in Winter: All you need to know

January 10, 2020

Portugal is our favorite winter sun destination in Europe. Let us introduce you to the magic of Lisbon in winter! Colorful cobbled streets bathed in sunshine, eclectic graffiti art, spectacular sunsets, and unique street performers. Ready to start your Portuguese winter adventure?

Winter temperatures in Lisbon

Visiting Lisbon in winter is probably the best idea. Out of season, the city is not so crowded and the temperatures are perfect for exploring the hilly streets of this colorful European capital. During the day, you’ll mostly enjoy the winter sunshine at temperatures of 15-18 degrees Celcius. Not only is it a great temperature for winter in Europe, but you’re also escaping the snow and the gray skies. Though it may not always be sunny, most of the time Lisbon will look like this:

View of Lisbon in Winter

A key thing to consider: if you’re renting an Airbnb or an apartment, make sure to ask for a heater. From our experience, not all buildings have heating, since Portugal does not experience temperatures as low as most European countries do in winter. However, during nighttime, temperatures can drop to about 5 degrees.

Streets of Alfama

5 things you can do in Lisbon in winter

1. Discover the amazingly colorful streets of Lisbon

Lisbon is a city of contrasts. When you think you’ve discovered it all, the next best thing awaits around the corner. One of our favorite discoveries, for example, is the Gloria Funicular street. There you can ride one of Lisbon’s most famous funiculars, and also take a walk to explore the beautiful graffiti artwork.

Graffiti art in Lisbon last winter
Gloria Funicular street

With such a long history, Lisbon is a travel gem. If you want to explore as many sights as possible and to learn a bit about the city and its gripping stories, we suggest you book the Yellow Bus Sightseeing tour. This way, you get a means of transport to Belem as well (a gorgeous district of Lisbon that is further away from the center), and boat ride tickets are included in the price!

Rossio Square Lisbon last winter
Rossio Square

We purchased our tickets for the Yellow Bus from a ticket point in Praça do Comércio. In our view, this may be better than online, because all the options and prices are better explained by the lovely people who work for the sightseeing tours company. By the way, this is not a paid endorsement, we just loved the tours and we highly recommend them!

Praça do Comércio
Praça do Comércio

Lisbon in Winter: All you need to know

Some of our favorite spots in Lisbon, that you certainly shouldn’t miss are:

  • the Alfama District (picturesque neighborhood with hilly streets and amazing street artists and performers);
  • Mercado da Ribeira (hipsterish food market, with many delicious food choices, a bit expensive);
  • Rossio Square (an iconic place in the heart of Lisbon, close to many shopping streets and the river);
  • Bairro Alto (the neighborhood that comes alive at nighttime, with exciting bars and restaurants);
  • Parque Eduardo VII (a bit far from the center of the city, but a great park to visit, especially from the Yellow Bus you have an amazing view of the city from above);
  • Amoreiras Shopping Center (you must check out this modern shopping district in Lisbon)
  • Feira da Ladra street market (huge flea market with antiques, vintages, and local products, held on Saturdays);
  • Torre de Belém (an incredible Portuguese landmark, see more below); Monastery of Jerónimos and Padrão dos Descobrimentos (these stunning places are a must-see in Lisbon, and they are all located in the Belem area, read more about it below).

2. Enjoy street performances and shop local products

Our best recommendation is always to go wonder the streets of each city you travel to. Though you may follow travel guides and hunt landmarks and monuments, you can always be delighted by unexpected surprises. When exploring the Alfama District, we discovered such picturesque places, where street performers filled the air with warmth and joy.

Street performers in Alfama last winter
Performers in Alfama
Lisbon in Winter: Street art in Alfama district
Street art in Alfama

Lisbon in winter is not as crowded as in the warm season. Therefore, you can take advantage of the many shopping opportunities and the colorful palette of local, picturesque shops. Portugal has many handmade shops where you’ll find art, clothes and decor pieces designed by local artists.

Feira da Ladra flea market
Feira da Ladra flea market

Heading to Lisbon soon? Then you have to take a trip to Sintra! Check out our guide!

3. Visit Belem

Belem is a western district of Lisbon that you cannot miss! It is the home of three incredible touristic attractions: Torre de Belém, the Monastery of Jerónimos and Padrão dos Descobrimentos. Moreover, here you can find the famous Pasteis de Belem, selling one of the best Pastels de Nata (the renowned Portuguese custard tart), with an unchanged recipe since 1837!

Lisbon in winter: Torre de Belem
Torre de Belem

A less crowded Lisbon is a great opportunity to visit your favorite attractions without waiting in a long line. Last winter we got the chance to see Lisbon from the top of Padrão dos Descobrimentos, here’s a sneak peek:

View from the top of Padrão dos Descobrimentos
View from the top of Padrão dos Descobrimentos

Lisbon in Winter: All you need to know

4. Watch the sunset from Ribeira das Naus

Ribeira das Naus is one of Lisbon’s most chilled places, where people come to relax after work and watch the sunset. Although bathing is not allowed, it’s still an amazing place to let your hair down after a long day of exploring. There are a couple of bars where you can enjoy a drink with this gorgeous view of the river and the velvet sky. Or you can get drinks from a shop nearby, and relax by the river with the other tourists.

Lisbon in winter view of the sunset

Lisbon in winter is not complete without Cascais! Discover our guide for an amazing budget day trip!

5. Or even better, take a boat ride at sunset

By far the most exciting thing we did in Lisbon was to take a boat ride at sunset. Some of the Yellow Bus sightseeing packages include boat rides as well. There are only a few boat trips per day during winter, but you can take as many rides as you want, as long as your ticket is still valid. Hence, we took advantage of this opportunity to enjoy lovely sunsets from the boat.

Lisbon in winter - view of the bridge
View of Ponte 25 de Abril

Is this not the most amazing sunset view?

View of Belem from the boat
View of Torre de Belem and Padrão dos Descobrimentos

Packing for your winter trips can be a handful. Check out our travel hacks to make packing and traveling so much more pleasant!

Packing hacks

Discover Portugal

If you loved this little guide, you should check out our Portugal travels. Some of the most exciting destinations in Portugal await you there. Use the #journeyplane or tag us on Instagram to share your discoveries with us!

Algarve Portugal
Traveling to Lisbon? Discover Algarve as well!

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