The peak travel season in Lisbon runs from June to late August, and during this time, the city can be hot, more expensive, and overcrowded. To save some cash and avoid the busiest part of the year here, you may be considering a trip to Lisbon during the winter. This is a solid choice because there is lots to do here year-round. The city benefits from lovely, mild winters, which means that there are still a lot of fun things to do, even when it is not peak tourist season. You can have tons of fun while you are in Lisbon, even if the weather is not as warm as it would be during the summer and spring.
As you work your way through our list of all the best things to do in the city in the off-season, don’t carry all your suitcases with you. Instead, head to a Lisbon luggage storage first and unburden yourself. Then, you can enjoy the city at its quietest and roam around with your arms swinging!
Top Things to Do in Lisbon in the Winter
1. Christmas Markets
There are many of these lovely local markets that pop up all over Lisbon in the winter months. The closer that you get to Christmas, the more of these markets you will have access to. This is one of the most charming and delightful ways to experience Lisbon in the winter, and you can easily get souvenirs or gifts for people at home from these markets. Many of them are quite large as well and might have more than 100 vendors for you to browse.
These locations are also so large that there are usually food vendors and places to get mulled wine and other kinds of local holiday treats while you shop. It’s an experience that you shouldn’t pass up, even though there won’t be any snow on the ground.
With seasonal crowds being much less in the winter, this is the right time to visit landmarks like the Castelo de São Jorge. You can spend an afternoon here taking a tour and seeing what the castle is all about. During peak season, these kinds of attractions can be very busy, but you will likely find that things are very peaceful when you visit this site in the winter. This is one of the most beautiful Moorish castles in the region, and the view from the walls over the city below is amazing as well.
3. Visit Alfama
The devastating earthquake, which leveled most of Lisbon in 1755, did not impact Alfama. This means that the oldest and most incredible part of the city for those who love history is Alfama. You can see beautiful architecture that is hundreds of years old here, and there are also some lovely views from the top of the taller buildings and walls in this part of the city. Do bring sturdy walking shoes and plan to take some breaks as you visit this area. It is quite hilly here, and you can easily get tired. Thankfully, the crowds won’t be an issue, and the cooler winter weather will keep you from overheating as you are wandering.
Since the crowds will be more sparse in the winter, museums are all over the city, just waiting for you to visit them! You can head to locations with famous collections like the National Museum of Ancient Art or even visit the National Tile Museum to learn all about Portuguese tiles and the history of their use in buildings in the city. Museums like this one are affordable to visit, and they can be really enjoyable when the crowds are much thinner during the winter months.
There are so many museums in Lisbon that you might not even get to all of them while you are visiting. However, during the winter, the lines will be so much shorter that you will be much more likely to get to see all of these locations if you want.
5. See the Lisbon Churches
There are so many beautiful churches all over Lisbon that it can be hard to pick just one to go see. You could plan to spend most of one day just going to see places like the Carmo Convent, Jeronimos Monastery, or the church of Sao Roque. These are some of the most lovely churches in the world, and you really should not miss out on touring them or at least walking by and checking them out. Some of these locations offer special services during the winter months, and you might want to consider visiting them to take in one of these holiday ceremonies as well.
6. Enjoy a Fado Performance
You can book Fado performances all over Lisbon, and this is one of the essentials that you might want to book for your trip to Lisbon to learn more about Portuguese culture. These performances are often mournful and beautiful and are performed while you dine. You can also book a Fado experience at a theater if you wish. There are few things that are as classically Portuguese in nature as a Fado performance, and you can make the most of one of your nights in the city by adding this kind of dinner or show to your calendar.
Enjoying Lisbon in the Winter is Easy
Lisbon is one of the most wonderful places to travel in the winter. The weather will be lovely, and you will have access to lots of really incredible things to do. You can also skip the lines since this is not peak tourist season, and you will be in the city with the locals and a few other travelers.
If you’re not super into swimming and water-based activities, there is really no better time to head to a place like Lisbon, and you can plan an amazing trip when you visit outside of peak travel season.