10 Best Winter Activities in Lisbon
Winters are favored in Lisbon compared to the rest of Europe. Here, the turn of the season is mild, and while things definitely cool down there are never temperatures below zero & certainly no snow.
That being said, the locals do hermit a bit when the air is slightly chilled. Indoor activities take preference in the city. Here are the best of the winter ones…
1. Christmas Markets in Winter in Lisbon
In the winter time there will also be a number of Christmas markets set up around Lisbon for locals and tourists to take advantage of. You’ll be able to buy all of the traditional Christmas foods not usually found during the rest of the year, handmade toys, trinkets and creative craft items.
The markets will pop up around the city starting mid-November and some remain through until January.
2. Explore the Museums in Winter in Lisbon
Winter time is museum time in Lisbon. This city is a hub for fantastic art and history museums with world class status’.
Because of the lesser flow of tourists during the winter season, most of the museums will be incredible quiet, with little to no queues to get inside; very much country to the summer months.
Look out for the National Museum Of Ancient Art, Museu Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro, the Fado Museum, the MAAT over in Belem, and even the National Tile Museum (yes, a museum about Portuguese tiles).
3. Visit all the Old Churches in Winter in Lisbon
Another industry that seems to come to life with the cold are the Lisbon churches. They offer a warm escape from the outside air, and go to great lengths to organize interesting services for the public throughout the holiday season.
Lisbon has some ancient churches. Amongst my favorite is definitely the Jerónimos Monastery, the Church of Sao Roque and the Carmo Convent. The latter being ironic as the lack of roof puts you very much into the winter chill — go see what I mean.
4. Han Out at the LX Factory in Winter in Lisbon
The LX Factory does just as well in the winter as it does in the summer. This open air factory ground is filled with restaurants, cafes, concept shops, bookstores, galleries and even a movie cinema.
It’s open year round, and there is always something to do, see or eat. Just remember that the LX Factory sits right on the edge of the Tagus River, and being anywhere near the water in winter makes things feel almost double as cold — layer up for this visit!
5. Day Trip in Winter in Lisbon
Day trips also keep their front seat during the cooler months in Lisbon. While you might not be able to lay on the beach for hours, one can still explore Cascais on foot and take advantage of the very cuisines oriented village center.
Heading out to Sintra is great, too. While the valley will be cold, especially early morning and late afternoon, the castles & palaces are fabulous to explore when it’s not too hot to hike the hills.
Comfy shoes and removable layers for this excursion!
6. Go to Fado Performances in Winter in Lisbon
Nothing in Lisbon warms the soul quite like a moving fado performance.
When dinner time rolls around, opt to eat at one of the cozy fado houses that have built their stage area into the restaurant floor. There are a plethora of them in the Alfama and in Bairro Alto.
Alternatively, one can book a ticket for the more formal Fado in Chiado experience in the city center.
7. Learn Portuguese in Winter in Lisbon
If you’re at a loss for ways to entertain yourself while in Lisbon in the winter, consider spending some time learning the language.
Speaking Portuguese is a nifty skill to have in your back pocket, even if you only have time to master the most basic phrases while you’re here. There are Portuguese language courses throughout Lisbon, and many of them offer winter discounts in attempt to bring more students through the doors.
8. Shop at the Fiera da Ladra in Winter in Lisbon
The Fiera da Ladra is the oldest flea market in Lisbon and has been here every Tuesday and every Saturday for centuries, come rain, shine or icy winter cold.
All through the winter you’ll have two chances a week during which to enjoy this special event. This is a market of hidden gems, pre-loved treasures and a lot of junk.
It’s one of the most character-full spaces in all of Lisbon, and one of few events in the capital where locals still outnumber tourists no matter what time of year it is
9. Dance in Bairro Alto in Winter in Lisbon
One way to warm up in Lisbon is to dance. The bars of Bairro Alto also keep their doors open throughout the colder months, offering warm escapes from the outside air in which you can feed your soul some good music and tequila.
I prefer Bairro Alto in the winter, if I’m honest. It’s far less crowded than in the summer, and the crowd is definitely more on the mature side as opposed to the very youthful scene that infiltrates these streets when it’s warm.
10. Stick Around for New Year’s Eve in Winter in Lisbon
If you can stick around in Lisbon until December 31st, you’ll get to be part of one of the biggest winter celebrations of all.
New Year’s Eve in Lisbon is truly an unforgettable experience. For one, there are fireworks all over the city bowl. Watching time enter the sky from the viewpoints in Lisbon is something you won’t forget for years to come.
There is also a big public celebration in the Terreiro do Paço. All of the biggest national artists come to perform, and at midnight… more fireworks!
Indoor activities might take preference during the winter in Lisbon, but that doesn’t mean one shouldn’t spend some time on the streets as well. The Lisbon free guided walking tours still run through the colder season and are a great cultural excursion for the whole family.