What to see and do in Lisbon

What to see and do in Lisbon

What to see and do in Lisbon

The best time to visit Lisbon

What to see and do in Lisbon: Not sure when to go to Lisbon? I’ll tell you all you need to know in this article 🙂 Whether you want to visit Lisbon in 3 days, over a long weekend, for a week or as part of a longer stay, you’ll have no trouble finding beautiful places to discover. But for a successful stay, it’s also important to choose the right period. In this post, I’d like to tell you more about the different seasons in this part of Portugal, so you can choose the best time to visit Lisbon.

Lisbon’s geographical location:

Portugal’s capital and largest city is located in the south of the country and enjoys a Mediterranean climate, influenced by its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean. This means that in winter, rain is frequent in Lisbon, but temperatures remain very mild, while in summer, sunshine is excellent and temperatures are warm.

The Azores anticyclone, which is present mainly in summer, but can pass over Portugal in all seasons, regularly keeps bad weather at bay. You’ll see in this article that you can visit Lisbon pretty much all year round, but with some nice differences depending on the season.

Temperatures and climate by season:

Temperatures in Lisbon are fairly mild all year round, averaging 18 degrees, ranging from 15 degrees in January to 29 degrees in July. What’s more, the capital enjoys an average of 260 days of sunshine a year, or 9 hours of sunshine a day, which is quite considerable!

Winter in Lisbon:

Even in the depths of winter, temperatures in Lisbon are still relatively mild during the day. If you decide to visit Lisbon in January, this is the coldest month of the year, during which the average temperature remains close to 15 degrees. It’s very rare for the thermometer to fall below 5 degrees during the day. The first two months of the year are by far the calmest, but it’s also during this period that temperatures are at their lowest, and it rains regularly.

Throughout the winter, westerly winds bring rain. Precipitation is fairly high, and December sees the most rain. If you’re hoping to enjoy snow, I don’t think Lisbon is likely to be the best destination for your winter vacation, as it has only snowed 3 times in the Portuguese capital in almost a century. Negative temperatures are also extremely rare.

Conversely, when the Azores High passes over Lisbon during the winter, it’s possible to enjoy clear skies and temperatures approaching 20 degrees at the height of the day. This is one of the reasons why I prefer to go to Porto or Lisbon than to Northern Europe in winter.

Summer in Lisbon:

In summer, Lisbon is probably one of the most pleasant places in Portugal. It’s warmer than on the Atlantic coast, where the sea air can be a little too cool. It’s also much cooler than further inland and on the Mediterranean coast, where heat is often excessive at this latitude.

So it’s warm without being stifling that awaits you in Lisbon during the summer. From June to September, the average temperature is close to 25 degrees, and rarely exceeds 30 degrees. Throughout the summer, winds from Africa can cause brief heatwaves, usually lasting no more than a day or two.

When to visit Lisbon In spring and autumn, of course!

From mid-March onwards, as spring approaches, the rains start to become much more scarce. Rainfall practically halves between February and March. Temperatures are particularly mild, at around 20 degrees, and the fine weather becomes increasingly fine as the weeks go by.

In autumn, from mid-September onwards, the heat gradually fades, giving way to a much milder climate that gradually dips below 20 degrees, while the rain gradually makes an appearance. Late autumn and early winter are the wettest periods in Lisbon.

When is the best time to visit Lisbon?

As you can see, Lisbon is a city that never sleeps. Nonetheless, it’s no surprise that the least busy tourist season in Lisbon is winter, and that the busiest months for tourism, July and August, are not necessarily the best times to plan a trip to Lisbon, even if the climate is excellent. And pleasant weather means lots of tourists in summer! The busiest tourist season in Lisbon is from July to October, so don’t forget to take out a Lisboa Card to avoid wasting time in line when you know when to go to Lisbon.

If you’d like to visit the city a little more leisurely, without having to take crowded streetcars and wait in long queues to get to the sites of interest, early spring and autumn may be the best times to visit Lisbon out of season. The climate is mild enough for you to enjoy your stay, discover all the city’s districts and try Lisbon’s culinary specialties, in a much more typical atmosphere.

When to go to Lisbon to enjoy:

Lisbon is, of course, one of the places in Portugal where you can attend the greatest number of cultural events. If you’re still wondering when to go to Lisbon and would like to take advantage of your trip to spend some unforgettable moments and discover Lisbon’s culture up close, I suggest that you time your stay to coincide with some of the major events on the city’s cultural agenda:

In Lisbon in February, during Carnival, you can party in the streets and admire the float parades. All the city’s districts come to life, and the party never stops, with numerous balls and costume parties organized in bars and restaurants after dark.

In Lisbon in March, ModaLisboa is Lisbon Fashion Week, during which the collections of several fashion designers are showcased. The Monstra festival celebrates animated films, with previews, documentaries and master classes.

At the end of April and beginning of May, the Estoril Open takes place a few kilometers from Lisbon. This is the only ATP circuit tennis tournament to be held on Portuguese soil. For this occasion, some of the world’s best tennis players come to compete on the clay courts of the Portuguese Riviera.

What to see and do in Lisbon

In May, during the Iberian Mask Festival, you can enjoy four days of parades in traditional costumes, dance performances, concerts, exhibitions and a wide range of street entertainment.

If you’re wondering what to do in Portugal in summer, June is party month in Portugal. For the Festas de Lisboa, the streets are decorated with banners and garlands of lights, and concerts are held throughout the city’s historic districts. You can also attend plays and street performances, and take advantage of the many stalls to sample all the best local specialities. June 10 is Portugal’s national holiday, and on June 13, the whole city commemorates St. Anthony of Padua, giving you plenty of opportunities to attend parades, balls and listen to Fado in Lisbon.

In Lisbon in November, the Lisbon Art Weekend is a contemporary art festival during which works are exhibited in the city’s various galleries and museums. An itinerary takes you from one exhibition to the next, allowing as many people as possible to discover the work of Portuguese artists.

Things to do in Lisbon by season:

The Portuguese capital is a city overflowing with activities for its visitors, at any time of the year. Whether cultural, recreational, on land or on water, the activities are so varied that there’s something for everyone on their next visit!

Spring-Summer (March-September):

What to see and do in Lisbon: Start by enjoying Lisbon’s finest beaches! Since temperatures are just right at this time of year, take the opportunity to relax and swim in the Atlantic Ocean. Beaches such as Carcavelo and Adraga will delight you with their tranquility and natural beauty. However, it’s important to remember that Lisbon isn’t the ideal city if you want to make the most of the water. Even in the hottest periods, the water never rises above 20 degrees.

Take a dolphin-watching boat trip. Sailing along the banks of the Tagus, you’ll have the chance to see some of Lisbon’s most emblematic landmarks, such as the Belem Tower. During this excursion, you’ll have the chance to see dolphins in their natural environment and take a swim at a secluded beach during a swim stop. An excursion like this costs €35 per person.

Why not try your hand at surfing in Lisbon? For 4 hours, learn the basics of surfing at the white sandy beach of Caparica, about 30 minutes from the capital, which is an excellent spot for beginners and experienced surfers alike. You’ll also have the chance to admire the coastline and Caparica’s fossiliferous cliffs, classified as a “Protected Landscape”. This activity costs €50 per person.

Autumn-winter (October-February):

Lisbon’s must-see sites are open to visitors all year round. If you visit Lisbon during autumn or winter, they will naturally be more suited to discovery during this period rather than a seaside activity. Here are the must-see sites:

First, I recommend a visit to Lisbon Cathedral. It’s one of Portugal’s most important monuments, built over 800 years ago! You can discover the cathedral’s magnificent rose window and go out onto the balcony, which offers a breathtaking view of the city! Entrance to the cathedral costs €5 per person.

Next, visit the Hieronymite Monastery. This UNESCO World Heritage monument is built in Manueline and Gothic architecture. A visit here will help you learn more about Portuguese culture and identity. A visit to this must-see site costs €12 per person.

Finally, discover the Tower of Belém. Situated on the banks of Lisbon, at the mouth of the Tagus, this 1515 fortress was once used as a defense against attacks on the city. Another UNESCO World Heritage monument, this fortress offers a magnificent view of the surrounding district. A visit to the Tower of Belém costs €8 per person.

When to go to Lisbon based on accommodation prices?

If you’re not sure when to go to Lisbon, one decisive factor could be the price of accommodation. Accommodation prices vary less throughout the year than in many other major cities, but you can still make significant savings by traveling between November and March, when crowds are at their lowest.

It’s easier to find a hotel for under €100 during this period, which is perfect for budget accommodation. In August, on the other hand, during the very high season, prices can rise much faster, sometimes approaching €200. If you’re wondering where to stay in Lisbon, I’d advise you to consult the Booking.com website, which offers a wide range of accommodation, well in advance.

Car rental prices:

During the low season, the average price of a car rental in Portugal, and more specifically in Lisbon, varies between €10 and €20 per day. During the very high season, especially in August, you’ll find rental cars for much more, some costing between €40 and €60 a day. To book a rental car, I advise you to consult a car rental website like Rental Cars well in advance, when you know when to leave for Lisbon.

And don’t hesitate to consult my article on parking in Lisbon to find out where to park your car in the capital and what the rules of the road are in Portugal.

When to go to Lisbon? Flight prices from Paris to Lisbon:

From November to March, you can travel for much lower fares than during the summer. Air fares to Lisbon skyrocket in July and August, and it’s in November, January and March that you’ll find the cheapest flights.

In low season, you can find round-trip flights for less than €70, while in high season, prices can easily rise to over €200-300! As always, make sure you book at least a few months in advance to be able to find even better rates. To find the best flight deals, I advise you to consult a flight comparator to get the best price for your trip.

What to see and do in Lisbon

Taking all these factors into account, the best month for a stay in Lisbon at the best price is probably March. This is the month of the low season when temperatures are mildest and rainfall is low. In March, the days start to get longer, and hotel and flight prices are at their lowest. From Lisbon airport to the city center, there will also be less traffic if you take an Uber.

August is probably the month that will suit you least if you want to avoid the flood of tourists and make some savings. Everything is more expensive during this month, from tickets to hotels and car rentals. For these reasons, I don’t think Lisbon is necessarily a city to discover at the height of summer. Of course, you can still have a great stay in the Portuguese capital during the summer season, but you won’t really be able to take advantage of this season to experience more, and you’ll be much quieter in May or June.

That’s the end of this article! I hope it has helped you know when to go to Lisbon for your next trip to Portugal. If you’re planning to visit Porto and the rest of the country, then I’d recommend taking a road trip to Portugal and stopping off to visit the Azores! In the meantime, let me know your thoughts and comments in the section below.

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