The Best Time to Visit Lisbon, Portugal

SD › Best Time to Visit Lisbon
Updated: April 9, 2021
By Santorini Dave

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When is the Best Time to Visit Lisbon?

The best time to visit Lisbon is in mid-to-late spring or early fall. Both of these periods tend to experience mild weather (typically around 22°C to 24°C), thinner crowds, and shorter queues than during the busy summer travel season. Lower airfares and room rates can typically be found as well, making these shoulders seasons budget-friendly times to travel.

Rooftops of the Alfama District in Lisbon, Portugal. The best time to go to Lisbon is in the spring or fall.

  • Best Time for Sightseeing: The best time for sightseeing in Lisbon is late spring/early summer and late summer to early autumn, when there are fewer tourists and shorter lines. The atmosphere is still quite lively in the streets, and the weather is wonderfully mild and often sunny.
  • Best Time to Visit for Good Weather: Spring is the best time to visit Lisbon for good weather, with pleasant temperatures typically ranging from 20°C to 25°C, and days often sunny and dry. It may feel summer-like, especially later in the season, yet it’s unlikely to be too hot. Around late April or early May, the city is at its most beautiful with the Jacaranda trees blossoming, transforming avenues and squares into a gorgeous purple hue. Autumn is the next best time to visit, when bright and comfortable days can often be enjoyed, although rain is more likely this time of year.
  • Best Time for Visiting Beaches: Beaches around Lisbon can comfortably be enjoyed from late April through late September. Beaches will be at their busiest during the peak of summer, July and August, especially on the weekends. The best time for visiting the beaches for good weather and fewer crowds is in June and September; it’s likely to be pleasantly warm while the biggest crowds either haven’t arrived or are beginning to diminish. Those who want to swim may be able to do so as early as May and as late as October, however. The warmest water temperature is in September, with the sea a comfortable 20°C.
  • Best Time for Shopping: There is no longer a law in Portugal regulating sales periods, which means businesses may offer discounts at any time of the year. Still, the best time to shop in Lisbon is usually just after the holiday period in January through about mid-February, and again in late June through September, when goods are often discounted up to a 50%.
  • Best Time to Visit St. George’s Castle: To visit St. George’s Castle without the biggest crowds and longest lines, avoid August, followed by April-May and September-October. If you do visit during these periods, weekdays are always best – the earlier in the day, the better. There is usually little to no wait until about 10 a.m. on a weekday, when suddenly the line begins to grow quickly.

Lisbon Travel Seasons

  • High Season (mid-June through August, mid-December through early January): Lisbon high season falls during the summer months and again around the Christmas and New Year’s holidays. This is the time when airfares are highest, attractions are most crowded, and accommodation should be booked well in advance. Many festivals and special events throughout the city make visiting during these peak seasons worthwhile, despite the crowds. Summer is also ideal for enjoying beaches and the shores along the River Tejo, with daytime temperatures ranging from 25°C to 30°C.
  • Shoulder Season (Easter through mid-June, September and October): Spring and fall is an ideal time to visit Lisbon for the combination of fewer tourists and frequent warm, sunny weather (temperatures average 20ºC to 25ºC) – along with occasional periods of rain.
  • Low Season (November through mid-December, early January through Easter): Winter and early spring bring the fewest tourists to Lisbon, along with the shortest lines, lowest airfare, and discounted hotel rates. This season will feel warm compared to many other cities in Europe thanks, to the influence of the Atlantic Ocean. Freezing days are rare, and snow is virtually unheard of in Lisbon.

Lisbon Weather by Month

  • Lisbon Weather in January: While January is the coolest month of the year in Lisbon, the city’s sub-tropical Mediterranean climate ensures that winters here are relatively mild. The average high temperature is 15°C and the low is well above freezing at 8°C. Some rain is likely during this time of year, along with thunderstorms. An average of 100mm falls over 15 days; a rain jacket and an umbrella are likely necessary, along with sunglasses for those bright sunny days. Layers are key; lightweight sweaters, long sleeved t-shirts, hoodies – basically, anything that can be easily removed when the sun comes out. While days are shorter now than in the summer months, Lisbon still gets 9 hours and 30 minutes of daylight on January 1, increasing to 10 hours and 13 minutes by month’s end. (Average Max Temperature: 15°C. Average Precipitation: 100mm.)
  • Lisbon Weather in February: The average high temperature rises a degree to 16°C and precipitation decreases slightly to 85mm over 15 days in February. Similar to last month, it’s likely to be cool and wet, but February typically brings some bright, sunny weather too. Days become increasingly longer, with sunrise at 7:10 a.m. and sunset at 6:27 p.m. on February 28, providing lots of sightseeing time. Pack as you would for January, bringing clothes that can be layered along with a light rain jacket. (Average Max Temperature: 16°C. Average Precipitation: 85mm.)
  • Lisbon Weather in March: March is a wonderful time to be in Lisbon, with the arrival of spring weather but still much smaller crowds than in the summer season. The rain eases up quite a bit, too, with 53mm over 13 days; high temperatures now average a rather pleasant 19°C. As the month progresses there are likely to be several days when it will be as warm as 21°C and it occasionally even reaches above 26°C. With the low at 11°C, you may need a sweater or jacket after dark, as well as daytime clothing for warmer weather that includes a mix of long and short-sleeved items. (Average Max Temperature: 19°C. Average Precipitation: 53mm.)
  • Lisbon Weather in April: Spring is now in full swing, with temperatures climbing steadily. The average high increases to 20°C and while there may still be some rainfall, it’s usually not enough to get in the way of sightseeing plans or outdoor activities. This is an ideal time for walking, with long days (13 hours and 47 minutes of daylight on April 30) and sunny, but not too warm, temps. With the pleasant weather comes beautiful blooming flowers to the parks, which are getting busier now, primarily around the Easter holiday. A light jacket will suffice for cooler mornings and evenings, and as in March, it’s still best to bring layered clothing – some days may be warm enough for shorts or dresses, but long pants will likely be needed too. (Average Max Temperature: 20°C. Average Precipitation: 68mm.)
  • Lisbon Weather in May: May is one of the best months of the year for visiting Lisbon. Weather is drier now with just 54mm of rain falling over 8 days, and the average high temperature rises to 22°C. It will be warm enough to enjoy the beaches, although swimming may still be too chilly with the sea temperature at 17°C. There ample daylight now for enjoying all outdoor attractions, with the sun rising at about 6 a.m. and setting around 9 p.m. Bring sunglasses and plenty of sunscreen; many days will feel like summer has already arrived. A sweatshirt or light jacket for nights and early mornings is still recommended, along with short-sleeve shirts and a mix of pants and shorts. (Average Max Temperature: 22°C. Average Precipitation: 54mm.)
  • Lisbon Weather in June: Days are long and warm in June, seeing nearly 15 hours of daylight. The average high temperature has crept up four degrees to 26°C, although it can occasionally get much hotter than that. Dresses or shorts and short-sleeves can be worn most of the time, although a sweater and long pants may be needed for cooler nights with low temperatures at 17°C. With the average precipitation just 16mm over 5 days in June, the city receives almost no rain, and when it does it’s likely to be very brief showers. You’re unlikely to need an umbrella or rain jacket now, it’s all about sunscreen, sunglasses, sun hats, and other warm-weather attire. (Average Max Temperature: 26°C. Average Precipitation: 16mm.)
  • Lisbon Weather in July: July brings the highest summer heat along with the peak tourist crowds, outdoor festivals, and concerts. It’s one of the best months to go to the beach, with virtually no rain, plenty of sunshine, and warm water. The average high temperature is 28°C, with about a quarter of the month’s days topping 32°C. Sea-breezes from the north keep the heat from becoming too oppressive, but now’s the time to pack your summer attire, including a bathing suit, to keep cool. With the low temperature a mild 18°C, a jacket is unlikely to be needed. (Average Max Temperature: 28°C. Average Precipitation: 4mm.)
  • Lisbon Weather in August: August is the warmest month of the year in Lisbon; the average high remains 28°C – rarely falling below 26°C. For at least a week this month, temperatures rise to 30°C or higher, with lows that almost never go much below 19°C. This is another great month to go to the beach and enjoy cooling off in the pleasantly warm water. Pack shorts, dresses, skirts, tank tops, and the like. Like July, there’s no need for an umbrella – there’s virtually no rainfall to worry about. (Average Max Temperature: 28°C. Average Precipitation: 6mm.)
  • Lisbon Weather in September: Summer weather continues throughout most of September in Lisbon, with warm temperatures averaging a high of 27°C and more than a few days reaching 30°C or higher. It will begin to cool slightly during the second half of the month, though it almost never gets cooler than 21°C; rain is still minimal with 33mm falling over six days. The sea temperature is the warmest of the year at 20°C, so it’s a great time to go to the beaches without having to battle the summer crowds. Pack as you would for summer, but throw in a sweatshirt or light jacket for evenings, just in case. (Average Max Temperature: c Average Precipitation: 33mm.)
  • Lisbon Weather in October: Temperatures cool with the arrival of fall, and days are getting shorter too, with a little less than 12 hours of daylight on October 1. That amount decreases to 10 hours and 35 minutes on October 31 due to the time change at the end of the month. The first half of the October will bring warmer temperatures with highs averaging 23°C and some days of 26°C or higher. There is more rain now, with 101mm falling over 11 days, so packing a rain jacket and umbrella is prudent. Bring clothing that can be layered, with a mix of short and long-sleeved shirts. (Average Max Temperature: 23°C. Average Precipitation: 101mm.)
  • Lisbon Weather in November: A definite change is in the air now, with Lisbon going from warm autumn days to rainy and cold days by the end of November. The average high is still relatively warm at 18°C, and some days earlier in the month are as warm as 21°C. Nights are likely to be chilly the low temperatures dipping to 11°C. Precipitation increases to 128mm over 14 days, so plan for rain, with the best chance during the second half of the month. Now is the time to pack for cooler weather; bring sweaters and long pants, along with a rain jacket and umbrella. (Average Max Temperature: 18°C. Average Precipitation: 128mm.)
  • Lisbon Weather in December: One of the cooler months of the year but still mild, Lisbon in December may be colder and wetter, but there are usually some sunny days, making the first few weeks before Christmas a good time to visit without crowds. This is the second rainiest month after November, with 127mm fall over 14 days. Bring a coat, sweaters, long-sleeve shirts and an umbrella for comfortable sightseeing. The average high temperature is 15°C and the low is 9°C, with freezing temperatures unlikely. Days are short, but not overly so, with about nine-and-a-half hours of daylight throughout December. (Average Max Temperature: 15°C. Average Precipitation: 127mm.)

Lisbon Events and Festivals

Lisbon in January

  • New Year’s Day – January 1, New Year’s Day, is a national holiday in Lisbon. Public transported will be limited, and many businesses closed although most of the city’s shops and attractions will be open. Special concerts to welcome the New Year are often hosted.
  • Three Kings Day/Epiphany – January 6 isn’t a holiday in Portugal, but many Portuguese celebrate it by eating the traditional Bolo Rei, or King’s Cake.
  • Winter Sales – Winter sales begin just after the holiday period offering some of the best discounts of the year, including the luxury stores that line Avenida da Liberdade, like Gucci and Burberry.
  • Lisbon Chocolate Festival – This festival focused on chocolate is hosted for 4 days. It offers the chance to mingle with some of the world’s and Portugal’s top chocolatiers. More than 89 vendors display chocolate-related everything, from cakes, pastries, and candies to hot cocoa, crepes, bonbons, and macaroons, along with fine wines, fruits and more.

Lisbon in February

  • Pet Festival – Held for 3 days in early February, this festival includes exhibitions and competitions of companion animals.
  • Valentine’s Day – There are lots of ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day (14 February) in Lisbon, with many restaurants and hotels offering romantic dinners and special packages. In recent years both locals and visitors have been honoring their love by placing a padlock on a huge sculpture in Rossio Square downtown that consists of the word “love.” People make a donation in exchange for a padlock and nameplate to help raise money for a good cause.

Lisbon in March

  • Carnival – Carnival, also called Entrudo, is the biggest festival of the year in Lisbon. It’s celebrated throughout the country, with the high point on Carnival Tuesday, a public holiday. Lively parades will fill the streets, and you can expect plenty of music, dancing, elaborate costumes, food and fun.
  • Lisbon Half Marathon – The most popular race of the year in Portugal, the Lisbon Half Marathon brings more than 35,000 runners from across the globe to run the course that follows along the river and the coast in mid-March.
  • Lisboa Dance Festival – This 2-day dance festival in nearby Estoril showcases local and national artists to with eclectic lineups in electronic music along with a program of talks on topics that affect the genre’s scene.
  • St. Patrick’s Day – Lisbon’s pubs and other venues honor March 17, St. Patrick’s Day, with a host of parties, live music and other epic celebrations that include Irish music and plenty of Guinness.

Lisbon in April

  • Lisbon Fish & Flavors – Hosted over 11 days during the first half of April, Lisbon Fish & Flavors is an iconic gastronomic event that features seafood served by some of the most prestigious international and national chefs and restaurants. Attendees can take part in cooking classes and wine pairing events, as well as watch the pros at work during live cooking demos.
  • Easter Weekend – Easter falls either in March or April. Expect many business closures during this time and limited public transport. There will be celebrations throughout Lisbon on Easter Sunday, including churches in the city center that host festivities.
  • Freedom Day – April 25 honors the Carnation Revolution, a military coup on April 25, 1974 that resulted in the fall of the Salazar dictatorship that had been in effect for nearly a half-century.
  • Belem Music Days – Held for 4 days at the Belem Cultural Centre, Belem Music Days is a marathon of classical music concerts.

Lisbon in May

  • Labor Day – Held on May 1 every year, Labor Day is celebrated by many countries around the world, including Portugal. Many of the city’s attractions and shops will be open, but you can expect some business closures.
  • IndieLisboa – This 11-day film festival takes places in early May, kicking off with documentaries, shorts, and experimental film exhibitions from every genre. There will be debates, talks, and activities with programmers, distributors, filmmakers, critics, and other film professionals.
  • Iberian Mask Festival – Celebrated in mid-May, the Iberian Mask Festival is one of the most popular festivals in the country. People dress up in costumes and masks, there are concerts, exhibitions, a showcase of handcrafted goods and regional products, competitions and more.
  • ARCO Lisboa – An international contemporary art fair held over 4 days in mid-May, ARCO Lisboa brings together both renowned and emerging artists.

Lisbon in June

  • Feast of Saint Anthony – The feast of Saint Anthony brings festivities throughout the month of June including parades, concerts, theater performances, street parties and more that are hosted around the city. The Eve of Saint Anthony, June 12, sees the most action and the wildest street parties, grilled sardines, and an elaborate parade.
  • Lisbon Book Fair – This annual event is held during the first half of June at Parque Eduardo VIII. It’s a great opportunity to mingle with locals in the city park and check out the various book offerings.
  • Rock In Rio Lisboa – One of the biggest annual events of the year in Lisbon, this festival at Bela Vista Park is held over 9 days in late June. It brings a jam-packed lineup of music and entertainment, including world-famous musicians and internationally renowned DJs.

Lisbon in July

  • BAIXAnima Street Festival – This popular festival brings locals and tourists alike, featuring street music, dance, theater, and circus every weekend from the first weekend of July to the last weekend in September.
  • Festival ao Largo – This festival features free outdoor classical music concerts, opera, ballet, and dance performances in the city’s opera square, Teatro Nacional de Sao Carlo throughout most of July.
  • NOS Alive – This three-day music and art festival that’s often ranked among Europe’s top festivals, is hosted just minutes from downtown at the Passeio Maritimo de Alges in mid-July each year.
  • Super Bock Super Rock – Hosted over three days in mid-July at Parque das Nacoes, this music festival features some of the top Portuguese and international rock artists to the city.

Lisbon in August

  • Jazz em Agosto – The most important annual jazz event in Lisbon of the year features concerts throughout August by world-acclaimed musicians in an open-air amphitheater, including some with free admission.
  • Assumption Day – An important religious holiday celebrated on August 15, many Lisbon locals take advantage of the day off work to go to the beach.

Lisbon in September

  • Lisb-ON Jardim Sonoro (Sound Garden) – This outdoor event takes place for 3 days in early September. It showcases national and international music acts, from funk and dance music to soul and jazz in Parque Eduardo VII.
  • Happy-Holi Festival – A music festival inspired by the Indian “Holi,” to celebrate the joy of life, this event features all types of electronic music along with explosions of color. Every 45 minutes festival-goers toss vibrantly-colored powders into the air, creating multi-hued magic and music.
  • Queer Lisboa – This event in mid to late-September celebrates LGTBQs with international films in various theaters that focus on issues like gender and identities.
  • Festival de Sintra – This 3-week-long festival typically starts in late September. It showcases modern and ballet dance, classical recitals, world music, concerts for kids and multimedia events.

Lisbon in October

  • Republic Day – October 5 is Republic Day, commemorating the fall of the Monarchy and beginning of the Republic in 1910. Most shops, restaurants, and attractions will be open, but public transport runs on a Sunday schedule, and government offices, banks, schools, and post offices will be closed.
  • Moda Lisboa – The oldest independent fashion week in Europe presents the new collections of Portuguese designers.
  • DocLisboa Festival – An 11-day event hosted every October, this film festival is exclusively dedicated to documentaries, screening the best contemporary documentaries created by acclaimed international filmmakers.
  • Halloween – Halloween has become a popular event in Lisbon, with all sorts of parties hosted across the city. The Lisbon Halloween Festival offers the chance to dance to underground electronic music and buy antiques too.

Lisbon in November

  • All Saints Day – November 1 is All Saints Day, a national holiday to honor the dead, and a day many locals take advantage of to recover from the night before. Similar to Halloween, children go out in the morning knocking on doors asking for the “bread of God.” Many Portuguese honor the dead by cleaning and placing flowers on graves of loved ones.
  • Web Summit – One of the world’s top technology conferences, this tech event draws some 50,000 to Lisbon over four days in early November. Past speakers have included president of Microsoft Brad Smith, CEO and co-founder of Pinterest Ben Silbermann and CEO and founder of Medium, Ev Williams.
  • Lisbon & Sintra Film Festival (Leffest) – This is one of Portugal’s main film festivals, featuring film exhibitions from across the globe. Held for a week in mid- to late-November attracts famous actors and filmmakers in addition to hosted workshops, masterclasses, and art exhibitions.

Lisbon in December

  • Independence Restoration Day – This national holiday on December 1 each year remembers the day in 1640 when Portugal revolted against Spanish rule to regain its independence. There are few official events and most businesses will be open as usual.
  • Christmas Markets – There will be several Christmas Markets open throughout much of December, including the Rossio Christmas Market where there will be live music, entertainment for the kids, cooking demos and more.
  • Feast of the Immaculate Conception – December 8, the annual celebration of the Immaculate Conception, is an important religious day and a public holiday in Lisbon. Families come together to enjoy large feasts and attend mass.
  • Christmas holidays – Christmas Eve brings midnight mass to Lisbon’s churches while Christmas Day is a national holiday with most establishments closed, although there will be some restaurants open.
  • New Year’s Eve – On December 31, New Year’s Eve, there will be parties throughout Lisbon, as well as special dinners, river cruises, and free fireworks displays over the city.

About Santorini Dave

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