My tried and tested travel guide "Lisbon in 24 hours" accompanies you on 29 pages from breakfast to dinner with breathtaking sunsets. Discover the most important sights without stress and long queues.
Accommodation in Lisbon
Here you can find a selection of the most popular hotels for a city trip to Lisbon.
What is the best time to travel to Lisbon and when is it worth visiting the Portuguese capital on the Atlantic Ocean? Answering this question depends entirely on your personal vacation preferences. But to say one thing in advance: I can recommend you a Lisbon vacation at any time of the year. The weather is also very mild here in winter and always worth a visit. The most popular time to travel to Lisbon is clearly summer. Then it attracts many here for a city or. Beach vacation here. I have dedicated a separate post to the best beaches around Lisbon.
Portugal or. Lisbon in summer
Warm, dry and sunny weather everywhere. The water remains cool until the end of the season in the north and center of Portugal, and pleasantly warm in the south.
Summertime lasts from mid-May to the end of September. In this period is very sunny and dry. As a rule, it does not rain during the summer time. July and August can be very hot in the center and south of the country. The northern regions remain comparatively cool. If you want to avoid the heat, visit Porto rather than Lisbon, where the daily average temperature in July is about 20°C. The swimming season on the north coast begins in mid-August and lasts until mid-September, as the water remains quite cool due to the Gulf Stream.
The south coast is the warmest, making it perfect for a beach and seaside vacation. From the middle of July swimming becomes comfortable. Due to the sea breezes the heat is not a problem. In the south-central plains and valleys at low latitudes, it can become unbearable due to hot winds from Africa that bring extremely high temperatures.
Winter in Portugal
The mild, temperate winter is a good time for sightseeing in Portugal.
Winter in Portugal is not known as the best time to travel to Lisbon. However, winter in Portugal is generally pleasantly mild, but also unpredictable. Rain falls more frequently during this time. Partly it can also rain through for a week or two. But you can also be lucky in January and February and have pleasant temperatures around 20°C with lots of sunshine. On the coast, the temperature rarely drops below 10°C during the day. Also at night the temperature does not fall below 0°C, more usual are 6-9°C. The Gulf Stream is to blame. The water temperature remains stable and also warms the air. Thus, the coastal resorts are the better option to stay in the "warm" in winter.
The mountains are of course the coldest areas during winter, although it is not uncommon for Serra da Estrela to experience snow and frost all winter long. Porto and Lisbon enjoy fairly long periods of good dry weather in the winter, thanks to the anticyclone of the Azores. But there are also cold fronts that bring rain and wind. The northern regions, east of Coimbra and Porto, are colder than the rest of the country and can occasionally experience some snow. Although the winter there is generally also mild and frost rare.
Recommendation: The best time to visit Lisbon
Late spring from April to June and early fall from September to November are the best times for a Lisbon city break. In April and May you can experience the city best. This is also a good time to explore Sintra, Setubal and other regions around Lisbon.
In the summer months the city becomes very crowded. Prices peak in August, due to summer vacations in most European countries. But in principle you can visit Lisbon at any time of the year.
With an arrival in mild October, the crowds thin out but the seawater stays warm. From October / November until April the weather is fantastic for surfers! Many waves and perfect swells allow almost daily surfing.
Since I've been living here for some time, I can offer you first-hand information about the best time to visit Lisbon.
Visiting Lisbon in winter
Is winter the best time to visit Lisbon, the capital city?? Objectively, it probably is not. But it is a good time to visit? In any case! In fact, I prefer to recommend to come in winter. Why?
As long as it doesn't rain, you will experience mild temperatures and can enjoy a completely relaxed atmosphere. It is perhaps the best time for a culturally oriented city trip that is not only about enjoying the sun and hot temperatures. In addition, flights are dirt cheap at this time of year. And by that I mean flights at prices around 20-50 euros (round trip!). I have summarized more about this in my post about airfares and tips for flights to Lisbon.
December and January can sometimes get rainy, but there are also fewer tourists in the city, which makes it easier to have a more personal and relaxed experience. Unimaginable: for example, you can just get on the streetcar 28 without having to wait in line for a long time!
Rainy days are also an opportunity to visit the numerous museums and historic buildings in Lisbon. On most days you will be able to sit outside in a loose summer coat, as long as the sun is shining, and enjoy a beer, wine or liqueur. If the sun is shining, then it has real power even in winter. I would compare it with the sun you have on the mountains during a skiing vacation. The castles of Sintra are unfortunately not so recommendable in winter. There is definitely not much going on there, but to look at the gardens of the parks and especially the Quinta da Regaleira when there are no leaves on the trees and no flowers blooming? Better not.
Visit Lisbon in spring
Spring is an excellent time to visit Lisbon. The average number of rainy days drops from about 13 in March and April to about 7 in May and only 4 in June.
Usually the beginning of spring already feels like summer. With temperatures sometimes above 30°C on some days, logical, right?? This is also the time when I ride my bike to work again, along the sea of course, catching the first sun rays of the day.
From the end of April to the beginning of May, Lisbon starts to show its best side. The jacaranda trees are starting to blossom and many squares and avenues are slowly turning purple and yellow. The city life is revived and the cafes and restaurants open their terraces. Now a cool drink on the banks of the Tagus, the sun is beaming at full strength and you just feel comfortable. Maybe you have found the best time to travel to Lisbon?
By the way, I had my first beach day this year in March (2019) January (2020). We've had about a week of temperatures around 24-29°C (2019) 22°C (2020). Suddenly all the beaches were full, everyone was active, surfing, playing volleyball or letting off steam with other games.
If you are planning to visit Lisbon in June, take it from me: a perfect month if you like Portuguese parties. In June the city is in a state of emergency, because then is city festival. For almost a whole month. Yes, read that right. Especially around the 12. – 13. June is the time when all hell breaks loose in Lisbon, because the Portuguese celebrate their saint San Antonio. June is a month full of celebrations around the folk saints. Music and small street parties are everywhere in the alleys of Alfama and other areas. Everywhere colorful garlands are hung and chorizo and sardines are grilled and sold.
Visit Lisbon in summer
Summer is a great time to visit, especially if you like going to the beach! For a city trip it can be really exhausting. Regular daytime temperatures around 35°C can be very exhausting in the city center, especially where there is no breeze and it's uphill again. Take enough to drink on the way and don't forget sunglasses and sunscreen.
Pleasant are the cooler water temperatures in the sea, due to the Gulf Stream, the Atlantic Ocean off Lisbon is not particularly warm even in summer, but the air temperatures reach the right level to really enjoy swimming in the sea.
But in August the beaches around Lisbon are crowded. And by full I mean really full. Lisbon suffers from extreme overtourism, especially in the months of July and August. The center becomes a hectic and manic tourist trap.
Sintra is also affected by this and waiting times of 1-2 hours on arrival are no exception. Sintra is simply not prepared for the masses of tourists and the resulting traffic.
Visit Lisbon in autumn
Autumn can be a really nice time to visit. You can expect sunny and pleasant days well into October and even November. Most of the time you can even still walk around in a t-shirt or a light sweater.
It is especially the best time to visit Sintra, where the gardens of Quinta de Regaleira become even more photogenic than in summer thanks to the colorful leaves.
The biggest crowds have now already left, so you can have a quieter time in Lisbon.
Personal conclusion and 2 more tips
You should definitely come to Lisbon during the week of Websummit. This usually takes place in November. The international conference with over 60.000 participants occupy the entire city center during this time. Restaurants and bars are then flooded with conference themes. By the way, a ticket for the Websummit costs from 500 Euro upwards, so you get a rough idea of how much money is spent in Lisbon at this time of year.
When planning your city trip to Lisbon, be sure to check the cruise ship schedules. When a cruise ship docks, it usually means that 2.000 to 3.000 tourists go on sightseeing tours in tour groups. On those days I would do something else. The historic area around Alfama is particularly affected, as the cruise terminals are also located here on the waterfront.
I would recommend you to visit in spring or autumn. Temperatures are much more pleasant than in summer and winter and it is also cheaper and not so crowded. Above all, the sights are more fun and you have the opportunity to take more beautiful photos.
If you still have questions about the best time to travel to Lisbon, feel free to ask me a question in the comments. I will answer you as soon as possible.