Going to Lisbon in winter offers you the ideal of each worlds. All the amazing sights in a single of Europe’s most common cities, at a less expensive expense and with fewer men and women. Confident the climate is chillier than in the summertime, but Lisbon is nevertheless a single of the warmest and sunniest capitals in Europe at this time of year!
I by no means believed twice about going to Lisbon for the duration of the winter months, but then I do reside in Scotland and enjoy travelling Europe in the off-season! Nevertheless, I fell in enjoy with the city, and with Portugal as a complete, and I want to share with you the causes to stop by Lisbon at this time, and the factors to do in Lisbon in winter (spoiler alert, there’s not a great deal distinction to summer time!).
Why stop by Lisbon in winter?
There are 3 primary causes to place Lisbon on your bucket list of European winter destinations. Not simply because there’s snow (there’s not) or astounding Christmas Markets (not that I could obtain), but simply because you can anticipate far better climate, less expensive rates, and fewer crowds!
Travelling to Portugal in winter implies you can stock up on vitamin D! Lisbon is the sunniest capital city in Europe, and that incorporates all through the winter. Temperatures nevertheless attain a higher of 15/16 degrees Celcius (and even 18 in March and November!) and only go as low as eight/9 degrees.
Sunny but crisp days are some of my favourites to discover in simply because you will not overheat but every thing nevertheless appears astounding! Even if it is cloudy or raining, the climate will probably alter quickly and it will not be as well cold.
You will nevertheless have to have to bring a coat, but most days I could get away with a leather jacket and scarf, and then one thing a bit warmer for the nighttime. Wrap up and nevertheless get pleasure from the European delight of dining outdoors, with the sound of Fado music filtering by means of the air.
The expense of travel
Travelling in Europe is not low cost compared to quite a few other regions of the planet, but by deciding on to travel for the duration of the winter or off-season you can typically save your self some dollars. Portugal is currently a single of the extra expense-productive European destinations, and in winter it gets even far better.
Flights and accommodation in winter in Lisbon are much less what they are in the summer time months, and you are competing with fewer men and women. Which leads me to my subsequent point…
It is much less crowded
Lisbon has grow to be an exceptionally common location. Issues about more than tourism have been brewing for the previous numerous years, and places of the city that have been populated by locals are now just about exclusively catering for vacationers. Airbnb has grow to be a trouble as it is observed to drive locals out, and infrastructure like public transport is not maintaining up.
Although all of this sounds extremely adverse, it is essential that we comprehend the effect we can have as vacationers. Though I anticipate that winter in Lisbon is also becoming extra common, by deciding on to travel in the shoulder and winter seasons we can at least support to relieve some of the stress on Lisbon in the summer time months.
Without having resurrecting the dreaded “tourist vs. traveller” debate, most of us like to stop by a city and not really feel like we’ve walked into Disneyland with thousands of other travellers. When I visited Lisbon in December there have been nevertheless vacationers about of course, specifically simply because it was more than the vacation period, but I am particular it was FAR much less than there would be if I chose to stop by in the European summer time months.
So do your self and Lisbon a favour and stop by in winter!
Issues to do in Lisbon in winter
All the usual ideal sights to see
At times when we stop by common destinations in the off-season we’re not capable to take benefit of all the sights and activities that we would be capable to in summer time. For instance, going to someplace like Iceland in winter is a extremely distinctive expertise to the summer time! Fortunately with Lisbon having said that, it is nevertheless doable to do just about, if not all, of the ideal factors to do. Unless you want to lie on a nearby beach and swim in the sea of course!
The top rated factors to do:
- Go to São Jorge Castle: Holding a commanding position above the city, São Jorge Castle is a wonderful location to start off your explorations.
- Journey to Belém: There’s the UNESCO Planet Heritage web sites of Torre de Belém and the Jeronimos Monastery, plus the original Pasteis de Nata shop nearby. Just additional down the banks of the Tagus River, you will also obtain a monument in tribute to the part that Portugal played in the Age of Discovery.
- Ride the Quantity 28 tram: These yellow trams are like a symbol of Lisbon the planet more than, and you can ride a single by means of the steep streets! Just be mindful these are also employed as public transport by locals.
- Go to some of Lisbon’s most iconic neighbourhoods: The old district of Alfama has beautifully tiled buildings and cobbled streets, and Bairro Alto has some excellent nightlife.
- Listen to Fado music: You could be extra familiar with Flamenco in neighbouring Spain, but Fado is the standard music of Portugal. Typically just guitars and mandolins with a single haunting singer, you will probably spot dinner shows advertised as effectively as be capable to hear it in quite a few extra standard restaurants.
- Attempt Portuguese specialties: Do not miss the pastel de nata (custard tart), or Bacalhau (cod, cooked in quite a few strategies, like codfish cakes), and Ginjinha, a sour cherry liquor.
- Admire the street art: Take an organised tour or just let your self to wander by means of the centre and historic places of Lisbon and uncover for your self!
- Take day trips: Lisbon is a wonderful base for exploring extra of nearby Portugal, and wintertime is no distinction. Sintra, with its stunning monuments and palace, is a common day trip location, but verify out even extra day trips from Lisbon right here.
Stroll the hills without having the heat
Lisbon is constructed on hills, bear in mind that when you are organizing any walking routes! Walking is a single of the ideal strategies to uncover the city (despite the fact that you can jump on and off trams if you have to have to!). The advantage of going to in winter is that you do not have to have to stroll these hills in 30-degree-plus heat. It is chillier in winter but you can often take a layer off and you are unlikely to overheat or really feel driven indoors!
Warm up with scrumptious Portuguese specialties
Must you really feel the have to have to warm your self up although you are discovering the factors to do in Lisbon in winter you can get pleasure from some scrumptious Portuguese fair. In summer time we have a tendency to consume lighter, fresher meals, but going to in the colder months implies you can take benefit of scrumptious hot seafood meals and meat stews.
Caldo Verde also seems on quite a few extra menus (a green soup created of kale, onions, potato, garlic, olive oil, and typically with regional pork sausage).
And despite the fact that its house is additional north, there’s no explanation not to warm up with a scrumptious Port!
New Year in Lisbon
Increasing up in New Zealand implies I’m employed to a warm New Year’s Eve typically spent outdoors, and despite the fact that I’m fortunate to now reside in Edinburgh exactly where there are large Hogmanay (New Year) celebrations, for the most aspect, I obtain a cold New Year spent indoors a bit uninspiring.
Fortunately having said that, I was in Lisbon for New Year and was capable to attend a large outside occasion Praça do Comércio, the significant square in the middle of town, with reside music (despite the fact that some of it in Portuguese that I had by no means heard of!) and a large fireworks show at midnight. There’s also a show along the river at Belém.
What to put on in Lisbon in winter
As a warmer winter location in Europe, you do not have to have to be concerned about specific clothes for going to Lisbon in the cooler months. Throughout the day my usual outfit was a pair of jeans, comfy boots or footwear, a leather jacket and scarf, or if I felt it was a chillier day then a slightly warmer coat. Though not to the level of thick woollen coat I would put on in the UK.
For a Lisbon winter packing list you will have to have:
- Light coat and scarf for the day
- Warmer coat for the evening, chillier days, or day trips to locations like Sintra
- A hat if you really feel the cold specifically
- Gloves if you really feel the cold specifically (I like the touch screen type)
- Comfy winter boots or footwear with warmer socks
Exactly where to go from Lisbon
You may be taking a winter city break in Lisbon, or possibly organizing to stop by as aspect of a bigger Portugal trip. If the latter is the case then you have lots of selections! Head additional north to Porto exactly where it could be a tiny chillier and wetter, or south to the Algarve to get pleasure from the winter climate that is even far better than Lisbon, without having the summer time crowds.
Arranging your Portugal trip? Verify these out:
Going to a common location like Lisbon outdoors of the height of the season can typically imply a far better expertise, thanks to much less other men and women, cost, and in the case of Portugal, nevertheless decent climate. Subsequent time I program to stop by Lisbon once more I’ll be going in winter! How about you?
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