15 Things to do in Lisbon in Winter

Discover things to do in Lisbon in winter including Torre de Belem, Castelo de Sao Jorge, Alfama district, National Tile Museum, and so much more...

Lisbon is known for its history, jaw-dropping architecture as well as their traditional music. It is one of the few cities that rival London as a modern metropolis, and it has quite several places of interest worth going to. There is also lots of history in the city as there were Roman as well as exotic Berber pirates activities in the city. There are also tales of Reconquista knights, Moorish builders, and others, all of which make the city a potential winter trip destination. 

There are lots of attractions in Lisbon, and there are usually long queues when gaining entry into some of the attractions in the city during the summer months. Visiting in winter, however, means there are minimal queues, and the weather is just a little bit warm. Lisbon is one of the few European cities you can visit in winter and still feel warm. This does not imply that you will be able to sunbathe on one of the beaches in the city or that you would be able to get your bikinis or shorts on. It also does not mean you would be able to surf, but it means you won’t have to put on a lot of cold blocking clothes. (A lot of seasoned surfers still surf during Winter in Lisbon because the winter waves are much better than the summer ones)

See Also: 10 Things to do in Edinburgh in Winter

That said, lets now take a look at some of the best things you can do in Lisbon in Winter to enjoy every bit of your stay in the city.

1. Get impressive views of the city from one of the numerous Miradouros in the city

One of the numerous Miradouros in the city
Credit flickr

The city of Lisbon is beautiful; there is no doubt about that. Lisbon is home to several towering miradouros, all of which have bars, cafes and also provide stunning vistas. The best thing is that they are always open in winter so you can always find warmth there.

That aside, the views from the miradouros is stunning and quite spectacular. Seeing the city from a bird’s eye view should be the number 1 thing you do in Lisbon.

2. Marvel at Torre de Belem

Torre de Belem
Credit flickr

If you aren’t spending a lot of time in Portugal, you should make this your first destination on places to go. The Torre de Belem is a landmark in Lisbon towering above the quays in Lisbon. It is one of the best places where you can truly admire the brilliance of Portuguese architectural styles and designs. The tower combines all the major architectural styles in Portugal, all of which culminates in a building that you won’t get tired of merely looking at.

It was constructed in the 16th century and has risen to become the most iconic and most loved building in the city.

3. Hop on a ride on the iconic Tram 28

Tram 28
Credit flickr

This is arguably one of the top things you need to do in Lisbon. Lisbon is famed for its tram lines, which have been operating for decades. The tram 28 provides another means of going up the steep roads leading to the Alfama District – another iconic part of the city of Lisbon. 

The lines start just below the hills of Graca and then weaves its wave around the Escolas Gerais Alleys before ending under the stunning Estrela Basilica domes.

Apart from hitching a ride on the Tram, you can also people watch from the windows, and the view is quite impressive from there. There are also various magnificent castles and palaces to see along the route. 

4. Visit the Berardo Collection Museum

Berardo Collection
Credit flickr

This museum alone contributes about 2.5 million visitors to the total number of tourists that visit the city each year. It is not surprising to see this because nobody wants to miss the chance of seeing artworks at their stunning best. The artworks in the museum range from photography to neo-realism. The museum organizes a regular tour, so be sure to go on a tour in the museum when the opportunity arises.

5. Go on a wine tasting tour

Wine is one of the things one can admire about Lisbon. There are many places where you can relax and enjoy one or two glass of fine wine all over the city. There are old as well as new bars where you can drink as well as meet new people.

The best way to go on a wine tasting tour is to hire a guide and tell him or her what you want to do. No one knows the best place to go than the locals who frequent the places.

6. Drop by Chiado Bookstore

The bookstore regarded as the oldest active bookstore in the world.

Reading is one of the best things you can do in Lisbon in Winter. You don’t have to be a book lover to read at the Chiado Bookstore, but book lovers will be thrilled with what they find here. All you have to do is get a ride to Chiado. The bookstore is the main attraction in the neighborhood, and the collection of books you will find in the place is quite impressive.

The bookstore is the oldest in the world, and it holds a spot in the Guinness world records for it.

7. Visit the Castelo de São Jorge

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Credit flickr

The Castelo de São Jorge (or Saint Jorge Castle) was built around the 11th century. It is a historical site and one of the places you have to go to. If you plan on getting a guide, this is one of the first places he or she will take you to. The castle is on the highest hill in Rua de Santa Cruz.

During the winter months, the castle is open to tourists from November to February. Apart from touring the castle, the view from the top of the castle’s fortification is breathtaking! Something you need to see for yourself.

8. Listen to Fado Music while drinking at Bairro Alto

Bairro Alto
Credit flickr

Bairro Alto is an essential part of Lisbon. It is one of the places where tourists frequent mainly because the area is packed with international restaurants and cafes. It is also essential because there are lots of nightlife activities in the area.

While you can go to the place during the day, the best time is during the evening. In the evening, everywhere in Bairro Alto seems transformed. There are lots of drinking joints to visit as well as bakeries to buy pastries from. What’s more, popular Fado music is available at almost all the establishments at night.

9. Visit the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum

Calouste Gulbenkian Museum
Credit flickr

There are many museums in Lisbon, and while all of them are worth a visit, this is one of them you don’t want to leave Lisbon without touring. 

The Calouste Gulbenkian Museum is not as old as most of the other museums in Lisbon. It is just about 50 years old, but it still commands tons of tourists per month. The museum is an art museum, which means the only thing you will find here is an artwork. The museum has an impressive art collection of world-renowned works.

Most of the artworks in the museum were donated by late Calouste Gulbenkian, an oil tycoon who managed to amass about 6000 artworks but donated it to Portugal when he died. This is also one of the reasons why the museum was named after him. From Egyptian statues to Chinese porcelain, the museum is indeed a place to be.

10. Eat at Lisbon’s Legendary eatery – The Pasteis de Belem

The Pasteis de Belem
Credit flickr

This is another legendary place in Lisbon. If you are looking to grab a bite or looking for the best place where you can eat delicious meals, the Pasteis de Belem is your best choice.

There are lots of Portuguese culinary delights to try out, so ensure you do not miss out on them.

11. Explore the Alfama District

Alfama District
Credit flickr

It almost looks like a trend among European cities to have a center where only the oldest and most ancient buildings can be found. In Lisbon, the Alfama district is the oldest part of the city, and it has been around long before there were Kings in Latium.

There is a myriad of alleys and winding streets in the city, and it is one of the places where you will be sure to see tourists in Lisbon. There are also ruins of the walls that were built around the old city of Lisbon. The Alfama District is uniquely situated in that if you go to the district, you can also see some iconic attractions in Lisbon once you are ready to leave the district. For instance, the famed Lisbon Cathedral is only a short stroll from the district.

12. Tour the National Tile Museum

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Credit flickr

Among the tons of people trooping to Lisbon, quite a number of them only go because they are interested in seeing the ceramics and craft the country is known for. If you are also interested in ceramic works, the best place you can go to see the best of the best in Portugal or, more precisely, the National Tile Museum in Portugal.

A tour of the museum will give you an idea of how ceramics tile making began in Portugal and the different technologies that have been used over time. You will also learn about the history and development of the stunning motifs that adorn most of the Portuguese ceramics you see. There is nothing that can be fired in a Kiln that you won’t find in the museum.

As good as tracing Portugal’s ceramics history, the best part of visiting the museum is the exhibitions of the blue-hued ceramics. These famous colored ceramic works are the reason why Portugal is reputed for its excellent craftsmanship.

13. Visit the Monastery of Jeronimos and learn some of Portugal’s history

Monastery of Jeronimos
Credit flickr

 A quick look at the magnificent carvings and spires on the Monastery of Jeronimos building is enough to tell you all you need to know. The building is considered a landmark in the country and also one of the world’s heritage sites selected by UNESCO.

The monastery was built during one of Portugal’s glorious age. The monastery’s architectural designs are a fusion of different designs, which can be referred to as the Manueline style. All the money used in building the monastery came from the county’s international trade in exotic species, cumin, etc.

14. Go on day trips to nearby attractions in Portugal with Lisbon serving as your base

While Lisbon is an awesome city to be in the winter, you don’t necessarily have to be in the city all through your winter holidays. There are some exciting and genuinely stunning places just outside Lisbon that you can also visit. The positioning of Lisbon in Portugal makes it an ideal base if you want to explore some of the nearby attractions you heard are in Portugal.

One place you should consider a flight to is Sintra. Sintra is a beautiful place, and it is made so because of its impressive monuments and palace. Make it a point to check out the colorful Pena Palace. It is, in fact, one of the most visited places by tourists who want to go on a day trip.

15. A visit to the Oceanarium in Lisbon

Oceanarium in Lisbon

The Oceanarium can be likened to a world of itself and not just an Aquarium. The Oceanarium is referred to as the largest indoor aquarium in Portugal and is believed to hold at least about 1 million gallons of seawater with about 8000 different aquatic animals in it.

The Oceanarium building is located on the Tagus Estuary, and the building is used for tons of exhibitions each year. It is often said that more than one million people visit the aquarium each year.

One of the best things about the Oceanarium is that the sea creatures can be seen up close and studied curiously. From the marauding sharks to the cuddly penguins to moray eels, there is almost nothing you won’t see in the Oceanarium.

Apart from seeing the sea creatures, you can also rent a pedalo at the Oceanarium. The Oceanarium also has a fresh collection of corals and sea anemones worth seeing.

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