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When to visit Lisbon?
The best time of year for a holiday to Lisbon and weather
Lisbon has long hot summers, pleasantly warm springs/autumns and mild, but possibly wet winters. The height of the tourist season is from June until the end of September, while the beaches are at their busiest in July and August. The weather is suitable for spending time on Lisbon’s beaches from May until the middle of September.
The best season to visit Lisbon is late spring or early autumn; when there are fewer tourists, but the weather is still glorious. Our favourite time of year to visit Lisbon is during the Festas Santos Populares celebrations (3rd -14th June), when the city takes on a festival atmosphere.
This article will detail when to visit Lisbon for your holiday and what to expect from the different seasons, along with an overview of Lisbon’s weather.
The weather of Lisbon
The following chart displays the average weather for Lisbon.
The average weather of Lisbon – the maximum daytime temperature and the number of wet days
Lisbon’s summers are very hot, and the daytime temperature often exceeds 35°C. This is the average temperature as measured in the shade, so when sightseeing under the intense summer sun, it will feel much hotter.
The winter months in Lisbon are mild with a daytime average of 15°C, but at night this will drop to around 4-7°C. If you visit during the winter do bring warm clothes. The one notable month is Abril, which can be a very wet month.
Average rainfall in Lisbon and number of wet days per month
Note: The number of wet days means that there is rain on some of the day, this may be just 20 minutes of rain or for the whole day.
Is Lisbon a year-round destination?
Recently there has been a massive increase in the number of tourists visiting Lisbon, and this popularity has lead to extension of the tourist season, so that now, the tourist season is almost year-round.
In our opinion, Lisbon is not a year-round destination, and should never be considered as a winter sun destination.
That said, Lisbon will have the best winter weather of any European capital city, and will be significantly warmer than Northern Europe/America/Canada, but there is the strong possibility of rain and cooler weather.
The Summer Peak Season (June – August)
The peak tourist season is from June until the end of August, and during this period there is a buzzing, vibrant atmosphere about the city. In the summer Lisbon will be hot, but not unbearable, with the temperatures lessened by the close proximity of the Atlantic Ocean and evening breezes.
Our advice: Close to Lisbon are fantastic beaches, and the summer is the ideal season to combine sightseeing with beach time.
The only issue with visiting Lisbon during the summer, is that the demand for accommodation and flights outstrips supply. This means that prices become over-inflated, and if left too late, are completely sold out. If you are considering visiting Lisbon during the peak season always book your flights and accommodation well in advance. For a guide to the best hotels in Lisbon, please see this link.
Related articles: Lisbon beaches
The middle Season (March, April, May and September and October)
The middle season is a wonderful time of year to visit Lisbon, and is the best season for sightseeing, day trips or a touring holiday around Portugal. The weather is generally good (20-27OC), the tourist sights are less crowded, and there will be full availability for accommodation. There is always the chance for last minute deals on flights and hotels.
Due to Lisbon’s popularity, there still will be lots of tourists about the city during the middle season, and there is a lively and enjoyable atmosphere within the tourist districts of Baixa, Barrio Alto and Alfama. The medium season is ideal for a weekend city break to Lisbon or for groups planning a golfing/stag/hen trip.
March/April – There can be heavy downpours of rain but these rarely last more than an hour.
Our advice: If you are visiting Lisbon in the medium season, plan to be based longer in the city and take day trips to Sintra, Obidos Evora and Setubal.
Related articles: 3 days in Lisbon – 1 week in Lisbon
The Winter Season in Lisbon
The winter season is from November until the end of February. The winter weather has an equal number of bright sunny days as wet, cloudy days, and the main issue is that the weather is unpredictable. One week could be sunny and pleasant, while the next could be very wet and chilly.
The popular day trip from Lisbon, to Sintra, Cascais, Sesimbra and Obidos are not enjoyable to explore in the wet or cold. If it does rain, Lisbon has a wide selection of activities, so a short trip would not be completely ruined.
In the winter Algarve (the southern coastline of Portugal) has much better weather Lisbon, which in turn is always warmer and drier than Porto.
Our advice: Have flexible plans if you plan to visit in the winter, which can change depending on the weather.
Related articles: Activities and sights for a rainy day in Lisbon
The Festas Santos Populares
Our favourite time of year to visit Lisbon is during the Festas Santos Populares (Popular Saints Festival), which are the first two weeks of June. During these festivities, Lisbon is decorated with tinsel and streamers, while at night there are street parties with traditional music and dancing.
The culmination of the Festas Santos Populares is on the night of the 12th June, with a carnival and the street parties continue through to sunrise. The 13th of June is a bank holiday in Lisbon, commemorating Lisbon’s patron saint, Saint Anthony, and on this day, everyone sleeps-in after the previous night’s revelries!
The cold sea
It surprises many visitors to Lisbon’s beaches, that the sea waters are so cold, only reaching 18C in the height of the summer. This chilly temperature is due to the waters being fed from the Atlantic Ocean.