First off – Lisbon is an amazing city that you can enjoy at any given time. In a way, every month is the best, so you shouldn’t worry about it too much.
But if you’re planning your trip a long time ahead, it might be nice to know the benefits and downsides of each particular season. We will try to give you an overview here.
The weather in Lisbon
Lisbon – and the southern half of Portugal as a whole – enjoys some of the best weather in Europe. The summer gets very hot, temperatures between 35C and 40C are not uncommon during the day, so if you love the heat, it is a good time to go. However, most people prefer the weather in the late spring and in the early autumn. During those two seasons, you will typically experience daytime temperatures in the late 20s (celsius) which is very enjoyable.
The winter can be a bit cold, although not as cold as most other places in Europe. Days are generally okay, with temperatures swinging between 5 and 15 degrees on a normal winter’s day. The nights get colder, so make sure you stay in a place with heating – this isn’t as common as you would think.
Snow in Lisbon is very uncommon. It rains occasionally, but not anywhere near as much as in the north of Portugal. Since Lisbon is near The Atlantic Ocean, bathing in the water can be a bit colder than anticipated, with the exception of the summer months.
Special events and opportunities
The weather isn’t the only factor that decides the best time to visit Lisbon. It’s also important to look at cultural events and specific opportunities to experience the Portuguese culture.
Carnival is the main event of the spring. It is celebrated more in Portugal than in most other European countries, and usually, the Portuguese workers and students get a few holidays during this time. Thanks to the growing Brazilian population in Lisbon, the carnival days are getting more and more exotic each year, and street parties are common now.
In June, many traditional festivals are starting. Lisbon doesn’t celebrate São João with as much passion as they do in Porto, but there are many traditional celebrations.
The summer is absolutely full of concerts and music festivals. It is the season with the highest amount of parties and less formal events. The food is at its cheapest, and you can get lots of fish by eating out. Fruits will also be cheap during the summer. Accommodation, however, is not – but more about that later. If you’re going to party, and if you want to attend a lot of events, the summer will definitely be the highlight.
Arguably, the fall is the most ‘boring’ of all the seasons. But in fact, a lot of people love that! Locals and tourists alike. September does have the large Festival Iminente, while November has Web Summit, but aside from that, the autumn is quiet when it comes to festivities and events.
The winter, of course, has Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Christmas is usually quiet but very charming – decorated streets and cute food stands are expected. December 31 is a much louder night, since the Portuguese will want to enter the new year with a party. Visit Praça do Comercio to be near the fireworks and the biggest show, or simply join your friends at an indoor party somewhere in the city.
Best seasons to go: Spring and fall
When taking everything into account, the spring and the fall are usually the best times of the year to visit Lisbon.
Why? Simply because the weather is at its best, and the amount of visiting tourists is somewhat reasonable which affects crowds and prices.
Spring has the combination of fun events as well as decent weather. It can rain sometimes, sure, but most days will be sunny. The autumn is more quiet when it comes to events and celebrations, so don’t expect too much here, but beaches will be emptier and temperatures still enjoyable.
In other words, if you can, try to visit Lisbon between March and May, or between September and November!
The winter is a solid alternative. It won’t be very warm, but the city will be extra charming, and prices for flights as well as accommodation will be a lot cheaper.
Worst season to go: Summer
We believe that the summer is the worst time to go for most people.
If you love partying, it can be the best time to go. But for all other purposes, the spring and the fall rank superior.
Lisbon gets a lot of tourists during the summer, while locals often leave the city. So you don’t get that same Portuguese vibe. Not to mention that the prices are much higher. Many people also prefer the temperatures of the spring and the autumn over the heated summer temperatures. And lastly, if you don’t like partying so much, you won’t love the summer since the streets can be somewhat loud at night.
We believe that the spring and the fall are the best seasons to go to Lisbon. But the city is amazing all year around, so don’t worry too much about it. If you get the opportunity to go, do it! Lisbon is a charming and entertaining city at any given time, and if you wish to find more information, simply read our other articles about the Portuguese capital!