If you’re planning a trip to Lisbon in January, I’ve got some good news for you: it’s possibly the best time to visit the city!
Lisbon in January is quiet, cheap, and sunny. While it can be a little cold, you can explore the city’s main attractions without the crowds, and warm up with some delicious local coffee – or wine!
In this guide, we’ll take a closer look at visiting Lisbon in January, including what to wear, where to stay, and the best things to do. So, let’s dive right in!
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Lisbon weather in January
If you’re planning to visit Lisbon in January, be prepared for a cool and refreshing climate. While the days are typically sunny, the air is still a little cool and crisp.
The average temperature in Lisbon in January ranges between 8°C (46°F) and 15°C (59°F). The nights can feel a bit colder, so you’ll want to pack some warm clothes.
Lisbon gets plenty of sunshine in January, but you may experience the occasional rain shower – don’t worry, these tend to be short-lived. Plus, there are plenty of amazing things to do in Lisbon in January, even when it rains!
Why January is the best time to visit Lisbon
January is one of the best times to visit Lisbon.
First and foremost, it means fewer crowds. You’ll have the opportunity to explore the city’s stunning attractions, such as the historic Alfama neighborhood or the lively Bairro Alto, without battling through hordes of tourists.
Another reason to visit Lisbon in January is the favorable pricing.
With fewer tourists around, you can take advantage of discounted rates on accommodation and flights. This means you’ll be able to stretch your budget further and indulge in Lisbon’s amazing food.
The weather in January, although cooler, is also a great advantage. Lisbon experiences mild temperatures at this time of year, so you explore the city on foot without feeling overwhelmed by the heat.
You can take leisurely strolls along the Tagus River or venture up the hills to enjoy breathtaking views of the city.
And when you need a break from the chill, you can take shelter in one of the city’s cozy cafés and traditional taverns. A cup of Portuguese coffee or a glass of rich Port wine will surely warm you up!
Where to stay in Lisbon in January
Lisbon in January is quite affordable, so you can stay in the heart of the city without breaking the bank.
The Bairro Alto and Chaido neighbourhoods are possibly the perfect base. They’re home to several bars, restaurants, and shops. Plus, most of the city’s main attractions are within walking distance.
We stayed at Lisboa Pessoa Hotel. It’s a four-stay hotel in Bairro Alto, with gorgeous rooms, a lovely spa, and a terrace restaurant with stunning views of Lisbon.
The hotel is right next to the Carmo Convent, which is one of the most popular sites in Lisbon, and the Santa Justa Lift.
Additionally, the train station is just a few corners away, and you can get to Commerce Square in about 10 minutes (on foot).
Best things to do in Lisbon in January
Wondering what to do in Lisbon in January? The weather at this time of year is perfect for exploring the city.
Let’s look at the best things to do in Lisbon in January.
Explore Castelo de São Jorge
Perched high on Lisbon’s tallest hill, Castelo de São Jorge is one of the top attractions in Lisbon.
On a nice winter day, you can spend at least an hour exploring the castle grounds. You can climb up the towers, walk along the fortress walls, and enjoy staggering views of the city from different vantage points.
The castle’s interactive museum provides a fascinating insight into Lisbon’s history. It houses artifacts that date back centuries and educates visitors on the various civilizations that have shaped the city’s identity.
Enjoy a coffee at A Brasileira
Warm up on a chilly winter day by indulging in a cup of coffee at the renowned A Brasileira.
Established in 1905, this historic café is a beloved cultural institution in Lisbon. It was a popular meeting place for intellectuals and artists, including the renowned Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa.
On a nice day, you can enjoy your coffee outside and just watch the world go by. If it’s too cold, you can sit inside and admire the beautiful Art Nouveau decor.
Check out Belem Tower and the Monument of Discovery
Belem Tower is possibly Lisbon’s star attraction. This striking fortress stands proudly on the bank of the Tagus River and once served as a key defense point during the Age of Discoveries.
You can walk around the tower to admire its intricate Manueline architecture, then venture inside to explore its chambers and enjoy stunning river views from its rooftop terrace.
Just a short walk away, you’ll find the Monument of Discovery, an imposing tribute to Portugal’s great explorers.
Make sure to check out the symbolic figures that adorn this monument, and breathe in the fresh river air!
Take a trip to Sintra
Known for its fairytale-like palaces and lush gardens, Sintra is a charming town just outside Lisbon.
You can get there by train and the journey only takes 30 minutes. However, Sintra is a very popular destination (mainly thanks to the colorful Pena Palace), so you’ll want to get there early to avoid the long queues.
While you’re there, make sure to also visit the mystical Quinta da Regaleira, with its maze-like gardens, hidden tunnels, and the iconic Initiation Well.
There’s also the Castle of the Moors, a medieval fortress perched high on Sintra Mountains, with panoramic views of the entire town and its surroundings.
Visit the Carmo Convent
Nestled in the heart of Lisbon, the Carmo Convent is one of the most beautiful places in Lisbon.
Built in the 14th century, this Gothic ruin offers a truly immersive experience. As you step into the open-air museum, you’ll be greeted by towering arches and intricate stonework.
You can explore the cloisters, wander through the nave, and marvel at the stunning azulejos in the museum.
This place could get a little busy, even in winter, so you’ll want to visit first thing in the morning.
Soak up some sun at Praça do Comércio
If you’re looking to bask in the sun and soak up the vibrant atmosphere of Lisbon, look no further than Praça do Comércio.
Situated on the banks of the Tagus River, this majestic square serves as a gateway to the city. It’s also a hub of activity throughout the day.
Enclosed by grand arcades and adorned with statues and fountains, the square exudes an air of grandeur and elegance. You can sit on the steps around the statue of Joseph I of Portugal, and absorb the warmth of the sun as you watch the world go by.
Absorb the views from Miradouro São Pedro de Alcântara
For breathtaking views of Lisbon, make your way to Miradouro São Pedro de Alcântara.
Perched on a hill in the Bairro Alto neighborhood, this viewpoint offers beautiful vistas of the city’s terracotta rooftops, the winding streets of the Alfama district, and the sparkling waters of the Tagus River.
I recommend coming here at sunset to see the city bathed in a golden light.
At night, the fountain in the garden is lit up, and buskers serenade the audience with beautiful music.
Indulge in pastéis de nata
No visit to Lisbon is complete without indulging in pastéis de nata.
These irresistible custard tarts are a beloved Portuguese delicacy. You can find them throughout the city, but Pasteis de Belem claims to have the original recipe – and it’s possibly home to the best pasteis de nata in Lisbon.
If you’re staying in Chiado or Bairro Alto, look for Castro on Rua Garrett. The pasteis de nata here are divine as well!
Get on the Santa Justa Lift
For a unique way to see Lisbon, hop on the Santa Justa Lift.
Opened in 1902, this wrought-iron elevator is an engineering marvel. It serves as convenient transportation between the lower Baixa district and the higher Carmo Square, but it also offers a thrilling experience.
Once you step inside the elegant wooden cabins, you’ll be taken up to the observation deck. From here, you’ll be treated to spectacular views of the city, including the stunning Baixa rooftops, the Tagus River, and even glimpses of the São Jorge Castle.
Walk through Rua da Rosa
Rua da Rosa is one of the most colourful streets in Lisbon. In fact, you’ve probably seen pictures of it on Instagram!
Lined with bars and restaurants, Rua da Rosa is a lane in the Cais do Sodre neighborhood with pink-painted ground and a canope of umbrellas.
This area is a little shabby, with derelict buildings and graffiti-covered walls. Rua da Rosa was painted pink to help make the place a bit more welcoming.
Ride a funicular or tram
Lisbon is known for its quaint yellow trams. They’re a convenient method of transportation, perfect for navigating the hilly streets of the city.
Tram 28 is one of the most popular routes, especially among tourists. It runs from Martim Moniz to Campo de Ourique, passing through the historic districts of the city.
If you’re visiting Lisbon in January, this route will likely be quieter and you wouldn’t need to squeeze yourself onto the tram.
You can also get a ride on Elevador da Bica, a funicalar that rises along an 11.8% incline to Rua da Bica de Duarte Belo from the Rua de São Paulo.
There’s also Elevador do Lavra. Built in 1884, it’s the oldest street funicular in the world. It climbs the hill from Largo da Anunciada (by Avenida da Liberdade) to Rua Câmara Pestana, which is a short walk from Jardim do Torel.
Go for a stroll along the promenade
The Lisbon promenade is bustling with activity throughout the day. It’s a popular hangout spot among locals, and a perfect place to enjoy some fresh air.
You’ll get a good view of the 25 de Abril Bridge from here.
When the tide is out, you can walk onto the sand and deep your feet into the water (if you’re brave enough!).
Shop at the oldest running bookshop in the world
Did you know that Lisbon is home to the oldest running bookshop in the world?
Founded in 1732, Livraria Bertrand in Chiado is a book lover’s haven. You’ll find all sorts of titles, including translations of works by local authors like Fernando Pessoa.
If you visit the store on a Saturday, you can also explore the second-hand book market that’s held on the adjoining street. Here, you’ll find antique books, old maps, vintage postcards, and other treasures.
Marvel at the stunning Sé de Lisboa and Jerónimos Monastery
Located in the Alfama neighbourhood, the Sé de Lisboa is a grand masterpiece of Romanesque architecture.
Inside, you can admire the majestic nave and beautifully-decorated chapels. Also, make sure to check out the colourful rose window.
On the other side of the city, in the Belém neighborhood, lies the magnificent Jerónimos Monastery. This UNESCO World Heritage site is an excellent example of Manueline architecture, characterized by intricate stone carvings and maritime motifs.
The church within the monastery is equally impressive and houses the tomb of Vasco da Gama, the renowned Portuguese explorer.
The Jerónimos Monastery stands as a testament to Portugal’s Golden Age of exploration and serves as a symbol of national pride.
Warm up with some ginja
While Lisbon gets plenty of sunshine in January, it can still feel a little cold, especially at night.
Fortunately, all you need to warm up is a bit of ginja.
This is a sweet liquor made by infusing sour cherries, known as ginja berries, in a base spirit such as aguardente, which is a type of Portuguese brandy. It’s typically served in small, chocolate-lined cups.
Watch the world go by at Praça dos Restauradores
If you’re looking for a place to unwind and soak up the lively atmosphere of Lisbon, head to Praça dos Restauradores.
Situated at the southern end of Avenida da Liberdade, this bustling square is a popular meeting point among locals. An obelisk stands proudly at its center, symbolizing Portugal’s restoration of independence from Spain in the 17th century.
You can enjoy a warm drink at one of the surrounding cafés and take in the vibrant energy of the square.
What to wear in Lisbon in January
Not sure what to pack for Lisbon in January? Here are my top recommendations.
Comfy walking shoes
Lisbon has a lot of hilly, cobbled streets. If you’re planning to explore the city on foot, you’ll need a sturdy pair of walking shoes with thick soles.
Recommendation: I love these boots from Mountain Warehouse. They’re comfy, waterpoof, and versatile – I’ve worn them for hiking trips as well as city walks. Also, I found them really good for exploring Lisbon in winter!
If you’re visiting Lisbon in January, you’ll definitely need to pack a raincoat. You’ll likely only wear it a few times on your trip, so you’ll want something that doesn’t take too much space in your suitcase.
Recommendation: This rain jacket by SaphiRose are comfortable, soft, and easy to pack. Plus, it comes in different colours.
Warm scarf with secret pocket
While pickpocketing in Lisbon is more common in summer, it doesn’t hurt to be vigilant. You’ll want to keep personal belongings like phones and money in a safe place while exploring the city.
Recommendation: This infinity scarf with a secret pocket will help you keep your belongings safe. You can store your phone, money, and other valuables inside it. It’s also warm and cosy!
Waterproof day bag
A comfy day bag is a must-have for any city trip. If you’re visiting Lisbon in January, you may need to carry a few extra essentials like gloves, beanies, and scarves.
Recommendation: This waterproof leather bag is ideal for a Lisbon trip. It also has a zipper pocket on the back where you can safely store your valuables.
Frequently asked questions
Still have some questions about visiting Lisbon in January? Let’s answer some of them!
Is January a good time to go to Lisbon?
Yes! Winters in Lisbon are mild and the city is a quiet at this time of year.
However, if you want to spend some time at the beach, you might want to consider booking a trip for spring or summer.
Is it cold in Lisbon in winter?
Unlike other European countries, Lisbon gets mild winters. While it’s still a little cold, you can explore the city comfortably and bask in the gentle sunshine.
Is Lisbon worth it in winter?
If you want to explore the city’s history and food scene, then yes – Lisbon is definitely worth visiting in January.
However, if you’re a beach lover, January might not be the best time to visit Lisbon.
What is Lisbon like in January?
Sunny and quiet. The main attractions may still be a bit busy, but you shouldn’t have to worry about long queues or suffocating crowds.
Recommended Lisbon tours in January
If you want to truly immerse yourself in Lisbon’s history and food scene, I highly recommend taking a few tours with local experts.
Here are some of the best tours in Lisbon (and beyond).
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