Lisbon in December – Weather and Events

The December weather in Lisbon is mild, with some sunny days, but still a bit colder and wetter than other months.

You’ll find that the winter is a great time to save on a visit to Lisbon. Except for the few days around New Year’s Eve, hotels provide good deals in December, but you should still book a few weeks in advance for the best rooms and prices.

In December, you get to experience the Christmas season in Lisbon.

Weather in December: What to Pack, What to Wear

December is one of the winter months when the temperature is most likely to drop to freezing (by Lisbon standards, at least), especially towards the end of the month.

  • Average High: 15ºC (59ºF)
  • Average Low: 9ºC (48ºF)

The rainfall in December is on average between 110mm and 130mm. December is the second wettest month in Lisbon, but total rainfall for the month may vary from year to year.

Make sure to bring some warm clothes. Pack a jacket or coat – a light windbreaker may not be enough. Add a sweater underneath and a scarf and you’ll be good for the weather in Lisbon. Wear boots or sneakers since they are good to walk on the Portuguese pavement that covers Lisbon sidewalks. Pack an umbrella or raincoat to be safe when out sightseeing.

Events in December

  • Christmas markets: there are several across Lisbon, such as the Rossio Christmas Market or the one at Praça do Município (also in Baixa). Perfect to pick up gifts, they also include live music performances, showcooking and shows for kids.
  • Christmas concerts: churches throughout Lisbon present their repertoire of mostly sacred music. Here’s Lisbon’s Christmas programme (only some parts in English).
  • LisbonLand: this is a projection mapping around the themes of Christmas. Usually, a building at Terreiro do Paço is used for the video projection. However, being under renovation this year, the event moves to another part of the city – Fonte Luminosa (Alameda metro station on red line). From 14 to 23 December at 7pm, 8pm and 9pm.
  • Corrida São Silvestre de Lisboa: the 10k city race is always a popular event. With start and finish line at Praça dos Restauradores, runners get to see the river and Lisbon’s main streets still sparkling with Christmas lights. Last Saturday of the year at 5.30pm. Registration and fee required.
  • New Year’s Eve: there’ll be live music, lighting and fireworks across Lisbon.

Fun in December

During this month, Lisbon sparkles with Christmas lights and decorations. Explore the shopping streets in the Baixa and Chiado districts and enjoy the festive season.

Discover the magical lights and the giant Christmas tree at Terreiro do Paço on the riverside.

Bolo Rei - Confeitaria Nacional

Bolo Rei – Confeitaria Nacional

If you’re in Lisbon in December, you don’t want to miss the opportunity to enjoy the mouth-watering selection of Portuguese Christmas cakes and sweets at Confeitaria Nacional, one of the oldest and most traditional Lisbon patisseries.

Bolo Rei (King’s Cake) is the most traditional Christmas cake in Portugal. They also sell it by the slice. Deep fried sweets are made especially at Christmas time, namely “filhós” (deep fried dough powdered with sugar and cinnamon), “sonhos” (deep fried pumpkin-based dough) and “rabanadas” (a kind of of French toast).

There are plenty of things to do in Lisbon on New Year’s Eve across the capital. You could celebrate on board of a river Tejo dinner cruise, or at one of the many special New Year gala dinners.

On New Year’s Day, most museums and monuments are closed. So here are a few ideas of things to do if you spend New Year’s Day in Lisbon.

Christmas Day (25 December) and New Year’s Day (1 January) are public holidays in Portugal. Most shops and attractions close on the afternoon of 24 December, only to open on 26 December. On New Year’s Eve, they usually close on the afternoon of 31 December reopening on 2 January.

Be Prepared

The weather averages help you get an idea, but things may be different when you visit. Lisbon weather tends to be stable, but occasionally temperatures drop below the average. Check our Lisbon weather forecast before you leave home.