Lisbon in December – Weather and Events

The December weather in Lisbon is mild, with some sunny days, but 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’s standards, at least), especially towards the end of the month.

  • Average High: 15ºC / 59ºF
  • Average Low: 9ºC / 48ºF
  • Average Rainfall: 127 millimetres / 5 inches

December is on average the second wettest month in Lisbon (after November), 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 ready for the weather in Lisbon. Wear boots or sneakers – you’ll need comfortable shoes to walk on Lisbon’s steep paved streets. Include a raincoat or a fold-up umbrella 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 in Praça do Município (both in the Baixa area). Perfect to pick up gifts, these Christmas markets 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 parts in English).
  • LisbonLand: this is a projection mapping around the themes of Christmas. Usually, a building in Terreiro do Paço is used for the video projection. 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 in Praça dos Restauradores, runners get to see the river and Lisbon’s main streets still sparkling with Christmas lights. It takes place on the 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.

Public Holidays in December

  • 1 December: Restoration of Independence
  • 8 December: Immaculate Conception
  • 25 December: Christmas Day

Fun in December

Bolo Rei - Confeitaria Nacional

Bolo Rei – Confeitaria Nacional

During this month, Lisbon sparkles with Christmas lights and decorations. Explore the shopping streets in the Baixa and Chiado neighbourhoods, discover the magical lights and giant Christmas tree in Terreiro do Paço, and enjoy the festive season.

If you’re lucky enough to be in Lisbon in December, make sure you sample 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 – sold whole or by the slice. Also popular are deep fried sweets made especially at Christmas time. These include “filhós” (deep fried dough powdered with sugar and cinnamon), “sonhos” (deep fried pumpkin-based dough), and “rabanadas” (a kind 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.

Most museums and monuments are closed on the first day of the new year. Check out our page for ideas on things to do on 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.