Summer is a fun time to visit Lisbon, and one thing you can be sure of is that temperatures will be hot.
But sometimes the heat will get oppressive as dry air masses blow from either North Africa across the Atlantic or Spain.
With that in mind, we’ve rounded up some great ways for cooling off in Lisbon, if you can’t stand the heat wave, if it’s too much for you.
1. Go to the Beach
Lisbon has several great beaches an hour away or less, and beach temperatures are generally cooler than in the city. Accessible on public transport, Cascais and the Estoril Coast, the Guincho Beach, or the Caparica Beaches are your best bet. Even if you’re not a lay-on-the-beach type of person, there are activities available, such as surfing and kite surfing. Check out our page on great beaches around Lisbon to see which one is right for you.
If you rent a car in Lisbon, the Portuguese coast offers additional stretches of sand and sea, such as Lagoa de Albufeira, Meco, Sesimbra and Arrábida an hour away, and Tróia about an hour and a half driving time.
2. Visit a Museum
Lisbon has several great museums and some are among Lisbon’s main attractions. They are not very large museums, but can provide an immersive (air conditioned) experience that introduces visitors to the Portuguese history and culture. Explore which ones interest you in our list of Top Museums in Lisbon.
3. Dip into the Oceanarium
A great way to cool off is to spend half a day with sea life swimming around you. Lisbon’s Oceanarium is one of the largest in the world, holding 5 million litres of seawater. It offers an impressive visit for both families and single adults. The main highlight is the Ocean building that can be seen as a single ocean containing the four marine habitats of the Pacific, Atlantic, Indian and Antarctic.
4. Hop On a Bus Tour
Take an air-conditioned bus tour and cover the whole city while keeping cool. The upper deck might not be your best bet unless the wind is strong enough to make up for the lack of shade. There are two main companies to choose from. Here’s an overview of Lisbon Hop On Hop Off Tours.
5. Take a Boat Tour
There are several types of boats available to take a trip on the River Tejo, ranging from ferries to traditional boats to motor yachts. There are romantic tours as well as tours that take you past Lisbon’s most famous historic sites, while others go as far as Cascais. Whatever your choice, it’ll always be cooler out on the water. Check out the full list of Lisbon Boat Trips to see which one suits you.
6. Go Shopping
Lisbon has large indoor air-conditioned shopping malls not far from downtown, accessible on public transport (as well as many others further away), so you can completely escape the hot weather.
Amoreiras Shopping Centre was Lisbon’s first large shopping mall built in the 1980s. It shelters numerous cafés, restaurants and shops, including luxury shops, and ten movie theatres. Take the vintage tram 24 to get there. The Spanish-owned El Corte Inglés is the largest department store in Lisbon. It sells clothing, accessories, and cosmetics, of exclusive brands. It has a gourmet space on the 7th floor, and a supermarket underground, connected to the São Sebastião metro station (blue line).
Easily accessible by metro (Colégio Militar/Luz station on blue line), Colombo is one of the largest malls in the Iberian Peninsula, with over 340 stores, including 60 restaurants and 8 movie theatres. Finally, Vasco da Gama is a large indoor mall with 170 stores (of which 33 are restaurants), as well as 6 movie theatres, and direct access to the Oriente station in the Parque das Nações.
7. Get Something Frozen and Delicious
By frozen and delicious, we mean of course ice cream. There’s perhaps no other treat as universally appreciated to enjoy the summer. To help you chill, here’s two of the most popular places for ice cream in Lisbon:
- Amorino: Rua Garrett 49 (Chiado), Rua Augusta 209 (Baixa)
- Santini (founded in 1949): Rua do Carmo 9 (Chiado), Museu Nacional dos Coches (Belém), Time Out Market Lisboa
8. Pair a Cocktail with Lisbon’s Rooftops
Enjoy a few cold ones gazing across Lisbon’s rooftops and the River Tejo. If it’s really hot, most places will have some sort of outdoor umbrellas to provide shade. Try a few cocktails and order some food – that will drop the temperature. Here’s our top picks for rooftop restaurants and bars in Lisbon.