Averages for Lisbon in January
January is the coolest month of the year in Lisbon but as it enjoys a sub-tropical Mediterranean climate, the winters are fairly mild. The weather here is twice as sunny as in London or Paris in January. The average temperature reaches a high of 13°C (that's about 55°F), and at night can dip as low as 7°C (about 45°F). You will not see any days where it reaches 20°C so even when sunny you will need a jacket. It has never gone below freezin...
January is the coolest month of the year in Lisbon but as it enjoys a sub-tropical Mediterranean climate, the winters are fairly mild. The weather here is twice as sunny as in London or Paris in January. The average temperature reaches a high of 13°C (that's about 55°F), and at night can dip as low as 7°C (about 45°F). You will not see any days where it reaches 20°C so even when sunny you will need a jacket. It has never gone below freezing however in the thirty years that records have been kept.
Sunrise is a little before 8 AM each day during the month and sunset slowly creeps up from 5:30 PM to close to 6 PM by the end of the month. This means about 10 hours of daylight daily, and on average 5 hours sunshine. Most of the month you will see some fog or other sort of visual obstruction for several hours per day.
At least half of the days of the month you will experience some rain. The average monthly total rainfall is around 109mm. Expect thunderstorms once or twice during the month. At least four days a month ½ inch of rain will fall. The rest of the rainy days will see approximately 1/10 of an inch or less.
The average sea temperature is about 15°C (about 59°F), but with the cool temperatures and chance of rain you probably won't want to be going swimming. If you do brave the sea in January, you will not have to worry too much about the UV levels as January the average level is two, which is very low.
Relative humidity for January averages 85% in the mornings, which drops to 72% by evening. With a dew point of 6°C there is no chance you will feel uncomfortable due to humidity.
Winds only average about 5 mph. Blowing dust or sand only normally happens once a month at most.
As the weather can be unpredictable during the month of January, it would be best to check the local weather forecast before you travel.
Cascais waterfront near Lisbon
Where to Stay
For the hearty holiday traveller who wants to be near the beach even in January, the Pestana Cascais Ocean & Conference Aparthotel has excellent ocean views, an indoor and outdoor pool, and reasonable winter rates. The seven story hotel features large rooms with cafes and plenty of lounge areas. Another beach hotel, the Hotel Praia Mar, faces the sandy beach and has great ocean views and a four-star restaurant on the premises. The hotel is also in Cascais.
Downtown options dominate the hotel industry and the winter is a good time to get the best bargains. The DoubleTree by Hilton is reasonable priced and with a superb central city location. The Tivoli Hotel has excellent dining with tables overlooking the city. At night the views are particularly beautiful. The Ibis Hotel is a three minute walk to the centre of the city. There is also an indoor car park. The Hotel Santa Justa is also in the heart of the city. With a four star rating this hotel is a favourite among many travellers.
Another Ibis Hotel but more bargain-priced is the Hotel Ibis Lisboa Parque das Nacoes. Good location, reasonable prices, and it is right by the metro.
The Sweet Lisbon Riverfront Guesthouse has excellent, commodious, sleeping accommodations. Prices are reasonable and the views overlooking the river gorgeous. The address in Alfama on the Rua do Paraiso means you are within reasonable distance to the city's attractions.
Another nice hotel that does not cost a fortune is the Residencial Joao XXI. Located in Pena, on Rua Gomes Freire, family rooms are available here too.
The Hotel Sete Colinas, on Av Almirante Reis is near the heart of Lisbon. Very reasonably priced, and children under three stay free of charge.
The newly renovated DAH Hotel or Dom Afonso Henriques, near Bella Vista Park, costs less than the majority of hotels and guesthouses in the downtown area. The hotel offers a great breakfast and there are two metro stops equidistance from the front of the hotel.
Liberty avenue downtown street at dusk, Lisbon
Things to do
Lisbon is a city steeped in history and culture. The Arco da Rua Augusta is Lisbon's answer to the Arc De Triomph. Built to commemorate the 1775 earthquake, this colossal structure is supported by columns measuring over 11m and is topped by a statue 23m tall.
The 14th century Castle of Sao George features stunning Gothic architecture and a number of medieval exhibits, as well as beautiful views across the city.
A great place to visit is the Tapa Nacional de Mafra Park. The park has wild boar and deer. There are 3 km of walking trails and a small train that circles the park. There is even a small inexpensive guest house if you want to spend the night. During the day there are archery lessons and horseback riding among several other outdoor activities you can indulge in.
The Ancient Art Museum has works spanning the 14th-18th centuries. The Medeiros E Almeida Museum houses a private collection of exquisite 17th-20th century fine art. The museum is located uptown on the Rua Rosa Arauja near the Sheraton Hotel.
An interesting site in Lisbon is the Carmo Church and Convent. There is a small archaeological museum on site with a Roman Tomb and a Visigoth pillar. Part of the site was destroyed in an earthquake during the 1700s and never rebuilt, so the nave is open to the sky.
A great site to visit that, believe it or not, doubles as one of the best beer houses in Lisbon is the Ancient Covent of the Holy Trinity Church. The convent was built in 1294 and there is a small museum on the premises.
Portugal city skyline over Santa Justa Rua, Lisbon
Hit the Beach
The beaches to the south of Lisbon are very appealing to the surf crowd. Lagoa de Albureira has a great reputation among the international surfing community. While it can be crowded in the summers, it is far enough away from the main tourist beach areas to make it a good getaway locale for the winter visitor in particular. Kite surfing is also popular here.
Park Natural da Arrabida, while even further off the beaten track from Lisbon city, is worth the trek. With 25 km of coastline, there are many small beaches to explore, along with picturesque rocky cliffs and mountain pathways to visit.
Closer to the city, try Sereia Beach by the Costa Da Caparica. Popular both summer and winter, there are lots of bars and clubs that stay open until the wee hours of the morning year round.
Where to Eat & Drink
The Cantina LX has great home cooked meals at reasonable prices. Located in the newly renovated LaCantara's LX factory district, the entire area's restaurants and shopping area are fast becoming one of the most popular places in the city to visit.
Estado Liquido is the place to go if you like sushi. They also serve pizza served in the Brazilian manner, with baked pizza crust and the fresh ingredients sliced directly onto the freshly backed dough.
For family fare reasonable priced the Antigo de 1 Maio can't be beat. It has great seafood, a relaxed atmosphere and a top-notch wine list.
For fast food Portuguese style try the Beira Gare. Chicken is their speciality along with a great think pork steak served on a bread roll. The restaurant is very child-friendly.
Bar life abounds throughout the year in Lisbon. Grapes and Bits is a good place to taste Portuguese wine. The bar serves only Portuguese wine, 200 varieties, served by the glass. Meats and cheese on the side complement the drinks nicely.
For live music try the Speak Easy in Armazem. Jazz and rhythm and blues dominate the music scene here.
If you like a nice cocktail bar with a relaxing but slightly exotic atmosphere, try the Tuareg Al Anduluz bar. This salon is located Chiado on Rue Ivens.
Craving a British pub? There are many options along the beach areas and downtown. One of the most popular is the British Bar on Rua Benadino in centre city. Close to the Cais do Sodre train station, it is a favourite among the expatriate community.